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Only You*

September 17, 2020

The Jewish people are about to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, generally known as the Jewish New Year.

I wish to share with all of you, one of the many inspiring lessons of this commemoration.  A lesson that can help each of us, whatever our faith, climb our mountain.

Rosh Hashanah doesn’t commemorate the first day of creation, it celebrates the creation of mankind, Adam, which was on the sixth day.

One might ask then, why was Adam created alone rather than one of many?

Adam was created on purpose with a specific purpose and he knew it.  Being only one, only he could accomplish his purpose or mission.  All depended on him.

A Lesson For All

We are all created with a uniquely specific purpose and mission.  If we think of ourselves as an Adam, then we realize that our purpose is also ours alone and all depends on each of us.  We can’t expect someone else to do it for us.  Sing along “Only you can make this world seem right / Only you can make the darkness bright / Only you and you alone!”*  This is a powerfully inspiring thought, that reminds each of us of how valuable our lives are, individually and collectively.

The Creation narrative says “In the beginning the Almighty created. .. . ” to teach us that He only created the beginning. The remainder is left to us.   —   Rebbe Leibele Eiger of Lublin

Or maybe, the reason Adam was created alone was so that he couldn’t kvetch, go to a therapist, and blame his problems on his parents or anyone else!😀

L’Shana Tova A Good And Sweet Year

Be Good Do Good Think Good Be Healthy

*From the song “Only You” by The Platters

Head Up Look Forward

September 9, 2020

With the Pandemic, storms, wildfires, protests, riots, the election, the challenge to stay positive is more daunting.  It is hard to look forward optimistically when there is so much uncertainty.  That it’s more challenging is why it’s so much more important that you rise up to the challenge and stay positive.

You cannot control that which comes your way.  You can control how you respond.

A Little Perspective

Viktor Frankl* described being in Auschwitz as a “provisional existence”.  He and the others existed with complete uncertainty.  With what they were experiencing, it was easy to very pessimistic and give up. Viktor Frankl survived Auschwitz by thinking of finishing his book, seeing his wife and family again,…..  He chose to only think thoughts that gave him purpose, a reason to stay strong, look forward, and keep going.

Replace negative thoughts of today or tomorrow with positive ones for today or tomorrow.  Like him, think of the things you would like to look forward to.

“Faith is the courage to live with uncertainty” – Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

A Thought About Keeping Your Head Up

If you saw someone walking down the street with their head down, what would you think their state of mind is?  Is their head just down, or is it reflective of their feeling down?  We know for sure that literally and metaphorically, they are not looking forward.  They are not seeing, or don’t want to see, that which lies ahead.  If they are feeling down, then by looking down, they will never see anything different or better.  This will cause their state of mind or situation to remain the same or get worse.  By looking up and forward, they can and will see something better, even if it’s just one person smiling at them.

Agree?

If so, then pay attention to when you are walking by yourself, and notice whether you are looking down or ahead.  You may not even realize that your mood is down, so if you catch yourself looking down, let it be a reminder to check in with your current state of mind.

We can get two lessons here for the price of one:

1. If you notice that your head is down, then remind yourself to lift it up and look ahead.  Train yourself to do this no matter how heavy your head may feel.

2.Then when walking with your head up, smile at the person coming your way.  Even if they don’t see you, it can/will lift or keep their head up.

Recently, I was on a walk and I noticed a couple coming my way.  It was a man and a woman, both about 85-ish.  They were walking with their arms around each others waist.  They looked so happy, so contented, and so much in love.  What a beautiful and inspiring sight that I wouldn’t have seen if my head was down.

If you are not looking forward now, you will be looking back later 

Be Good Do Good Think Good Be Healthy

*From “Man’s Search For Meaning” by Dr. Viktor Frankl

Once again if you haven’t read it Do!!!

Covid Is Not A Time Out

September 2, 2020

In thinking about the past several months, I am reminded of this “Oldie But Goodie” post.  So here it is updated and reposted with it’s relevance to the Pandemic in mind.  Perhaps it should have been sent earlier, yet it’s still relevant.*  It’s always relevant because all of us have probably taken a “time out” at sometime, or wish we could.  So it’s a valuable reminder to all, anytime and all of the time.

