I am the man!

August 11, 2016

  08/11/16 00:00, by , Categories: Personal , Tags: Choice, Family, Team, love, relationships

As of today, we have been living in Bet Rimon for 12 years.

Yesterday, the anniversary of our flight, I took the opportunity to acknowledge Sharleen for who she is for us, for people, and for mankind, for her stand for Israel, for her stand for her friends and family, for her commitment to raising thoughtful, kind, generous, smart, engaged children, for her love, for her smile, for the grace and ease with which she does so many tasks I am sure she is tired of.

And Sharleen got to share with me some of the lives she's touched this week. We are clear that we made a profound and lasting difference in the relationships people have and the lives they lead.

I also got to call most of my team for the Landmark Forum, and acknowledged them as well. Along the way, I called my friend Ido - I needed a phone number - and got to be his friend and remind him to be mine.

This week I got to see how much I still live inside my narrative that I don't belong, and how incredibly attached I am to it, and I begin to see how much it costs, and I got to call my friend Ido, and let other people know I am there for them.

I also see how much I don't want to ask. I noticed it this morning coming back from synagogue. I want to be nice, I don't want to bother people, and I made my team small as a result. They came to assist to make a difference. For instance, after asking them to clean out the bathrooms for the umpteenth time, I just didn't want to ask them to take out the garbage (I so don't like doing it, I just couldn't ask someone else to), but I knew it was something we should do. Two of my girls just stepped up spontaneously and offfered to do it, and they did it with such joy, I was just blown away. First, they just noticed and took it on. Second, my reason for not asking was just bullshit.

Hevi, another member of my team, shared with me a practice of hers. She gets up every morning, looks in the mirror, and declares a possibility. I didn't have a mirror handy, but I declared that I am the Possibility of Joy. And I got to synagogue late/early - I messed up the time - and I lost it.

A big part of the Forum is choosing, and the point is you can't change a damned thing until you choose what is so. So I have it that I should choose Bet Rimon and Israel, but as soon as the should enters, it's not a choice. And what's there for me is just how much I hate it, how much I don't feel like this portion of my life in any way uses the best of me, how I feel twelve yearso of my life have been mostly wasted, and I'm only condemning myself to more.

I came to the Forum to because I want to see what's between me and being successful. What I pretend is that if I make enough money/put enough in the bank, I will somehow know I am successful and be in a position where I can make a difference. What's so is that I don't believe it, probably more that I know that no matter how much I make, unless I can get my father to be joyful, to give up some of his anger and frustration, I'll never feel like I've done a damned thing in this world. And I think maybe that if I make some money maybe he'll respect me, and I don't believe he ever will, so what's the use. And maybe I just have no respect for myself, which is a real pity, because everyone else seems to think I'm great. So I be good, because I don't really know how to be anything else, but I'll never be happy. And how can someone who can't be happy be the Possibility of Joy? Or help anyone else to be great and happy in his own life. But somehow I do do that, but it's always a fluke, and it's never enough, and everything about me, and my life, is somehow wrong. And all I want to do is escape, but there's no where to escape to.

And I have all these beautiful people around me, who somehow have to depend on me, and there's really nothing I can do; so I range somewhere between trying to be useful, and wishing I were dead.

And I get to give that up again, and again, and again. And I'm exhausted, because somehow I never really do.

So I guess what I have to acknowledge is that I am afraid I am just screwed up, and inside of that fear, I've created all sorts of rackets (we define this as a fixed way of being coupled with a complaint) and strong suits (ways we have of winning) to somehow prove to myself I'm not. Included are:

  • I have to be right.
  • I have to say the right thing.
  • I have to protect myself.
  • I have to not appear stupid.
  • I'm different.
  • I don't belong.
  • I'm smarter than you are.
  • I know better.
  • I'm complicated.
  • People suck.
  • People don't really care.
  • I'm smart.
  • Things shouldn't be the way they are.

