Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dealing Righteously With Strippers

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).

Luke Ford: God Judges!

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).

Luke Ford Loves Deuteronomy

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).

The Reincarnation Of Rabbi Rabbs

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).

Rabbi Rabbs Banned From Pico Kosher Deli

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).

Ten Commandments Of Chabad Jews

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).

Luke Ford's Unorthodox Love Life

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).

Luke Ford, Rabbi Rabbs On Torah Portion XIII

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).

Luke Ford, Rabbi Rabbs On Torah Portion XI

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).

Luke Ford, Rabbi Rabbs On Torah Portion X

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).

Luke Ford, Rabbi Rabbs On Torah Portion XII

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).

Luke Ford, Rabbi Rabbs On Torah Portion IX

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).

Luke Ford, Rabbi Rabbs On Torah Portion VIII

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).

Luke Ford, Rabbi Rabbs On Torah Portion VII

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).

Luke Ford, Rabbi Rabbs On Torah Portion VI

Luke Ford writes:

This week we have two Torah portions — Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) and Vayelech (Deuteronomy 31:1–30).

Jewish Extravagance

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach writes:

Last Sunday the Los Angeles Times ran an article about extravagant Jewish Iranian weddings in California that portrayed our community as a bunch of shallow, boastful materialists who think the purpose of a marriage ceremony is to tell our friends how much money we have.

Some of the particulars detailed in the article, confirmed to me by people who actually attended, included a bride placed in a glass coffin to be opened by her half-masked "Phantom of the Opera" bridegroom. The coffin did not open for an hour and the wedding was nearly ruined by a shaken and tearful bride gasping for breath. But the coffin, on that occasion, was a telling symbol of the utter death of Jewish values that such ridiculous extravagances represent.

The article further cited the regularity of film crews at these weddings consisting of five or more cameramen with "a 25-foot crane over the dance floor." In television this is called a jib, and to give you an idea of how expensive it is, through the first season of my show "Shalom in the Home," we couldn't afford one - despite a multi-million dollar budget.

Strangely enough, the article quoted a rabbi of a temple in Los Angeles with many Iranian Jewish members who "makes a point of not judging - and even sees virtue in the enormous family gatherings."

Sunday, August 22, 2010

It's Just Human Nature!

Luke Ford writes:

In a 1995 lecture on Exodus 3, Dennis Prager says: It is natural to worship animals. One of the greatest teachings of Judaism is that that which is natural is not necessarily good. Natural and desirable are very different.

It is natural to be polygamous (particularly for men). It is not natural to be monogamous but it is good to be so. Natural and good are not the same.

We all use it all the time, when someone does something obnoxious, what’s the common statement? It’s human nature! It’s human nature to open someone else’s mail and to gossip and to take unjust revenge and to drive up the diamond lane alone. It’s human nature to do all miserable things. It’s not human nature to wait in line for your turn.

It is natural to worship animals. The overthrowing of the Jewish and Christian traditions is being done by natural man, people who want to act in accordance with nature, in opposition to the anti-nature ideas of Judaism and Christianity.

The Biblical attitude to animals is clear — they are to be used, not to be abused.

Why Did God Harden Pharoah's Heart?

Luke Ford writes:

In a 1995 lecture on Exodus 4, Dennis says: And G-d did X is a common Biblical way of saying X happened. For example, And G-d closed her womb is a Biblical way of saying she could no longer have children.

In the Biblical mind, G-d is always involved.

Second response to this problem — Pharoah deserved to be punished.

Three. Only by strengthening Pharoah’s heart does G-d enable Pharoah to have freedom of choice.

Ever Met A Jewish Waiter?

Luke Ford writes:

In a 1995 lecture on Exodus 5, Dennis Prager says: The word for servant and the word for slave is the same, which is probably why to this day that Jews don’t like to be servants because they think it is slavery. Did you ever meet a Jewish waiter? Jews don’t wait.

That and the Chosen People notion are the reasons why Jews don’t want to serve anybody.

Hard To Love God & Man

Luke Ford writes:

In a 1995 lecture on Exodus 5, Dennis Prager says: It is difficult if not impossible to love G-d and to love humanity at the same time.

If you really love people, then you so cry for their pain that it’s difficult to love G-d. And if you are really intoxicated with love of G-d, it can come at the price of feeling the pain of human beings. If you really feel their pain, it will have to raise questions about G-d.

There have been people who loved G-d and could torture people because they were able to separate the two. It’s when you really feel for people that the questions about G-d arise.

If you only love man, you will end up with moral chaos because where does good and evil come from if you don’t love G-d?

If you only love G-d, you will end up with moral chaos because you will not care about the suffering of humanity.

Moses Wrong To Kill Egyptian?

Luke Ford writes:

Exodus 2: 11-13 (NIV): “One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12 Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.”

In his lecture on Exodus 2 circa 1995, Dennis Prager says: This has always been the great dilemma about Moses — why did he kill the Egyptian?

I saw this in no commentator.

Did Moses intend to kill the Egyptian? It’s not fully answerable because the Hebrew is he beat him.

The verb for what the Egyptian did to the Jew is the same as what Moses did to the Egyptian.

This totally exonerates Moses. Is it right for you to kill a would-be murderer?

It’s not possible for Moses to beat the Egyptian and to then go back to the palace. He must either do nothing or to kill the Egyptian.

Biblical Importance Of Names

Luke Ford writes:

In a 1995 lecture on Exodus 5, Dennis Prager says: Names in Bible are very important. Adam names the animals. When you name something, you are giving it essence. That’s why the Nazis took the Jews names away and gave them numbers like cattle.

My wife got very sad when one of our fish died, which was particularly funny as she had just had a tuna sandwich for lunch. I pointed out to her, ‘Fran, how sad can you get? You just had a tuna melt.’

She started laughing and crying at the same time.

I realized why she had gotten sad over the death of one of our fish. We had unwisely named our fish. If you eat a sandwich and it was really a Jerry sandwich, you were having Jerry for lunch, you’d recoil. A tuna sandwich is not a problem.

I vowed after I saw my wife’s reaction, we are no longer naming our fish. It’s a puffer, it’s a yellow tang, and that’s it. Just tonight, a yellow tang died. Nothing. Dennis, could you take that out? It’s ugly. There was no emotional connection because it was a yellow tang. Name is essence.

The NCSY Haredim Connection

Luke Ford writes:

David Kelsey emails: “You idiot! You moron. You katan. You cow. You idiot!”

This is how Rabbi Orlofsky, a former NCSY leader and “kiruv professional” talks to his students at Ohr Somayach about Rabbi Weinreb, a scholar and a gentleman, and emeritus spiritual leader of the Orthodox Union. Many even outside strict Orthodox circles admire Rabbi Weinreb because he is a thoughtful, complex, and compassionate thinker.

