Friday, March 28, 2014

MORE: The Sisyphusian Goal

MORE: The Sisyphusian Goal

System = a scheme of ideas or principles by which something is organized
Goal = the object intention of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.

            With a ‘goal’ we seek to be ‘done.’
Done is crossing off that ‘to do’ on the ‘to do’ list. Being done - achieving that objective does give momentary satisfaction- with emphasis on momentary. But finish or attain the ‘to do’/goal #1 and the to do/goal #2  is promoted and the do, do continues unending.
This unending isn’t continuation but rather Sisyphusian. 

            There isn’t a one and done – if anything it’s a never ending one and never done – cascading into an ever increasing Anthony Newley feeling of ‘stop the world, I want to get off’ – or at least get the damn boulder off my shoulders.’
            In personal financial planning, MORE is a Sisyphusian paradigm (which gives no quarters in change). The MORE paradigm – though ‘goal oriented’ (in lip service) is really stock/etf/bond stock jockeying ‘which one (Dodge Cox balanced fund, Fidelity Contrafund or Vanguard this or that stock, bond, investment etc.), what particular kind (stock, bond, etf, index). (The MORE  paradigm stock & bond jockstraps vocalize The Fugue from Guys & Dolls, “I got the stock right here, it’s name is ….@ $70 a share.).
MORE’s supposed goal orientation is based to LACK. Since MORE is rarely defined or MORE is continually redefined out of fear of not having ENOUGH (LACKtose Intolerance), thus there is the never ending need for MORE MORE MORE.) MORE, in and of itself, becomes the goal – not retirement income, income replacement at disability, nor adequate income for heirs etc but MORE for MORE’s sake.  MORE for MORE’s sake is Sisyphusian MOREONic behavior.
            The ENOUGH paradigm, model, process, in contrast, is a system. Analogous to the Judaic Koan (Cohen in Brooklyn) of contracts break – covenants stretch, ENOUGH, may broaden within boundaries, and limitations defined and revisited for refining. And yes, the process – the system of ENOUGH is ongoing – but sans the free floating degree of anxiety of MORE MORE MORE’s LACKtose Intolerance. ENOUGH aligns personal resources relative to the desired payoffs. The ENOUGH system/process is a continuation of intention and payoff as needed.
            For example, personal financial planners may label a goal ‘retirement’ (meaning passive income necessary without working.) Wrong - if the definition stops there as this characterization confuses a means with the end (the intention). The label retirement becomes the end. Retirement may be passive income necessary without working – but its real intention may be ‘to not be beholden, to have FUability, to not be dependent on your ungrateful schnorring sons and daughters.’ (Of course, there may be alternatively positive ends stated as undefined freedom/independence or preferably what the intention would allow to do.)
            The ENOUGH system’s process, rather than being built on the  foundations of LACK and FEAR, predicated on matching assets (financial and otherwise) with desired values & intention regardless of whether they are noble or not.
            The MORE approach (The MOREON paradigm), focused on ‘which one, what kind,’ really is but reaction formation to LACK and FEAR. LACK & FEAR (not a name of a heavy metal rock group) requires MORE to get  ENOUGH which is undefined but is the rationalization for MORE. In contrast, ENOUGH concentrates on intent -  the Mission & Vision - here and hereafter (after life insurance) which in and of itself also confronts the client with:  when One Is Done.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Never Ready & Never Enough

Never Ready & Never Enough

Get ready cause here I come
Temptations ‘Get Ready’

            Daily upon awakening after Shema (Jewish prayer), licks, constitutionals etc, Goodie, Simcha and I ‘ready’ for the new day make our daily rounds: open window shades, turn on the Dish downstairs in the office and to check out everything is ok. (Simcha is like an energetic young Dr. Kildare herding and peppering this aging Dr. Gillespie during these Bet Kelev rounds making sure everything is ‘on,’ done, and or ‘ready.’)

            Really there is no ready (save the Everyready™ Bunny) just as there isn’t ‘THE one , THE answer, THE if only.’
            There is always something regardless of planning and preparation (remember ‘man plans, God laughs.’)
            And if there isn’t ‘something’ – we invent something however tangential of miniscule probability
            And conveniently, there can always be an excuse for not being ‘ready.’
            Not ready is a readily excuse.
            There is no state of readiness.
            So let’s stipulate there is ‘no ready’ (perfection) and not ready (imperfection) is typically an excuse presented as caution, adorned in vigilance showing the good sense of being prepared. The aforementioned excuses are all good reasons but the real reason for ‘not ready’ are fears of failure, appearing foolish, and being exposed as lacking – being less –incompetent -  in the name of ‘ready.’ A not ready excuse:  reflective wise good sense as opposed to ‘the rush to judgment’s’ adverse consequences of ‘fire, ready, aim.’
            Better to: ready, aim, fire!
            And yet, it was a teenager, who, with but a slingshot prevailed slaying the Giant Goliath. This teenager wasn’t ready in either in stature or weaponry but, in faith – making Hashem BIGGER, yet this teenager, named David triumphed.
Shaddai = God, God Almighty, All Sufficient, ‘Enough’
Rabbi Mordecai Twerski

