Blog Elul 5775 4-16

Some situations are impossible to UNDERSTAND. All you can do is accept them.

Elul 5: ACCEPT
I ACCEPT means I see and acknowledge what is, it does not mean I agree or approve.

Elul 6: KNOW
If you KNOW the truth, you have self-agency and can make informed choices.

Elul 7: BE
BE that person who makes others feel special. Be known for your kindness and empathy.

Elul 8: HEAR
“Sometimes people don’t want to HEAR the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.” ~ Nietzsche

Elul 9: SEE
Don’t SEE yourself through the eyes of those who don’t value you.

Elul 10: COUNT
Remember to COUNT the little things, because those seemingly little things are what you miss most when they are gone.

Elul 11: TRUST
Whether it’s a friendship or relationship, all bonds are built on TRUST, without it you have nothing.

Elul 12: FORGIVE
Just because we FORGIVE someone, doesn’t mean we have to trust them again.

Days may blur, but we REMEMBER small moments with crystal clarity.

Elul 14: LEARN
“LEARN from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” ~ Einstein

Elul 15: CHANGE
“CHANGE the changeable, accept the unchangeable, and remove yourself from the unacceptable.” ~ Denis Waitley

Elul 16: PRAY
“Let me not PRAY to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless in facing them.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore

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Blog Elul 5775

Over the past couple of years I have joined in #BlogElul by tweeting on the topic of the day and then posting them on my blog. I thought I was reasonably well prepared for Elul this year, having my thoughts written down on the first three topics of Prepare, Act and Search, before day one. However, I did not realise how prophetic my first thought was to be.

BlogElul 1: Planning may make you feel safe and secure but some things happen in life you can’t control and can never PREPARE for.

BlogElul 2: Don’t put on an ACT or wear a mask, be who you are.

BlogElul 3: SEARCH for your own truth. Embrace it. Live by the values that are deeply right for you.

Well, as per insight number one, life got in the way of Elul this year, introspection was shoved out of the way by a need for urgent practicalities, and then held at bay by some anxious moments.

Today is Elul 23, and though things are now back on an even keel, I am not sure whether to attempt a soul searching catch up in anticipation of the High Holidays, or to just be grateful that peace and calm reign for the moment.

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Zombie Virus-The Seven Levels Of Decay


I stumbled across a wonderful blog this week, by Shelly Aspenson. As I read more and more of her posts, the voice in my head was saying “Yes, yes, yes”, and not in a ‘When Harry Met Sally’ kinda way. Anyway, I am hooked on her writing and wanted to share her post “Zombie Virus-The Seven Levels Of Decay”. My favorite line from this is, “….to stagger around lifeless, emotionless, damaged, and numb is not acceptable for any human being.” Enjoy!

Originally posted on Living Write:

Zombie Virus-The Seven Levels Of Decay
Maybe it’s time to panic. I’m seeing it everywhere now, aren’t you? They’re in the mall, walking side by side, looking away from each other while the noise of pointless chatter hides the horrible silence of their souls. They’re in the restaurants sharing a table while each look somewhere over the other’s shoulder with dull and listless eyes. They are at the movies replicating their at home behavior of staring straight ahead, shoving snacks down their throats and choosing TV over reality… they are texting, or surfing the web, or emailing anyone except for the one they chose to be with at some earlier point in time.

**Zombies: fictional undead creatures, typically depicted as mindless, reanimated human corpses~Wikipedia

First it’s the lovely Cinderella story; he loves her, she loves him, both are wonderful/beautiful/talented/generous/caring individuals.

**We were together, I forget the rest. ~Walt Whitman

2. Then somebody gets careless…

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Leonard Simon Nimoy Z”L

I woke today and checked the overnight news to read that Leonard Nimoy had died. While he had a long and varied career, he made his earliest impression on me through his role as Spock in Star Trek. Now I freely admit that I have been a Star Trek fan from day one, so the news saddened me. But thinking of Mr Nimoy, aka Mr Spock, also brought many more warm memories.

My favorite Star Trek episode: 'The Trouble with Tribbles'

My favorite Star Trek episode: ‘The Trouble with Tribbles’

The TV series only ran three seasons, but that was enough to make me a fan. So much so, that I named one on my cats Leonard after him: not surprisingly, a slightly aloof Siamese with absolutely enormous ears.

While many people will only identify him with his character Spock, he was a multi-talented man. A writer of books, including “I am Spock” and “I am not Spock”, a movie actor and a director.

He was also a photographer, and published a book of black and white photos, ‘Shekhina’, which caused quite some controversy, due to nudity, but I thought the images were wonderful.

An image from 'Shekhina'

An image from ‘Shekhina’

I can’t imagine how many interviews he did, but I have two favorite videos of interviews from the Wexler Oral History Project.

The Jewish Story Behind Spock. Nimoy explains how the hand-gesture of the Priestly blessing became the sign for Spock’s Vulcan salute.

Spock's Vulcan Salute

Spock’s Vulcan Salute

And Leonard Nimoy’s Mameloshn: A Yiddish Story

Interview in Yiddish

Interview in Yiddish

He also wrote beautiful poetry, exploring ‘love’, and published several poetry books, including, ‘A Lifetime of Love: Poems on the Passages of Life’, such a juxtaposition to his cold and totally logical Spock.

It’s hard to choose a favorite poem, but these following lines have always touched me.

From the poem ‘Patience‘:

Life comes and goes.

Laughter of the past
Rings through empty hallways.

The seasoning is bitter sweet.

Searching for me,
I wander
Through a house of mirrors.

I see a myriad of images,
But none are mine.

Only distorted reflections
Of a stranger.

Someone I’ve met
But don’t really know.

I cry out my name,
But the hollow echo that responds
Tells me I must wait.

It is not yet time.

From the poem ‘I am an incurable romantic’

I am an incurable romantic

I believe in hope, dreams and decency

I believe in love,
Tenderness and kindness.

I believe in mankind.

I believe in goodness,
Mercy and charity
I believe in a universal spirit
I believe in casting bread
Upon the waters.

Nimoy’s acting made me smile, laugh, amused and entertained me. His poetry touched me, and photographs moved me.

He was a real mensch.

Leonard Nimoy: may his memory be a blessing.

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Self-Respect: It’s in ‘Vogue’


I read a great piece in ‘Vogue‘ this week: Joan Didion’s seminal essay ‘Self-respect: Its Source, Its Power’, first published in Vogue in 1961. Fifty three years on, its message is as pertinent as ever.

Here are a few words from the essay that certainly give pause for thought.

“We flatter ourselves by thinking this compulsion to please others an attractive trait: a gift for imaginative empathy, evidence of our willingness to give.

At the mercy of those we can not but hold in contempt, we play rôles doomed to failure before they are begun, each defeat generating fresh despair at the necessity of divining and meeting the next demand made upon us.

It is the phenomenon sometimes called alienation from self. In its advanced stages, we no longer answer the telephone, because someone might want something; that we could say no without drowning in self-reproach is an idea alien to this game. Every encounter demands too much, tears the nerves, drains the will, and the spectre of something as small as an unanswered letter arouses such disproportionate guilt that one’s sanity becomes an object of speculation among one’s acquaintances. To assign unanswered letters their proper weight, to free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves—there lies the great, the singular power of self-respect. Without it, one eventually discovers the final turn of the screw: one runs away to find oneself, and finds no one at home.”

Didion wrote the essay as the magazine was going to press, to fill the space left after another writer did not produce a piece on the same subject. She wrote it not to a word count or a line count, but to an exact character count – no mean feat as any writer knows.

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