close up at nuts and fruit at the Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem

Lori Gordon-Michaeli LCSW

“History repeats itself until we learn the lessons that we need to change our path.”

This law reminds me of a very famous quote I use in my practice today:

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
Albert Einstein

With growth … change is inevitable. Self-reflection, mindfulness, awareness are all helpful in creating change in both us and our environment.

Practice mindfulness and you will naturally grow in both insight and understanding of what is really going on in the moment — not what’s inside your head. The key to change is noticing the necessity and making a plan to accomplish it.

My history, until I moved to Israel, was “lack of awareness to my environment.”  Have you ever driven from A to B and were so much inside your thoughts that you didn’t really notice things along the way or remember the trip in detail? Yep. Have you ever noticed what is going on around you to the point where you are aware of everyone around you and what they are doing because it was imperative for your safety?

Well, America IS changing, unfortunately, and that is becoming more and more our reality. For me, for most of my life, looking over my shoulder was never really something I had to contend with. MY history changed and has remained changed, since living in Israel.

I recently noticed I have adopted a behavior that followed me back from the Middle East days. Wherever I go here, I am always checking out my surroundings. I scan the store, the drive-through, the grocery, the parking lot, mall and movie theaters. Why? Because in Israel if there is a package left without an owner, it may very well be one that could hurt you.

Exploding packages are often left out in public places and they are loaded with shrapnel, nails and other things that are lethal when the package explodes. From diapers, you are taught to have mindfulness when you are outside of your home. Israelis live in the world of awareness in some ways.

Mahane Yehuda Jerusalem. Etz Hayyim street (corner of HaAfarsek street). Shuk showing rows and rows of food available for purchase.
Jerusalem shuk by Deror_Avi Deror_Avi

Once I was in Jerusalem — my son was with his father somewhere else — buying spices in the Ben Yehuda market at a very well-known spice booth and, after paying and leaving the aisle, I turned the corner and continued walking down the street only to be pushed off my feet by a large noise. The ground shook, windows shattered, car alarms started going off, people were screaming. A bomb went off in Shuk Ben Yehuda. Later I found out it went off in the very place I had been only moments before. I was in shock, I think, because I don’t remember how I got home. But I do remember hugging my son over and over very tightly and him saying: “Mom, you are crushing me.”

Here in Farmington Hills, I realize I live in a more peaceful environment — and I still check out my surroundings. Until history DOES change, I will continue to do so. Because, as we all know, and, unfortunately, as well all see now on the news, history will repeat itself because some people do not learn the lessons necessary to change their path as well as effectively change the overall path of others.

This law applies to each one of us and, unfortunately, also applies to humanity in general and, as long as prejudice exists and anti-Semitism exists, we are destined to live on a gerbil wheel, trying to solve our problems with the same mind that created them in the first place.

As the miracle of the Festival of Lights is almost upon us, let us remember that even then we were on this wheel and Israel came into existence to protect us. Yet, even within the walls of our own country, we must be vigilant.

May your week bring you peace and an understanding of how to change something you historically do over and over by approaching the problem from an angle you have never considered. Unless it’s looking over your shoulder for bombs — keep looking because history is still repeating itself. Wishing everyone peace.


Lori Gordon-Michaeli LCSW

Journey Within LLC

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