Many years ago, I attended a seminar where I first heard the phrase, “Garbage In, Garbage Out” – GIGO (pronounced GEE IY GEE OH). The presenter shared his views with us. For example, if you are getting exposed to negative information all the time, you express yourself in a negative way. It was Earl Nightingale who coined the phrase, “We become what we think about most of the time.” And then there is also the phrase, “We are what we eat.” The last phrase came to mind after a phone call I received today from a friend. He had some issues with his health and after seeing a doctor; he was told that the arteries in his heart are clogged. I did some research about cardiovascular diseases online, and learned that coronary artery diseases are one of the major causes of death. Not surprisingly, the negative news from the doctor (an authority) made him feel even worse. Hearing him, I suggested that from the books I read lately, there might be a relatively simple solution to his condition that does not require medication. (At the same time, I recommended to keep taking whatever the doctor prescribed until he will not need it anymore.) The solution is in the food we eat, and the lifestyle we choose. I told my friend that I will share the names of those books with him. And then I thought that you might want to know about those sources of wellness as well, and do not want to wait until I finish writing my book, “Retirement Solutions for Smart People. 5 Easy Ways to Enjoy Your Golden Age.”
Most of the members of my family, including myself, stopped eating meat forty-three years ago. Shortly after moving to San Francisco in 1980, we met a nutritionist who suggested that we should add fish to our diet. Thus, we became pescatarians. Some people ask me if I miss meat or feel the difference. The answer is “no” to both of those questions, since I feel good most of the time. But I also do not drink coffee or any alcohol and limit my intake of bread and sugar. After I read “The Plant Paradox” written by Dr. Steven Gundry (and shared it with my wife and our daughter), we decided to follow “Dr. Gundry’s Diet Evolution. Turn off the genes that are killing you and your waistline”, which offers recipes. Since Dr. Steven Gundry was a renowned cardiac surgeon and arrived originally to what he calls “The Plant Paradox” through his personal experience, I believe he knows what he suggests to his patients.
There are other books I can recommend, including “How not to Die” by Michael Greger M.D. written together with Gene Stone with the subtitle “Discover the Foods. Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease”. There is also a recipe book with the same name. On public television, you may have seen a presentation by Neal D. Barnard MD, who has written “Power Foods for the Brain. An effective 3-step plan to protect your mind and strengthen your memory.” Then there are books written on the subject of healthy eating by Dean Ornish MD, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Andrew Weil, MD and others. The main message in my forthcoming book is that you need to develop a mindset for healthy living, otherwise you will easily go back to your old habits and no book will help you. My determination of GIGO is “Goodness In Goodness Out”.
We are blessed to have many farmers markets, which offer a huge range of fresh foods and vegetables. These four images attest to that.
Enjoy and Share with a Friend.
I would like to revisit the topic of our trip to Israel towards the end of 2018. After spending a week in Tel Aviv, we drove to the “City of Kabbalah”. Certain celebrities like Madonna brought the Jewish mystical tradition of Kabbalah to popularity in the 1990’s. But she was not alone. In addition to Britney Spears, Mick Jagger, Paris Hilton and Demi Moore, there are many business people who turn to Kabbalah for guidance and advice in pursuit of profit, while doing good. Actually those celebrities follow a modern, weathered down version of the ancient Jewish tradition of the mystical interpretation of the Bible. It reached the height of its influence in the later Middle Ages (you can find a lot of information about the Kabbalah online).
The reason I bring it up is because on our trip, we stayed in Tzfat – or Safed in English, for one night. Thanks to Madonna and her Hollywood friends, it became known as “The City of Kabbalah.” Actually, according to the tradition, the study of the Kabbalah originated about two thousand years ago during the Roman occupation of the Land of Israel, to which they gave the name Palestine in the attempt erase a Jewish presence here. After the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, many scholars moved back to Israel and settled in Tzfat. Among them was Rabbi Isaac Luria, or the Ari. Though he lived and taught there for a relatively short time, his teachings formed what is known today as Lurianic Kabbalah. Though Tzfat was mentioned in the writings of the Roman-Jewish historian Josephus, it became better known after the Crusaders captured it in 1099 and stayed there for about 200 years. After them came the Mamelukes (slave soldiers who converted to Islam), who ruled Egypt and Syria from 1250 until 1517, when their dynasty was extinguished by the Ottomans (the Turkish Empire), who in turn were replaced by the British Empire 101 years ago. Through all those years, the Jews managed to stay there and today with a population of about 35,000, Tzfat is one of Four Holy Cities (the other three are Jerusalem, Hebron and Tiberius). Besides being the center of Kabbalah, it is also known for its artistic colony, where we have always found unique works of art.
