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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Try to be Happy most of the time

"Try to be Happy most of the time."  This was one of the rules the founder of my High School, Judy Cook, established for her students. It was meant to be enacted alongside the next rule on her list, "Take responsibility for your actions and be prepared to deal with the consequences."

Judy did not believe in an all-powerful, omnipotent God who carefully crafts our life path even if we do not understand His reasons. She did not believe in a God that punishes or rewards us proportionally to our behavior. No, Judy believed that each of us made choices in our lives, the consequences of which determined our paths.  According to Judy, the sum of our actions and other people’s actions plus a good dose of raw luck, determines how our lives unfold.

I think about Judy’s dictums often. I too believe that it is in our hands to create our lives. Certainly some of us are dealt a rawer hand then others. We need only look on Facebook to see the bravery of a friend battling cancer to know this true.  But we do have a great deal of power to create the lives we want and we need to own up to that power. To seize that power or not, is our choice.

Many of us look at our lives and are content with what we have created. We have figured out a way to raise families or chosen not to. We have rewarding days and nights engaged with work that nourishes us. But others of us are bristling for change, eager to mold their every days into something different. Many of us are somewhere in between, content with pieces of our lives but wishing  to improve other pieces.

As 2015 gets going, let’s make sure we take the time to both celebrate the parts of our lives that are working well and actively make plans to reconstruct the rest.

For me, Shabbat is my time for checking in and seeing how am I doing. On Shabbat I make sure that  I have time to notice in what ways I am content, and in what ways I am itching for change.

What works and what does not work is different for each of us.

Some revel in the camaraderie of the staff team they have built, enjoying the collaboration and creative energy. Others prefer the autonomy of working alone.

Some of us have mastered the art of personal well being while leading or joining our families or friends on adventures. Others of us feel need for the two to be clearly separated.

Some of us delight in the curriculum being taught in our schools or the theology being preached in our sanctuaries or the schedules we have created. Others are urging for change, desperately seeking solutions to incongruences, overload and overwork.

What do you wish to change? In what are you content?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Shabbat Teaching: The Importance of Being Flexible

Rabbi Jamie Korngold, The Adventure Rabbi

Watch Rabbi Jamie Korngold, the Adventure Rabbi, teach the importance of being flexible, during a Shabbat Service on Skis at Copper Mountain, Colorado- Jan 10, 2015.