Showing posts with label Worry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Worry. Show all posts

August 21, 2020

You Get Your Own Special Table

This was a funny sign on a table a good deal away from all the others in a restaurant.
Reserved for Mr. and Mrs. Social Distance. Thank You.  

Wow, for people that are rightfully worried about Coronavirus or maybe they're just hypochondriacs, there is a secluded table for you in the restaurant, so you can still go out and eat and enjoy yourselves. 

Mr. and Mrs. Social Distance, you are sitting far away but still part of the living, Halleluja!  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 18, 2019

Struggling With Some Decisions

So I've been helping some family members with some really big decisions lately. 

As we all know, there are pros and cons to every alternative. 

I remember how you can diagram decisions out like the branches of a tree with probabilities for each branch to try and get to the highest value decision. 

The problem is we don't know everything that may happen down the road or even know the probabilities for each possibility--or as they say:
We don't know what we don't know.  

So it's hard to make a great decision and not second guess yourself.
Well, what if...

You can "what if" yourself to sleepless nights and death and never decide or do anything meaningful. 

We have to make the best decisions we can usually with limited information. 

Using gut or intuition is not a solution either--those can end up being very wrong especially when we let our raw emotions dictate. 

So I do not take decision-making for myself or helping others lightly, especially my family. 

I want to protect them and help them make good decisions that will bear fruit and joy down the road. 

I definitely don't want to waste everyones time and efforts and lead them or myself down a dead end or worse off of a cliff.

In the end, we have to turn to G-d and whisper:
Oh G-d, please help us to make the right decisions, because only you know what the results will be from it. 

And so, I am definitely whispering!

At the same time, we need to move forward and not let fear and doubt get in our way of living. 

Yes, we have to be prudent and take calculated risks (everything worthwhile is a risk), but also, we have to look at the potential rewards and the costs for these (every decision is an investment of time and resources) and then just try our best. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 7, 2018

Bills, Health, and Purpose

So I wanted to share some wisdom from one of my best friends. 

He was telling me about some of life's stresses at work, home, etc., and he said even though every looks forward to retirement "one day," the problems don't go away. 

He mentioned some examples of people he knows that retired relatively young and with a pension.

Nevertheless, he said:
They still worry about bills, about health, and mostly about purpose!

And even though they don't have the day-to-day grind in the office, he said:
Their own stress is as real to them as mine is to me.

I couldn't help reflecting on his words and thinking how smart this was. 

No one has it all!

Everyone is this world has fears, worries, and problems. 

And you know what?  It's okay.  

Life is about us confronting what seems unconfrontable and becoming better human beings because we did. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 29, 2018

Don't Worry--Be Happy!

Happy Friday everyone!

Yesterday, someone gave me a couple of these bright yellow smileys--one on the back of each of my hands. 

I was going around waving these happy faces all day.  

Of course, sitting in meetings was a little weird with these on, but then again, maybe that is part of setting a colorful and happy tone. 

It's funny how a little smile sticker can make the whole world seem right again. 

Maybe we can learn to live life, love life, and make the most of every single day. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 20, 2018

The Anxiety Filter

What a brilliant picture of "Anxiety" by a child in Montgomery County, Maryland. 

Notice the great big letters--and all in caps--for what ANXIETY feels like. 

Anxiety is black--it's when we are in a dark foreboding place and we can't find our way out--it holds us back from doing what we need and like to do. 

Anxiety feels so all-enveloping and ginormous--it dwarfs us in the "I"--and we feel so small and are paralyzed, incapable of freeing ourselves from it. 

Anxiety is a cognitive and emotional bias where we see things in black and white--everything is to the extreme--and there are no greys; we tend to talk in all or nothing and our actions may mimic our extreme feelings. 

Around the anxiety, we are bordering in blood red--we are in a dangerous place--where our feelings of fear, inadequacy, and being incapable of overcoming it can lead us to do something desperate and final. 

When we are drowning in anxiety, it is like a lens or filter that clouds our vision and thinking, so we can make bad decisions, not make any decisions, or just procrastinate in order to avoid the issue and thing we are afraid of. 

We have to fight off the octopus grip of anxiety.

We have to find our courage within and from G-d.

We have to conquer our demons so we can meet our destiny head-on. 

We have a mission to fulfill in our life, and we can't let anything get in the way. 

Fate is waiting for us to make our important contribution, so then we can be gathered to our fathers and rest in final peace. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 13, 2018

Why Worry?

