In this podcast, recorded at the May 2017 meeting of the current and former Sinai and Synapses fellows, Rabbi David Levy, Rabbi Arielle Hanien, and David Bosworth discuss American society’s relationship to accommodating emotional extremes – grief as well as very joyous occasions. How can the workplace and our other social institutions help dispel the myth that everyone is just in it for themselves? How do we use mindfulness to create better solidarity and perhaps reach better consensus?
The Sinai and Synapses Fellows raise these questions in a podcast focusing on “When Religion Heals, When Science Heals,” part of the Sinai and Synapses Discussion Forum.
Host: Kat Robison
Panelists: Rabbi David Levy, Rabbi Arielle Hanien, David Bosworth, Ph.D.
Sound Engineer: Kassy Tamanini
Hi, I’m Rabbi Geoff Mitelman, founding director of Sinai and Synapses. Sinai and Synapses bridges the worlds of religion and science, offering people a worldview that is both scientifically grounded and spiritually uplifting. It is incubated at Clal, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. The following podcast is a project of our Sinai and Synapses Fellowship, a select interfaith group of clergy, scientists and writers who are committed to elevating the discourse surrounding religion and science. To find out more about the fellowship and our other programs, or to help support our work, please visit us online at sinaiandsynapses.org, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you very much.
Kat Robison: Hello and welcome to the second of a series of podcasts recorded at the May 2017 meeting of the Sinai and Synapses fellowship. My name is Kat Robison, and I am a doctoral student at the University of Alabama and a member of this fellowship, where we seek to personalize the relationship around religion and science. The fellows are models for a productive conversation surrounding these areas. They are dedicated to exploring their own stories, their own commitments, their own doubts, and are also dedicated to learning about and from other people’s journeys.
For the second part of this conversation, I am joined by three colleagues from the fellowship, Rabbi David Levy, a congregational rabbi – welcome David.
David Levy: Thank you.
Kat Robison: Rabbi Arielle Hanien, a therapist and educational consultant in private practice. Arielle, pleasure to have you.
Arielle Hanien: Hi Kat, thank you.
Kat Robison: And Professor David Bosworth at Catholic University of America in D.C. Welcome to the podcast.
David Bosworth: Thank you.
Kat Robison: And we also welcome you into this conversation. So to open our discussion, I want to start with a guiding question. What can science and religion teach us about navigating the full range of our emotional experience? And I ask this because this morning, during our meeting, David opened with a story about – he’s reading this book, “Option B,” by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant, which is discussing her loss of her husband.
David Levy: Yeah, I’ve been very touched in reading this book, and I’m only partway through it. But I’ve been very touched how Ms. Sandberg, as she is dealing with the devastating loss of her husband – her husband passed away suddenly and unexpectedly – as she’s dealing with it, among the many things she spoke about that helped her deal with her loss, and helped her help her children deal with the loss of their father, she spoke to her religious tradition. She comes from a Jewish religious tradition, and she made a number of mentions of where her tradition gave her the capacity to weather this loss, to embrace the loss, and then to move with the loss. I don’t want to say beyond it, she actually carries it, but she moves with it. And I became fascinated with the idea of – we often move to religion to help us embrace loss and to help us raise up joy, and we often move to the world of psychology to do the same, but I wondered about integrating the two and where the integration of the two could make an even more powerful difference in the way that we embrace these emotional moments in our lives.
Kat Robison: And the moment you mention this book – and at first I think some of us, like, weren’t connecting with the book and as soon as you said who it was by, it’s like “yes,” and then my next thought was, “I want to hear this group talk about this,” so I was very excited that that we could come together and and have this conversation, because this is an area at which we lack cultural competence.
Arielle Hanien: And when you say that “we,” my sense is that you’re referring to our larger civic culture.
Kat Robison: Correct.
Arielle Hanien: Which often seems to have a kind of allergy to loss, an attenuated vocabulary about how to respond when we’re in the presence of someone else’s loss.
