Teshuvah is the process by which we regain inner peace. Through the process of teshuvah we return to our natural home of inner peace and perfect wholeness and become aware of our Eternal Spirit. - Rebbe Natan of Nemirov
Welcome to the Teshuvah Healing Circle page! I’m so glad you’re here.
- The next healing circle is on January 21, 2021 at 7:00 pm PST - Thursdays at 7:00 pm - Jan 21, Feb 18, March 18, April 15, May 20, June 17, July 15, Aug 18, Sept 9, Oct 21, Nov 18, Dec 16, 2021
Bring loneliness, depression, anxiety, relationship problems, or addictive behaviour to the circle and leave feeling lighter, and in control of your emotional reactions.
Together we’ll create a safe supportive space for us to examine and release the negative beliefs we each hold about ourselves and which drive our emotions and unwanted behaviours to a greater extent than you may know. You’ll gain a greater understanding of the root cause of your perceived problems and how to heal them using a proven process.
About Me: Anne Andrew, former Principal of Temple Sholom Religious School, has been facilitating healing circles for over three years. Trained by Diederik Wolsak RPC, MPCP, founder of Choose Again, she is one of only a handful of Choose Again counsellors worldwide. Her online circles bring together diverse, international participants. Feedback from clients tells of the supportive, safe space Anne provides.
Who? These circles are open to anyone looking for a refuge of peace and sanity in these times of uncertainty and who brings a willingness to participate fully. It may appeal particularly to practitioners of the Choose Again Six Step process looking for a specifically Jewish context and forum. Choose Again experience is not required to participate.
How many people will be there? In order to create the best environment for participants, space is limited to 15. Please pre-register so that explanatory materials can be sent out ahead of the circle time.
Where? Currently, these circles take place on line via Zoom. In non-COVID times there will be an in-person circle held in Vancouver once a month. Stay tuned!
When? Teshuvah circles happen on the third Thursday of every month at 7:00 pm till 9:00 pm Pacific time.
Cost? Currently free of charge.
How do I sign up? You can sign up for a circle by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org by the Sunday before the next Teshuvah circle. A link will be sent the day before the circle. In the event that there are more than 15 people, you will be put on the waitlist and if there are sufficient people on the waitlist, a second circle may be convened the following week. The circles operate using Zoom. Click the link a few minutes before the circle so that we can begin on time.
What happens at a circle? There will be a moment of mindfulness or meditation at the beginning of the circle so that we can become fully present. We’ll discuss a short relevant text from the body of Jewish wisdom that you can apply to your daily life. The majority of the circle is spent practicing the Choose Again Six Steps to Freedom (which is a useful tool for finding and healing negative beliefs) and applying them to any personal challenges you wish to bring to the group. You’ll quickly notice that we all have the same negative beliefs and that it is safe to be open and honest.
Do I need to believe in God to attend? A willingness to believe that there is a Higher Power that transcends the self is essential. Many people have an emotional reaction to the word ‘God’ and this is something that can be processed in circle. We tend to make up our own idea of what God is and then set about not believing that rather limited idea! Having an open mind is a prerequisite.
What is the Choose Again Six Step Process? This is a process that was developed by Diederik Wolsak RCP RNCP and which he has written about in his book Choose Again Six Steps to Freedom. In a nutshell, the process is applied to any upset or emotional reaction, which can then be followed into early childhood memories (if possible) in which negative beliefs were made up in a child’s mind. Those beliefs can be seen to be merely the perceptions of a small child and transformed to a deep knowing of the truth of who that child really is. This simple process results in tremendous relief and is transformative when applied regularly. To understand the connection between teshuvah and The Choose Again Six Steps to Freedom, which is the process we use in our circles, you can download my free ibook: New Year New You: A Teshuvah Reader.
Why Teshuvah? That’s a big question with a long answer, but the short answer is that Teshuvah is the process by which we reconnect to our Source (the Divine spark within, Universal Consciousness, or our Higher Self, however you prefer to call it). When we do that we find that our happiness increases, our problems diminish, our relationships improve and we feel a whole lot better in every way. You may understand the word ‘teshuvah’ to mean ‘repentance’. Adin Steinsaltz, however, states that “Broadly defined, teshuvah is more than just repentance from sin; it is a spiritual awakening, a desire to strengthen the connection between oneself and the sacred.” Judaism has placed teshuvah as the central concept on Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah. It has been widely interpreted as the process by which we ask forgiveness for the things we have done that hurt another human. Hurting others and ourselves is the inevitable outcome of losing our connection to the Divine. When we act from the certainty of knowing we are Divinely supported, our behaviour and actions will reflect that and all our relationships will improve. Our circles do not deal with the wrongs we may have done to another human, but rather they tackle the underlying spiritual blindness that must also be there. You see, every action we undertake comes either from a loving place (knowing that we are Divinely supported) or a fearful one (believing that it is all up to us and the ego self we have constructed). Moving from fear to love by becoming aware of our Divine connection is the ultimate purpose of teshuvah, and we can use the Choose Again Six Steps to Freedom to help us get there.
For those who are interested I have included some quotes about the nature of teshuvah below:
All forms of teshuvah, however diverse and complex, have a common core: the belief that human beings have it in their power to effect inward change.” Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
Teshuvah is the highest expression of man’s capacity to choose freely – it is a manifestation of the Divine in man.Adin Steinsalt
Testimonials: "What I love about the Teshuvah healing circles is that it’s about forgiveness. Forgiveness for myself. Freeing myself of beliefs about myself that have always led me to feel down. The magic of the circle is that even as a listener, healing happens". Lu Winters "The Teshuvah Healing Circle facilitated by Anne Andrew using the Choose Again six steps to freedom, is an important addition to resources available for our Jewish community. The healing that comes about as a result of this work is life changing." Shelley Karrel
“What I appreciate most about our Teshuvah healing circle is that it is a non-judgemental environment, where one can express one’s feelings and emotions, knowing that you are completely safe and confidential. We are all in this together and collectively, we learn to overcome life’s challenges through the gentle, but firm guidance of Anne, who skillfully helps us navigate the six-step process. I highly recommend the circle!” Mike Levitt
Circle Etiquette: A few notes about circle etiquette and what to expect.
Please print out the feelings sheet that I send you or access any other feelings chart and have it handy. The six-step process described below is a feeling process (as opposed to an intellectual exercise), so access to feelings is necessary and often reading through a feelings sheet is helpful in describing what it is you are feeling.
What happens in circle stays in circle. Confidentiality is essential in establishing a safe space to share personal stories.
You will not be put on the spot – you always have the chance to pass. What you get from the circle is your responsibility.
Stay ‘muted’ until it is your turn to speak – this cuts down background noise.
Raise your hand to speak – you’ll be recognized at the right time.
When giving feedback to someone please refrain from giving advice, but rather speak in the “I” form, talking about your own experience. As long as you speak for yourself, everyone will be interested and you own your feedback.
The response to feedback is always “Thank you.” This ensures that you can listen to the feedback without formulating an answer, and it prevents a time-consuming discussion. It means ‘I have heard what you said, I don’t agree or disagree.’
Only one person speaking at a time so everyone pays full attention and gets the most benefit.