COMMENTARY: Ask What Can You Do for Your Country

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy, invoked my generation to “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” We are fortunate to live in a free and democratic society where millions of civilians and soldiers serve their fellow citizens.Today is Veteran’s Day and the weekend provided the nation a special …

COMMENTARY: The Twists and Turns of Life

Years ago, Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben introduced the New Year rituals of Rosh Hashanah by holding up a long, coiled ram’s horn. Pointing out the twists and turns, he used the shofar as a metaphor for life. “No one’s life,” he said, “is straight and predictable.” Twists, dips and bends, as well as ups and downs are inevitable. How we …

9-11 – THE DUTY TO REMEMBER AND TEACH

Nine-Eleven. Two Numbers which took on new meaning on September 11, 2001. Since then, these numbers together have become a phrase that will forever be a prominent turning point event in American history.There is a natural tendency to repress painful lessons and the grief we experienced, yet we must not forget or fail to educate our children about what we …

COMMENTARY: Moving Beyond 9/11

I’ve become increasingly ambivalent about the way we commemorate the dark days and months that began on September 11th, 2001. Each year the memories and all the feelings they evoke are less vivid. Thus, the news articles, commentaries and TV specials about the 9/11 attacks serve as important reminders, not only of the immeasurable loss of life and the permanent …

NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR QUEST FOR A GOOD LIFE

Just as a beautiful flower can emerge out dry and desolate soil, joy and fulfillment can emerge out of the rubble of disappointment, grief and even tragedy.  Stay positive and persevere believing the best is yet to come! I know this is easier said than done. It takes great strength

COMMENTARY 988.1: Saying the Right Thing

When someone you care about is suffering greatly, what’s the right thing to say to make him or her feel better? There are all sorts of traumas that can send us to the darkest dungeons of despair – the death of a loved one, being raped, getting a divorce, losing a limb, seeing a child sent to jail or on …

COMMENTARY 979.1: Surviving Grief and Tragedy — The Spark Within

Here’s the bad news: Virtue isn’t a golden ticket to a pain-free life. Bad things happen to good people as often as they happen to bad people. It seems unfair, but in the natural order of the world, suffering is random. To expect otherwise is to sentence oneself to despondency, disillusionment, bitterness, and anger. Here’s the good news: The magic power that …

COMMENTARY 978.3: Curing Victimitis

Watch your thoughts; they lead to attitudes. Watch your attitudes; they lead to words. Watch your words; they lead to actions. Watch your actions; they lead to habits. Watch your habits; they form your character. Watch your character; it determines your destiny. These words of unknown origin tell us that our silent and often subconscious choices shape our future. Every …

COMMENTARY 806.2: Saying the Right Thing

When someone you care about is suffering greatly, what’s the right thing to say to make him or her feel better? There are all sorts of traumas that can send us to the darkest dungeons of despair – the death of a loved one, being raped, getting a divorce, losing a limb, seeing a child sent to jail or on …

OBSERVATION: Life After Life-Changing Traumas

Research on the the post trauma lives of victims of tragedies like the school shooting in Connecticut, reveal that most survivors eventually escape their dark dungeons of grief and despair and that many actually led happier, more fulfilling lives. This evidence validates Nietzsche’s observation, “What does not kill me, makes

OBSERVATION: A Personal Note on the School Murders in Connecticut

I find myself crying every time I think about what the families of the murdered children and their teachers are experiencing. I feel cowardly as I force myself to think about something else rather than linger on these thoughts. I have even avoided following the story on TV because I find the feelings of empathy and compassion so intense it …

OBSERVATION: The massacre of 20 kindergartners and 6 adults in Connecticut has traumatized children and parents everywhere with fear and grief. Sadly, the fear may never go away. There are more possibilities when it comes to grief.

Grief is among the most intense and debilitating emotions we can experience. It can overwhelm every other emotion and sentence us to a dark cold dungeon where hope and even the will to live are crushed by the weight of our pain. When grief is at its strongest, we can’t even muster the will to get out. Though we are alone in …

COMMENTARY 796.5: Curing Victimitis

Watch your thoughts; they lead to attitudes. Watch your attitudes; they lead to words. Watch your words; they lead to actions. Watch your actions; they lead to habits. Watch your habits; they form your character. Watch your character; it determines your destiny. These words of unknown origin tell us that our silent and often subconscious choices shape our future. Every …

COMMENTARY 777.2: Memorial Day, A Day of Remembrance

It’s not just an excuse for a three-day weekend or a day for barbeque and beer. Memorial Day is a time for Americans to connect with our national history and core values by honoring those who gave their lives fighting for this country. It’s said that this special day to salute fallen Americans was born during the Civil War in …

COMMENTARY 774.1: Acting on Principle and Good Intentions

I once heard a story about an emergency medical technician I’ll call Jake who was summoned to help an unconscious woman. When he arrived, she had no pulse. From her color and dilated eyes, he could tell she’d suffered serious brain damage. Still, he did his job exceptionally well, trying over and over to restart her heart. She finally regained …

COMMENTARY: Dealing With Grief — If You’re Going Through Hell, Keep Going

A few years ago I spoke at a fundraising dinner for the Erika Whitmore Godwin Foundation, the creation of Susan and Wendell Whitmore, a couple who transformed their personal mountain of sorrow into a living monument to their daughter Erika who died in the prime of her life. The Whitmores created a website, www.griefHaven.org, to help parents and others maimed …