Kat Robison: Or we want people to grieve within an acceptable time frame, or experience an emotion in an acceptable time frame, like it’s not OK to to live within that, or to, as you put it, to live with it.
Rabbi David Levy: I think one of the lovely pieces of – and I can only speak from my own religious tradition – but as I was reading her words, one of the lovely things that I’ve experienced myself, and re-experienced through her words, is the tradition’s giving us a open period of time to simply be mourners. And a recognition that there’s this time – we call it shiva, it’s the seven days after the burial, not after the loss, but after the burial – after we’ve had this moment to actually bring a little bit of closure in terms of the physical – to move into the emotional place for a period of time, where we’re not expected to do anything other than allow ourselves to experience the emotion in the presence of a community, and with the support of a community, and actually people are asked to come to this moment of shiva to visit somebody who’s in mourning, and do it in a way where they are focused on the real needs of the other person, trying to put their own needs aplace so that they can focus on the needs of the person who’s in mourning, and help in that process with the presence of community.
And it’s an interesting – I think, the piece that I find most interesting as we move from seven days to a period of 30 days, that is a little less intense but still recognizes where we are, to a period of the entire first year, which is again a little less, but there’s no attempt to say the mourning is to be put aside. We’re allowed to cry, we’re allowed to feel the emotions, and at the same time our community is given an expectation to build a web of support and a web of caring, and I find that very powerful. I think that the science of psychology and neuropsychology gives us some understanding of why that worked so well, and why that’s so important. And I think what I hope to get out of this conversation is: where’s that basis, where’s that nexus, and how can we learn from it in a way that we make both forms of care more powerful, and both forms of embracing joy more powerful.
Kat Robison: This is an important question, because one thing that we were discussing earlier is how we intuitively – and I use “we” here as, perhaps, us within this room, but also just myself – I intuitively know that pain is very important, from my experience of other emotions. I think I referred to it as that pain carves out areas of your life that are then able to more deeply experience joy. And so my question is: why is this important to be able to participate in a religious practice like shiva? Why is it important to experience these emotions?
David Bosworth: Well, if you don’t, you’re not healing, right? To be alive in this world is to feel, and to be an emotional being, and your emotions are deeply connected to your neurology, your physiology, you have an emotional up- or down-swing, that goes into your heart rate, and your breathing rate, and your skin conductivity, and sweat and everything. What would that sort of ritual offer you is help with regulating that emotion. And that can be up or down; when you turn to a hymn of praise because you want to increase your sense of joy and of gratitude, or turn to a prayer of petition because you’re at a place of grief and fear and anxiety and feel like you’re out of control, and you’re trying to regulate that fear, regulate that sense of helplessness by turning to God in prayer, by turning to others who might pray with you or pray for you or whatever.
It’s part of the measure of how deeply social we are, that by yourself, you just get disregulated. That you can’t fix yourself. On some deeply fundamental level, you just need other people. And part of what I find so powerful about grief is that it’s– everyone experiences it; the older you get, the more dead people you know, and as you lose people, grief is a very powerful reminder of how much you really need people, that you are dependent on other people just for your well-being in your life, and when you lose them, then you really know how much you needed them. You realize how mythical it is, this idea that we’re individuals, that we’re Lone Rangers, that we can self-regulate or take care of ourselves. It’s complete nonsense. As one neuroscientist observed, a human being alone is a human being in deprivation. We cannot be alone because, in the book of Genesis, it’s not good for the human to be alone.
David Levy: And yet in our society, people in pain often retreat into themselves, they almost retreat into a solitary situation. Sandberg, in one of her pieces, describes feeling at a certain point she didn’t want to impose her grief on others, so she wanted to go back into her office and and kind of close off. And I see that often with people that I work with and counsel, they’ll do that, and our reaction to that can be really powerful. Our instinctual reaction is often to leave a person alone. What we know from the realms of religion and psychology is, that’s exactly the moment when we need to approach and engage, and engage in a way that says “How can I be here for you, even if it means to sit here quietly with you?’