The word Kabbalah comes from Hebrew “lekabel”, which means to receive. My personal interest for the Kabbalah (some spell it Cabbalah or even Qabbalah) started many years ago. In my personal library I have tens of books, which reference the subject of the Jewish mysticism. The latest book, which I just borrowed from the public library, is titled “Jewish Magic before the Rise of Kabbalah”, written by the world-renowned historian Yual Harari. After reading all of those books, I’ve concluded that it can take a life-long study just to realize how little we actually know or understand of what the Kabbalah really means.
P.S. Today Tzfat is a diverse city with a growing population where ultra-orthodox Jews live side by side with the artists. These four images convey the diversity.
Enjoy and Share.
A few weeks ago, San Francisco former Mayor and currently San Francisco Chronicle columnist Willie Brown wrote in his column that when he checked which government organizations were closed as a result of the partial shutdown, he could not find one. The reason was probably that he does not have a dog and even if he had one, he did not take him for a walk to Fort Funston. When we arrived there on January 1st, we came upon a very long line of cars parked along the freeway. At first I was surprised, thinking that the parking lot was full. What turned out, the park was closed. Fortunately for us, someone pulled out and I was able to squeeze in my car. We have been going there for many years, even when we didn’t have dogs. It is one of the parks where dogs can be off the leash, and Max loves it, and the park is a beautiful spot overlooking the ocean in San Francisco.
You can walk on the paved road or down at the beach (if you do not mind the steep stairs). It is also a favorite spot for hand gliders, and a great place to not only photograph dogs, though I have one image from there in my book, “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers”. Close to the parking lot there is a path to the observation deck, and I noticed a sign describing the park’s history there. Online I found out that in 1901, scarcely any living American was unfamiliar with who Frederick Funston was. In 1906, he did much to keep law and order in San Francisco and to provide relief to sufferers of the great earthquake. Mr. Funston, who was born in 1865 in New Carlisle, OH and died in 1917 in San Antonio, TX, was a Major General in the United States Army. He was nicknamed Fighting Fred Funston, and fought in the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War. He received the Medal of Honor and was buried in the San Francisco National Cemetery.
Now you know, but why should you care? This can be said about anyone or anything. Why should we care about issues which led to closing the park and the money the U.S. Government spent in the past on building the Fort to protect our country during the two World Wars? Dogs do not care. Why should they? Somehow they know that we, the human being, just pick up their poop. And as soon as other humans will resolve their political issues, the park will be open again and will be cleaned.
P.S. These four images I wanted to share with you are my take of the park. The only dog I included is a photo of Max, since this image is a reminder of the cover of my book
“42 Encounters with Dog Lovers”, which you can buy on Amazon.com and Encounterspublishing.com.
Please do not forget to enjoy and share it with a friend.
A few weeks ago I wrote about one of the reasons that my wife Elfa and I have enjoyed our lives together for over fifty years was thanks to an expression of mutual gratitude. As I pointed out a week ago, the development of any habit takes time and repetition. Therefore, I practice having the habit of an attitude of gratitude every day. Every morning after I just wake up, I recite the Jewish traditional prayer: Modeh (Modah for women), “I give thanks before you, King living and eternal, for you have returned within me my soul with compassion; abundant is your faithfulness.” This small act sets the tone for me for the rest of the day. After all, there are so many people and things in my life that I am grateful for.
Dr. Deepak Chopra pointed out that “Gratitude opens the door to… the power, the wisdom, thecreativityof the universe.” I found this quote in the book “Mind. A Scientific Guide to Who You Are, How You Got That Way, and How to Make the Most of It” by Patricia Daniels published by the National Geographic. In the book, there is a chapter called “Gratitude”, which starts, “When you have a responsive and understanding partner, you almost certainly feel grateful. The emotion of gratitude is another powerful factor in building the bonds between two people. Even outside of a close relationship, gratitude can reinforce positive action within a group and help a troubled person find strength in adversity. From a practical standpoint, gratitude is simply useful. It’s a benefit detector. You’re grateful when you get a gift, or receive some sort of benefit that you can link to a specific giver. Gratitude intensifies if you believe the gift was costly to the giver (whether in money, time, or effort); if the gift was personally valuable and well chosen… A spontaneous, out-of-the-blue present can be the best gift of all. In each case, we’re grateful not so much for the gift or benefit, but because the act of giving shows that peopleare thinking about us, that they care about us, and that the world is not such a bad place.”
On January 2nd before going to the office, I stopped at CVS and bought a number of notebooks. In one, I am going to write my daily reflections and what I am grateful for. The other large notebook with 200 pages is going to be filled with the names of clients whom I plan on helping in 2019. For me, one of the greatest expressions of gratitude is to say “Thank you” to those who entrusted me with their mortgage needs. This is why I give my books as gifts with gratitude to my clients. You can follow my example and buy “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers“. As the article pointed out, “A spontaneous, out-of-the-blue present can be the best gift of all.”
P.S. I want to share with you these four images of the last sunset on the last day of last year, with my gratitude.
Make it a great year, enjoy and share with a friend!