From Hate To Love

Just a self-reflection today…


Important to me. 


It’s about who I thought I was and…


Who I became. 


Truly, I went full circle from a child’s hate to an adult’s love relationship with:


– Reading


– Writing


– Swimming


– Hebrew


As a kid, I tried to avoid these like the plague, and as an adult I like to practice these every single day of my life. 


I wonder to myself is it that I strove to become good (or decent) at what I have previously been bad at or was somehow afraid of. 


Yet now, they are integral to my life, learning, and growth. 


Like the hands of a clock that circle and tick the hours and minutes. 


My life takes me full circle and brings me home to who I am and what I really love spending time at. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Rainbow Card Display

Thought this was a cool, even if rudimentary, museum display. 


Instead of postcards in the display holder, they put colored glass. 


Then just let the sun shine in and look at the awesome wall display. 


Might be fun to swap around to get different patterns and blends. 


As a kid, I always used to turn the display to see what just around the bend, in this case you get the disco effect. 


Color and light play nice together.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Thank You To The Rescuers

Houston.jpeg

With all the devastation going on around Houston and the Gulf Coast from Hurricane Harvey…


I thought it would be nice to just take a moment to reflect.


First, the pain and suffering of the people affected. 


I couldn’t believe last night when I saw this image of residents in a assisted nursing facility sitting up to the necks in flood waters.


Or this morning, when I saw a photo in the Wall Street Journal of a firefighter holding a mother with her baby daughter lying on her, rescuing them through the waters. 


With over 3,000 rescues performed for people stranded in attics, rooftops, in cars, and all over the city and surroundings, I also think it’s important to recognize all the firefighters and other emergency workers who put their lives on the line to help others. 


The Houston area is expected to get 50 inches of rain in under a week, which is what their usual annual rainfall is. 


So there is massive flooding and damage from Harvey as well as 250,000 people without power. 


My prayers go out to the people impacted and gratitude to the people who help them. 


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Huffington Post)

Like A Rock Star

Rock Star
It’s funny that people derive so much of their self esteem from others. 



If someone says something nice to/about them, then they feel on top of the world–full of worth, productive, successful, confident.



And when someone says something negative, then they get down in the dumps–depreciated, questioning, can’t do anything right, like a failure.



Yet, it the same person inside–the same heart, the same soul.



Of course, we are impacted by our behavior (when we do good and not) and people’s reactions to it–and we should be–it’s a helpful feedback mechanism to let us know when we are messing up or as reinforcement to continue doing good things. 



But at the same time, people’s feedback is not always correct or well-intentioned and certainly it doesn’t necessarily represent holistically who we are…it’s just a snapshot in time. 



So we need to take what people say and reflect back to us with a grain of salt–listen, try to understand, but also look at the bigger picture of you. 



You know yourself better than anyone else, so incorporate the feedback and use it to improve, but don’t get bogged down by any person, event, or cheap talk.  



Yes, you can be a rock star, by reflecting from what others tell you, but more importantly by listening to that voice inside that guides you. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Reflections

reflections
We did a little kayaking at Lake Needwood today.



I couldn’t believe they open at 6:30 in the morning already to rent boats on a Sunday.



In the boathouse, there was a huge spider on the floor crawling around, and the boat attendant came with a thingamajig to grab it and throw it back in the lake.



As he took the spider away, he made sure to tell us that is was POISONOUS!



On the lake, I took this photo of the gorgeous trees and greenery and it’s reflection on the water…a perfect mirror image.



Thank you G-d for the amazing world you have created and allow us to enjoy. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Just Can’t Bear To Think

Whether though endless work, family activities, exercise, computer time, or whatever, people have a hard time just stopping to think. 

According to the Washington Post, a study in Science shows that people would rather do just about anything–including administer electric shocks to themselves–rather than having to just think for a little while. 

Fully 67% of men and 25% of women chose electric shocks over sitting and thinking for just 6-15 minutes!

People are “desperate for distractions”–whether through social media or smartphones and more.

This is why many ancient practices such as Buddhism, martial arts, yoga, and other disciplines teach meditation–sitting silently, without distraction, deeply in thought. 

People are afraid to stop their endless running, rounds of chores and activities, hustle and bustle, and just think about what they are actually doing and where they are going.

Sitting alone with yourself–you have to confront you!

  • Fears and anxieties
  • Life problems of all sorts
  • Mistakes and personal inadequacies
  • Bad habits and even dangerous addictions

Keeping yourself endlessly busy is an enabler to avoid sometimes painful reflection, introspection, and even necessary self-help. 

While you often hear that doctors recommend a certain amount of activity to keep physically healthy, I believe that similarly, mental and spiritual guidance would be for carving out time for physical inactivity and instead focusing on meditation and reflection. 

Perhaps, this is one reason that the Sabbath (kept in various ways by religions around the world) is so important to the mind and soul–it is a time to stop the work and daily mundane activities and instead focus on your spiritual side. 

Contrary to what you might think, refraining from all the activity may be one of the hardest things to actually do, but stopping and thinking (instead of just continuously doing), confronting yourself, and making life course corrections can be some of the most rewarding. 

Can you stop and think for just 15 minutes or do you need that next fix of compulsive distraction? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Listening and Blessings

Listening and Blessings

Two reflections from this week:

1. Listen to understand:
I heard a colleague talk about the importance of listening. There wasn’t really anything new about that, except he went on to say, “Listen to understand, not to refute or resolve.” The more, I thought about this, the more brilliant I realized this was. How often do we either not really listen to the other person? And when we do listen at all, aren’t we most of the time jumping to either refute what they are saying or resolve their issue? The key though is to listen to understand. Ask questions. Get clarifications. Only once you really listen to the other person and understand what they are saying, can you begin to address the thoughts and feeling they are expressing to you.

2. G-d Blessed You:
Usually when I see people asking for help/money on the streets, they have signs–handwritten, often on cardboard or the like–that says something about their plight. Perhaps, they are homeless, lost their job, ill or disabled, have kids to support…and they are asking for your help and mercy. At the end of the sign or if you give them some change or a few dollars, they say thanks, but also “G-d bless you” in the future tense. And this is really nice to get a blessing in return for some basic charity and kindness. However, there is one poor person begging in downtown D.C., and he says it differently. His sign asks for help and says, “G-d blessed you” in the past-present tense. First, I thought maybe this was just a grammatical mistake, but then I realized what he was saying. G-d blessed you, so please give back to others. This wasn’t a thank you wish to the other person, but rather a reason that you should give to begin with. Recognize how fortunate you are (and maybe you don’t even necessarily deserve it), but G-d blessed you, so have mercy and give to others.

Hope these reflections mean something to you the way they do to me, and have a good weekend everyone!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)