How does politics/the candidates affect you, or how do you affect politics/the candidates?
When a parent admonishes a child for some inappropriate behavior, the child’s response is often, “everybody does it”. As adults, if we mention to a good friend or family member that their action was not ethically or morally correct, their response/defense is often, “everybody does it”. If we say that a certain political candidate lies or cheats or….., we hear the “they all do it” response.
By accepting that excuse for ourselves and others is to encourage and condone that behavior.
If we choose the “everybody does it” excuse, to just be like everyone else, then you, no one else, and nothing will ever improve. Our task, is to constantly remind ourselves and endeavor to always do the good and right thing. To do that whether or not it is cool or popular. Sometimes, it’s actually “Hip to be Square ” – Huey Lewis and the News.
“What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.” – Albert Einstein
“heroism of ordinary life, being willing to live by one’s convictions though all the world thinks otherwise, being true to the call of eternity, not the noise of now.” – Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
As more and more do the good and right thing, then less and less will we be able to excuse bad behavior with the “everybody does it” excuse. Eventually, we will say “everybody does it” about the good and right thing. That would be cool and then it would be “hip to be cool”.
When it comes to our political leaders, it’s important to realize that they are us, or just like us and we are them, or just like them. Demand more of them and get more from them. To demand more and better from them begins with us demanding more and better of ourselves.
Heart and Soul
On the Fourth of July 2016, we will have been blessed with and enjoyed 240 years or 87,600 days of independence since the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776. It said;
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.
This was a novel experiment in building a nation based on individual rights and freedom. Without these rights and freedom we could not pursue our dreams and our individual purpose. Something to be eternally grateful for!
We were created with Free Will. The USA was created to be a land that gave us the opportunity to express our Free Will. With the freedom of Free Will, we can choose to elevate ourselves to be the human we were created to be and have the world we all wish for. To have that freedom to pursue and become our true selves is indeed something to be thankful for. That liberty should be celebrated everyday by using it for the good.
Or with that freedom, we can choose to not use it, or take it for granted, and let our freedoms slip away, or be taken away.
May we cherish, be grateful for, and protect those freedoms for many, many more days and years.
May we use our freedom to fulfill our greatest human potential.
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY
G-d Bless America
There are some stories with such powerful lessons that they bear repeating,such as the one below. These stories carry lessons that serve as necessary reminders as we sometimes lose our way forward and up our mountain. We should store these stories in our head’s file cabinet and pull them out from time to time.
This is one of those stories that I have posted here three times before.*
After forty days crossing the desert, the Jewish people are about to enter the Promised Land, as told in this week’s Torah portion Shelach. Before they do, Moses sends twelve spies/scouts to go in first and report back what they see. Only two of the twelve came back with a positive report. The remaining ten said they saw an inhospitable land filled with giants.
In the first part of a very telling statement the ten said, “In our eyes we seemed like grasshoppers…. Notice that they said in “our eyes”. When we come upon a new challenge, how often do we react fearfully? How often do we see ourselves as to small, too weak, and unable? How often do we see ourselves as grasshoppers? When this paralysis of fear hits us we become stuck where we are. We hold ourselves back from continuing our climb to reach our goals, dreams, and discover who we were created and destined to become.
In the second part of their statement they said, ..and so we were in their eyes.” Numbers13:33. Notice here they said “in their eyes”. If you see yourself in a negative light, then that is how you will present yourself and be seen by others. If others see you negatively, then doors will be closed. Believe in yourself, if you don’t, no one else will, and if you don’t why should they?
“Within yourself deliverance must be searched for, because each man makes his own prison.” – Edwin Arnold
“You become what you think, even if you don’t think so.” – Dr. Morris Mandel
Heart and Soul
- OOPs, It should have been titled (4)
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch
Although we tell ourselves and others, that we have goals and dreams, we often don’t seem to get there? Too often, we just dream about our dreams. Most of the time, we don’t get there because getting there requires getting out of our comfort zone.