What was Rabbi Weinreb’s provocation? Defending Rabbi Slifkin’s right to publish a book that embraced evolutionary theory and an earth older than 6,000 years.

And yet…NCSY, an Orthodox Union subsidiary, continues to quietly send public school teenagers to Ohr Somayah and Neve Yerushalayim, and are afforded greater and greater access to non-Orthodox Jews from the public school system through their “cultural” program, the Jewish Student Union. Yeshiva University continues to maintain a relationship with Ohr Somayach’s Derech Institute.

James Bond Having Fun By Doing Good

Luke Ford writes:

Dennis Prager says that one element of James Bond’s success is that you always know that good will triumph over the evil.

“Second. Good guys are not usually having fun and he does. The good guy is rewarded in this world — look at those women, outfits, cars.”

Sinclair: You wonder how sustainable a life that is? You’d worry if a friend of yours lived a life like that.

Dennis: “Why not fantasize that?”

Sinclair: “The nature of the fantasy has changed over the years to the more austere Daniel Craig version we see today. He’s almost monogamous.”

What Is Sharia? Islamic Law

Luke Ford writes:

On his radio show today, Dennis Prager says: Sharia is Islamic religious law. Jews have an analogue — halakha. Christianity does not have an all-embracing law that governs everything you do.

There was a time in Jewish history when Jews sought a halakhic state. Now the vast majority of religious Jews have made peace with the fact that halakha is a personal matter and only in a few issues in Israel would it matter for state policy. For example, do you serve kosher food on El Al airlines? The IDF in Israel does serve kosher food.

A major difference is that Judaism, at its most, has only believed in a halakhic state for Jews. There was never a notion that the non-Jew anywhere else in the world is obliged to halakha (and only in Israel in a few areas in a utopian scheme of things). The concept is unknown.

What Unites Secular Jews?

Luke Ford writes:

In a 1995 lecture on Exodus 6, Dennis Prager says: I have more in common with a Falashan Jew in Ethiopia with whom I can’t correspond than I do with a secular Jew in LA. Torah is what makes us Jewish.

What does a secular Jew in LA have with a secular Jew in France? Nothing. People say, Jewish food. That’s not correct. Middle Eastern Jews eat an entirely different diet. Yiddish? Yiddish is European. The other half of Jewry spoke Ladino.

There’s nothing secular Jews have in common with other secular Jews in different cultures.

There was a humanistic synagogue. In my more firebrand years, I am mellow compared to what I was 20 years ago, I would walk into gladiatorial combat with anyone. I remember going to Detroit to debate the founder of Humanistic Judaism, a rabbi in Birmingham [Sherwin T. Wine], Michigan. I’ve come close to knowing what it is like to go in the ring with trainers behind you massaging you and getting you ready with towels and a bucket of water.

This evening had thousands of Jews coming to scream on the one they were rooting for — the humanist or the religious one. I had my backers. He had his backers. It was like a prize fight. It bothered me in some way. I don’t think anyone came to be enlightened but just to see major gladiatorial combat.

Is Parsimony Sexy?

Luke Ford writes:

I’ve always been careful with my money. I’ve never had a lot of it.

So, is frugal sexy?

For the overwhelming majority of women, frugality in a man is not attractive.

For most men, frugality in a woman is a good trait for a potential spouse.

Ron Lieber writes:

“My suspicion is that the value of frugality depends on whose money will presumably be spent,” said Reuben Strayer, 34, a physician in Manhattan who does not broadcast his profession or true income in online personals. He always pays for the first date and does not object to providing for a wife one day, he adds; he just doesn’t want to attract the kind of woman who is specifically looking for someone who will do so.

Obama Seems Like A Muslim?

Luke Ford writes:

Here’s the news story.

My thought — there’s little that is distinctively Christian about Obama.

On his radio show today, Dennis Prager says: Here are some possible reasons.

* The only church we have him associated with celebrated race more than religion. It was not a black church in the way we understand black churches. It was a fringe-type church where blackness was celebrated at least as much as Christianity and Jesus is changed into a black man. There’s no reason to believe Jesus was black.

* People get vibes. Sometimes our vibes are wrong, so you can’t go only by vibes. I accept the president is a Christian.

* “He has an affinity and an inner positive gut reaction that is not shared by most Americans…with Islam. He has said it himself. He said in Cairo that he recalls warmly the muezzin (Muslim call to prayer).”

I Dream Of A Great Marriage

Luke Ford writes:

As a single man, I dream of having a great marriage.

If I were married to someone of my level, my dream would be gone. I’d be stuck with reality, with the hard work of making a relationship work. I might very well be stuck in a bad marriage spiraling downhill.

By staying single, one has hope. When you get married, I suspect you lose a lot of hope.

I’ve been in relationships where I felt stuck and disappointed. There was no longer any sexual attraction. The whole thing seemed pointless.

I guess I live in fantasyland much of the time.

Faith Leaders Support Ground Zero Mosque

Luke Ford writes:

Yeah, but they are all left-wing religious leaders.

When it is only right-wing religious leaders who support something, they are always labeled as right-wing, but when it is left-wingers joining together to support something, they’re just “religious leaders.”

Here’s the LA Times headline: “L.A. faith leaders support Muslim center in New York”

Yeah, I’m sure the majority of L.A. faith leaders support this. Or perhaps only the left-wing ones?

Check out this paragraph from the JJ:

A Conversation with Nedalee Ruiz of Chanson Water

Companies dedicated to good health and quality products will always garner my attention and respect. One such company that embodies the principles of innovative technology and a commitment to personal wellness is Chanson Water (www.chansonwater.com), a breakthrough brand that seeks to help consumers find that most precious commodity: good drinking water. Chanson's line of water ionizers are the very examples of the union between great design, versatility and proven effectiveness.

I recently had the good fortune of corresponding with Nedalee Ruiz from Chanson, someone who has a passion for educating people about the advantages of ionized water and the many ways we can immediately enjoy these benefits. Nedalee is highly knowledgeable, helpful and dedicated to making good health accessible to millions. Our Q & A is below. I salute Nedalee's assistance and the wonderful people at Chanson Water.

1. Why is it important to have a water ionizer?

Tap water is usually neutral ph unless it is from a well and can then be acidic. Bottled or reverse osmosis water is acidic and unhealthy. Anyone concerned with health and avoiding disease needs to have a clean and activated water supply, since most of us don’t have access to a waterfall or clean river.

The ionizer is the second best choice. Additionally, the second water produced by the ionizer is the acid water for external uses; it can replace up to 50% of household chemicals, skin care products and cleaners.

