You Can Overcome It!

I like this runner’s shirt a lot. 


It says:

Courage is endurance for one moment more.


Just when you feel that you cannot go on for another moment.


Just when you are at your very limit.


Just when you’ve reached your total breaking point. 


Then…


You take that deep breath and focus your mind intently. 


You disassociate yourself from the pain and struggle. 


You see the challenge in front of you for what it really is and you raise yourself above and beyond it.


Your inner spirit is so much greater than its power over you. 


You have the inner faith and can endure whatever it is. 


You can overcome it! 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Get Over It

Thought this was a funny title for a book:

“Sh*t Happens So Get Over It.”

There are no perfect lives out there. 


I reminded again this week how everyone has something: Mark Herd, Co-CEO of Oracle, died at 62 and and Elijah Cummings, elected to 12 terms in the House of Representatives, died at 68.


All the success int he world on the surface doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty of schlimazel (misfortune) under the surface.


Unfortunately, sh*t definitely happens in life and we can get all spun up over it or we can take everything in faith and stride. 


What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. 


What does kill takes us to the next phase of existence. 


All you can do is your best, the rest is in the hands of the Almighty above. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Humanity of Routine

People are creatures of habit. 


They form routines and function with relative comfort and efficiency within that. 


And for the most part, we can recognize our own patterns in life. 


Get up, brush our teeth, dress, daven (pray), go to work and so on. 


After a while, you can do it mostly in your sleep. 


We sort of become like automatons. 


Flip the switch and we go.


When routine and structure become so rigid that we can no longer improvise or innovate then we have a big problem in higher order functioning. 


But also when we break people’s structures and habits, we find that they can quickly lose their sh*t. 


People need to control their time and maintain their patterns of life. 


Therein lies a certain safety and comfort in that repetitive doing.


You know what you’re doing–you’ve done it before, so you can do it again.


If you strip a person of their control over their time and the structure of their behavior, they are truly naked and in much more than a physical sense.  (They articulated this in The Punisher, Season One, on Netflix)


All of a sudden they don’t know what to do or how to do it. 


Do they go crazy, breakdown, or tell you everything you want to know. 


Torture is not just physical, but also mental and emotional. 


It is not hard to take away something so simple and a person is no longer a full person anymore. 


People need solid coping as well as survival skills to deal with the unknown.


Finally, appreciate when everything is more or less under control, because that’s truly a blessing.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

We’re Part of a Much Larger Script

I loved this explanation of the Book of Job by Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

G-d answers by showing Job the incredible elements of creation and the universe.

Why?

1) Complexity and Interrelationship of the Universe:

As isolated individuals, we might expect to be judged solely by our individual deeds of good and bad (2-dimensional), but also we are cogs in the larger universe (the 3rd dimension).

Therefore, what happens to us is not just a result of what we do, but also is a part of G-d’s larger overall plan for the world. 

Even small acts can have large impacts.

For example, you sneeze and somewhere down the line it causes a tsunami.

Similarly, like actors in a cosmic play of a billion pages, we may not see or understand why our individual role may be what it is, but if you would see and understand the context of the overall drama (what came before us, after us, and how it all interrelates) then from a G-d’s eye view, it makes sense.

Every act of destruction can lead to a higher divine purpose.

Like the grass that is mowed over and uprooted to plants crops or the wheat that is harvested and ground up to make bread.

So, we can have faith that there is a reason and purpose for everything even if it is a mystery or unanswered question to us.

And even in our suffering, G-d, the master of the Universe, is saying that “I’m here with you thru it all.” You are not alone!

2) By challenging us, G-d gives us the “tough gift” to cope, grow, and become better people. 

Even though things that happen may look bad to you, they can lead to good for you.

You don’t always get what you want, but you get what you need.

You have choice: you can be bitter, resentful, cynical, and angry or can look at life with hope, optimism and resilience.

Thus, suffering can be a vehicle of self-transformation and elevation. The challenges you face can help you become a different person–a greater person.

You can learn to feel not just your own pain and disappointment, but that of others.

You have the opportunity to grow yourself and the opportunity to help others.

(Thank you to Rebecca Ochayon for sending me this awesome video!)

Life = Growth

Thought this was an interesting photo at REI.


It says behind the cash registers:

People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. – Eleanor Roosevelt


The  background has this serene river flow–along with some obvious whitewater. 


But in front of it, the cash register area is hopping crazy and messy.


It’s a contradiction–not unlike life itself which is full of it’s own ups and downs that challenge us routinely. 


Life is where we get the experience that shapes us and strengthens us, as long as it does not break us.  


Life = Growth


Why else would we be here?


G-d is the best teacher. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Bar Mitzvah Speech Page 3

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Bar Mitzvah Speech Page 3.”

I wondered to myself how come this bar mitzvah boy didn’t end his speech with the traditional thank you to: my loving mother and father, my dear grandparents, my annoying brothers and sisters, and all my terrific uncle and aunts who came from Israel, Europe, and Canada to be with me here on this special day? There was none of that, and I was puzzled — how can he not thank everyone who made this day possible?

This was a true lesson about always being prepared and resilient, because that is what true empowerment is all about. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Rocky Says

A quote from my role model Rocky: 

It’s not about how hard you hit.
It’s about how hard you get hit.
And keep moving on.
That’s how winning is done.

Go Rocky!


And by the way, you should hit pretty (i.e. very) hard also. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)