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)

Enter With A HANDSHAKE & Leave With A HUG

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So after almost 6 years at the U.S. Department of State, I am moving forward in my career to a very exciting role at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 


As I look back, I have fond memories of the wonderful high-performance division I was part of and the many amazing achievements we had together, and what our Deputy Assistant Secretary called, the “A Team.”


But one thing today is sticking out in my mind and it’s this image.

“Enter with a handshake and leave with a hug.”

On the first days, when I arrived it was all formality and firm welcome handshakes.


We don’t really know you and you don’t really know us, but we’re embarking on this journey together, and where it takes us no one really knows, BUT we wish you the best of luck–now go out and do great things!


Then on the last days, as I was preparing to leave, the formal handshakes were long gone and instead they were replaced with warm heartfelt hugs (and some special emotional words and cards). 


I was no longer a mystery of a person, with just my reputation, coming in to do G-d knows what. 


Now, I was a human being that had a genuine history with them, formed relationships with many, had faced challenges together, and had touched not only minds, but also it was apparent, hearts. 


I will not forget the special people, nor the many times shared, our accomplishments as an organization, and how we grew. 


I am moving forward not only with their tight hugs to more handshakes anew, but also to once again hopefully grow heart-to-heart with people, as further relationships are formed and we make, please G-d, amazing new progress together–for the mission and for the people. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

On The Train Of Life

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My beautiful daughter, Michelle, forwarded this wonderful message to me about our journey through life, and I wanted to share it with everyone.


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Life is like a journey on a train…
with its stations…
with changes of routes…
and with accidents !

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We board this train when we are born and our parents are the ones who get our ticket.

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We believe they will always travel on this train with us.

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However, at some station our parents will get off the train, leaving us alone on this journey.

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As time goes by, other passengers will board the train, many of whom will be significant – our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of our life.

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Many will get off during the journey and leave a permanent vacuum in our lives.

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Many will go so unnoticed that we won’t even know when they vacated their seats and got off the train!

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This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, good-byes, and farewells.

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A good journey is helping, loving, having a good relationship with all co passengers…and making sure that we give our best to make their journey comfortable.

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The mystery of this fabulous journey is:
We do not know at which station we ourselves are going to get off.

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So, we must live in the best way – adjust, forget, forgive and offer the best of what we have.

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It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to leave our seat… we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.”

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Thank you for being one of the important passengers on my train… don’t know when my station will come… don’t want 2 miss saying: “Thank you.”

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We Watch The Years Go By

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On a lighter note today, I took this photo of a couple watching their kids playing soccer.


They are sitting in Dick’s chairs. 


His (blue) and hers (pink).


Very cute!


The new generation grows up and supplants their elders–who still may feel “young at heart!”


As I get older, it definitely seems like time goes faster (and faster). 


It isn’t that some days aren’t long, but that overall the less time we have as we get into the latter portions of our life, the quicker it all seems to be passing.


So much so that it all becomes like one big dream (it should never be a nightmare, G-d forbid). 


If only we could rewind and redo the portions of our lives where we made mistakes, hurt others or ourselves, or could have just done better.


I’m not sitting in those chairs yet, but when I do, I hope it is with pleasure of heart, mind, and soul–with G-d’s mercy. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Stop To Think OR Stop Thinking

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The Thinker.


It’s very important to have time (and space) to sit down and think. 


Not just go through life in the motions–“doing”–because that’s the way we always did it or that’s the way your parents did it, or that’s what your teachers or society told you to do. 


Thinking means we evaluate and assess what we are doing.  Are we going in the right direction?  Are we happy with ourselves?  Are we good people doing good things?  Are there things that we regret and need to learn from and/or course correct. Can we do better and what does better mean? 


I remember at a certain point in my life working very hard, but also feeling like I was in a fugue–and when I “awoke” I couldn’t figure out where the time went to and why I had been sort of numb for a time. Were some things perhaps too raw or painful to deal with (better to shut them off somewhere in a little box) or was I just moving so fast and so hard that I just lost sight of my surroundings and the meaning or lack from it all. 


But then I started to feel and think again. And I knew it because it was like an monumental awakening from a long hibernation through eons of time and space. What precipitated it all, I don’t really know. But when it started coming back–memories, feelings, some satisfactions, too many regrets–I knew that I had been gone a while and wasn’t sure exactly where I’d been. 


So need to regularly stop and “smell the coffee”–think and feel–not just do like a real dummy or stubborn a*s. 


The dilemma with thinking is too much or too little is that it can be a dangerous thing. 


Too much time to ponder and you can become lost in thought or mired in analysis paralysis. Don’t bother me, I’m still thinking about it. Or perhaps, your thinking can be “all wrong” and messed up–your misunderstanding, misconstruing, not thinking clearly or brainwashed by others–maybe those with good intentions who want you to be like them, who think they know better, who mean well but are misguided when it comes to YOU or are engulfed by their own zealousness, self-righteousness or are even jerks trying to f*ck with you. 


Also, while ample time to think can leave you revitalized, with new direction, commitment, and enthusiasm, the flip side is you can become demoralized or depressed by “it all,” It’s too much, it’s too hard, it’s too meaningless, or even it’s too overwhelming important and meaningful. 


Then there is too little thinking going on in that head of yours, and you are a dumb, numb robot who washes, rinses, repeats…not knowing why they are doing it or maybe even that they are doing anything, just that they are in a state of being. It easy maybe to turn off to the world, to keep running on the treadmill of life, get up and do the same routine day-in and day-out.  Not questioning.  Not feeling.  Not getting hurt or dealing with issues better left for another day. But that’s not living. That’s a life of a sick roaming flesh-eating zombie. Someone just stick that iron rod through that useless skull already. 


Think and live…live and think…go forward as in a directed, meaningful way, and not as the walking dead in pain and sorrow or lost in the abyss of lifelessness. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Speed Of Time

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So a friend told me yesterday something interesting about the passing of time. 


We were looking back and saying how quickly it all goes…


I said, “Like the blink of an eye!”


He then told me this:


“Time is like the speed of a automobile. 


Your age is how fast the car is going. 


So for a child of 10-years old, the car is going 10 miles an hour…and it feels too slow. 


But for an adult of 60-years old, the car is going 60 miles per hour…too fast–in this case, 5 miles over the speed limit. 


The older you get the faster the whole thing goes by.”


I told him how much I liked this explanation. 


And finished by saying, that in the end, we should just have good memories of it all. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)