Happiness

“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” – Albert Camus 

Albert Camus was a French Algerian authorphilosopher, and journalist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. He was a key philosopher of the 20th-century and his most famous work is the novel L’Étranger (The Stranger). 

I am often asked in my role as a Rabbi and Spiritual Counselor, “Rabbi, are you always so happy?” My answer is “Yes.” Is there anything more important then being happy? Here are some tips I use in my life to enjoy the happiness I have.

  1.  I am happy where I am today – There is a famous quote in Proverbs which asks, “Who is a wealthy man?” The answer is: “One who is happy with his lot.” I cannot be happy yesterday or tomorrow, but I can rejoice I in the gift of today. I can moan about all that I lack or I can look around me and relish what I have.
  2. My happiness is my choice – My happiness is a conscious decision I must make daily if I am going to be happy. If I treat my happiness with complacency, I will lose it quickly. My perception of my experience is critical to my happiness.
  3. Acceptance and willingness – This one is the Serenity Prayer. I must accept what I am powerless over and work diligently on what I can change now to bring me more happiness. The big things take time. The little things I can do today.
  4. Smile – I do a lot of public speaking and am often asked if I ever frown. Sure I do, but rarely. A smile begets a smile which elevates both out spirits and moods and can serve as an introduction. We keep thinking we need words to communicate and what we really need is a warm heart and a big smile. God will take care of the rest.
  5. Stop blaming – Life is not fair and there are many times something happens in my life that upsets and saddens me or causes me to feel anger. My first instinct is to point a finger and say; “It was their fault.” It wasn’t their fault at all. Things happen to us all. My happiness demands that I take that in, deal with it and come out smiling. Blaming you only makes it worse. I make it better.
  6. You are the one who will make you happy – At the end of the day I either am happy or not. When I have chosen to have a happy day, I usually do. That doesn’t mean that everything has gone my way, but it does mean that I have chosen to limit my negativity and boundlessly pursue my happiness.The ten most powerful two letter words are: If it is to be it is up to me.

My prayer for you today is that you start and end your day choosing to be happy.

I am a modern and independent Rabbi with an MSW Degree and 24+ years of sobriety providing addiction counseling focusing on healing, spiritual guidance and personalized life cycle events. If you, a family member or friend are in need of my services, please contact me at 954-629-9281 to get the help you deserve.
Hugs and Blessings,
Rabbi Mitch

Coping with Obstacles

“We are built to conquer environment, solve problems, achieve goals, and we find no real satisfaction or happiness in life without obstacles to conquer and goals to achieve.” – Maxwell Maltz 

Maxwell Maltz was an American cosmetic surgeon and author who developed Psycho-Cybernetics, a system of ideas through which, he claimed; one could improve one’s self-image and, in turn, lead a more successful and fulfilling life. He wrote several books, among which Psycho-Cybernetics (1960) was a long-time bestseller that influenced many subsequent self-help teachers. Maltz graduated with a doctorate in medicine from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1923.

As I have stated many times over, I learn from Masters that have come before me in all fields of endeavor. As a Rabbi and Spiritual Counselor, my mind is open to learning new ways for me to grow personally and to learn new strategies that will help my clients heal in ways that only they will find useful. 

I have had personal challenges in my life that have taught me what humility is and have humbled me in ways that I am grateful for today. We all have times in our life where we face challenges we did not anticipate. These are difficult times and we can feel overwhelmed and directionless. I would like to share some of my lessons from these experiences.

 

1. Don’t take anything for granted – I had become complacent and had settled into a routine that took people, place and things for granted. I know today that the only constant in my life is change and I had better be ready for it as it arrives when it wants to, not by appointment.

2. Friends – When I have gone through challenging times, I was both saddened and grateful for who stood by me. Saddened by those who did not and grateful for those who did. I know today who truly has my back and I am one very fortunate person for the people I know I can count on. Treasure your true friends as they love you like no others.

3. Cement walls – I literally hit a cement wall at 100 MPH and spent twp weeks in a coma, but I am referring to the cement walls we hit internally that we want to deny and blame others for. The only way to get through these cement walls is with faith, hope, courage, honesty and friends. I have and you can.