With all of the restrictions still upon us during this pandemic, we have to be careful not to view it as a time out.  It is easy to turn this into an excuse to “take a break” or a “time out”.  Rather, see it as another opportunity, perhaps disguised, to learn and grow .

No Time Outs

The most important moment of all is Right Now!  That being said, we know that every moment is precious and counts.  Every precious moment counts and goes by whether we choose to participate or not.

 “You may delay, but time will not.” – Benjamin Franklin

“The day will happen whether or not you get up.” – John Ciardi

 “We cannot put off living until we are ready.” – Jose Ortega y Gasset

“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” – Charles Darwin

An athlete competes and is alive during a competition. Then there is training and preparing. In between training and competing, there are time-outs.  There are also time-outs during the competition.

In life there are no time-outs.  The proverbial exceptions to this rule are sleep (although a case can be made that sleep is part of preparing) and an appropriate mourning period.

There are moments when we might wish for a time-out.  If we were to take one, then we are not fully alive during those lost moments.  How often have you said, or heard someone say, “I’m in a place in my life” or “I need to work on myself”? That’s asking for a time-out in a game where there are none. It’s like walking off the field in the middle of the game and watching the game go on from the sidelines.

 “Life is like playing the violin solo in public and learning the instrument as you go”. – Samuel Butler

This mindset is often the result of a tragic event and/or an epiphany that wrong choices have consistently been made producing negative results. This is a natural and understandable emotional response.  To not allow this emotional response to control you, remember that everything happens for a reason. Therefore, everyone you come into contact with today and tomorrow is for a reason. That person may need something from you, or need to give you something you need.

That can’t happen if you are not on the field and you have taken yourself out of the game.  If you temporarily take yourself out of the game, then you are at best delaying the discovery of your purpose and fulfilling your potential for the benefit of one or all.

If your reason for “working on yourself” is so that you may be the person you were created and wish to be, then you can’t be a spectator of life. You need to be “working on yourself” in and during the game. The rest of us need you to play to your potential. If not we all lose.

A woman was considering taking a sabbatical from her teaching profession to travel and look for the meaning of life. She went to see her spiritual leader, a man known as The Rebbe, for advice. This is what he said to her,

“When you find the meaning of life, will you have enough time left to live a meaningful life? Better to live a meaningful life and find meaning along the way”. – Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson

For those who take themselves out of the game of love, consider that a person presented to you may be the one and…

“If that plane leaves the ground and you’re not with him, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.” – Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine in Casablanca

If you have been taking a “time out” during this period, Life as your coach is calling you back in the game.  The team needs you!

Be Good Do Good Think Good Be Healthy

*I would have put this out sooner but I was taking a time out 😀

Fill This Prescription

August 25, 2020

Fill this prescription now

Currently, as we Navigate the extra stormy seas of the pandemic, wildfires, hurricanes, etc., a stronger dose of this medicine is highly recommended.  So take this medicine at least once a day and everyday.

Feeling depressed, anxious, angry, lonely, low energy, and more?  Well now there is and there always has been a prescription to cure all of that.  It is called smiling and laughing.  Smiling and laughing are the best medicines to keep you going.  It begins with and/or creates a positive attitude.  It also creates a healthy physiological response.

An additional benefit, is that when you smile and laugh, you make others smile and laugh.

Disclaimer

It doesn’t guarantee to make a problem disappear.  It will make you feel better, stronger, and hence better able to deal with the problem.  Being stronger does give you a fighting chance.  As long as you’re fighting you have a chance of winning.

You have no control over the tests, hurdles, and struggles sent your way.  You do have control over how you respond.

There is no risk in taking this medicine, it is completely safe.  There is only upside.

Side Effects

Side effects may include: more friends, reversal of frown lines, a busier social calendar, a need to get your teeth whitened, a need to buy more clothes…….