David Bosworth: You know, often, sitting quietly is the best thing, because often our first responses to people in pain, our first instincts are awful, you know. That often it’s not just that your pain, or your trauma, your loss is hard for you. Other people’s pain and trauma is hard for you, right, because – think of like, Job’s friends. They see their, Job, life ruined in this catastrophe and they’re trying to, all they can think about is – their idea about the way the world works and the fundamental fairness and justice and who God is, are all challenged by the fact that Job suffers. And so to make sense of the world, to make themselves feel better, they need to make Job somehow deserving of this pain. And we all do this, and we do it all the time, you know, if you know someone who got mugged, well where were you, what time was it, had you been drinking, were you distracted by earbuds in your ears, listening to music? What did you do wrong that you got mugged? Because if I can pinpoint what that thing is, I can avoid it, and I feel like I’m in control of my life.
David Levy: You know, interestingly, when we look for one of God’s models of what to do, we have Abraham recovering from circumcision at the opening of his tent, and the Torah just tells us that God was present with him. So here is a person recovering, and God’s model for us is that presence is a powerful – I don’t want to call it an antidote – it’s a powerful source of solace and care.
Kat Robison: That’s so – just even hearing that, I often tell everyone that the only thing of value you really have to give someone is your time. And I say this in response to – you know, I had taken time off from my graduate studies to care for my grandmother, who was dying. And everyone’s like, why would you do this in your, you know, your late 20s, why would you, and in the grand scheme of things the time was nothing, and in the small world of my family it was everything, because we can throw money, if we have it, at something, we can give words, but truly it’s the time, and so to hear you say, you know, sort of make this point that God was present with him, you know, how are we present with people and how are we giving of what we have to give?
Arielle Hanien: It’s interesting for me to hear this conversation against the backdrop of your earlier question, which is coming from a space of feeling that American civic culture does not grasp us in some way, does not have structures that allow for time for grieving, for example. So if you think about how much we are still debating, in the public space, the value of maternity or paternity leave, or the merit of sick days for the public good, never mind the individual worker, you realize that grief and loss of the most important people in the lives of the force, of the American workforce, is not even showing up in this conversation. And yet that can be one of the most profoundly disorienting, displacing, economically impactful, emotionally traumatic experiences that a person can have. And it can be anticipated, you know, and experienced after a long battle, or it can come on unexpectedly. So, when we consider that absence, and even the structures of our civic life that will allow for time and being in each other’s presence, it’s not so surprising to realize that we also, as a society, may have an attenuated vocabulary, or skill set, or understanding of practices that would be essentially healing. And that would work really well with this loss, because we don’t get to cultivate those experiences together. We’re very much focused on productivity, and the life of the individual. And so a pause in productivity just appears as a kind of an ellipsis on our screen and our civic emotional radar, you can say, as opposed to a place for what you described as this rich navigating of grooves of emotional vulnerability and dimensions of the human experience.
David Levy: So how do we use this to make a difference in society as a whole? How do we take what we know from psychology, how do we take what we know from religion, and how do we bring it into the public square in a way that we transform society? Because, in great part, much of what “Option B” is about is not the individual who was going through the loss, but in culling from her experience something greater, which is we need to have some type of transformation of society. And what is it that we can take from our tradition, and from our research experience, that we can integrate together in such a way that we can bring change in society?
David Bosworth: And so I got two things that occurred to me. One is some of that I do in many of the classes I teach, actually a class on war and violence the Old Testament that I just finished this spring, and we discuss topics like domestic violence and rape and war, and each of those topics, people think they know how to love their neighbor, but Arielle mentions that there’s a skill to this, and I think generally people in helping professions like social work and psychology learn these skills. I’m dismayed that seminary formation in my tradition does not really teach these skills extensively. There’s lots and lots of theology, not a lot of how to help your neighbor, how to love your neighbor.
