Message To Michelle Obama – Hope Is Never Gone

December 18th, 2016

In a preview of her interview with Oprah Winfrey which airs on December 19th, Michelle Obama told Oprah something to the effect that hope is gone. To suggest such a thing to people who are terrified about the future serves no good purpose. Particularly since it isn’t true. Hope is never gone. To suggest such a thing is irresponsible because it not only makes people feel even more frightened and depressed, it also makes them feel powerless to do anything to effect change, and makes them feel there is no point to do anything to effect change. After all, why try to change things if it truly is hopeless? I believe Michelle Obama is a well-intentioned person, and that her comments reflect her own fear and sense of powerlessness. But, being a thought leader and an inspiration to many, it was not a well thought out statement to make to millions of people. That is something she should have kept to herself. Viktor Frankl, Jewish psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, wrote in his book, “Man’s Search For Meaning” about his struggle to hold onto hope during the three years he was a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp while people perished all around him. I would make the case that what we’re going through right now pales in comparison to what he experienced during the Holocaust, and he never gave up hope. And nor should we. Would Michelle Obama have told Viktor Frankl that hope is gone so you may as well just march into the oven and spare yourself any further pain and suffering? Ridiculous. So why would she say such a ridiculous thing? Because she’s afraid. And I understand why she feels afraid. But instead of fanning the flames of fear, and the aggression and impulsivity that goes with it, perhaps she should recall the words of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt: “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” Our fear and our rage won’t resolve the problems our country and our world faces today. They only compound the problem. It is our commitment to Truth, Compassion and
Calm (my personal Holy Trinity) that will get us through these difficult times. Be afraid, if you will. Be very afraid, if you wish. But don’t believe that hope is gone. And don’t give up trying to make our World a peaceful and loving planet for everyone. Channel your fear, your judgment and your rage into non-violent, non -cooperation with evil. This is what Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in. This is what enabled Mahatma Gandhi to defeat the British Empire’s stranglehold on India. Hope is never gone.


Overcoming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

December 16th, 2016

PTSD is a very difficult condition to live with, particularly in the acute stages, because their autonomic nervous system has been re-set to over-react, and just about everything triggers the intense dread and panic of the traumatic event as if it were happening again. People have flashbacks, nightmares, depression, anxiety, irritability and anger, insomnia, hyper-vigilance responses, hyper-startle responses, and more. There are many therapeutic approaches, one of which is to desensitize oneself to the triggering stimuli by gradual exposure to it. In addition to PTSD, this technique can be used to desensitize oneself to phobias (fear of flying, fear of snakes, etc.) and social anxiety disorder.


Laughter Is Healing. Find Your Funny.

December 14th, 2016

Many of us in stressful and strained relationships become sad, anxious, irritable, and/or angry. We regress emotionally. We lose our joy. We lose our laughter. Add to this the stress and anxieties of a world gone wild, we find ourselves most of the time not laughing at all or laughing in a mean-spirited way, at the expense of others, in an effort to discharge our fear so we are not totally consumed with dread. And so the humor we do entertain becomes another divisive rather than inclusive behavior. Not good. Laughter can be very healing on an emotional and a physical level. Best that we remind ourselves of this, that we realize that, in any given moment, despite the hurricane of chaos all around us, we can engage in healthy humor that is uplifting, rather than degrading, and we can elevate the human spirit in everyone rather than be part of the downward spiral of decay and doom that is engulfing the planet. Bottom line: We take seriously the difficult issues facing us, but, at the same time, we find our good-natured funny and we remember to laugh.


Be Here Now. The Power Of Now.

December 13th, 2016

Most of us do not live in the present moment. We live in the past. We dwell on the past. We bring our past pains, shames, failures, guilt and resentments into our mind and they keep us from being in the present moment free of all of that past negativity and unhappiness. Or we live in the future, anxious, fearful, worried about what might happen and how we will deal with it or be unable to deal with it. Again, this keeps us from being in the present moment free of all the future fear and negativity. It’s very difficult to be in the NOW, not dwelling on the past or future. It takes a disciplined mind. But it can be done. And it is very liberating when it is done. Because in the Now there is usually nothing terrible going on, nothing to stress about, nothing to guilt about. One moment at a time, be in the Now and be emotionally free. And happy!


