Skip to main content

Elul 15: Change the lightbulb


Let's say I wanted to lose weight or learn a new skill. Easy, right? Eat less and move more, take  a class or find a teacher. 

Except, what if I liked to eat and didn't want to exercise or if I were convinced that I'm too old to learn new tricks. Not so easy now, is it? 

The bottom line: in order to change, I have to be willing to change. Change, whether it's weight, health, or skills, requires a psychic change of attitude. It's true

Every January 1st we make resolutions that are broken by January 31. And every Rosh Hashanah, we recite a litany of misdeeds and transgressions that - all determination aside - we recite the following Rosh Hashanah knowing full well that oops, we did it again.

All our good intentions get us nowhere unless and until we are willing to do what it takes to revise the way we look at ourselves and our world.

The problem is that  most of us aren't willing to do that until we absolutely have to. I knew someone who chain smoked for years until he damn near burned down his house when he fell asleep hanging on to a lit cigarette. Many of us know people who are overweight and live a spectacularly unhealthy life style ... until they wake up one day in the CCU with a scar running down their chests. 

There's a saying, "If I always do what I've always done, I'll always get what I always got." And that's true.

But there's a better way to put it:


In other words, if you're a lightbulb, change is possible if ...


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Erev Rosh Hashanah 5777: WAIT

I got the best advice from my son: "Mom, why are you even engaging with these people? Please stop."

I've got people on Facebook who - while holding similar philosophies in some areas - are 180 degrees from me politically. I long ago determined that arguing with these people is counterproductive, only useful if I believe - science notwithstanding - that heartrate-raising arguments is equal to a good cardio workout.

And so my goal for today is to WAIT (by the way, not an original concept - I learned it from Rabbi Andy Sklarz): Why Am I Talking?

Provocateurs and bullies want to be engaged. They poke, someone responds, and the game is afoot. Like fire, they need constant air renewal. So if don't engage, don't respond, they will run out of air.

So for today, I grit my teeth ... and wait.


Elul 21: The airline safety guide (Love)

You shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am Adonai. (Lev. 19:18)

You shall love the stranger that dwells with you (who will be for you like the native-born among you), as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am Adonai, your God. (Lev. 19:34)

And you shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might ... (Deut. 6:5)

If you've paid attention to your flight attendant, you know that in the event of an emergency, you put your own oxygen mask on first. Only then do you help someone next to you, including a child. Why? Because if you don't have oxygen, you're useless to anyone else.

It's the same with love.

Start by loving and caring for yourself. It's not selfish; it's just a place to start.

Then move outward: your neighbor, your community, the strangers around you.

Then, finally, the realm of God: the spiritual love that holds all the others together.

But it all starts in your own home.


Elul 23: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at 6:50 (Begin)

Someone I knew hated the expression "new beginning" because it was redundant. The argument was that beginning implies new, right?

Not necessarily. A "do-over" is a beginning of sorts that acknowledges that the first try got muffed up. "Start again, from the beginning" and "begin again" are phrases I use regularly with students and choir singers. A "new" beginning is an attitude, a mindset, an awareness that we have a chance to do something with a fresh take, a new vision. 

Even  בראשית ברא אלוהים, B'reishit bara Elohim, the first words in the Bible, are translated frequently as "when God was beginning," implying that starting this new venture was an ongoing event. It's suggested that God had given this new world thing a go several times already, was about to abandon the effort, and only the angels' intervention gave God the oomph to give it another try ... this time with feeling (as the saying goes).

We're about …