"If it's not fun, why do it?"

Posts tagged ‘G-d’

Video

Happiness is My Choice, 6

Jeremy Bennett is a man who suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and depression. He was able to retrain his thoughts and diminish the effects (he says he “beat it”) of his condition.  His message is clear: you mind does billions of things and you can control [some –ed.] of your thoughts. I ascribe to much of what he has to say. I learned greatly from Dr. Bernie Siegel, pediatric surgeon and author of The Art of Healing, and Love, Medicine & Miracles. He showed how the body’s healing mechanisms can be harnessed to healing–with cancer patients. Powerful stuff.

I’m not saying that positive thinking and harnessing your thoughts can vanquish serious diseases. Rather, I’m highlighting that much of the “Happiness is My Choice” outlook relies upon harnessing the power of our minds, training our thoughts to go in positive directions. I truly believe this activity can alleviate the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even other life-threatening illnesses. This is wholly within the purview of traditional Jewish thought. It’s not spooky stuff. It’s part of a spiritual outlook. Living this way leads to health, or barring that, it leads to acceptance and handling of difficult situations.

Psalms 100:2 says: עִבְדוּ אֶת-יְהוָה בְּשִׂמְחָה; בֹּאוּ לְפָנָיו, בִּרְנָנָה (Serve G-d with gladness; come before Him with singing.)

Align our hearts with gladness and song. When we turn our thoughts toward the positive, we can choose to be happy. Ancient wisdom for today’s times.

This is a well-made video. I hope you enjoy it.

Advertisements

Andromeda

We, humankind, are insignificant specks in the universe. Yet, we matter.

“NASA released the largest picture ever taken earlier this month, with a staggering 1.5 billion pixels, of the Andromeda Galaxy.”1

The images received from the Hubble Space Telescope, deployed in 1990, have rewritten scientific theories about the universe. This video from USA Today highlights the engineering and magnificence of the findings. (I can’t embed the video’s preview so you must click on the link. It’s worth seeing.)

G-d’s creation cannot be entirely captured by the most powerful telescopes. Indeed, these recently released images from NASA only hint at the complexity of detail yet to be uncovered. Still, we only need look up to see that there is something more than us. Even in the city, with electric lights obscuring the heavens, the light of a few stars reaches us down here. Tiny, insignificant, distant novelties we may think, but they hint at the hidden wonders beyond our view.

As a young woman I sat in a rural Connecticut field with a telescope one clear autumn night. The closest town was about 10 miles away yet it cast a subtle glow on the horizon. Still, it was one of the blackest skies I’d ever seen, studded with stars not even imagined in the city. We pulled sleeping bags around us in the increasingly frosty air as the telescope was trained on the moon. Its surface leaped into sharp relief revealing details I’d only seen in photographs. Luminous, and seemingly as close as if I could reach out and touch it, the moon moved imperceptibly and the telescope needed subtle readjustments.

Then the telescope was trained on the planets. Jumping Jupiter! We could see the largest planet and four of its moons! Astonished, I tried to view this as long as possible and only reluctantly allowed my partners to share the sight. This memory and the feeling of being enveloped by that dark night, with the sky as a cloak around my shoulders, stay with me. The wonder and excitement, the feeling of vastness, never faded with the sunrise and reside with me yet.

The scientist in me adds facts: Jupiter is roughly 5 astronomical units2 from Earth (approximately 465 million miles/750 million kilometers). If the sun’s light takes about 8 minutes to reach Earth, the light reflected from Jupiter back to Earth takes about 40 minutes. When we look at the Moon, Jupiter or any star, we’re looking into the past. Indeed, all of the visible lights in the sky, the Moon, all the galaxies, stars, and planets, are represent light from the past. It takes light time to reach us, and by the time we process it, the events are over. That is true for even for things that happen closer to us, like looking at a face of the person next to you; the light is delayed by infinitesimal fractions of microseconds from close objects to our eyes. At this scale the age of the light we see becomes meaningless when compared against the distances in the universe.

The poet in me contemplates splendor: Meaningless. Negligible. Inconsequential. How small is man compared to the heavens. How trivial his concerns against the workings of the cosmos. How true that seems on face value, except…

…we matter. Shakespeare said it well:3

What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world. The paragon of animals. And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? — Hamlet

We are not insignificant amongst all the billions and trillions of stars in the sky. What we do, how we act, what we bring into the world has consequences. We mold the universe around us—the only important one—the one of the human experience. Our attitudes, activities, beliefs all go into partnering with the Creator. Each one of us is a galaxy by himself, full of hopes, dreams, feelings, experiences, knowledge, and passion.

Remember where we came from, whether looking outward or inward. We matter.

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

If you want to see more of the Hubble Space Telescope’s images, check out this YouTube video.

 

****************
1. USA Today online, http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/01/20/nasa-largest-picture-andromeda-galaxy/22052513/, accessed January 21, 2015.
2. 1 Astronomical Unit (AU) is approximately 93 million miles (150 million km), the average distance of the earth from the sun.
3. Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark (2, 2).

Happiness is My Choice, 2

sailors

Fishermen Statue in Reykjavik Harbor © Just Having Fun. Photo was taken close to midnight on a June evening.

What is success? Does success equal happiness? Can I find happiness through success?

