Showing posts with label Meaning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Meaning. Show all posts

September 4, 2020

Shabbat Shalom From DC Duck!

Shabbat Shalom from this DC Duck!

Shabbat is something to look forward to ALL week long. 

Time to stop everything. 

Look heavenward. 

And inward! 

Remember why we're here. 

Rest and rejuvenate for the next week.

Wash, rinse, repeat.  

Need to balance and get our lives right. 

It's what we do! ;-)

(Credit Graphic:  Andy Blumenthal)
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September 3, 2020

Earning Respect!

Great Under Armour Shirt!

From the saying of Dwight Johnson, "The Rock":
Blood, sweat, and respect.  First two you give.  Last one you earn.

Yes, we respect all people in a humanistic way, but real respect is earned based on what a person does!

Blood and sweat means you're putting out, and trying your best to achieve something.

Make sure your efforts are going to something worthwhile.  

Helping people!

Doing your responsibilities!

Being a good influence!

Honoring the Master of the Universe!  

That's how you earn R-e-s-p-e-c-t. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 7, 2020

The Purge

Thought this was an interesting sign someone had in their office. 
PURGE the things that no longer bring PURPOSE!

Yikes! I wonder who or what got purged from this person's life recently. 

Yet, perhaps it is a good lesson against hoarding and just accumulating junk (things and certain people) along the way of life. 

When things have a deeply negative impact on your life (or they're just dead weight), perhaps it is time to consider letting go.

I'm not talking about relationships of commitment (e.g. family), which have a stronger and timeless bond in my mind, but of those that earn their right into your life by virtue of being ongoing positive, productive forces. 

There is no blessing in gluttony or hoarding--stay trim and fit, travel light and with what is truly meaningful and necessary. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 8, 2020

Why The Happiness of Purim?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Why The Happiness of Purim?"

In a world that is constructed of the story of Purim, everything looks like it's based on mere happenstance and there seems to be no G-d involved—this is a world of randomness and meaninglessness. Whatever happens, just happens by nature or luck, and what can be more meaningless and depressing than that! Thus, the Rabbis had to decree all the laws for the happiness of Purim, because happiness is not innate to a story that is seemingly happenstance and devoid of G-d. That is the big difference between Purim, where Hashem is hidden, and Passover or Hanukah, where Hashem revealed Himself and made incredible miracles—the 10 plagues and the splitting of the Red Sea or the one day of oil that lasted for eight days.

On Purim, we celebrate our deliverance from the evil Haman and the king's decree to kill all the Jews, but also we are overflowing with Joy remembering that G-d is always with us—in good times and G-d forbid in the bad times--we are not afraid of anything (another indecisive election, the stock market downturn, our enemies, Coronavirus, etc.) knowing that He loves us and cares for us, and will deliver us in the old days and in the new. May the final deliverance soon be completed with the arrival of the Mashiach—and the hidden will become revealed like on Purim and the joy will be forever increased. Amen.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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January 30, 2020

Your Expiration Date

So I was talking to someone about their challenges in life.

And they said something that really hit a chord:
You never know what your expiration date is!

What an interesting way to say you never know when your time is up.

They used the phrase "expiration date" like we so commonly see on food and medicine products. 

You know when you read the label and it tells you to discard after a certain date. 

So people are like all these other goods that have a date stamped on them.

We have a date stamped on us (maybe it's on our forehead or some other less conspicuous place), and we just can't see it. 

Yet, we need to live every day as if that expiration date is coming due. 

Because like that stale food in your fridge or the old medicine in your cabinets, everything and everybody has a shelf life.

So you better live every day good and meaningfully before your expiration date comes due. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 15, 2019

The Best Jobs 2020 and Beyond

So I saw a smart video about which are the best jobs.

They are not the ones that just pay the most!

Here are the three criteria to look for in your next dream job (aside from the money):

1) Autonomy - Work that is self-directed provides satisfaction that jobs that are closely or micro-managed do not. 

2) Mastery - Jobs that allow you get better at them over time  (technical proficiency) provide a sense of mastery and self-respect. 

3) Purpose - When you have a deep sense of purpose and meaning from your work there is simply no greater motivator and satisfier than this. 

