Quotes for Meshuganas

Bring Me a Sane Man and I will cure him for you. Carl Jung

A sane response to an insane situation is insane. R.D. Laing

God is a comedian playing to an audience that is afraid to laugh -Voltaire

The only fool bigger than one who knows it all is the one who argues with him

 The only people I know who are happy are those I don't know well.

The monkey may be off your back, but the circus never leaves town. Anne Lamott


 How To Be A Burden to              Your Kids

      The Gift of Years

    Thank God, We're              Miserable

 The "Oy" and Joy of Caregiving

   Didn't My Skin                 Used To Fit?

          Aging with Humor

I've Survived Damn   Near Everything

Strong At the Broken Places

 When the Heart                 Weeps

     Making Loss Matter

 Too Soon Old, Too              Late Smart

   When am I Old Enough to Know    Better?

Tools for "Suffering In Style."

Resign As General Manager of the Universe

Live in the Moment

Schedule Joy in Your Life

Think Like an Optimist

Think about Thinking´╗┐

                                    Life Changing Books

A Gift from the Sea - Anne Morrow Lindbergh

If You Meet the Buddha On the Road, Kill Him- Sheldon Kopp, MD

Man's Search for Meaning -Viktor Frankl, MD

The Road Less Travelled - M. Scott Peck, MD

When Bad Things Happen To Good People - Rabbi Harold J Kushner

Less is More the Paradox of Choice - Barry Schwartz

The Search for Momma and the Meaning of Life- Irvin Yalom, MD

Flying Without Wings Personal Reflections on Being Disabled - Arnold Beisser, MD



Therapeutic Optimism

             Counseling under managed care?


New Beginnings

Having spent more than half my life in school first as student and then as a teacher I still view September as the beginning of the year.  It also coincides with the beginning of the Jewish New Year. But our New Year is not parties and football (remember the Jewish telegram says "start worrying- details to follow”). It is not a time of celebration but one of reflection - a time to take inventory. There is the belief that God has "books" that he writes our names in, writing down who will live and who will die, who will have a good life and who will have a bad life, for the next year. The greeting “La Shana Tova” an abbreviation for "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year" is used.

 There are actions such as repentance that can change the decree.  According to the Talmud, repentance was among the first things God created; even before God created the physical universe. Think about that- before the world was created God knew we would need to repent.  One of the things which struck me was that the Old Testament is filled dysfunctional families, siblings sold into slavery - very human people in need of repentance - there isn’t one “functional family” in the whole Old Testament.  I believe it is to show us how difficult it is to be in a family. Sometimes I think Voltaire was right when he said “God is a comedian playing to an audience that’s afraid to laugh.”

 This time of year, it is common to seek reconciliation with people you may have wronged during the course of the year. To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible.

 I’m reminded of the story of  2 children who are playing in the sandbox and they get into a fight and say “I’m never going to be your friend or play with you anymore” they run to their mothers are comforted, then return to play - friends again. One mother says “how do they do that?” The other explains they’re more into happiness than they are into righteousness. How many times have we chosen to be “right” rather than happy?

 Another New Year custom is to go to a large, natural body of flowing water (such as a river, lake, sea or ocean) where the previous year's sins are symbolically "cast off" by throwing pieces of bread, or a similar food item into the water. This ridding of sins adds a physical act to the spiritual.  Just as in counseling I often use symbolic rituals to aid healing. Some clients create a “God Box” where they write down what they are struggling with and place it in the box as a way of letting go and a reminder of how little we do control.  The only thing we control is the story we tell ourselves and research shows that our “explanatory style” affects our health. If we use the 3 P’s of pessimism - Permanent (it’s never going to change), Personal (there’s something wrong with me) and Pervasive (it’s going to affect everything I do) we lower our immune function. If it were that easy to “let go” I would be out of a job but as with so many struggles we hold on to our pain from the past. One of the best definitions I’ve heard for forgiveness is giving up our need for a happy past. With perspective which comes with age and experience, there is a wisdom that reminds us that we must learn to forgive ourselves over and over and over and over and over. God knows.



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