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“A Listening Heart”*

November 19, 2017

Here are two more  “Little Things Can Be Big Things” true stories, with the same message.

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”

P.S. If you haven’t read this book, then consider it a homework assignment

* “An Oldie But Goodie”

Heart and Soul

Homeless Woman Or An Angel*

November 9, 2017

Here is a “Little Things Can Be Big Things” true story.  It’s the first of several that I promised to send in the last post.

This one is a true story about a stockbroker/financial advisor and a homeless woman.

Everyday a stockbroker, while walking from his office to the garage to get his car and go home, passed several homeless people looking for handouts. Sometimes he gave whatever change was in his pocket and sometimes he didn’t. He noticed that if the stock market had a bad day, he felt better when he gave. If the market had a good day, he felt even better when he gave.

One day he passed a woman seated on the ground on a blanket. For some reason she moved him more than all the others he had passed. He gave her some money and her “G-d bless you” and “thank you” seemed extra warm to him.  This really moved him and he thought about what he could do.

He didn’t like to carry change, so when he got home any change in his pocket he put away in a bag. That way, when he got dressed the next day he wouldn’t have any change to put in his pocket.

He thought about his bag of change at home, and promised himself to grab a handful every morning when he got dressed, to give that day.  It was usually a dollar something or more. He realized that if it sat in a bag it didn’t really mean much to him, but it would to someone else. That made his bag of change that didn’t mean much, mean a lot.

For the next several weeks, on his way to the garage that same woman was there and he gave her his handful. After a couple of days, he began to stop and talk to her for a moment. First they exchanged names. Then he asked about her situation and she asked about him. She had several debilitating physical ailments and she also did volunteer work at the homeless shelter that she stayed in.

One day she wasn’t there. For several weeks he didn’t see her and he wondered what had happened to her. While walking a couple of blocks east of his get to the garage route during lunch one day, he saw her. He went up to her and asked where she had been, how she was, and told her that he was worried about her. She said she had been hospitalized and was better now. She had moved spots because someone else took hers, she explained. She told him she missed him and how much she looked forward to his daily visits. He was very touched. He quickly approximated how much he might have given her had she been at the usual spot, and he reached in his pocket for bills and gave it to her.

He promised himself that he would walk those extra couple of blocks on his way to the garage everyday just to see her and give her the handful. This went on for a few months.

One day she said “You have no idea how much this means to me”. He was embarrassed, thinking to himself this is not a lot of money, walking here is easy, and I can give and do more. Grasping for words he mumbled “It’s not really a big deal”. She said to him “To me, it’s a very big deal that you come to see me every day”. He reflected on that thought for a long time and never forgot it.

Whatever our situation is, what matters most to us, is to know that we matter to someone. We matter to someone when we show someone that they matter.

She wasn’t there the next day, and the next day… she was gone and he never saw her again. Everyone that comes into our life , comes into it for a reason. His angel had come and taught him to reach further into his true giving self /soul and then she was gone.

Heart and Soul

*An “Oldie But Goodie” updated

Little Things Can Be Big Things

November 2, 2017

The last post, “I Wonder Why”, talked about our deep sadness over the suffering caused by tragedies on a mass scale.  It also talked about how we are inspired by the heroism and compassion shown by so many.  The question raised was, why does it require Big tragic events to bring out our best.

Big tragic events require Big responses.  What about the everyday struggles, suffering, and pain of so many.  Since it’s not happening on a Big scale, does that mean we can’t respond and help in some way?  A reader of the last post commented, correctly, that everyday and in the everyday, we can do “Little” things.

Consider that while what you do might seem “Little” to you, it may be Big to the recipient.

Here are some Little Things that can be Big Things:*

Always wear a smile

Make someone smile or laugh

Actually listen to the answer when you ask someone how they are and respond accordingly

tell someone who matters to you, that they do and how much

stay in touch and return phone calls, texts, emails……

Visit the sick


Give charity

In the next few posts, you will see true stories of what seemed Little that were indeed BIG!

Heart and Soul

* By using the comment box, Please share with me and the other readers what else you think belongs on this list

P.S. I wrote this as a reminder to you as well as to myself.



I Wonder Why?

October 26, 2017

The recent hurricanes, fires, and mass shooting in Las Vegas deeply saddened us all.  We are deeply saddened at the immense,pain, suffering and death of so many.

We were also heartened as we witnessed an outpouring of true love for a fellow human being.  The response during and after, showed us once again, the true human spirit.

So, so many, came forward to help in any way possible.  There was the courage and heroism of the first responders and medical personnel, who put their own needs aside and their lives at risk to save.  There were/are so many people locally and from elsewhere who stopped their lives to volunteer to help.  We’ve heard amazing and inspiring stories, seen stunning pictures, and videos of people helping people.

