The Key Is Calm

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So what happens to most of us when we experience the stresses, disappointments, and conflicts in life?


We feel…


– Angst


– Anger


– Upset


– Frustrated


– Murderous at times


We even question, “Why me?”


But none of this helps.


In fact, it just makes things worse.


Because we compound our life challenges with more problems in how we react!


What should we do instead?


The key is to remain calm, cool, collected, and composed. 


Don’t get rattled, disjointed, and out of whack over anything or anybody. 


These are all tests in life.


They are all fleeting. 


G-d is watching us and seeing if we have faith in him.


When you remember the creator and sustainer of all life then you can rise above the adversity before you.


Go beyond the superficial.


Experience the world beyond the earthly bounds of time and space. 


See the larger picture.


Breath deeply…a sigh of relief. 


There is nothing to be upset about that G-d can’t make right for you. 


Face the challenges with a clear head, a brave heart, and follow your conscience.


Act with determination to speak out and right the wrongs you encounter. 


Remember, you are one with G-d and the universe, and all will be for the good. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Bull In A China Shop

Bull.jpegGirls Faces Bull.jpeg

For some reason everyone wants to face down the bull in the China Shop or on Wall Street. 


The bull is stubborn and when it gets angry, it charges and gores. 


So how heroic for the statue of little girl (below on International Women’s Day) to be shown standing in front of him defiantly and not afraid. 


The truth probably is that we are all afraid in life. 


No one wants to get hurt or worse. 


The consequences of something really bad happening can be devastating loss–limb, body, mobility, property or even total person. 


And actually, the more we have in life, the more we have to (potentially) G-d forbid, lose. 


So when you have a spouse, children, a beautiful home, and a good job, that’s when you get really, really afraid. 


Losing your precious loved ones and everything you’ve built with G-d’s blessing and help can instantaneously be gone in the blink of an eye. 


Therefore, be careful before standing in front of a raging bull, you never know when you’ll get walloped and bad. 


Bravery in the face of danger is noble and praiseworthy when doing true good and confronting evil, but just to be a big mouth or a know-it-all or to strut your stuff, you better forget about it–you’ve got a lot to lose and it doesn’t take much for that bull to charge head on and do you a real big dirty! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal and here with attribution to AP)

Polarized and Not Going To Take It Anymore

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So they say about Washington politics, “if you’re not on offense, then you’re on defense.”


In the polarized mood of the nation, this has never been more true. 


The alt-left and alt-right are stronger than ever and pointing fingers and fists at one another. 


Each side, the ultra -liberals and -conservatives are duking it out over who is is going on the offensive today.


Only to be outmaneuvered the very next day and be placed back on the defensive. 


Who communicated with the Russians today?


Who used their private email today?


Who committed perjury and lied under oath today?


Who was offensive and even violent at rallies and protests today? 


And on and on…


You’re either on offense or your stuck on defense!


And the more polarized and hateful of each other this nation has become, including in the media, the more the outrageous the accusations and the more alternate facts and fake news. 


But what I learned today is that this doesn’t just apply to politics.


Religion is another prime source for discrimination and hate of your fellow man. 


I remember learning that over history, more people have died in wars in the name of religion than for any other reason.


So too today, the “crazy-hard line” ultra religious and the “throw-it-all away” irreligious are just as polarized. 


The religious mock the irreligious as self-haters and atheists and the irreligious make fun of the rightwing religious as abusive and robotic.


Moreover, any disagreement results in insults and loathing over who is morally superior.


Of course, everyone cites sources and authorities to show why their position is the correct one and everyone else is wrong about religion and G-d. 


Attack, defend, attack, defend. 


No wonder nothing is getting constructively done.


No wonder children are confused. 


No wonder those around us laugh at our seeming inability to come together, all as G-d’s wonderful creatures. 


Who will be on the attack today and who will be on defense. 


If only we could have a panini instead of all this anger, hate, extremism, and rejectionist bias toward our fellow man. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Compassion Instead Of Anger

Compassion and Anger

So I was speaking to someone recently about how angry they were with some stressful things and people in their life. 


I listened carefully and tried to empathize–also in full transparency, it got to be a lot and I at some point was begging them to stop!


At one point, I just said, instead of being angry maybe try to be compassionate. 


And I could see in other person’s reaction that they thought perhaps that I had hit on something a little eye-opening here. 


We can get angry about all the stresses and injustices that we perceive in our lives. 


People blame us, attack us, don’t appreciate us, talk down to us, disrespect us, even bully us or try to hurt us.


Also life throws some pretty stinging to earth-shattering circumstances upon us.


And maybe we have every right to feel angry.


But usually the anger, unless we need the adrenaline-rush in fighting for our survival and for our core beliefs and values, doesn’t help us achieve what we really want. 


What we want most of the time is to resolve things!


But getting angry and lashing out often only makes things worse. 


We act rashly, we overreact, we say and do things we may regret afterwards, and the consequences of our reaction can be severe to us afterwards in terms of alienating and harming others, escalating the situation and making it worse, creating hurt and destruction in our own wake, and even losing jobs or getting yourself in trouble and sent to the pokey.


