optimism

When I asked a group of children recently what they thought mindfulness meant, one young girl replied, “It means that our minds are full.” I then asked, “What are your minds full of?” She replied, “Thoughts. Lots of thoughts. I always have thoughts running around my head.” The other children in the class agreed. Intrigued, I asked, “What are the thoughts you have running around in your head?” One by one they answered. “Worries. I am always worrying,” said one boy as others nodded their heads in agreement. “I am always thinking about all the homework I have and about how I am going to get it all done,” said a wide-eyed girl with a look of frustration on her face. “Me too!” said her neighbor on the carpet.

What occupies your mind?

When we take a good look at what occupies our minds, we start to notice that much of what we are thinking about  is not actually happening right now. Most of our mental gymnastics involve thoughts about what has already happened or thoughts (and worries) about what might happen. Studies have shown that we spend at least fifty percent of our time thinking about things that are not actually happening at all, and most of those thoughts are unpleasant. In addition, we often tell ourselves stories about what is happening that simply are not true.

An example . . . we text a friend and she does not respond.  While waiting for her response, we begin to worry.  She always answers quickly, we think.  Why hasn’t she responded?  Is she OK?   Should I call a friend to check on her? Was there something I did to offend her?  Is she mad at me?  What could I have possibly done?  Then, we plan what we will say when she finally does call.  We spend time and energy creating stories in our minds, and creating nervousness and anxiety that we can feel in our bodies.  Finally, a response.  She is fine.  Her phone had died.

Despite the children’s confusion between “mind fullness” and “mindfulness,” the word mindfulness really means awareness. The goal of mindfulness is not to get rid of thoughts. We are human and humans have thoughts. In fact, many thoughts can be quite helpful, necessary and pleasant.  We need to plan, to create, to organize.  The evolution of our ability to think has helped us evolve and adapt to our environment and to survive.  However, the evolution of our thoughts may have evolved to a point of becoming unhelpful and even detrimental to our wellbeing.

Can our thoughts actually make us sick?

The beauty of mindfulness is that it helps us become aware of our thoughts and begin to recognize our thoughts for what they are – just thoughts.   Without this awareness, we consider our thoughts to be facts, they become our reality. We even identify personally with our thoughts and think we are our thoughts.   We often get so caught up in our thoughts, overwhelmed by them, believing them to be true, that we suffer the physiological consequences often caused by our thoughts, chronic stress and anxiety, and all of the serious, negative effects stress has on our bodies, which can literally make us sick.  The amazing thing to realize is that thoughts are not real and the stress that often accompanies them is unnecessary.

Thoughts are just thoughts.  You don’t have to believe them.

Mindfulness helps us create a space between our thoughts and ourselves. We can begin to see our thoughts for what they are – just thoughts – not who we are and not what is actually happening. This awareness helps us to stop putting ourselves through an imaginary obstacle course in our minds.  We can begin to quiet the noise in our heads, no longer feeling overwhelmed by all those thoughts.

Many who begin to practice mindfulness meditation try to silence their thoughts and quickly realize that this is a futile exercise. Thoughts just arise. The more we try to stop them, the more frustrated we get. Instead, in mindfulness practices we learn to simply observe our thoughts as they come and go, and not allow our thoughts to take over.

Our thoughts are just a lens through which we see the world.   They are the product of our life experiences. We can begin to understand that we don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are. Once we recognize this, we are free from the power our thoughts have over us.  We can observe our thoughts and better understand which thoughts are helpful and which thoughts do not serve any useful purpose.  Only then can we truly free ourselves from our thoughts.  We simply learn to observe them.

Listen to your thoughts, but don’t take them so seriously.

It is incredibly liberating and freeing to recognize that in every moment of every day we have a choice. We can choose how we wish to see the world. By taking a step back and simply observing what is going on in our minds, we can begin to detach from the grip of our thoughts. We can see our thoughts, but we no longer have to believe them.   Then, we become more aware of what is actually happening, as it is happening, and be more present for it.

 

Try this at home:  Mindfulness of Thoughts

Take a few minutes during your day and begin to notice your thoughts.  Here is how:

  1. Ask yourself, “What am I thinking about?”
  2. Once you begin to notice your thoughts, try labeling them: planning, worrying, organizing, day dreaming, judging, etc.
  3. Then, ask yourself, “Is this actually happening right now?”  Begin to notice throughout your day when you are fully present with what is actually happening and when your mind takes you somewhere else.  The first step in raising your awareness and becoming more present is to begin noticing your mental habits.  Notice when your mind drifts off in thought, taking you into the past or the future.
  4. Don’t judge yourself or label your thoughts as good or bad.  Instead, just be curious and more self-aware.