The problem, then, of learning about that we blame victims and why we do it and how to avoid it, or why it’s important to avoid it, or a lot of your first instincts for how to offer what psychologists call social support, are not good. You directly help somebody, now they feel helpless, they feel incompetent, they feel sort of in a one-down, indebted position, and it’s not helping. But if you can help them in indirect ways, of just being present, or just showing up with a meal that they need, or reflecting back to them that they are coping well, or in our case, mostly, I think, we were objects of charity indirectly. We were told that for a while, we had moved from Miami to Maryland, and we had two houses for a bit, and the school knew it, and the school just said one day that oh, your son won a drawing so he gets free lunch for a month. And I have no idea if they had such a drawing and if it was just a way to give charity without us making us feel like objects of charity. Because it’s not a good feeling. So partly because there’s training, right, that part, and that’s that something should happen, I suppose, where I am in school, right, it’s an education thing. You have to learn how to love your neighbor.
And the second that occurs to me is, so much of our culture is grounded on a misunderstanding of what human beings are, human beings as individuals, human beings as independent, even of psychology. The word is self-regulatory. Which, I hate that word, because it’s a lie, we are not self-regulatory. We think we are. But often adults look like they’re regulating themselves and their emotions and behaviors, but in fact if they just came from the bathroom, where they cried or they retreated into their heads, whether in prayer – or, I’ve got an internal working model in my head of my wife, of God, of a whole bunch of people, that I can draw on for emotional support and co-regulation, and so even when it appears that I’m alone and I’m quiet, the reality is I’m regulating myself with other people.
And it’s not just fantasies of people in my head, those internal representations are based on actual experiences of who these people really are. They’re road maps to who those people are. They’re not always accurate, roadmaps as it turns out, but I can model a conversation in my head with someone that I know that can help me regulate myself.
And as I said, if you think you’re independent and you think you’re an individual, wait till someone you love dies, and you’ll find out that none of that is true. And that’s – you mentioning grief strikes me as a reasonably common enough experience that can drive home for people what you think about what you and therefore what your neighbors are, is fundamentally wrong. And that’s why the culture is wrong. The culture is built on, fundamentally, a misunderstanding of what a human being is.
Kat Robison: I wonder if our culture exacerbates this. Because rugged individualism is a core American value. You know, the idea of bootstrapping, even our love for cars and the open highway. We have a lot about our culture that exemplifies the individual. And I don’t think all that’s wrong, it’s not all bad, it’s not all a terrible thing. But there are some cases in which self-reliance is not healthy.
David Levy: You know, I’m thinking, prior to being a rabbi, I was an elementary school teacher. And I’m thinking, there is a piece in our educational culture that gets lost after kindergarten. Kindergarten’s about community. First grade’s about competition, and every grade after that’s about competition. Sometimes it’s competition with yourself, often it’s competition with other students. It’s always about “how do we do on grades, how do I do on this project,” and I think that’s a piece of our culture that is well worth focusing on. Some of the really great schools that I’ve seen and known, or the great classrooms that my own children have been in, are the ones that created a sense of community that leavened the sense of competition. It’s not that competition is a bad thing, it’s not that striving for individual excellence is a bad thing, but we often need to leaven it with a sense of community and a sense of caring, and that has to happen at the earliest stages. We can’t wait until somebody gets to university and has this, you know, wonderful professor who says, you know, in the midst of studying this, we have to look at something greater. I think from early on, we have to look at something greater than ourselves, and I think that’s one of the great roles that our religious communities offer.
But when we’re looking at societal change, I think it’s sometimes bringing some of that learning from our religious communities and from our academic communities and bringing them together in the places where we form our earliest understandings of how do we function vis-a-vis each other. How do we create those webs of care and meaning that will make a difference in what kind of a community we’re creating.