Directions

Smiling and laughing includes the ability to laugh at yourself and the circumstances you are in, self-imposed or otherwise.  Whenever you are feeling any of the symptoms described above, try the following:

1.Laugh at something about yourself

2. watch or listen to a comedy or comedian

3. say cheese

The Clinical Trials

Much has been discussed and written about the Jewish sense of humor.  It is often noted that there have been so many Jewish comedians over the years, long before Jerry Seinfeld.  People always wonder how is it that after thousands of years of persecution, expulsions, pogroms, the Holocaust, etc., that Jews can still laugh and be funny.  The Jewish sense of humor is both self and situational deprecating.  The ability to laugh is both a survival mechanism and less discussed, is that we are taught to have faith that things will get better.  When we all have that faith and smile they will.

“Laughter prevents hardening of the attitudes.” – Dunc Muncy

“Smile – it’s the second best thing you can do with your lips.” – Don Ward

“It takes 17 muscles to smile, and 47 muscles to frown. Conserve energy.” – unknown

“A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.” – Phyliss Diller

“As long as you can laugh at yourself you will never cease to be amused.” – Unknown

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” – Yakov Smirnoff

“If you smile when no one else is around, you really mean it.” – Andy Rooney

“I live to laugh, and I laugh to live.” – Milton Berle

“What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.” – Yiddish Proverb

“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face”. – Victor Hugo

“Let your smile change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile.” – Connor Franta

“A smile is happiness you’ll find right under your nose”. – Tom Wilson

“Always wear a smile. The gift of life will then be yours to give.”   —   Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” – Charlie Chaplin

 

Watch this video and Smile

Be Good Do Good Think Good Be Healthy

The Spinning Rabbi is not a Doctor, I’m not even a real Rabbi, but I can confidently and legally prescribe the above 😀

I hope this post brings a Smile to your face 😄  If it does share it with those who might need it

Navigating Life’s Storms

August 18, 2020

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, a strong core, 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, 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.

The Ship That Never Got There*

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 Our Core

Our Soul is our rudder and our core.

Unlike the ship we all have a soul.  Navigating the often storm tossed seas of life requires being in touch with our soul.  For some it’s easier than for others, but it’s there.  Loving Yourself comes from acknowledging and knowing your soul.

It is our foundation. It is the foundation from which we draw our sense of right and wrong and all good decisions can be made.  Having that foundation makes it easier to know how to handle any situation, like this Pandemic.  Without it, your life will often seem as though it were adrift.

Without the strength, stability, and balance provided by our soul, we are at the mercy of the storm-tossed sea of life’s tests and challenges. We are like the ship without a rudder.

The knowledge of our true beliefs, not the noise of today, are always with us.  If we listen, we could/would hear our souls persistently speaking to us and guiding us to our true purpose.  The seas will still be storm-tossed, but they will seem calm.

Be Good Do Good Think Good Be Healthy

*An Oldie but Goodie updated from the original.  If you like the story, I admit I made it up.  If you don’t like it, I have no idea where it came from. 😀

Why do I repeat this and other stories/posts?  For the same reason that I watch Seinfeld reruns.  They are always good.  The difference is that Seinfeld is a show about nothing.  The Spinning Rabbi posts are about something 😀

Where Does “Love Your Fellow” Begin

July 20, 2020

In the last post, I once again used the quote

“Love your fellow as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18).

Let’s delve into the meaning of that quote further and see how we can use it as a guiding light.

We are all aware of this cardinal rule “Love your fellow as yourself” (Leviticus 19;18), which is sometimes stated as “Love thy neighbor as thyself”.  It is a cardinal rule, because it is something to constantly have in our thoughts, to guide our actions or words, whether consciously or un.   It is another one of those cardinal rules that needs to be constantly thought of, until it becomes second nature, or as Rabbi Jonathan Sacks says, “habits of action that become habits of the heart”.  

Most of the discussions about this cardinal rule centers around what it means to “love your fellow/neighbor”, no matter how difficult it may be.  We all tend to find things about our “fellow/neighbor” that we don’t like, or bugs us.  This teaching reminds us to look for the good in all.

For now though, let’s focus on the “as yourself/thyself” part, which is really where it begins.  If you don’t love yourself first, then your “fellow” isn’t so thrilled with you loving them and your “neighbor” is probably thinking, “don’t come a knocking”!!

