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The Ship That Never Got There

February 9, 2017

Before one begins climbing their mountain (see the last post), one must have a strong grounding in their core principles and values.

Many years ago an adventurer had heard of an island inhabited by beautiful and inviting people. The land was also filled with gold and precious gems. He dreamed of sailing to this island.

He knew it was a treacherous journey across often storm-tossed seas. So he commissioned the best ship builders to build a ship specifically designed for this voyage. He sought and hired several experienced sailors for his crew. They trained and prepared for the voyage while the ship was being built.

Finally the day arrived and with great fanfare they set sail. They had all the maps and other tools to set the course. All started fairly well, although the ship was difficult to keep on course.

This became a real problem when the first strong winds came along and threw them completely off course. The crew struggled to adjust the sails in order to get back on course. This problem worsened when a storm came along. Sometimes they found themselves going in circles.  No one could figure out why this was happening.

One day a severe storm hit them and they found themselves shipwrecked on the beach of an uninhabited island. After they checked to see if they were all okay, they checked the condition of the boat. The boat was marooned on the beach on its side. It was then that they discovered that the boat was inexplicably built without a rudder.

Our Rudder

In physical conditioning and training the current emphasis is on strengthening the core.  A strong core promotes overall strength, stability and balance.  If an athlete has trained hard in all areas, but has neglected his core, then his overall performance is at a minimum compromised.

This is true for all of us when we embark on climbing our mountain.  If we begin without a strong grounding in our values and principles, our core, our rudder, we will constantly be thrown off course.

There will assuredly be many tests of our commitment to our core values and principles. Without the stability provided by our core, our rudder, we will at best delay realizing our dreams, goals, and purpose.

Before starting or re-starting your climb, make sure you have a strong core.  Have something that is a constant reminder for you of your core principles and values.

 “Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.” – Alexander Hamilton

Heart and Soul

An Oldie but Goodie updated from the original

You Cannot Lower Your Mountain, But You Can Elevate Yourself*

February 1, 2017

The title of this piece is the overall theme of the Spinning Rabbi.  It has been on this site since the beginning.

Being that this is still the beginning of a New Year and with this being a very tumultuous time, I am putting out this piece again, in the hopes that it helps to keep you focused on you and your part.  To help you keep climbing and getting stronger, healthier, better, and smiling.

Your mountain is the metaphor for your life’s journey.  The climb indicates the challenges and struggles.  Every challenge, test, or struggle may not be what you want. It is what you need or are needed for, at that moment.

Think of “your mountain” as a series of hill and plateaus. Each hill is the struggle, followed by a plateau where you digest the accomplishment of getting to the top of that hill, and prepare for the next hill.

You were born at the base of your mountain and the human you were destined and created to become is waiting for you at the top of your mountain.  At the top of your mountain is not a pot of gold, but a pot for you to deposit all the nuggets of gold, mined from all of your experiences, you collected along the way.

Every step on your climb has a reason. Every person or event is presented to you for a reason. You may not know the reason. You do know, or should come to know, that it is either for the benefit of others, or to further prepare you for your purpose and mission, or both.

You have free will; therefore you have the choice as to how you respond in all situations.  With free will, know that there will be times when you may make the wrong choice and take the wrong turn. Be confident that there will be signs along the way directing you back as long as you look for them.

You can adopt this “your mountain” attitude, which will then assist you in fulfilling your potential in everything you do. If you always strive to reach your fullest potential available to you at every moment, you will be training yourself to do that in all that you do. You will then realize that you can find joy in all that comes your way once you recognize that it is ultimately for the good.

Knowing that the true you, your ultimate potential, awaits you at the top of “Your Mountain”, should inspire you to continue the climb. Accept that every challenge and struggle on the way up is there to strengthen, teach and prepare you for you.  Accepting that will give you the courage and strength coupled with the excitement to take on all that comes your way. You will learn to relish each challenge as you get stronger and wiser each time you take it on.  Just as an athlete looks forward (not without some degree of fear, hence the adrenaline rush) to the next competition.

The ultimate goal of getting to the top is the goal of discovering you. You will get there by tapping in to the all that’s available to you at every moment in all that you do.  All that you do means just that, in and with everything and everyone that comes your way.  Elevating yourself means constantly tapping into to your other-centric giving you.