All those who lent a hand, did not care what the person in needs race, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or immigration status…… was. They knew that those in danger and suffering were all children of G-d and that’s all that mattered!

So, I wonder why does it take natural disasters and tragedies to bring out our best?  Why, oh why, is our best not expressed enough, or more, everyday, and all the time??*

We all have it in us to serve and treat others with kindness and compassion, all the time.  Elevating others literally and figuratively, is one of the key elements in elevating ourselves on our climb.

Heart and Soul


*This question doesn’t apply to all the first responders and medical personnel who have dedicated their lives to helping all, all of the time, often at great risk to themselves

Don’t Go Comparison Shopping*

October 11, 2017

How often do you compare your life to others?  This kind of comparison shopping comes in different forms.

In one form, you might look at the lives of others that have more of the things you want and you become envious.  This doesn’t improve your lot, instead it might make you angry.  Angry never leads to improvement.

Another form is to look at those in worse situations than you believe you are in.  How many times, when you are in a period of struggle, do you find yourself thinking “it could be worse, look at…….”, in order to make yourself feel better?  Or, how many times, when you tell someone else of your struggle or pain, do they tell you that? It is said by them in an effort and an expectation that it will make you feel better.

Does comparison shopping for someone who is in a worse situation really make you feel better? Perhaps it will provide some temporary relief like taking an aspirin, but it doesn’t cure the ailment.

 “Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.” – Regina Brett

Comparison shopping for someone seemingly in a worse situation might give temporary relief, but it does nothing to inspire you to do what’s necessary to improve your circumstances. In fact, it may do the opposite and inspire you to just accept your situation, which will make things worse by prolonging it.  Worse, it might just be feeding your ego by finding someone you perceive you are better than.  Instead, shop for something that will actually make things better.

Your lot and that of others is not a competition.  If everything happens for a reason, then a part of the reason for your struggle is to find a way out and learn what you can from that process.  Rather than focusing on another, focus on finding the meaning in your struggle.  It will make you stronger and prepare you for more lessons sure to come your way.  Learning all these lessons and welcoming the challenges will eventually lead you to the  person you are destined to become.

 “Adversity introduces a man to himself.”   —   Albert Einstein

“You’ll never find a better sparring partner than adversity.”   —   Golda Meir

The only value in being aware of others in worse situations is to remind you to kindly and compassionately seek ways you can help them.  When you help, you will have shopped in the right place.  That place that will make you feel better.

When you feel better, you can continue to climb your mountain!

“The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up.” – Mark Twain

“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” – Booker T. Washington

Heart and Soul

*Oldie But Goodie” updated

The Wrong Question Promotes The Wrong Attitude*

September 14, 2017

We are often asked “How is life treating you”? That question creates a mindset of us as victims of circumstance. The question really should be “How are you treating life”?  Thinking that way is another attitude shift.

We have no control over the events that come our way; we can only control how we react to them. We can train ourselves to treat everything and everyone that comes our way as an opportunity to learn, grow, and improve. That’s why it’s presented to us.

An athlete’s trainer has the athlete perform drills to master in order to build a base. Building on the base the trainer successively gives new and more challenging drills. We should view the next thing that comes our way as what we now need to master.

“It did not matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.” – Viktor Frankl speaking of himself and other inmates of Auschwitz from “Man’s Search for Meaning”

“Circumstances are beyond the control of man; but his conduct is in his own power.”— Benjamin Disraeli

“A joyful person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes”.– Hugh Downs

So, How are you treating Life?

Heart and Soul

*”Oldie But Goodie”


September 7, 2017

You begin your day by being grateful. You’ve unwrapped your gift.  Now to bring all of you, to all the day brings your way, think RWA.

R=Ready  W=Willing  A=Able

Ready – is from all the previous life lessons sent to you to train and prepare you to become you

Willing – is your choice, choose willing

Able – it’s a given that you are, otherwise these challenges wouldn’t have been sent to you

Make it your mantra as you start your day and as challenges of any type come your way, anytime. Say silently or out loud “I am RWA” (or say the words), and believe it.

This is an attitude adjustment, that if said and believed often enough, that attitude will become automatic.   Having that attitude will lead you to constant growth, improvement, and happier days.

R— “Good judgment comes from bad experience”.- Elderly wise person

W—“It’s choice, not chance that matters.”- Jean Nidetch, founder of WeightWatchers

A—“Imagine if a bird was unaware that its wings enabled it to fly.”- The Rebbe

Heart and Soul

*”Oldie But Goodie” updated

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