We stay in our comfort zone, no matter how uncomfortable it really is, because that’s what we are used to, or we fear the unknown, or fear of success or fear of failure, or …………
“Fear builds walls to bar the light.” – The Baal Shem Tov
“With love, you set your goals. With fear, you set your boundaries.” – Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, The Rebbe
“I think when you move past your fear and you go after your dreams wholeheartedly, you become free. Know what I’m saying? Move past the fear.” – LL Cool J
“You always have two choices: your commitment versus your fear.” – Sammy Davis, Jr.
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” – George Addair
“We all have a fear of the unknown what one does with that fear will make all the difference in the world.” – Lillian Russell
“There is nothing wrong with being afraid–but there is nothing more wrong than allowing that to be your master.” – Bobby Darin
Often, we get close to reaching our goals and then stop, again because of those fears
Finish what you start and that will make you stronger, healthier, and better
If it’s worth starting, it’s worth much more when you finish
Heart and Soul
*with so many quotes on fear, it must be a very common problem
Kobe Bryant said after his last game
“I was blessed with a lot of talent and I worked like I had none”
Each of us was/is blessed with talents, although we don’t necessarily see some of them as talents. Each of us was given, what we were given, from your height, to the color of your hair, the color of your eyes, to what we normally call talents. All given to you to make you the player you are meant to be, on the team called humanity. Added together, all that’s given to you, makes you a talent. All given to you as a package, so as to make you the unique person you are and are meant to be. It’s given to you so that you may fulfill your unique and needed role on that team. Only you possess that unique talent and therefore only you can fulfill that role.
Recognize your “talents” and then “work as though you had none”, so as to constantly seek to improve what you have. Recognize that your talents are a gift given to you so that you may bring your gift to the party of life. Recognize your “talents” and wonder how they can be used for the good, which is why they were given to you in the first place.
“Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it will be forward, backwards, or sideways.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.
“Use what talent you possess; the woods would be very silent if no bird sang except those that sang best.” – Yeedle Melber
Heart and Soul
Or is it? If it is, then why is it, or how did it get this way?
We often say or hear someone say, in describing their situation, “It’s Complicated”. While it’s said about any and all of one’s situation, it’s probably most often said about personal relationships.
Is it really complicated, or is it complicated because we make it so? Is it complicated because we allow ourselves to get in a complicated situation? Do we create complication, consciously or un?
This is another case of what Kabbalah describes as “Head over Heart”. Here the heart means our emotions, which are often reactive. The head knows better, from learning and experience, yet we allow our emotional needs to overrule.
The head is above the heart, so that metaphorically the head should overrule the heart. The head represents the intellect that knows what is right to do. The heart represents the emotions which are often impulsive and when acted on alone send us off the path of our improvement and growth.
“The heart is forever inexperienced.” – Henry David Thoreau
If you learn to pause and consider carefully what you are about to get into, you might save yourself. Listen to your head, or some say your gut. Do this often enough and eventually your head and heart will be in sync. Important life decisions will then come easier and your life will be smoother. You will no longer have to say “It’s Complicated”.
“Always put off til tomorrow what you shouldn’t do at all.” — Morris Mandel
Heart and Soul
We know that phrase and we use that phrase. We usually say it or ascribe it to someone who does or says something positive and we believe makes a Positive difference.
The reality is, that in all that we say and do, all of us make a difference in other’s lives. That means saying or doing something negative may/will also make a difference in someone’s life, albeit a negative one. Understanding that should be a reminder that all that we say and do should be to make a positive difference. It should be a reminder to carefully consider our words and actions.
“The wise man, even when he holds his tongue, says more than the fool when he speaks.” – Yiddish Proverb
“The tongue is secured behind the teeth and behind the lips, yet it does no end of damage. Imagine if it were outside!” – Yalkut Shimoni
“We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out.” – Winston Churchill
The difference we make, can be or seem to be very small to you, but it may be very big to the other.
“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” – Mother Teresa
“If each man or woman could understand that every other human life is as full of sorrows, or joys, or base temptations, of heartaches and of remorse as his own . . . how much kinder, how much gentler he would be.” – William Allen White
So take the old “ten count” before speaking or acting, and during it ask yourself, “what is the goal of the words or action?” Helpful or hurtful? Loving or not so much?
“What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.” – Hillel
Making this difference elevates you and elevates the other, which eventually elevates us all. Wouldn’t that be a nice difference?
Heart and Soul