Showing posts with label Loneliness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Loneliness. Show all posts

September 11, 2019

Family and Friends

So I heard this interesting saying yesterday, which goes like this:
Better is a neighbor that is near than a brother that is far off.

I looked it up and saw that it is actually from Proverbs 27:10.

Thinking about it a little, I understand that obviously people that are close by can more easily be there and help one another than someone else who is far away. 

At the same time, I always learned growing up that:
Blood is thicker than water.
Family is family, and friends are friends.  Family is forever, but friends can come and go. 

Yet you can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family. 

There are some friends that go back decades to childhood and they are almost like family. 

Also, there are sometimes family that are disassociated or even "black sheep" of the family. 

I guess in the end what's most important is how we feel about each other, treat each other, and are there for each other.  

Whatever the designation--family or friends--we need each other.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 16, 2019

Never Alone Or Meaningless

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Never Alone or Meaningless."
  • We are never alone, because G-d is always right there with us, and in us!
  • And what we do is never meaningless, because everything we do affects the G-dliness of everything else--everything and everyone are wholly intertwined and connected.
Instead of feeling alone, aimless, and sad, we can delight in our oneness with G-d and the cosmos and in knowing the everything we do can have a positive impact on everything else.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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March 5, 2019

Why We Chase Love

Being a heart alone in this world is very lonely, indeed. 

Chasing another heart, so that we can pair together makes two less lonely hearts.

Two hearts that beat as one making beautiful music together. 

When the hearts are in harmony, we sway and are uplifted flying away into the heavens.  

And when the music is discordant, we are forced to retune and to grow wings that we never even knew we had. 

Hearts that complement each other, help us face the questions we often fear to ask ourselves. 

When these hearts meet, they touch so gently, and like silk they dance a perfect dance.  

What is meaningless alone is all of a sudden meaningful with another. 

What is too painful to bear by oneself is manageable when shared between two. 

And what is joyful is magnified in sweetness when there is someone else to enjoy it with. 

One heart chases another until they embrace that long blissful embrace. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 12, 2018

Loneliness Is Death

There is a very important article in the Wall Street Journal today on the link of loneliness to death. 

Frightening loneliness statistics:

- One in 11 Americans over age 50 "lacks a spouse, partner, or living child."

- More than 1 in 4 baby boomers is divorced or never married.  

- 1 out of every 6 people lives alone. 

Research indicates that loneliness leads to early death. 

The impact of loneliness is equivalent to:

- Smoking 15 cigarettes a day

- Drinking 6 alcoholic beverages a day

Loneliness is worse for mortality than:

- Obesity 

- Physical activity

"The effect of isolation is extraordinarily powerful...we have to address loneliness," says the former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

Whether you are extroverted or introverted, we all need human interaction, sharing, caring, touch, and love.  

Truly, no man is an island!

Those that are stranded on loneliness island need to escape it and make their way back to human civilization.

Alone our lives are dull and stunted; but together, we have the inherent social dynamics to be able to experientially learn, grow, change and mature. 

Alone we die--together we live. 

It's not just power in numbers, it's life itself. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 17, 2018

What Is Life?

Here is a great parable that speaks to the meaning of life:

A man died.

When he realized it, he saw God coming closer with a suitcase in his hand.

Dialog between God and Dead Man:

God: *Alright son, it’s time to go*

Man: So soon? I had a lot of plans.

God: *I am sorry but, it’s time to go*

Man: What do you have in that suitcase?

God: *Your belongings*

Man: My belongings? You mean my things...clothes...money...

God; *Those things were never yours, they belong to the Earth*

Man: Is it my memories?

God: *No. They belong to Time*

Man: Is it my talent?

God: *No. They belong to Divine Providence*

Man: Is it my friends and family?

God: *No son. They belong to the Path you traveled*

Man: Is it my wife and children?

God: *No. they belong to your Heart*

Man: Then it must be my body

God: *No, No... It belongs to Dust*

Man: Then surely it must be my Soul!

God: *You are sadly mistaken son. Your Soul belongs to me.*

Man: I never owned anything?

God: *That’s Right. You never owned anything*.

Man (with tears in his eyes and full of fear took the suitcase from God's hand and asks God): Then? What was mine?

God: *Your choices.*

Every choice you made was yours.

Create each moment by filling it with meaning.