 

 

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All New 2bp TV !

by cheryl on October 1, 2015

in 2bp TV, Classes, Events, Events and Classes

Announcing 2bpresent’s All New You Tube Channel!

 

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We are thrilled to announce our new You Tube Channel!  In the coming months, we will continue to add new videos explaining the science of mindfulness, the “How To’s” of integrating mindfulness into your life, Mindfulness for Children, and lots of new Guided Meditations and Videos to help you lower stress, improve your focus and concentration, overcome test anxiety, get a better night’s sleep, prepare for that big game, and so much more!  Be sure to sign on to our newsletter to get updates on what’s new and subscribe to 2bp TV.

 

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Mindful Parenting Exercise:

The lesson that we are enough just as we are is such an important lesson to teach our children and to remind ourselves, as they struggle to figure out who they are and who they want to be.  Adolescence, in particular, is a time when children are constantly judging themselves by comparing themselves to others or their own view of who they think they should be.  We live in an age where children quantify their own worth by how many friends they have on Facebook or how many likes they have on Instagram.  As parents, we need to encourage our children to look inside themselves to discover their own inherent worth and inner strength.  We can do this by praising our children’s acts of love, compassion and kindness, and their willingness to try and take risks, rather than praising only their accomplishments.  In doing so, we teach them to value the strength of their character rather than value only their achievements.

Exercise #1:

Try the following exercise at home with your kids. At dinner, ask each person at the table to take a piece of paper and write down five things that they love about themselves.   Emphasize that these are for their eyes only.   See what happens.   It is interesting to see how easy or how difficult this can be.  Parents should participate as well.  There are no right or wrong answers and there is no need to share.  This is simply an exercise to get people to acknowledge their strengths and foster a positive self-image.  Younger children may find this easy and may ask if they can list more than five things.  It is the teenagers and adults who may have difficulty making this list. Encourage everyone to participate and take pride in the fact that they love things about themselves.  Another variation that might be easier for some, is to make a list of what they did well that day, something(s) they can be proud of.

 Exercise #2:

Another wonderful family dinner exercise is to go around the table and have each person say something that they love about another family member. It can be as simple as loving the way someone laughs, loving the way they are tucked in each night, or loving the silly faces someone makes.  Continue around the table as many times as you want, each time having one person speak about a different person at the table.  This may foster some laughs, some love and some real boosts in self-esteem.  It is also a practice in gratitude by recognizing the little things that others do each day that make us happy.

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The Pursuit of Happiness

The Pursuit of Happiness

by cheryl on October 22, 2013

in Meditation

Happiness is a big topic these days.  There are many happiness blogs and books that explore how we can achieve greater happiness in our lives.  The emerging field of Positive Psychology, the study of happiness, has produced a large body of scientific research that helps us understand how we can be happier.  Major universities, like the University of Pennsylvania, have their own Positive Psychology departments that conduct research on what makes happy people happy.  Dr. Martin Seligman, thought to be the father of Positive Psychology, heads the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania.  Where traditionally the field of Psychology focuses on mental illness or psychological problems and how to treat them, Dr. Seligman and his peers examine how ordinary people can become happier and more fulfilled.  So, why is happiness such a “hot” topic these days? Research on the mental health and wellbeing of Americans may shed some light on the answer.

Statistics show that anxiety and depression affect many Americans and that those numbers are growing.  Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in our country, affecting over forty million adults in the United States (18% of U.S. population).   An estimated one in ten adults reports being depressed.  In addition, anxiety disorders affect one in eight children in the United States and rates of depression and anxiety among young people in America have been increasing steadily for the past fifty years. Today, five to eight times as many high school and college students meet the criteria for diagnosis of major depression and/or an anxiety disorder when compared to half a century ago.  These statistics suggest that in the United States, a country in which we have greater material wealth and individual freedom than most other countries in the world, we are increasingly unhappy.

So, why aren’t we happier?

