Archive for August, 2011

Do You Know Who Your Friends Are?

Over the past three years I have written several posts referencing talk radio host Glenn Beck. The very mention of his name causes a visceral reaction in most people.  You either love him or you hate him.

Loving him, of course, will do no harm. Hating him will destroy you, not him. Hate works that way. Always.

What I find so fascinating about the negative reactions to Mr. Beck is the almost universal absence of facts upon which such vehemence is predicated. There is a voluminous amount of ignorance and misinformation about him. This is because most people only know him secondhand. They have seen video clips or quotes taken out of context and they believe distortions told them by others. Either way, they have abdicated personal responsibility in failing to gain firsthand knowledge of what Mr. Beck espouses or supports. I have not.

For the past 4 years I have listened to his radio broadcasts, watched his nightly show previously on the Fox Cable Network, attended the 8/28 Restoring Honor rally in Washington, D.C. and watched the most recent Restoring Courage events from Israel. You may conclude that I am therefore, by definition, a Glenn Beck “Groupie.” You would conclude wrongfully.

I am a former lawyer who, although deeply spiritual, deals in facts. Facts, I might add, gathered and analyzed by me.  Such has been my methodology in drawing conclusions about Glenn Beck.  Allow me to share them with you.

Glenn Beck is a capitalist and a talented entertainer.  He is also knowledgeable, truthful, sincere and honorable. He is proud to be an American, motivated by a commitment to individual freedom and personal responsibility, and sustained by his personal connection to the Source of All That Is (a/k/a/God).

Today on his radio show, Mr. Beck said the following regarding the public positions he has taken and the mission he is on: “I am standing in a place where I don’t have many friends.” I would suggest a different conclusion witnessed, admittedly, from a different vantage point. The best of humanity is standing in a place where it has few friends as courageous or certain as Glenn Beck.

As for my personal findings regarding Mr. Beck’s character, don’t believe me. But don’t believe anyone else, either. Seek out the truth for yourself. Listen to him with your own ears, process what he is saying with your own mind, and draw your own conclusions. Such an approach would be the actions of a fully conscious, personally responsible, and ethically honest human being.

Does that sound like you?


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Irene’s Lesson

Yes, it would be easy (and I suspect welcome) to blast the media and politicians for the hurricane Irene hype in light of the ultimate reality.  Should I be misunderstood, allow me to say from the outset here that loss of even one life and obvious property damage is not to be demeaned or dismissed.  They are both events that will evoke sadness and necessitate prolonged recovery.

This is about our reaction to the hype.

While its never easy to gauge, in advance, the potential damage from a hurricane such as the size of Irene, the technology available to us now to disseminate information makes it not only possible to spread good news but bad news as well. Not to mention fear… and spread fear they did.  Then we helped by allowing fear to run away with us.

I saw people stocking up on perishables, such as eggs and milk, when the projection was for the loss of electricity. Hello? I also saw people, literally, walking in circles in supermarkets and box stores who had no idea what to buy. They were simply following a line of thinking initiated by former President George W. Bush following the 911 attacks: Support the economy.  As if accumulating more material things could somehow stave off disaster or provide protection.

Then there were those people who refused to participate. At least they refused to participate in the fear. Bravo for them.

I’d like to believe I fell somewhere in the middle. I shopped for some extra canned food; made sure I had batteries for my flashlights and radio, and secured my basement windows from possible overflow flooding.  Then I kicked back and got on with life.  So while I had respect for Nature’s power, I didn’t have much for the media or the politicians.

I think it’s the choice to come from one’s lower self or Higher Self.  Fear is the great manipulative tool used for centuries by those in positions of power. Unfortunately, we have become so accustomed to re-acting to it that we fail to act from a place of thoughtful reflection and focus.

In Judaism, the holiday of Sukkot is one wherein Jews build a temporary shelter, or “sukkah” in which they are commanded to eat their meals and sleep for the duration of the holiday. Why?  As a reminder that for 40 years, against all odds and in the total absence of all things material, they wandered safely through the desert and survived.

To remember protection comes from God.

So, I think Irene has been instructive and if we are wise we will learn accordingly.

  1. The media prospers on fear.
  2. The politicians cover their rears.
  3. We are manipulated by fear.
  4. Reacting is not productive or helpful.
  5. Our Higher Selves will guide us in the right direction.
  6. God takes care of the rest.

Also, let each of us reach out with some form of assistance to anyone who suffered loss from Irene.

That, too, is our Higher Selves.

