The desert is not unsightly desolation as many people think. Its vastness and its many unique features, especially in winter, bring out an indescribable beauty. When we're alone - like a desert - we too can flower, as we learn in today's podcast from McDowell State Park in Arizona:
Shavua Tov and warmest regards from Houston, Texas. G-d willing, we'll be boarding a plane to my beloved home in the Land of Israel later today (Sunday) and arriving on Monday, hopefully in time to vote in the elections. I urge everyone in Israel to get out and vote.
Life in this world is like crossing a dangerous desert, but anyone who sticks to the path avoids the many perils that are as soon as someone veers from the path, as we learn in today's lesson, which was filmed in the desert of Arizona on the trail to McDowell Peak:
Today's podcast was difficult and a very emotional one to record. Our own personal story that you'll hear here has a happy ending, but many similar ones don't. How many healthy and beautiful children are killed each year because of mistaken diagnoses and recommendations - even orders - to expecting parents to abort? If today's message saves even one life, it's worth everything. Listen to this and pass it on, for by doing so, you can be our partner in saving lives, for this is no greater mitzva:
Click here for your free mp3 download of today's podcast.
A vital element in emotional wellness is doing what you want and what you believe is right. Anytime you bend to social pressure, and therefore bend your personal principles, you're sewing the seeds of bitterness. Don't go there. Don't run with the herd; do what your heart knows is right. It's not easy but it sure is conducive to a healthy body, mind and soul.
So how do you learn to buck social pressure, do what you want and not what others want from you? Learn to do what most people hate doing - be alone with yourself.
You can't be alone with yourself if you're not at peace with yourself. We attain that peace by taking a daily timeout, going somewhere where we can be tranquil and collect our thoughts, and honestly assess ourselves. When we take daily stock in ourselves, we review what we did during the past 24 hours while thinking of what we need to improve and what we need to reinforce. If we invite the Almighty to be with us and guide us, then we'll have a daily emotional reboot that is priceless. When you get used to such a daily session, you can't live without it.
In the meanwhile, if someone asks you to do something, apply this checklist of questions:
- Do I want to do this?
- Does this make me happy?
- Is this a good deed that will gratify Hashem?
- Will this make me a better person?
If you can answer "yes" to all four of the above, go forward! If the answer is "no" to all four, avoid doing you're being asked to do. If your answer is a combination of yeses and nos, ask Hashem to guide you on the right path. When you ask for help, He'll be glad to give it to you. Blessings always, LB