And what I get out of this work is that that these conversations don't need to run me. In fact they suck the fun right out of life. And I don't need to let them runn me, and I can create something else.

So the Possibility I am inventing for myself and my life is the Possibility of Being Bold and Free.

And I'm scared I don't know how to be that, or that it's just another thing I'll fail it, and I get to give that up too.

And I don't know if this leaves you in a powerful place or not. I just share it because I'm not doing to great a job keeping it bottled up.

And I choose that “I will live my life out of the principle I make a difference!” and I choose “to make [that] our love for each other what [my life is] really about.”

And I don't know where that leaves me either, which is good because I can let you and the universe help me figure it out.

Permission to Be

  06/20/16 11:12, by , Categories: Personal, Personal , Tags: Landmark Forum, transformation

or “Why I am a Landmark Junkie ”

Landmark Worldwide is a company committed to reliably delivering that which makes a real difference in people's lives. It accomplishes this through its transformational courses, the foundation of which is the Landmark Forum.

Landmark has been big part of my life, and especially of the things that work in my life for more than 21 years. Most anyone who spends more than a token amount of time with me will hear me talk about the Landmark Forum. So I thought I'd explain a little bit about why. Now I can point you here instead of trying to come up with it over and over again.

The main reason: I'm with the same woman, Sharleen, twenty years on, and Landmark has given us the ability to play with each other, to laugh with—and at—each other, to not take ourselves too seriously, and to see how damned big we are in the world.

We have four amazing kids, and who we are with and for them comes from what we have learned at Landmark. From Landmark, we have taken on practices of acknowledging our children, and learned to listen for what is truly imporant.

I get to be with myself. Twenty one years in, and I am still noticing where the little voice in my head (others might call them internal dialogues or hidden scripts) are keeping me from creating the world I want. And when I notice them, I can deny them their power.

For instance, less than two weeks ago, I noticed I've got one about how “I've got to do it alone. ” Noticing it let me give it up. For the first time, I created a team around a goal in my life I've been pursuing for 20 years. Also out of that, I met with someone about forming a pretty neat partnership. These would not have happened without this work.

For the new year, I created the possibility of being Active, Present, and Alive. By the end of January, I'd been to Germany and visited with my cancer-stricken Aunt and Uncle (he's now dead), five first cousins, and five more of their family, most of whom I hadn't seen this millenium.

I get to forgive myself. This one is the hardest for me. I often feel that—except for my family—my past is a sea of mistakes, lost chances and missed opportunities.

From Landmark, I see that my playing the victim of this past robs me of my future. It's a place I easily go, but I have the tools, and the partners, to notice this sick game. When I do that, I can actually create bold new futures.

I can lean into my fear. The first thing that I notice when I create a new future is the gap between where I am and that which I am inventing. The next thing I want to do is throw my hands up and walk away.

But I get that's only the little voice in my head, the child who was embarrassed, who failed, who wasn't enough, trying to keep me safe.

And I notice I am 47 and I don't need the conversations of my naive and scared younger to run my life today. I can say “I am scared, ” and act anyway.

In short, I can give myself Permission to Be the great person that I always suspected was inside there somewhere, but was too afraid to let out. He's actually far more powerful than I ever imagined.

So I share because I think a world of empowered, present people, people who are up to big things, people who lean into their fear, people who are willing to create the world they want to see, to borrow a phrase “to be the change they'd like to see in the world ” (M. Ghandi), would be a great world to live in.

I share because I know anyone who wants to be this has it available to him.

It's worth it. That's all. If you see yourself in this, and can find a way to afford it, it's a gift you really should give yourself.

All My Best,

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April Check Up

  04/08/15 14:51, by , Categories: Personal, Personal

I answered a few questions for my alumni magazine about what I am up to; so I thought I might as well share here as well. I hope you are all enjoying your 2015.

