Like Removing A Nail

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So you always hear about the techniques used when people are being tortured…one of them being have their nails ripped off.


Ouch!


So this week when I had a ingrown toenail removed, I said jokingly to the podiatrist:


“Do you do waterboarding also?”


Ok, funny, not-funny.  Still got a chuckle!


But in removing the nail, the technique is really so amazing.


They inject the toe with a local anesthetic, but hey even the injections into a sensitive toe could be pretty uncomfortable. 


So before the injection, they spray you toe with a freezing spray, so you don’t even feel the injections.


When he actually removed the nail and chemically destroyed the nailbed so it wouldn’t come back, I didn’t feel a thing.


I mean, I literally didn’t feel a thing!


It was a wonderful feeling–whatever he did, however much it would’ve hurt–it didn’t.


I thought to myself in a wave of anesthetic and freeze-numbed delight, this is absolutely wonderful.


No pain, not even a pinch. 


I could sense everything going on around me, take it in, think about it, even mull it over again and again, and just smile. 


In a way, I thought how wonderful life would be to have the ability to think in the head and feel from the heart, but have no pain or suffering in the body. 


Yes, there are plenty of damning and painful thoughts, memories, and heartaches, but for the body to be numb (even momentarily) to all the bad stuff that actually felt pretty good.


How would it feel if the mind and heart also felt no pain and only bliss–I smiled even more. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Is It I Don’t or I Do?

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Wow this was tough…


I was at a luncheon with some friends, including a couple we’re friendly with that’s been dating a while.  


At one point, the young man gets up to get some more food, and the young lady all of a sudden asks me, “Do you still live around here?”


I said “Yes, not far from here,” and in turn asked whether she was still living in {blankty blank neighborhood}.


She said, “Yes, {and continues sort of out of the blue} and we’re not going to live together until we get married.”


I was sort of surprised at the turn that her answer took about their relationship, and innocently asked, “So does that mean you guys are planning on marriage then?”


Just then the man comes back and I must’ve been reading the tea leaves {and the ominous music for the laying of the trap starts playing in my head}…


Immediately, the young lady says to him before he even sits back down, “He’s asking if we’re getting married {and for some reason she’s literally pointing at me or am I imaging that finger like a dagger coming out}!”


At this point, I think my eyes started to bug out a little as I must’ve had this look on my face like what the heck is going on here. 


But if this isn’t going bad enough {what in G-d’s name did I walk into with this?)…


This older lady across the table, starts blurting out loudly saying, “How would you like if she ends up with another guy?!!!”


Holy sh*t {where is that coming from now?)!


The guy next to me is obviously at the point of fury {I can’t say that I fully blame him}, and he packs up his stuff and sort of storms off from the table.


The young women is still there trying to make conversation as if this whole thing just somehow didn’t happen. 


But it did and it was pretty ugly!


The older lady {not stopping–this is madness} then chimes in again and says, “Look at what he did, he stormed off–if I were you, I would just drop him!”


We’re all sort of sitting there in complete shock now. 


Pulling for a straw to somehow make this scene go away, I ask the young lady, “Should I go out and see if I can speak with him?”


She’s shakes her head and says, “No. We’re almost done {done–in what way…?}!”


Within a couple of minutes, we excused ourselves and headed out–sort of not believing how this whole scene went down. 


One thing I can tell you is do not get ANYWHERE near people and their relationships–there are a whirlwind of just under the surface feelings, agendas, and finger-pointing ready to take flight and eradicate everything in the vicinity of ground zero. 


Anyway, I hope everything works out okay for this couple…they actually do seem really nice together.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Thank You Chaplain Berning

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I read about this amazing “Spiritual Communications Board” that Chaplain Joel Nightingale Berning invented for New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. 


The board allows hospital patients who are intubated or otherwise can’t talk to communicate their spiritual health and needs. 


The top part allows the person to say what religion they are. 


The bottom left, are choices for how they feel from afraid and lonely, to nervous, helpless, and hopeless, and even to identify on a scale of 0 to 10, the level of their spiritual pain. 


And on the bottom right, they can point to ask for spiritual help… from a prayer, song, or blessing to talk with me, sit with me, get my family or hold my hand. 


While hospitals have traditionally been focused on getting a person, with G-d’s help, physically healthy again, it is wonderful to see people, like Chaplain Berning looking after the spiritual side of patients wellness and health as well. 


To heal, people don’t just need surgeries and medicines, but they need to deal with all the emotions and pain surrounding their condition and their challenging life situations, and this is something that spiritual caregivers can make a huge difference with. 


