Story About Dressing Modestly

One of my good friends told me a funny story.

The friend of his daughter was wearing one of those cropped shirts which expose the belly.

She said that her dad told her to throw a party for her clothes, so that her shirt could meet her shorts.

I guess all dads worry about the modesty of their daughters.

This was a good tznius story that hammers home the point and is also pretty funny. ūüėČ

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Struggling With Some Decisions

So I’ve been helping some family members with some really big decisions lately.¬†


As we all know, there are pros and cons to every alternative. 


I remember how you can diagram decisions out like the branches of a tree with probabilities for each branch to try and get to the highest value decision. 


The problem is we don’t know everything that may happen down the road or even know the probabilities for each possibility–or as they say:

We don’t know what we don’t know.¬†¬†


So it’s hard to make a great decision and not second guess yourself.

Well, what if…


You can “what if” yourself to sleepless nights and death and never decide or do anything meaningful.¬†


We have to make the best decisions we can usually with limited information. 


Using gut or intuition is not a solution either–those can end up being very wrong especially when we let our raw emotions dictate.¬†


So I do not take decision-making for myself or helping others lightly, especially my family. 


I want to protect them and help them make good decisions that will bear fruit and joy down the road. 


I definitely don’t want to waste everyones time and efforts and lead them or myself down a dead end or worse off of a cliff.


In the end, we have to turn to G-d and whisper:

Oh G-d, please help us to make the right decisions, because only you know what the results will be from it. 


And so, I am definitely whispering!


At the same time, we need to move forward and not let fear and doubt get in our way of living. 


Yes, we have to be prudent and take calculated¬†risks (everything worthwhile is a risk), but also,¬†we have to look at the potential¬†rewards¬†and the¬†costs¬†for these (every decision is an investment of time and resources) and then just try our best. ūüėČ


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Bills, Health, and Purpose

So I wanted to share some wisdom from one of my best friends. 


He was telling me about some of life’s stresses at work, home, etc., and he said even though every looks forward to retirement “one day,” the problems don’t go away.¬†


He mentioned some examples of people he knows that retired relatively young and with a pension.


Nevertheless, he said:

They still worry about bills, about health, and mostly about purpose!


And even though they don’t have the day-to-day grind in the office, he said:

Their own stress is as real to them as mine is to me.


I couldn’t help reflecting on his words and thinking how smart this was.¬†


No one has it all!


Everyone is this world has fears, worries, and problems. 


And you know what?¬† It’s okay.¬†¬†


Life is about us confronting what seems unconfrontable and becoming better human beings because we did. ūüėČ


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Anxiety Filter

What a brilliant picture of “Anxiety” by a child in Montgomery County, Maryland.¬†


Notice the great big letters–and all in caps–for what ANXIETY feels like.¬†


Anxiety is black–it’s when we are in a dark foreboding place and we can’t find our way out–it holds us back from doing what we need and¬†like¬†to do.¬†


Anxiety feels so all-enveloping¬†and ginormous–it dwarfs us in the “I”–and we feel so small and are paralyzed, incapable of freeing ourselves from it.¬†


Anxiety is a cognitive and emotional bias where we see things in black and white–everything is to the extreme–and there are no greys; we tend to talk in all or nothing and our actions may mimic our extreme feelings.¬†


Around the anxiety, we are bordering in blood red–we are in a dangerous place–where our feelings of fear, inadequacy, and being incapable of overcoming it can lead us to do something desperate and final.¬†


When we are drowning in anxiety, it is like a lens or filter that clouds our vision and thinking, so we can make bad decisions, not make any decisions, or just procrastinate in order to avoid the issue and thing we are afraid of. 


We have to fight off the octopus grip of anxiety.


We have to find our courage within and from G-d.


We have to conquer our demons so we can meet our destiny head-on. 


We have a mission to fulfill in our life, and we can’t let anything get in the way.¬†


Fate is waiting for us to make our important contribution, so then we can be gathered to our fathers and rest in final peace. ūüėČ


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Why Worry?

So I had an interesting conversation with a colleague, and they tell me their philosophy about worry, as follows:

Worrying is suffering twice!