I'd also add that the best places to work are the ones with:
  •  The best bosses and the nicest people
  •  A solid balance for work and life

Overall, if we can reconnect the profit motive with the purpose motive then we have truly have the best jobs out there. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 23, 2019

The Life and Legacy of Sarah

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "The Life and Legacy of Sarah."


The Rebbetzin explained beautifully that when we live a good life, not only does our soul live on in the afterlife, but our good deeds continue to have an influence in this world even after we, ourselves, have passed.

We should never underestimate our influence in this world, and that what we say and do reverberates like concentric circles that spread out from the source farther and farther. Moreover, while you might not think that what you do matters all that much or is a big deal, you never really know the outsize impact that it can have. Therefore, even while Sarah had passed and Abraham mourned her, the truth is that her legacy of the great Jewish nation was only just beginning!


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 8, 2019

Where Are We Going

Just thought this was an awesome provoking painting. 

To me, it begs the question of where are we going in our lives. 

The terrestrial landscape combined with the light at the end of the tunnel effect as the sky is provocative and at the same time almost hypnotic. 

It also makes me feel the enormity of the universe versus the smallness of just a man.

I see myself standing on the red hilltop looking into that big sky and wondering about so many things. 

In the end, believing that we don't have all the answers, but that we are in G-d's good hands. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 28, 2019

The Good Things In Life Are Challenging

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "The Good Things In Life Are Challenging."


"Everything truly pleasurable in life starts with considerable pain." More colloquially in working out, we usually say: “No pain, no gain!” And there really is a lot of truth to this. If you think about it, this concept really applies to everything meaningful and ultimately valuable in life.

As we reflect this time of year, before Rosh Hashanah, it is good to ask ourselves, what are we chasing and working so hard for in our lives? Are we chasing vanity–more riches, power, and honor or are we striving to do good and make a difference? The latter is a life worth living and where our efforts and pain can bring true reward in this world and ultimately in the world to come.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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July 16, 2019

We're Part of a Much Larger Script

I loved this explanation of the Book of Job by Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

G-d answers by showing Job the incredible elements of creation and the universe.

Why?

1) Complexity and Interrelationship of the Universe:

As isolated individuals, we might expect to be judged solely by our individual deeds of good and bad (2-dimensional), but also we are cogs in the larger universe (the 3rd dimension).

Therefore, what happens to us is not just a result of what we do, but also is a part of G-d's larger overall plan for the world. 


Even small acts can have large impacts.

For example, you sneeze and somewhere down the line it causes a tsunami.

Similarly, like actors in a cosmic play of a billion pages, we may not see or understand why our individual role may be what it is, but if you would see and understand the context of the overall drama (what came before us, after us, and how it all interrelates) then from a G-d's eye view, it makes sense.

Every act of destruction can lead to a higher divine purpose.

Like the grass that is mowed over and uprooted to plants crops or the wheat that is harvested and ground up to make bread.

So, we can have faith that there is a reason and purpose for everything even if it is a mystery or unanswered question to us.


And even in our suffering, G-d, the master of the Universe, is saying that "I'm here with you thru it all." You are not alone!

2) By challenging us, G-d gives us the "tough gift" to cope, grow, and become better people.

Even though things that happen may look bad to you, they can lead to good for you.

You don't always get what you want, but you get what you need.

You have choice: you can be bitter, resentful, cynical, and angry or can look at life with hope, optimism and resilience.

Thus, suffering can be a vehicle of self-transformation and elevation. The challenges you face can help you become a different person--a greater person.

You can learn to feel not just your own pain and disappointment, but that of others.

You have the opportunity to grow yourself and the opportunity to help others.

(Thank you to Rebecca Ochayon for sending me this awesome video!)

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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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June 3, 2019

Finding Our Innerspace

I liked this painting and the caption:
Innerspace

There is outer space.

And there is innerspace. 

Outer space is the universe, the cosmos, the galaxies, the solar systems, the stars, and the planets--it's the big picture of what is all around us.

Innerspace is the our soul, conscience, thoughts, feelings, who we are, and what we're all about--it's the infinity of what makes us up and what's inside each of us. 

