Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
Several months ago I went to a visioning retreat. There’s many similar
types of things, sponsored by various types of teachers. This one was
non-denominational. It involved group sharing and camping, but the
focus was three days and nights alone, fasting with only honey water.
It was the most powerful thing I have ever done in my life. I was
terrified while I was out alone, not so much by the fear of wild animals
but because I could not run away from the big questions of my life
that I have been avoiding for so long: do I want to stay with my
husband? If he won’t move back to Israel (where we met) am I willing
to go without him? If I don’t move there and stay with him, how can I
get the relationship to change? He’s pretty controlling and as you
might imagine had no idea why I wanted to go on this retreat, gave
me no support before and no respect for having done what I did. That
makes me angry but I love him and am still not sure what to do.
I applaud the lengths you were willing to go to clear your head. You’re
a pretty brave and rare person. Most people would settle for the
comfort of a therapist’s sofa rather than sitting alone for three nights
on a mountaintop. While I don’t doubt the intensity of the experience,
I’ll suggest that you also need the support and week-to- week rational
input that a counselor (personal or marriage) can offer. Especially if
your husband is controlling or disrespectful, you should have a referee
to intervene and make sure that conversations about loaded issues
allow you both to speak your mind and be heard, especially if
relocation or divorce are on the table.
Start by telling your husband what you were meditating on. See if he
can hear how serious you are that your life has to change. Get him to
realize that the woman who went to the mountain is not the same one
who came down from it. Make him take you seriously. If he won’t go
into counseling together, your choices should be much clearer, no
matter which country you call home.