Last Friday I found myself devastated by the news of Anthony Bourdain’s passing. In order to process and make sense of my feelings I wrote this essay that night and published it on Medium; I thought I would share it with you here as a PGG.

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This morning I felt like the wind got knocked out of me. I was up unusually early to head out for the day, and as I was getting ready, I heard the breaking news that Anthony Bourdain was dead. Two years ago, my stomach sank and I teared up when I heard about David Bowie, and then months later about Prince. Although I was a fan of those two icons, my appreciation of what they accomplished and contributed to our culture with their art actually grew once they were gone. I’m sure there were other instances of shock and sadness when public figures passed – Robin Williams and Muhammad Ali come to mind – but some hit home in a more deeply emotional way than others, as if you knew them personally, and this was one of them.

The last time I remember feeling this personal kind of loss over someone I’d never met was when King Hussein died in 1999. I was so distraught, I went to the Jordanian store owners in my neighborhood to tearfully express my condolences, not even knowing the exact reasons; I just knew that I felt he was a great soul – but not perfect, as none of us are – and that the world would be missing a bright light and great hope now that he was gone.

But with Anthony Bourdain, it was immediate and visceral and specific as to why this loss was so profound, and I struggled not to go into a full-on heaving cry because I needed to be composed as I walked to the subway en route to a full day of meetings. I knew exactly what he had done for the world, what he had done for me, and what a great example of a human being he was – messy, magical, mischievous, magnanimous and masterful all in one. Although on the surface he was known for his passion for food, writing and travel, I believe his biggest purpose in life, like King Hussein, was to be a peacemaker.

In his own rock ‘n’ roll, tough yet tender, sensitively macho, sarcastic and sincere way, he was able to bring together people of every background. Whether sitting down with them in one of the 80 countries he visited, or more recently highlighting different cities and cultures here at home, he brought the world to millions of living rooms so we could share the experience. In a unique and highly entertaining yet respectful way, he gave us an inside view of mostly ordinary people, especially those we might consider adversaries or outcasts. He allowed us – including those who can’t travel or don’t even have a desire to travel – to observe what life is like for others, and therefore hopefully gain more understanding of each other.

I have been a huge fan since his No Reservations show on the Travel Channel, and then of course Parts Unknown on CNN – and must have seen at least 80 percent of his programs, always being so intrigued and inspired by the journeys he made and people he met. I gain new knowledge and perspectives each time I watch, often accompanied by a good laugh. Sure I love food and like to learn about different cuisines, and I enjoyed watching him eat things – often in honor of the culture that had invited him in, and many things I don’t think I ever could. But I also learn so much about these cultures in the process (one of the most powerful episodes that comes to mind is when an Inuit family allowed him to participate in the meal of a seal, which they eat raw, and every part).

I’ve always been passionate about and have committed my life to promoting peace and the upliftment of humanity through various vehicles and forms (you can read my essay “All Roads: Same Place” for some insight): From wanting to work for the UN, having a career in the travel industry, founding a nonprofit organization focused on intercultural understanding with the tagline Recognizing Our Unity; Celebrating Our Diversity, then later writing, coaching and speaking about how people can make their lives more peaceful and fulfill their role personally or professionally in making the world a better place. It’s my underlying m.o. and I can often sniff it out in others, whether it is obvious/conscious to them or others or not.

Anthony Bourdain, like me, didn’t define himself (or his show) in any particular category (chef, journalist, writer), because he is really about all aspects of being a human and showing the condition of humanity no matter who you are or where you are from. He most often did it through the medium of food because, as my dear friend Dan (who also tragically died as a result of mental illness) used to quote his Jewish grandmother as saying in a Yiddish accent, “You have to eat!” – so what better way to get to know each other than through a meal? This was the original concept and initial execution of The Women’s Mosaic’s programs. And when it wasn’t through food, Bourdain did it through his essays, which is also the only form of writing I do (see my book, these newsletters etc.).