The health of the soul and the body are linked in more ways than one. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Chaplain Berning)

Turning To Love

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Just an observation about love today.


But it seems that it’s far easier and more frequent to see love turn to hate and resentment than vice versa.


It’s a lot easier to destroy a relationship (or any success) than to build it to begin with.


Even as we talk about forgiveness and loving thy neighbor, it seems that more often than not negative feelings are at best turned to acceptance or neutral feelings rather than back to true endearment.


This state is often accompanied by such fears or protectionist sayings as “leopards don’t change their spots” or “love once lost is lost forever.”


While we may be willing to turn the other cheek for a moment or even a while, bad feelings and distrust towards another does not make the leap back to closeness and an endearing, loving relationship all that often.


Of course, there are exceptions where through trust building measures and “easing of sanctions” or hostilities, we can over time rebuild a relationship and become allies or partners again.


However, it is far easier to break trust and lose love then to ever rebuild and recover it.


All the more reason to cherish our meaningful relationships and make love count, sing, and dance for us every moment of every day. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Evil Stink Eye

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So there is an important Jewish (and non-Jewish) concept of the evil eye (in hebrew, it’s called an “Ayin Hara”).


This is the idea that people who are jealous of you or simply don’t like you, can wish bad (or evil to befall) on you. 


And the more people or the more merits these people have in life that cast this evil wish (in mystical terms, some may call it a spell), perhaps the stronger the potency of it on you. 


Superstition or real? This is a matter of what you believe in and maybe experiences you’ve had in life have taught you to beware of when others don’t wish you well. 


This is why many righteous people try to avoid the limelight–they don’t want others to focus on them and harbor bad feelings toward them. 


Better in a sense to remain more private and discrete than suffer the evil eye of others. 


If we understand that there are not only physical powers in the universe, but also spiritual and metaphysical ones, then we may choose to protect ourselves by shielding ourselves from the public eyes of jealousy and hate.


Others may choose to do extra charity, prayer, and good deeds in an effort to protect themselves from competitors and antagonists in life. 


It’s funny, but when my wife sees someone she perceives giving another the evil eye, she calls it, “The stink eye!”


And truly, it does stink that people can be so mean and hateful to others, but unfortunately, not everyone in life is nice and good.


It takes all types, and that is why it’s critical to avoid those evil glances, feelings, and thoughts of others.


Hurt can take many forms–words and deeds are the two that we recognize most often. 


However, we shouldn’t discount the harm that thoughts and feelings can cause as well. 


The mind and spirit of humans can reach out and up to the Heavens, and so we must live our lives good to G-d as well to people, and Bli Ayin Hara (without the evil eye) for blessings and not for curses. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

How Men And Women Sit

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This was funny-sad on the train in Washington, D.C. 


This couple–a man and women–are sitting together. 


The man (on the right) is completely sprawling out.


The women (on the left) is squishing almost off the seat.


So what is it with men–a testosterone, macho thing–exerting sexuality, power, and dominance–or it is just carelessness and callousness in how to treat women?


For women–is it reticence and modesty or are they accepting being mistreated or even abused? 


People’s weight aside, it seems that men and women should each be given their own and equal space on the Metro or otherwise in life. 


This presumed gender power struggle is not a good thing–love should be equal in feeling, giving, and in time, and space. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Truly My Love

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So this is the graffiti on the wall of the ladies bathroom in Barnes and Noble. 


My wife said to make sure everyone knows that she took the photo and not me (uh, that would be awkward). 


I can’t make out all the graffiti on the wall, but the one in the center says:


“True love isn’t something made up in stories or books. It exists truly, if you believe truly, and truly fight for it. Real love is magic.”


Another one talks about “Gonzales” who is the most beautiful man.


And yet one more…


“I wish I knew how to tell my boyfriend I love him.”


Let me just be frank that the Graffiti in men’s bathrooms is nothing, nothing like this. 


It’s more obscene, uses lots of 4 letter words, and has women’s first names and phone numbers. 


Why do women write and profess their love for men on bathroom walls, while men seem to think and express themselves in far more graphic terms–and why do this while in the stinkin’ bathroom?


I think this may make for some interesting gender studies for someone out there. 


From a technology perspective, I think if people are going to insist on thinking and fantasizing in the public bathroom, perhaps we need some white boards or monitors that you can write and erase from–that way at least we can make room for the next guy/gal to write their truly’s next. 😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)