Tag Archives: Religion

How to Endure the Unendurable

You endure the unendurable mostly by putting one foot in front of the other, and when that is not possible, just standing what I call “Dead in the water” for a

What is unendurable?  Events that change you forever. Such life blows  can be something as personal as the death of gold-fish or as life threatening as being in a war zone;  war zones’ include domestic violence or neighborhoods run by criminals.

Such events bring you to a stand still.   When standing “Dead in the water” is  the best you can do, hopefully others will be there tending you.


When you can begin putting one foot ahead of the other, here are some others have found to move them ahead.

First – Do what the very young do. Young children move forward the best because more than the rest of us the younger the children the more he or she  lives in the now.  A bomb goes off, their house burns down, a parent dies, and quicker than an older child or adult, the young child can be seen playing with a favorite toy or laughing with friends.

Too often grownups seeing such play, think the child is not affected by the unendurable. Not so; nature and the development of their brains at that time, gets they through and keeps them going by having them do whatever comforts them the most, usually play.

Adults and school aged children need a bit more, but the lesson being learned is a good one; as soon as pain and immediate danger are past, get back to the everyday things that comfort.

Next – reconnect with those you care about and who care about you.  Doing so is one of the things that comforts most.  For most of us  right after the unendurable, we need to be with those  who can help us affirm the horror of what happened.

As  the great philosopher Martin Buber noted:  “Man wishes to be confirmed in his being by man, and wishes to have a presence in the being of the other….sent forth from the natural domain of species into the hazard of solitary category surrounded by a chaos which came into being with him…secretly and bashfully he watches for a YES which allows him to be and which can come to him only from one human person to another…that the heavenly bread of self being is passed. “

At no time is this more important to connect or reconnect then when life blows strike. That is why the mental health professionals gather trauma victims for debriefings.  Talking about the horror helps particularly when it first hits.

Warning – going over the bad, however, reinforces the pain.  Current research finds constantly reviewing the trauma, which often happens in some talk therapy, is not useful.

As soon as possible, establish a normal routine with an emphasis on maintaining what we know tends to our physical well-being – getting enough sleep, eating properly, and exercising.

Finally, examine what the unendurable has done to reaffirm or shatter your core beliefs about life and what it all means. Everyone needs to find comforting explanations for the whys of life.

Don’t agree? Think about the universal cry of the traumatized  “Why me?”

We all know people who have lost or gained faith following a life blow.

For most of us, one or another religion serves to answer the why and how of life.  People of faith find comfort and hope in religious practice. My faith helps me.

I quarrel with my atheist friends who want to do away with religion.  Mostly these have lost faith after when prayers seemed to fail. I do not quarrel with any religion as long as it it allows those that do not encourage violence of one sort or another and allow others to  believe as they believe. or preach violence of one sort or another,

While I  do not  care not what anyone believes,  I do  want bad theology done away with.  Most of that theology centers around the idea that all should have the same belief.  In my mind, the atheists who want to abolish religion are in the same camp as those who say in one way or another, “My faith is the one true faith.”  Neither brings peace to this world.

All beliefs need to be examined against the Golden Rule. Harvard researchers Jerome Kagan and Sheila Lamb looked into morality around the world. They found that every culture promoted two values:

  1. Caring for the weak
  2. Justice and fair treatment.

When I taught this to my students, many rightful asked why if this is true is the world so full of violence?

My answer, “Because, we apply those values to our own, but not to others.  We put those  seen different, not in our family, clan, or tribe out of our caring circle.”

The beliefs that work best for all of us are those embodied by the Golden Rule.  To bring peace to this world, however, we must draw the circle of caring around all, not just our own.

 STAy strong

When a life blow strikes, and they strike all at one time or another,  a well-practiced self-soothing program  provides what the experts call resilience and help you move forward more easily.

Thank you for all you do including liking, commenting, or sharing. Kindness blesses the giver and the receiver.


Links of interest

 Word Press Daily Prompt

September 5, 2014   Moved to Tears: Do movies, songs, or other forms of artistic expression easily make you cry? Tell us about a recent tear-jerking experience!



Strengthen your health and well-being by stretching and wondering. Here’s how:

Think of all around you, above, you within you - know awe.

Here’s how to Be With Beauty:

Be with beauty emotionalfitness exercise.