 If you don’t love yourself, then how can you love another?  If you can’t see your inner beauty/soul, the true you, how can you see that of another?

How To Love Yourself

To truly love yourself, begin by recognizing and constantly remembering that you have value and you matter.  You are not just matter, it is you that matters.  Never forget that.

You, your soul was created on purpose.  It was placed in your body for a specific purpose.  A unique purpose that benefits all.  It’s a mission that only you can fulfill.  That you are still here, as in alive, is on purpose.  In other words, you are still needed.   As younger people would say, “How cool is that”?

When you truly believe, internalize, and actualize that, you will love yourself and then you can start knocking on your neighbors doors.  They will be glad to see YOU!!

When you believe that you are needed and matter, you will also be better prepared and able to handle anything that comes your way.

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

 “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” – Dr. Seuss

 “We must be our own before we can be another’s.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The worst fault a person can have is to forget his intrinsic greatness as a human being.” –  Rabbi Shlomo of Karlin

When you don’t believe, it becomes too easy to believe you are a victim.  Victimhood leads to depression, anger, and blaming another/others.  It can cause any interaction with another that isn’t what you want it to be, or perceive it, to be taken as personal and negative.  There is no room to see another, just to see what you want to see.  It causes you to act on assumptions.  None, of this lends itself to “love your fellow”.

Victimhood is internal and it can cause the need for external affirmation and going to any length to get it.  Including going along to get along, even when you really know better.

“We don’t always see things as they are, we see things as we are” –  Anais Nin

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

“Victimhood comes from the inside.  No one can make you a victim but you .  We become victims not because of what happens to us but when we choose to hold onto victimization.” – Dr. Edith Eva Eger

 

When you truly love the truly you, then you can truly love your neighbor/fellow.  When we all do that, we will have the wonderful world we all truly wish for.

 Be Good Do Good Think Good Be Healthy

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY 2020 and Many More

July 3, 2020

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”. 

The founding of America was then, a very novel idea in building a nation based on individual rights and freedom.  A nation founded on the idea that man is inherently good and given freedom could/would live up to that good. A nation founded on the belief that all are created in the image of G-d.  That we are all children of G-d.  That given freedom, we could and would eventually have a country that lives up to and recognizes these “self-evident truths”.

Those who got freedom back then, were grateful.  Yet it was not something that they were familiar with and had no real experience.  They were an imperfect people given the freedom and opportunity based on the founding principles to grow and become a more “perfect union”.  So began the journey in learning how to use their new freedom.

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 and become the person we were created to be.  A unique person, with a unique purpose and mission for which we were each created.  A mission that contributes to the benefit of all.  A person who follows

“Love your fellow as yourself” (Leviticus 19;18).

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me. And if I am only for myself, of what good am I.” – Hillel, Ethics of fathers 1:14

Without these rights and freedom we could not pursue our dreams and our individual purpose.  When we use that freedom to be who we are meant to be, to fulfill our unique purpose, America will be all that it’s meant to be and what it was created for.   Without the freedom to fulfill our individual purpose, we will never get to a land fully defined by it’s founding principles.

What could be more gratifying for each of us to know that we chose, because we could, to use that freedom to reach our ultimate potential as human beings.  To know that it came from you and not imposed on you.  To look around us and see that all are enjoying “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”  To be truly United.  It may take longer than we would like but freedom is the only way to get there.

If there are faults in America, it is not the fault of America.  We are all still imperfect people.

A young child asks his parents on a long trip, “Are we there yet?”.  The parent answers “no, not yet”.  On our journey, we must constantly ask ourselves, “Am I there yet?”. Each of us is a work in process that can lead to progress.  The closer we get, the closer we will be to the goal that America was founded on.  We have made much progress, so let’s keep going, until the answer becomes, “yes, we are there”.  Without freedom we will never get there!

To have the freedom to pursue and become our true selves is indeed something to be thankful for.

Our liberty should be celebrated everyday by using it for the good of all.

May we cherish, be grateful for, and protect those freedoms for many, many more years.

May we use our freedom to fulfill our greatest human potential.

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY  

G-d Bless America

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