I relate to and also seem to possess his ability to connect with anyone he meets, and he was known as being the same person on camera as he was off – he just brought his authentic, unique self to wherever he was and whomever he was talking to, from busboys to Obama. He told it like it is and wanted to show people our common humanity, and teach a bit of history and politics along the way. He shed light on whatever he felt merited attention and was recently a vocal supporter of the #MeToo movement and immigrant rights – similar to topics and issues we tackled in small and big ways with The Women’s Mosaic.

He had no facade and could see through BS. He was a people and life expert; he was a natural introvert but could talk to anybody; he was a writer who wrote the way he spoke; he did not put up with pretentiousness and searched for the truth in any situation. I have not struggled with drugs or depression, but I have lived through my own tragedies and, like all of us, struggle with my own limitations and dis-ease, and have had glimpses of what it might be like to not want to be here. Although I’m not a foodie per se, I would definitely name food as one of my main physical pleasures in life, if not the main one. We are both tall.

In other words, as I write this, it seems the connection might not be not from viewing him as a separate celebrity stranger out there who did great things that are in alignment with my vision and values, but instead I am seeing the many ways in which we are more closely part of the same tribe, however differently we might have played our parts within it.

Perhaps, then, this is hitting me so hard because I feel I lost someone who is more like me than I ever realized, someone who was doing what I am trying to do, so it’s like a little piece of myself is now gone. From the outside, looking at each of our lives this way seems ridiculous, but you (especially if you know me) and now I can see the many ways in which we are cut from the same cloth. So in his death I am seeing my life, which seems like a very self-centered way to talk about his passing, but isn’t that perfectly fitting as part of what he was here to do? It’s about seeing yourself in another and finding your commonalities and shared humanity, no matter how disparate we may be on the surface or in the lives we lead.

Well, I guess I answered my own question about why this one hurts so much, and now I appreciate him even more.

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   Please be sure to reach out to loved ones and/or seek professional counseling should you be suffering in any way…. There is always help available  ❤ ❤ ❤

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Check out this very-roughly-edited-not-the-best-quality video of uninterrupted remarks wrapping up the workshop “Lead Yourself to Success (in Work & Life!)In this excerpt covering the final ten minutes, I summarize my thoughts about confidence, being a leader in your own life, maintaining your individuality and humanity in the times we live in, and why the world is relying on you to be successful.

Click here to watch video

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As someone who is pretty dyslexic, I often switch prefixes and mash up my words when writing and speaking. When talking to a good friend who was feeling very scattered and exhausted, I somehow came out with the word “mentical” when observing how she was mentally disconnected from her physical body. It seemed to be a perfect way to describe the “dis-ease” that a lot of 21st century urbanites suffer from, and we immediately adopted it into our vocabulary. And then I told her: A walk in the woods is a way to mitigate the mentical.

[Three years ago] after spending many hours in a hospital with my mom over a two-month period, I knew what I needed to do to get rid of the accumulated “ick” from such an environment, and headed to a nearby nature preserve. I felt the benefits in five minutes! It was as if I had dipped myself in some magic potion; I came out refreshed, healed and cleansed.

Several years ago, I gave as homework to one of my clients, an African-American woman, to go spend some time exploring and journaling deep in a woodsy park. She looked at me as if I had two heads and said, “You know Black folk don’t hike…?!” I laughed and of course didn’t care, and she wisely heeded the assignment. She is now an avid fan of the activity, and has even influenced many in her circle to try it as well.

However this is not about hiking per se, in the very athletic sense of climb difficulty and the views as a reward, etc. It’s about letting the energy of those deep-green leaves absorb any negative mental, emotional, physical and spiritual vibes within and around us, and letting us take in some good ones from them. It’s purely alchemical.

Most people flock to the beach in the summer. I’ve always headed for the trees. At least in the Northeast, this is the time of the year when they are the most lush and verdant. They are at their peak of healing juiciness, and they call out to me big time!

As usual, science finally caught up with and has now “proved” what I and others have known intuitively and have been doing for eons; I was thrilled to come across this article, which justified my cure to me and others of spending time in the woods. Apparently the Japanese have coined the term “forest bathing,” and put some explanation and studies behind what I simply considered common sense and what made me feel good; now it is being used as preventive medicine as well as treatment for asthma, depression and other ailments! I bow and thank you for affirming my “homework,” Japan.