So I had an interesting conversation with a colleague, and they tell me their philosophy about worry, as follows:
Worrying is suffering twice!

I thought this was pretty smart. 

With worry, we suffer when we worry and then we suffer again if the thing we are worrying about actually comes to fruition. 

So in essence, we are doubling up on the suffering.

Yet, worry can be constructive if we use it to spur us to positive action such as in confronting and dealing with challenging situations. 

But when we worry just for the sake of worry because we can't control our anxiety and moreover, it actually may paralyze us with fear, then this is obviously a bad thing. 

Do I worry?

Sure do, but like my dad, I use worry to try and think out-of-the-box, to plan, to problem-solve, to figure out coping mechanisms etc. 

Worry is suffering for sure. 

However, if we can channel the worry to positive impact, then the worry can be worth the pain it inflicts on us. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 30, 2017

Faith Has To Win Over Worry

Anxiety is worry and fear on steroids.

Some people have separation anxiety.

Others have social anxiety.

And then there is good 'ol generalized anxiety.

It was fascinating-scary to learn that nearly 1 in 3 will have an anxiety disorder before the age of 18.

Despite all the abundance, affluence, advancement and technological progress, people are nevertheless more fearful about their present and futures. 

Perhaps like Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, when people weren't able to satisfy their most basics physiological and safety needs, they didn't know better to worry about everything else like whether they were truly loved, integrated, on the right track in life and fulfilled.  

These days, we have more money, time, and information to know that there is plenty to be anxious about. 

We know the most horrible stories of trauma, illness, death, corruption, disaster, terror, and war--it's plastered on the news and Internet 24/7/365.

Moreover, our "friends" and connections are blabbing about it on the social networks day-in and -out.

We are aware of our mistakes and foibles in real time as feedback is given and received with both likes as well as open criticism, marginalization, and alienation at every turn we take.

You have to ask yourself--is it meant to help anyone or to degrade and destroy the others, the opposition, the ones we don't like anymore. 

It's not just trolls that can make your life miserable, but everyone from your bosses to your peers and social circle who give you pause with continuous reaction and footnote--much of it driven by alternative facts and fake other world self-serving reality.

Perhaps yesterday you were a genius and on top of the world, but then all of a sudden you're low-life garbage.

Your self-worth and future are measured by likes and dislikes, connections and reactions by people who are driven by their own agendas, power, and biases. 

It's not just local either. 

North Korea and Iran are tweeting about destroying the world and their latest rocket launches and WMD development. 

Tomorrow maybe the end of one or of many. 

There is truly plenty to worry about in society driven by selfishness, materialism, faithlessness and a moral vacuum where truly anything goes. 

Selflessness, meaning, morality, and faith have to win over all the reasons to be anxious. 

We know too much about the bad every day, and this can only be overcome by anchoring ourselves in the good. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 10, 2017

Face The Fear

I have to give my wife credit. 

She said something to me the other day that was really profound and had a deep impact on me. 

Something bad had happened and honestly, it was a truly frightening situation.

At first, it seemed like one of those negative surprises in life that brings bad news and you are at first sort of shocked. 

As things progress though and the news unfortunately doesn't get better, but in fact gets worse, the shock turns to fear and maybe even panic. 

Oh shit, what do I do now?

Turn this way..no good. 

Turn that way...no good.

Retreat...not an option.

So I speak to my wife, and at first she says:
"Just look away."
But I can't look away...I can't ignore a problem...my instinct is that I have to plan for it, deal with it, solve it. 

I go back to my wife, and she says to me:
"Face the fear, and walk through it."
And I had to stop in my tracks at that. 

She was right--there is no use being fearful or worrying--I would face it and walk through it, and come out the other side better for it. 

That was some of the best advice anyone I think has ever given to me. 

Got to be strong, have courage, face the challenges in life, and "walk through it!" 

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. 

Have to have emunah (faith), and realize it's just a test. 

And the Almighty G-d is my shield and protector. 

It's a test, but I can pass it with G-d's help, and everything will be alright. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 21, 2017

Time Travel Is Real

Sure, we can travel space...from continent to continent, into the depths of the oceans, and to the far reaches of outer space.

But can we also travel time?

Yes, and we regularly do!

Whether individually, in our minds eye, we go back and forth in time--remembering poignantly the memories of the past with regret or with joy and thinking forward in time whether worrying what could happen or eagerly look forward and hope for a brighter future. 