2. How do your water ionizers compare to other products currently available?

Chanson ionizers are the smallest on the market, which allow them to take up less counter or under-counter space.

Secondly, unlike our top competitor, Chanson ionizers can make strong acidic water without the addition of chemicals. Others cannot make strong acidic water at all.

Thirdly, we do not use calcium sulfite in our filters like most competitors. Calcium sulfite is banned in several countries and can cause heart palpitations.

Fourthly, Chanson water ionizers are the only brand sold in the U.S., which have been independently third party tested to kill E. coli and staph on contact. And Chanson water ionizers have been tested to prove that our water is micro-clustered.

Finally, Chanson is a 30-year-old manufacturer with a stellar reputation in over 17 countries. Chanson ionizers are backed by the industry’s best warranties, and are considered the “Mercedes-Benz” of the ionizer world.

3. Many readers may be unaware of how a water ionizer works. Please walk us through the process, with references to your products in particular.

A Chanson water ionizer is a small kitchen appliance about the size of two loaves of bread; it sits next to the sink and gets its water from your main faucet and installs in minutes. (Under-counter models also available.) The ionizer first filters the water and then treats the water with electricity.

This process is called electrolysis and is similar to what happens in some rivers or waterfalls: the electrical current in the water makes it a very powerful antioxidant and detoxifier. The water also helps neutralize acids in the body. The water is separated into two streams, one alkaline and the other acidic. The alkaline water can be produced at different levels and is used for cooking and washing vegetables; and the acidic water also produced at different levels is for disinfecting or using on your skin.

4. How big is the marketplace for these kinds of products, in your estimation?

Unlimited. Anyone who wants to take control of his or her health and well-being needs to start with water. Water is the number one nutrient; ionized water is by far the healthiest water source you can consume. It is also the most powerful anti-aging and antioxidant natural substance known to man.

5. Concerning alkalized water, what are some of the reported benefits of drinking alkalized water?

Alkalized water is another term for ionized water. We have heard benefits, literally, in every category of sickness as well as sports performance. Most often we hear about relief from: diabetes, acid reflux, constipation, migraines, arthritis, high cholesterol, joint pains, depression, low energy, skin problems and many, many more. However, even though there is much documentation of these facts in Asia, in the US we are not allowed to make health claims, so please be very careful. You see, many doctors believe that all health problems stem from an acidic body. So it makes no sense to put acidic foods and drinks into our bodies. Alkaline ionized water helps to bring balance, and that balance helps a person’s body heal itself in remarkable ways.

6. How do these benefits compare with expensive brands of bottled water and/or sports drinks?

Nature creates ionized water in some rivers and waterfalls through movement and friction; a small electrical charge is created making the water “living water” with healing properties. Bottled water and tap water are stagnant, dead water, regardless of their source. Ionized water is in a different league, and is considered the “healing water.” The ionization, which is measured in ORP (oxidation-reduction potential), is an antioxidant measurement. The ORP is not stable and cannot be bottled. That is why people need an ionizer in their home.

7. Why is there so much confusion or misinformation concerning bottled water? Many of these brands seem like they have few if any health properties and are merely expensive.

The confusion results from the marketers of those products. There is no existing data or studies of any kind showing any health benefits of drinking bottled water. And there is much information available on the leaching of plastics into the water. Additionally, there is a worldwide problem being created by the plastics filling up landfills.

On the other hand, Chanson ionized water has a 30-year medical track record in Japan and Korea. There have been many hundreds of papers written and studies published in Asia and Russia concerning the health benefits of ionized water. (The video on the Chanson website has helpful information about this issue, too.)

8. On a personal note, which Chanson products do you use regularly?
I use the Chanson shower filter, the Chanson Nano pre-filter and the Miracle and VS-70 ionizers. I have been using these consistently for four years now and would not live without them.

9. When buying a water ionizer, what are some things consumers should look for?

Reputation. Reputation. Reputation. Unfortunately, the ionizer business has many less than honorable persons trying to make a quick buck. When choosing an ionizer there is nothing more important than knowing who is making it and how long they have been in business. Only a highly reputable manufacturer will produce a safe product. Chanson is like the Sears Kenmore of Taiwan; they have been a household name for over a decade and in business for 30+ years. Chanson ionizers have a stellar reputation in the U.S., Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Norway, Switzerland, UK, Croatia, Hungary, France, Polynesia, China, Japan and elsewhere. Chanson is the only ionizer manufacturer that owns and operates a chain of water stores, showing Chanson’s commitment to water health. Chanson is also the only water ionizer manufacturer to also make a full line of water filters. 100% of Chanson’s manufactured product line is in the water health category -- Chanson is the only one that can say that.

10. Please explain the financial benefits of owning a Chanson water ionizer. In other words, how is the product an investment in good health?

The average consumer will have their investment repaid, on even the best Chanson ionizer and filter setup, within three to four years. There is huge savings on bottled water. There is the benefit of saving time on shopping for bottled water and disposing of the bottles.

There is a green action involved as well, since being free of bottled water is an earth friendly move. If the Chanson ionizer can improve one’s health by even one-percent, that is a priceless contribution. Ionized water can improve the effectiveness of any vitamin or supplement the user is taking giving them more bang for his or her buck.

The second water produced by the Chanson ionizer is called the “acid water.” This water will allow you to replace 50% or more of the chemicals, skin care and cleaners you are currently using. The Chanson acid water is for external use only and is antibacterial; it’s a great window and glass cleaner and can replace products like Lysol for a safer more germ free home.

When you purchase a Chanson water ionizer you get both miracle waters (antioxidant for drinking and acid for external); each on its own is worth twice the cost of the system. Personally, I have been ripped off on every type of pill and powder over the years, looking for better health and sports performance. In contrast, the Chanson water ionizer was the absolute best money I have ever spent, and I would not give mine up for any reason. Acid water can be produced at levels that disinfect on contact; and there are over 500 uses for such water. The Sheraton Hotel in Los Angles uses it to clean in their hotel.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Woman's Sell-By Date

Fred emails: "What percentage of women, do you suppose, have a realistic understanding of their "sell by" date?"

Khunrum emails: "Not many...there's a voice in there telling them they're still the prom queen...even when they weren't the prom queen to begin with. Towards the end of my single days I figured out that it made more sense to try for the younger ones. The oldies had unrealistic expectations. They were channeling their long gone inner virgin. They had mind blinders on. Third World gals are the best because they're realistic. 30 is late middle age in Asia. Give me those jungle gals anytime. The "call of the wild" you might say."

Chaim Amalek says: The most realistic women tend already to be married, and to have married young, and to have kids. Ditto (I have my reasons for saying this) strippers. They know that they face competition out there, and that it isn't coming from all those fabulous looking terrific women with terrific careers and great friends who have somehow made it to their forties without ever having married.

