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)
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. 😉
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?
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!
It’s been a week since Zach Sobiech, age 18, died from a rare bone cancer, called Osteosarcoma.
Zach was diagnosed at just the tender age of 14 and by 17 he was given less than a year to live.
During his last year on Earth, he wrote this beautiful song, Clouds.
The lyrics are amazing:
“And we’ll go up, up, up
But I’ll fly a little higher
We’ll go up in the clouds because the view is a little nicer
Up here my dear
It won’t be long now, it won’t be long now
If only I had a little bit more time
It only I had a little bit more time with you.”
Anticipating his death, Zach imagines, as a soul, flying up in the clouds–where the “view is a little nicer.”
And he knows, time is short–and “it won’t be long now”–and although he’ll be able to see his family, friends, and loved ones from the clouds, he wishes he “had a little bit more time” with them on Earth.
Death is hard at any age, but it is especially tragic when it is a child or someone who hasn’t been able to fully live–and experience so many things or make all their contributions.
But at any age, the loss of a good person, a kind person, a loving person–is a loss for all of us, left behind.
Zach, some day we’ll see you in the clouds with the other good people–it should be at the right time, merciful, and when our job here is done.
It is okay to love life and the special people around us and to miss them terribly when we go, but we all go to the same place…to be with G-d, and each other, in Heaven.
In the after life, we can fly higher, with a nicer view, and reflect on how we did with the precious gifts and time given to us–whether long or short–before being called spiritually home again to our perfect maker. 😉
Felix Baumgartner jumped from a helium-filled balloon lifted space capsule, one week ago today, to set a skydiving record from 24 miles up and reaching the speed of 834 miles per hour.
On Felix’s helmet was a GoPro video camera to capture this memorable event.
GoPro is the leader in wearable, waterproof, shockproof videocameras and has an especially strong market in action and extreme sports.
Their newest helmet-mounted camera is the HD HERO3 (available 17 October 2012), and it continues the significant trend to ever smaller, lighter, and more powerful cameras technology.
I like this video they put out showing the high resolution and exciting video taken while doing activities from surfing to mountain climbing, deep sea diving, flying, kayaking, and more.
I have a feeling that these cameras are going to make a leap from capturing adventure photography to being used for lifelogging and lifejournaling–where people capture major life events on a wearable camera, and in some extreme cases–they try to capture virtually their whole life!
As someone who has blogged now, thank G-d, for 5 1/4 years, I greatly value the ability to capture important events, share, and potentially influence–and lifelogging with discrete, wearable camera technology can take this even further.
Of course, with this technology, we need the ability to search, discover, and access the truly memorable moment–those that are meaningful to you and can have a deep and lasting impact on others–and let’s face it, despite the rise of Reality TV, most of life is not quite a Kardashian moment. 😉
It sort of reminds me of the Wendy’s commercial, where the old lady asks from a fictitious competitor, “where’s the beef?” With lifelogging, blogging, or other capture and sharing technologies, the beef had better be there (people’s time is valuable)!
There are billions of people to reach–capture, reflect, share…in writing and with pictures–then truly, “The pen is mightier than the sword.”