Like Removing A Nail

Toes.JPEG

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)

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Love The Flags

israel-flag

So while we were in Florida, we went into one of the many art galleries. 


And on the wall was this painting of the Israeli Flag with the Star of David and inside was a beautiful red heart. 


Out of curiosity, I inquired how much this was and the lady says, “Oh, that is $55,000!”


While we were impressed with the painting of the Israeli flag and what it represents as one of America’s greatest allies and friends, we must’ve looked really puzzled at the price, because the lady goes, “Well, of course it’s worth it!  It’s by Peter Max, the most famous artist in the world.”


My wife and I nodded and left the store, and immediately were asking each other why every gallery says with a straight face that the artist that they represent is the “most famous in the world.”


Anyway, at the same time this was going on we were following in the news about the controversy with people burning the American flag and the question of whether this is just an expression of free speech or something more that should be prohibited as disrespectful and unpatriotic or even traitorous to the country. 


In that respect, the flag that represents our values, beliefs, and patriotism is valuable beyond pure artistic sense or money, it is who we are and what we love. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Young Love

Young Love.jpeg

So I took this photo of a painting in a home furnishings store.

Just something really striking about it to me. 

The way the women is leaning into the man and his head/face leans into hers. 

Their focus on the drawing or plans in front of them, where he seems to be sketching out their future together. 

Also, their hands touching and almost clasped.

Young love is beautiful.

When people find each other, by some miracle of G-d.

And the chemistry magically makes 2 people like 1. 

The look they give each other, when their hopes and dreams converge.

Best friends, companions, lovers with the potential to grow ever mightier over time. 

Life not without obstacles that the couple must overcome, supporting each other.

Building a home, raising a family, making a future together come true.

When the minds meet, the hearts yearn for each other, and the souls join.

What a time of joy and blessing…a time to live for and to continue the generations forward and build that which cannot be completed by any man alone. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Life Is All About Stones

Stone.JPEG

Today, Rabbi Haim Ovadia gave an interesting speech at Magen David Synagogue about the life of Jacob and his relationships to stones. 


Here’s what I took away from this: 


– Jacob took a stone to rest his head on (i.e. a pillow) and went to sleep. 


– After Jacob dreamed about the Angels ascending and descending the ladder to the heavens, he anointed the stone with oil and consecrated it to G-d. 


– When Jacob sees Rachel coming to water her father, Laban’s sheep, Jacob rolls the stone from off the well to quench their thirst. 


– As Jacob blessed his 12 sons, he is called the “stone of Israel.”


So what’s the significance of all this stone in Jacob’s and in our lives?


MILESTONES: We celebrate major stages (milestones) in our lives like births, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, graduations, weddings, and jobs/promotions,  and we also give diamond (stone) rings to our beloved upon engagement. 


CORNERSTONES: We build the foundations (cornerstones) for progress and advancement with our contributions to the world (giving to others, leaving the world a better place than when we got here). 


HEADSTONES: We mark and honor a person’s life and place a headstone at their grave to signify our love, respect, and gratitude for everything they have done. 


I’d add that hopefully, along the way in our lives, we don’t have too many problems and too much stress and get KIDNEY STONES. 


Interestingly “Some people have a heart of stone, and some stones have a heart.”


Like the Western Wall (“The Kotel”) of the Temple in Jerusalem where the Jews pray to G-d–the stones in the wall have history, they have seen the joys and challenges of the people, and they have heard the stories and prayers of the worshippers that go to pray there.

Stones themselves are neutral–they can be used to celebrate, consecrate, build, and memorialize, with, and stones can also be used to hurl and smash and kill with.


For Jacob and his children, even simple stones are a way to worship G-d Almighty.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Customers Gone Stinkin’ Wild

Shopping
I took this photo yesterday in a Home Goods store. 



This is the aisle for rugs and mats. 



And it is a disaster zone!



I asked the clerk (with the orange apron on) knelling on the floor at the end of the aisle if the customers did this.



And he said, “Oh yes!” and he had to clean it all up. 



My G-d, what gets into people? 



It’s one thing to shop–pick things up and put them down–but throwing everything all over and trashing the place–stuff on the floors and literally left dangling off the shelves. 



And forgetting for a moment what this does to other people’s shopping experience and the potential loss of sales for the store…



How about we think for a moment about the poor guy working in the store to earn a few bucks for his family who now has to go on and his knees to clean up this pigfest? 



Is this really shopping or for some people perhaps it’s is a way of venting their anger by choosing to sh*t on the innocent next guy.



Gee whiz folks–can you have a heart? 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Soul Of A Fighter

Soul Matters
This was an awesome piece of art on the street in downtown Washington, D.C. 



The boxer against the bright yellow background and wearing red boxing gloves that say “Soul Matters” is striking.



For many year, I had a wonderful Rocky poster with the words, “His whole life was a million to one shot.”



I emphathize with and respect the person who has to fight (practically) against all odds to overcome challenges and but through the grace of G-d and a strong fighting spirit goes forward for their chance at success.



It almost doesn’t matter whether you (fully) succeed, but rather that you gave it your best shot, fought the good fight, and put your heart and soul into it. 



Always do the right thing and pray for the opportunity to make a difference. 



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Death To PowerPoint

Death By PowerPoint

Ok, we’ve all heard of “Death by PowerPoint” (well, I’m advocating death to PowerPoint). 


It’s the unfortunate occurrence that happens when a speaker presents a wad too many slides (OMG, some people seem to go on and on forever –get them off that podium)!


Or when they present too much information, too little information, or just don’t know what or how to present at all. 


Their (slide) presentations leave the audience basically wanting to just kill themselves, if not the inconsiderate S.O.B. speaker.


But aside from lousy speakers, you have a crappy presentation mechanism, which is PowerPoint slides.


Hello out there, tell the truth…


Can any of you remember much of a darn thing that anyone has ever conveyed to you by PowerPoint?


Think of webinars, conferences, and meetings galore with slide after slide of 2-dimensional boredom.


Is your head hurting you yet or are you just glad you can’t remember any of it–natural selection of memory saves you the pain…why thank you.


Then consider what someone has told you in great thoughtfulness, confidence, or with genuine passion, caring and sincerity.


– Perhaps, the wisdom of a parent or teacher who took you aside to tell you a life’s lesson.


– Or a Rabbi or Priest who shared with you something spiritual and uplifting to guide you on your path.


– How about someone in the office who was passionate about an idea or project and who motivated you as well.


Most of the communication between people that really means something never makes it to a PowerPoint slide.


Imagine for a moment, if something meaningful was conveyed to you by slide presentation–you would think, how ridiculous it is to use PowerPoint for that?


– I love you–will you marry me?


– We’re having a baby, how wonderful. 


– Just got that promotion, yes!


– So and so is sick or just passed away, how terrible. 


PowerPoint just doesn’t happen here in real life–thank G-d!


And no matter how much organizations such as TED would like to make a (show)business out of presentations using PowerPoint…(ah, nope).


Real communication happens when one person talks from the heart to another person who receives it in their heart. 


The greatest orators in history…never used a slide presentation.


Other presentation products like Prezi tried to take slides to the next level with a storytelling format using a virtual canvas, but that didn’t pan out to well either…see many Prezis lately (and without getting dizzy)?


PowerPoint slides, and the like, are for distraction…now I don’t have to pay that much attention to the rambling, numbnut speaker anymore.


The bottom line…we don’t listen with our eyes!


Rather, we hear words of wisdom and see when someone is genuine, sincere and worth listening to.


The rest is PowerPoint… 😉