This is the pervasive theme of all that you will read on this site.  I invite you to make this your mantra:

“I cannot lower my mountain, but I can always elevate myself.”

Heart and Soul

*this is an updated version

Forgive and Forget??

January 25, 2017

The last post, “Forgive and Keep Going” spoke of what the free-ing of forgiveness can do for our ability to get to where we are meant to go/be.

The question arises, as to whether forgiveness also means forgetting.

There are two parts to forgiving.

One, as pointed out in the last post, is to forgive, so as to free yourself.  To not be anchored or held back by resentment, hurt, revenge,…….  If you allow that to happen to you, you lose!  If you lose, we lose you!

“When you forgive, you in no way change the past — but you sure do change the future.”   —   Bernard Meltzer

 “Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.”  —   Lily Tomlin

The second part is forgiving the offending party and therefore forgetting or erasing the event.  To do that would mean to maintain whatever type/level of relationship you had with that person.  That level of forgiving can only come with that person sincerely asking for forgiveness and demonstrating it.  Without that, you are still stuck because the hurtful/harmful event will happen again and again.  With that asking and demonstrating, you can then forget.

Forgetting doesn’t mean to quickly erase.  That event contained a lesson for you to learn and improve from.  When you’re hurt, ask yourself what you can learn from the hurt.  Once you have the lesson ingrained and used for future action, then you can erase.

 “Experience is the best teacher, and the worst experiences teach the best lessons.” — Unknown

Think about what you learned or could have learned.

 “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot

The most obvious lesson is

If someone hurts you let it serve as a reminder that you shouldn’t do that to another.

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

Share some lessons with us by using the comment box

Heart and Soul

 

 

Forgive and Keep Going

January 11, 2017

In the Biblical story of Joseph, we learn of his magnanimous forgiveness.

Here is a very abbreviated version, that teaches us how to move forward, so that we can get to where we are meant to be.

Joseph had been thrown into a pit and then sold into slavery by his jealous brothers.  He later spent years in prison and eventually became a ruler in Egypt under Pharaoh.

Twenty years later when reunited with his brothers he harbored no resentment and told them to not be sad over what they had done to him.  He understood and explained to them that he wouldn’t be where he was without this journey imposed upon him.

Through this journey he learned to have faith.  Faith that this was G-d’s plan for him.  Faith that all that happened was eventually for the good.  He was able to move forward to great accomplishments because that faith allowed him to let go of the anchor of anger, grudges, or resentment.

 “Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom” – Hannah Arendt

“Anger begins with madness and ends with regret.” – Ben Hamelech V’Hanazir

“Don’t carry a grudge. While you’re carrying a grudge the other guy is dancing.” – Buddy Hackett

“Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.” – Rebbetzin Feige Twerski

If you develop the attitude of that faith, then you will understand that you have to go through what you have to go through to get you where you are meant to be.  Having that faith will make the journey a little easier and keep you focused on the finish line.

Part of the If You Are Always Looking Back, Then Your Future Will Look Like Your Past series

Heart and Soul

Healthy and Happy New Year 2017

January 4, 2017

It’s not too late to wish you a Healthy and Happy New Year!!

Here is a thought as we begin a New Year to get and keep you moving towards making your dreams a reality.

Another New Year, another new beginning that we celebrate.  Another New Year that we make promises/resolutions to ourselves with an eye towards reaching our goals.

There are lots of new beginnings.  There is a new year, a new month, a new week, a new day, a new moment……  Each new is another opportunity to reignite the enthusiasm you had at the beginning of the last new.  Treat each new as if you were hitting the refresh button.  If you celebrate each new as another opportunity, you can find enthusiasm and excitement constantly.

 “The beginning is embedded in the end, and the end is embedded in the beginning”. – Sefer Yetzirah 1:7

From year to year, from new to new, the passage of time may dilute the enthusiasm you had at the beginning.  The ultimate new is the next moment.  So cherish the new of every new and especially every moment.  Remind yourself with every new to keep the enthusiasm in the present.

You were given life for this moment, so that you can give this moment life.

