Clear As Mud


Gratitude is a word we hear often. It’s a concept we all believe in and strive to make a part of our lives. When I was asked to write an article about gratitude, immediately my brain started racing and I was like “oh wow, ok”. What can I add, that is valuable to a topic that we talk of so much. The last thing I would want is for you, the reader, to roll your eyes as you read this and think like “well, that was a waste of time” :). All this is to say that I took this assignment very seriously; it’s been occupying my mind for weeks. I even engaged you on Instagram for some of your insight. 

One of the questions I asked was, “What stops you from being able to feel grateful?”

I’m going to share some of the responses I got:









not being present



daily grind

can’t be forced or expected

Many of you who participated in my poll shared that they felt capable of tapping into gratitude a lot of the time, but these were the feelings or the state of mind you were in when you found yourself stuck and incapable of gratitude. 

And boy, do I relate. 

These responses are what inspired the direction in which I want to take this article. 

If you’re anything like me, I find it hard to force upon myself that feeling of gratitude, when that’s not how I’m feeling at that moment on the inside. I also know that our mindset and the messages we send ourselves create the emotional/psychological reality that we are in. The personal journey that I’ve been on has allowed me to contemplate the possibility of bridging the gap. How do I authentically create a mindset that, by osmosis, affects the way I navigate life and the feelings I feel. The point isn’t to distract us from the areas of life that are causing us the pain. Usually when we are experiencing discomfort, discontent, or disappointment, it’s because we have a dream that hasn’t actualized yet. 

Your dream is worth pursuing! Gratitude is not about settling for less than, rather it’s about connecting to your dreams as they exist in the present, not just about their full actualization which will G-d willing happen in the future. 

Too many times, we stop ourselves from fully enjoying life as it is in the present. 

For example:

I’ll only buy myself a new outfit after a loose 10 pounds

I’d feel like a good parent when I can stay calm in stressful situations

I’d feel happy in my marriage if we didn’t argue all the time 

What if there was a way to access the contentment or happiness in the present, while we are on the journey to the promised land of our optimistic dreams. 

Something like:

Feeling confident in today’s body

Feeling connected to our children as we grow and repair past wounds

Enjoying your marriage even amid unresolved issues 

Gratitude can help us widen the camera lens so that we can zoom out and see more context. Same picture, same dream, different perspective.

Before Pesach my husband purchased a book called “You can heal your life” By Louise Hay. This kind of book is right up my alley, and I found myself reading it when my husband wasn’t. It has been having a really big impact on me. I find myself thinking about it all the time. My husband and I are also having many interesting and deep conversations around it. I want to share with you some of the concepts that have really impacted me. We will only be touching the surface, so if what I’m saying here resonates, I really encourage you to get a copy!

Here is where I’m going with this. I feel like one of the ways we can reach authentic and genuine gratitude is if we start to heal ourselves. Of course, it’s not the only way, but it’s the way that makes the most sense to me. Louise Hay has a perspective on how to do this; it’s simultaneously challenging and straightforwardly simple. 

Some of her philosophies are:

Every thought we think is creating our future

The point of power is always in the present moment

Everyone suffers from self-hatred and guilt

It’s only a thought and a thought can be changed

Resentment, criticism, and guilt are the most damaging patterns 

We must be willing to begin to learn to love ourselves

When we really love ourselves everything on our life works

Each one of these philosophies is so powerful and we can spend days talking about each one! You know what else, I think it must resonate with me because all of these come straight from Tanya. She might not know it 🙂 but this is very much Chassidic philosophy 101. 

Life is really very simple, what we give out, is what we get back. What we think about ourselves becomes the truth for us. What we think about our life, children, marriage, or job, becomes the truth. Most of us have foolish ideas about who we are, and many many rigid rules about how life should be lived. This idea is not to put us down. I truly believe we are all doing the best we can with the tools and information we have, and if you know me you will hear me say this often. But if we started to know better, had more understanding and awareness, we could do better or differently. 

Almost everyone struggles with thoughts of “I’m not good enough”. Resentment, fear, guilt, and criticism cause more problems for our health than anything else.  There is so much to say about this, and this takes a lot of work to internalize, but if we approve of ourselves exactly as we are, everything in life starts to work out. This is a big statement and I have been wrestling with it, almost not wanting it to be true. Reflecting on it honestly makes it hard for me to deny.

Love is the miracle cure, loving ourselves works miracles in our lives.

Love is appreciation to such a degree that when properly contemplated, can fill your heart till it overflows and bursts with joy. 

Love can go in any direction; you can feel love for (as Louisa says in her book) 

The very process of life itself

The joy of being alive

The beauty you see

Another person


The Process if your mind 

Our bodies!

Please add to this list!

Do you see where I’m going with this. I am pretty sure this leads us on a direct path to gratitude.

Lately I have been into the world of affirmations, I’ve dabbled before, but it’s resonating with me more now than ever before.  I have introduced it to the kids as well and they are soaking it up. I have been saying them with Chana Laya before bed and she just lights up.

Depending on your goal and what you’re struggling with, will determine what affirmation will resonate, but a good one to start with is:

I love and accept myself exactly as I am.

Say it into the mirror multiple times each day. 

In This book she shares specific affirmations for particular struggles, but it always boils down to self-love! 

I hope this inspires you to go down the path of self-love, gratitude and embracing the power of your mindset. 


Love your biggest cheerleader, 


P.S. Besides for the book I want to share with you 2 additional resources that I find very helpful. 

Gratitude Journal From Mathias J Barker, it’s the best gratitude journal I have seen. Some of the concepts in this article I learned from him.

Citrine and Sage creates amazing essential oil blends.  Each blend comes with a set of affirmations. We use them every day in our home. You can find her in Instagram, and she sells her blends in Etsy.


Noah has cooked in a variety of kitchens and has studied many different cuisines, but his favorite meals to prepare are the ones that make his guests smile. Be it Thai, Italian, Caribbean or Latin, there is always a fun surprise waiting for you at meal time. Noah welcomes special requests and guests in his kitchen! Just stop by and say hi.

Yocheved Sidof is a social entrepreneur, psycho-mystical depth work facilitator, writer, educator, speaker, and activist. After a decade as a filmmaker and photographer, she founded Lamplighters Yeshivah, a grassroots, internationally acclaimed, progressive Chassidic Montessori school. Yocheved builds communities with healing at the center. Most recently, she founded Ohm’ek, an intentional collective focusing on meditation, embodied mysticism, and micro-retreats.

A lifelong learner, she’s completed extensive training in adaptive leadership, therapeutic coaching, and systemic change. She is currently in a two-year intensive training with Thomas Hubl, studying psycho-somatic-mystical models of healing personal, collective, and ancestral trauma. She also writes, consults, works 1:1 with clients, facilitates group transformational work, and regularly teaches Jewish spiritual studies.

Yocheved sits on boards supporting innovations in mental health awareness and self-transformation. She has studied Jewish mysticism and meditation extensively, including with Rav Katz since 2018, completing Elevation Teacher Training and sitting on his advisory board for over a year.

Yocheved, her husband, and five children live in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Come say “Hi!” if you’re in the neighborhood.