You Can’t See Yourself

So this donut-shaped art at the Outlets in Clarksburg is metallic and reflective. 


But what is really interesting to me is that when you stand in front of it (like I was literally doing here), you can’t see yourself. 


It made me wonder how you can look at yourself and yet not see yourself. 


And I thought of this as being a bigger lesson in life. 


When we are looking at ourself and there is a big donut whole in the mirror of ourselves then we are left blind to what should be reflecting back at us.  


No matter how hard we try to see ourselves and what we are doing right and wrong, it’s like a ghost out there–we are blind to it. 


To really see ourselves, our heart and mind have to be receptive to seeing the full picture. 


That means looking at ourselves as we really are, even when there seems to be a piece missing to the puzzle, and we have trouble being honest about what we see. 


To change, learn, grow–to become a better person, we need to look full on and be willing to see what we will see.  


You can’t see yourself until you can.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Reflections B4 Yom Kippur

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Reflections Before Yom Kippur.

“I get up in the middle of the night, and I’m still 3/4 asleep. My mouth feels dry, and I walk over to the mouthwash to refresh. I reach for the bottle, but I grab the image in the mirror…”

Hope you enjoy this true story and the parable for living our spiritual lives and not just reach for the ego image in the mirror.

May you be sealed for another year in the book of life. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Actual From Abstract

A colleague’s daughter drew this. 


At first glance, I wasn’t sure what I was looking at. 


Do you see what it is?


At first, I was thinking something a little alien perhaps. 


But there it is right in front of you.


It’s the head, ears, nose, and tusks of an elephant. 


I really like the abstractness of this art. 


All from simple circles, and voila you have an elephant. 


Look carefully at what you think you see, and let your mind put the whole picture together. 


That’s how you come to the actual from the abstract! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Me Myself and I

I thought this was really fascinating about how we interact with others.


It’s a theory by Martin Buber called the I-Thou relationship.


In every relationship, there are really 6 people in the room:


– Who I am.


– Who I want to be.


– Who I am perceived as.


———–


– Who they are.


– Who they want to be.


– Who they are perceived as. 


———-


Taking about a break between reality, fantasy, and perception. 


Is it any wonder that there are so many communication breakdowns and relationship disappointments. 


We need to coalesce around a unified persona of I and thou–and if we don’t know, perhaps we need to ask for clarification.


We don’t want to talk past each other. 


We want to talk to and work with each other. 


I am me and you are you. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

My Realness and My Dreaminess

Just a quote from the show Homeland that I wanted to share:

“My dreams have a realness…
My Reality has a dreaminess…”

This is so true!


Dreaming and reality have a definite touchpoint and carryover between them. 


In Judaism, their is a saying that:

“Sleeping is one-sixtieth of death.”


Life-sleeping-death all exist along a continuum. 


The elements of our being cross all three of these domains. 


When we are alive, there are elements of dreaminess–and it often doesn’t feel quite real. 


When we are asleep, our dreams can often seem so real that we actually feel them and physically react them–we may even scream and wake up an incredible fright. 


When we are dead, I believe that we live on–that our soul never ceases–that it is a part of our everlasting G-d. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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)

The Fine Line Between Fantasy and Reality

So I’ve started to realize that there are at times a (very) thin line between fantasy and reality. 


In some cases, people hear some facts or some truth, and then in their mind, they concoct entire stories of fantasy or full-fledged conspiracy around it.


But more than that, the fantasy in their minds, because it starts with a real fact or two then becomes entirely perceived as reality itself. 


We saw plenty of this in the last election cycle and even today, with one political side or the other purchasing phony dossiers or making up stories about the opposition–and they may even have some underlying facts associated with it. 


But around these facts, entire scripts and stories are concocted through inductive reasoning or highly imaginative thinking, whether for example, of deep Russian conspiracies reminiscent of the era of McCarthyism or the Salem Witch Trails of yesteryear. 


Again, I’m not saying that nothing is there, but the question is whether there is real truth then to the whole conspiracy that has been drawn from fantastical minds of opposition agents, reporters, and others gainfully benefiting and perhaps running amuck with these grandiose versions of alternate reality?


What I am coming to believe is that it’s not so much that people are willfully making up these stories (although there can certainly be plenty of biases, exaggerations, and agendas at work as well), but that in their mind, they create these bombastic versions of what seems like truth to them and then they pawn it off and sell it to others who are only to happy to latch unto some juicy new gossip or theory of “what’s really going on.”


Similarly, some people who get very mad may actually take albeit a genuine fight with another person and pour layer upon layer of evil doings and manipulations on them until by the time their mind is done, the other person has become the devil themselves–and the fantasy for a short time seems like it is the reality–until such time that cooler heads prevail and reality replaces the mind’s fantasy or it’s ultimate fears. 


In short, there is a very fine line between fantasy and reality–our minds can get carried away with facts or notions of the moment and build those into full-fledged conspiracy theories of “who done it” and “why didn’t we see it all along.”


Certainly, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t some very good pretenders out there who truly are doing very bad things and covering their tracks, and it’s for the gifted and detective minds out there to perceive those and prove them as being the greater reality.


But we have to be careful in accusing people–until such time that the facts are all there and the perception or fantasy of our mind’s eye is shown to be the reality indeed. 


We need good investigative journalism, excellent law enforcement and intelligence, and clarity of mind to know what’s real and what’s fake in life and in our fantastical minds. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)