Breaking The Cycle Of Trauma

Thought these are some beautiful sentiments about breaking the cycle of trauma in our lives: 

“Hurt people hurt people.

That’s how pain patterns get passed on, generation after generation after generation.

Break the chain today.

Meet anger with sympathy, contempt with compassion, cruelty with kindness. 

Greet grimaces with smiles.

Forgive and forget about finding fault.

Love is the weapon of the future.”

– Yehuda Berg, The Kabbalah Center

This is powerful–it should only be that we can have a complete healing, betterment, and a renewal of peace for all. 


One other thing that I heard that was so plain and simple, yet so smart was that:

Our job in this world is to do the most good that we can do!

Thank you to Minna Blumenthal for sharing all this.

(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)

Water Cross

This was so fun in the pool.


The water was on and it was almost like a really high-speed jet jacuzzi. 


The cool water was rushing at me and splashing in my face and it was a nice moment of relaxation and feeling of life. 


For those who have been to the mikvah, it felt refreshing and like a renewal of spirit. 


Just in jest…when I look at this, I can’t help noticing that it almost looks like Jesus on the cross. 


Except, thank G-d no nails, torture, or Roman Legion involved in this. 😉


(Source Video: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Even The Water

Dirty Water

So I was in a meeting yesterday. 


And someone had a bottle of what looked like very dirty water. 


I said to the guy sad-jokingly, “Where’s that from–Flint, Michigan?”


He sadly smiles back and says, “No, I just filled the bottle with iced tea!”


But everyone around the table sighed at the tragic state of affairs with the filthy, contaminated water in Flint. 


The high levels of lead in the water has allegedly resulted in “skin lessons, hair loss, high levels of lead in the blood, vision loss, memory loss, depression and anxiety.”


It’s unbelievable that in an American city with a population around 100,000 that they cannot safely shower or drink their water. 


To make things even worse, now banks are hunkering down and don’t want to give mortgages to people in Flint until they can prove that their water is safe


What’s amazing is that this miserable situation in our cities is not the exception, but the rule. 


As of 2003 already, The American Society for Civil Engineering gives us a hideous grade of D on our infrastructure that is aged and in disrepair.


This includes our:

– Energy

– Transportation

– Ports

– Aviation

– Levees

– Dams

– Schools

– Roads

– Inland Waterways

– Wastewater

– Hazardous Waste

– Parks and Recreation

– Rail

– Bridges

– Solid Waste

– Drinking Water


They estimate we need at least $3.6 trillion of investment for infrastructure renewal just by 2020. 


Interestingly enough, the useless decade-long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan costs us over $4 trillion and the lives of almost 14,000 American military and contractor personnel.


What would you rather have a destabilized Middle East now swarming with ISIS, the Taliban, and a resurgent $100 billion richer and nuclear- and terror-determined Iran or a proper country here for us to live in with an actual strategy-driven national security and good schools and clean drinking water? 


(Source Photo: here with attribution to B1ue5sky)

>Five Lessons From The Chilean Rescue

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This week, we as humankind were renewed by the rescue of the 33 miners in Chile.

“Viva Chile! They Left No Man Behind” writes Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal (16-17, Oct. 2010).

The Chileans took what was a human tragedy and instead turned it upside down and inside out into a worldwide victory!

Yet, as the rescue unfolded first with the search for the miners, their discovery, their being sustained while rescue tunnels were dug, and then ultimately as each miner—one by one—was brought to the surface safely—clean-shaven and smiling, I couldn’t help thinking to myself how perfectly everything was going—each time again and again—and then starting to worry that something has got to go wrong here (almost by Murphy’s Law)—this is too perfect!

Yet, nothing went wrong, it was a watertight rescue of all the miners.

As flawed human beings with all our warts and all, I think we were at some level shocked with disbelief by the flawless events that unfolded.

No cost overruns, no schedule delays, no one was hurt, no glitches in equipment or otherwise. It was a run of complete success that almost never happens in real life and yet, we all saw it unfold one, two, three…thirty-three before our very eyes.

This doesn’t happen in real life—only in fairy tales, right? This certainly doesn’t happen in most information technology projects! 😉

But even more stunning to us than the success of the rescue itself was the undercurrent of the prevailing of good over evil manifesting before us—almost like G-d was revealing himself to us again, as he did in Biblical times. As one of the miners poetically said: “I met G-d. I met the devil. G-d won.”

The shocker here was that a people, nation, and in effect the entire world was focused on saving these 33 simple miners. This in our day and age, when we have become more accustomed to those who dehumanize and devalue human life, rather than those who genuinely value and safeguard it as the Chileans did.

As Ms. Noonan puts it: “They used the human brain and spirit to save life. All we get every day is scandal.”