I'm now in two lines of work. One, I am personal coach; I help people achieve their dreams. And I am most jazzed about working with fathers who are committed to raising awesome human beings, starting obviously with children who are confident, secure, happy and proud.

I also love working with high-profile individuals to honor the multiple domains in their lives with grace and ease while playing at the top of their game.

Two, I help people and businesses design their websites and manage their on-line presences to drive the business they built their website to serve.

I now have three teenagers with the fourth not far behind. We've done a great job with them and they do us proud.

I have put my name in for the 2016 presidential race, but could use some help getting the word out. You can visit the Campaign Website or facebook page. Once we crank this up to ten million followers - targeted for the end of 2015 - we should have a profound impact on the direction of political discussion in this country (in other words towards the center and a search for what binds us and brings us forward as one great society).

I am looking to add a greater accountability for the proper functioning of the institutions that shape our society, whether it's working with public officials, consulting for governments or their agencies or subunits (I am particularly interested in school systems and police departments at the moment), or taking on a role with direct authority.

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The Humanitarian Crisis in the Middle East

  08/05/14 09:18, by , Categories: Activism, Activism

The source of the “crisis“ in Gaza is finally becoming clearer to the West. This source - the jihadi mission to establish a world caliphate - is currently on view in Hamas' struggle to exterminate the Jew, this on the way to subjugating the rest of the world in the name of Islam.

But this is only a symptom of a larger crisis. Put simply, this crisis is the Western abandonment (if it ever really possessed them) of humanitarian values in favor of empty forms and farcical bodies, bodies which assume the mantle of humanitarian concern only when it fits a particular agenda.

Just a few days ago, the United States Senate passed Senate Resolution 526. In it, the Senate:

Laments all loss of innocent civilian life.

Condemns the United Nations (U.N.) Human Rights Council's July 23, 2014 resolution calling for: (1) an investigation of Israel while not mentioning Hamas's continued assault against Israel, and (2) an investigation into potential human rights violations by Israel in the current Gaza conflict without mentioning Hamas's assault against innocent civilians and its use of civilian shields.

Supports Israel's right to defend itself against Hamas's rocket assault and destroy Hamas's tunnel system into Israel's territory.

Condemns Hamas's terrorist actions and use of civilians as human shields.

Supports U.S. mediation efforts for a durable cease fire agreement that ends Hamas's rocket assault and leads to Gaza's demilitarization.

Supports additional funding to replenish Israel's Iron Dome missiles and enhance Israel's defensive capabilities.

I wonder at the depth of this lamentation as the world has stood aside and watched the fires spread which brought 200 million to early graves in the last century. But more than this, I decry the perceived necessity to declare what should be patently obvious: “We, of the West, think a peace-loving country should be allowed to defend itself.“ To me, this is akin to “We affirm the right of a goalie to wear a cup.”

And where is the humanity in a durable cease-fire if the cease-fire is characterized by Hamas' continued persecution of the population in Gaza. Demilitarization itself will not stop any reign of terror.

What must be understood is that Israel stands at the front of a clash of ideas about civilization. This is difficult for the West to understand because most of us have been raised in a tradition that long ago rejected states based on religion. We have come to accept a live and let live attitude. We also tend to think that others think as we do. In this case, this mixture is the basis of much death and suffering.

We can not see the obvious, that a certain vicious stream of Islam is at war with our Western values. This is a stream that sees world submission to its view of Allah as the only way forward, and is willing to kill and even terrorize and manipulate its own people in order to move this agenda forward.

What we must realize is that we cannot fight this ideological war with conventional weapons alone. Complete military domination is only the backdrop against which a campaign of deprogramming and indoctrination can take place. And we loath such words as we like to think of ourselves as liberals the rightness of whose ideas is self-evident.

But if we want a humanitarian solution, we must replace the dominant Palestinian ideology with one which fosters “an ethic of kindness, benevolence, and sympathy extended universally and impartially to all human beings.“ The program of hate must be eliminated and the Western value of respect and value for human life must be brought to the fore.