No matter how busy you are, you need time outs to refresh and renew. The two exercises are quick ways to refuel. However, you and those you love need more than quick breaks throughout you day.

When God commanded the Jews to observe the Shabbat, the purpose was to force quiet time on this tribe of his children. You do not have to be Jewish or even believe in God to benefit from a day away from work and particularly electronic devices and stores.

Can’t bear the thought of a full day?  Start with a few hours, build toward a full day.  You will benefit.

As always, thank you for all you do to make the world around you more peaceful. Think of sharing this post as another way to work toward peace.


How does this post fit in with Today’s Word Press’s DAILY PROMPT:  Secret Admirers?  You return home to discover a huge flower bouquet waiting for you, no card attached. Who is it from — and why did they send it to you?

Only indirectly.  What it sparked in me was a reminder to build your #emotionalintelligence  by admiring beauty and nature and not so secretly.


EFTI FREE POSTERS  Browse the EFTI store for free digital downloads of the posters shown. You will also see  nearly a hundred more designed to inspire, coach and teach you how to strengthen your #emotionalintelligence. 


Who do you hate?  Where did you learn that hatred. Hatred destroys your heart, so improve your #emotionalintelligence and learn to love even those you hate.

You've got to be taught to hate.

emotional fitness THOUGHTS AND TIPS

Human nature is such that we fear what is different.  If that fear gets linked to  personal internal hurts , hatred brews. Here are five common  examples of what I mean by internal hurts.

  1. You judge yourself as less smart, less strong, less talented than a person of difference.
  2. You have less wealth than a person of a difference.
  3. A person of difference beats you in a race, a game.
  4. A person of difference seems more respected by others than you feel respect you.
  5. Your view of your higher power is challenged by a different one.

Hatred brews more easily when the voices around you promote hatred and join hands with your personal hurt. The more voices preaching hate, the easier it is to justify your hate.

Some cultures raise their children on hatred of difference. Some do it directly.  Go here to see  what one group teaches its children. Others do it less directly. How? Think of any group that says those who believe differently are damned and doomed to spend eternity in hell. Also think of media messages that promote competition or divisiveness.

I think of the Long Island Railroad mass killer Colin Ferguson as someone whose hatred festered because of failed dreams, personal hurts, the slings and arrows of thoughtless other people, and of the preachings of hatred. Born in Jamaica, he came to the USA expecting to find great success, freedom and tolerance. He did not find success, he found racism, and he heard the preachings of hate groups.

It is a testimony to the goodness of most people that meeting with the same conditions, they do not turn murderous.

Hatred involves twisted thinking.  Here is a list of such   fallaciesThe fallacies most at play in hatred of differences are  incorrectly linking cause and effect, generalizing, and ad hominem.

To remind yourself to work at learning love, download today’s free  poster coach about learning love and post it where you  will see it.  when you see it, recite Hammerstein’s lyrics to shut out thoughts of hate.


The more you have been taught to hate differences, the harder it will be to learn love.  However, if the world is going to move past war, loving difference is essential.   Make learning to love  one of your life’s missions.

A brief Torah lesson.  The letter twelve in Hebrew stands for diversity, for example the twelve tribes. The letter for thirteen is a sacred letter and stands for oneness meaning the source of all.  Idol worship as taught by the Jewish Sages refers to the splitting of the sacred into the twelve and worshipping not the oneness of all, but one or another part or piece or tribe.

Thank you for all you do, enjoy and be grateful for all you have been given, practice kindness, like, share or comment.



This post relates to this DAILY PROMPT : Object Lesson – Sherlock Holmes had his pipe. Dorothy had her red shoes. Batman had his Batmobile. If we asked your friends what object they most immediately associate with you, what would they answer?

I would hope mine would be the peace symbol.


 IMAGE BY Emotional Fitness Training, Inc.  Free download.


As the saying goes “There are no atheists in foxholes.”  When trapped and facing destruction, we ask for survival with all our hearts. We pray.

cartoon about unaswered prayers

My mother was more of an atheist than a believer, but throughout the day she often prayed.  Her prayers?  “God willing.” “God knows.”  God protect the young or foolish.”

These were often uttered when life or people were frustrating her beyond her normal ability to cope.  She was speaking from her heart.

