Wherever You Go

So my father used to say this idea about dealing with life’s challenges:

“Wherever you go, that’s where you are!”

If you think about it for a moment, it really is very profound. 


Some people think that they can run away from their problems.


Move here, there, everywhere. 


Change schools, jobs, spouses, whatever. 


But you can’t run away from yourself. 


Wherever you run, you’re still you!


So you need to fix yourself, your problems, your life. 


Yes, sometimes your in a place is bad, a bad fit, the people are bad, the chemistry is bad, the circumstances are bad. 


And then change can certainly be a welcome and good thing.


But when you change the external, the internal has to keep developing and changing as well, so that we learn and grow to be better people.  


Change your place is not a substitute for changing and growing yourself–that is the only constant with change. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

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The Meaning Of Pain

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Wow, I am so impressed with my daughter.


I spoke with her this evening and she has grown into such a smart, mature, and good person. 


We were talking about some hard times.


And she said to me so smartly (and I am so proud of her):

“The reason that we have pain is to avoid more pain.”


Wow…think about that for a moment. 


Everyone gets physical, emotional, and even spiritual pain in their lives. 


Even little things like stubbing your toe, getting a small burn, or a paper cut–these things give you a instant or more of pain…but it jolts you into attention of what to avoid and to action how to protect yourself to prevent further and worse pain down the road. 


A little pain now can fortunately save you a lot of pain later!


(Or in the gym they say, “No pain, no gain.”)


My father used to say about difficult life lessons:

“Better to cry now than to cry later!”


He was right–bad situations generally don’t get better with age. 


Continuing the discussion with my lovely daughter tonight, she said to me:

“A person becomes better when they struggle. I’ve become better by struggling.”


Again, like little pains, even larger struggles in life challenge us to learn, grow, and become better and stronger people. 


I remember as a kid–when we went through those growth spurts–it would actually hurt a little–some muscle aches here and some cramps there–whew, a few inches taller already. 


Growth hurts, but it’s kind of a good hurt that only someone with the emotional intelligence to understand maturity and betterment can really grasp. 


No, I’m not advocating for self-flagellation–just that we know when pain and struggle is a defining moment in life–like shaping and sharpening a great sword in fierce fire. 


It’s hot, but the heat is healing and necessary sometimes to grow as human and spiritual beings. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Aging Is A Process

Aging.jpeg

This guy was a hoot on the Metro in Washington, D.C. 


His shirt says:


“With age comes oldness.”


Ah, yeah!


When he was sitting, he had his arms crossed over his chest, and I thought it said:

“With age, comes baldness.”


That too!


Getting old is not easy.


Being young is not easy either. 


But it’s really how you handle yourself during every stage and turn in life that defines who you are and what you become as an person and a creation of G-d. 


You’ve got to get up and walk the dance through thick and thin…life bring old age and oldness…what’s the alternative. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Feeling It All

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Feelings are one of those things that make us oh so human. 


We feel love and hate, joy and sadness, hopeful and anxious, peaceful and distraught, and countless more emotions. 


While some people come across as stoic, others seem to take it all in (maybe even right on the chin). 


Hence, the perennial stone-faced poker player verse the person who seems to show every emotion and just can’t hide it. 


According to the Wall Street Journal, about 20% of both men and women are what’s called highly sensitive people (HSPs).


HSPs simply feel everything more!


These are the people who are crying at the movies and so on. 


They can also be extremely empathetic and caring–because they just almost intuitively understand. 


I think they are also deep thinkers, they are watchers of people, taking in the stimuli and processing it in terms of their feelings. 


I remember as a kid sitting with my sister and her friends who were considerably older than me–8 years–and I would listen to their “mature” girl conversations go on and on, and then at the end, I would just sort of say my sensitive two cents, and I think more often then not, I got a lot of surprise looks at a young boy who seemed a lot older and wiser than his age. 


In retrospect, I think that I was always just very sensitive to people, their plights, their hurt, the injustices in the world, and sought to understand it and try to make it right. 


The flip side is that one schmuck of a manager years ago said to me, “You need to get a thicker skin!”


But you know what, I like feeling, being very human, and deeply experiencing the world.


I would imagine (having never tried drugs, true) that perhaps people who get high either are running away from some feelings or running to others–but as a HSP, you just feel it all straight up. 


Being very sensitive to the world can almost be like extrasensory perception…sometimes you can see what others don’t, but you also have to learn to cope with the firehose flood of feelings–sometimes even having to tune some of it out. 


Cut me and I bleed, caress me and I am comforted.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Walking On Rocks

Walking On Rocks

The first few times when I started hiking, I had this paradigm that I had to walk between the rocks–sort of like hopscotch–then I realized that I could walk on them.

For a long time, I had heard about how thinking within the box constrains our thought processes and innovation.

It was interesting for me to see this in action just by the way I initially viewed a basic skill like hiking.

The paradigms we use to view the world alter what we think and do, and only when we break out of the proverbial box we are in, can we really see and be open to other ways of being and doing things.

You can walk between the rocks or you can climb over them–whatever works best for you–just be open to seeing things in many different ways.

No one way is necessarily better than another–they are just different and each useful in their own time and place. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Washington DC in 1892

Washington DC in 1892

This is a beautiful lithograph from Currier and Ives that I came across of Washington D.C.

It is called Chesapeake Bay Area – The City of Washington.

It’s amazing how much less developed things were just a little more than a century ago.

You can clearly see the major landmarks and institutions like The Capitol, the Washington Monument, and The White House, but not much else in terms of government.

Notice that even the Supreme Court building isn’t there–it wasn’t completed until 1935.

We are a fast-growing and advancing society with a maturing government and capital city that today makes this historical photo look almost as if it’s from fairy tale.

It’s nice to look back and see how far we’ve come and introspect on where we are going. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Being Yourself Is a Full-Time Job

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There is a saying that “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

But over time and a level of professional maturity, I’ve learned that rather than act, there are times when the more prudent thing is too hold your tongue and your will to take immediate action.

In the Revolutionary War, they said, “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes.”

Back then, the strategy was employed to conserve ammunition, and today, similarly, it is way to preserve relationships and manage conflicts.

Indeed, sometimes, it’s harder to do nothing than to do something–when we are charged up in the moment, it takes a strong leader to keep their head–and hold back the troops and the potential ensuing fire–and instead focus on keeping the peace and finding a genuine resolution to tough and perhaps persistent problems.

An important exception is when ethics and social justice is involved then everyone must find their inner voice and speak up for what is right–that is not the time for a wait and see approach.

The lesson for me is that while it can be challenging to at times hold your fire, and at other times to find your inner voice and speak out–this is where sound judgment and willpower come into play.

In this light, I said to my daughter that “It is sometimes hard just to be yourself.” To which she replied wisely, “yeah, and it’s a full-time job too.” 😉

She’s right–we have to be ourselves and follow our conscience all the time–whether it means taking the shot or holding our fire.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Oh Candy)