Arielle Hanien: I hear you, David, but I have your previous question in my mind. So to me, this model seems very top down, in terms of being a question about what kind of structures we create to impart certain understandings and cultivate a new social norm. And I think when you asked earlier “how do we bring together wisdom of spiritual teachings from various traditions and science to help us understand better how to navigate grief and loss that others are experiencing?” The answer, in part, that “Plan B” is pushing for, is about learning how to show up. Not just to show up with meals, but to show up to someone else’s emotional experience. And part of the way that we learn to do that, to be there for, and to be with all of the dimensions of someone’s emotional experience in a way that’s supportive, is showing up to our own emotional experience. And I don’t think that we’ve cultivated an ability to do that, by and large, in our educational system in this country – though attention to social and emotional learning is now increasing, it has been for the past decade or so. Who knows whether that will continue, as we look at changes in the educational system around the pike.
But both psychology and neuroscience, right, where we understand this relationship that we have to each other, that we are inherently wired as social beings, and we have mirror neurons that track each other’s energy and emotional experience, bring us into alignment, whether we want it or not, and religious traditions.
Well, all of these different sort of threads of wisdom and insight are teaching us that when we cultivate our own ability to be present to our experience, it enables us to be present to more of others’ experience. And if our own window of tolerance (that’s a phrase coined by psychiatrist Dan Siegel) is limited, or attenuated, and we have a very – we have a limited threshold for emotions, we have a limited ability to express or experience, then we have a limited ability to show up for others. And that doesn’t just mean that we’re inept in terms of our first intuitive responses, it means that sometimes all we can think of to be helpful is that if we can just convince someone that their experience isn’t such a big deal, that they can get over it more quickly. Because then we’ll be more comfortable and they will too.
But when we minimize or dismiss another’s emotional experience, we all walk around as these emotionally attenuated human beings who are not reckoning with the real impact, R-E-A-L, that we are reeling from, R-E-E-L. And then we have a very compromised society, and ironically productivity becomes compromised too. So I think we can ask this, then, from an economic angle, besides a moral angle or a spiritual angle, or the social psychology angle. What are the benefits of learning how to show up to our own experience and navigate it, and then what can we take from these different fields of scientific research and spiritual practice that will help us show up for each other? Because we do know that we’re adaptive and adaptable as human beings, and that we can expand our own capacity to feel more, and to appreciate these new grooves that are being carved – by pain, even. Or by recognition of our own vulnerability and interdependence and interconnectedness, and then joy can be used too.
David Levy: One thing I just heard, that relates to an interesting moment that I’m really touched by, is this idea of showing up for yourself first, to be able to show up for others, and it brings me to a moment a couple of years ago, down in Washington D.C. I actually had the joy of hearing Tim Ryan, who is a congressman from Ohio, speak.
Kat Robison: I heard him speak at a conference not too long ago, so.
David Levy: He is truly an amazing person, in the sense that he did that work, in the realm of mindfulness. He engaged, he went on one of the retreats that John Kabat-Zinn does, and he engaged in mindfulness practice that so transformed him, that he said, “this is something we need to transform our nation.” He actually wrote a great book called “Mindful Nation” that is all about bringing mindfulness into schools and into workplaces and into Congress, where they could use some mindfulness.
And the big part of mindfulness is to do just that, to be so present with yourself that you can then be present with others. And I think there’s a powerful piece and a powerful lesson in that, because in his book and in John Kabat-Zinn’s books, they’ll really talk about this idea of mindfulness, which definitely comes out of religious tradition, the idea of meditation and mindfulness and finding yourself, and what our scientific research has told us about mindfulness, in terms of its ability to increase productivity, to increase achievement, and to increase our ability to connect with one another and to build a stronger community, whether it’s the smaller community, local, or the larger community, national, or even the larger community, global. And I’m really touched by this idea of, you know, we really do have to find ourselves first in order to be present for others.