The introduction to the Jewish prayer book points out that prayer is the “service of the heart.” Aizal, a respected Jewish commentator,  notes that when a Jew “pours out his heart like water” he becomes unified with God.

For observant Jews the three daily prayers  served to keep alive and take the place of Temple services. Moses started them because he foresaw the destruction of the holy temple.

So when you pour out your heart to the universe you are praying no matter what your faith or lack of faith.

When three Jewish boys were recently kidnapped, Jews of all persuasions poured out their hearts praying for the safe return of these sons.  Before the first prayer was uttered these sons of the Jewish people were already dead.

I am studying Jewish prayer at the Aish Denver Synagogue with about twelve others on Shabbat mornings. The class is lead by Rabbi Levi Levowitz.  He emails us notes following class. Here are his notes from last week.

 Dear Friends,

Before I begin with the recap I must say that I was truly moved by our class this past Shabbos. We discussed the difficult events that have occurred recently and we all wanted to take action for Hashem and the Jewish People. It was simply amazing to see! Thank you.
The following is the recap of the class:
The story of the three young boys who were abducted and killed has brought the entire nation to mourning. For 18 days we were united in prayer, hoping that Hashem would bring them back to us, but sadly it was not meant to be. Although Hashem’s plans are far beyond our comprehension, we can try to hear the message(s) behind the story in order to grow in our Judaism. One lesson I took out of the tragedy was as follows: The reports are that the boys were “killed almost immediately. That means, the entire Jewish People were unified in prayer for 18 days not knowing that what they were praying for wasn’t relevant anymore! Hashem, by allowing this to happen, was teaching us a tremendous lesson about Davening: its not about getting what we want, but about connecting to Hashem. 
In order to connect, we must believe that He’s really listening. Nachmonides writes that this is one the fundamentals of prayer, namely, that we believe Hashem listens to our prayers. Why is this so central to the Davening experience? Davening is about developing a relationship with Hashem. When we truly sense that He is attentive to our prayers we will want to deepen our relationship with Him because we realize that we are important to Him. (On a side note: Our challenge in believing that Hashem is listening is that we don’t see Him with our eyes. The irony is that another human being whom we know we are speaking to very often isn’t really  listening to us, but Hashem whom “we don’t know if He is there or not” is always listening to us with the utmost focus and intent!)
In the merit of Gilad, Naftali and Eyal, let us work on picturing ourselves in the presence the One who is listening and sincerely interested in our prayers when we say the Shemona Esrei. Let’s commit to do this 2 times over the week. 

Thank you Rabbi Levowitz and thank you Hashem for blessing my life.

EMotional fitness thoughts and tips

As those of you who read me regularly know, I write here mainly for the secular world.  Those with a faith in God, as long as that God is a God of love, have less need for my ramblings or so I tend  to think.

My atheist friends see no need for a “higher power” or religious groupings, but I do.  Why? For any number of reasons. Here are a few:.

  1. No matter where I go I can find a community of caring people. This has been underlined for me since moving from the East Coast to the Colorado. Despite being nearer my grandchildren, my life here would be much bleaker without the Aish Denver Synagogue.
  2. My efforts to avoid wrong and practice kindness are strengthened.
  3. My hope that somewhere justice prevails is strengthened.
  4. I am better able to acknowledge that I am not the center of all that happens, nor do I control all that happens. Trying to control others is a major source of worldly angst. At least for me.
  5. I am better able to tolerate the bad in life and practice forgiveness.
  6. I am less alone both in the everyday world when I go to worship, but also in the existential loneliness that is this life.
  7. I face death a bit easier.

I have two requests of my blog friends. The first request is for the faith-based.  No matter what your faith, fight any doctrine that is divisive.  Divisiveness  means a religion damns those who are not believers.

The second request is for my atheist friends. Fight bad doctrine but honor what is good in all religions.


I hope you find my posts of value.  If you do,  practice internet kindness by liking, rating, commenting, or sharing.

Thank you for all you do and as always work to stay strong, while not  easy, more possible than you might think.

Love all,


This post relates to this Word Press Daily PromptYou just inherited a dilapidated, crumbling-down grand mansion in the countryside. Assuming money is no issue, what do you do with it?

Some say religion is old hat so if money was of no interest, I would mount an intensive campaign to rid all religions of the out-dated divisive beliefs that lead to evil acts and then support the good all religions offer.


Image found on cluelessclay.com