Faces of The Metro and The Times

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Do these people look happy and fulfilled or are they looking more vacant, exhausted, and miserable to you?


Is it the Metro? 

Is it Washington, D.C.? 

Is it their work? 

Is it family issues? 

Is it the economy?

Is it health problems?


For a superpower country with supposed incredible wealth, might, and freedom to enjoy it all–what the heck is going on.


Should we blame the politics and fighting? 

Should we blame the fake news optics?

Should we blame our gnawing adversaries (Axis of Evil Russia, Iran, North Korea…)?

Should we blame materialism and consumerism (and a corresponding lack of spirituality and values in our lives)? 


We have the greatest advances in history–revolutionizing energy, transportation, healthcare, communications, and more–so much to advance our well-being, to savor, and seemingly endless more to come. 


Why aren’t people smiling?

Why aren’t people jumping for joy more? 

Why aren’t people even awake with eyes open to enjoy the life’s journey?


There should be great hope in the future–with fruitful life there is hope and with hope there is excitement and joy–but without hope all is meaningless and lost.  


What is going on out there–psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, clergy?


We are trying to do everything right.


So where are we going wrong-wrong-wrong? 😉


(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

Breaking The Bounds Of This World Thinking

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Coming from the Metro, someone stopped me and gave me this card for meditation, and I thought it was really insightful. 

“Changing the human mind to infinite universe mind”

Our minds are constrained by our mortality, materialism, and physical limitations of space and time. 

But if we free ourselves even momentarily from these, we can enter into a sort of limitless universal mindset.


“Human is incomplete because human are living inside human mind world which is one’s lived life and thoughts.”

We are beset by a near endless barrage of life’s fears and worries–like that we can’t fully perceive the metaphysical and spiritual world that is the real and meaningful one for us. 

“One can live forever and [when] he has escaped pain, burden, stress, and the countless kinds of agonies; his old self has disappeared and so it is great freedom.”

Through mindfulness, centered and balanced thinking, we can go above the “false world” and enter the “true world.”


Doesn’t this ring fundamental and true?


What an amazing approach to thinking that we can use elevate ourselves above what we live and see every day. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via Rockville Meditation)

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)

You’re Wealthy Nuts

Wealthy

So Bloomberg Businessweek has a really funny article about all the wealthy people that need to go see shrinks. 

Get this–overall wealthy people are cursed with “Affluenza” (not influenza silly) and have “elevated levels of depression, anxiety, psychosomatic issues (physical symptoms from stress), and self-mutilation.”

Some specific reasons they go for mental health help:

Why Me–A trying issue to deal with is their guilt feelings about being so darn rich, while others are starving, homeless, and can’t make ends meet. 

Feeling A Little Lonely (And Hated)–They can’t help thinking that perhaps people only like them for their money.

Aimless In Life–What’s the purpose of their lives if they are living on easy street, don’t have to work, and can buy their way out of trouble. 

Money To Mess You Up–Some people have so much money, they can squander it on bad investments, but also on alcohol, drugs, sex, and so on.  

Fear Of Losing It All–Terrible thing about having so much money is you have to worry about losing so much money.  

So next time you are thinking about protesting against the top .1% who have as much as the bottom 90%, have a heart because the wealthy have a lot of problems too. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Chris Goldberg)

Forcing Kids Backfires Big Time

Kids

Fascinating article in the Sunday New York Times today on how the stress we are putting on our kids is making them sick. 


With testing of High school students showing incredibly alarming rates of mental illness:


– 54% with moderate to severe depression.


– 80%+ with moderate to severe anxiety.


And 94% of college counseling directors “seeing rising numbers of students with severe psychological problems.”


Even pediatricians are reporting 5-, 6-, and 7-year olds coming in for migraines and ulcers!


Another teacher said with all this, “We’re sitting on a ticking time bomb.”


Under the pressure to get into great schools and get a foot in the door in excellent careers and attain high-paying jobs, we are making our kids work longer school days, do more homework, take more Advanced Placement (AP) exams, participate in numerous extracurricular activities, and achieve, achieve, achieve. 


We’ve taken away normal play time–the fun out of life growing up–and the imagination, exploration, and discovery away from kids just being kids. 


The paradox is that “the pressure cooker is hurting, not helping, our kid’s prospect for success.”


Especially for parents who themselves grew up poor or lacking, maybe they are trying to do the “right thing”and give their kids more than they had and a “better life.”


But maybe even the best intentions to mold children to be what we want them to be, or think they should or could be, is misplaced.

 

If only we could all take a little (or BIG) chill pill…you can’t force success–with forcing you get the opposite results.


Back off people–instead of pushing and endless disciplining–how about we listen to the children, guide them, show unconditional love, and be excellent examples–show them integrity, a strong work ethic, along with an appreciation for work-life balance, then perhaps we will get not only the success of the next generation that we all need, but also happier, better adjusted, and healthier children. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Fearless = Reckless

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I took this photo in the Metro in Washington, D.C. 


It says, “Be Fearless.”


