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Moti and Ronit Peleg on Pursuing Your Dreams
Since some of our listening audience may not yet know who you are, would you please tell us a bit about yourself?
We are a happily married couple where destiny plays an important part in our lives. Our personal and professional path, and our trials and tribulations reinforced our belief that every person has the capacity to pursue their dream and become what they are truly meant to be in the world, no matter how difficult their situation. Destiny brought us together after 40 years of living separate, but full lives with no contact and without knowing one another.
I followed a life long dream that I harbored in my heart, to marry the beautiful girl I saw on a magazine cover when I was 17 years old. For 40 years, she was unaware of my existence, but years later we finally met and married shortly after that time. I came from a poor farm in Israel, determined to make a better life for myself. I frequently visualized a more desirable life, to become a psychologist as well as a lover in a soulful relationship. It was destiny that ultimately bonded me with the beauty queen I once desired and various educational opportunities led me to the career I always dreamed about. I moved to New York, armed with the blessings of my Holocaust-surviving parents, who remained in Israel. With hard work and perseverance I received my doctorate, a dream that initially seemed inconceivable to me. As a student, I supported myself by performing onstage as an Israeli singer and songwriter. I married, had 2 children, and opened a private practice in the area of stress and relationships issues. In my first marriage, love and caring existed within our relationship but we struggled with communication, which caused us to drift apart.
I was born in Israel. At the age of 18, I was crowned Miss Israel and second runner-up to Miss Universe. I married an American physician and moved to Beverly Hills, California where I lived for 37 years. Over the years, I was involved with various philanthropic projects and become a Goodwill Ambassador of peace. As a mother of 3 and a grandmother of 8, I lived the life of fame and fortune while always looking for the deeper meaning I felt I was missing. I searched for a different way to communicate. After meeting Dr Zimmerman and Dr McCandless who introduced me to the practice of council (a heart felt communication of speaking and listening without judgment), I realized that my life’s purpose was to share the practice with my people in Israel and the rest of the world. After my husband passed, I returned to Israel and established "Amutat Maagal Hakshava," the Center for Council Training in Israel. My life was transformed, and since my role as a facilitator, mentor and a founder of Council has been my passion. The practice brought meaning to my life as I later introduced this way of communication to my soul mate, Moti. We recognized that before we met we had not been connected to our hearts, living life as "walking dead." We subsequently made the practice an important part of our life, feeling the call to pass on our training as we set our purpose to sparkle a renewed hope in people's relationships.
You are a great success. Because of what you've accomplished and where you are in life, what would you tell others to inspire them today, regardless of where they are in their life?
No matter where you might be in your life do not lose hope. When one door closes, another one opens. Dare to dream and visualize your dreams as vividly as possible. Write them down. No matter how far-fetched your dreams may appear, continue to listen to your intuition and follow it. It might be a long, bumpy and winding road but you can reach your dream while doing the best to enjoy the journey.
Our successes and challenges led to realize our life purpose as individuals, as soul mates and lovers. We learned that intuitive listening to the inner voice, the voice of the relationship and the signs and synchronicities of the universe can unlock the most hidden, most fulfilling expression. We found out that embracing the spirit, the deep knowledge that is in each one of us and increasingly living through kindness and mindfulness, humbleness, compassion and with gratitude, helps us fulfill our destined purpose in life.
We all know that inspiration can change lives. Can you share a personal story of someone who inspired you and made a difference in your life or a defining moment or experience that inspired you or changed your life?
I think about the story of the beautiful princess and the dragon. She was punished for her parents’ sins and doomed to marry a dragon. She fled to the forest where she came across a fairy. She cried as she shared her doomed destiny and asked for help. The fairy told her to wear ten layers of dresses on her wedding night. She instructed her to tell the dragon that with every layer she removed, he must remove a part of his shield. On the night of their marriage she did just that. As she removed her layers, the dragon followed suit. As the last layer came off, he struggled with great pain and physical suffering and transformed into the prince of her dreams.