I’m responding to a blog post I read the other day. Allison Marie Conway wrote the following around the topics of success, ambition, creativity, and spirituality in a post entitled “I’m Chewing Stale Gum Successfully – Can We Please Talk About Ambition Now?”:

I guess I’m developing narcoleptic tendencies around the word success. It seems to have been putting me to sleep lately, all the use and overuse of the word ‘success’ and everything, everywhere, all the time.[…] The numbers and the stats and the ranks and the followers and the attention and all those figures that we too often accept by default as marks of what we traditionally call ‘success’ are fine but quite honestly at the moment, I’m over it.[…] It’s like the piece of chewing gum you’ve gnashed every last bit of worthwhile juice out of. It was freshly inviting at first and enjoyable for the first few hundred munches, but now it tastes more than a little bit like the underside of a cardboard box. (One might imagine.)

If I met you at a cocktail party (gosh I would seriously so love that!) I would not be all that interested in hearing about numbers that somehow rank you in some kind of obscure success-shelving system. I would, however, love to hear about what stealthy initiatives you have going and about what invisible-ness [sic] you imagine moves you toward the otherwise daunting blank canvas. I’d especially love to hear you talk about the way you create your music or your poetry or your designs. I’d be enthralled to learn about what ideas came to you and how and why you molded your thing the way you did. I’d lean in tight to hear about how you got mixed up and pushed around and then back on your feet again as you tried to get your art out just the way you envisioned it. I’d love to know why any of it matters to you; what shifts inside you when you do your creative thing. What keeps you coming back?

Stale gum: who would have thought that lump of plastic would lead to inspiration and introspection? Where Allison is discussing creativity, she is also discussing life and happiness.  What measures we track ourselves with, how we compare ourselves to the outside world, indicate our happiness levels. These measures are artificial, however, and happiness does not equal success. To the contrary, happiness is success.

Meaningless measurements include grades, job titles, salaries, popular votes, or any externality that assigns a rank to ourselves, a comparison against others, subjective values that place worth on our existence.

We can only be compared to ourselves, to the evolving person that G-d wants us to be.  Admission that we are imperfect — but can make constant progress toward improving ourselves — is the first step to happiness.

What the Sailors See, Reykjavik, Iceland © Just Having FunWhat elusive measure is success? I don’t buy into it. Rather, I think in terms of being fortunate, being satisfied, and improving my little corner of humanity. By these measures I reap success and satisfaction in so many ways.

  • Standing in a long grocery store line is a time to exercise patience. Success.
  • When I get off the bus I thank the driver… and mean it; he got me to my destination safely. Success.
  • The old lady in the crosswalk smiled because I complimented her hairstyle. Success.
  • I will make you laugh to lighten a sober mood. Success.
  • I see beauty in a raindrop hanging off a leaf. Success.
  • When you mourn I will sit with you and share your sorrow. Success.
  • I can be happy for you when you marry off a child or get a new car. Your good fortune is reflected in my eyes because I despite that I am not blessed in the same manner. I don’t have to have what you have to be satisfied. Success.
  • I raised children who are loving, caring, thinking and civilized beings. Big Success!
sailors 2

Fishemen Statue in the Reykjavk, Iceland Harbor © Just Having Fun. Photo was taken near midnight on a June evening.

Having a good name and a good eye are the only measures of my life that will have any lasting impact. Others can make a difference by grand inventions or forging peace treaties. Me? I just take care of my own corner … with a smile. And with this, I choose Happiness.

Happiness is My Choice, 1

DSC02414We all have our own painful challenges. Hashem (G-d) gives us challenges to perfect us. Some ways we can understand at the time: immunization shots hurt when given but we don’t suffer a worse disease. We may only get an inkling about other benefits after we’ve passed phases of our lives: I may have failed to get the job I wanted but ended up in a more satisfying career I’d never have chosen at the outset. We may never understand how certain challenges perfect us; it’s incomprehensible why a child must suffer and die.

Pain, loneliness, fear, temptation, despair, confusion, loss, sadness, and torment — these are some of the feelings we encounter during those “challenges” (which is a dressed up word for events seen as negative). Our pain is real, our losses are tangible. But it is all in His Plan.

And in the end is the grave….

There’s a saying that if you had the opportunity to exchange your “peckel” (package/burden) with others, you’d ultimately choose your own troubles. Unless that is happening to me or mine, perhaps it’s not quite real to me. I may not feel your pain and be completely sympathetic. There are women who are scorned by their husbands or are abused; severely impoverished; who suffer debilitating diseases, or screaming pain. But that’s not my challenge. “Hey, I feel for you {{{hug}}}” I can write on Facebook, then click on the next post, find the next cartoon for a laugh. I’ll stick with my challenges because they are familiar. I know how to deal with them… or not.

Today’s news identifies African countries devastated by Ebola and AIDS. People are dying. Those problems seem so far away. Winter arrives in New York City, inviting mentally ill and poor people to seek shelter on sidewalks and in subway stations, How can this happen in the most advanced civilization in history? I should feel pain, but I usually don’t until it is me bleeding, until I stumble over what’s in front of me. Otherwise I’d be crying all the time. Perhaps that’s preferable?

Photo_121607_003Pain and tears are NOT my destiny. I am meant to soar, to reap the benefits of His World and pass on the message that “All He Does is For the Good.” It is for me to remove blinders, starting with myself first, and illuminate dark corners. I spread my wings and reach for the Heavens. To that I can aspire.

 

DSC02429adjEvery day is a gift, no matter how painful. Our faith demands that we cultivate the certainty that all is for the best. Gratitude is our nation’s backbone. Any outcome, therefore, can be a “happy ending.” Happiness is our choice. Happiness through pain is our privilege.

Today I pray to be happy with my lot and hope to soar. Or at least, let me have the patience to grow from the pain… and wait for the Big Reveal, whether it be now in my time, or later, in the World to Come.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: