Body Morphic Disorder

So often you hear about people with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). 


This is a psychiatric disorder where people are obsessed with their real or perceived body flaws. 


Often their notions of a physical flaw is widely exaggerated like someone who has a barely noticeable mole, but they see it as a major blotch on their skin that everyone must be staring at and repulsed by.  


People with this disorder may often stand in front of the mirror starring at themselves obsessing over these minor imperfections. 


But there is something major that is missing here. 


And it is the polar opposite of BDD.


I would call it the Body Morphic Disorder (BMD). 


My notion of BMD is where people are similarly obsessed with their bodies, but rather than real or perceived flaws, they are focused on real or perceived notions of their body’s beauty and  perfection!


Instead of looking in the mirror and perceiving problems and feeling self-loathsome, these people are excessively vain and see themselves as a (near) perfect specimen of a human being. 


“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”


Or the equivalent of ain’t I just grand!


It’s funny-weird that we perceive criticism and self-contempt (BDD) as a psychiatric disorder, but we don’t generally see narcissistic self-worship as a personality disorder!


Yet any extreme is a bad thing. 


Excessive loving or hating of your physical self–is the kiss of death when it comes to seeing things the way they really are and being a genuine human being. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

5-Minute Intervals

This was sunrise at 5-minute intervals. 


All I can think is how glorious G-d is and how marvelous his creation.


– The light of the L-rd chases the darkness away.


– The might of the L-rd brings forth a new day. 


– The right hand of the L-rd shows us all the correct way. 


How are your works so majestic indeed. 


All we can do is gaze with eyes wide.


Truly the perfection of the L-rd is shown in his creation. 


We are blessed to see and experience it.


Every day is a miracle that we have in this world.


Even with pain and sorrow, our soul clings to this life. 


Until such time that our Maker calls us home to Him once more. 


Then we gasp our last breath and enter his Heavenly abode. 


For this world is just a corridor to the true world that is to come. 


And so just imagine what that must be like to be even closer to G-d and his endless loving majesty. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Tooting Your Own Horn

So I always try to see the best in people.


But sometimes it is hard when they are so intent on tooting their own horns. 


Bragging, boasting, patting themselves on the back about how smart they are or a job so incredibly well done.


Oh, you’ve got to ask yourself…


Is it all really true?


OR  


Do we have perhaps some slight exaggeration going on with a dose of self-aggrandizement, a spoonful of self-promotion, and more than a pinch of big ego?


Perhaps, also the person is in denial as to what their own capabilities–and limitations–really are. 


For example, many artists are enthralled with their work and themselves.

“Isn’t this so good?”
“Can you believe I made this?
“Wow, this is impressive, right?”


Sure, there are plenty of talented people out there doing good and even amazing work. 


But even then tempering your achievements with a little modesty and balance, like “I do this well, but I need to grow more in that area”–goes a long way to making the admirable talents and achievements more honest, humble, and believable. 


Always, people are good at some things, and worse at others.


We all have things to work on and improve, and nobody is so perfect in this world!


We can try to come close–that’s our job to strive for it–but true perfection belongs to G-d alone. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Make The Oy Vey Go Away

Flower.jpeg

What a wonderful way to make the oy veys go away…


This amazing beautiful flower.


Made by G-d Almighty.


See the perfection of the geometry and the shape that springs forth from mother earth.


Open your eyes to the magnificence and brightness of the colors. 


Feel in your mind’s eye the soft texture of the petals and droplets. 


Breath in the smell of freshness and new air into your expanding lungs. 


Yes, whatever ails you…


Make this for yourself a renewal of spirit and of flesh. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Kosher Trust Or Not

Matzo Man.JPEG

Here’s the big controversy in our synagogue this week. 


The Rabbi is having a Purim open house and he invited everyone to bring a pot luck.


Only home-made food, no purchased food please!”


In Jewish circles, this is the opposite of what you’d expect, where checking the kosher labels and symbols is critical to ensuring the food has followed the strict kosher dietary laws and can be eaten. 


Yet as pointed out, kashrut has been made into a whole commercial business these days…does it still reflect the intent?


The Rabbi explained in services today, in a very well received way, that we need to get back to respecting and trusting each other. 


That these values are essential to being truly religious people.


It was a wonderful speech in that it evoked unconditional acceptance and respect for everyone. 


As we know, no one is so perfect, even though the goal of course is to be as perfect as we can be. 


So two things:


1) I really like the notion of treating people well and putting that high on the priorities as we are all G-d’s creatures.


2) I myself am kosher, but not fanatically so, therefore, I personally appreciated the acceptance and love in the community. 


Yet, after I got home, and thinking about this some more, and despite my own failings religiously and otherwise, I asked myself, “Am I really comfortable eating from a parve and meat community pot luck?”


And even as I ask this question, I am sort of squirming at the idea of just eating anyone’s food–and not knowing anything about it. 


How am I doing due diligence in even trying to keep kosher like that?


While maybe I’m not the most kosher of everyone, it certainly is important to me to at least try (to some extent), but I ask myself can this be considered really even trying–when some people aren’t religious, may not have a strong religious education, and perhaps some may not even be (fully) Jewish?


Sure, someone can even have the best intentions and try to bring kosher food, yet it’s certainly possible that the food may not be kosher. 


Perhaps, in prior times, it was an issue of more or less kosher, but these days, it can be an issue of kosher or not kosher at all. 


This is a very difficult issue–because we can’t put people up against the law–we must by necessity respect both. 


So yes, I love the idea of respecting everyone and that’s a given assuming they are good, decent people, but trust is not something you just have, it’s something you earn, by…being trustful!


I’m not one to preach religion to anyone…I struggle myself with the laws and in trying to do what’s right in the commandments between man and G-d. 


And while I am ready to accept all good and loving people, I am perhaps not ready to just trust them without knowing that the trust is dutiful. 


Love thy neighbor as thyself is paramount, but also we have a duty to G-d to try to fulfill his commandments the best we can. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Settle Down or Trade Up

Trade Up.jpeg

So I always hear this question from people…

 

Should I be happy with what I have or should I seek out something better?

It’s the age old question of whether to settle down or trade up.


When it comes to any decision in life…choosing a school, degree, career, place to live, an investment decision, or even your spouse and life partner–how do you know when you are making the right decision?


Maybe you like or love what’s in front of your eyes, but you still don’t know 100% if there’s something better out there for you.


Every choice means you are settling in some way, because let’s face it, nothing is perfect in life!

When is good, good enough for you?


There are trade-offs with every decision.


And it’s a matter of what YOU can live with!


A guy may say, “I like this girl, but I’m not sure whether she’s the one for me or that I really want to settle down with long-term.”


Someone else says, “I’m studying to be an accountant, but you know I really always liked psychology.”


And yet a third person says, “I like working at company ABC, but maybe I can learn something new or do better financially for myself and family if I go somewhere else.”


So when do you settle down and when do you try to trade-up?


The dilemma is fateful because you don’t want to lose what you have, but you also don’t want to potentially miss out on something even better for you.


Listen, we’re not prophets!


No one knows whether your investment in something is going to pay off in spades or land you flat on your butt. 


All you can do is try to weight the pros and cons of every decision. 


If you treat life like a roulette game in Las  Vegas, the one thing that is pretty sure is that at some point, you will lose it all to the house. 


So choose wisely and make sure you are passionate about your choice and that can live with it over time. 


Know that you made the best decision you could by looking at it from all angles. 


And most important of all, be grateful for everything you have–these are blessings from the Almighty Above and you need to have faith that He/She is guiding and helping you all along the way. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Nourishment For The Soul

Aron Kodesh.jpeg

So the Rabbi , a Kabbalist of mystical Torah interpretation, told my wife to concentrate on 3 commandments.

1) Shabbat

2) Kosher

3) Going to Synagogue

Today, we had a little delay and almost didn’t make it to synagogue, but my wife said, “Remember what the Kabbalist said about going every week,” so we went even though we were a little late. 

We went to a conservative synagogue today called, B’nai Israel, in Rockville – it was our second time there. 

The services there are so orchestrated down to the tiniest of details…you could tell that a lot of thought, planning, and effort goes into every service. 

I was really impressed at how meticulous they were for example: 

– Explaining everything and even handing out the sources to their Shabbat speech

– Having everyone ready for their part of the service whether leading the prayers, reading the Torah, or making the blessings over the wine and bread (which was already on a cart on the bimah–alter)

– Including a women who read the weekly Torah portion, children who led some of the prayers, an elderly lady who spoke about upcoming events for the Seniors group, and they even sang Hanukah songs in everything from Ladino to Yiddish.  

