Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Changing others


This is the first of a few very short posts.

Recently I have had many people I would like to change. People listen to what they are told and believe the first thing they hear without even trying to look at the facts. I want to change the way people think about me and others, and I want to change people who lie to cover up their own wrongdoings.
I have come to realize that I need to consider how hard it is to change myself, there is no way I can change others.
To change me takes tremendous work and effort, to change others is just not possible.
One thing that I can do is to distance myself from such people that I feel a need to change.







I am available to speak in your city, for your organization, school, or synagogue.


Please contact me at 443-415-0449 or at rabbischoenes@gmail.com for fee and scheduling information.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

How to write a journal

We keep a lot of things in our heads, but we put less down on paper. All those thoughts and ideas bouncing around can sometimes feel overwhelming. You have to-do lists, hopes, dreams, secrets, failures, love, loss, ups, and downs. Ideas come and go, feelings pass. How do you remember all of them? How do you keep them organized? A great way to keep your thoughts organized and clear your mind is to write them down in a journal. Writing is a great exercise for anyone and by expressing yourself in a personal place is a wonderful way to stay sane. 
How should you journal? It is very personal, and you should do what works best for you. But I will give you some tips to help you get started. 

1.Choose your kind of journal
You have several options for how to keep your journal.
A book, where you write with a pen or pencil onto paper: Write in a book that is not so pretty you are afraid to write in it. Keep the size small enough you don’t mind carrying it in your messenger bag, and big enough you can read your handwriting. Do not try journaling at night when the only paper you have on your bedside table is a band-aid. The next morning I couldn’t read my writing on the band-aid, and the idea I wanted to journal was lost.

2. Set a schedule
Setting a schedule is a great first step. Decide how many times you want to write and set a schedule. Whether it be once a day, or once a week, decide on a time you want to write and don’t skip it. 

3. Keep it private
A journal is personal and should be a place you feel comfortable expressing yourself honestly and truthfully.



4. Date your entry
You think you will remember when it happened, but without a written date, you might forget.

5. Tell the truth
The journal is a record of how you felt and what you did. Telling the truth will make you a reliable storyteller.
If you haven’t cleaned the seven litter boxes for a week, don’t write that you clean them every day simply because you want your readers one hundred years from now to think you had good habits.

6. Write down what you felt

What were you thinking? Were you mad? Sad? Happy? Write down why.

7. Write a lot or a little
A journal entry doesn’t have to be three pages long. It can be a few words that describe what happened, a few sentences about the highlight of your day, or it can be a short description of an event from your day, where you describe details to help you remember what happened. Like, what time of day was it? What sound do you remember?
Your journal entry might be a drawing, a poem, or a list of words or cities you drove through. It is your journal, and you have the freedom to be creative.


8. Free write
Free writing is without direction, structure or motive. This means just take yourself to the page and go wild. Whenever an idea pops into your head, just write it down. It doesn't have to be cohesive or have a purpose. 


I am available to speak in your city, for your organization, school, or synagogue.
Please contact me at 443-415-0449 or at rabbischoenes@gmail.com for fee and scheduling information.





Friday, October 20, 2017

Importance of writing in a journal

I want to apologize to all of my readers for not posing in a while. Due to the Jewish Holiday season, and some mental health struggles, I have not had the opportunity to write. As things are now calming down, I hope to resume writing on a regular basis.

I’ve been keeping a journal on and off for the last few years. I started writing in a journal because my therapist strongly suggested it as a way to express what is going on on the inside.
Before buying what was going to be the first of many journals, I took to the library in order to learn more about what I am supposed to write. One of the most important things that I learned, was that I can write anything I want to, and no one ever has to know.
I would like to share some of my personal experiences with the benefits of writing.


  • It brings me clarity (No matter how I did my journal for that day, a journal allowed me to start a dialogue within myself about what was going on within and around me. It helped bring clarity where there was none.)
  • I can weigh the pros and cons without hearing anyone else give their two-cent opinion
  • It helps me focus (If you have ever had trouble with too much going on in your head that's it's hard to get anything done, this is for you. With our schedules growing busier by the minute, and our brains on overload, sometimes it can be hard to stay focused on what's important and what's in front of you. I've often found myself feeling like there is so much to do or so many ideas swimming around in my head that I don't even know where to start. Or how to get past that feeling. 
  • For accountability ( As we script our journey, we find accountability ― not to the written word, but to ourselves. Our past success and perseverance compel us forward. We can see how far we’ve come, how much we have left to accomplish, and why giving up would be foolish.)
  • It’s a safe place for all my innermost desires (you can write anything and no one has to ever know)
  • I can yell in my journal and no one will hear me raise my voice

The list goes on and on, but these are a few of the many benefits of writing in a journal. In the next blog post, I hope to talk about how to write a journal.





I am available to speak in your city, for your organization, school, or synagogue.

Please contact me at 443-415-0449 or at rabbischoenes@gmail.com for fee and scheduling information.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Bleeding Heart

Throughout the course of my journey called life, I learned many things. In the next few posts I hope to share a few lessons that I feel are very important.
I have met people who are ashamed of the fact they go to therapy once a week or every two weeks. What is therapy all about? It is about healing our wounds. 

We all have wounds, some are deeper than others.
Until you heal your wounds from the past are gonna bleed. You can bandage the wounds with drugs, alcohol,food,cigarettes,work,sex,etc. But eventually, it will bleed through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wound, stick your hands in and pull out the core of the pain. Only then you can stop carrying the burden of the past and learn to live just for today.





I am available to speak in your city, for your organization, school, or synagogue.