4. Powerlessness – How many times people wanted and tried to help me and couldn’t because I was not ready. I now know that I cannot help anyone unless they want to help themselves. I now know when to let go and pray for that person as I know today that know human power can heal them, but God can and will when God is sought.

5. Don’t wait to say I love you – Take the time to show your love for your partner, kids, friends, colleagues and you. Do something special for you and them today. Don’t wait for a date on the calendar to remind you and the. Right now is a good time. Pick up the phone, call someone and tell them you love them; shoot someone an email; but someone flowers; take the kids for ice cream; get it?

 

My prayer for you today is to enjoy all you are blessed with today and love the people in your life today. Remember, if I am not making use of today in making my life better what is tomorrow going to look like?

I am a modern and independent Rabbi with an MSW Degree and 24+ years of sobriety providing addiction counseling focusing on healing, spiritual guidance and personalized life cycle events. If you, a family member or friend are in need of my services, please contact me at 954-755-3764 to get the help you deserve.

 

Hugs and Blessings,
Rabbi Mitch

Being a Mensch

Mensch (GermanMensch, for “human being”) means “a person of integrity and honor”. The opposite of a mensch is an unmensch (meaning: an utterly cruel or evil person). According to Leo Rosten, the Yiddish maven and author of The Joys of Yiddishmensch is “someone to admire and emulate; someone of noble character. The key to being “a real mensch” is nothing less than character, rectitude, dignity, a sense of what is right, responsible, decorous“.

In Yiddish (from which the word has migrated into American English), mensch roughly means “a good person.” A “mensch” is a particularly good person, like “a stand-up guy,” a person with the qualities one would hope for in a dear friend or trusted colleague. German: Menschlichkeit are the properties which make one a mensch. As a Rabbi and Counselor, I strive for this state of being daily. 

So, what does it mean to be a person of integrity? I suggest that the following four values will be a good place to start:

  1. Help others – This may seem so simple that it does not bear inclusion, but it does. We know that we get so caught up in our own lives that we can easily forget about our responsibility to help others. Whether it is a small inconsequential favor or saving a life, we are required by God to intervene as we can and it does not put us at risk. How often do we hear about or read of tragic events where people have been asked why they didn’t intervene and they say that they did not want to get involved or asked what they saw and they claim blindness, etc. I have done that and so have you, yet when we see others do it we are highly critical. Let us accept our humanness and not judge others so harshly. Let us also resolve that we will do more to help others.
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  3. Do the right thing the right way – Churchill once said that “attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” What does this have to do with being a mensch? It is not enough to help others. We must learn to help them with an attitude of gratitude and with no expectations of receiving anything in return. It is wise to do on behalf of others and not tell anyone as the moment I am boasting of my good deeds, I have negated the positive qualities of being a mensch.
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  5. Be a Peacemaker – This is a tough one for it requires that we do for others we don’t want to do for. If we see someone we don’t care for experiencing some trouble, we usually laugh and acclaim that they have gotten what they deserve. That is not a mensch. It is honest and human, but not Menschlichkeit. If we truly want to achieve Menschdom, then we must grow beyond our resentments and do for all.
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  7. Strive to continually grow in your goodness to others – This is the ultimate standard by which we will either become or not become a Mensch. A famous Rabbi once asked; “If you won’t be a better person tomorrow than you were today, then what need do you have for tomorrow.” By awakening to the blessings and joys of a new day with an attitude of giving and helping, we will enjoy life more fully and be a positive influence in the lives of others.

My prayer for you today is that you will take one more step in growing your Menschdom. 

I am a modern and independent Rabbi with an MSW Degree and 24+ years of sobriety providing addiction counseling focusing on healing, spiritual guidance and personalized life cycle events. If you, a family member or friend are in need of my services, please contact me at 954-755-3764 to get the help you deserve.

Hugs and Blessings,
Rabbi Mitch

Sacred

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.” – Joseph Campbell

Joseph John Campbell was an American mythologist, writer and lecturer, best known for his work in comparative mythology and comparative religion. His work is vast, covering many aspects of the human experience. His philosophy is often summarized by his phrase: “Follow your bliss.”