I have come to find the practice even more necessary these days with our increasing dependence on electronic devices – who knows what stuff they are emitting and what WiFi is really doing to us mentally and physically. Remember that plants and trees suck the carbon dioxide out of the air and increase the oxygen – for us city folk we need as much clean fresh air as we can get. Especially if you have been spending a lot of time in hospitals, airports, and/or inhabit the concrete jungle, it’s the perfect antidote to erratic energy, as well as recycled, conditioned and even toxic air. 

Once you get yourself to a park, preserve or forest, the first thing to do is express gratitude. Think about how the trees and plants are always there, evolving, growing, moving toward life, no matter what they’re handed or how much they suffer – they remain steadfast in supporting and healing us. By giving thanks, perhaps we can counteract some of the abuse we humans have doled out! I generally recommend going alone, or with just a few close friends/partners who “get it.” Take deep breaths and move slowly. Be grateful for the miracle that is Mother Earth. Visualize and feel the trees like a filter absorbing all the guck in us at that moment. Let yourself be grounded and feel any stress, worry or disease be released from your mental, physical and emotional bodies.

If you can’t get to an actual forest, perhaps your gym’s tread mills have one of those virtual videos courses so you can feel as if you are – now this does not give you any of the alchemical benefits I’ve mentioned above, however it is still good for meditation purposes so hey it’s better than nothing!

The beach can be the bomb in a different way when it comes to healing too so listen to your body and hear what it’s asking for. You probably don’t need to go to the extreme like Reese/Cheryl  in order to your reclaim your soul and sanity, but if you’re not sure about the who, what, why and where of your personal Nature Rx, give me a buzz. I’ll be the forest ranger in the Pharrell hat  that points you in the right direction, reminds you to take it all in, and will be there should you get lost on the trail. 

(Today’s PGG originally published on June 9, 2015)

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Check out this very-roughly-edited-not-the-best-quality video of uninterrupted remarks wrapping up the workshop “Lead Yourself to Success (in Work & Life!)In this excerpt covering the final ten minutes, I summarize my thoughts about confidence, being a leader in your own life, maintaining your individuality and humanity in the times we live in, and why the world is relying on you to be successful.

Click here to watch video

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If you like what I write, you’ll love what I have to say in person!   Click on above links for info about my coaching and speaking services and contact me today. 

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When traveling by myself in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2001 — just seven years after the end of apartheid — I had a major aha moment while having tea in the lobby of the historic, old-world-luxury Mount Nelson Hotel.

Feeling somewhat awkward in my solo budget-travel state, I was in the midst of sipping Earl Grey when something clicked within me on the most profound of levels. It occurred to me that due to the mere fact my skin is white — with the bonus of having very blond hair at the time — I was essentially given free rein to go wherever I desired and do whatever I wanted, and no one would ever question me, look at me strangely, or think I didn’t belong.

Yes, I was in one of the most segregated countries on the planet, but it really struck me that this applied in a broader context: No matter where I go, simply because of the color of my skin — along with being tall and reasonably well-dressed, in addition to being educated and American — I enjoy a certain level of trust, respect (this was just before 9/11) and service, and almost always inherently avoid outright discrimination and bodily harm, even as a woman (which itself is topic for another discussion, since that is only a very recent phenomenon and may apply to fewer places, but I digress…).

Suddenly the phrase “carte blanche,” which literally translates as “white card,” came into my head and I immediately made the connection to the District Six Museum’s display of various ID cards for citizens under that classified system: White, Coloured, Black, and Indian. In the United States, and in a global sense, it is an invisible card I carry that gives me entree, ease and yes, a certain unearned privilege, to live a life free of so many stresses, layers of misperceptions, institutionalized prejudice, fear, bias and/or hatred that the majority of those of darker shades must endure and are too often endangered by.

I realize that in telling this story I may sound naive, but this came at a crucial point for me. At that time, I was not only quite aware of, but particularly passionate about the issue of racial inequality, in theory since childhood, but in practice for more than 10 years. I had many interpersonal experiences, observations and relationships informing a significant understanding of the complexities all that entails, and earlier that year I had started a nonprofit organization to dispel stereotypes and bigotry in order to bring women together, with the motto Recognizing Our Unity; Celebrating Our Diversity.