Similarly, as a human collective, we can travel back and forth in time well past our individual recollections and remember, celebrate, memorialize, or eulogize what came before us through generations and millennia and even plan great innovations, feats, and civilizations well into the future. 

Time is but a shadow that is cast off us from the our great Heavenly Father who shines his grace upon us by his creation and is himself timeless. 

In the shadow of time, we can glimpse the externalism of what supersedes our mortality and the significance of us as a speck in time amidst the greatness that lies across the reaches of space and time--that is the soul of the matter. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 5, 2017

Undergoing A Spiritual Awakening


My wife sent me this beautiful photo about spiritual awakenings. 

She found it on a new age blog, but I really thought it was great. 

As I contemplated this, I felt like I was reaching some truths.

Because when we are released from the constraints of the purely physical and material world, we can elevate ourselves to an expanded realm of both perception and inner peace.

So here is what the essence of a spiritual awakening is to me:


Hope you like this and I would welcome others' thoughts on this.

Happy and peaceful new year to all.

Andy

(Source Graphic on Spiritual Awakening: Andy Blumenthal)

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April 2, 2016

If I Could Get Back Time

My good friend, Jacob Elbaz, taught me this awesome saying in synagogue today:
__________________

"Yesterday is history.

Tomorrow is mystery.

Today is a present. "
__________________


Another way that my dad taught me is this:

______________________________________________________________

Today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday. 

__________________________________________

Hope you enjoy these!

(Source Photo: Andy and Dossy Blumenthal)

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May 11, 2015

A Doll For Every Worry


Some kids put their baby teeth under their pillow for the tooth fairy.

But in Guatemala they make Worry Dolls that children can put under their pillows, so they can be released from their worries and sleep better. 

If those were my worry dolls, I wouldn't put them under my pillow and have a lumpy sleep and wake up to them once again, but rather I would throw them out the window, so hopefully they would be gone for good. 

Man, if only we could really get rid of our worries and problems that easily--I think they call it transference! ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 28, 2014

No Way To Fight The Good Fight

Unfortuantely, like many things we do...we do it only halfway. 

While there is certainly a place for vetting issues, moderation, and compromise, often we are overly worried about the ramifications of going too far and thus don't go far enough to accomplish strategic goals.

Similarly, in a pendulum swinging out of control way, we may fluctuate and treat friends as enemies and pretend our enemies are our friends.

Whether in fighting terrorism and nation state enemies, ebola and other horrific diseases, and even righting the national economy...we don't lead, we hesitate or as many commentators have said, we lead from behind. 

ISIS, Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbolah and more...all alive and still terrorizing.  

Russia, North Korea, Iran...not contained, and threats are growing, while questionable deals involving no less than WMD in some and territorial sovereignty in others loom on the horizon. 

Cancer, parkinson disease, and a dreaded endless list...killing our loved ones and research funding goes to political juggernauts. 

Our national deficit grows, social entitlements are skyrocketing and unpaid for, and we can't seem to manage our way out of a pending breadline. 

There is something to be said for making a real decision based on morality and inner strength, going all in, and achieving the seeming impossible...decades ago, we did it when we put a man on the moon and defeated the Japanese in WWII. 

Now we seem to fight with one arm tied behind our backs (sometimes two) and our eyes covered with hands stained in the blood of social favoritism, stealth corruption, and defeatist attitudes, and at the end of the day, with very little to show for it. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 15, 2014

It Can Happen To Anyone

Life is unpredictable. 

Today, at the pool, someone collapsed. 

Looks like a heart attack or something serious.

Most of the people at the pool are in amazing physical condition. 

The young folks on the swim team are fast as hell. 

The older people, many seem like they never aged and can do still perform adroitly.

I find the whole crew generally quite competitive and if you can't keep up...you may even get shove to the side. 

When I heard the whistle blow this morning, it was unlike the usual stop running or horsing around--this time is was long and shrill. 

Everyone stopped and pulled to the ends. 

Instead of splashing water, you could hear a pin drop. 

Lifeguards started running. One ran back to the control center and I could see him through the glass window dialing quickly on the phone for help. 

Another young women was getting help from the pool supervisor--the young one ran, the older one strode sternly to ascertain the situation. 

People started swimming in the main pool again, while the collapsed man was out of sight around the corner in another pool area.

The floating lady water runners were kibbutzing about what happened and is he going to be okay.

Eventually the swimming continued, but even then, people were looking around and had those worried faces on.

There was a realization that even with the dozens of people there, this person could've been anyone--any of us. 