If you were to Google the word sacred, you would find an array of meanings that would amaze you. I find that so exciting. I love that I can deem whatever I choose to be sacred in my life as you may in yours. In some cultures animals are more sacred that people, fruits and vegetables in others, nature, fire, water, money, art, music, prayer, holiness, anthems, poetry, political views, religion, God and so much more. I know that you could add to my list endlessly and I invite you to dare to reveal to yourself what is sacred.

As a Rabbi and Spiritual Healer, although I have studied religion deeply and meaningfully, I still revel in holiness and what is sacred. Holy and sacred allow me to find myself in hallowed ground at all times if I choose to. Whether it be physical, verbal, nutritional, prayerful, emotional, spiritual, etc., there truly is no part of my life that is not filled with holiness and a sacred nature.

What is sacred? How do we determine that something is sacred? Sacred is a connection to something that has such deep meaning to us that it defies logic in many cases. It is love, family, friends and children. For some it is all those things that cannot be bought. For others, it is a Monet or Chagall. Regardless of where you are in how you determine what is sacred, the common thread is that whatever the price is, it is the experience that makes it sacred, not the object of your affection or desire. It is the pulsating, passionate and exquisite feeling we get when we imagine having or being with what we deem to be sacred.

The beauty of this for me is that I cannot deny you or you me that experience of spiritual surrender. Each of us has the ability to hold sacred those experiences, people, ideas or objects that so elevate our souls that we go wherever it requires us to go to be at one with what we deem sacred.

I pray that you will honor you by learning what you hold sacred and feeling the joy as a result of your honesty.

I am a modern and independent Rabbi with an MSW Degree and 24+ years of sobriety providing addiction counseling focusing on healing, spiritual guidance and personalized life cycle events. If you, a family member or friend are in need of my services, please contact me at 954-755-3764 to get the help you deserve.

Hugs and Blessings,
Rabbi Mitch

Feeding Your Spirit

“The windows of my soul I throw wide open to the sun.” – John Greenleaf Whittier 

John Greenleaf Whittier was an influential American Quaker poet and ardent advocate of the abolition of slavery in the United States. He is usually listed as one of the Fireside Poets. Whittier was strongly influenced by the Scottish poet,Robert Burns.

Part of my daily activity is to feed my spirit. I have found that when I am able to know that my spiritual condition nourishes my soul, mind and being, I pause and take inventory of where I am spiritually. I usually find that there is a vacuum and action is required to repair what has been lost. We each will find ways to feed our spirit consistent with what we value. There is no right or wrong way!

One of, if not my primary goal as a Rabbi and Spiritual/Addiction Counselor is to help my clients heal that part of them that relies on others to feed their spirits and seeks the right way to do this. I work diligently to help them see that whatever path they choose for themselves is the right path for them, providing they are happy, joyous and free.

As an exercise to help me nourish my soul, I sit down monthly and identify 50 ways that I feed my spirit. The first time I did this I was not able to find 50 so I was grateful for what I could identify. As the months passed my list kept growing until I hit the magic number and beyond. Some of the ways that I feed my spirit include: prayer, gratitude, exercise, service to others, nature, deep breathing, eating well, giving and getting hugs, loving my pets, calling my children, acts of kindness, counseling people, writing these daily messages, reading your comments, taking naps, thinking positively, grieving loss, feeling my sadness and pain, telling the truth, calling people I care about, smiling at others, meeting new people and on and on.

You might want to take some time and see what it is that you do to feed your spirit. I would love to hear from you if you would like to share your experience with me. Your spirit needs to be nourished by you as no one else can fill my soul unless I first nourish it; for unless I do, it will not be open to your love.

My prayer for you today is that you will bless yourself by nourishing, feeding, caring for and loving your spirit so others may benefit from your radiance.

I am a modern and independent Rabbi with an MSW Degree and 24+ years of sobriety providing addiction counseling focusing on healing, spiritual guidance and personalized life cycle events. If you, a family member or friend are in need of my services, please contact me at 954-755-3764 to get the help you deserve.

Hugs and Blessings,
Rabbi Mitch