Do G-d's will at every moment.

Choose to act kindly to others in every moment.

Life is the choices of every moment.


(Adapted from and with Gratitude to Minna Blumenthal for sharing this with me)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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July 26, 2018

Pet Rock 2018

So when I saw this colored rock last evening, it made me think two things:

One, cool idea, looks nice and fun to make.

Two, it reminded me of the Pet Rocks in the 1970s that made millions (this one was hippie even though those back then weren't actually even colored).

A business guy came up with the idea to sell smooth rocks from Mexico beach and market them as pets.

Yeah, they are so lovable and easy to care for!

It was one of the great branding and marketing events of the 20th century.

Who would think people would actually spend money on a plain dumb rock that you could basically pick up off the street?

But incredibly, putting the rock in a box with holes (so the rock could breath) and sitting it on a little stack of hay with an joke of instruction book for caring for your rock, SOLD. 

And in fact, over 1,500,000 rocks were sold at a pop of $4 each.

The guy became a millionaire and got rid of a truckload of worthless rocks.

Yes, "One man's garbage is another man's treasure!"

But surely this was getting a little ridiculous.

Hey, I'll give you a nickle for the shinny painted rock in the photo here. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 18, 2018

Together 4Ever

In elementary school, the children sing about love and romance. 

"The spades go.
Two lips together.
Twilight forever. 
Bring back my love to me."

When 2 people are together, it's as if the angels in heaven themselves are dancing and singing. 

Love seems to make everything in the world right again. 

Recently, an old person from my building lost his wife of over 60 years!

I see him around and while he continues to go about doing his everyday things, I can see that he misses his wife so much. 

He is broken, and his strength is gone. 

I remember my grandfather and father the same way when they lost my grandmother and mother, respectively. 

Completely devastating to them--their wives were their lives and what made them complete-- afterward, they were never really the same. 

Our companions are truly our other halves. 

When someone asked the old man from my building how he was doing late last week, he simply responded:
"I'm getting along the best that I can."

He said it was such sadness and loneliness for his wife who passed that his words literally cut right through me. 

People need each other--no one is an island--and especially loving couples who have been together for decades and decades--they are for each other and with each other, even if "together forever" is just a song that children sing...it is what we all ultimately wish for. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 15, 2017

Better A Mensch Than Money

Here is a lesson that I learned when it comes to love...

Better a mensch than all the money in the world.

Some people think that money is their Golden Calf.

They literally and practically worship it.

They are so greedy for it, hoard it, protect it, and believe in the power of it.

But what I say is you can choke on all the money!

Those who put the emphasis on money are sick and empty with materialism that means nothing in the end.

Better the love of a good, decent human being and best friend than all the money in China.

For money you can buy lots of meaningless things, but with a mensch you can have a potential for a life of real togetherness and even a chance at some soulful bliss.


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 4, 2017

There's No Shield Against Loneliness

Loneliness is empty, hollow, a panicky void, and depression. 

It's like being in the ocean and feeling so small in its massive depths...almost like drowning. 

In the end, you are alone in the universe. 

No one can truly feel your pain or joy or experience all of you.

You're a world unto yourself. 

You connect and form relationships with others--there is learning and growth and love and caring in that. 

Talking and reaching out and being part of someone and something washes away parts of those scary feelings and creates a greater purpose of being and meaning. 

But there is also silence and solitude and the darkness of the night. 

And in that there is just the faith in G-d Almighty. 

He alone is what comforts us as we stare into the vastness out there as well as the evil and loss that we come face-to-face with and combat in life. 

The soldier girds his sword for battle and carries a shield to protect himself.

But there is no shield for the loneliness we experience in life and ultimately in death itself. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 1, 2017

A Sexless Generation

Oy vey, the statistics are not good. 

Sex in America is on the decline (and no, this is not an April Fools' joke)!

Based on this who can argue with President Trump that we need to "Make America Great Again"--and that should include sexual vitality along with military might, economic competitiveness, and social justice.

In the early 1990 and 2000's , Americans had sex on average about 60 to 65 times a year.

Moreover, for married couples, who are at the high end of the sexual spectrum, this is down from 67 in 1989 to just 56 times a year now.

This is a reduction of 9 , which doesn't sound like much--however that actually comes to 14% less nookie!