As for the aforementioned fabulous fortyish females out there, you can find me on Craigslist.

And yeah, one thing I've learned is that going after older women is a waste of time most of the time, because such women tend to have extremely unrealistic expectations for the remainder of their lives.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What Is He Thinking?

Luke Ford writes:

This piece on AOL nails it

: "If a woman ever wonders what her boyfriend or husband thinks when he looks at her, she can’t go wrong if she imagines this: He sees her as an endless abyss of need. In general, men think that women are emotionally insatiable. The endless abyss of need scares men to death, because they fear that they’ll never get the things they want.

Flirting With Orthodox Judaism

Luke Ford writes:

I have a several close female friends who’ve flirted with Orthodox Judaism but not finished conversions to it. They look obviously goyish. They feel like conspicuous outsiders to the Jewish community, and they fear that they will always be viewed with suspicion, distrust, and dislike. So they wonder if this is really the world for them? It has become very clear to these friends what born-Orthodox Jews think of them and it is not good.

I understand their feelings, but I believe they will will diminish once my friends prove themselves by completing an Orthodox conversion to Judaism and then shouldering their share of the load in the community.

To convert to Orthodox Judaism is easier and quicker — in most instances — than completing an AA degree at a community college, but it still tends to weed out those who are not up to the task.

Your Kids Accomplishments

Luke Ford writes:

Bumperstickers are trashy. Bumperstickers advertising that your kids are on an honor roll are obnoxious. Bumperstickers advertising that your kids have good attendance at their Martin Luther King Elementary School are pathetic.

Bragging about your kids is annoying.

"My child was inmate of the month at the state correctional facility."

"My kid sold your honor student all the answers to the tests."

Those stickers I love.

Dennis Prager tackled this issue on his radio show this week. Prager said he loved military bumper stickers — my son is in the US Navy. That’s a patriotic statement. We can live without honor rolls. We can’t live without the military.

Fake Calls For Dialogue

Luke Ford writes:

Lawrence Grossman writes in the Forward: "Is it too much to hope that it also might encourage steps toward renewing respectful dialogue between Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews?"

When I was interviewing people in 2004 for my book on American Jewish journalism, I sent Lawrence Grossman an interview request. He could not be bothered to respond, let alone "dialogue."

If all I knew about a person was that he had made a public call for dialogue, I would suspect he’d be less likely than the average bloke to grant me an interview. Why?

Are Lustful Thoughts Sinful?

Luke Ford writes:

I got some very bad news this afternoon.

I was lying on my bed of nails listening to Torah talks by Rabbi Ari Kahn.

In his second lecture on Rosh Hashanah, he says that lustful thoughts are a sin. Most other thoughts about doing a sin are not a sin, only the deed, but when it comes to dreaming of immoral deeds of an explicitly sexual nature, the thought itself is a sin.

Oy vey! I am sunk in iniquity. All I do all day long is think lustful thoughts.

Rabbi Kahn cited a verse from Job, "I have made a covenant with my eyes, how can I look upon a maid?"

Sheesh, I might as well be a Christian. Jesus said that if you look with lust upon a woman (even your own wife according to the last pope), you have committed adultery with your heart. Dennis Prager often says that Judaism holds that you can commit adultery with only one organ of your body and it’s not your heart.

My Stomach Hurts!

Luke Ford writes:

"Do you have any thoughts on stomach aches?" I ask my Alexander Technique teacher today.

"When do you get them?" he asks.

"When I start worrying. I find myself clenching."

"Well, what would you say to a friend with this problem?"

"I don’t know."

Pay Attention To Me!

Luke Ford writes:

Friday afternoon, I had two beautiful women paying attention to me.

One, however, was about to call Kavel.

"How can you call Kavel when I’m talking about my feelings?" I wailed to Kris.

She smiled and gave herself to me completely.

She wore a filmy cream top and she had long black hair and she was tall and slim, just how I like ‘em.

She had a sweet smile.

"I’m just starting to open up here," I complained.

Shake My Lulav

Luke Ford writes:

When I came to Los Angeles in 1994, I was hosted several times for Shabbat and holiday meals by a nice Orthodox family in Pico-Robertson.

Then, due to the raunchy nature of my blogging, the invites ceased.

In the summer of 2001, the Jewish Journal had Sheldon Teitelbaum write a cover story on me. He read it to this woman who freaked out and called me and asked, "Do you want to commit suicide?"

She suggested that I offer the Journal $10,000 not to publish the piece.

Well, I did not try to stop the piece (it was never published, in 2007, Brad Greenberg wrote this profile of me for the Jewish Journal), but I was shaken up by her call, and two days later I decided to sell my website lukeford.com and resolved to lead an honorable life.

A couple of months later, the family had me over for Succoth (and this woman set me up for another holiday meal with another family).

Luke Ford's Interpretative Dance

Luke Ford writes:

I started with a new therapist this week.

"I want to do an interpretative dance about my childhood," I said.

"OK," she said.

I stood up tall and then threw my hands above my head to stop the beating.

I got hit a lot as a kid. I was frail and other kids would pick on me. They didn’t appreciate some of the things I said.

"Now I want to do an interpretative dance about my adulthood," I said.

"OK," she said.

I threw my hands above my head to stop the beating.

"I’m driven to antagonize people," I explained. "I make them want to hurt me."

Jewschool Editorial Board

Luke Ford writes:

Jewschool.com apparently does not have bloggers. It has an "editorial board."

Holy hell!

Who came up with that term? Could it be the founder of Jewschool.com, the Orthodox Anarchist Dan Sieradski?

Jewschool consistently gets about half the traffic of this blog despite its vaunted "editorial board."

Check out the way it describes itself:

Crying To The Rabbi

Luke Ford writes:

A lot of Jews in Pico-Robertson and around the world go crying to the rabbi that I’ve written something that has upset them.

Mate, just because you can work yourself into tears while complaining about me is no evidence that moral right is on your side.

Most of these folks have never raised their objections to me. They’re too scared to confront the source of their anguish, so they just go around complaining to those who will listen and sympathize and reinforce their anger.

I remember one rabbi who was always complaining about me. I attended a lecture of his on the importance of confronting those who you feel have done you wrong.

So after the lecture, I sent him an email suggesting we do just what he’d spoken about.

He replied that he had no problem with me and gave me one of those generic rabbinic blessings.


My Flexible Ethics

Luke Ford writes:

When I’m rude to you, I’m trying to connect. I’m not trying to blow you off. I’m trying to trigger an interesting discussion, something beyond what is polite. I want to get to the nitty gritty. I want a connection that counts. I want to pour my soul into yours.

