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A Listening Heart*

May 11, 2022

A follow up to the last post “I Hope This Helps”

Just listening is a way of giving, although sometimes a little less recognized, and sometimes just listening is very difficult.

I linked the post below “A Listening Heart” in the last post, but here it is, in case you didn’t click on it and see it

Dr.Viktor Frankl, who is very well-known for his compelling book, “Man’s Search For Meaning”** tells a very interesting story.  A patient (he was a psychiatrist) once phoned him in the middle of the night to tell him, that she was about to commit suicide. He spoke to her for two hours.  He gave her every reason to live that you can imagine giving. Finally, she said that she had changed her mind and would not commit suicide. The next time he saw her, he asked her which of the things he said convinced her to change her mind.  “None,” she replied. “Why then did you decide not to commit suicide?” She replied that the mere fact that someone cared enough to listen to her for two hours in the middle of the night was all that it took.

When King David was dying he appointed his son Solomon to be the heir to his throne.  Solomon was only twelve years old and as you can imagine, was quite anxious about becoming King.  G-d appeared to King Solomon in a dream (1 Kings 3: 9) and asked him what he would like to have as the King.  He could have asked for more treasure, a larger population to rule over, more territory to rule over, a greater army, etc.  The one and only thing Solomon asked for was a listening heart”

Be Good Do Good Think Good Be Grateful Be Healthy Choose Wisely

**If you haven’t read this book, then consider it a homework assignment

* “An Oldie But Goodie” posted for the third time

I Hope This Helps

May 4, 2022

I recently remembered this story I once read.

There was a young girl and her father who were walking along a forest path. At some point, they came across a large tree branch. The girl asked her father, “If I try, do you think I could move that branch?” Her father replied, “I am sure you can, if you use all your strength.” The girl tried her best to lift or push the branch, but she was not strong enough. She said, with disappointment, “You were wrong, Dad. I can’t move it.” “Try again with all your strength,” replied her father. Again, the girl tried hard to push the branch. She struggled but it did not move. “Dad, I cannot do it,” said the girl. Finally, her father said, “My daughter, I advised you to use ‘all your strength,’ but you didn’t. You didn’t ask for my help.”*

There are times when we all need help.  There are times when we are all needed to help.

When you need help, don’t be too proud or embarrassed to ask.  Letting others in and help is using “all your strength” and will make you stronger.

When asked for help, give it.  Sometimes it takes a listening heart, to know when someone is asking.

Help can be listening, emotional support, financial, guidance…….  Whichever is needed, give as much as you can. Our true role is to give of ourselves, not necessarily to give our self, but to give of our self.

“To give and then not feel as one has given is the very best of all ways of giving.” – Max Beerbohm

“There is no better exercise for your heart, than reaching down and helping to lift someone up.” – Bernard Meltzer

If everything happens for a reason, and it does, then there is always a reason that two meet.  Either to give, or to receive, or both!   We are here to be givers and here to allow others to be givers

If we’re here to be givers, how can we also be receivers?  By receiving what’s given, when needed, we give the other the gift of their being able to give.

Be Good Do Good Think Good Be Grateful Be Healthy

*I wish I remembered where I read this story, so that I could give proper attribution

“If I am I because I am I*

March 22, 2022

The post below is by far the most read post of any published here at the Spinning Rabbi.  Every day, people from all over the world visit the site to read it.  So it’s time to publish it again with a little update, for those that don’t remember it or have never seen it.

See what it means to you and why you think it is so popular.

“If I am I because I am I, and you are you because you are you, then I am I and you are you. But, if I am I because you are you, and you are you because I am I, then I am not I and you are not you”. – R’Mendel of Kotzk

Simply stated, what that means can be summarized by

“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” – Oscar Wilde.

While that’s correct, let’s look a little deeper and ask why be you. If your life has a purpose (and it does) then you cannot find and fulfill that purpose without you being you. Your value to yourself and the rest of us, is the unique you. There is no one else like you and therefore no one else can fulfill your purpose. Giving and sharing that unique you matters.

When you recognize and accept that, you will realize that your life has meaning.  With that you will be more than happy, you will find joy in expressing your purpose and meaning.

You are not just matter. It is you that matters.

“If I try to be like him, who will be like me?” — Yiddish Proverb

“If you want to be original just try being yourself, because G-d has never made two people exactly alike.” – Bernard Meltzer

“If G-d had wanted me otherwise, He would have created me otherwise.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 “If I’m going to sing like someone else, then I don’t need to sing at all.” – Billie Holiday

 “The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique.” – Walt Disney

 “Be a first-rate version of yourself, not a second-rate version of someone else.” – Judy Garland

“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” – Dolly Parton

Be Good Do Good Think Good Be Grateful Be Healthy

* Oldie but Goodie published and updated for the fourth time

We Are the Champions*

March 14, 2022

Something we are all champions of is, rationalizing our behavior.  Behavior includes how we act and treat others. We rationalize to comfort ourselves when we choose the I over the other, or for our wants, rather than what we are needed for. We sometimes even congratulate ourselves, even though we really know better.

This dissonance creates a struggle for us.  How can one be truly happy when we do that which isn’t the good and right thing to do?  With all the struggles presented to us on our climb, why do we self-impose more? When we do this, we deceive ourselves and take us off our target, our purpose, our true selves.  Our true self is the giving and doing the good and right thing one.  It is manifested in our Soul.