When I met Moti, I felt he had lots of layers to shed. As we practiced deep listening, I became increasingly humbled and discovered that with every layer Moti shed, I had to shed much more.
His unconditional love for me and his deep, compassionate listening allowed me to feel, to trust and to know it is okay to open up a heart that was shut down, closed for many years.
Both of us continue to communicate openly to each other by sharing trials and tribulations. We communicate the feelings that we encounter and encourage feelings within disagreements, frustrations, insecurities and disappointments to come to the surface .We stay current with emotional honesty. The more we accept one another and address our shadows, the deeper our intimate bond gets. We know it is a life long process with great rewards.
In my heart I am always inspired by a real life story that symbolizes the triumph of life. Though a sad story, it is a story about a selflessness and courageous woman, my Aunt Sara (my mother's sister) who I never met and who died of starvation in the hands of the Nazis in Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. Her younger sister, my Aunt Shoshana who owes her life to Sara, describes her big humanitarian heart and her love for her family whom she tried so desperately to save and protect. Sara, whose health deteriorated under difficult sub-human and dangerous conditions, encouraged my Aunt Shoshana who was only 8 years old to escape from hell to freedom. Listening to her intuition, she orchestrated in what appeared to be the final year of her life, a miracle, instilling hope in the little girl's heart and a belief that it was possible to survive and reach to safety. When the sisters hugged for the last time before sickly Sara pushed Shoshana to run for her life, she asked the girl not to forget to live life fully and to pass a message to my mother (who escaped to Russia earlier). Shoshana's future generation of children and grandchildren would be born in a free world and the importance of preserving the memory of the extended family that was annihilated so senselessly. My Aunt Sara left a legacy that I passed to my children and to the entire surviving family, conveying the inspiring message "dare to live your precious life fully."
You make it look easy, but I'm guessing you've experienced challenges in your life. Can you share with our listeners how that has strengthened you to reach success? In other words, how do you overcome adversity?
Adversity holds great gifts. Once we understand that, it becomes easier for us to prevail and learn to get better in overcoming any inevitable, future predicaments. Like in nature, if we emulate trees in a storm that sway with the force of the wind and gracefully survive the temporary adversity, we too are capable of developing that agility amidst the storms of our lives. We would be better able to deal with feeling powerless, fear, anger and self pity. We learn to become centered and ground ourselves firmly like that tree via meditation, prayer or expressing our fears as we develop calm and fate in our discovery.
There are times we need to develop the courage to stop pushing and surrender gracefully, leaving it to the possibility that it is no longer up to us or our will and believe we will overcome adversity.
Here is a recent example from our life. For over a year I attempted to sell my office building. I put the building on the market during of a bad economy and an extremely tough real estate market. I did everything I could, covering all areas that would help sell the building but to no avail, time passed, causing increased anxiety. After a year and half of no results, I began to loose hope, came home upset and continuously anxious. I shared with Ronit my fears and frustrations. Ronit mirrored to me that it was time to stop pushing because I did everything I could. She told me "let go and let God, "that it was time to surrender. Accepting the situation and letting go was hard, but made me calmer, allowing myself to accept the situation. By surrendering and letting go, I gave destiny a chance to intervene and allowed myself to sway with the storm. The message of empowerment that I gave myself was "I am still a good person and a successful man even if I let go.”Whatever happens happens and I don’t have to fear being a failure or measure my worth based on the situation. A few days after my surrender, a new local broker brought me a cash buyer for my building with the best possible scenario. What can we learn from the story? When you reach a point of adversity after trying excessively, exhausting all possibilities without the ability to go any further, you need to surrender and see what destiny and the divine has in stored for you. The experience made me become more humble; giving me increased faith in something bigger than myself.