It’s almost Rosh Hashanah and I am just so particularly grateful to my Orthodox friends in Pico-Robertson. Most of the people I most admire are Orthodox. It’s a big reason why I affiliate Orthodox. I want to surround myself with people I admire and I become more like them.

The rest of the time I want to hang with writers. That craft is as important to me as Orthodox Judaism.

Luke Ford's Gratitude To Friends

Luke Ford writes:

I have about the most flexible ethics around.

It must be all the yoga.

It’s way too easy for me to justify doing anything that feels good.

Hence, I consistently act like a pig in my own community of Pico-Robertson. I chase women (now that I’m 43, they get away from me pretty easily, oh, to be young and fit). I take way too much pleasure in baiting people. I love to incite arguments. I love to challenge authority. I love to drive my rabbis crazy. I love to do more damage to myself than to anyone else (with the exception of those I’ve written inaccurate and damaging things about, that’s just a horrible example of my character flaws for which I will have to account to the community today and the Almighty tomorrow).

What’s saved me is my friends. They’ve let me know when my zipper was down. They’ve let me know when to let my guard down. They’ve let me know when I’ve needed to lift my game. They’ve sponsored my conversion to Orthodox Judaism. They’ve sheltered me with Sabbath and holiday meals and integrated me with their families. They’ve made me feel human.

Even Shiksas Want Commitment

Luke Ford writes:

Hot Shiksa calls.

I squeal: "You poked me on Facebook! This is a whole new direction for our relationship. We’re finally making our feelings concrete. It’s not just words. Now it’s down to poking. We’re making things holy."

Hot Shiksa: "I logged in to Facebook in a different way and saw that you had poked me. So I poked back.

"They don’t have pokes on the iPhone.

"Hey, if you’re going to write about me on your site, please do me the respect of capitalizing my name — Hot Shiksa.

"If I let you poke me for real, you’d be overcome by guilt. That’s why I don’t want to have sex with you. What happened to chivalry? All these guys in my life want to have sex with me. It’s so boring."

Monday, August 16, 2010

Apologies For Rosh Hashanah

Luke Ford writes:

I can’t remember the last time I made a meaningful apology to someone.

I must be a great tzaddik who never does anyone harm.

I hate empty ritual. I hate it when someone says, "If I have done anything bad to you over the past year, please forgive me."

I loathe that! It’s so empty. If you have done something bad to me, then name it and make amends. Otherwise, spare me these empty offerings.

The last time I tried to mend something, I asked a rabbi to talk to him. He had given this talk on the importance of seeking out those we have a problem with and try to talk the matter out. This rabbi was always complaining about me. Another rabbi pushed me to apologize to him for a critical thing I had written. So I sought the bloke out and he flat out lied. He said he had no problem with me.

And that was that.

When To Leave Relationship?

Luke Ford writes:

David Deida says in a chapter for men: "If it is time for your intimate partnership to come to an end because you have outgrown it, then you will most likely feel a mixture of pain, grief, sadness and love, as if your lover had died. If, however, your intimacy ends with much conflict, hardness, emotional closure and and lack of communication, then you have probably not outgrown your relationship, you’re just bailing." (Pg. 143 of Intimate Communion)

From page 169: "Whereas the Masculine is either going deeper or pulling away, the Feminine is either opening or closing."

Pathetic For Thinking He Could Date Younger

Luke Ford writes:

A 40 plus woman, Jane*, was complaining to me the other day about a Hollywood executive.

They’d had dinner. It had been set-up by a family friend. Jane said the topic was this lofty social activism issue. She thought the man, about 70 years old, wanted to pick her brain.

Midway through the meal, the man remarks that he’s on a blind date.

"This guy was 30 years older than me," she says. "Yuck! He was not attractive. I couldn’t wait to get away. Pathetic. Who are these guys who think they can go out with the young stuff? I had no idea it was a date. I thought we were discussing…."

Finesse Football Teams

Luke Ford writes:

The Dallas Cowboys, no matter the coach, have been a finesse football team for about 50 years now. By contrast, the Pittsburgh Steeler have always been a brutal force team.

Why has this never changed? The teams have been successful. They’ve been losers. But they never change this identity.

It makes sense that stadium and weather will be the primary determinants for a football team’s identity. Pittsburgh has lousy weather and an outdoor stadium, so power football makes sense.

Fusion: In Danger Of Separation

Luke Ford writes:

That’s a great line from one of John Updike’s final stories.

I know what it is like to feel close to someone, to not want to live without them, and simultaneously feeling an urge to destroy it all so one can be free. Independent. Non-needy.

David Deida says in his book: "There is only one way for a man to give a woman what she truly wants, and that is through his strength of loving when he is not compromised by fear. A man who lives in fear — of losing his woman, of failing in his career — is weakened in his expression of love. His core is compromised. He is unable to ravish his woman because he is unable to let go of the clench in his gut." (Pg. 261)

Want To Be Taken Seriously?

Luke Ford writes:

I find the "If you want to be taken seriously, then you must do X, Y, Z" rhetoric obnoxious.

I don’t know how many people have asked me, "Do you want to be taken seriously? Do you want your blog to be taken seriously?"

I loathe it because I don’t have a snappy comeback to it. I don’t worry about being taken seriously. Even before i started blogging in July 1997, I had full confidence that if I did good work, it would be taken seriously.

There’s no need to worry about being taken seriously. Do good work and the serious attention will follow.

J-Street does not need to worry about being taken seriously. As soon as people start writing Op/Eds questioning if you want to be taken seriously, you’re taken seriously.

When people proclaim publicly that you don’t matter, you matter. When people take the time to tell me they don’t read me, I know I’m making an impact. Why put effort into fighting something insignificant?

Goyim On Rosh Hashanah

Luke Ford writes:

Returning home from Rosh Hashanah services  around 2 pm Saturday, I spied a friend walking off in the distance.

My normal greeting to my friends these days is "Marriage Equality!"

This day I just yelled her name.

She didn’t answer.

She was walking in distinctly non-Rosh Hashanah attire — shorts and a t-shirt.

I knew her from Orthodox life. I’ve never seen so much of her flesh.

I ran to catch up.

She was with her shaygetz boyfriend and she was walking her shaygetz dog. They were all having about as much fun as three Gentiles can on Rosh Hashanah. They felt blithely unburdened by any obligation to crown God King and for all I knew, they were all going home to commit the great sin of premarital sex.

Do I Own My Own Torahs?

Luke Ford writes:

As I spend my days engaging with the sacred texts, I often jot down my insights.

This is just part of my communication with God and His Torah. It pains me to think that these private musings might be made public one day, perhaps after my death.