Kat Robison: And there’s even evidence of mindfulness that’s helpful in physical healing, not just emotional and spiritual healing.
David Levy: Well, and that goes back to what David was saying earlier about the emotions and the somatic.
David Bosworth: Yeah, they’re not separable, but a very striking that all the polyvagal theory just in particular, the physiology of emotions. That it’s not like, oh, I have emotions that are just sort of off here, separate from you, but they’re very much viscerally a part of you, literally your viscera, you know, it’s your inside your gut. Part of the challenge, I guess, of developing a sense that one is a social animal or embedded in a community is, do you trust that community, do you trust those people? So most Americans live in a world in which they feel deeply insecure. Part of that is of national security and fear and terrorism, and it’s partly a sense of economic insecurity. You know, your boss is not going to take care of you when things go south, and your government’s not going take care of you when things go south, so the sense of, you’re on your own. And sort of the Lone Ranger, kind of rugged individualist ideology, isn’t just an ideology, it’s a policy, that basically says if you can’t help yourself, screw you.
And people receive that message. They know that they cannot depend on their neighbors, they cannot depend on their government, they can’t depend on their employers, and so it creates this deep sense of insecurity. And they get the analogy, like with weeping, weeping is deeply social, tears are meant to be seen, to signify your helplessness and your need and to elicit support, but people hide their tears from people they don’t trust, which means people hide their tears from the vast majority of people that they know. People are only willing to share their tears with a very small number of people, and it’s striking that that’s how that somebody who you trust but that’s it’s a small number. Because the world writ large is such an inhospitable place in many ways.
Arielle Hanien: I do feel inclined to jump in here in response to what you’re saying, both to agree, and and also to revisit something that you said earlier, because I want to put in a good word for the idea of self-regulation. It’s not an idea actually, that we are self-contained organisms who can regulate all of our own experience. It is part of an understanding of mindfulness, that internal witness and awareness of what’s going on in our physiological system can help regulate biological and physiological processes that are often thrown off by what we don’t recognize is also in our system, which is the very loud messaging from a culture that shames us when we feel bad, and compounds the fear, or grief, or temporary loss of productivity, or disorientation, that accompanies a loss, or an unexpected turn of events in our lives. And so being able to tune back into the original organism, and restore some coherence, is a really important skill. That still doesn’t suggest that the human being or the human organism is independent. Because actually we learn those skills, for quote-unquote “self-regulation”, from good experiences of co-regulation in infancy, from healthy attachment in our development, and often those experiences or skills, and self-regulation, are supported by spiritual practices that have been cultivated by a larger community.
So it’s helpful to remember that even when we think we’re alone in a room sometimes, weeping, that we’re often actually accompanied by a huge, overwhelming burden of messages in popular culture that is saying “there’s something wrong with me, I’m alone in a room” or “there’s something wrong with what I’m experiencing, that’s why I’m alone in the room” or “I’m in danger if my emotions are revealed, and therefore I have to be, against my will, but there’s something that’s compounding my experience from being alone.”
David Bosworth: I think also to be able to remember that in some respects you’re such a deeply social animal, that you’re not alone, whether you think it’s that God is there with you, or the internal representations of all the people in your head that are there, that I thought in terms of the internal voice we have in our heads, and those voices come from outside of our heads. But even non-linguistically, as you said, that we will learn these regulatory skills from the relationships that we have. So those relationships are never quite gone. When children need the physical presence of the parent, the caregiver, to help them regulate, and adults sort of outgrow that need for the immediate physical presence, because we have a more developed intellectual, or something, in our brains where we can represent the person more fully, socially at a point where they don’t need the immediate caregiver right away, because they can go into their heads and find that that regulation. But there’s still that social, it’s still social, even alone, that’s what I’m finding.