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Friedman, Costner, Obama and Defining Moments

It’s hard to believe that Thomas L. Friedman, writing for the New York Times, would be so foolish as to write something a hair-brained as his column on August 23rd titled “Obama, Tiger, Golf and Politics.” But, I am grateful for the laugh.  Not that Friedman intended me or anyone else to laugh, but when you posit a theory or opinion as intellectually empty using an analogy that sets up your subject matter for ridicule…well, you just have to love the guy. In such trying times, we can all use a good laugh.

Friedman thought a “golf” analogy would be a good way to make the point about the high stakes political strategy President Obama should employ. Never mind that most people are furious over this President’s 75+ rounds of golf since elected.  Through thick and thin, rain or shine, economic crashes and Middle Eastern revolutions…it’s all tee time to our fearless leader.

But what really got me in Friedman’s piece was the particular excerpt  he chose from the Kevin Costner movie “Tin Cup” to give direction to President Obama:

“Meanwhile, Mr. President, on a rainy day, rent the movie “Tin Cup.” There is a great scene where Dr. Molly Griswold is trying to help Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy, the golf pro, rediscover his swing — and himself. She finally tells him: “Roy … don’t try to be cool or smooth or whatever; just be honest and take a risk. And you know what, whatever happens, if you act from the heart, you can’t make a mistake.”

I would choose the same movie… but a different scene.

When Roy McAvoy refused to take the easy shot and make the green, he went instead for the long shot and missed it causing him to be dropped from the competition. When his caddy, Romeo, asks him “Why?” McAvoy replies, “You know why I’d still hit that shot? I hit it again because that shot was a defining moment, and when a defining moment comes along, you define the moment… or the moment defines you.

President Obama has had many defining moments in his Presidency and they have, sadly, definitely defined him.  He has shown himself to be a man lacking the skills to unite, absent allegiance to things American and her Allies, and absent a core understanding of who he really is or what he really values.

Next time, Mr. Friedman would do well to spend less time previewing the fictitious world of cinema and more time focused on the realities of this President’s defining moments.

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Glenn Beck’s Message from Israel

If you watched Glenn Beck give the keynote speech from Jerusalem this morning, you experienced a glowing moment in human history.  If you missed it, it’s not too late. The intention and purpose of the speech can be summed up in two words: Rights and Responsibilities.  I say it’s not too late because, if you understand what those words truly mean, its not too late to go live them in your own life.

As for Rights, for more years than I care to count, we have treated them with disregard.  We have failed to understand their source and, by so doing, acted as if our individuality and the power of self-determination rests better in the hands of a “capable” few over the many.

As for Responsibility, we traded our dignity and the very connection to one another that makes us uniquely human… to make free willed-based choices and live with the consequences of those choices… for the illusion that if we did not look under the rock, nothing sinister could possibly be concealed there.

We were foolish, adolescent, myopic and flat-out wrong.  The refusal to acknowledge the Source of our freedom and the willing abdication of what action freedom demands of us, has brought us to this moment. Now we must take the more difficult road home… but it is the only road worth taking… for all others lead to enslavement.

We have two choices in life. Always. To be in service or to be en-slaved.  For several thousand years we have periodically been enslaved. More so than not. This is not the first time. But it may well be the last time.  There is an expression among people who believe in reincarnation. “You do it again ‘til you get it right.” It presupposes endless chances.

I am not so sure. Sometimes we run out of “do-overs.” Such may be this time.

The technology has outpaced spiritual and social development. Violence has reared its ugly head. The world is looking for scapegoats. It has looked before and found them before…as  too many turned a blind eye and a deaf ear thereby allowing the slaughter of millions. Repeatedly.

Glenn Beck’s message is more than we can “never forget.” His message is that we cannot permit blindness, deafness and the violence that inevitably accompanies them to… this time… define who we are or to silence open acknowledgment of the Source of All That Is.

Know your rights, their Source, and the responsibility that being blessed with them requires of you.

Yes, the burden is great but the reward is greater. And just as devaluation of rights leads to enslavement… so too does refusal to bear the burden of personal responsibility lead to a world wherein violence and destruction reign by fear unopposed.

This is a do-over.  Let’s get it right this time.

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Katy Perry’s Error

Katy Perry did a good thing.

Then she did a fearful thing.

Yesterday, Katy Perry tweeted that her prayers were with the people of Israel.  According to Perry, the tweet was in response to a request by a follower on Twitter to pray for Israel.  Perry gave what appeared to be an innocent and seemingly heartfelt response to the request.

That was the good thing.

Following Perry’s tweet, she was barraged in her Twitter account with hateful and threatening tweets by other followers who clearly took offense at her offering up a prayer for the wellbeing of Israelis.  So, the pop artist quickly sought to undo what she had said by explaining that her tweet was merely in response to a request and that she opposes violence everywhere.

That was the bad thing.

