Sunday, September 22, 2013

What Will You Do?

After meeting world champion Pro Surfer and reading his book, The Code, his voice and words lingered in my mind.  His resolution and drive seem so natural and his spirit and wisdom are wise yet playful.  It is no coincidence to me that he teaches us to speak with "I will..." because it is his will and determination that have helped shape so much of his life.

At his suggestion, I thought all week about my own code.  Shaun's codes offer life's lesson not just for surfing, but also for survival in the real world.  It is written for teens as an instruction guide to life's biggest lessons. I am encouraging my own daughter right now to read it.

Here is my code:
  1. I will be the best Lori I can be.
    • I can only be Lori. I was never good at being someone else.  However, I have a lot to learn from others and I make it a point to hang out with people I admire and want to incorporate some of the tools that help them live a fulfiling life.
  2. I will continue to challenge myself
    • I will take on new challenges and seek out opportunities to help me grow.
  3. I will pray
    • I want to pray actively.  I will learn prayers and understand their meaning.  
  4. I will meditate
    • I will commit to at least 10 minutes a day.  Over the past 20 months, I have already seen the benefits of meditating once a week.  Expanding my practice will allow me to manage my stress and anxiety.
  5. I will love
    • I will love more and show my family and friends that I care for them.
  6. I will respect your opinion
    • I love learning with others and sharing their ideas.  I don't have to agree and most times I learn best from those with differing opinions.  Respect nurtures our conversation and allows us to see each other's perspective.
  7. I will be your partner
    • I want to work with you.  Life is easier if we share the burden.
  8. I will cry with you.
    • If you need me, I will share your sorrow. 
  9. I will dream big
    • I want to do great things in this world.
  10. I will trust
    • In order to love, build, accomplish, I will trust that I am in the right place at the right time. 
  11. I will laugh
    • So much that happens in this world is funny and I need to take time for laughter - the loud, joyful and sweet laughter.
  12. I will write
    • I need to write.  I have learned so much about myself through my blog and I love the sense of accomplishment when I complete and publish another post.   
As we begin the Jewish New Year, I will print this out and hang it where I can see it everyday.  

What will you do?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

I Want to Talk to My Dad Today

I want to talk to my dad today.  He died almost 4 years ago.   There are natural times when I want my dad with us - birthday parties, holidays, talk to about life's struggles.  But today was about a movie. Watching "Glickman," brought my dad alive in a way I've never felt.

Typically, I am sad because he isn't here.  Right, that is natural.  My daughter's bat mitzvah is coming up, I will miss his presence there.  When I turned 50 earlier in the year, I knew he would have really encouraged me to celebrate big and would have wanted to try the new hot restaurant.

Today was different.  I didn't sadly miss him.  I miss being able to talk to him and I want to ask him what he thought of Marty Glickman.  I wish he was sitting right next to me sharing his Marty Glickman stories.  Watching James Freedman's film brought my dad alive in a joyous way that I have never experienced.  My dad was a huge sports fan, NY Giants to be exact.  He would have had great stories about listening to Marty and I always loved to hear about my dad's life before I was born.

Tonight, I even mentioned it at dinner. (Sometimes I don't want to make my mom sad, so I'm careful about how I bring up my dad.)  My family and I didn't get sad, we laughed at how much my dad would have enjoyed the movie.  And then I got a real surprise, my mother and brother shared some of their own Marty Glickman memories.

With today being Yom Kippur, a somber Jewish holiday when you remember those who have died, "Glickman," gave us an opportunity to remember the best of my dad, his love of sports, his passion for the game and his joy as he told story after story about all his favorite players.

Mr. Freedman - thank you so much. And Marty Glickman, hope you and my dad are hanging out retelling all the great stories about the NY Giants.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Did Jobs Make Our Lives Easier at a Greater Cost to His Own?

A few weeks ago, I took my daughter and her friend to see the Taylor Swift concert.  While they enjoyed the sounds of Taylor Swift and the thousands of screaming girls (I think a did see a few random men in the crowd), I walked over to the movie theater to see if I can sit in the dark for a couple of hours alone and enjoy a good movie.  I had brought a book with me.  However, since I had 4 hours to kill, I thought I would start with a movie and then still have time to read my book. 

In preparation of Rosh HaShanah, I was reading Rabbi Alan Lew's book, "This is Real and You are Completely Unprepared."  It is beautiful, soulful and like the Torah, every word has meaning so my concentration and commitment to the book is serious.  And earlier in the day, I had participated in a great professional retreat.  So inspired by my enthusiasm for my job and business, I opted to see "Jobs."   So there I sat, sitting in the dark, watching the movie, with Rabbi Alan Lew's book by my side.

I am not sure what the creative team wanted us to know. Steve Jobs changed our lives, lost all his friends, was fired and then secured his revenge and rightful spot as head of Apple or that his soul was lost in an object.  The movie ends and I walk out of the movie deflated.  I know he inspired many around him and clearly hurt many around him.  In a way, I felt nothing.  I guess I expected more.  I expected greatness and passion.  What they showed was a man driven by internal conflict and drug induced creative vision.  I expected more.  Or I hoped for more.  

Also, the only women in the movie are his mother who serves sandwiches, his pregnant girlfriend who he kicks out while denying that he is the father, the daughter who he renounces who shows up later in he movie as a college kid who sleeps.  And there is his wife who is on screen briefly at the end showing her disappointment as Steve considers returning to Apple.

I posted a shorter version of this to Facebook which I had written on my Apple phone.  I could have easily written it on my iPad or Mac, so I do appreciate his and the company's efforts in making my life easier and productive.   But a hero, he is not.  