And geez, that's less than once a week! :-(

What's weird is that the statistics show that Americans working longer hours and watching more pornography actually is tied to a "busier sex life."

To me the obvious answer is that people are living too much in a virtual world of loneliness and nothingness. 

And they have lost touch with each other in the real world and have become more selfish and less giving personally and sexually. 

So while some people are busy infighting and infatuated with reading and generating all the fake news these days, it seems like they are missing the real disheartening and unloving American news of the times. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 6, 2017

Smell The Roses

I am a big proponent of stopping to smell the roses. 

These purple, yellow, red, and pink flowers were sitting on the counter in Whole Foods, and I had to stop, back up, and take this amazing photo.

They were absolutely gorgeous!

Sometimes, I can't believe the beautiful things and people that G-d has made. 

We're part of a most-amazing and perfect world. 

Of course, there are also hardships and suffering in this world - illness, disability, hunger, homelessness, violence, loneliness, and loss. 

Perhaps, these are the most difficult of things for us as human beings to reconcile with the beautiful world that G-d has set us in. 

While surrounded by beauty, people are also beset by life's many challenges. 

Maybe all the more reason to stop and smell the roses even for just a moment--to enjoy the spirit of life and of our amazing Creator, and the opportunity to make the most of it all. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 4, 2017

Our Lives Matter

I thought this saying by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov was very profound. 

"The day you were born is the day G-d decided that the world could not exist without you."

We all need to know that our lives have a purpose and meaning.

...that it's not all in vain that we live and toil.

There are many such notions tied to this:

- Jewish blood is not cheap.

- Black lives matter and Blue lives matter.

But the question is why do our lives matter? 

Kurt Vonnegut has an interesting piece on this:

"In the beginning, God created the earth, and he looked upon it in His cosmic loneliness. And God said, "Let Us make living creatures out of mud, so the mud can see what We have done." And God created every living creature that now moveth, and one was man. Mud as man alone could speak. God leaned close to mud as man sat up, looked around, and spoke. Man blinked. "What is the purpose of all this?" he asked politely. "Everything must have a purpose?" asked God. "Certainly," said man. "Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this," said God. And He went away.”  
So the answer is that we bring purpose to life. 

In what we learn, and do, and how we grow...this is our purpose. 

For each of us, it's different.

G-d created us in "His cosmic loneliness" to think on this and make meaning from the lives that he so graciously granted to us. 

Now we must go and do something positive with it.

Because G-d decided the day you were born that "the world could not exist without you." ;-)

(Source Photo: Forwarded to me by Michelle Blumenthal)
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December 30, 2016

On The Train Of Life

My beautiful daughter, Michelle, forwarded this wonderful message to me about our journey through life, and I wanted to share it with everyone.

🚂🚋🚋🚋🚋
Life is like a journey on a train...
with its stations...
with changes of routes...
and with accidents !

🚂🚋🚋🚋🚋

We board this train when we are born and our parents are the ones who get our ticket.

🚂🚋🚋🚋🚋

We believe they will always travel on this train with us.

🚂🚋🚋🚋🚋

However, at some station our parents will get off the train, leaving us alone on this journey.

🚂🚋🚋🚋🚋

As time goes by, other passengers will board the train, many of whom will be significant - our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of our life.

🚂🚋🚋🚋🚋

Many will get off during the journey and leave a permanent vacuum in our lives.

🚂🚋🚋🚋🚋

Many will go so unnoticed that we won't even know when they vacated their seats and got off the train!

🚂🚋🚋🚋🚋

This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, good-byes, and farewells.

🚂🚋🚋🚋

A good journey is helping, loving, having a good relationship with all co passengers...and making sure that we give our best to make their journey comfortable.

🚂🚋🚋🚋🚋

The mystery of this fabulous journey is:
We do not know at which station we ourselves are going to get off.

🚂🚋🚋🚋🚋

So, we must live in the best way - adjust, forget, forgive and offer the best of what we have.

🚂🚋🚋🚋🚋

It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to leave our seat... we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life."

🚂🚋🚋🚋🚋

Thank you for being one of the important passengers on my train... don't know when my station will come... don't want 2 miss saying: "Thank you."

🚂🚋🚋🚋

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September 18, 2016

Should We Care What Others Think?

So I was talking with someone and they were telling me how self conscious they feel about what others think of them.