The most important ingredient of you reaching your goals, is the Doing!!  “Wishing and hoping… and planning and dreaming”*,  – “Won’t get you where you want to go”**.  It’s the doing that will get the results.

For a new to truly be a new beginning means not being anchored to the past.  It is an opportunity to leave it behind.  Leave the past behind, except for remembering the lessons you learned and create the present……Enthusiastically!!

Healthy and Happy 2017

*”Wishing and Hoping”,Dionne Warwick

**Words of Love, the Mamas and Papas

Heart and Soul

You Don’t Have To Be Jewish To Enjoy Latkes

December 26, 2016

You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy Latkes and you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy Chanukah’s lessons and miracles.

Here are some of the lessons that apply to all

Jews all over the world are now celebrating Chanukah, the celebration of many miracles.  From the victory of a small band of men fighting for their religious freedom against a very large and well equipped army, to one days worth of olive oil used to light the Menorah which then lasted for eight days.

The miracle of the oil burning for eight days represents the victory of light over darkness, both literally and figuratively.

At nighttime, Jews place their lit Menorah in doorways or windows to bring light to the dark street and to all who see it.

“A little light will dispel much darkness.”   —   Tzeda LaDerech

 “Such is the way of creation: First comes darkness, then light” – Talmud Shabbat 77b

On the Menorah is a head candle called the Shamash, which is used to light all the other candles.  The Shamash lights other candles without losing any of its own light.  Each of us can be like the Shamash and bring light to all whose lives we come into contact with.  When we are like the Shamash, not only do we keep our light, we actually shine brighter.  We all have that power through acts of goodness, kindness, and charity.

“From one burning candle many candles are lit, yet its own light is not diminished.” – Numbers 11:17

Here is another powerful and universal message from Chanukah, the miracle of light.*

Of all the special qualities of a pretty and delicious olive, its essence is found in its oil when lit, producing its light.  In order to get to the olives essence, it must first be crushed to produce the oil.

So too in our lives, we sometimes are or feel crushed – by pain and suffering, loss, struggle, and disappointment – and just like the olive, it is then that our essence can be revealed.  It is in those moments that you may find your essence and with it bring your light to the world.

Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas

and to all a good light

*Based on a teaching of the Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson

Black Swans*

December 8, 2016

In this last election, we learned that the pundits and pollsters were wrong.

The experts predicted Hillary Clinton would win and they were wrong.  The stock market experts then predicted a market decline and they were wrong.  The experts predicted that the Brexit vote would lose and they were wrong.  The economic calamity predicted by the Brexit vote winning was wrong.

One has to wonder what other accepted conventional wisdom is or will be wrong.

Many of us, and perhaps too much of the time, rely on and just accept what the experts(?) tell us.  How does that affect your life?

“When everyone thinks alike, no one thinks very much.”   —   Walter Lippmann

The greatest leaders in history beginning with Abraham, lived the life of the

“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

One can easily make a list of great leaders who lived this life, at least to some degree.  Let me get you started, with just a few of the many examples of the non-Biblical names: The Founding Fathers, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King,Jr., Steve Jobs …………

Who is on your list?  What can, or have you learned from them?

They all shared common traits in that they thought for themselves, they didn’t go along to get along, they weren’t looking to be popular (although they ended up being popular?), they had the strength of their conviction, didn’t bend or give up……

What can you learn from each of them so as to be true to yourself?  If you don’t think for yourself, then how can you be yourself?  If you are not yourself, what do you bring and add to the party?  If you are not yourself, then how can you truly be happy?

It is easier to just accept the conventional wisdom, rather than thinking for yourself.  It is easy to seek the comfort of being popular by going along to get along, but that doesn’t actually get you or the world anywhere.

“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

 “What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.” – Albert Einstein

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

“To be a person of truth, be swayed neither by approval nor disapproval. Work at not needing approval from anyone and you will be free to be who you really are.”   —   Rebbe Nachman

*The black swan theory or theory of black swan events is a metaphor that describes an event that comes as a surprise, has a major effect, and is often inappropriately rationalized after the fact with the benefit of hindsight. The term is based on an ancient saying which presumed black swans did not exist, but the saying was rewritten after black swans were discovered in the wild.  To learn more, read the book “The Black Swan”, by Nicholas Taleb Nassim

Heart and Soul

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