Arielle Hanien: Right, that if we go off into a space alone, where we’re not caught up with performative aspects of covering up our authentic experience, we may be able to recover enough in the silence of semi-conscious memories, right, that are telling us, take a deep breath, or, everything is OK in the end, or, we’ll find that we’re able to hold ourselves in a way that contacts a sense of security, we’ll go into a sort of an intuitive mudra or somatic experience that is the containing kind of posture. So you’re right, that even when we are physically alone, there are both negative messages and positive messages that can be there with us and for us.
David Levy: And I think, by way of maybe closure of this conversation, one of the things I’m hearing here is our need, on a societal level, to create the spaces and the culture that allows for that. Going back to, Arielle, what you said earlier, about we talk about maternity leave and paternity leave and sick leave, but do we just talk about… leave? And do we allow in our society the ability for people to take leave, such that they can go within themselves, but also receive others who are coming to be with them, without worrying about, am I being productive, am I connected to the things, am I going to lose out something because I’m taking that moment to engage in the fully human pursuit of reaching a level of wholeness.
Arielle Hanien: And interesting that you bring us back to that point, so that – and I’m grateful, so I can offer a connection. Because I believe that Sheryl Sandberg actually says that one of the helpful things about how her loss was dealt with at Facebook was that she didn’t have to choose to be completely on leave. There were flexible ways in which she was welcomed back, and she could be reflected by colleagues as someone who still had something to contribute, even while she wasn’t able to recognize that she was contributing. So as a culture, I’m not just pushing for more leave as a framework. It would be interesting to think on, back to your original question, how psychology and neuroscience and different spiritual and other cultural traditions, that maybe don’t tout themselves as religious, help us understand how to be flexible, how to let people show up even when they are in grief, and how we can show up for them.
David Levy: Does leave need to be actually leaving – physically leaving, or does leave mean being in place but maybe present in a very different way than you would normally be present?
Kat Robison: I think the question we come to is how do we integrate our emotional experience into our everyday lives? How does grief become part of working and living? How does joy become part of working and living? And how do we become more holistic humans, who experience the full range of what it means to be human, what it means to be a social creature, what it means to be a spiritual person. What does that mean? And so, as we come to the end of our time, I just want to give anyone an opportunity, if they have any last thoughts.
David Bosworth: As in terms of the – well, it’s helpful to know that we have these emotions, and helpful for remember that other people have them too. And that we are so fundamentally social, that we often are inclined to blame other people for choices they made that we did wish they hadn’t made, without realizing they made those choices because of us. Us individually or more collectively. That people are significantly constrained by their social environments, and they do things that we wish they wouldn’t, but oftentimes we are the culprits, you know, we’re the enemy, and we’ll blame people and we’re essentially scapegoating them for our own sins.
Arielle Hanien: I think you opened this up by asking a question about how we can navigate the full range of our emotional experience, even when there is loss, or when there are, let’s say, exhilarating highs that are also hard to confine or contain within our routine everyday lives. And this is ultimately a question that goes back to what David said about the nature of emotion, I think, which is that figuring out how to navigate the exceptions is about figuring out how to navigate exceptional moments within life that are actually part of every human life. And this is about how we give each other the permission to experience being human, and how we support that for ourselves also, individually and as a collective. It’s about being fully human.
Kat Robison: I can’t think of a better place to end this conversation, so I want to say thank you so much, Rabbi Arielle Hanien.
Arielle Hanien: My pleasure Kat, thank you.
Kat Robison: Rabbi David Levy.
David Levy: A joy.
Kat Robison: And Professor David Bosworth.
David Bosworth: Thanks guys, pleasure.
Thank you for listening. This podcast was made possible by the Sinai and Synapses Fellowship and our founding director, Rabbi Geoff Mitelman. Our audio engineer is Kassy Tamaini, and I am your host, Kat Robison. Again, we thank you for joining our conversation, and we hope that you continue this discussion in your own communities.