MM #18 — The Bigger Picture – Rabbi Joseph Potasnik

At times it can seem like we’re deluged with trouble, overwhelmed with worry. It can seem like too much and you may be tempted to just go off and hide in the woods.

It’s then, as Rabbi Joe Potasnik of the New York Board of Rabbis reminds us, that we have to remember to look at the bigger picture. Sure you have a problem right now — maybe you missed the train, or got a lousy performance review, and you’re grumbling as you trudge into work for another eight-hour grind.

Now stop to think how much better your day would be if you don’t focus on the slog, on the temporary blip in your career trajectory. Remember the bigger picture: you have a job. You live in a city with a functioning transit system, or highways that aren’t in disrepair due to years of war.

You’ve got two arms on the ends of those slumping, rounded shoulders. Lift those shoulders up. You have a lot to be thankful for.

Mincha Moment (MIN-chuh, with the “ch” like in “Bach” or “loch”)… Taking Time to Be Grateful refers to a moment in the afternoon — 2:30 pm is what we’ve been using — when you stop whatever you’re doing, look around and acknowledge to yourself, how truly grateful you are. If 2:30 pm doesn’t work for you, no problem. Choose another time, but stick to it. Better yet, keep 2:30 pm and pick an additional moment as well. Unlike specials in the supermarket, decongestants or hot fudge sundaes, there’s no limit to how many mincha moments you can have in a day. But whatever time you decide, when it arrives, stop what you’re doing. Take in everything around you, and recognize how much gratitude you have. It sounds easy, especially if you’re on vacation. Not too difficult to be grateful for spectacular scenery, amazing food, and daily massages. On the other hand, if instead of vacation, you’re in a boring meeting at work or waiting two hours at the DMV, you might find it quite a bit harder. Yet if you take a minute, you’ll find there’s a lot you’re thankful for. Maybe it’s some of your colleagues at the office, who make working on assignments interesting and help to get your creative juices flowing. Maybe it’s your strong legs that allow you to stand online. Or maybe, when all is said and done, life is just pretty damn good–especially if you have a fresh pound of chocolate malted milk balls in the drawer.

Debra Gonsher Vinik and David Vinik are partners in Diva Communications, Inc, a video programming and production company in NYC. Through an interfaith kaleidoscope, they create, write, film and edit documentaries on social justice issues.

Years ago, Debra and David set their watches (now it is their cell phones) to go off every day at 2:30 pm. In addition to giving them an opportunity to reflect on all they have, Debra and David love knowing that at 2:30 pm, wherever they are, they are united, no matter the distance, in joint reflection.


1   Comment

  1. Very Nice. When am I going to meet the Rabbi?


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