Not that opposing violence everywhere could be wrong, in fact it’s commendable.  What was wrong was for her to be so intimidated, either for her physical safety or for a potential decrease in her fan base, that she retreated and sought to distance herself from her original comments.

We are moving out of a world where the “powers that be” have ruled by the use of intimidation and fear for thousands of years.  We will only succeed in that effort by refusing to be manipulated by fear any longer. It is only by knowing, with certainty, what we value and then being willing to stand for those values no matter who or what opposes them, can we hope to make the real and lasting change we desire in moving toward a more humane, compassionate and peace-filled world

Whether or not I am a fan of Katy Perry’s music (my teenage daughter is although I have, on occasion, deleted songs from her mp3 based upon Perry’s lyrics) Perry is none-the-less a role model by nature of her fame and demographic.  Therefore, how tragic that what she has exemplified by her backpedaling is cowardice and expediency rather than courage and principles.

My understanding is that Katy Perry comes from a traditional Christian home.  If that is in fact the case, she needs to return to the founding principles of that faith and stand fast in them. That will surely bring her more lasting success than either her lyrics or fan base ever will.

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Glenn Beck’s Vision

Today I watched Part 1 of Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Courage” rally in Israel. Before I tell you anything more, in respect of full disclosure, I’ve got a dog in this hunt. I’m a Jew.

As such, you can infer whatever you like about any bias in my observations;  however, I’m much more a mystic than I am a religious person so any bias you may think I bring is more likely your own.  It is sort of like me telling you I grew up in the 60’s, a Jewish, suburban, upper middle class girl and you assuming I’m a feminist, a Liberal and a Democrat. Sorry, I never got feminism, am somewhat politically conservative and a registered Independent. See. You’d have made that mistaken assumption, too!

So, now that we can set aside all that potential rush to judgment, back to Glenn Beck and Israel.

In April of 2011, I wrote a blog post in which I referred to Mr. Beck as, perhaps, a prophet of sorts.  At the time, I clarified that I didn’t necessarily mean it in the biblical sense.  Now I wonder.

Moses gave the Israelites the vision and courage to leave behind a world they knew ( an oppressive one albeit with certain creature comforts) to head out into the unknown.  It was, as almost no one would dispute, a turning point for humankind.

Glenn Beck has also provided millions (my estimate) with a vision and the courage to leave behind, if not literally then figuratively, a world they know and head into equally unknown territory.  In this instance, what is being left behind is not so different than what the Israelites relinquished.

We, like the Israelites of ancient Egypt, became enslaved to materialism. To having our physical needs and wants reasonably met while losing sight of our spiritual ones. We too, established false idols…Alan Greenspan, various political leaders, the U.S. dollar.  But with the passage of time, we came to remember that while golden calves glitter, the glare is temporary and blinding.  In that blindness, we yearned for something more, something lasting, and something real.

Enter Glenn Beck.

Mr. Beck is a visionary (I’m still mulling over the word prophet).  He saw where we were, where we needed to go, and he said, “Okay, if I can see it, I guess I have to lead the way.” Like all true leaders, he has been a reluctant one.  For that he will surely be rewarded when and how it counts…whether or not we appropriately acknowledge our gratitude for his foresight and willingness to serve.

Glenn Beck is shining a light upon the Light that is Israel.  He and others regardless of religious affiliation, who are connected to Source in their hearts, know one of the most important messages Moses reminds us in Deuteronomy: When the Jewish People are exiled from the land, not just the land suffers but the whole world suffers.

With the reestablishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the world began an unprecedented economic and technological expansion. During that same period, the world lost its spiritual and moral compass. Those two realities have led us to this moment in time when the dark forces of the world want to annihilate the State of Israel to once and forever drive the Jews from their land.

Glenn Beck saw this convergence on the horizon but more importantly, he has done something to impede its design.  The world would do well to heed the message he brings and, if it’s not too much to ask, to also thank the messenger.

Permit me my moment.

Thank you Glenn Beck.


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Who Is Howard Schultz?

Howard Schultz is brilliant and courageous. 

Don’t know who he is, you say? Read on.

Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, recently suggested that we suspend all contributions to political candidates and politicians generally until they address the deficit and begin to do the People’s business for which they are elected. His suggestion has taken root.  Just today, both Duncan Niederauer, head of the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ CEO Bob Greifeld have joined in support and are encouraging other CEO’s to do the same.

If you’re not a CEO don’t fret.  I’m not and I’m on board because I know a good idea when I hear one.

For too long, and too often, we’ve allowed ourselves to feel powerless to affect issues that seem way beyond the capability of one individual.  But one individual can, in fact, turn the world upside down or right side up… depending on their intention. Think Hitler and Jesus Christ.