Medications Can Be Hazardous To Your Health

December 11th, 2016

Medication side effects are a leading cause of death in the United States. The food you eat can kill you, too. Or save your life. The inconvenient truth is that most of the leading causes of death can be avoided by changing your dietary habits. I say “inconvenient” because most of us love to eat and are addicted to the foods that cause heart disease, cancer, strokes, diabetes and kidney disease. Want to live long and prosper, health-wise? Watch this video and take action now. It could save you years of suffering, extend your life span, and spare you an unpleasant death. P.S.: The next time you come upon a merchant of death selling Big Gulps and super-sized, jumbo, all you can eat whatever, think about how great it would be to consistently feel healthy, vibrant and clear-headed. And then walk on by and grab yourself some real food as opposed to the poisons that pretend to be food.


Scientology. Tom Cruise. Jon Stewart. Fake News.

December 10th, 2016

This video starts with a brief look at Scientology which is believed to be a religion to those who are in it, and a cult with elements of a mafia crime family to those who have left it. It touches upon why Tom Cruise and John Travolta, two very smart people, have refused to leave it or speak out against it. The video then segues into a discussion about fake news and Jon Stewart who made the disclaimer that comedy shows like The Daily Show do not alter the outcome of elections. I disagree. I maintain that comedy shows like The Daily Show are actually taken seriously by many people as real news sources, not realizing that the hosts are twisting the facts to serve their satiric, political agendas, in which case they are forms of fake news that do, indeed, influence people and the decisions they make at election time.


Is Spirituality For Suckers?

December 7th, 2016

Many of us consider spirituality to be an afterthought. Perhaps it’s something interesting to ponder and discuss with friends over cocktails. Perhaps it’s something to take seriously when we have retired and have a lot of free time on our hands. Point being: It tends to not be a priority in our lives. The irony is that, in my opinion, when people pursue a spiritual path, it makes the rest of their lives better: better relationships, better physical and emotional health, greater success, greater happiness and greater inner peace. What do I mean by a spiritual path? Whatever enables us to make forgiveness, acceptance, compassion, generosity and love a priority in our lives.


See The Good In Everyone Despite The Reasons You Don’t Want To

December 6th, 2016

It’s easy to hate and demonize people who say and do bad things. But it’s not necessarily wise. When we demonize them and refuse to see any humanity in them, it diminishes our potential to deal with those people in the least violent way possible and resolve the conflicts. By fueling our hatred, we fuel their hatred. We increase the polarization and the extremism, and increase the odds of violent solutions that will likely impact badly on everyone. Better perhaps to try to see some good in them and use that as a starting point for healthy dialogue, a meeting of the minds, negotiation and compromise for the greatest good of all concerned. I might make the case, for the purpose of this exercise, that only God is 100% good and only the Devil is 100% evil, and the rest of us fall in between. Martin Luther King once said, “Hate the sin but Love the sinner.” A tall order that may be impossible for us to achieve but worth the effort. In our daily trials and tribulations, I encourage all of us to hold Truth, Compassion, Calmness, Acceptance and Forgiveness in the forefront of our minds in all our transactions with our fellow creatures big and small. As Tiny Tim once said, “God Bless Us, Everyone!”


How Do You Show Your Love To Your Loved Ones?

December 4th, 2016

We profess our love for our loved ones in many ways. But, for many of us, our actions speak louder than our words: Irritability, anger, yelling, sarcasm, inconsideration, selfishness, thoughtlessness, pettiness, demeaning, and shaming, to name but a few of the abusive things we do. We toss these emotional grenades at our loved ones on a regular basis. Sometimes we apologize later for our bad actions. Oftentimes we don’t. Instead, we play the victim and blame our loved ones for why we behave so un-lovingly. What’s the result? Bitterness and very unsatisfying relationships. What’s the solution? Self-awareness. Self-control. And forgiveness. Because the prime mover of our bad behaviors is resentments which we need to let go of if we want the relationship to heal.


Killing Things That Annoy Us Diminish Us

December 3rd, 2016

We tend to feel that we have the right to live but other creatures don’t have the right to live equal to ours. We feel quite comfortable killing things that are annoying and get in our way. It is not a healthy philosophy. Killing anything, regardless of the reason, regardless of the justification, diminishes us. The prime directive should always be to make the effort to find a way to not kill something in our effort to get what we want. Taking pleasure in killing something is not good. Killing something unnecessarily is not good. It’s always best to spare life rather than take it, to recognize that we are all part of the animal kingdom and we all have a right to live.


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