But being in a place where racism had so recently been explicitly acknowledged and addressed in such a direct manner brought this concept home to me in a way that until that point in my life, because I am White, had been onlysubtly perceptible, and even then, only because I was sensitive to the issue.

A couple of years later, while waiting in the cold for an MTA bus on First Avenue in the East Village, I experienced this overtness in reverse. Two Black women chose to ditch the delayed public transportation, and I watched in disbelief as two, three, five, six open taxis passed by as they tried to hail one. Disgusted, I asked if they needed help, and of course the next cab stopped for me, but when the driver realized the Black women, not me, were getting in, he drove away. Finally I asked where they were going; I was so appalled I decided I would just get in and share it with them. The irony was that they were going to 78th Street between First and Second, probably one of the Whitest blocks in the city. It was perhaps the closest I will come to knowing what it must feel like to deal with race on a daily basis, simply trying to accomplish the most mundane of tasks.

Fast-forward to February 2012. After giving a talk at the Science, Industry and Business Library, a young Black man came up to thank me for what I had shared, how it made him think differently about his life; he pointed out what he had written down so he could make positive change. He then said he had recently been released from federal prison and asked if I would be willing to work with someone like him. Well, this began a journey in which I learned more specifically about the consequences of race and the criminal justice system, the roots of mass incarceration and the many barriers to re-entry. It has since widened and deepened my understanding of the unhealed wounds, scars and repercussions of our country’s history of slavery.

In the aftermath of injustice after injustice against people of color, we are dealing with symptoms of a very sick system that is made up of people, and people are crying out for transformation and healing. It is not a Black problem; it is not a White problem. It is a human problem. No matter what card-carrying member of our race you proclaim (or are deemed) to be, we’re all in this man-made mess together — and we will only solve it one story, one interaction, one aha moment at a time.

(Today’s PGG originally published on December 5, 2014)

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Text CLEARLYKRISTINA to 22828 to be added to my mailing list and be in the loop with my coaching and workshops as well as have these essays delivered to your inbox!

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Check out this very-roughly-edited-not-the-best-quality video of uninterrupted remarks wrapping up the workshop “Lead Yourself to Success (in Work & Life!)In this excerpt covering the final ten minutes, I summarize my thoughts about confidence, being a leader in your own life, maintaining your individuality and humanity in the times we live in, and why the world is relying on you to be successful.

Click here to watch video

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If you like what I write, you’ll love what I have to say in person!   Click on above links for info about my coaching and speaking services and contact me today. 

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Read more about me and my work in these past PGG’s:

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Many of you know my degree is in International Relations. Early on I was a passionate student of languages and cultures, and was bitten by the travel bug at age 12 after a trip to Spain, Portugal and Morocco with my grandmother. By senior year in high school I was studying Spanish, French and Italian (forgoing chemistry and physics…), and in college I took Mandarin Chinese, organized international student orientations, studied abroad…you get the picture.

My dream was to one day work for the UN, as my intention and mission in life was to contribute to world peace (I simply didn’t understand why people and countries couldn’t get along just because of race, religion or anything else), so that was a seemingly logical goal. Who grows up wanting to be a career/life coach?  Like so many professions today, that didn’t even exist when I was a kid!  Ah, but the Universe has a funny way of working things out.

Once I discovered that being employed by the UN did not ultimately fit my skill set or desired environment, I set out to create my own international experiences – teaching middle and high school Spanish, working and traveling with an upscale educational tour operator, teaching Tourism Destinations and Cultures at NYU, and founding my own mini-version of the UN called  The Women’s Mosaic, bringing together women from different cultures and backgrounds to learn from and be inspired by one another.

As a result of that creation, I got hooked into the UN, met several times and received praise from Kofi Annan; have attended many of its conferences (I still get verklempt when I am in the auditorium wearing an earpiece…); and before any of this, without consciously trying, ended up living in the very neighborhood where the UN headquarters is situated!  So for my entire adult life I have been surrounded by diplomats and their missions, sharing my coffee shop, gym and grocery store with them 24/7.

