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    • Rabbi Brian
    • My work is to help adults maintain a healthy, adult relationship with God.

      I can help you de-tangle your baggage with regard to surrender, society, religion, and God. I won’t tell you want to think, but will help you unlearn, learn, and flesh out for your beliefs for yourself.

      I work for God in a “Blues Brothers” meets “John Lennon as an ordained rabbi” kind of way.

      My long term goal is to spread love.

The Peace of Wild Things

Last week, I sent my friend Alexis a poem. She sent this one back to me. I love it.

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You might be scared.
In many ways, it is a scary time.
The future is uncertain. It feels very uncertain right now.

I don’t need to convince you of how turbulent the world seems.
You know that.

What I want to talk to you about is our need to find joy amidst the fear.

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Five things I have learned since November 8th

  1) Disappointment hits hard. I am sad that my son and daughter will have a different future than the one I envisioned. I had wanted them to have a childhood in which a woman was a …

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What’s it worth?

For years, I have taught a gem from the Talmud (Pirkei Avot 4:1a) that addresses worth:

Who is rich?
Whoever is happy with what they have.

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Do that one thing… which one thing? Ah….

There is one thing in this world you must never forget to do. If you forget everything else and not this, there’s nothing to worry about, but if you remember everything else and forget this, then you will have done nothing in your life.

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A little less ants-y

With what do you fill your time? I mean, if you were to look at your life and what you do, what do you spend your time actually doing?

I’m not interested in what you say you do, but what you actually do.

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Fighting with love

I’m sitting in my garage. I’m shaken. Anti-Semitic and racist hate was written on the driveway outside my garage door this morning.

It’s 3 1/2 hours later.

The enormity of what I have seen is catching up to me.

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The 21 Day No-Complaint Challenge

The logic of complaining is like the logic of worrying. Worrying doesn’t change the future; and it makes the present less pleasant. The same is true about complaining. What do you gain by complaining? Is that gain more precious to you than living in a world with fewer complaints?

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Responsible. Here. True.

(Answers to the first three questions of the Bible.)

The first three questions of the Bible are of great significance to me.

Before I continue, let me explain my thinking about the Bible, albeit quickly and (perhaps a little) crassly: no one in the airline industry intended for the instructions about putting an oxygen mask on oneself before assisting others with their oxygen masks to be a moral lesson. Nonetheless, it is. Similarly, I do not believe that one needs to believe that the Bible is “The Word of God” to take moral lessons from it.

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Turning anxiety into excitement. Part two.

Physiologically, anxiety and excitement are quite similar (sped-up heartbeat, shallow breathing, sweating), but they are also quite different (the former often features uneasiness in the stomach, while the latter has raised eyebrows and open eyes). Enthusiasm with furrowed brows: This runs a bit counter to the “KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON” signs that were so prevalent just a few years ago.

Telling ourselves to “keep calm and carry on” when we are anxious is damaging to our spirits as it denies our experienced reality. We can transform anxiety into excitement using the mental trick of telling ourselves that we are excited and not anxious.

Moreover, and this is key, the study reported that instead if you tell yourself that you are excited, new possibilities opened up. It has something to do with arousal congruence.

I have long known that physiologically there is no difference between anxiety and excitement. Both can include sweating palms, shortness of breath, and other symptoms with which you might be familiar.

I have made a study of my mood. And, what I discovered is that when I am feeling excited my eyebrows are up, when I’m anxious, they are down.

Might it be that simple?

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Moral Indignation, Jealous much?

How about you and your life?
Think about the things you get all “high and mighty” about.
Could it be that some of your moral indignation is just a cover for some secret envy?

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Why Are Leaders Assholes?

… when you have power over other people, at some point, you exercise that power. You have to. That’s why you were in the leadership position to begin with. You had to send someone on an errand they didn’t want to do. Or you had to force someone to do something. … The exercise of power over people feels good – like a drug. And, the abuse of power leads to doing it again and again.

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Your Anger is Justified?

If someone gets angry at us, we have a tendency to think, “What the hell is wrong with that guy? His response is completely unwarranted.” Or, “What’s her problem? Why is she so mad at me? Her anger is completely unprovoked.”

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Oops, I Was Too Kind

I challenge you to set the goal for yourself. What would happen if you could be the kindest person anyone had ever met? Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Wouldn’t that be great if people said about you, “He/she is the kindest person I know.”

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Falling into Potty

When the crazy thing happens and you fall into the ‘proverbial toilet,’ do you laugh or do you get upset? I find with a lot of us that if it is something of huge magnitude, we’ll laugh. But if it is something small, we’ll get annoyed.

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The God of the Gifted Child

… some of us grew up with parents — who for reasons of their own — were not attuned to us properly when we were children. As a consequence, we did not have had a childhood in which we were aided in understanding our emotions and our experience of reality. Instead of having our experience of the world mirrored and explained, we were put in the role of mirroring and explaining our parent’s experience of the world to them. Maybe God can only be conscious of the world when we are aware and reflecting the world back? Maybe that is what the Biblical text meant when it said that humanity was created in the image of the divine?

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Love Gives Growth

Lao Tzu is attributed to have (but probably never did) said: Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. Teachers see this in classrooms frequently. Students really need love to blossom. You can’t learn unless you feel loved – you can’t learn unless it is alright to make mistakes. We only grow when we are in a supportive environment.

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More Love

So, here’s a question: how do we train kids to have compassion? How do we get kids to understand that the right response is the loving, honest response? I don’t know the answer. But I promise I’m working on it. All I know how to do is to model it. The only way I can think of is we can bring more love into the world by the act of love. We need to act lovingly. We need to BE LOVE for there to be more love in the world.

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