“You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” – C. S. Lewis

“Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.” – Walt Whitman 

 A king was traveling with his band of men through the forest. They came across a farm where they stopped to replenish their provisions. The king noticed the side of a barn where there were several bulls-eyes painted. Each bulls-eye had an arrow squarely in the center. The King asked the farmer who shot those arrows and the farmer told him it was his young son. The king wanted to see the boy in action. The young boy appeared with his bow and arrow. He shot at the side of the barn and hit a blank spot. He then walked to the barn and drew a bull’s-eye around the arrow, with the arrow right in the center.**

Be true to yourself. Let the inner-self/soul be transcendent. To do this we must have the strength of our core to recognize when we miss our goal and where improvement is needed. It is too easy to fall into the trap of fooling ourselves. Rather than move the arrow squarely in the center, look squarely at yourself.

“Thou shall not steal” also meant “Thou shall not steal from thyself; not deceive thyself. All the sins of the world weigh less than the conceit born of self-deception.” – Reb Mendel of Kotzk

“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.” – Frederick Douglass

Be Good Do Good Think Good Be Grateful Be Healthy

*Another Oldie But Goodie from 2012 updated and re-posted

*I wish I remembered the source for this story so that I could give credit where it’s due

“If I Had It To Do All Over Again”

March 8, 2022

We’ve all heard that phrase and probably used that phrase.

It is usually used in one of two different scenarios.

One, is where one looks back at their life and thinks about where they would be, if they had made different choices.  What if I had done, taken that job, moved to, etc…..?  Generally, one does that when they’re not happy with their current situation.

Those thoughts are a waste of thoughts, time, and emotional energy.  If everything happens for a reason, and it does, then realize that you are where you are now, for a reason.  You need to be, and are needed where you are, and needed now.  So, ideally, thoughts should be focused on what you are needed for.   From that perspective you will find the good in where you are now.  Bring your unique value to where you are now to benefit another or others.

That doesn’t mean that if you’re not happy with your situation that you don’t need to do, what you need to do to improve it.

It also means, that if you are where you are because of a in hind sight poor choice, don’t dwell, but recognize that and learn from it.  Rinse but don’t repeat!

The other scenario, is where you’ve done something that was hurtful to another.  You can’t go back and change it.  Don’t blithely use that phrase, to yourself or to the other, which then sounds like an excuse.  You can apologize, mean it, and then learn from it, so as not to repeat the same, to that person, or anyone.  By realizing the wrong done and not repeating, you have in a way changed it and yourself.  It still happened, but you’ve grown and elevated yourself growing forward.

“What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.” – Hillel

Be Good Do Good Think Good Be Grateful Be Healthy

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do*

February 27, 2022

In the last week or so, a few people have told me about the sad breakups they’ve recently gone through.  Coincidentally(?), at the same time two people from different countries, pulled up this old post from 2013.  So I thought it was a message for me to re-post these thoughts on love with a little update and new title.  So here it is, with the original title

“Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing”**

Too often what we seek in another is what we want or need, rather than what we can give, or what we are needed for. When you have met that someone for whom all you wish to do is give, and vice-versa, you will have found unconditional love.  That’s the love that is true, pure, and everlasting.

“Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get – only with what you are expecting to give – which is everything.” – Katherine Hepburn   

“True love stories never have endings” – Richard Bach

 Do not fear that it will be a one-sided relationship. If that person is the one, then all they will want to do is give to you. So by definition, both of you will be receiving without the expectation of a return for your giving. Giving in order to receive often sets us up for the disappointments that eat away.

“Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’  Mature love says: ‘I need you because I love you.” – Erich Fromm

“Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.” – Dalai Lama

“Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” – Robert Heinlein

In this giving, don’t fear losing yourself. You will be enhancing yourself. Your uniqueness, value, and purpose remain intact. You keep it by sharing it with the other and vice-versa.

“Love turns one person into two and two into one.” – Rabbi Don Yitchak Abarbanel

“Two people, two souls, synergize the best in both and overcome the least in each.” – Chassidic Adage

Sometimes the wants block finding love using the excuses of geographical distance, age difference, financial desires, he or she doesn’t do this or doesn’t like that…., etc., rather than letting go and letting the love flow

 “Most people have a harder time letting themselves love than finding someone to love them.” – Bill Russell

 “We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.” – Tom Robbins

“I would rather have had one breath of her hair, one kiss from her mouth, one touch of her hand, than eternity without it.” – Nicolas Cage

Primary rule of a healthy and lasting partnership – communicate, communicate, and communicate

“Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” – Henry Winkler

What Love does

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu

“To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.” – David Viscott

“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” — Theodor Seuss Geisel

Be Good Do Good Think Good Love Good Be Grateful  Be Healthy

*song by Neil Sedaka

** Title of the Academy Award winning movie and song.

See Me, Hear Me

February 15, 2022

A few days ago, I was privileged to speak to a group at the Sausalito Books By The Bay bookstore.  I was asked to speak despite the fact that I don’t yet have a book to promote.

So now, for the first time on this site, I have a video to share and show all of you.  Instead of reading, you can now see me, and hear me

The most precious non renewable resource is time.  So thank you for using some of your time to watch

Be Good Do Good Think Good Be Grateful Be Healthy

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