I thought this was pretty smart. 


With worry, we suffer when we worry and then we suffer again if the thing we are worrying about actually comes to fruition. 


So in essence, we are doubling up on the suffering.


Yet, worry can be constructive if we use it to spur us to positive action such as in confronting and dealing with challenging situations. 


But when we worry just for the sake of worry because we can’t control our anxiety and moreover, it actually may paralyze us with fear, then this is obviously a bad thing.¬†


Do I worry?


Sure do, but like my dad, I use worry to try and think out-of-the-box, to plan, to problem-solve, to figure out coping mechanisms etc. 


Worry is suffering for sure. 


However, if we can channel the worry to¬†positive¬†impact, then the worry can be worth the pain it inflicts on us. ūüėČ


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Faith Has To Win Over Worry

Anxiety is worry and fear on steroids.


Some people have separation anxiety.


Others have social anxiety.


And then there is good ‘ol generalized anxiety.


It was fascinating-scary to learn that nearly 1 in 3 will have an anxiety disorder before the age of 18.


Despite all the abundance, affluence, advancement and technological progress, people are nevertheless more fearful about their present and futures. 


Perhaps like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, when people weren’t able to satisfy their most basics physiological and safety needs, they didn’t know better to worry about everything else like whether they were truly loved, integrated, on the right track in life and fulfilled.¬†¬†


These days, we have more money, time, and information to know that there is plenty to be anxious about. 


We know the most horrible stories of trauma, illness, death, corruption, disaster, terror, and war–it’s plastered on the news and Internet 24/7/365.


Moreover, our “friends” and connections are blabbing about it on the social networks day-in and -out.


We are aware of our mistakes and foibles in real time as feedback is given and received with both likes as well as open criticism, marginalization, and alienation at every turn we take.


You have to ask yourself–is it meant to help anyone or to degrade and destroy the others, the opposition, the ones we don’t like anymore.¬†


It’s not just trolls that can make your life miserable, but everyone from your bosses to your peers and social circle who give you pause with continuous reaction and footnote–much of it driven by alternative facts and fake other world self-serving reality.


Perhaps yesterday you were a genius and on top of the world, but then all of a sudden you’re low-life garbage.


Your self-worth and future are measured by likes and dislikes, connections and reactions by people who are driven by their own agendas, power, and biases. 


It’s not just local either.¬†


North Korea and Iran are tweeting about destroying the world and their latest rocket launches and WMD development. 


Tomorrow maybe the end of one or of many. 


There is truly plenty to worry about in society driven by selfishness, materialism, faithlessness and a moral vacuum where truly anything goes. 


Selflessness, meaning, morality, and faith have to win over all the reasons to be anxious. 


We know too much about the bad every day, and this can only be overcome by anchoring ourselves in the good. ūüėČ


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Face The Fear

Face The Fear.jpeg

I have to give my wife credit. 


She said something to me the other day that was really profound and had a deep impact on me. 


Something bad had happened and honestly, it was a truly frightening situation.


At first, it seemed like one of those negative surprises in life that brings bad news and you are at first sort of shocked. 


As things progress though and the news unfortunately doesn’t get better, but in fact gets worse, the shock turns to fear and maybe even panic.¬†


Oh shit, what do I do now?


Turn this way..no good. 


Turn that way…no good.


Retreat…not an option.


So I speak to my wife, and at first she says:

“Just look away.”

But I can’t look away…I can’t ignore a problem…my instinct is that I have to plan for it, deal with it, solve it.¬†


I go back to my wife, and she says to me:

“Face the fear, and walk through it.”

And I had to stop in my tracks at that. 


She was right–there is no use being fearful or worrying–I would face it and walk through it, and come out the other side better for it.¬†


That was some of the best advice anyone I think has ever given to me. 


Got to be strong, have courage, face the challenges in life, and “walk through it!”¬†


What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.¬†


Have to have emunah (faith), and realize it’s just a test.¬†


And the Almighty G-d is my shield and protector. 


It’s a test, but I can pass it with G-d’s help, and everything will be alright. ūüėČ


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)