At the end of the service, we spoke briefly to the Rabbi and thanked him for such a “perfect service,” and my wife commented how he had such a cool radio voice when he leads the congregation (and he really does..like JM (jewish music) in the AM).

After service, I told my wife how happy I was that we made it to synagogue, that is was like nourishment to my spirit and soul for the week.

We have to feed ourselves physically as well as intellectually, emotionally, socially, and of course spiritually.  

Like the fingers on our hand…we need them all to hold unto life itself. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Should We Care What Others Think?

fishbowl

So I was talking with someone and they were telling me how self conscious they feel about what others think of them.


They said when they were in school, they were picked on, bullied, labeled, and made to feel different and excluded.


Whether it was their hair that was different or their lunchbox that got taken and hidden from them, the other kids were relentless. 


Now in life, they are still dealing with all those feelings.


Do they look right? 


Are they educated enough?


Is their profession something others will admire them for?


And on and on. 


And at a certain point, I said, “Isn’t it more important what you think about yourself than what others think about you?”


And they said, “Sure, but I still feel like I have to live up to other people’s standards. I don’t want them to think bad about me or talk behind my back!”


I understand this way of thinking is based on trauma from the past and feelings of inadequacy and not fitting in. 


And we can spend our whole lives chasing this illusive acceptance from others. 


Or we can decide to pursue we what believe in and love, and to find healing in the good we do, rather than the nods or winks from others that we receive. 


If we are trying to live up to somebody else’s arbitrary standards of perfection, cool, or being in the in-crowd, we may never be good enough.


Instead, if we pursue what we know is right from our moral compass and our heart and soul, and always do our best, we will attain the satisfaction that comes with healthy self-development and maturation. 


Seeking unconditional acceptance and love can definitely leave you feeling frustrated, self-hating, and even quite alone. 


But accepting yourself, developing yourself, and giving to G-d and to others will always leave you feeling fulfilled. 


Forget living as if your in the fishbowl, and strive for the Superbowl of achievement through incremental progress and goal attainment in your life. 

Start with making yourself proud and the others will come around. And if for some reason they don’t, it’s truly their deficiency and loss and not yours!


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Keeping Perspective

perspective-jpeg

I thought this was a good photo to depict the importance of keeping perspective in life.


It is easy for any of us to “get bent out of shape” over big and little things alike. 


But if we sort of zoom out a little and see the larger perspective of things then perhaps we can realize that while our problems may be big for us, they are really small in comparison to the bigger picture or G-d’s eye view. 


Yes, to us, little can be big, and big can be little, but if we could just recognize that we are part of something so much more, we can get that finer-tuned perspective on what’s truly important and what’s more trivial. 


It doesn’t mean that our feelings of hurt, pain, loneliness, or injustices in the world are not important. 


They are significant for us to try to deal with them and make things better. 


Yet, we cannot go back in time and right all the wrongs, and we cannot change all the things about ourselves that we’d like to in a presto change-O wave of the hand moment. 


Life, change, and improvement are incremental. 


Sometimes, we make progress only then to fall back some. 


But overall, we need to keep the momentum of positive change for ourselves, forward.


But why are we even here? 


My wife said something the other day as follows:

“We are here in order to learn why we are here!”


Sounds confusing, but really maybe it’s not. 


Our souls are sent here in the temporary vessels of our mortal bodies.


We are here so we can spend time here in this complex and interactive world, and learn from our relationships, positively and negatively with each other. 


The learning corrects our soul’s imperfections and makes us better human and spiritual beings and brings us closer to G-d. 


At the same time that we are here, we should make it as pleasant as possible for ourselves and each other (but not over-the-top in a nihilistic and debauchery type of way). 


Stay fit, support yourselves and your family, live reasonably comfortably, so that you can pursue your karmic-driven learning and growth toward inner perfection. 


Like Buddha, we seek to purify our souls before they return to our Maker. 


In the realm of things, we are a very small microscopic human insect, but in the bigger picture, we are part of the ultimate magnanimous giving of opportunity to fix and maybe even come close to perfecting ourselves to be more like our beautiful and merciful Creator. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)