65One of my good friends and his beloved recently took out a loan, got financing and bought a vacation property. They were very excited because, of course, it’s a big thing to own a second home.

My friend (who wishes to remain anonymous) said to me, “Brian, here’s the problem. I’m running out of excuses.” Sometimes this friend of mine talks cryptically, and I didn’t understand what he meant. I asked him, “What do you mean?”

He said, ‘Well, I have a beautiful house, a wonderful partner, terrific children. Now I have a vacation home. I’m running out of excuses as to why I’m not closer to happiness.”

I think we all feel that way from time to time – we have all of this stuff in front of us. We are lucky to be in a socio-economic group that is internet-accessed. We are not panicked about where our next meal is coming from. How fortunate we are.

So what is our excuse? Do any of us really believe we will finish accumulating stuff and THEN get to our spiritual religious life? We will never be done accumulating.

We need to cultivate tenderness and contentment now.

We need to tend to our spiritual religious health now.

And, it’s not hard… you just need to start.

And, you need to start where you are right now.

Right now. Before you buy that next lust-have item.

The path to contentment, gratitude, peace, joy – all the things that make up happiness – true happiness – are not outside of us.

It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Deuteronomy 30:12-13

We need to stop thinking that one day we will have the time, or that one-day we will have enough or what we need.

If you are unable to find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it? Dogen

We can fight against thinking that we need more by realizing that we have enough. We can realize that we have enough by cultivating some gratitude. And, I’m going to help you by giving you an assignment.

Use the forward button (or keystroke) and send this e-mail to someone with a message like the following:

  • I am thankful that you are in my life and appreciate what you do for me.
  • The rabbi who wrote the article that I just read challenged me to write an e-mail about gratitude, and I’ve chosen to write it to you.

E-mails to me telling me that you are thankful to me, – while wonderful and appreciated — do not count toward completing the assignment.

This week’s spiritual advice:
Take time to tend to your spiritual-religious life. Start with gratitude.

With love,


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