If instead of getting angry and flinging arrows, we look at things from eyes of compassion, we can listen to others more carefully, understand the situation better, and try to rectify bad relationships or cope with stressful life events by employing emotional intelligence and a soft hand/skills. 


This is not to say that we should excuse really bad behavior or truly unforgivable misdeeds, but rather that we should look at things in a larger context, the role we play, and as part of our our life challenges to make things better and overcome.


Anger and the associated response is appropriate when the little devil is doing their misdeeds (lashing out severely and/or repeatedly with harm and intent), but compassion can help to see everything else for what it is or isn’t and gives us an opportunity to react with a level head, a stable hand, and humanity as a first resort. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Why Yell And Intimidate The Child?

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So at the table next to us this morning at breakfast was a mean looking lady and a fidgety young child. 

The lady as we found out over the course of their dialogue was the child’s grandmother. 

And she wouldn’t stop berating this kid, maybe 5-years old. 

Grandmother: “Don’t you dare get up from the table until I’m done with my coffee, [and then this weird chilling] thank you.”

Child: Obviously looking to run around and have some fun, “But I just want to go.”

Grandmother:  Who has finished her breakfast and coffee and is just making a continuing point, “You’ll wait until I’m done, and I say we’re ready, [and again, the long controlling pause and then] thank you.”

Child: “I’m tired.”

Grandmother: “Then you’ll go upstairs, get back into bed and go to sleep, and no tv, just sleep–you will not move!”

Child: Looks up helplessly sad.

Grandmother: Now the truth starts to come out, “You know I don’t like the way you treat you mother. Your disrespectful! And that won’t go with me.”

Child: Appears to not really understand what she is saying and legs dangle anxiously off the chair, but clearly very afraid to get up.

Grandmother: “You’ll learn to be respectful to your mother. You will learn!”

Child: Head leaning sideways on table, says nothing. 

Grandmother: Makes child wait some more and more, and finally, “Now we can go.”

Child: Child picks head up and runs to take her hand. 

Grandmother: Sneers and smirks with her power over the child–she looks like a freakin’ witch. 

Whole scene was sort of heartbreaking. 

My wife and I look at each other, and shake our heads.

This was not teaching or loving, but something else and it wasn’t normal or nice. 

I say, “Perhaps, when a child is abused this way–day after day, year after year–this is why they grow up and then do horrible and hateful things.”

It’s amazing how adults take out their issues on children–and they think it’s legit–but deep down you can see it really isn’t–and the children and society pays for the sins of the adults. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

What’s Your Vice?

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So no one is perfect.


And no matter how outwardly pious the person, everyone inwardly has some hidden (or not so) vice or excess that they must learn to tame.


Here’s a top 23 list:


Substance Abuse

1) Cigarettes

2) Alcohol

3) Drugs


Greed

4) Food

5) Money (e.g. gambling, hoarding)

6) Materialism (e.g. homes, cars, boats, planes, jewels, clothes, etc.)


Obsessive Compulsive

7) Work

8) Sex

9) Popularity (e.g. talking, partying)

10) Religion 

11) Sport

12) Control


Anger

13) Violence

14) Abuse (e.g. verbal, emotional, physical)

15) Rape 


Callous

16) Indifference

17) Tardiness

18) Laziness


Egotistical

19) Selfish

20) Boastful


Crooked

21) Lying

22) Cheating

23) Stealing


Think about the people you know–love ’em or hate ’em–and is there anyone that doesn’t have one of these to some extent or another?


And for those of you wondering, my vice is, of course, pizza! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Heaven To Look Forward To

Heaven To Look Forward To

Took the family today to see the movie Heaven Is Real.

We were all crying like babies, including me.

Loved it!

When the boy has a near-death experience (NDE) and sees heaven, he comes back with stories about it being like here but more beautiful, where everyone is young, and relatives long gone hug him.

In heaven, there is no hate or fear–only love.

It was eye-opening, when his father, a pastor, goes to the hospital to say the last prayers with a dying man and the pastor asks, “Do you have any regrets?” and the old man answers, “I regret everything!”

While living for our selfish satisfaction and fun may be great for a moment’s high, it is certainly not a life of meaning and purpose–and will not open the gates of heaven to us.

That life is hard is portrayed in the movie–with loss, physical hurt, and financial hardships.

But when these are viewed in the bigger picture as tests in life for us to overcome in order to merit a heaven that awaits us–perhaps this gives us some added perspective.

In the movie, as in real life, there are those who are angry at others and G-d for what they lost, and it is our challenge to replace that anger with understanding, forgiveness, and love of each other and the Almighty.

Regretting everything is tragic, but probably not that unrealistic for many of us…particularly in a world where we constantly strive for our individualized versions of perfection.

In the end, I think our failures weigh on us and it’s challenging to see past them to appreciate our successes as well–in whatever measure we’ve achieved them.

Let’s face it, it is not easy to maintain 100% purity of heart amidst a world of lust, envy, and sin–but that should not take away from us constantly trying.

Heaven awaits–even the imperfect. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)