The Anxiety Filter

What a brilliant picture of “Anxiety” by a child in Montgomery County, Maryland. 


Notice the great big letters–and all in caps–for what ANXIETY feels like. 


Anxiety is black–it’s when we are in a dark foreboding place and we can’t find our way out–it holds us back from doing what we need and like to do. 


Anxiety feels so all-enveloping and ginormous–it dwarfs us in the “I”–and we feel so small and are paralyzed, incapable of freeing ourselves from it. 


Anxiety is a cognitive and emotional bias where we see things in black and white–everything is to the extreme–and there are no greys; we tend to talk in all or nothing and our actions may mimic our extreme feelings. 


Around the anxiety, we are bordering in blood red–we are in a dangerous place–where our feelings of fear, inadequacy, and being incapable of overcoming it can lead us to do something desperate and final. 


When we are drowning in anxiety, it is like a lens or filter that clouds our vision and thinking, so we can make bad decisions, not make any decisions, or just procrastinate in order to avoid the issue and thing we are afraid of. 


We have to fight off the octopus grip of anxiety.


We have to find our courage within and from G-d.


We have to conquer our demons so we can meet our destiny head-on. 


We have a mission to fulfill in our life, and we can’t let anything get in the way. 


Fate is waiting for us to make our important contribution, so then we can be gathered to our fathers and rest in final peace. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Suicide Back To Go

So I spoke to someone who tried to commit suicide.


This is what they told me:


“When you try to commit suicide, there is no light; there is no Heaven; there is only darkness.”


Basically, even though they were desperate and tried to kill themselves, their experience was not one of finding relief, but rather of going to Hell!


So while I really don’t know anything, this is what I imagine happens when you try to commit suicide. 


Yes, there is no light–there is only darkness. 


Yes, there is no Heaven.


But I don’t believe you go to Hell for being desperate, depressed, alone, and feeling like you have no other way out. 


Instead, what I believe is that you “Go back to GO and you do not collect $200.”


In other words, you have to start the Game of Life all over again. 


Since you didn’t complete your tests, trials, challenges, and mission…you go back to the beginning. 


You have to relive your life and go through it all over again. 


Who is to say, whether it is a better life or not. 


Presumably, whatever lessons you were supposed to learn the first time around, you still have to complete those lessons. 


So I would think you have to relive a lot of the same. 


I don’t know about you, but one of the things I hate worst when things go wrong is to have to go back and redo what I’ve already done. 


It seems so fruitless, such a waste of time and effort. 


How is that for frustrating–working just to redo what you already did. 


Perhaps that is quite the measured “punishment” for those who end their life prematurely–before G-d says it’s time. 


While we frequently say things about wishing to be young again or do it all over again–I think rarely does someone mean having to go thru the same pain points again. 


I assume it’s nice to live again, but it’s got to be a value-add life–not just a do-over!


So in my mind, while someone on the edge may not have a real choice in what they are doing and in making a decision to take their life–it’s probably not a purely rational moment in time–I do think that in so taking their life, they are not doing themselves any favors in the end. 


Because, suicide isn’t game over, but rather the game begins all over–from the beginning again. 😉


(Note: I am not talking about assisted suicide here for someone who is at the end of life and in absolute pain and suffering and it is truly time to go–I am sure that is perfectly okay). 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

STOP Human Trafficking

So we watched the movie “Sold.”


It was about this young Nepalese girl (maybe age 12) who was sold into a horrible brothel in Kolkata, India.


She fought to keep from getting raped, but eventually they drugged her and tied her hands to the bedpost–where the evil bastards had their way with this child. 


She and the other young girls in the brothel were raped about 10 times every evening to “repay their debts.”


The horror these children go through taken, beaten, drugged, and raped over and over again. 


It’s unthinkable and the lowest grotesqueness of people who could possibly treat children this way. 


Finally, the young girl does manage to escape to Hope House (a rescue shelter for the human trafficking victims) and with the information she provides, the police are able to raid the brothel and rescue the other children. 


The movie tells how their are 5.5 million children around the world that are being sex trafficked–and I would presume that the real number is unfortunately much higher!


I can only imagine how G-d must cry heavenly tears for these poor children.


It is incredibly hard to understand that in some areas of the world poverty is so bad that some desperate families actually feel they have to resort to selling their children to survive.


In other cases, the children are preyed on and simply disappear.


Children who should be playing with toys are instead forced to be sexual play things. 


Innocent children who should be treated with love and care are instead treated as animals for the sick and cruel physical pleasures of others. 


Have mercy on these children—save these children from wherever they are bound and held–give them back their freedom and their dignity. 


If ever there was a cause for people to rally around–surely, saving these children from sexual abuse and trafficking is one that all can agree is at the crux of our very humanity and mankind’s soul. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

It’s Not (Always) Easy

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Sometimes, we see people–especially on social media these days–and they look “all that!”–so happy, so loved, so rich, so with everything–so it seems (superficially). 


But there is definitely another reality out there, and that is that everyone has problems:


– Family

– Health

– Finances

– Work

– School

– Conflict

– Spiritual


Like Helen Keller said: 

“I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”


I remember as a child, if I felt sad about something, my dad at times would remind me about the children in the hospital, and to think about how we can help others less fortunate–and he was right!