            ‘Not ready’ is a default excuse akin to ‘never enough.’
            Regardless of defining enough, it seems there is never enough – even when there is more than enough – because there is always another fear (solve risk #1, promote risk #2) ‘that we’re not ready for’ in the delusional search for permanence, continuity, certainty (surety).


            Yet, how can we be 100% (some preferring 150% ‘just in case’) ready (sure) when we are born deliberately incomplete?
            This ‘ready’ when we will have more – so we will have enough’ (which is never enough) is our chasing our tail with tales of ‘then I’ll be ready.’
            Talk about wagging the tail/tale?
            No “wagger” and no swagger.

            Ready and never enough have a common thread: fear.
            Fearing we may think ourselves as lacking, cowardly, spineless and or gutless, we spin and sanitize fear (the ‘F’ word) (1) typically with 3 other more erudite sounding four letter words connoting cognitive good sense, forethought, discretion & wisdom: risk and its tributaries loss and less.’ Thus, fear (in the name of risk, less and or loss) invokes never ready and never enough. . 

And you shall make Me a sanctuary and I will dwell within them
Exodus 25:8

            We will never be ready (nor was David) and we can’t beat fear. (Actually, fear, in context, is usual and necessary in a ialectic with gain for protection. But when fear is overwhelming (masked as not ready, never enough, and or obstructing with anxiety) – neither Fleets™ nor Phillips can permeate fear’s constipating & a-voiding effects. ((Ready, Willing, but Dis-abled)).
Since fear is necessary and can’t be vanquished, faith, having meaning IN one’s life, and re-membering oneself have to catapult (better doggiepult) the fears of ‘not readiness’ and ‘never enough.’ Doggiepulting faith (making God BIGGER than the fear), finding meaning IN one’s life, and re-membering one’s past adaptability and resourceful (one’s enoughness) leapfrog the not ready, the never enough (MOREon behavior), and the four horsemen of 4 letter words: risk, less, loss and fear. (2)
Having faith, finding meaning IN one’s life, remembering one’s adaptability and resourcefulness (enoughness) now that’s David’s Ready Whip™ (and without artificial flavoring)!
1.      Another F word denoting ‘fear’ (or you better be fearful) is the ‘fine’ said with a certain tone of voice primarily by the female gender – often accompanied by a stop of the foot and or hands on the hips as well as an askance look.
2.      By and large, self serving professional religioustariat have failed in assisting our finding meaning IN our lives preferring their role as spiritual leaders (rather than spiritual resources) through whom – as whole-salers – we get VICARious redemption (and maybe a plaque sans gingivitis) in the name of faith and deeds (accompanied by dues and large donations) alone

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

More AND Enough: Torah AND Mae West

More AND Enough(sm): Torah AND Mae West

Too much of a good thing can be wonderful
Mae West

            Exodus 36:7 states, “the work was sufficient for them for all they were to do, and more.” Keudshat Levi then raises the question of the disconnect between enough and more in the aforementioned stating, ‘there are two words here that seem to contradict one another.’     
How then to reconcile the para-orthodox of sufficient (enough) and more?

            The construction of the sanctuary (as both an external event and an internal metaphor (the sanctuary within) suggests – placing limits on the work (enough/sufficient) while leaving room for every generation (externally) to continue to build and add  (both externally and internally).

And the old shall dream dreams
And the youth shall see visions
We must live for today
We must build for tomorrow
Debbie Friedman’s lyrical version of Joel 3:1

            I am reminded of the story of the old man (70+) planting a fig tree. A neighbor thought it foolishness as by the time the tree would bare fruit – the old man would be long gone.
            The old man had benefited from the fruit of fig trees planted by others (enough so and sufficient) and thus he planted trees (on land otherwise that could presently yield) for others in the future more so that others would have enough and continue the cycle reconciling enough and more.
             Mae West would have countered the old man’s sacrifice of current yield for future generations stating, ‘too much (more) of a good thing is wonderful.’
            However, the reality is ‘more, better, now’ usually becomes ‘less, worse, later’ (wandering on their barren soil by de-fault accompanied by IF ONLYs.   )
            The LESSon
            Enough and more…..
            FIG-uratively speaking