We all have ideas on how to improve our lives, whether it is a new job, moving to a new city, or finding love, but change can be a bit scary sometimes. Can you please share an experience with us where you "stepped off the ledge" with only faith, and took a big risk, based only on your belief that you would succeed?
A year after my husband died, I got the courage to move to Israel after 37 years of living in the US, separated from my beloved family and able to bring the practice of Council to my people in Israel. It was scary to take such a chance, but I knew deep in my soul that something greater then I guided and supported me. It kept me steady on this path, trusting and following my intuition.
For me the intuitive decision to come to America from a sheltered farm, a place of belonging, to separate from my parents, family, friends that I loved, was that kind of experience. I dared to dream of a college education and follow my dream by embarking on a professional path to become a psychologist and a healer. That has been one of these experiences of "stepping of the edge."
How can others do what you did?
Every person has within the self the ability to accomplish what they truly are meant to accomplish. The most important tool is to practice listening quietly to your heart and to pay attention to your breathing to center oneself (through meditation and or other form of relaxation exercises). The goal is to clear the noise of our daily thoughts and fears that evoke stress in us. This noise clouds our connectedness to who we are and what we are destined to be or do in this world. We need to be mindful and balance body, mind, spirit, and work, even loving ourselves in our imperfection. Spending time in nature is a must, it brings us in touch with the awesome creation that we are apart of. It’s a life-long process. These positive habits are most valuable and they are building blocks for our life's journey. They help us deal with challenges and obstacles that we encounter along the way. It inevitably helps us deal with the emotional ups and downs of this roller coaster called life.
What process, steps or exercises do you recommend that our listeners could do right now and each morning, to improve the quality of their lives?
I start my day with stretching, meditation. I ask calmly for the magic and the mystery to unveil it in everyone I meet and in everything I do. I give thanks for all my blessings. I live in gratitude for the precious moments and the beauty life has in stored for us- for opposites that make whole; rain shine, laughter, tears, shadow, light, death, birth, good, evil, male, female, old, young, love, hate…. I keep an open heart and an open mind. I love to share and help others. I believe "It is in giving that we receive."
On the one hand, keep in mind the importance of frequently disciplining yourself to invest time in developing your knowledge and expertise in your field. On the other hand we need to find a balance and we don't forget to loosen up, and pamper our body and our soul via meditation, yoga and other relaxation exercises. For example, soothing our body in a hot bath or indulging in a body massage....
What's the greatest joy in your life?
My special children, grandchildren, my soul mate Moti, my work with children, and sitting in council with diverse communities throughout the world. It brings me joy to let my heart open, feel, and listen to my heart, to tune in to how I feel, and being able to express my feeling. A soft caress, smile, laughter, singing, sharing the gift of heartfelt communication and making a difference in people’s life also brings great joy. The bottom line is creating a safe place where hearts can open up and connect.
If you had to wrap up the wisdom of your life to leave as your legacy—call it YOUR BRILLIANCE—what important things that you've learned would you want to pass on to others?
"Love and sweet surrender." Reconnect to nature, to the simple things in life, to find beauty in our restless universe. Don’t sweat the small things. Celebrate life. Love yourself without judgment; embrace the precious soul and divine being you are.
Life is an adventure. Listening, and trusting your inner wisdom and intuition will show you the way.
Being able to have more opportunities to spend time with family and increase the duration of those precious moments together. Give society a part of your valuable time and demonstrate by example your sharing of yourself, of your passion, of your skills, of your gifts.
It brings me joy to inspire readers to live to your fullest...to uplift your spirit when you discover that behind the obstacles and the inevitable challenging shadows there is light and hope. Where your passion lies, your destined dreams can come true. I would like you to see that by humbly accepting yourself as human, and by embracing truth and simplicity in your life, you will acquire the freedom to reach out to the stars, the stars from within.
If you had just one more thing that you could accomplish in your lifetime, what would it be?
Continue to bring peace to people’s hearts and peace among cultures and nations.