Onion Feet : Because its natural ! 

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Ok, it’s 3:04am EST. What the heck am I doing up blogging at this time ? Has this gone a bit out of control ? Was it the Isaac Miracles facebook live practice session that turned out to be really fun and attract over 1000 views vs all the other posts, videos, songs, ideas & stuff  I’ve tried ? Or how about the onions I slept with on my feet ! Yes, I admit it, I saw a Facebook post about the advantages of sleeping with slices of onions on your feet and I went for it. In reality, it was prompted when my wife served supper which happened to have grilled onions in the meal and bang – the connection was made. I made a mental note and told myself I would do it without much thought.

However, when she rolled over to me at 2:30am and said : “The smell is killing me” I realized there was something a lot deeper at hand. Either that or I have developed a ridiculous new blogging ego which is going out of control ! You see, me and my BIL have been debating this topic about getting some sort of certification or taking an official class in the whole life coach direction in order to really help us for the “School of YOU” and as we discussed it, we keep on revolving around this core issue that says : “But we already know everything we need to know right now and there is a lot we can do help people currently, why do I need some paper / certification telling me that I can do it ? ” vs “The School of YOU are certified blah blah blah…etc….” And I think my whole onion feet experience basically summed it for me.

You see, I don’t know if it’s a myth or not but I did it, I put the dang onions on my feet and they actually feel quite great right now. But that’s not the point, the point is that it’s a natural remedy vs the athletes foot spray that I put on every night before going to bed. That spray never seemed to solve the issue but it feels good in the moment but the problem persists ! And hence, here perhaps is the novelty : We are often looking for solutions outside of ourselves only to realize that we are most successful, driven, motivated when we are “aligned” and not “forced / fabricated” and whether or not those onions will do anything or not at least it was a “natural” solution and not a consumer driven decision like “Duh, if you’re feet itch, buy this!”

Ok, so that’s my onion feet blog post at 3:23am EST now, maybe I took this one too far but there is enough juice in me right now to being doing this and I’m thankful!

Is it cold outside, or is it cold inside?

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Hello Winter! We’re only 11 days into December, and up here in Canada – we’re holding at below freezing temperatures now on a daily basis. This means that early mornings are greeted not only by the noise of the alarm clock, but also by the cold air.

I don’t have a working thermostat in my apartment, nor do I have any control of the central heat in the building. So I have to rely on my internal body thermostat to figure out if  I’m cold. It’s a pretty straightforward and subjective process. A few mornings ago, I woke up and my immediate thoughts sounded like:

“It’s so cold!” “The landlord needs to raise the heat. This is nuts.” “I need to buy another room heater. It’s too cold like this.” “How come the electrician never came to install room heaters in the walls? Someone needs to call him, fast!”

After a few moments of this, I was able to remove myself from my thoughts and began to observe my thinking – like an observer watching from the outside. Then I began to question my own thoughts. I asked myself, “Is the problem that the room is too cold, or is the challenge that I’m too cold?” “Do I need to find a solution to the temperature of the house, or do I need to figure out how to address my feelings – my inner coldness?”

In other words… is the problem with the house, the heating system, the air temperature, the lack of insulation in the walls, the fact that we live in Canada? Is this what I need to address and fix?

Or is it rather that my challenge lies within me – that I’m cold? Do I need to fix the world outside of me, or do I need to fix the world inside me?

As I began to ask myself this question, I quickly decided to face the real challenge here – I am cold. I decided I don’t need to call the landlord or buy another heater. I need to warm up. I committed right then and there to turn my cold, bitter morning into an opportunity to challenge my thinking, and reach for a better me. So I did what any cold person would do – I went into the bathroom and start jumping around and telling myself to warm up – both physically and spiritually.

I envisioned the “the cold” as my new coach, my new source of motivation. I told myself that the cold is going to push me to become a better version of myself.

And then I quickly rephrased all my thoughts that had kicked off my day with complaints about how cold the air was outside of me. I shifted the focus back to me, putting myself in the forefront. Sound self-centered? The opposite is true.

It’s a bit egotistical to think the problem is always outside of me (the house is not insulated, the landlord doesn’t give enough heat, the country I live in is too cold). I’m basically saying, “I’m fine. The rest of you – you got problems.”

But by rephrasing my world in a language where I’m at the forefront – I empower myself to grow, to change, and most importantly to take responsibility for me and my life. This is what I did on that cold morning by thinking in terms like:

“I want to be warm.” “I want to take care of my body and get some more sleep, so I can better self-regulate my body temperature.” “I want to warm up my body with the fire and heat of my soul.”