Fast-forward to more recently, as my interest and passion for personal growth, empowerment and healing, along with my ability to relate to just about anyone, combined with x-ray vision, supersonic hearing, and broad knowledge base of industries, careers and other resources have combined to make me into this very interesting and profoundly effective person I will call a career/life coach for lack of a better title. And I have been helping people professionally in this capacity for over six years [at the time of this writing; now it is over ten!]

Last week I had a big “aha moment” after a Skype session with a new client in Hungary who had attended one of my talks while here on holiday. Although that was only my second international call, I realized just how diverse and, yes, global my clientele is! I have worked with well over a hundred from all backgrounds – whether foreign nationals visiting or working here  temporarily, or folks who came to live here as children or adults. They hail from Macedonia, Italy, Puerto Rico, Mexico, New Zealand, Dominican Republic, China, Taiwan, Nigeria, Canada, Australia, El Salvador, Russia, Japan, Philippines, and Israel and they embody the many diverse ethnicities and religions found here – African-American, Haitian, Indian, Persian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Quaker, and so much more; many of my clients have accents, as English is their second or third language! So DUH, here I am using my degree in international relations yet once again, simply in another form.  Pretty cool, huh?

I share all of this not just to illustrate how the thread of my interests and passions have run through everything I do, but also for this: My work with individuals only confirms my theories, thoughts and ideals about countries and humanity as a whole.  The more I learn and observe intimately the intricacies of all these seemingly different folks’ journeys and backgrounds, the more I see the hard evidence of how we are all wired with the same desires, dreams, hopes and challenges. No matter what corner of the globe you are from, we have far more in common than you can imagine. 

Think you’re so special? You are. You have a uniqueness that you bring to this planet. But you are also made of the same stuff as that guy or gal across the ocean or sitting next to you on the subway.  And because of things like technology and climate change, we are more interconnected than ever.  So this week take a moment to expand your horizons: Who can you learn about, chat with or help in some way that is out of your normal sphere of influence?  How can you Imagine your world for the better? What can you do to think globally but act locally?

Not sure how the micro in your life will affect the macro? Give me a buzz and we’ll translate the language of your soul to see how it will weave into the tapestry of history and become that much-needed piece of the peace puzzle we are all a part of, no matter who you are or where you come from.

(Today’s PGG originally published on September 25, 2013)

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Contact me today and I’ll help you go move forward in the mystery of your mojo!

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Text CLEARLYKRISTINA to 22828 to be added to my mailing list and be in the loop with my coaching and workshops as well as have these essays delivered to your inbox!

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Check out this very-roughly-edited-not-the-best-quality video of uninterrupted remarks wrapping up the workshop “Lead Yourself to Success (in Work & Life!)In this excerpt covering the final ten minutes, I summarize my thoughts about confidence, being a leader in your own life, maintaining your individuality and humanity in the times we live in, and why the world is relying on you to be successful.

Click here to watch video

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

If you like what I write, you’ll love what I have to say in person!   Click on above links for info about my coaching and speaking services and contact me today. 

Read over fifty 5-star “Yelp” style reviews here

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Read more about me and my work in these past PGG’s:

All Roads, Same Place | And Now, A Word from Our Sponsor | Strong Medicine | 10,000 Hours | A Decade of Doing What I Do | Express Yourself

Special note: For this week I decided to rerun a very particular PGG because, really, how often do royal weddings come around?! Instead of tornadoes in Alabama seven years ago, we had them right here in the northeast the other day; and although we didn’t have anything as singular as the death of Bin Laden, we’ve had similar mob mentality on social media recently for a variety of folks whose reputations have been killed for one unsavory reason or another. 

This time I got marginally sucked in to the frenzy when I watched the Lifetime movie version of Harry & Meghan’s story, and now have a greater degree of insight into their courtship than I care to or should; I guess this wedding does spark even more intrigue than the previous because, forget being a commoner, it involves an “older”  biracial-American-actress-divorcee-feminist-humanitarian bride….It’s a powerful representation and it will be interesting to see how the newlyweds use their platform once the pomp and circumstance subside. 