The perspective is infinitely big as we look upward and outward to the heavens, and infinitely small as we zoom inside ourselves to the subatomic levels. 

The innerspace makes me think of mindfulness, meditation, and finding purpose, meaning, truth, and inner peace. 

Our search for self is really the intersection of outer- and innerspace.

We are but a speck of dust and yet we have the power to do such immense good.  

It's a contradiction that is so powerful--for who are we that G-d is mindful of us and cares for us and gives us the power to choose good from evil. 

Yet that is exactly our world and our place in it--and this is where we find innerspace in all of outer space. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 23, 2019

Hopefully, All's Well That Ends Well

I liked this Hebrew sign that says (translated):
When the end is good, all is good. 

Or as we commonly say:
All's well that end's well. 

Lot of truth to this. 

And there are so many languages that talk to this.

I remember my father used to say it in German as well.

When things end well, it's as if everything went well. And when things end badly, it's as if everything was bad. 

The human mind seems to focus on the last thing (and forgets virtually everything leading up to it). 

Perhaps, we justify the means with the end (i.e. all the time and effort leading up to it). 

Or maybe we recap our lives as either a success or failure by how things ended up. 

In 20/20 hindsight, we can see the consequences of our actions.

- Was all the hard work worth it?

- Did we even focus on the right priorities and goals in life?

- Were the choices and decisions we made well-founded? 

- What was the impact on ourselves, our loved ones, and more broadly?

We look for meaning and purpose in our lives, and hopefully in the end when we look back, we are blessed to see that it was all for the good. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 11, 2019

Black Hole--What's Really Important?

Amazing beautiful photos of a black hole from 55 million light years (311 million trillion miles) away. 

It measures about 25 billion miles across--about the size of 29,000 suns. 

If this doesn't make you (with all the money, smarts, good looks, and ego to match) feel small, nothing will. 

We are but a speck of dust in this vast universe (maybe not even that). 

Perspective is in order for your life and what it means. 

Forget the money-grubbing and honor-seeking.

Realize what's really important is what you do in terms of choosing right from wrong and good over evil in every small thing you do.  ;-)

(Photo Credit: Event Horizon Telescope)
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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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February 2, 2019

Moses' Handicap

Please see new my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Moses's Handicap."
In truth, we are all handicapped in one way or another. One person comes from a meager financial background, another has no education, and yet another has any of a host of physical, mental, or emotional challenges. Essentially, we all have something that rightfully can hold us back. But still G-d chooses us to do His bidding. Whether it’s leading the Jews out of Egypt or standing up and doing what’s right in situations that we are confronted with every day, we are asked to go beyond our handicap.

We can't let our handicaps prevent us from fulfilling our purpose in life--we need to meet the challenges head on with G-d's help.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 26, 2019

The Beauty Of Words

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "The Beauty of Words."
Before Amos Oz could read the words themselves (by sounding our the letters), he learned to read by shapes!  Amazingly, he saw the words in a whole new way. The "S" in "Snake" looks like a snake. Similarly the "F" in "Flag" looks like a flag on a pole. Again, an "eye" looks like a pair of eyes with the bridge of a nose between them. 

"Language arts" really is an art that is poetic in sound, meaningful in thought, and even beautiful to look at--no different than a work of art by Picasso or Mozart. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 31, 2018

Two Brothers Survival From The Holocaust

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "It wasn't a Final Solution."
My Uncle Freddie reached high up to the tippy-top of a tall bookcase in his small, but cozy room, and pulled down an old book. It had accumulated years of dust, and we had to wipe it off. The book, published by the Germans themselves, was one that I was familiar with having seen my own mother with a similar one documenting what happened to her family in the Holocaust. It had lists and lists of Jews that had been deported by the Nazis from my uncle’s city as well as where they sent them for liquidation.
Hope you appreciate this true story of survival amidst the horrors and death of the Holocaust. 

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal) 
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December 23, 2018

@Tree Top Park, Davie, Florida



It's funny that just as I am expressing gratitude for the peace, mindfulness, and zen good feelings, a plane is loudly flying overhead in this Florida park.  

No winning even in nature anymore! ;-)

(Source Video: Dannielle 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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