Why?


No, it doesn’t pay to be wholly fearful–and paralyzed by anxiety or indecision. 


But it is stupid to be fearless–because being fearless is being reckless. 


It’s good to think about possibilities and consequences–not everything that can go right will and more often then not, as Murphy’s Law teaches, whatever can go wrong often does.


Better to think about what can happen–both good and bad–how to manage the risks and how to maximize the rewards.


Have fear of heaven and of bad things–and try to make them better, where you can. 


Fearless is for those who want to be stupid, act reckless, and end up mortally wounded or prematurely dead. 


Fearsome is for those who want to confront their fears head on, manage them wisely, and make the most of the opportunities in a risk-reward managed way. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Insomnia Hurts Like Hell

Insomnia

Insomnia is a horrible ailment that many people suffer with and they do this in the dark and in silence. 


Because when the rest of the world is sleeping, you are lying in bed like a log awake–and not sure how you going to get to sleep or stay awake the next day.


What follows are sleepless nights, sometimes groggy days, and anxiety about even going to bed at night. 


How do I know this?


I’ve been battling insomnia since my hip’s deteriorated painfully, and I had a number of hip replacement surgeries, and a lengthy recovery process, including lots of swimming. 


Despite melatonin, warm baths, and even some sleeping meds, my nights were filled with plenty of staring at the ceiling alternating with tossing and turning in bed. 


I was almost at the point of giving up hope on being able to sleep normally again, and then something occurred to me. 


Stop the meds and just pray!


Over a few days I weaned off the sleep meds, and was feeling really crappy and headachy. 


But the real difference was when I got into bed, I remembered and recited the prayers of my youth from before bedtime. 


And I added for G-d to please help me sleep normally again.


The very first night…I slept perfectly!


Now, it’s been three nights in a row–in Judaism, we call that a chazakah (something that is established). 


I am so grateful to G-d for returning me to restful sleep-filled nights–thank you Hashem!


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Doggie On Nervous Lookout

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So this dog is outside Starbucks.



And looking anxiously for its owner. 



The problem is the lady is inside the store and the dog doesn’t see her behind the glass window. 



Lady says to us, “Bang on the glass…so he’ll know where I am.”



We “obediently” bang, but the dog is still looking off down the block.



Lady is getting her coffee, dog is NER-VOUS jumping up and off the chair armrest to get a better look. 



Nope lady is not there.



An occasional bark, but no answer.  



Hope the dog doesn’t pee the seat. 😉



(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal–she had the better angle)

Big Data, Small Moments

Days Of Our Lives

There is a definite rhythm to our lives. 

And by analyzing the peak times of Google search terms, we can get a good picture of what it is (as Seth Stephens-Davidowitz notes in the New York Times Sunday Review).

– From starting a new day to taking care of bathroom business, looking for healing, and even goofing off. 

– Midday is some personal time for shopping, travel plans, and a news update. 

– The evening is a nice dinner and maybe some sexual intimacy.

– The night time is scariest with anxiety about health, leading to panic and thoughts of suicide, and easing off with drugs and pornography. 

– As we roll towards the early hours of the next day, we have a philosophical reawakening with contemplation about the meaning of life and our place in it. 

If we can get all this just from some data analytics of Google search terms, can you imagine what else we can learn about the masses and YOU, the individuals that make it up. 😉

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Can You Just Stop And Think?

Think

So oddly, one thing that many people these days find really hard to do is STOP AND THINK.


What do I mean?


Be alone, do nothing, and just take the time to be with yourself and think.


–without your smartphone, television, music, game, or even a book. 


Just you, the four walls, and your brain…thinking, thinking, thinking.


Feeling a little jittery, scared yet. 


Why are people afraid to stop and think? 


Is it because within the thinking is some craziness, fear, anxiety, and even remorse?


Are there overwhelming feelings and thoughts about issues, events, people, and places that are unresolved and painful. 


Also, by ourselves and in our thoughts, we can realize how weak, vulnerable, and mortal we are. 


If we are here in our own heads, maybe no one will even notice we are gone or maybe no one will even miss us–maybe they’ll replace us?


We’re so easily ditched, replaceable, just another character in a long cast of characters.


When we stop and think, do we worry about all the other things we’re not doing or getting done…perhaps, we don’t have the time to think, because we need to be doing, doing, doing. 


And if we’re not moving forward doing something, then we are being left behind!


But doesn’t thinking lead to more purposeful doing?


A little upfront thinking and planning, maybe can save you some serious time wasted just acting out. 


Somehow, like a prisoner in isolation though too much alone time with your own thoughts is enough to drive anyone crazy, docile, and ready to behave just to get out, interact with other human beings, and doing something.


We need to stay active, not be bored, so we don’t think too much.


When I was in the hospital recently, one orderly named Kelvin, saw me sitting there by myself thinking, and he said to me, “Oh no, you don’t want to have too much time to think. Block those thoughts out of your mind. Why don’t you watch some TV?”  


Smart Kelvin. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)