There are certainly other more “serious” things that could warrant all the time, attention and fanfare (not to mention the price tag!), but hey, most of us love a good fairy tale royal romance as a respite from reality, and lord knows we could use a little pixie dust, now more than ever. ❤ ❤ ❤ 

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I tried to resist, I really did.  I did not want to contribute one more thought to the nuptials of two young royals, a story which has been regurgitated, dissected and discussed in a plethora of ways ad nauseam for the months, weeks and days leading up to it.  And once it was officially over, we hoped we could move on with more important things, and I don’t mean birth certificates or transcripts.

But then a funny thing happened. Having a minor curiosity in the whole affair, I woke up Friday morning, turned on the TV, and like the tornadoes that had devastatingly destroyed much of Alabama the day before, I somehow got sucked into the vortex of everything Wills and Kate!!  It was hard to get around it, frankly, and like that darn car accident everyone slows down for, I simply could not turn away.

Besides getting the dress fix, I was mesmerized by the orderliness of the mega crowd; the sheer detail, beauty and majesty of it all, and how much global attention had been placed on this singular event, which unified a nation and the world. I thought about how people can indeed come together in positive, dare I say, innocent ways, even if much of it comes down to a shared fantasy.  And then another funny thing happened.

In the midst of writing this, news broke of the demise of a man with a turban and beard who had ties to a different royal family, and many people all around our country gathered spontaneously in the streets to revel in the news.  It received equal if not more global attention, but it remains to be seen how jubilant an occasion is it really? Significant and somber, yes, but having a party to celebrate revenge and the death of anyone is not the same. No matter how happy you are that Bin Laden is dead, that type of celebration comes from a place of hate and fear, not love.

My writing often talks about how we need to Let Love Rule, because What the World Needs Now is Love, sweet love. Fairy tales and fascination aside, no matter who you are, what you look like, or where you come from, we all want to love and be loved in return. Even with bad decisions and family feuds, weddings are generally joyous occasions, and funerals are not, but both tap into our desire for that basic of human needs, and should always unify us for good.

You may live in Queens or Kings County, but you don’t have to come from a special blood line or marry a Prince or Princess to have a charmed life. Give me a buzz and I’ll show you how to become the sovereign monarch of your own peaceful kingdom and love life happily ever after!

(Today’s PGG originally published on May 3, 2011)

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Want to make 2018 the year you make your fantasies a reality?

Contact me today and I’ll help you go from commoner to contender!

***Click here for my special Spring Cleaning private coaching offer!*** (Now extended through May 15th)

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Follow me on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter for up to date posts, helpful articles and inspirational thoughts.

Text CLEARLYKRISTINA to 22828 to be added to my mailing list and be in the loop with my coaching and workshops as well as have these essays delivered to your inbox!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Check out this very-roughly-edited-not-the-best-quality video of uninterrupted remarks wrapping up the workshop “Lead Yourself to Success (in Work & Life!)In this excerpt covering the final ten minutes, I summarize my thoughts about confidence, being a leader in your own life, maintaining your individuality and humanity in the times we live in, and why the world is relying on you to be successful.

Click here to watch video

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

If you like what I write, you’ll love what I have to say in person!   Click on above links for info about my coaching and speaking services and contact me today. 

Read over fifty 5-star “Yelp” style reviews here

Join Mailing List

 Like us on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter   View our profile on LinkedIn  View on Instagram                 

Read more about me and my work in these past PGG’s:

All Roads, Same Place | And Now, A Word from Our Sponsor | Strong Medicine | 10,000 Hours | A Decade of Doing What I Do | Express Yourself

Massive quakes, record rainfall, perilous flooding, topsy-turvy temperatures. There is no doubt that Earth – displaying her power with last week’s volcanic eruption – is going through something. Whether you think of it as climate change, global warming or that crazy concept Al Gore invented, shifts happen.

If you think of each human as his or her own self-contained world, you could say our North Pole is our mind, with its thinking/rational way of doing things, and our South Pole is the heart and gut, our more intuitive, creative M.O.

We have always looked to the North Star to lead the way, but what about the Southern Sky? There would be no North without the South! One is not more important than the other. And what if the North is a little tired of doing all the heavy lifting, and is starting to pass the baton to the South?

