The 77% Weekly Newsletter
SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.
Annoyance on my back
Often after school, Emmett comes downstairs to my home-office and sits on the back of my chair. He climbs up and wedges himself between my back and the back of the chair. This forces me to the front of the chair. It is not very comfortable. He is eleven and physically too big for this.
However, most days, I swell with joy that my son still wants to be close to me. He wants to be near me, to touch me. I love it.
But there are days, and then there are days.
There are days when I loathe the sight of him coming into my office and I sniffle myself from barking shaming words to him about personal space and manners.
He is doing the same thing; nothing is different!
The only difference is what’s between my ears and what I am making sense of in the world.
The only thing that’s different is my perspective.
If I am in a fine-to-good mood, I will let him be on my back.
But if I am not in a fine-to-good mood, I want to lash out at him when he assaults my personal space.
This brings us back to this quote – a favorite of all time – attributed to Irving Becker:
“If you dislike someone, the way they hold their spoon will offend you. But if you like them, they could drop a plate of food in your lap and you wouldn’t mind.”
If I like you, and if I’m in a good mood, it’s all gravy.
But if I’m not in a good mood or I’ve decided I don’t like you, you will upset me.
We have (some) control over how we perceive the world.
Think about this with regard to the anger you feel in your own life.
I often teach this to couples getting married.
I ask them to list two irksome or irritating things their partner does.
Common examples include:
- leaving milk on the counter
- not capping the toothpaste tube
- giving unwanted driving advice
We talk about the power of perspective and how any of these things, when they are in a good mood, might even be endearing.
Wisdom is knowing the difference between what we can and cannot change.
And, while we can ask our children and partners to change, it’s much more effective for us to change what we can – our patience, compassion, and love.
The more patience, compassion, and love I have in my life, the more easily I roll with the proverbial monkeys on my back.
I’m not saying that we should be always able to make a molehill out of a mountain. Sometimes we can’t. Everything’s not always fine. I’m saying that we have the power within us to get annoyed less often.
Top Selling Products
### Sue & Brian Are So Cool Silence hung in the air for a moment after Todd spoke. Almost haphazardly, softly, mainly to myself, I reiterated his last words: “Sue and Brian brought over their own vegetables.” The phrase fell out of my mouth as I moved a few dishes...read more
I’m having a hard time these days. In some ways, of course, I shouldn’t be. I shouldn’t be having a hard time. Or maybe it shouldn’t appear that I’m having a hard time. My bride and children are healthy. We have some money in the bank. I have a beautiful home, in a...read more
Rabbi Brian on Mourning What follows is a collection of the advice that I often give to people when they are facing a loss. These are my “go-to’s.” Take what you like and leave the rest. I hope you find comfort. -rB Permission There is no one...read more
At 9:15pm, I exited the bathroom into the hallway between my kids’ rooms. After hearing myself thinking two thoughts, I knew something was seriously wrong. At about 9:00, fifteen minutes earlier, Jane and I had put each kid to bed, read to them, kissed each one...read more
What's in a name? I loved the title WISDOM BISCUIT. It fit what I was thought I was doing... giving people something: good for you tasty satisfying Jane never liked the name. She was right. It's cute and ditracts from the importance of the message. So, I'm retiring...read more
Soul Recently a neighbor came up to me and said,: "A Jewish friend told me Judaism doesn’t believe in a soul and that when you are dead you are dead. Can you help?" I thought I would share my answer. The first 3/4 of this article is a bit academic. The last...read more
Humanity Our world seems mad, frightening. Out of alignment. Brexit, windmill cancer, Mueller, global warming, and more. I get really scared. I'm sure you do too. You'd have to be especially disconnected to not feel the...read more
My son walked me face first into a telephone pole. I have thought about it and concluded that it was my fault. He didn't think I would get hurt. Neither did I. *In brief* I walked, face-first, fast and hard, into a telephone pole. Even though...read more
Lao Tzu said, “Stop thinking, and end your problems.” What? Are you freaking kidding me, Lao Tzu? Stop thinking! Ha! You’re kidding, right? No? You’re not? https://rotb.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Stop-Thinking-Rabbi-Brian.png *Considering it* ...read more