They said when they were in school, they were picked on, bullied, labeled, and made to feel different and excluded.

Whether it was their hair that was different or their lunchbox that got taken and hidden from them, the other kids were relentless. 

Now in life, they are still dealing with all those feelings.

Do they look right? 

Are they educated enough?

Is their profession something others will admire them for?

And on and on. 

And at a certain point, I said, "Isn't it more important what you think about yourself than what others think about you?"

And they said, "Sure, but I still feel like I have to live up to other people's standards. I don't want them to think bad about me or talk behind my back!"

I understand this way of thinking is based on trauma from the past and feelings of inadequacy and not fitting in. 

And we can spend our whole lives chasing this illusive acceptance from others. 

Or we can decide to pursue we what believe in and love, and to find healing in the good we do, rather than the nods or winks from others that we receive. 

If we are trying to live up to somebody else's arbitrary standards of perfection, cool, or being in the in-crowd, we may never be good enough.

Instead, if we pursue what we know is right from our moral compass and our heart and soul, and always do our best, we will attain the satisfaction that comes with healthy self-development and maturation. 

Seeking unconditional acceptance and love can definitely leave you feeling frustrated, self-hating, and even quite alone. 

But accepting yourself, developing yourself, and giving to G-d and to others will always leave you feeling fulfilled. 

Forget living as if your in the fishbowl, and strive for the Superbowl of achievement through incremental progress and goal attainment in your life. 

Start with making yourself proud and the others will come around. And if for some reason they don't, it's truly their deficiency and loss and not yours!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 11, 2016

You're Wealthy Nuts

So Bloomberg Businessweek has a really funny article about all the wealthy people that need to go see shrinks. 

Get this--overall wealthy people are cursed with "Affluenza" (not influenza silly) and have "elevated levels of depression, anxiety, psychosomatic issues (physical symptoms from stress), and self-mutilation."

Some specific reasons they go for mental health help:

- Why Me--A trying issue to deal with is their guilt feelings about being so darn rich, while others are starving, homeless, and can't make ends meet. 

- Feeling A Little Lonely (And Hated)--They can't help thinking that perhaps people only like them for their money.

- Aimless In Life--What's the purpose of their lives if they are living on easy street, don't have to work, and can buy their way out of trouble. 

- Money To Mess You Up--Some people have so much money, they can squander it on bad investments, but also on alcohol, drugs, sex, and so on.  

- Fear Of Losing It All--Terrible thing about having so much money is you have to worry about losing so much money.  

So next time you are thinking about protesting against the top .1% who have as much as the bottom 90%, have a heart because the wealthy have a lot of problems too. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Chris Goldberg)
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January 1, 2016

Homesick or Heresick

It's funny, my dad used to tell a joke about not being homesick, but being heresick (wherever that "here" may be for somebody--they just want to get out of there)

Recently, at work though, I have found there are many people that don't want to go home at the end of the day--and it's not because they always still have so much work to do (although sometimes certainly they do). 

Yesterday, I asked someone at work--on New Years eve--what they were still doing there late in the day.

Someone with a fairly new baby at home, jokingly winced at me, and said something about it sometimes being better to stay a little later at work, because when he/she gets home, they start all over again with the spouse and kid(s)--like so many of us. 

It's strange to me, because I love and value home. 

And it's like the old rhetorical question about do you work to live or live to work. 

Just yesterday, in the Wall Street Journal, there was a book review about someone who opined about how home is where the heart is--and in anthropological terms--it's always been that way!

Home is our sanctuary, for ourselves and our beloved family, it is where we are "king of the castle," and where we do everything from shelter, comfort, reproduce, share, and generally love and care for each other. 

Yet, back to work, many people these days don't want to go home to crying babies and dirty diapers, nagging spouses and the evening fights, encroachment on private spaces, and errands galore (it's a 2nd job almost)--cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry, and bills--or even just plain loneliness there. 

So people hang out at work--they schmooze, they snack, they Internet, they may go to workout, or they dilly and dally--just so they don't have to go home. 

As someone recently said to me, "It's quiet. I like it there. Nobody bothers me there."

They are homesick--not missing and yearning to be home, but some almost to the point of sick at the thought of going home. 

Work or anywhere else then becomes a refuge from the home that home is supposed to be. 