What I see in life is a lot of people trying, but also so many challenges, failures, and suffering along the way…unfortunately, it’s part of the learning and growth equation, and in why we’re here. 


In college, I always remember one (English) professor who taught me from Henry David Thoreau:

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.”


Sometimes, in our solitude or when we speak quietly from our heart with our closest loved ones, we feel and express some of those deep feelings of hurt, pain, and suffering from our lives.  


Those experiences, memories, and feelings are not all that there is of us, but it is certainly a part of all of us–although maybe only the brave will admit theirs.


It’s not shameful to feel, to cry, and to be human. 


It’s certainly not what Facebook and Twitter are all about. 


But it’s a genuine and critical part of us which recognizes as my dad also taught me that–life is not easy–and that we have to fight every day to do our best and to help others to do theirs. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Locked Inside Your Own Body

Decaying Body.jpeg

So being imprisoned in torturously tight spaces and uncomfortable positions is…physically, mentally, and emotionally harrowing. 


Of course, the criminal justice system centers around incarceration (and less so rehabilitation) and for most of history–from chains, cages, and dungeons–the most vile despots have placed people’s bodies in desperate restraints. 


But I have learned that people can be not only physically incarcerated and shackled, but they can also literally be imprisoned within their own bodies. 


My own dear mother suffered terribly with Parkinson’s Disease and I watched helplessly and in horror as the degenerative rigidity, contortion, and incredibly horrendous pain made her suffer so. No amount of pain medication could ease her unbelievable suffering…only death itself.


In another instance, a colleague’s spouse got sick with ALS and as this horrible disease ran it’s course, the person could not move, eat, speak, and eventually even breath on their own.  Their mind worked fine, but it was imprisoned within a body that continuously closed in on itself and could no longer function. 


In both these cases, the body itself was the prison of the mind and soul–no bars, no barbed wire, and no high walls necessary. 


Another case, I read and watched about his week, was of a husband and father who suddenly became a quadriplegic.  Kevin Breen was a healthy and active 44-year old, when suddenly he came down with a case of strep throat that traveled to his stomach and almost ended up killing him. He survived, but had to have his hands and feet amputated. Can you imagine the absolute horror of this?


There are so many good things that can happen in life, but also so many, G-d forbid, misfortunes–it is frightening to think about let alone confront. 


Locked up or imprisoned within our own failing bodies, leave mankind looking out into the darkest and deepest of the abyss, and that is when we need G-d’s ultimate mercy and to answer us more than ever.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Continued Softening Of Microsoft

Microsoft.JPEG

Microsoft should not be acting old and grey.

Yet they are throwing away another $26.2 billion dollars in purchasing the relative revenue and profit weakling, LinkedIn, the professional networking social media site (where odds are you have your high-level resume-type information).

Have you ever paid a dime to LinkedIn or have you ever paid attention to  single advertisement on LinkedIn (I can’t even remember if there is advertising on there—see I pay it zero attention!)?

Unfortunately Microsoft is following suite with it’s worthless purchase of Nokia in September 2013 for $9.4 billion that was all written off and then some with yet another ridiculous, desperate move.

Microsoft has been living off their legacy product suites of Windows, Office, Outlook, and SharePoint for years…and apparently, aside from the regular forced upgrades, they seem to have virtually nothing in the innovation hopper.

Hence, loser acquisitions of things like Yammer in 2012 for $1.2 billion (anyone use that BS Facebook-like service for inside their organization—work is not social playtime folks!).

Anyway, I like Microsoft products–they are functional, which is what I want from email, creating and editing documents, spreadsheets and slides, as well as sharing files–it’s great for bread and butter tasks–nothing sexy.

But every attempt that Microsoft makes in desperation to expand beyond their core competencies comes up soft and a big money loser.

Innovation and success is not bred by acquiring virtually worthless properties in terms of high-technology with no synergy to who they fundamentally are.

It is almost heartbreaking to see a once great company like Microsoft continue to drown in its own excess cash and strategically hollow ideas.

Microsoft will only be successful by thinking beyond the boxed in windowed organization that they have imprisoned themselves in.

I hope they can break a few windows and escape to some new technological thinking again soon–but the big question is whether they currently have the talent to make it so. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Suicide Office To-Dos

Suicide

So at times, organizations send out notices to their staff with self help suggestions or organizational resources that are available.


One such case is for suicide prevention. 


For example, if you are thinking about suicide, perhaps you should contract the employee assistance program.


It’s a good idea to reach out to employees when the messaging is done in a way that makes employees feel they are genuinely cared about and needed, and substantial help is available to them.


People contemplating suicide are in a desperate state of mind and proper handling is nothing less than a life or death situation.


Going to the extreme to make a point for a moment, office reminders about suicide prevention should never be selfish or cavalier, such as:


– Remember to turn the lights out.


– Set your out of office message on.


– Have you done a knowledge transfer to ensure a smooth transition?


If employees are coming away feeling like the organization is just sending out a form message or treating their feelings and situation lightly or in their own interests (such as to remove/reduce liability) that is apt to make things worse and not better.


Please treat employees with genuine dignity, respect, caring, and humanity, and offer them substantive help when they need it.


There are families depending on them and they love and need them. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Jason Kuffer)