Perhaps it is because we live in a culture where we never feel that we have enough, or that we are enough.  We are always looking to get more, be more, have more.  Our culture values extreme individualism and ambition as characteristics needed to achieve success, creating a culture in which the fear of failure runs rampant.   In such a culture, we think that happiness is conditional upon our achievements.  Although our goals are often quite concrete (being promoted at work, buying a new car, moving to a bigger house, winning a race, making a team, getting into an ivy league school, fighting for social justice), if we press further in our investigation, we will usually find that our ultimate goal is simply to be happy.  As Tal Ben-Shahar, Harvard Professor and author of several books on Positive Psychology explains, “Wealth, fame, admiration and all other goals are subordinate and secondary to happiness; whether our desires are material or social, they are means toward one end: happiness.”

What the research shows is that the attainment of a particular goal to achieve greater happiness is misguided.  The  achievement of our goals may bring temporary joy, but it does not impact our overall level of  happiness.  For example, studies of both lottery winners and people who have been paralyzed reveal that people return to their same level of happiness (or unhappiness as the case may be) one year after the event.  Our projected happiness (or unhappiness) after certain events is not what we actually experience.  We have all experienced a situation where we work very hard to achieve a goal, are overjoyed in accomplishing that goal, only to emerge a short time after our goal is met asking ourselves, “What’s next?”  We quickly realize that the happiness we felt after achieving that goal was merely temporary.  We may even feel depressed when we realize that the achievement of our much-anticipated goal did not bring us the lasting happiness we desire.

So, how can we be happier?

Research suggests that 50% of our happiness is determined by our genetics, traits we are born with such as temperament.  The good news is this leaves us with 50% to work with.  Many researchers are looking at the effects of mindfulness practices and other cognitive exercises that can help us shape our reactivity and perceptions of ourselves and the world we live in.  In other words, instead of looking externally at what we can accomplish next, what we lack and what we want to gain so that we can be happier, we can change our perception of who we are, what we want and how we react to our circumstances.

This pursuit of happiness is what Sharon Salzberg explores in her book Real Happiness.  She explains,  “Because the development of inner calm & energy happens completely within and isn’t dependent on another person or a particular situation, we begin to feel a resourcefulness and independence that is quite beautiful—and a huge relief.”   In the practice of mindfulness meditation, Salzberg teaches people to look inside themselves in moments of quiet and accept things as they are.   Those quiet moments help us to connect to our own inner strength, our compassion for ourselves and for others, and our ability to ride the tides of our own emotions.  These qualities, which we all possess, can be fostered and strengthened simply by recognizing that they are already there.

Once we take the time to reconnect to who we really are, value our inner strengths and find a sense of peace and contentment in ourselves as we are, we are able to feel more happiness in our lives.  We can foster our own feelings of optimism and gratitude, which will enhance our sense of well-being.   With this new perspective, it is not the achievement of goals in which we seek to attain happiness; we already have a sense of happiness along the way as we pursue our goals.  The relationship between happiness and success is reciprocal – not only can success contribute to happiness, but happiness also leads to success.

 

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Finding the Light in the Midst of Darkness

Finding the Light in the Midst of Darkness

by cheryl on January 3, 2013

in Meditation

In the wake of the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, we entered this holiday season with a heaviness in our hearts.  We struggle to comprehend the incomprehensible and to fill a deep hole in our hearts that seems impossible to fill when thinking of the 26 innocent souls that we lost on December 14, 2012.  Yet, we can emerge from this horrific moment in our history by focusing on the incredible acts of human kindness that we have seen following that terrible day.

We are now aware of the amazing acts of courage and selflessness of the teachers and staff who risked their own lives to save the lives of innocent children.  We have heard numerous accounts of first responders who acted with bravery and compassion in dealing with the horrific scene they found at the elementary school that day.   We have seen images of  people from around the country and the world, people from different backgrounds, with different religious affiliations and different political views, offering their support, sending gifts and sharing their love in any way they can during this time of national mourning.  Through these countless acts of kindness, we can feel a renewed sense of hope, inspiration and faith in the incredible strength of our basic human goodness.  This is the good in all of us that we must recognize and foster that can help us overcome our sadness, anger and grief.

 

When we see the heartbreaking images of those beautiful young children who were killed that day, we see in their smiling faces such joy, innocence and life.  This reminds us all to notice those amazing qualities in our own children, in ourselves and in the people around us.  We have heard the mourning parents speak about how blessed they feel to have had their beautiful children in their lives, even if only for a short time.   Their words remind us all how important it is to stop and take a pause in our busy days to notice the richness of our own lives and the beauty of all that surounds us, and not wait until it is gone to fully appreciate all that we had.  We are reminded to tell those we love how much we love them, to give our children an extra hug and kiss and to take the time each day to be fully present in our lives.   We are reminded that life is too precious to be lived unaware of its beauty each day.

