Jason Blau’s world had come crashing down. Losing his job and ending his marriage were just some of the troubles he was facing. “I felt like it was the result of the high levels of stress and anxiety in my life and the way in which I was reacting and responding to it,” he explained.
In search of a healthy coping mechanism he discovered the practice of meditation. “I quickly fell in love with this idea of stillness and silence—sort of the opposite of reacting and responding to the stimuli—the things that were happening in and around my life.”
Inspired by his newfound passion, he had opened the first and only guided meditation studio in Philadelphia, providing a place where people could learn to tune into their body and their breath, become more present in the moment, and alleviate stress and anxiety while feeling supported without judgment by people in the community.
Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, he was forced to shutter his studio in 2019 and subsequently became an adjunct to a traditional therapy practice helping clients achieve mindfulness.
During COVID he was invited to join a Zoom call as a facilitator for a group called Broken Ties. Broken Ties is an organization for frum Jews that provides support groups and community services for families experiencing parental alienation or family estrangement, as it is sometimes called. Parental alienation is a term used to describe a situation where an adult child no longer has contact or communicates with their parents.
“After giving some tools and techniques and showing them different ways of thinking about their situation, I started to get calls from people who were part of that group asking me to work with them and coach them individually.”
Before long Blau crafted a program where he coached people one-on-one to help them navigate relationship issues by giving them the right tools to overcome their challenges. “Coaching is all about how to change things, move forward and put yourself in a position for success,” he said. “I was so passionate about this process and empowering people because it helped me and I knew what it was like to feel so stressed and anxious about what is happening in one’s life.”
Although raised Conservative, through this journey Blau soon discovered what it meant to be observant and began his own path to “frumkeit,” as he calls it, around two and a half years ago, “The journey through all of this was predicated upon me helping others, which in return helped me and my daughter,” he said.
“It’s been rewarding over the last couple of years to watch hundreds of people who have used their situation in life the same way I used mine … to really shift and change themselves to recreate the essence of who they want to be.”
These days Blau offers his clients The Mindset Shift Blueprint, a six-step process, followed by The Bridge. He deeply believes that everything is created in the mind first. “How we think about something is how we speak about it, and is usually indicative of how we show up or take action in the world.” So he aims to help people shift the way they think, reduce their negative self-talk, stop the self-limiting beliefs, help people get clear and specific about their desires, focus their attention and show them how to become truly conscious and aware for the purpose of real growth, real self-improvement.
The first step in the Blueprint is about pausing and utilizing breathing exercises and mindfulness techniques and gaining a sense of calm.
Step two is about becoming present and learning to stop the mind from being triggered by past memories or trauma. By retraining the mind, one can refocus on what is actually happening in the moment. “It does not immediately change what is happening in your life but it does give you a different starting position.”
The third step deals with perspective and “learning about what lens you are looking through and how it colors what you see.” That lens, Blau said, also helps identify what a person does not want in their life.
In step four a person learns to become clear and specific about what they want. Once that happens can they truly begin to move towards it.
Taking action that aligns with where a person wants to go is the fifth step. Most people want to go in one direction but their prior actions tell them something different because they are unaware and react with old patterns. A person must interrupt those patterns and deliberately and intentionally take action.
Identifying and overcoming fear is the final step. Fear blocks a person from moving forward. But instead of pushing it down or setting it aside, it’s essential to get to the root of it and then work hard towards overcoming it so that it doesn’t keep you stuck with where you are. “When you reduce fear, what actually gets built up is confidence. It’s an inverse relationship.”
The Bridge is about being able to use this process to help empower others, whether that is your child, your spouse, your co-worker or others. In order to achieve this, boundaries must be created ensuring a person feels safe and secure as they go and engage with others.
The final phase deals with validation techniques “which means asking the right types of questions for the purpose of understanding other people’s perspectives, understanding what other people mean by what they say instead of making assumptions and acquiring other pieces of information that allow you to give people what they need. It’s the true definition of leadership—helping others get what they want and you get what you want.”