The truth is that we really can’t control the country we live in (we could move one day, but to orchestrate that may take awhile), the level of heat the landlord supplies, or the temperature outside. When we mistakenly believe that we can change others or the situation at hand, we end up focusing all our energy outside of us – trying to find the culprit or the “responsible party” for whatever inadequacy we’re stuck on at the moment, (like, “How dare it be cold in my house today!), and we end up ignoring the message that is being sent to us.

When we feel uncomfortable, it’s a message from our soul…”Wake up! You’re not doing something you need to!” Or “You’re doing something you should not be doing! Stop!”

The only way I can decode this message though is to readjust my thinking – this requires me to take responsibility, and play the lead role in the story of my life. I can’t defer my challenges to somebody or something else. I must take center stage for my experiences, my thoughts, my feelings, my expectations.

It might sound something like: “I’m cold today. I want to be warm. I can do this. Let’s get to work!”

Focused but Flexible ?

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Lord, save me from the “Costco Sundays” is what I uttered as I pushed the cart with my youngest one facing me and the 2 older ones jumping to and fro as we weaved our way through what I can comfortably call “bumper cars”! Oyyyy….

How did I get in such a state ? Especially since I woke up that morning with such vigor, focus and determination. I had what I like to call the ideal morning: early wake up (4:30am ish), mediation (hitbodedoute), prayer (minyan), study, gym and personal work objectives and actually managed to do the vacuum in the house which is rarity for me (I know, not proud!) But as “I trucked” down my day, my ego progessively grew, and the analysis of a flawless day crept up on me and low and behold was transforming into an irrating feeling with a bit of anger.

Costco happened to be the test of the day which caught me by surprise. Should I have expected differently though ? Nah. You see the thing is, when you pray or study something which expands your consciousness, you need to be prepared to face the exact situation which allows YOU to live or apply that very same knowledge. Or else it would be so easy….Learn and Apply. Right ? Wrong. There is some sort trial period where we let you run with the knowledge.

Therefore, my Costco situation was only to gently or loudly remind me, that I needed a lot more work. It’s comforting to know that in the School of You, you are the teacher and the student but boy it is not fun when you feel you failed your own test!

Although at some cosmic level, as I’m writing this blog, my so-called failed test is someone else’s “review notes”. Until then, OY 🙂

Isaac Miracles

Achieving True Peace of Mind

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When one rests from work on Shabbos –  and because it’s Shabbos, he stops thinking about all his personal affairs – there is no greater pleasure than this.

– The Lubavitcher Rebbe, a synopsis from L.S. Vol 15 

 

Every week on Shabbos, with a bit of effort, we can achieve true peace of mind, and experience a deep spiritual pleasure from this.

Not only on Shabbos, but on a weekday, you can have a taste of this also. It’s called “bringing Shabbos into the weekday.”

Let’s start with Shabbos… Every Shabbos, each of us can attain a level of pure spiritual and mental tranquility. Whether you are the biggest, holiest Tzadik or a simple Jew – we can all attain this.

But there’s a condition – you have your part. (You didn’t think it came for free did you?)

You need to cease working. You need to stop your work and respect Shabbos. Sounds simple right?

Well, the physical part is actually much easier than the psychological element. It’s not enough to simply stop working physically… you need to also stop working mentally.

It’s a quote from the Code of Jewish Law – “In your eyes, it must be as if all your work is completely finished.” You need to not think about your work, your issues, you business, your projects….whatever your weekly pursuits are…you must cease and desist from thinking about them – completely!

There is no greater pleasure than this! This is shabbos.

But how do you do this every day of the week? Check out this video clip for the answer.

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The Goal of all knowledge is not Knowing ! ?
-Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Not a very encouraging quote in the pursuit of knowledge I would say, although it reveals a much deeper concept in our will and desire to learn new ideas and the flexibility required to question what we think we “know”.  If the knowledge we accumulate remains static and non flexible, we are causing ourselves more harm than good.

Follow me “inside” for further insight…

This morning on the way to work, I couldn’t help but notice the massive overpass being torn down as I traveled downtown in the one way lane in Montreal – since we are quite famous for our construction projects. I suddenly imagined a fictitious meeting the construction folks must of had before deciding to tear it all down for a brand new overpass. In the meeting was the “new engineering bright guy” and the “old engineer”. Couldn’t they have foreseen all this before spending the next couple of million dollars on a new project which affect traffic for the next 6 months? Nope, because what they knew back then is certainly what not what they know right now. The environment has changed, the reality is different and poses new issues and problems that didn’t exist before.

As I contemplated this more, it made me think about how we relate to things we apparently know and how flexible we have to be to rip it all down when our reality changes. What you knew five years ago or three weeks ago may not be applicable for your situation right now, are you prepared to tear it all down or resist with your so-called “fixed stationary” knowledge. Are you feeling like the “old engineer” that’s huffing and puffing at the new idea?   Perhaps it would be wiser to constantly be under construction ?