How Do I Choose?

So I thought this was an interesting topic for the sermon on Shabbat by Ben Shemony. 


It was about how we are confronted in life with whether to follow our impulses or our values. 


I think there is a lot to this topic…


Some may see it as the little good angel standing over one shoulder and another bad angel standing over the other trying to convince us what to do when it’s decision time.  


Others may be perpetually torn between temptations or pleasures of materialism and the flesh versus of pursuing what you know to be spiritually good and right in this world. 


Either way, as human beings, we are a complex make-up of both body and soul.


Do we give in to temptation and do what feels good–more money, more food, more clothes and jewelry, more houses, cars, and yachts, more vacations, more carnal pleasures from the proverbial “wine, women, and song” or do we pursue the path of spirituality, serving our maker, caring and giving and doing good for others and the world?  


It sounds simple, but our impulses tell us one thing and our values tell us another. 


Are we being selfish or selfless?


Perhaps, too much of anything is bad for us–even too much giving and selflessness–we need to care for ourselves too–we are mortal, we have needs, we have to nourish ourselves, and we need to live. 


But you can’t be a glutton or a slave to your impulses–you can’t take and not give, your can’t indulge until you make yourself sick, or take at the expense of and harm to others.


Like all things in life, there is a need for balance.


Certainly our spirit should guide our animal. 


If and when our animal is dictating to our spirit then we are in real trouble. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Today is Father’s Day

What a beautiful Father’s Day card from my daughter. 


Also, the message she wrote to me inside was so thoughtful and mature. 


It is wonderful for me to see her grow up to be such a lovely young lady. 


The cover of the card:

“Father:
Neither an anchor to hold us back, 
nor a sail to take us there, 
but a guiding light whose
love shows us the way.”


As parents, we certainly don’t have all the answers either for ourselves or certainly for our children. 


And frankly, the kids don’t want us to tell them what to do or how to do it. 


The best we can really do is to be there for them–to spend time with them, to support them, to show them we really care, and to provide perspective, balance, and faith. 


I used to love going to my parent’s house even if just to lay on the couch and feel the comfort of being “home” and with them. 


I didn’t have to think about what I did or said–I could just be me, and they loved me for that. 


Now, I want my home to be that for my kids. 


Even though they are adults now, they know we are always here for them in any way that they want or need us. 


Our home is always their home. 


Our love is always surrounding them. 


My father used to say, he would go through fire for his family, and I always knew he meant it. 


I could count on him for anything.


I miss him always, and especially today, Father’s Day. 


But I can carry on his fatherhood to my children and try to be a good dad–there, and loving and giving–no bounds, no expectations, no judgment–just love, plain and simple. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Suicide Office To-Dos

Suicide

So at times, organizations send out notices to their staff with self help suggestions or organizational resources that are available.


One such case is for suicide prevention. 


For example, if you are thinking about suicide, perhaps you should contract the employee assistance program.


It’s a good idea to reach out to employees when the messaging is done in a way that makes employees feel they are genuinely cared about and needed, and substantial help is available to them.


People contemplating suicide are in a desperate state of mind and proper handling is nothing less than a life or death situation.


Going to the extreme to make a point for a moment, office reminders about suicide prevention should never be selfish or cavalier, such as:


– Remember to turn the lights out.


– Set your out of office message on.


– Have you done a knowledge transfer to ensure a smooth transition?


If employees are coming away feeling like the organization is just sending out a form message or treating their feelings and situation lightly or in their own interests (such as to remove/reduce liability) that is apt to make things worse and not better.


Please treat employees with genuine dignity, respect, caring, and humanity, and offer them substantive help when they need it.


There are families depending on them and they love and need them. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Jason Kuffer)

A Being Of Light

Being of Light 2

So last night, I dreamed about my beloved dad. 


He was in synagogue praying–something he did every day.


I was telling my dad that it was time to go.


But he didn’t want to leave–synagogue was his favorite place to be close to G-d and his friends. 


My dad was in the front of the synagogue elevated on the steps before the Holy Ark (where the Torahs are kept).


I looked at my dad and somehow knew/felt that he was near death. 


I ran to him and threw my arms around him in an incredible completely loving hug–clutching on to him to stay with us, longer.


In this embrace, I could feel his total and undying love for me.


Now he no longer looked like my dad but like a being of light–such as I had never seen.


He had died, but was still somehow alive in another way. 


I miss my dad–he was a truly holy man (a Tzadik) and a loving husband, father, and grandfather, who would do anything for us. 


I wish I could sit and speak with him again, hold his hand, hear him sing when we came over, and see him smile. 


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Taltopia.com)