Do my Torah thoughts belong to me or do they belong all of Israel?

Dr. Marc B. Shapiro blogs (his first post in seven months!): "Even if it is true that the Chazon Ish never intended to publish his notes, is that any reason for them not to be printed? Didn’t the Netziv tell the Wuerzburger Rav’s son not to pay attention to his father’s wish that his writings not be published, since the Torah thoughts that he developed were not to be regarded as his personal possession to the extent that he could prevent others from studying what he wrote?[4] Furthermore, is there any evidence that the Chazon Ish was opposed to his criticism of R. Hayyim appearing in print?"

Was Mohammed A Hater?

Luke Ford writes:

Dennis Prager says: “Were all the great moral thinkers of history haters? There isn’t a single great moral thinker in history of which I am aware who advocated same-sex marriage. There is no parallel to this. Every great moral idea has been advocated from the beginning of moral thought. The idea that slavery was wrong did not begin with the abolitionists.”

“Human nature aches for irresponsibility. Human happiness aches for responsibility. The more you are responsible for your life, the happier you will be.”

When President Obama announced that kids can stay on their parent’s health insurance until they were 26, college students were ecstatic. They could prolong the age at which they were dependent on their parents another five years.

If there was a student there who did not applaud, he was a happier student that those who did applaud.

Randy Rabbi Marc Schneier

Luke Ford writes:

As I pointed out in my previous post, Rabbi Marc Schneier was not engaged in illicit behavior when he was photographed in Israel kissing a comely speech pathologist not his wife.

Rather, the good rabbi was engaging in routine and wholly appropriate speech training and did not enjoy it one bit. The rabbi was learning to enunciate more clearly so he could better teach the Torah.

If, and I do not believe for a second that this is true, the rabbi was doing something wrong, it is only because he is sick and needs help. Instead of castigating him, we should be encouraging his personal growth. Science shows us that promiscuity is not a moral failing as much as a genetic predisposition. I don’t know why G-d would program some men to want to bang as many hot chicks as they can and then condemn them for adultery. This makes no sense. It is a real dilemma for a very religious man such as myself to understand why a compassionate and loving G-d would make such a world.

Frankly, I don’t see the appeal in multiple sex partners. I would much rather spend my energies studying Talmud and listening to the Miami Boys Yeshiva choir.

You Hurt My Feelings!

Luke Ford writes:

From Dennis Prager’s radio show today. Author Alison Armstrong was the guest. "Prager H2: What happens when spouses hurt one another? What is the source of the anger? What hurts a woman’s feelings? What hurts men?"

Alison: "Typically, when a woman is hurt, her feelings are hurt. She’ll say, ‘You hurt my feelings.’ To a man, that’s ‘And? Where are those? Can I see them?’

"Men don’t know that women’s feelings are an extra vital organ right in the center of our chest. It is our connection to spirit. When our feelings get hurt, it’s as if this vibrant pulsing organ becomes petrified. It squishes up. It physically hurts when it squishes up…and the life force is squished out of us…a death force travels through our system. We stop breathing. We gasp for air. It shuts down our arms and legs. We curl up into the fetal position. We do what I call planking, where you’re buried under dirt.

"And then this blackness, it rises up into our heads and it shuts off our vocal cords and we can’t look at the person that hurts us anymore because it feels like it is stabbing into our eyes. When it gets up into our heads, anything good disappears. Any happy thought or possibility of partnership or communication gets shut down. It’s like a computer crashing except it gets worse.

Cold Showers As Sin Atonement

Luke Ford writes:

I get up every weekday at 5:56 a.m. when my alarm sounds and I stumble into the shower and turn on a stream of cold water for 60 seconds (70 seconds when I am feeling particularly hardy).

As I stood there this morning at the gloriously late hour of 6:20 a.m., I reflected that this cold shower was penance for my sins. I felt the water cascade and punish the very part of me so prone to wickedness and I felt yes, yes, this hurts so good, oy, this is shockingly painful, yes, this water is washing away my iniquities and I will emerge from this ordeal and re-enter the camp of Israel as a new man, a clean man, a clean pure man dedicated to G-d’s service and hooray, the long dark nightmare of my past is fully behind me now.

I Feel Appalled!

Luke Ford writes:

I was relaying to friends how appalled I was by this Jewish girl taking communion, and this Alexander Technique teacher noted that every time I said I was appalled, I shrunk down.

He insisted I keep my length. Then I tried to explain how appalled I was but there was a problem — I no longer felt appalled.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love With Monica XIV

Luke Ford writes:

This week’s Torah portion is Shoftim.

Eat, Pray, Love With Monica is a 2010 Torah Talk by American author Monica. The memoir chronicles the author’s trip around the hovel after her divorce, and what she discovered during her travels.

Eat, Pray, Love With Monica XIII

Luke Ford writes:

This week’s Torah portion is Shoftim.

Eat, Pray, Love With Monica is a 2010 Torah Talk by American author Monica. The memoir chronicles the author’s trip around the hovel after her divorce, and what she discovered during her travels.

Eat, Pray, Love With Monica XII

Luke Ford writes:

This week’s Torah portion is Shoftim.

Eat, Pray, Love With Monica is a 2010 Torah Talk by American author Monica. The memoir chronicles the author’s trip around the hovel after her divorce, and what she discovered during her travels.

Eat, Pray, Love With Monica XI

Luke Ford writes:

This week’s Torah portion is Shoftim.

Eat, Pray, Love With Monica is a 2010 Torah Talk by American author Monica. The memoir chronicles the author’s trip around the hovel after her divorce, and what she discovered during her travels.

Eat, Pray, Love With Monica IX

Luke Ford writes:

This week’s Torah portion is Shoftim.

Eat, Pray, Love With Monica is a 2010 Torah Talk by American author Monica. The memoir chronicles the author’s trip around the hovel after her divorce, and what she discovered during her travels.

Eat, Pray, Love With Monica X

Luke Ford writes:

This week’s Torah portion is Shoftim.

Eat, Pray, Love With Monica is a 2010 Torah Talk by American author Monica. The memoir chronicles the author’s trip around the hovel after her divorce, and what she discovered during her travels.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Mind-Body Connection: An Interview with Lisa Engles, Radio Host and Inspirational Leader

Inspiring leaders mean the difference between success and the status quo. Nowhere is that point more relevant than in issues concerning mind-body balance. Lisa Engles (www.innerstatecoaching.com) is such a leader: a radio host, wellness expert, entrepreneur and speaker -- she helps people begin the journey to health and happiness. Her knowledge is vast and her innovative teaching techniques deserve maximum praise. I recently had the good fortune to speak with Lisa, and the transcript our conversation is below. Please take a moment to read this interview, since Lisa is someone who can - literally - change your life for the better.

