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Let me re-cap the newsletter in 2019 thus far.
Issue 02/40 – Spiritual Tool: Acceptance. My stolen computer set the backdrop for learning about the twin practices of being in the present and of acceptance.
Issue 1/40 – Help. It’s What The Strong Ask For. Dave playing a video game a bit compulsively teaches about the importance of being childlike and asking for help.
This article, issue 3/40 – Is this really who you want to be in this world? – tells a story about Emmett asking this wonderful question.
Last Summer: Emmett and the Bully
This past summer, I was able to take my family for two weeks to the Chautauqua Institution – a cultural art center outside of Jamestown, New York. My bride, Jane, grew up attending and our children will return with us this summer for their fourth year.
Every evening in the 4,000+ seat amphitheater, the family is treated to a symphony, ballet, concert, or recital. Every day Jane and I attend services, classes, and lectures while the kids attend the longest running boys and girls club in America. “Club” does a morning and afternoon session, with a break for lunch, which the children do with their families.
One day when I am in the process of setting out the necessary fixings for a sandwich buffet, Emmett bounds into our small kitchenette. A few moments later Annie arrives to the basement of the Baptist House (where we are always made to feel like family).
“Great news!” he sings, “There was a bully.”
“There was a bully. It was great! I got to practice all those things that I’ve been learning how to do in deal with bullies. I got to do them. It was wonderful!”
He tells us a story about how a bully started to pick on him for somehow not fitting in. Emmett says he looked at the bully and said, “Is this really who you want to be in this world?”
“Is this really who you want to be in this world?”
Emmett deflated the bully and gave them the chance to be better.
I could end the article right here on this note that we can all seek to live towards something better, something aspirational.
We can choose to perfect ourselves and this world.
You can stop reading.
I think you’ve gotten the point.
Or you can keep reading.
You can do what you set your mind to.
And that’s the point. Right?
You can strive to be your best self. You can set an intention and live towards that goal – practicing being kind, patient, forgiving, loving.
You can choose.
- Do you want to be known as a good neighbor?
- Do you want to be known for being loving?
- Do you want to be known as somebody who complains?
If you want be a good neighbor, when you walk around the neighborhood pick up the trash.
If you want to be known for being loving, send a handwritten note to just tell someone you are thinking about them. (Or send a text message or an email.)
If you want to be known for being so smart that they can find fault with anything, complain a lot.
#Let me help
Let’s say, you want to write a short note to a loved one, but feel a little awkward about why you are doing it? Blame me!
Adapt these words for your use:
I’m doing a Rabbi Brian spiritual-fitness module. In answer to the question, “Is this really who you want to be in this world?,” I’ve decided that I want to be the type of person who writes notes of appreciation. And, that’s what I want to tell you: I appreciate you, <insert name here>
Is this who you want to be in the world?
Pick. Choose. Practice being that person.
HELLO, JEWS My four-year incarnation as a rabbi in the form most people would recognize began in 1997. I stood in front of 750-plus people to lead High Holy Day services at Temple Judea in Tarzana, California. This wealthy suburb of 40,000 named for the estate of...