 

So, in response to the tragedy in Newtown, we can find hope and inspiration to move forward toward a better future for ourselves and for our children.   We can take away so much from this tragedy that will help us to rise up, be strong, come together and foster the love and compassion that we all have an endless capactiy to give, which is the perfect tribute to those beautiful souls we lost in Newtown.

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The Art of Letting Go

The Art of Letting Go

by cheryl on December 6, 2012

in Meditation

As the New Year approaches, we begin to look back at the year that has passed and consider all that we experienced.  We think about our New Year’s resolutions and set our intentions for the year to come.  Looking at the past, we often want certain things to be different or better in the New Year and we strategize to change our lives by doing something differently. This year, try adding to your resolutions for 2013, the practice of letting go.

There is so much to be gained from learning to let go.  How can I gain something from letting something go, you may ask?  Read on and you will see that the rewards of letting go can be life changing.

There is so much that we hold onto in our lives that cause us pain and suffering.  We cling to our desires and our expectations, and when those desires are not satisfied, and those expectations are not met, we suffer.  We want things to be a certain way, and when life does not unfold as we had hoped, we are sad, angry, disappointed or depressed.   We often resist what is actually happening because it is not what we want to be happening, and we suffer through it.

We can eliminate so much of our negative emotions and experience greater joy in our lives, if we practice the art of letting go.  By analogy, we can look at our own bodies.   We hold a tremendous amount of tension in our bodies, often in our necks, backs, and shoulders.   Many of us aren’t even aware we are physically tense until we begin to feel severe aches and pains in our bodies.  Yet, often unknowingly we are clenching our muscles in response to stress.  Once our attention is drawn to those areas, we recognize the tension.  After becoming aware of where we are holding this tension, we can work on releasing it.   By letting go of our tension, we can literally move through life with greater ease and less pain.   In much the same way, we cling emotionally to so much that causes us great pain.   It is the art of letting go that can bring us tremendous relief and offer us the opportunity to move through life with greater ease.

So what do we need to let go of?  This is often the most challenging part of this exercise because we need to look deep within ourselves to understand what we are truly experiencing.  Here are a few of the big things we can look at in our own lives and ask ourselves, “How is this serving me?”  If it is not serving you in any positive way, then let it go.

Letting go of Expectations

A common source of emotional pain and suffering occurs when our expectations are not met.  We may feel great disappointment, sadness or anger when colleagues, friends or relatives do not act in a way that we had hoped they would act.  Perhaps we are not getting the support that we need from someone.  Or, we do not have the kind of relationship that we had hoped for. Or, we simply think someone in our lives is a very difficult or challenging person (we may use other words to describe that person, but I will stick with these).   It is important to remember that this is not about who is right and who is wrong.  There is no judgment in this exercise.  The goal is to recognize that what we are getting (or not getting) from someone is not what we want.  Since we cannot force others to act in a way that meets our expectations, the best path to alleviate this emotional pain is by simply letting go of those expectations, and accepting what is.  Once we let go of our expectations, it is remarkable how a relationship can change.  By releasing the grip of our attachments to our expectations, we open ourselves up to new possibilities for connection.

We place some of our greatest expectations on ourselves.  In our culture, we strive for perfection in the way we look, in our lifestyles, in our own behavior and in our children.  We set incredibly high standards and feel disappointment when we fail to meet those lofty goals.  Yet, as Anna Quindlen so beautifully said, “The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work on becoming yourself.”

As parents, we also need to take a close look at the expectations we set for our children.  Are they realistic?  Are we ignoring our children’s needs and their individuality when we place certain expectations on them?  Sometimes we need to let those expectations go in order to let our children flourish and grow on their own terms and in their own way, rather than imposing on them our own desires and wishes for who we want them to be.  Once we learn to look at them through an unfiltered lens, void of the distortion of our own expectations, we may be better able to see the incredible people that they are.

Letting Go and the Art of Forgiveness

The ability to forgive is one of the greatest acts of letting go.   Nelson Mandela once said, “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”  Clinging to unhealthy emotions, like resentment, is a self-destructive behavior that does not serve you.  On the contrary, clinging to resentment will only cause you tremendous pain and suffering.   It is extremely difficult to forgive others when they have wronged you or someone you love, but holding on to deep resentment or hatred will do nothing to your “enemy” but will do great harm to you.  Can you identify a person who you are unable to forgive? Can you think of an event that continues to trigger negative emotions?  How is that serving you?   How would it feel to simply let that go?

