Sugarman couldn’t be Jewish

March 17, 2013

Have you seen “Waiting for Sugarman” the documentary about Sixto Rodriguez? An amazing singer songwriter….released two album in the 70′s that went nowhere, so he went back to odd jobs…Except he became a cult hero in the Anti Apartheid movement in South Africa…Fast forward 40 years..They found him, brought him back to SA and he performed before adoring crowds…But he isn’t bitter, just amazed and happy at his good fortune…and still lives in the same house in Detroit for the last 40 years


Go Figure

Catholics are not Jews, or maybe they are

February 16, 2013

Not being a student of religions, or cultural peculiarities, the following may be read as an insight or as an invitation to religious wars: A Catholic friend of mine explained (from her POV) the difference between shame and guilt: Catholics are raised to believe they are basically sinners, bad people and fairly hopeless until the afterllfe: hence Shame. Jews are raised to believe they are the greatest thing since sliced bread, but always do terrible things: Hence Guilt

go figure

the upside of the downside

March 24, 2012

As horrible as depression can be, it’s got it’s benefits. Ask any Jew….or many artists….In his new book, Imagine, Jonah Lehrer recounts a lot of evidence that creativity and depression go hand in hand…So next time you’re feeling sorry for yourself, sad and despondent (a state of mind familiar to many), look around the corner. Time Magazine reported that slightly depressed people have a much more accurate estimate of how the future will actually pan out…
What if your view of things wasn’t the end of the world, but just the way things are

I woke up in the middle of the night last night and wondered what would it be like if i didn’t have to worry…what if everything were fine….I laughed….

My Kishkas know, but be careful what you ask them

December 28, 2011

How many times have you said to yourself, after some horrible event has occured, “if I’d only listened to my gut feeling?”

Did you know that you have a nervous system lining your intestines? More seratonin is produced in the gut than in the brain… So it pays to listen.

We all have instinctual responses to the environment. It’s just important to remember what those responses are: they are our basic human desire for survival…It’s not just fight or flight, although most of this kind of “knowledge” has to do with protecting you from Danger  (however your body interprets that). It gets complicated by the fact that survival is also wrapped up in some very cool seratonin uptake experiences like great sex. Part of the the survival mechanism is the desire to make babies, no matter what. How many relationships have you been in that started with you over the moon for the person? You knew it was right….your gut told you so…But this is instinct not intuition…It’s your gene’s (and jean’s) desire to get eggs and sperm together as soon as possible. So how could such apparently perfect unions have gone so wrong?

It’s because you were using your instinct not your intuition. Intuition is not a survival mechanism. It has little to do with safety or procreation. Rather it has to do with balance.

Every cell of your body uses intuition to monitor its own excesses. Remember biology 101? Homeostasis? Every system of the body seeks an absence of strain.

The next time you’re head over heels for someone, with your heart pounding, your every cell pulsating, or you meet someone who just makes you feel like you never want to see them again, remember your amperage is raised in both cases…Listen, but remember what you are listening to: Is it necessary to protect yourself if it’s negative, or is it useful to bed that  person whose making you gaga?

Most of us had our intuition stifled at a very young age. It takes practice to get it back.

Start with simple decisions: the pants you’re going to wear today. Stand in front of your closet, and take 5 deep breaths. Don’t try to think it through…Just breathe and calm down. Try to get your mind to be right in front of your closet, not off on your day’s activities…not where you need to be next. And then see which pants you reach for.

Let me know if you need some other little steps

Just remember: thank goodness for the kishkas…it’s just they only deal with a small (though very important) part of being human….they’re not very good at peace of mind.

Jews don’t go solo

December 8, 2011

The holidays are upon us…that weird time of year when you gather with family and friends, put up with uncle harry because after all family is worth it.  Humans are pack animals, and Jews wrote the book. But a funny thing happens on the way to togetherness: feeling like an outsider. There is always the longing for a time that never quite was…The greeks called it Kaimos, that anxious state of nostalgia….We never learn to be alone without being lonely…We never learn how to value solitude, mistaking it for isolation…

But next time you’re in a crowded store, see how connected you feel…go for a walk by yourself, and when you feel anxious, don’t do anything about it…You wont’ die.


happy holidays

solitude vs isolation

September 4, 2011

When’s the last time you saw a Jew praying alone? I understand from my more religious friends that you can’t even pray unless you’ve got 10 men together in one place (What’s with discounting the female?…If we listened to their prayers a little more, the world would be a much nicer place….unless it has to do with shoes.)

We are pack animals. You don’t find many Jews in caves contemplating their navels..We love groups, big dinners and family…
And no one loves those things more than me. But I wonder how much of our togetherness is running away from what Blase Pascal said.”All the evils of mankind can be traced back to our inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

A friend mentioned that the “I” in front of our Pads, Pods, and Phones, stands for Isolation…We are so connected that we’re disconnected. Isolation is very different than solitude..Heard a great quote: “Teach your children to be alone, or they will be lonely all their lives.” Think about it

In praise of depression

July 7, 2011

Ok, so none other than Time magazine has made acceptable what every Jewish mother knows: Those with mild depression have the best estimate of future events. The overly optimistic are usually wrong, and the chronically depressed see only the darkness.

But all you need to do is know there’s danger lurking out there, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of how things will pan out…


And yet we’re (at least some of us) are optimists…How is it that against all evidence to the contrary, people think things are going to get better…Samuel Johnson, who wrote several centuries ago noted that the greatest testament to the victory of optimism over experience is the inclination of divorced people to remarry!

Well, it turns out we’re hard wired to be optimistic. Imagine if our forbearers had truly considered what was going on outside their caves: they never would have gone anywhere! And though many of them got eaten, some managed to end up on brighter shores…And believe it or not, you are the progeny of a pair of optimists!

So in the words of Samuel Beckett:

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.

Why is Jewish Yogi an oxymoron

May 16, 2011

Ok, so i teach yoga…I do it very very slowly because whether by genetic design, environmental proclivity, or karma, my mind is “quite active”…And i teach the real value of yoga is to learn to pay attention to each present moment. We are often so distracted we don’t even know it. So at the end of class today, without realizing that I was already out the door moving on to my next activity, I calmly proceeded through the end of class with my eyes closed. Only problem was i’d failed to tell my students what I thought I had…I’d left them curled up on the floor. When I said the traditional ending phrase, “Namaste” and noone replied, I was puzzled. Until one of my students pointed out I’d failed to ask them to return to sitting…I was long gone…so we all laughed (at me) and i reminded them if “you see the Buddha in the road, kill him.” (i.e. don’t think your teachers are so special.)

So later I was on my way to my next class, and was thinking of sharing this example of distraction, when i discovered that i’d missed my turn 5 minutes before…….

oh well, keep breathing

Woody Allen is not a Buddhist

May 7, 2011

While I get tremendous solace listening to Woody make kvetching funny, it reminds me that there is tremendous commerce in what we assume to be the “human” condition….or at least the Jewish one….Then I read a quote by a French Buddhist that set me on my heels: “There is nothing particularly clever about being unhappy.”
But it sure feels familiar anyway!

Where are the Jewish Athletes?

March 24, 2011

I know, I know,  there’s the Maccabiah Games…But I went skiing today, and I was much more concerned with the imminent disasters potentially confronting me that I was with the absolute peace and silence of an early Spring snow fall…The wind hadn’t picked up yet, so all was quiet and grand. Yet I seemed more concerned with the fog on the inside of my goggles (and probably in my brain)

Then i found myself on a powder run, on which I couldn’t see thing, and was absolutely amazed that i got down the mountain…took me an hour to realize how totally cool it had been.


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