Sometimes it's just a temporary thing at home, sometimes it's more ongoing or permanent.

Everyone has a different home--for everyone it should be a true home. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 13, 2015

What's With The Best Buds?

 I never quite understood the best buds t-shirt wave.

This is especially the case when the person is alone and there is no best bud anywhere to be found. 

We are all social animals, and perhaps, we all wish to have a best bud in our lives--someone to "buddy around with" and who knows and understands us, and unconditionally accepts us. 

Best buds seems to almost be able to read each others minds and finish each others sentences...and they laugh hysterically together about these mindless things for which apparently only they get it. 

When best buds are together, it's like they are almost in a bubble of their own world, and everyone else is on the outside, if they even exist to the buds at all. 

That's because bests buds are it--they have history, they share things in common, they think alike, and they work in tandem.

It's like getting two for the price of one: they are Batman and Robbin, Tonto and The Lone Ranger, Cheech and Chong, Laverne and Shirley, Simon and Garfunkel, and so many other couplings that stick together like peanut butter and jelly. 

If you have a best bud then you already know you don't need to give them a t-shirt to spell it out--the chemistry already says it all. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 24, 2015

My Ashley Madison

So Ashley Madison is now a well-known adulterous website, particularly after hackers stole 37 million records on the site participants, and have released that information to the public.

These tens of millions of users seek companionship for loveless or sexless marriages or perhaps are just plain liars and cheaters--who knows? 

But yikes, now everyone knows!

Huffington reports that divorce lawyers are anticipating a deluge of new clients seeking divorces

And BBC reports that two people have already taken their lives in Canada as a result of the release. 

What is incredible as well are the 15,000 people who used their .gov or .mil accounts presumably to hide their infidelity from their spouses, but now are in potentially huge trouble with their government agencies.

I assume that Ashley Madison prided themselves on their discretion in handling their clients accounts, but lo' and behold the discretion is for naught compliments of some very naughty hackers. 

Privacy is becoming a very lonely and meaningless word whether you are faithful or a cheater--it's all open fodder on the net. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 22, 2015

Can You Just Stop And Think?

So oddly, one thing that many people these days find really hard to do is STOP AND THINK.

What do I mean?

Be alone, do nothing, and just take the time to be with yourself and think.

--without your smartphone, television, music, game, or even a book. 

Just you, the four walls, and your brain...thinking, thinking, thinking.

Feeling a little jittery, scared yet. 

Why are people afraid to stop and think? 

Is it because within the thinking is some craziness, fear, anxiety, and even remorse?

Are there overwhelming feelings and thoughts about issues, events, people, and places that are unresolved and painful. 

Also, by ourselves and in our thoughts, we can realize how weak, vulnerable, and mortal we are. 

If we are here in our own heads, maybe no one will even notice we are gone or maybe no one will even miss us--maybe they'll replace us?

We're so easily ditched, replaceable, just another character in a long cast of characters.

When we stop and think, do we worry about all the other things we're not doing or getting done...perhaps, we don't have the time to think, because we need to be doing, doing, doing. 

And if we're not moving forward doing something, then we are being left behind!

But doesn't thinking lead to more purposeful doing?

A little upfront thinking and planning, maybe can save you some serious time wasted just acting out. 

Somehow, like a prisoner in isolation though too much alone time with your own thoughts is enough to drive anyone crazy, docile, and ready to behave just to get out, interact with other human beings, and doing something.

We need to stay active, not be bored, so we don't think too much.

When I was in the hospital recently, one orderly named Kelvin, saw me sitting there by myself thinking, and he said to me, "Oh no, you don't want to have too much time to think. Block those thoughts out of your mind. Why don't you watch some TV?"  

Smart Kelvin. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 7, 2014

Handbag All Alone

I took this photo of this neglected bag in Starbucks today.

Someone just left their handbag on a chair and went off to line up for coffee with their significant others.

I'm not sure they needed to save the table given that the place was fairly empty this morning.

However, it did strike me that this bag was all alone, far from pretty much anyone, and no one was watching it!

Also, not only was this handbag left unattended, it was also completely open at the top, sort of inviting double trouble. 

As you can see, no one else seems to be paying much attention...so if someone wanted, I think this large, full handbag could've been a crime statistic in a moment. 

Trust is nice, but this handbag is crying out for company. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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