This is a tall order, perhaps impossible, but worth the effort. If it succeeds, it could bring with it an Arab spring that proceeds to summer. To accomplish this, Gaza must be occupied completely and for the immediate term, in both a military and civil sense. It must be placed in the hands of a strong, ethical governor. He and his staff must scrub Gaza of every hint of militarism and hate. Streets named after “martyrs“ must be renamed, textbooks fostering lies and hate must be destroyed, sermons demonizing the other disallowed, loudspeakers on mosques dismantled, and choice and freedom (except perhaps to spout and pursue evil) guaranteed.

Unfortunately, the United Nations is unequal to this task. It must be undertaken by the strong and the righteous. It is best done by a Jew, the display of whose strong hand just might influence Hamas. It is a difficult task, but possible. It is the path by which General MacArthur gave us modern day Japan. It is the path - perhaps the only path - that can give us a second liberal democratic state in the Middle East, and a true model for representative government throughout the region.

Filth and Loathing

  06/08/14 06:07, by , Categories: General

This comment has been brewing since we read Parashat Kedoshim, particularly the lines at Leviticus 19:17, “You shall not hate your brother in your heart; you shall reprove your fellow and you shall not bear a sin because of him.” It was restated by William Blake thus:

A Poison Tree

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine.
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

William Blake

So I asked a Rabbi, “What then if I did share it and the response was ‘Meh’?” It got me thinking. I'm a lawyer; I do that. Perhaps my problem here is the premise. Am I mistakenly thinking of the Jews with whom I share a community as my brother or my fellow, or is it just that I have not communicated effectively?

I have this notion stuck in my head that if we believe that the land we live on is holy, we should share a commitment to having it appear so. As the chosen people, we “should” do a lot of things - not steal, be nice to each other on the roads, basically just give a damn about each other - but the thing that gets my goat, and has since I landed here, is the filth. I have written blog post after post after post after post and even shared a web page on the topic, but I suppose a lot of that energy just vanished into the ether.

So I write again because a Rabbi suggested that if we do not reprove, we allow ourselves to hate, and that is a sin, because everything can supposedly be resolved through communication, and because I don't particularly harbor much love for my “brother” at the moment, and perhaps in sharing with him my sensitivity, I can allow my “wrath to end."

So here it is. It drives me to distraction when I see dozens of people walk over the same piece of garbage to enter the synagogue without taking the moment to pick it up, when the event has passed and the sign for it, and especially the tape used to hold it up, continue to stain the windows and walls, when the flowers and flags put up in celebration stay up until they are wilted and tattered, when the secretary of the Yishuv steps out waiting for a guest in front of the building and does nothing to pick up the garbage on the lawn, when parents sit in a playground and don't make it a nice place to play, when the place I have cleaned today has the wrappers of candies and ices and plastic bags and coffee cups and what not tomorrow, when someone's kid puts the household garbage on a pile of construction waste, the animals come to tear it up, and no resident of the community does anything to clean it up, when the wrappers from the candies thrown at the last happy occasion litter the ground outside the synagogue and I feel like I am the only one to pick up after, when a cleaned dining hall means that there is a stream of waste outside of it, or when the bonfire is over, but the fuel that was not burnt stays to litter the fire sites for months.

So I renew my request. Be my partner. Pick a spot to keep clean, or just make a commitment to picking up a few pieces of trash every time you are on your way. Train your kids to do the same. It's not somebody else's job, and even if it were, it would be the right thing to pitch in, here, and in school, and in life. Perhaps we should give it an even bigger context. If we go back to Leviticus 19:14, it is said that we should put no stumbling block before the blind. For those who might not be inclined to see the beauty that you see, any distraction is that stumbling block. If we really want people to see the beauty that we see in the world, we should make sure there is nothing that might take the eye away from that.


The thoughts of Mr. Herz that make it into the ether.


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