Your thinking “extraordinary examples” aren’t you?  Well, maybe… but you get my point.

Perhaps more to the point, and more relevant to what you can do, is this:

1.       We are all connected, and the action of one of us inevitably influences the outcome for all of us. It’s like the butterfly flapping its wings in New York City whose motion ultimately affects wind patterns in China.

2.       You vote every four (or six) years at the ballot box. However, you vote every day with your money.  Money is energy. Where you choose to spend (or not spend) yours is an act of self-definition.

I think Howard Schultz has exhibited leadership at a time when we are in search of such talent. He’s done his part. Now it’s up to all of us who know a good idea when we hear one to do our part.

If memory serves me correctly, President Obama was very proud of his grassroots, social network-based campaign approach that managed to collect millions of dollars from “ordinary citizens” who were moved by his promise of Hope and Change and, who by their individual contributions, made the difference.

See, you matter.  Your money is an expression of what you are willing to support. Withdraw that support now!  Make your contribution (no pun intended) in support of Howard Schultz’s idea.  Say “no more funding” for alleged leaders, of any and all parties, whose word means nothing and who exhibit both a lack of understanding for the People’s will and an unwillingness to perform the job for which they applied.

Just do it. You’ll feel empowered and together… real change is possible.

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Fearless Change

Fear unchecked is a breeding ground for violence.

This is what we are seeing around the globe and, most disturbingly, here in the U.S.   It’s particularly apparent in our youth.  This past weekend Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Detroit, the District of Columbia, and even Kansas City were plagued by teen flash mobs, stabbings and even murders. It’s fair to say we are on the verge of, or in the throes of, an epidemic of violence among our youth.


I think there is an identifiable cause, as well as an ongoing influence, that we can point to as being at the heart of this phenomenon.

The cause is fear. As we go through remarkable changes that are taking place on every level of existence, each of us is facing the unknown.  With so much breaking down around us, there is a palpable undercurrent of fear emerging across the globe as we struggle to identify new solutions in these changing times.  We humans 1) like to rely on what is familiar and 2) we like permanence.

During periods of rapid change, familiarity is anathema and anything resembling permanence is impossible.

Add to this fear the desire of those historically in positions of power to retain that power and you have the aggravating influence that progresses fear to violence.

The best way to hold onto power is to frighten those for whom you are responsible into believing that they need you to keep them safe. As violence erupts in our cities, it is the powers that be that we will call upon to quell it… thus inadvertently re-establishing and re-legitimizing their control.

Gandhi knew the answer.  It was peaceful resistance not violent overthrow.  Violence begets violence.  It’s just a matter of time.  But the peaceful exertion of intractable resistance in the form of certainty is transformative.

Do not buy into fear and anger expressed as violence.  The young are merely a reflection… a visible “acting out” of what they feel happening around them. We, around the globe, have abdicated personal responsibility for ourselves and we have abdicated responsibility for our children. Children without guidance, boundaries and the benefit of wisdom from responsible adults have no concept of the proper use of power.  To them, force is the most expeditious solution.

Start in your home and in your communities by being an example of navigating change without fear and by setting boundaries that define, by the choices you make, peace as a priority above all else.

Then you can light the way through this temporary darkness.


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Prosper During Change

As if there were not already enough “chaos” to deal with… London is in flames.  That’s the bad news.  From here on out…it gets optimistic. Really.

Let’s start with chaos.  Chaos is not a bad state of being. It’s merely an as yet unrecognized pattern.  What that means is that when we go through change (something we do more than anything else in or lives) there is always a period when we’ve move out of the familiar but are not yet fully into the new pattern.  It’s that “moment”, as we walk into the unknown, there is a feeling of uncertainty and resistance as we re-familiarize ourselves with what’s new and  reestablish our footing, so to speak.

That’s where we are, globally.  It’s actually the “Change” of “Hope and Change” that so many asked for and got.  They just got it in the way the Universe thought it would be best… which turns out to be somewhat different than what was sought.

Which is where the expression “Be careful what you ask for because you’re liable to get it” comes from.

What we wanted was change without stress. Well, change doesn’t cause stress. Resistance to change causes stress.  So what we really wanted was change without any disruption to how we do things and what we have.

That was kind of juvenile… don’t you think?

As for London… less than 1% of the population is causing the destruction and violence.  This is important to note because to make changes in a society or situation, statistically it takes about 10% of the total population.  So, if 1% of the population can cause such disruption and harm… imagine what just 10% of us can do, globally, in support of peace.

Let me leave you with these two conclusions.

1.        Get comfortable being uncomfortable.  Change requires that and if you do, change will come more quickly with less stress.

2.        Become part of the 10%.

Oh yes, keep breathing and smiling.  That helps too.

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