Recent events remind us of the huge contrast between those who value life and those who don’t, such as 9-11, almost daily suicide (read “homicide”) bombings for political aims, the blatant proliferation and threats of WMD (and now cyber warfare), the violation of human rights by dictatorships and thugs around the world, including political imprisonments, rigged elections, restrictions of free information flow, and more violent acts such as mass rapes, female genital mutilation, genocide, slave prison camps, and more.

Moreover, while we witness events going wrong everyday and governments, companies, and peoples seeming unable to set things right, in Chile, we saw a nation and a people that set their minds and might to bringing the miners home safely and they did, period.

There are some important lessons here for us for the future:

  1. Find the moral good. It starts with valuing and safeguarding human life. Our agenda should always be to prioritize helping others and saving lives. The Chileans did just that when they didn’t wring their hands and just walk away from the tragedy saying it was over. Instead, saving the lives was a national priority. Similarly, providing the speedy drill to the Chileans from the U.S. that tunneled in half the time to the miners was a gesture that we too value life and are partners with them in saving the miners.
  2. Contain the problem. The problems we face are “ginormous” (read: gigantic and enormous) and the only way we are gong to be able to overcome them is to break them down into pieces and attack them at their source. The Chileans took a big rescue operation and by decomposing it into plan A, B, and C, etc. and tackling each piece of the problem (locating the miners, sustaining them, rescuing them, etc.), they made the solution doable.
  3. Leverage technology. We are hampered in our abilities by our own human limitations. But we can extend our capabilities and expand those limits through technology. The rescue of the miners used many new technologies in drilling, communications, and materials to make the rescue not only possible, but also probable. We need to constantly innovate and use technology to make the impossible, possible.
  4. Stand united. No question, we are stronger together than apart. The Chilean nation and people united in their efforts to rescue and bring home the miners. It was a mission they believed in and which they stood together in accomplishing. Politics, infighting, and mudslinging can divide us when we need to be unified. We need to understand that when we take pot shots to score points, we undermine the mission and the successes we desperately need.
  5. Stay positive. Even in the face of what seems like assured calamity, we must keep our wits, stay strong, and focus on solutions. If we do this, we can say goodbye to Murphy’s Law, and helpless and hopelessness be gone. A renewed spirit of optimism and a can-do attitude can carry us forward to new heights that we can all be proud of.

As the article states: the Chileans “set to doing something hard, specific, physical, demanding of commitment, precision, and expertise. And they did it.” And we can again do it too.

>Gap Analysis and Enterprise Architecture

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There was a terrific keynote at the 1105 Government Information Group enterprise architecture conference this week in Washington, DC by Mr. Armando Ortiz, who presented “An Executive Architect’s View of IT Asset Investment and EA Governance Strategies.”

The highlight for me was Mr. Ortiz, view of EA gap analysis, which goes something like this (i.e. in my words):

Enterprise architects, supported by business and technical subject matter experts across the organization, develop the current and target architectures. The difference between these is what I would call, the architecture gap, from which is developed the transition plan (so far not much new here).

But here comes the rest…

The gap between the current IT assets and the target IT assets results in one of two things, either:

  • New IT assets (i.e. an investment strategy) or
  • Retooling of existing IT assets (i.e. a basic containment strategy);

New IT investments are a strategic, long-term strategy and retooling the existing IT assets is an operational, short-term strategy.

In terms of the corporate actors, you can have either:

  • Business IT (decentralized IT) or
  • Enterprise IT (centralized IT; the CIO) manage the IT asset strategy.

For new IT investments:

  • If they are managed by business IT, then the focus is business innovation (i.e. it is non-standard IT and driven by the need for competitive advantage), and
  • If it is managed by enterprise IT, then it is a growth strategy (i.e. it is rolling out standardized IT—utility computing–for implementing enterprise solutions for systems or infrastructure).

For existing IT assets:

  • If they are managed by business IT, then the focus is improvement (i.e. improving IT for short-term profitability), and
  • If it is managed by enterprise IT, then it is a renewal strategy (i.e. for recapitalizing enterprise IT assets).

What the difference who is managing the IT assets?

  • When IT Assets are managed by business IT units, then the organization is motivated by the core mission or niche IT solutions and the need to remain nimble in the marketplace, and
  • When IT assets are managed by the enterprise IT, then the organizations is motivated by establishing centralized controls, standards, and cost-effectiveness.

Both approaches are important in establishing a solid, holistic, federated IT governance.

Mr. Ortiz went on to describe the EA plans developing three CIO WIFMS (what’s in it for me):

  • Operational excellence (“run IT efficiently)
  • Optimization (“make IT better”)
  • Transformation (“new IT value proposition”)

The link between IT assets, investment/containment strategies, business and enterprise IT actors, and the benefits to the CIO and the enterprise was a well articulated and perceptive examination of enterprise architecture and gap analysis.