I have not stopped thinking about him or the movie since.  Perhaps it drives me to have a more fulfilling life, a more spiritual life and a life filled with friendship and real human connection.  And in my career, perhaps I give people the opportunity to do some good in the world so that their is more to their life than just their "product."

I wonder if Apple stock went up.  And I hope his children knew a better man.  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Get Out - I Mean It!

In my deepest prayers for the Rosh Hashanah and with meditation, a small inner voice told me to get out.  At first, it quietly asked me to get out of bed.  Easy enough.  It was the day we celebrated Tashlikh with our synagogue, so we were planning to go to the beach with cast away our sins.

Except, not so easy enough because my family was still in bed and I had to make an effort to get them out of bed on a Sunday morning before 9:30am (we are the family that is not out of the house before 12noon).  We like to sleep in.

But not that day, "Get out," I heard again.  Now I realized, I need to get out of the house.  I had been thinking that our family needed some new outdoor adventures.  Over the past six months, I felt I was spending a lot of time at home and following my vacation earlier this year, I wanted to make an effort to visit the city in which we live.   So far, not so much.

We arrive at the beach and immediately, I am so happy.  We are greeted by friends and community members and I am struck by the peaceful and joyous energy that emanates from the group.  How did I not see it before.  This wasn't my first Tashlikh with TBA, but the weather was good, the people were happy and we sang and prayed - pretty much the perfect storm to express the beauty in religion.

But there was one more thought that stuck in my head.  The words "Get out" were now loud.  I had gotten out of bed, gotten out of my house and now I was challenging myself one more time.  And then it hit me.  This time when the words came I heard, "Get out of your own way."  I have been thinking about my goals for the new year and there were a couple that gave me some anxiety.  "Get out of your own way."  The words could not have been clearer.  I've been repeating this statement as a mantra ever since.

And as promised, gifts follow the mantra.  I went to pick up my daughter today from school and got there early.  While waiting for her, the Rabbi simply asks for my help.  "All we have to do is roll the Torah."  Seems easy enough.  I do have a very tiny voice saying, "What the hell is he talking about."  Yes, I can help roll a Torah.  While we were rolling, we talked, he showed me some words and portions.  He asked me some questions, I got some right.  He asked me to read a line, I said out loud, "I can't."  But he ignored me and told me to read it.  In my mind, I'm still saying, "I can't."  And then, I read it.  I read from the Torah.  I READ FROM THE TORAH.  All because I got out of my own way.  I'm sticking with this mantra as my #1 resolution for the year.

My Emotional Bulletproof Vest

In a conversation this morning with a friend who was explaining a struggle that she was having with a friend,  I told her that she needed an "emotional bullet proof vest."  She asked me more about it and as I described it, we agreed that it would be the next post of my blog.  So here it is...

About ten years ago, I had one of those years where I seemed to be speaking a different language than those around me.  I felt no one understood me and as things got worse, I began to lose myself by accommodating others' needs not just before mine, but instead of mine.  It didn't work, I only felt worse.  As I began to explore this internal chaos with my therapist, I heard the following statements, "You need to have boundaries," "You can't let people take advantage of you," or "People do and say things that may or may not have anything to do with you and it is your challenge to understand that their reactions and responses have nothing to do with you."

I couldn't just create an invisible boundary and by the time I figured out people were taking advantage of me, it was too late.  I needed a strong visual that would help me feel protected.  This is how I began to visualize an emotional bulletproof vest.  What one does or says cannot hurt me and should simply bounce off as if I was wearing a bullet proof vest.  It was one of those personal tools that transformed by thinking pretty quickly and radically.  People's comments were like flying darts which I let bounce right off me.

My life began to change almost immediately.  I became empowered with the ability to see others pain or discomfort and therefore, their misbehaving or acting out had nothing to do with me.  I felt free to say, "No," more in that following year than I probably had ever in my life.  And with saying, "No," I didn't worry anymore that one wouldn't like me anymore or they might be mad at me.  I had no time to worry about that anymore.

The emotional bulletproof vest taught me to have a more authentic conversation with someone, have compassion for others and have a better understanding of the person sitting across from me.  Since I began to behave less emotionally as well, my relationships that I held onto became more precious to me.  While other relationships had to end, I was able to bring into my life those who also wanted a real and honest relationship.

I think everyone can create their own emotional bullet proof vest that can help them create those boundaries and allow them to understand that so much of the negative energy swirling around us, has nothing to do with us.  This helped me make significant changes in my life at a time I really needed it.

The only person the emotional bullet proof vest doesn't protect me from is me, but that's a separate post.   Stay tuned for how I learned to shut off or at least turn down the volume of my own inner negative voice.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

When the Dead Come to Visit

When my Dad passed away almost four years ago, I knew there would be times that I would miss him terribly.  With my daughter's bat mitzvah quickly approaching, I have thought several times how sad it is that he is not with us physically, though I know he will be with us in spirit.  While I still feel a pang when I notice he is missing in family photos, I now find comfort in thinking about what he would say or how he would react to something.  I enjoy sharing stories about him and when I see something he would like, I smile.  

This is my Dad and these feelings will come up for my entire life - happy, sad, missing him, comforted by him and wondering hat he is thinking.  Also, I never wonder why he is coming into my thoughts or visiting my dreams.

But last week, a friend who passed away seven years ago popped in my mind for a visit.  Why is it that I have such a strong connection to someone I knew for a short time.  Truth is I was so sorry when she passed away and wished her life hadn't been so difficult.  So why now, is there a message?  Should I be learning something from her visit?  As I sat in meditation yesterday, this friend again entered my thoughts.  This time I stopped worrying about why and was just glad to see her.

We are sad when family and friends leave us and hopefully we can all get to a place where visits from the dead are welcomed and we can find comfort.