1. Why is mind-body balance so important?

It’s a known fact that the mind and body are not only inseparable, but that they’re interdependent. So to me, mind-body ‘balance’ isn’t important, it’s critical to experiencing the body and the health that we desire. How do we create balance? First, you have to understand that the mind and body can’t be separated. Although most of us now know this, there’s still a huge divide between what we now know to be a proven fact (mind and body work interdependently) and the predominant reductionist paradigm of our health care system which still seeks to ‘fix the broken parts’ through drugs and surgery: it deals with the symptoms, not the underlying cause… which always stems at the emotional level. Second, the paradigm has to shift, and it is. We need health and fitness coaches/experts who have the skills to heal both the mind and the body… physical/mental/emotional.

Without addressing both the mind and the body we continue along the path of being victims of our health, of our genetics of the circumstances that made our experience of our body and health the way it is. By addressing both mind and body we are empowered to consciously create positive and lasting change in our body and our health.

2. What are some common examples of the way stress exacts a toll physically?

Once again, since body and mind are both inseparable and interdependent, you can’t look at the physical with out also looking at the emotional/mental side of the picture as well. That being said, some of the ways that stress manifests itself physically,emotionally and mentally are:

Lack of energy
Chronic pain (back, chest, neck, headache)
GI problems (stomach ache, acid reflux)
Sleep disturbances
Emotional eating
Weight gain or loss
Social withdrawal
Lack of focus or motivation
Lack of creativity
Feeling insecure
Addictions (alcohol, drugs, gambling)

3. What are your suggestions concerning ways to prevent or alleviate this kind of stress?

Stress management is something we can all use in our lives. I’m a big proponent of using heart-based technologies to prevent and alleviate stress in our life. The Insitute of Heart Math based out of Boulder Creek, CA. has several great tools for managing stress, anxiety and overwhelm which are very simple to perform anywhere at anytime. One is called the Quick Coherence Technique which helps you to refocus your emotion and connect you with your heart’s energetic field in order to release stress and balance your emotions very quickly. Basically, this technique has you focus your attention to the area of your heart while imagining that you’re breathing slowly through your heart to a count of six. Then, while continuing to breathe through the heart you simply allow yourself to refocus on a positive feeling, attitude or memory which elicits a positive feeling or attitude like gratitude, compassion or caring.

I also find that there’s an epidemic of people who feel stressed out simply because they’ve committed to too much in their lives: Work responsibilities, family responsibilities and activities, social activities. Their schedules are so packed from the time they way up to the time they hit the pillow that they virtually have no downtime. Simplifying your life by cutting out unnecessary activities is a very simple way to reduce stress in your life.

Of course, we can’t discount exercise! Research shows that regular exercise is great for stress reduction. Anything from going to the gym, to walking the dog to hiking on a nature trail are all easy things to implement immediately for stress reduction.

Finally, adding in 10-20 minutes per day of meditation or centering prayer is probably the most valuable, long-term practice you can do to reduce stress and overwhelm. Over the years, I’ve found for myself that I can’t afford NOT to meditate daily. It’s an absolute must for me in my life because it grounds me, gives me direct access to my higher wisdom and Spirit, and helps me to move through my day with more grace and ease than if I don’t meditate.

4. How is your approach to these issues different or innovative?

My approach is a cross-pollination of many different healing and spiritual practices inspired by both Eastern and Western traditions, modern and ancient teachings.
I have spent my entire career as a health and fitness professional in an industry that has yet to integrate mind-body healing tools and techniques in a way that’s simple and accessible and most importantly, known to the general population.
A great example of this is that I teach very specific breathing techniques to my endurance sport athletes. These techniques are based on ancient practices from China and India, but have amazing application to peak performance in sport. Last week one of my athletes asked me ‘Why haven’t I ever read about this in any of the triathlon magazines or online on any of the popular multi-sport sites?’ ---- None of this is new stuff, but not many coaches/fitness professionals/health professionals are integrating tools and techniques from outside of their field into their coaching or healing practices yet.

I also use a form of ‘psychological acupuncture’ in my coaching practice as well. It’s known as meridian tapping or emotional freedom techniques. But you don’t read about it in any of the major health and fitness magazines either.
I believe that all of this will shift very soon, maybe even within the next five years. My mission is to teach other health and fitness professionals how to successfully integrate these tools into their work so that more and more people become familiar with them and are able to use them to consciously choose a different path for health and overall well being.

5. Nutrition is also a key component for physical and mental health. And yet, people self-sabotage with their eating habits. Why does this happen?

In my 20 years of working with people as an integrative wellness and fitness consultant, my experience has been that all self-sabotaging eating habits are symptoms of a deeper cause which lies at the emotional level. Why does this happen? Well, it almost always goes way back to early childhood when we become ‘programmed’ with beliefs about not being worthy, deserving, good enough etc. Food becomes the drug of choice to many people. It soothes the sadness, quells the anger, comforts the emptiness. There’s a lot of great information out there now on emotional eating. Anyone who notices a pattern within themselves of self-sabotage with food is probably dealing with emotional eating issues. I actually created a program called the 40-Day Mental Makeover: For Weight Loss and Body Image that directly addresses this problem of emotional eating. The truth is that no amount of dieting or exercise will ever work if the underlying cause of emotional eating isn’t addressed. Of course, practically everyone who has emotional eating problems also has body image or self-esteem issues to some degree as well. That’s why I cover both in my program.

6. What are your suggestions about ways to prevent self-sabotaging?

Preventing self sabotage first begins with recognizing your self sabotaging thoughts, beliefs, behaviors and habit patterns. After that, you need to take responsibility for changing. It’s about making choices that will empower you, not keep you in the vicious cycle of trying and failing. That’s really the only way. The biggest obstacle for most people when it comes to the issue of self-sabotage is that there’s a hidden benefit of the sabotage: you don’t have to take responsibility, you can blame someone else for your condition, it makes you feel safe, it’s your identity, you can remain a victim… there are other as well, but those are some off the top of my head. Truthfully, it’s challenging to tackle this stuff on your own when you’re just beginning because you can’t see your own blind spots. You need someone else to be your guide. . Getting a coach or counselor to help you or joining a support group is very beneficial as well. I believe that everyone needs support. You just can’t attempt to tackle a big issue like self-sabotage without a support team. In my experience, those clients that I work with who are surrounded by people who support them in their journey to health have a much easier time succeeding. I’ve also had clients who don’t have the support they need at home or even from close friends, and they often end up not being able to overcome their self-sabotage.

