4 Shvat, 5777
My self-help coaching and journalistic efforts focus on coping with setbacks. Here's a look at some of my recent writings (you may leave comments under each article at the e-counseling site): Dealing with Depression in Chat Rooms, Getting Relationship Advice on the Internet and Why Millions have Moved Over to Online Therapy.
Continuing the topic of facing setbacks and keeping life in perspective, here's another excerpt from The Formula for Joy book by Sheldon Rice, as promised:
"... A Formula for Joy is a given now. I no longer binge and starve, count calories or worry about vitamins and minerals. My only interest is to create balance in my food patterns and lifestyle, a habit I have adopted as second nature by now.
Mentally, I have undergone extensive improvement in my ability to concentrate, organize my thoughts, create order and recall facts. I can handle many problems simultaneously without confusion. Unexpected problems are met with comfort and composure.
The most dramatic emotional change was the improvement in my self-confidence. I procrastinate less in making decisions and don’t look back. I have become a better listener, more sympathetic and compassionate toward others. I experience joy and peace of mind that I had never known, a result of physical stability.
Most importantly, I developed a spiritual connection to God in reflecting on the accidents that I survived, the gift of macrobiotics, my wonderful family and restored health. All the amazing events in my life suddenly fit together as I reflected and understood their true meaning. I had developed faith in a universal order that enabled me to understand that everything is for the best. I forgive everyone in my life who had ever caused me pain and affirmed that those experiences were products of my own thoughts and actions. All is well in my world.
Penniless at Disney World–Almost
When we moved to the US in 1980 we wanted to compensate the disruption in our kids’ lives with a visit to Disney World in Florida. It took a leap of faith to fulfill this promise as I hadn’t yet found a job, and we expected the trip to be quite expensive. Lacking a credit record or a job, we had to rely entirely on cash for all our expenses. After we bought twoday family passes to Disney World I gave our money to Dalia for safe keeping.
The heat was oppressive with high humidity that left us limp and gasping for air from the moment we stepped out of the car. The kids were cranky a good part of the time and our patience quickly wore thin. When Dalia reached for her purse that evening we stared at each other in wide eyed shock when she discovered her wallet was missing with all our cash. We were dumbfounded. The wallet had evidently slipped out of her open purse when she went to the ladies room and placed her handbag on the floor of the toilet stall.
I insisted that we go back and enjoy ourselves the next day since we still had our two-day passes. At the park entrance Dalia called the lost and found. Incredibly, the wallet was there! Inside was a note which read, “I have your money. Please call to identify yourself.” Miraculously, a lovely Puerto Rican family had found the wallet and subsequently returned every dollar to us. Their honesty allowed us to complete our holiday and my faith in humanity was restored.
Mugged in Queens
As a Shaklee distributor I spent many evenings at the homes of clients and downline distributors. One clear, cold February night I left one of my distributor’s homes in Queens for the 45 minute drive back to Larchmont, NY, where we lived. As I unlocked my car door I heard another car screech to a stop next to me. Four wild looking young men burst out and quickly surrounded me. One grabbed my shirt and pulled me face-to-face with him. He Page 14 of 29 A Formula for Joy flung my eyeglasses to the ground while his friend took my car keys. I was stunned, realizing I was in big trouble. A frenzied youth who appeared to be drug deprived, like his other friends, shoved me face down into the back seat and searched my back pockets for a wallet, while his friend drove us to a side street. My assailant held a long knife under my ear, close enough for me to feel its cold steel. Frustrated, he slashed my down jacket in a panic till feathers flew in all directions, covering everything. The driver pointed a pistol at my head and screamed incoherent four letter obscenities to his friend holding the knife. They began a shouting match whether to cut me up or blow my brains out. I tried to imagine a knife entering my back, wondering how the blade might feel passing through my flesh. I couldn’t visualize a bullet entering my body and speeding out the other side. I blurted out that my wallet was in my front pocket and raised myself up enough for them to have access to it.
Miraculously I had about two hundred dollars in cash, enough to satisfy their needs. They took the wallet, my wedding band and cheap Rolex watch. Leaving the car keys, they shouted for me not to look up until they were gone. I was stunned to be unharmed except for three or four drops of blood where the knife had nicked my ear. A good Samaritan neighbor let me into her house to call the police. She was horrified by the way I looked with feathers flying out of my jacket.
I had two immediate problems: how to drive without glasses and how to cross the toll bridge without money to get home. I couldn’t believe my luck! My glasses were lying unharmed on the ground where they had been thrown, and I had bought bridge tokens that evening on the way to my distributor. I left my coat in the garbage before I entered the house.
The police officer taking my report told me how fortunate I was to have had ample cash. A man he interviewed under similar circumstances had been cut open from groin to his chest for lack of money. Once again I had escaped danger without injury. I wondered why my life had been spared while others have suffered so much.
I worked for the White Plains NY Parking Authority from 1980 to 1990, fortunate to be associated with Roy Flynt, as nice a man as I could have imagined. The mayor of White Plains, on the other hand, was a ruthless individual who I avoided as much as possible.
In the late 1980s the mayor pressed Roy to take early retirement so he could replace him with someone else of his choosing. As Roy resisted this pressure, the mayor behaved so badly toward him in public and private that Roy eventually succumbed and left the Parking Authority.
Shortly thereafter, the mayor called me to inquire about some technical issue. A strong impulse overtook me and I blurted out my unsolicited feelings about his mistreatment of Roy. That was the last conversation I ever had with the Mayor. He summarily fired me, agreeing only to let me complete the few months missing for an early retirement pension.
At first I was shocked to learn that I had been fired, but that feeling quickly changed to euphoria as I realized what a great opportunity this was to return to Israel. I had been planning to leave Dalia and realized that this was my opportunity to return to the place where I truly felt at home and be close to my two soldier daughters there. The Page 15 of 29 A Formula for Joy spontaneous conversation with the mayor was one more example of divine intervention leading me to my higher good..."
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