The ambulance and fire truck rescue came, the stretcher was brought in.

I asked the lifeguard with concern what had happened to the man and he said in a monotone, almost practiced voice, "The ambulance is here; everything is okay."

It sort of sounded like don't anyone panic and shut the heck up. 

Anyway, it was upsetting to see someone up early, getting themselves to the pool, trying to stay healthy and fit, and struck down at the scene, while trying their best. 

I'm a little shaken and am still hearing the whistle in my head. :-0

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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July 20, 2013

Uh-Oh Trouble

So I'm "middle age"...and all of a sudden the last few months I am having trouble reading.

I haven't worn glasses for over 14 years--since I had the Lasik procedure done. 

Now, at the optometrist, he tells me, "Oh everyone ends up getting glasses whether you had Lasik or not."

He says: "Usually, people need reading glasses starting between the ages of 42-45."

Crud...back to those darn things again. 

I remember in 1999 when I had Lasik, it was still a pretty new procedure, but my best friend and his wife had just gotten it and convinced me to go for it too.

Well, it wasn't what I expected and when they clamped my eye open and the doctor tells me to stare at a the little red light as the laser comes up to my eye...I was thinking to myself...this is NUTS!

But it actually went from bad to worse. 

As the doctor starts working on the first eye, all of a sudden, he goes, "Uh-oh!"

What type of doctor is this that says oh-uh, and what in G-d's name did he do to me. 

Well, he composes himself after pulling away and finishes, but then stops and says he'll talk to me afterwards. 

As it turns out, as he pulled on the eye, something called the epithelium, a piece suddenly flaked off the eye. 

Nothing seriously actually happened--no ill sides effects, but those 2 words while under the laser, "Uh-oh," really sent the shivers up my spine. 

Let's just say, while I am glad I didn't have to wear glasses these last 14 years, the experience was a little traumatic.  

I remember one other time in my life--when I experienced the Uh-oh moment--this time, I was actually the one uttering the Uh-oh. 

It was right after I got married, and we had this cool idea that I would give my wife a haircut.

So, I start cutting and I'm thinking hey, this isn't so hard...and it's fun...and we also get to save money (hey, we were just starting out in life). 

Then, I keep cutting and cutting not realizing how much I was taking off...at one point, my wife starts getting antsy and she says, "So how's it going (knowing that something wasn't right)?"

Then it hits me, I suddenly blurt out the big "Uh-oh! 

My wife goes, "What did you do?"

Of course, I started to worry and couldn't get myself to really say and instead I just start cracking up. 

Then she knew I had really messed up...and boy was I in trouble then.

Uh-oh is a phase you never want to hear or say...it means trouble has arrived. ;-)


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June 23, 2013

Worry, Who Doesn't?

Many people worry--they are afraid of all sorts of bad things that can happen. 

And they ruminate on what ifs and what they can do about it--if anything. 

The more people feel they have no control over a negative situation, the more they worry about it--they can feel helpless and hopeless--and this may even lead to depression. 

I remember as a kid my dad telling me a story/joke about this--it went something like this:

One grandmother is talking to another.

She complains how her grandson always worries about going to school. 

The other grandmother says, "Oh really, why?"

The first grandmother tells her that her grandson is worried because "The kids hate him. The teachers hate him. And everyone gives him a hard time."

The other grandmother says, "So why doesn't he go talk the principal?"

The first grandmother answers, "Because he is the principal!"

The moral of the story is that everyone has problems, and has worries, and it doesn't matter who you are--whether you're a kid in school or the principal in charge, a worker in the company or the CEO, and so on. 

I think sometimes we lose sight of the frailty of all human beings and we think mistakingly that just because someone is successful or high up on the totem pole of life that they don't have worries and problems.

Which reminds me of something else my grandfather used to say: "G-d doesn't let any tree grow into the heavens."

No matter how big a person gets, G-d reminds us of who is really boss--so chop chop on the tree and watch that big ego--we're just people. ;-)

(Source Photo of picture: Andy Blumenthal)


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July 2, 2011

Happy Guy Dancing

Sometimes there is a moment that really captures the essence of being alive.

I had that kind of moment watching this great band, Lucky Dub, sing their song "No Money, No Worries."

This song seemed especially apropos in today's challenging times.

But the guy dancing to the music really stole the show--he was so freed by the music and living in the moment.

It was a joy to watch!

Thanks to G-d (and Apple) that I was able to capture it on video.

Hope you enjoy it as well.

(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)

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