7. You also host a popular radio show. Please describe the show for our readers.
The show is called InnerState Radio, and it airs on Voice America Networks, 7th Wave Channel and Health and Wellness Channel weekly. The show is also syndicated on iTunes for easy download.

I interview leading authors, educators, experts and visionaries to explore cutting-edge research in emerging fields like energy psychology, neuro-science and consciousness. My focus is to bring this valuable information to listeners so that we can begin to shift the paradigm of health and well being from the inside-out. Once people are educated about this stuff, they can begin to make empowering choices that create lasting change. That’s really the whole purpose of my show. It’s also another way for me to get my message to more people free of charge giving them practical applications of how to bring the art of transformation into everyday life.

8. How do you define success when helping your own clients?

When I begin working with any client, I tell them that it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Of course, every client who comes to work with me has a goal, such as weight loss or to finish an Ironman distance triathlon. So I guide them in doing that. However, so often what motivates people to do something is a need for connection, a need to be seen or recognized as worthy and deserving, a need to create more meaning in their life, a need for autonomy. And at some level they believe that losing weight or crossing the finish line at an Ironman triathlon (as examples) will fulfill those needs. Success to me as a coach then, becomes two-fold: 1) to help my clients reach that outer goal 2) to be sure that the underlying motivator is also fulfilled in the process, that their psychological and emotional needs are being fulfilled as well. This can’t be accomplished in the traditional paradigm of fitness training or coaching. It requires that just as much ‘training’ or focus be placed on the clients inner-state of mind. The problem is that most coaches/personal trainers know this, but either don’t have the skills (qualifications) to work with the mental/emotional piece, or they don’t have the time.

In the new paradigm of health/fitness the coach will be skilled in training both the body and the mind.

9. What are some easy and immediate things we can all do to improve mind-body balance?

One of the most powerful resources we have is our breath. Not only is it powerful, it’s free and we already know how to use it…. Well, sort of. Deep, diaphragmatic breathing is an incredible way to merge our inner and outer worlds. This is a huge subject. A lot has been written about the benefits of breathing, but something that I’ve found is that we can combine this very specific type of breathing with exercise. Yoga is a great example. The ujjayi breath accompanies every movement and posture in a yoga practice. This type of breathing can be used as well, during walking, running, cycling, and almost any endurance type of exercise to both energize and relax the mind and body at the same time. Using the breath in this way stimulates the part of our nervous system called the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for lowering our heart rate and causing a relaxation response. At the same time, this type of breathing along with an extended period of rhythmic exercise like running or walking will induce a light trance state of mind. Our brain waves actually become more coherent, we enter into what’s called an alpha brain wave pattern and find what athletes refer to as ‘the zone’. This was an exciting discovery for me about ten years ago because I realized that I had tapped into something that wasn’t really known or at least wasn’t being taught in the world of endurance sport or even fitness. I found that I could kill two birds with one stone: I could get my daily meditation and exercise at the same time. Since then, I began to teach all of my clients and athletes this specific type of breathing. I’ve also just recently created some audio sessions to teach this technique and am currently working on creating a guided audio that people can listen to during their workouts to use this technique.

10. Since we're in the midst of summer, what are some seasonal warning signs we can spot that are triggers for stress or physical upheaval?

Common triggers for stress during the summer time include:

Vacations- even though we think vacations are about relaxation, they often bring with them the stress of traveling to new and unfamiliar places, dealing with time-zone differences and the sleep disturbances that come with it, scheduling lots of activities into a finite period of time, and dealing with travel partners (friends or family) who may have different agendas than you. Sometimes we need a vacation from our vacation!

Child-Care/Camps- for those who have kids, scheduling summer camps and day camps can be a logistical nightmare that adds a lot of stress both physically and financially. Shuttling more than one child around to various camps throughout the summer leaves many parents with less time for themselves than they have during the school year. Additionally, summer camps aren’t cheap. If you haven’t planned ahead, signing your child up for a few camps during the summer can easily surpass the $1500 mark.

Out of Town Visitors- summer is the time when family and friends like to come visit. Although it’s fun, there’s often the stress of trying to be the perfect host: making accommodations for guests like sleeping arrangements and eating meals together and a night or two of going out for entertainment can be exhausting. Again, sometimes we feel as if we need a vacation after our visitors have left!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Revisiting Narcissism

Luke Ford writes:

From DennisPrager.com: “Dennis and Dr. Stephen Marmer, member of the clinical faculty of the UCLA medical school and practicing psychiatrist in Brentwood, CA revisit a key issue to your happiness – narcissism.”

Stephen Marmer: “Narcissism in common terms is grandiosity — thinking that you are the greatest ever. Narcissism is seeing things only from your perspective. Anyone else’s perspective is either wrong or irrelevant. Only your perspective counts. Only your thoughts are correct. Only your emotions are justified. Only your hurts are legitimate hurts. Only your innocent actions should be interpreted as innocent by everybody else, even if it hurts them. Everything in your life is for you. Self-referential. Your world beginning and end.”

Dennis: “The moment you can say, maybe they’re right, you’re undoing narcissism.”

Stephen: “Yes! I can see your point of view. Or, I understand how that felt for you. Or, your claim right now has more merit than mine. All those are signs that the narcissism is changing. Nowhere is this more clear than in the difference between narcissistic love and real love.”

“Most narcissistic people don’t bother to see things from an outsider perspective. If you only see things from your point of view, you won’t get to the point where you notice. Mostly people learn that they are narcissistic when people they care about tell them they are narcissistic.”

Aging Gracefully Sexually

Luke Ford writes:

An old woman calls in and says, “If a man does not love his wife because she won’t dye her hair, then she has the wrong husband.”

Dennis: “Why doesn’t it go in the other direction? If a man is married to a woman who won’t improve her looks by dying her hair, then he’s married to the wrong wife.”

Good point.

Dennis asks what is wrong with people looking younger than their chronological age.

Did you ask your husband if he would prefer you to dye your hair or to be grey? That is a question a wife owes her husband.

This matter is a great reason to go Asian or Persian, because they retain their naturally dark hair color longer. They age more gracefully.

The Facebook Effect

Luke Ford writes:

I just read this new book by David Kirkpatrick.

The story of Facebook is a great one but Kirkpatrick is a plodding writer.

The earlier book on Facebook (getting turned into a movie) was a much better read.

One thing caught my attention in this new book was that Facebook helps people become more unified. They don’t have a profile for work and a profile for friends and a profile for family. They have just one Facebook profile and it is meant to have their real name.

I used to live many lives. Now I lead one life. I have family on my Facebook. I have friends from childhood. I have Orthodox Jewish friends. I have porn star friends.

I’m listening to a 2002 lecture by Dennis Prager on his life and he says: “I was an angel at home but I was a devil at school.”