Just like our planet, the O.G. Mama, think of yourself in the process of shifting and changing – be aware, take care, go with the flow and notice what happens. The Earth is crying out for ways to heal, and if you have been living a less than balanced life, so will you.

Feeling a little “top” heavy or ready to erupt? I’m here to help, so think of me like a surrogate Mother Nature with a super-special compass that can reset the magnetic North and South within you.

PGG Extra #1: Here’s a little video clip to with some inspiration for getting grounded in your body
Be more grounded and connected to your body
PGG Extra #2:  Here’s an article from Psychology Today I was quoted in:
The Problem with Thinking 
“Our guts and hearts are like hard drives, our minds the software. We need to let our centers do the heavy lifting and lead the way. But like any other muscle, you need to exercise love, intuition and trust in yourself on a regular basis. Then, little by little you grow stronger and more confident in order to let that part of you run the show, instead of your brain.”
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(Today’s PGG originally published on April 20, 2010)

Want to make 2018 the year your mind stops making you mad?

Contact me today and I’ll help you become more balanced with your head and heart!

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Check out this very-roughly-edited-not-the-best-quality video of uninterrupted remarks wrapping up the workshop “Lead Yourself to Success (in Work & Life!)In this excerpt covering the final ten minutes, I summarize my thoughts about confidence, being a leader in your own life, maintaining your individuality and humanity in the times we live in, and why the world is relying on you to be successful.

Click here to watch video

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We seek out emotional intensity vicariously, because when we are emotionally numb, we need a great deal of stimulation to feel something, anything. So emotional pornography provides the stimulation, but it’s only ersatz emotion — it doesn’t teach us anything about ourselves or the world. ~ Miriam Greenspan, psychotherapist

One of the most popular singers today, Adele seems to unite us all with her deeply felt ballads and powerful, rich delivery, as illustrated so well by this SNL video. It’s a funny premise because it touches upon some profound truth, as she is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time due to her universal appeal; young, old, rich, poor, black, white, purple, no matter your nationality, religious or political affiliation — virtually no one can resist the temptation to be moved and sing along.

The Maori culture of New Zealand has a tradition called haka, an “ancestral war cry, dance or challenge performed by a group, with vigorous movements and stamping of the feet with rhythmically shouted accompaniment.” You can check out the rugby team’s haka for their most famous player’s funeral or this wedding video that went viral around the globe. My guess is that 99.99 percent of viewers had no idea what was being said/sung, but what makes haka and other similar native traditions so powerful is the absolute lack of artifice and 200 percent commitment to the raw, exaggerated emotion expressed; you can’t help but feel something stirred within you and respond emotionally in kind.

Sporting events, especially football, with its expanding audience and the Super Bowl essentially having the status of a national holiday, are one of the only acceptable forums where we can shout and scream and express our emotions to the max — joy, excitement, disappointment, frustration, surprise. If you’re not a sports fan, then stadium rock concerts can offer a similar opportunity as we enjoy head-banging tunes, raging against the machine, and belting our hearts out with longing, hope, despair, anger, passion and, of course, love. This is also what we see stirred up at political rallies, igniting people with emotions, good, bad and ugly.”

And because of the explosion of diverse media outlets, the content being created — movies, TV series, reality shows, and even “news” programs — keeps pushing the envelope to the extremes of sex, violence, revenge, horror and apocalyptic scenarios to get any attention. Social media is getting worse, always in a race to post the most salacious or silly videos, scandalous or outrageous memes and headlines in order attract the most click bait. And most folks can’t help falling for it, getting sucked in more times than they realize or care to admit.

These are also all shared experiences, or varying degrees of tribal experiences, activating a very human part of us that needs to connect and feel part of a bigger group. As we become more and more isolated and only virtually connected, these experiences become more rare and intensified as we advance in our technological age. And remember, emotions are contagious, so choose your tribes and tribal experiences wisely.

Whether it’s an Adele song, a demonstration of haka, a major sporting event, a viral video or a political rally, these experiences awaken emotions that we are becoming desensitized to, are covering up, or are embarrassed to share as we text and type without direct human contact, with our gadgets as legitimized interlopers. We are in danger of becoming robots ourselves.

