Of Bonus Time and Baked Potatoes


On my way to an appointment this morning, I was thinking about how most of us have escaped serious injury or death at least once in our lives.

• One friend told me that her car spun around on a busy L.A. highway; she braced herself for impact and thought, This is it, but when she opened her eyes, all the cars behind her had miraculously stopped in time.

• Another friend of mine was standing in his yard when he was shot by a bullet that seemingly came out of nowhere. It caused some long-term pain and damage but at least his life was spared.

• My mom told me how scared she was when I choked on a piece of hard candy as a toddler and she had to turn me upside down and pound on my back until it popped out.

All of us have likely had close calls of one kind or another. When the circumstances allow it, I’m sure many people fire off a quick prayer promising to be better people or doing something more worthwhile with their lives if they are spared. Of course, that promise typically goes by the wayside in record time.

But if you think about it, all the time we’ve been given since such an incident, as well as all the time that remains to us, is really bonus time. If we can maintain our appreciation for being spared and given so much extra time, it follows that we may be wiser in not only how we choose to spend that time but in how we choose our attitude, especially in challenging situations.

In other words, if we consider that we would have gladly accepted any future challenges at the time we were facing certain death, perhaps we would look at those challenges as gifts when the time came for us to face them.

Within thirty minutes of entertaining these thoughts, I opened The Sky Is Not the Limit, by Dr. Robert Fisch and read the Foreword. I was struck by this excerpt:

Dr. Robert Fisch

Dr. Robert Fisch

I recall a lunch with Robert when, while enjoying a French baguette (his favorite part of every meal), he confided that he later grew to appreciate those months living with hunger and death in a Nazi concentration camp. His explanation was that the suffering allowed him to appreciate every opportunity and blessing in life. For him, bad experiences taught invaluable lessons, which in turn became part of his own being and moral compass. Each minute of life is viewed as a gift.

Bingo. That was the exact point I had been thinking about. It reminded me that Dr. Fisch had spoken of living consciously like this at a talk I had attended. He said that he continues to marvel at simple blessings every day of his life. For example, he said he is thrilled every time he microwaves a potato!

In fact, in the Introduction to the book, Dr. Fisch writes:

Suffering has made me realize what is important, what my values are. Hardship makes every minute beyond it all the more precious. I am grateful for even the smallest things life has given me.

If Dr. Fisch can be repeatedly thrilled by a baked potato after nearly perishing in a concentration camp, surely the rest of us can follow his lead and appreciate the moments of our lives more consciously.

Before long, expressing gratitude will become a habit. Stick with it long enough and you will instinctively view every experience through the lens of gratitude.

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.
Meister Eckhart

Here are Dr. Robert Fisch’s books. I highly recommend them.


Click here to order Light from the Yellow Star: A Lesson of Love from the Holocaust.


Click here to order Fisch Stories: Reflections on Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.


Click here to order The Metamorphosis to Freedom.


Click here to order The Sky Is Not the Limit.


Click here to order Dear Dr. Fisch: Children’s Letters to a Holocaust Survivor.

Click here to view all my posts featuring Dr. Robert Fisch.

Click here to view all my posts about concentration camp survivors.


Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?

Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to start one
Anyone who loves life, or wants to learn how to
Anyone who is happy, or wants to be happier

To order your copy of Through God’s Eyes, go to GodsEyesOrder.com OR order from Amazon at GodsEyesAmazon.com OR for an inscribed copy, click here to e-mail Phil for information.

Click here for more information about Through God’s Eyes.
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Through God’s Eyes won first place in the “Spirituality and Inspirational” category at the San Diego Book Awards on June 22, 2013.

Here is a two-minute video introduction to Through God’s Eyes.

Want to learn more about Through God’s Eyes? Here is a free 40-page PDF sampler from the book that includes:

• an overview of the book
• the complete table of contents
• the Foreword by Caroline Myss
• my Introduction
• chapter excerpts
• a sample end-of-chapter story
• endorsements from authors and thought leaders

Just click on the link below to download your free PDF sampler!


Phil’s eBook, The Logic of Living a Spiritual Life: Supporting a Life of Faith Through Logic and Reason, is now available for 99 cents on Amazon.

Order it at GodIsLogical.com.

In this eBook, you’ll find answers to questions like:
• What is the cornerstone of a spiritual life, and why?
• What is the secret to liberating yourself from other people’s judgments and expectations?
• Why is there an exception to “Everything happens for a reason”?

Those who worship logic instead of God are only half right. Not only is it logical to believe in God and to live a faith-based life, the existence of a loving, benevolent God that governs all creation is perhaps the only systematic worldview that explains every aspect of life.

Schedule a Mastery Mentoring phone session with Phil to learn how to apply principles of spiritual living more effortlessly and effectively. Priced affordably! Click here to e-mail Phil for details.

SiSe_fullcover_final.inddPhil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.

Here is a three-minute video that introduces you to Phil and his book. Click here to order Sixty Seconds. Click here to ask Phil to add you to his e-mail list for updates on his blog and books.

Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories. Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers. Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.

Sixty Seconds was one of three finalists in the General Interest/How-To category at the 12th annual Visionary Awards presented by COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) in Denver on June 27, 2009.

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