The BIG One – Letting go of Fear

Most stress and anxiety is deeply rooted in fear.  We may not always realize this, but if we dig deep enough, we will find fear at the base of almost all stress and anxiety.  We are afraid of being alone.  We are afraid of not being loved.  We are afraid of failure.  We are afraid that our children will fail.  Our ultimate fear, of course, is the fear of death.  These fears cause us sleepless nights, stressful days, and lots of running around trying to prevent these things from happening.

Again, we must ask ourselves, “How is this serving me?”   Will it prevent me from being alone?  Will it help me to be loved?  Will it prevent me or my children from experiencing failure?  And, the big question, will fear prevent me from dying?  We all know the answers to these questions, and yet, we continue to live with stress and anxiety that stems from our fears.

It is important to remember that fear is a perfectly normal feeling.  However, when fear causes great stress and anxiety in our daily lives, which leads to sleepless nights and our inability to experience happiness in our days, then it is important to practice the art of letting go.

I experienced a profound moment of letting go in my early twenties on an airplane at 10,000 feet above the earth.  I was traveling for work when the airplane began to bounce through the air as we experienced quite a bit of turbulence.  I panicked.  I clenched the armrests, and began to envision the plane plummeting downward.  I was petrified, alone, fearing the worst possible outcome.  And then it happened.  I recognized that there was absolutely nothing that I could do to help the airplane land safely.  I was aware that my fear was causing my heart to race, my breathing to speed up, and my hands to feel numb as I continued to envision my impending doom.   Yet, I also recognized that my fear was not serving me.  I was suffering.  So, I made the conscious choice to let go.  In some ways I opened my heart to what was happening and accepted it as it was.  I took a deep breath, picked up my magazine, assured myself that it would be all right and I began to read, choosing very specifically not to allow my thoughts to be consumed by fear.

 

Letting go can be an extremely difficult thing to do.  However, by releasing the strong grip of fear, resentment or expectations, we can experience tremendous freedom and open ourselves up to new possibilities.  We have the incredible power to let go.  By letting go, we can free ourselves to experience life with much greater ease and much less pain.  So, this New Years Eve, I invite you to consider the possibility of letting go of those things in your life that are not serving you.  In doing so, you will find greater peace and ease in the year to come.

 

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Weekly Wisdom # 19

by cheryl on November 20, 2012

in Weekly Wisdom

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

– Henry David Thoreau

 

 

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Teachable Moments in the Eye of the Storm

Teachable Moments in the Eye of the Storm

by cheryl on November 13, 2012

in 2mindfulmoms

Hurricane Sandy was a massive storm that caused great devastation and loss of life along the Northeastern United States.  My prayers go out to all of those who lost so much in the storm.  Having lived through it with my children, and having been incredibly fortunate not to have been severely impacted by its wrath, I now have the opportunity to reflect on the many teachable moments Sandy has provided me and my children.  Here are a few of the things that we were reminded of this past week in the aftermath of a superstorm.

Lesson Number One: Less is More

In the hours before the storm hit, my family and I rushed to remove all the items from our basement to protect them from being destroyed by the expected ten to fifteen foot tidal surge that would soon sweep through our community.  Living only minutes from the Long Island Sound, and having a tidal estuary in our backyard, we had good reason to fear that our property might be inundated by the salty waters that Sandy would send our way.

As my family raced to bring all of our belongings from our basement up the stairs to areas we hoped would be spared, I took a moment to evaluate the situation.  What was all this “stuff” that we were moving around?  If the waves rolled in and completely ruined all of these items, would my life be greatly impacted?  I realized then, that none of this “stuff” really mattered.  All that really mattered was the safety of the people helping to move all that stuff upstairs.  As long as they were safe, the rest was all either replaceable or simply unnecessary.  So the first teachable moment for me was the opportunity to take a good look at all the things that we have, to recognize how unimportant most of those things really are, and to focus on what really matters.

We spend so much of our time, working so hard to accumulate things – new clothes, a new car, new furniture, new toys, a bigger house.  Do those things really improve our quality of life?  Is all of that stuff really so important?  Is it important enough to justify  the amount of time we spend trying to get more of it?   Perhaps constantly adding to our  “stuff” diminishes the value of each item and teaches our children the wrong message, that each item is only valuable and useful until we are able to find its newer, and more exciting replacement.