Please contact me at 443-415-0449 or at rabbischoenes@gmail.com for fee and scheduling information.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Letter to my younger self

I WAS TOLD THAT WRITING A LETTER TO MY YOUNGER SELF CAN BE A THERAPEUTIC WAY TO PUT THINGS INTO PERSPECTIVE AND MOVE ON. ANYONE WITH A TOUGH CHILDHOOD COULD PROBABLY BENEFIT FROM THIS AND HAVING DEALT WITH ADDICTION AND BEING A CHILD OF AN ALCOHOLIOC, I THOUGHT THIS WAS PERFECT FOR ME. SO I WROTE A LETTER WITH ALL THE IMPORTANT ADVICE I WOULD HAVE GIVEN MYSELF AROUND THE TIME MY MOTHER PASSED AWAY, WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN WHEN I WAS 6 YEARS OLD.

Dear Younger Me,

I know life can be hard and people suck sometimes but learn to forgive and remember no one's perfect. No, seriously you really need to remember that your future relationships will be way more enjoyable if you do. 
Try not to be so angry, Tatti (yidish; faher) really is trying. Forgive God for taking Mommy so soon. 
Learn to say no; you'll be way happier once you do.  Keep in touch with your friends.  Don't give up your social life just because you think you re to busy.  You'll regret it.  Spend more time with your family; you'll miss them once they're gone.  

People care and notice you a lot more than you think. You're a smart, fun person; be more confident and love yourself. 

Finally, don't take any moment for granted. You know all those struggles and difficult situation?  Well, you'll actually learn to grow from them.
PS. Keep this letter with you and read it often.

Yours truly,

Future you ;)







I am available to speak in your city, for your organization, school, or synagogue.
Please contact me at 443-415-0449 or at rabbischoenes@gmail.com for fee and scheduling information.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Mental illness in the wrok place

I chose the topic of Mental Illness in the work place, because it is a topic that hits home for me.

Having a mental illness makes finding work hard. This might sound many things; sad, ridiculous, surprising, frightening, unlikely, justifiable, or understandable. You might secretly feel something you would not publicly air. It's nothing to be ashamed of, we all have overt or latent prejudices, but it is most certainly something to be aware of and to open your mind about.

Most of us are familiar with the concept of 'the glass ceiling' in relation to various forms of discrimination in the workplace, whether it is gender, race or even sometimes religious. The belief, no, the fact, that people are exposed to opportunities they will never be allowed to realize. The employer is seen as blameless as they have complied with anti-discrimination legislation, but the employee knows he or she has been denied the chance, knows he or she has been wronged despite being suitable for the role, purely because of gender, race or religion. There is no way of absolutely proving beyond doubt this is true, but we know it happens don't we?
The term 'mentally ill' covers such a range of individual illnesses from anxiety to schizophrenia, substance abuse to clinical depression, bipolar to OCD that in some respects it is inadequate and an unwitting misnomer. These conditions are vastly different to each other and each complex in their own way. But one thing we all have in common is the conditions are invisible. They do not have a straight forward diagnosis, much less a simple prognosis. This leads in large part to the stigma, which is attached to mental illness.
Socially, this is a problem. Admitting to mental illness is seen as a sign of weakness or inadequacy and commonly engenders a response which is overly patronizing, disdainful or aggressive. The latter is what we depressives call the “pull yourself together" syndrome. If only it were that simple.
Beyond the social stigma is an equally serious and personally crippling problem. Having recovered sufficiently to look forwards in a positive frame of mind, how do I find employment?
If your 'friends' and family fail to understand the condition, how can we expect potential employers to comprehend? With a vast gap on your resume, this leaves the applicant with a potentially life changing dilemma.
The options such as they are. Lie about your condition taking the risk you may lose your job upon the employer finding out or being frank from the outset, risking never gaining employment at in the first place.
Many efforts have been made to accommodate physically disabled people in the workplace. Sadly the same cannot be said for those of us with mental illness. The stigma, borne largely of ignorance, which surrounds mental illness has much to do with this failure.



I am available to speak in your city, for your organization, school, or synagogue.
Please contact me at 443-415-0449 or at rabbischoenes@gmail.com for fee and scheduling information.





Friday, September 15, 2017

Stigma about mental health

We share the details of our physical lives so willingly: our latest diet, our kid’s need for braces, maybe a family member struggling with heart disease. But when it comes to mental illness, everything is under wraps. The shame and stigma surrounding mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, are the biggest obstacles when it comes to getting help. It’s time we started looking at mental health the same way we do physical health.
Unlike other health conditions, mental illness is often seen as a sign of weakness. We’d never tell someone with breast cancer to “just get over it” or work on their willpower, but that’s the advice people with eating disorders, substance abuse problems, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues hear all too often. And those suffering from mental illness also often think of it themselves as weakness. I believe the reason is that without experiencing some form of mental disorder, you can not understand what the individual is going through.
Depression affects about 7 percent of the U.S. population, and I am one of them.
Yet despite the obvious prevalence of mental health issues, talking about it often is a struggle.
Mental illness is just like any chronic physical condition. It can be managed with counseling and/or medication, and there will be both good and bad days. As debilitating as mental illness can be, it isn’t–and shouldn’t be–the defining characteristic of a person any more than, say, being allergic to pollen or having high blood pressure should be.  
All that said, things are getting better. There’s more awareness these days about mental health issues and more support groups, thanks in large part to the internet. 
The best thing we can do, at any time, is to talk about mental illness the way we talk about other health issues–openly, with empathy and a desire to understand, and separating what the person is suffering with from the person him- or herself.



I am available to speak in your city, for your organization, school, or synagogue.
Please contact me at 443-415-0449 or at rabbischoenes@gmail.com for fee and scheduling information.