The Purge

Thought this was an interesting sign someone had in their office. 

PURGE the things that no longer bring PURPOSE!


Yikes! I wonder who or what got purged from this person’s life recently. 


Yet, perhaps it is a good lesson against hoarding and just accumulating junk (things and certain people) along the way of life. 


When things have a deeply negative impact on your life (or they’re just dead weight), perhaps it is time to consider letting go.


I’m not talking about relationships of commitment (e.g. family), which have a stronger and timeless bond in my mind, but of those that earn their right into your life by virtue of being ongoing positive, productive forces. 


There is no blessing in gluttony or hoarding–stay trim and fit, travel light and with what is truly meaningful and necessary. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

3 Types of Dumping

This was sort of a funny sign:

“No Dumping”


Dumping can refer to at last 3 different types of things and none of them are any good:


1) Dogs – When people are inconsiderate with the animals and they take a “dump” and people don’t clean up after them (leaving the messy stink for you to step in). 


2) Trash – When people throw their trash in the dump or what they consider to be a convenient dumping ground and they make a huge mess of the surroundings (like the used mattress on the side of the road).


3) Emotions – When people dump their emotions and problems on others; they just sort of let it all out and while they may feel better (i.e. a nice catharsis), now you feel like sh*t!


Overall, I can’t think of any good connotation to dumping, so maybe people should stop doing it–dogs, trash, and problems.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Improv, Let’s Do it

What an incredible experience today. 


We went to the Atlas Theater in Washington, D.C. and did Improv (no script). 


For a Jewish kid from the Bronx, this was not something I was used to, but I loved it. 


– Say your name and an animal with the same first letter and act it out.


– Say something you love or hate and everyone gravitates on the stage towards or from it based on whether they agree.


– Repeat a word and action from someone else and pass it on.


– Act out an action that someone else calls out after yelling “Let’s do it!” 


– As a group, answer a question from the audience, by each person adding a word to the aggregated answer. 


– Give your neighbor a pretend object and after they identify what they think it is and thank you for it, you explain why you gave it to them.


– Stand on an emotion (happy, sad, angry, scared) and act out a scene with someone else rotating through the feelings.


– Pretend you’re a hitchhiker and infest the emotion with everyone else in the car.


I was really amazed at how good so many people were with doing these exercises. 


And I felt it was so freeing to be doing it too. 


I feel like I really learned a lot about being comfortable with yourself and just letting your inhibitions go and even though it was scary and hard, I would like to do this again. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Bonding and Independence

separation-jpeg

It’s an interesting phenomenon between parents and children. 


Parents (with G-d as the third partner) birth and raise their beautiful children. 


It is in a way a thankless job that we all savor and do with love, joy, and even gratitude just to have the opportunity. 


From sleepless nights to dirty diapers, homework to honing on how to be a mensch, family outings to school trips, braces to bar/bat- mitzvahs, birthdays to sleepover parties, shopping trips to college choices, as parents there is nothing we won’t do for our children. 


Yet, the role of children is to learn and grow to be independent. Children must spread their wings, so they can function as their own adults and parents one day (and hopefully before they are 33 and still living in mom and dad’s house)!


Yet to a parent, a child is always their child, no matter how big, smart, or successful they are (and even when, G-d willing, they surpass their parents in height, good looks, and achievements).


My father used to say, “Blood is thicker than water,” meaning that it’s a harsh world out there and the family always needs to stick together.


As children of Holocaust survivors, I learned that we can’t stray to far (or far at all) from either our religion or family, because otherwise, “We let Hitler win.”


We grew up living next to my grandparents (1 block away) and later in life, we always lived right near my parents as well. 


I watched TV and ate salami sandwiches with my grandmother and doted over my grandfather who sat on the bimah in his big chair as the president of our then struggling synagogue in Manhattan. 


Similarly, my parents were like surrogate parents to my own children and regularly babysat, picked the kids up from school/camp, made Sabbath meals, and happily spent time with them doing whatever. 


My parents were always there to advise, guide, lend a hand and support…no matter the cost to them, as my father used to say, “I would go through fire for my family” and this–his devotion and integrity–I knew was the utter truth. 


In turn, I tried to be a good son and although I disagreed and fought with my parents (mostly my dad) on many issues (often religious and sometimes politics as remember them), I knew they loved me dearly and I them.


As my dear parents are now gone, and I have become (slightly) a helicopter parent myself with forever worries about how my kids are doing, I know that they need to be independent–and that (more than) sometimes means making mistakes or falling down, and hopefully getting right back up again on their feet.


It is hard to learn that as parents, in many cases, we are just spectators–not that we know everything, we don’t, but the maternal and paternal instinct is to safeguard our children whom we love and adore. 


Kids need three things to individuate successfully: stability, consistency, and safety. Absent those, you run the risk of unhealthy knotted bonding and stunted separation anxiety. 


Everyone needs to lead their own lives–we really only have one life to live. Yet, as family, we are very much the foundation and part of their inner strength for everything that follows from their determination, hard work, and blessings from Above. 


For parents and children, it is critical to balance the need for healthy separation and independence with love and bonding that is timeless.


We have to “let go and let G-d” and let our Children. 


The parents are the past and the children are the future, but we mean everything to each other. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Fisherman

The Fisherman
I took this photo yesterday of this man standing on the bank and fishing. 



I was out in the water in a kayak enjoying the beautiful surroundings. 



I paddled over near to the fisherman, but not so close as to scare away his catch. 



It was hot and very sunny out on the water–there was only a little shade near the bank of the pond–and I frequently had to wipe my forehead beading with sweat under the open sun.



But it was nice to just be out there–on the water, surrounded by the greenery, the sun overhead, some birds and frogs about, and a even a little breeze shimmering over the the water. 



Even better than paddling itself, is just stopping, sort of sitting back, and just listening to the silence, breathing in the nature, and letting everything else just go for a little while. 



One with nature, one with G-d, and feeling integrated myself. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)