(Maybe) Stop Complaining

So this past Shabbat, there was a wonderful guest speaker at Aish, Rav Gav(riel) Friedman. 


He was a very lively speaker and with a lot of worthy teachings for his lucky audience. 


One thing he said that really stuck with me is about people that complain. 


People have hard lives!


As he said, “I don’t know what each of you has been through.”


But one thing that can help us cope with our challenges is our perspective.  


And then he said the following:

We need to be glad that we have something to complain about!


Huh, what does that mean?


Well, think about it…


– If you complain about your spouse, thank G-d that you are married (and have a life partner) to complain about. 


– If you complain about your job, thank G-d that you have a job (and income) that you can complain about. 


– If you complain about your food, thank G-d that you have food to eat (and sustenance for your body) to complain about.


And so on and so forth. 


Whatever we complain about, think about what you actually have (the big picture) and what you are complaining about (usually the little picture). 


Really, we have so much to be grateful for that we can easily just forget or take for granted. 


So next time your complaining, THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE that you are complaining about–you might stop yourself from complaining.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Victory Or Defeat

I was reading Vladimir Jabotinsky’s “Story of My Life.”


And there is this quote that I really like attributed to Kipling in it:

Victory or defeat: learn to accept both with equanimity since both are deceptions.

I just thought this is profound.  


We never really fully win or lose. 


Everything is on a spectrum. 


And where we think we are on that spectrum is often not even nearly correct. 


You think you won that one, but guess what someone else has outsmarted you and you don’t even know it yet. 


Also, wins can be easily followed by loses and vice versa.


Things can turn on a dime and who’s up becomes who’s down–as the wheel of life turns and turns again. 


Recognize that you don’t control everything–actually, the only thing you do control is how you react and behave.


Everything else is a test to teach you and help you grow. 


And as I heard from a speaker yesterday, “you can’t make up in space, what you have lost in time.”


Victory or defeat, both are deceptions. 


Only how you choose to act is the real win or lose. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

What Makes Happy

So the same things don’t seem to drive happiness for everyone. 


Some like big jobs and lots of power. 


Others are happier with more work-life balance. 


Some like to pursue lots of degrees and certifications.


Others like to learn on their own and through life experience. 


Some like to travel the world.


Others like a day in nature or at the museum. 


Some like big families and lots of people around them. 


Others like smaller families, close friends, intimacy, or even being more on their own. 


Some like lots of money. 


Other are happy with having what they need.


Some like to be tremendous athletes. 


Other like to just stay fit or maybe are more comfy as “couch potatoes.”


Some like to be very religious and follow all the laws.


Others prefer mindfulness, a sense of spirituality and being a “good person.”  


Some like lots of activities and to always do different things. 


Others are more comfortable with routine and incremental change. 


We all have basic needs, but we also have different values, priorities and comfort zones. 


Happiness isn’t a yes or no answer, but what makes us feel on track and doing good. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

You Can’t See Yourself

So this donut-shaped art at the Outlets in Clarksburg is metallic and reflective. 


But what is really interesting to me is that when you stand in front of it (like I was literally doing here), you can’t see yourself. 


It made me wonder how you can look at yourself and yet not see yourself. 


And I thought of this as being a bigger lesson in life. 


When we are looking at ourself and there is a big donut whole in the mirror of ourselves then we are left blind to what should be reflecting back at us.  


No matter how hard we try to see ourselves and what we are doing right and wrong, it’s like a ghost out there–we are blind to it. 


To really see ourselves, our heart and mind have to be receptive to seeing the full picture. 


That means looking at ourselves as we really are, even when there seems to be a piece missing to the puzzle, and we have trouble being honest about what we see. 


To change, learn, grow–to become a better person, we need to look full on and be willing to see what we will see.  


You can’t see yourself until you can.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Diamonds Under Pressure

So someone reminded me about stress and pressure in life. 


They said:

Pressure makes diamonds.


Diamonds are of the most beautiful and precious items in the world that we give to our loved ones as a symbol of our tremendous love for them. 


Diamonds are crystals made of pure carbon that formed under high temperature and extreme pressure. 


People too are often under extreme pressure in life from all sorts of demands and challenges whether it be work, family, threats, or illness.  


But just like from pressure comes diamonds, so too can pressure make us from rough and imperfect human beings into smooth, polished, and spectacular people. 


Rather than crack under pressure, we need to cope with it and let it strengthen us and shape us to be the gems we can be. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

In The Blink Of An Eye

Please see my new article in The Times Of Israel called, “In The Blink Of An Eye.” 

It all seems to happen in the blink of an eye. Those moments when your life or those of a loved one hang in the balance. It can go either way–you can end up on the road to success or potentially in the morgue. 

In those pivotal split seconds–your life can go this way or that. Do you recognize who is pushing on the scales of justice and are you ready on where to go from there? 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Emo Art

So I’ve been wanting to post this example of this special art form from my daughter, Rebecca. 


She makes this novel art called, “EMO”, which stands for emotional.


In this art she mixes children and monsters–and it depicts how innocent kids have to deal with the monsters they find in an often unscrupulous and morally-tarnished society. 


I love the feelings and message of this art in that it encapsulates how children enter this world in purity, but how so many bad people and things around them (and us) can corrupt that. 


I always learned that the goal for each person was to leave the world a better place then the way we found it; however, I think a more personal goal should also be for us to leave here as better human beings than the day we arrived.  


Challenging ourselves–learning and maturing–yet at the same time keeping that essence of decency and integrity of mind, heart, and deed–that is a life where we can grow up, but not turn into the morally-bankrupt monsters that we see all around us. 


(Source Art: Rebecca Ochayon)