As I was hauling all this “stuff” up the stairs, I  was struck with the realization that if everything were to get flooded in that space, it is not the items that I would miss most.  It is the space itself that provided us the opportunity  to have fun, to learn, to be together and to create great memories, that is what we do in our homes (no matter how big or small, full or empty),  and those experiences cannot be destroyed even by a superstorm.

The tidal surge came and went and the flood waters filled our street.  We returned to our home the next day to assess the damage.   As we approached the lowest elevation point on our street, we had to walk knee deep through the cold salty water to get to our home.  The water was slowly receding, and as we approached our home, we realized that we were incredibly lucky.   The water had reached our garage but did not find its way into our home.  Many of our neighbors were not as lucky.

As I looked at the piles of “stuff” now upstairs untouched by the flood, I decided to pack much of it up, along with many other items from around the house, and put everything in boxes to donate.  Perhaps someone else, someone who lost so much in the storm, or others who had so little before the storm would be happy to have some.

Lesson Number Two: We are all in this together.

After realizing the great devastation and loss that many are experiencing after the storm,  people are mobilizing in great numbers to help those in need.  This sense of connection, kindness and compassion was also palpable in the days and hours before and during the storm.   There seemed to be a feeling in the air that we were all in this together, whatever may come.

This strong sense of interconnection was in stark contrast to how we live our normal, busy everyday lives.  Usually, we are so focused on meeting our own needs and the needs of our families, that we forget how wonderful it is to connect to those around us.  This incredible weather event connected so many people in so many ways.  It was not just the opportunity to donate to the hurricane relief efforts after the storm, it was also the numerous phone calls from friends and family in other parts of the country reaching out to check in to see if we were safe.  It was the caring conversations with total strangers in the grocery line in the hours before the storm, reassuring one another that it would be OK and making suggestions on what we might need in the days to come.  It was the endless e-mails from friends and neighbors asking who lost power, who needed a warm place to stay, who needed food, and following up with offers to help.

This was such a wonderful reminder that we all face challenges in our lives and we can get through those challenges with greater ease if we show kindness and compassion to one another.  Although we live in a western world in which we are often focused on “me” and “mine,” it was so nice to see that in times of great need, people were focused on “you” and “yours” or on “us.”  We saw first hand how much richer life is when everyone cares a bit more for one another.

Lesson Number Three – If Given the Choice to Laugh or to Cry, Choose to Laugh!

The night of the storm, we decided to leave our house out of concern for our safety and spend the night in a home nearby with 25 friends and family members.  In the midst of the storm we gathered.  We played cards, listened to the news and laughed a bit at the situation we were in.  At the time, I was fascinated by the storm and the potentially devastating impact that it would have on people’s lives.  So, the laughter that night at first seemed a bit inappropriate.  However, I soon realized that there was nothing any of us could do at the time, other than what we were doing.  We had a choice.  We could tremble with fear and worry in anticipation of what might be, or we could chose to sit tight, recognize that we were safe and make the best of our current situation.  This is so often our choice in life when circumstances arise that are beyond our control.  When given the choice to laugh or to cry when life gets challenging, always chose to laugh, and that is what we did.

There were many opportunities to make the best of a bad situation in the days that followed.  When we returned home, large hundred-year-old trees had fallen in our yard.  We were in awe of their grandeur and of the massive root systems that towered over us as they lay sadly on their sides, permanently uprooted.  As children so often do, my children saw the fun and found the joy in this new situation and decided to climb up on the now horizontal trunks and delighted in the giant bridges the trees now made across our yard.  They played in the enormous holes in the ground left behind by the now uprooted giants.  They splashed through the waters that flooded our streets and explored their new surroundings with awe and with laughter.

We saw first hand, on television, in the news and in our own community, the devastation that this storm brought to so many people’s lives, but in the midst of those struggles that often cause tears, it was so wonderful to be able to laugh a bit at the absurdity of it all and find great joy in the fact that we are here, that we all came together to face the storm, and that we are incredibly grateful for all that we have, most of which a storm could never take away.

 

 

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The Calm Before the Storm

The Calm Before the Storm November 8, 2012

Just before Superstorm Sandy hit our area, in what was the calm before the storm, I attended a beautiful service in which the following thoughts were read aloud by Rabbi Jeffrey Segelman.  I was struck by the beauty of his words and wanted to share his thoughts with you.  We are sending our love and […]

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The 12 Hows of Happiness- by Brian Johnson

August 8, 2012

We came across this great video that we thought that you might find interesting.  Take a look and let us know what you think.     Tweet

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