Being able to feel is the most human trait we possess, and one that will ultimately separate us from artificial intelligence. The good news is that we are inherently rebelling: Our subconscious natural inclination to express our feelings is so strong that it is evidenced by the creation and widespread use of emojis! We simply cannot contain that part of ourselves, as emotion is essential to the way humans communicate if we want to be fully understood.

As I say in my talks, most people walk around emotionally constipated. We need to feel our feelings because the alternative is some unhealthy form of distraction, addiction or even violence. Learn to process your emotions; recognize and honor your feelings as they occur and then express or release them in an appropriate manner. That could mean talking it out; other times it’s just journaling. Sometimes it’s hysterically crying, belly-laughing, running for miles, dancing your butt off, singing, screaming or even moaning. Remember, emotion is “energy in motion,” so you need to let it move through and out of you, which is why those big stadium experiences, scary movies and power ballads feel so good. But they don’t have to be the only game in town if you cultivate your emotional health on a regular basis.

One of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite movies, French Kiss, is when Meg Ryan is frustrated with how French women have a way of interacting with men, masking or manipulating how they really feel rather than just being straightforward. She laments, “If you’re happy, smile, if you’re sad, frown; use the corresponding face to the corresponding emotion!” When we consistently feel our feelings and express them honestly to ourselves and others, we are able to communicate more effectively and gain a sense of inner peace and harmony. That means stop holding back or repressing our emotional selves, hiding behind our smartphones, or relying on “emotional porn” to give us the natural satisfaction and release that we require as conscious, sentient beings.

Not sure if you’re clogged up with a hodgepodge of emotions or if you only feel with the help of some outside stimulus? Give me a buzz and I’ll be your personal Roto-Rooter (wo)man to get things moving along so you can feel your own subtle or not-so-subtle emotions and go with your own flow — without always needing that bigger, bolder, in-your-face experience or to live vicariously through another’s.

(Today’s PGG originally published on February 11, 2016)

Want to make 2018 the year to feel your feelings but not sure how?

Contact me today and I’ll help you go with your emotional flow in work & life!

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Follow me on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter for up to date posts, helpful articles and inspirational thoughts.

Text CLEARLYKRISTINA to 22828 to be added to my mailing list and be in the loop with my coaching and workshops as well as have these essays delivered to your inbox!

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Check out this very-roughly-edited-not-the-best-quality video of uninterrupted remarks wrapping up the workshop “Lead Yourself to Success (in Work & Life!)In this excerpt covering the final ten minutes, I summarize my thoughts about confidence, being a leader in your own life, maintaining your individuality and humanity in the times we live in, and why the world is relying on you to be successful.

Click here to watch video

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If you like what I write, you’ll love what I have to say in person!   Click on above links for info about my coaching and speaking services and contact me today. 

Read over fifty 5-star “Yelp” style reviews here

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If you’re anything like me, many of my clients, and millions of humans, you are often your own worst enemy and harshest critic.  Perhaps you set imaginary limits and keep yourself from experiencing all that life has to offer, holding back for “rational” reasons or because of subconscious thoughts based on irrational fears and silly untruths.

Since I can’t clone myself (yet!?), I, too, sometimes need an outside brain to get a little perspective and see things I can’t quite perceive within myself.  And because the majority of my work as a coach is listening, sometimes I, like all humans, just need to talk and be heard.

Therefore, I am ever-grateful for my closest friends and unofficial therapists who support me in various ways and set me straight (whether they know it or not) with additional insights and tools I need to become unblocked, make adjustments and move forward.

Because I spend an extraordinary amount of quality time with myself and practice what I preach/write, one thing I most definitely am is self-aware.  So when I get to a point when I gain even more awareness of things I probably should have been aware of in the first place, I can get into a cycle of beating myself up for not being aware enough!  As my holistic healer friend Noga Kreiman says,Ah, the problems of being a conscious person!”

Along with a new awareness I recently gained came feelings of ickiness, shame, stupidity, and all-around disgust for allowing things not to have clicked for me in a certain way up until this point. This did not feel good, but in a twisted way felt right, because I was punishing myself, which seemed appropriate for the transgression against yours truly. Oh, how the ego loves that!

As I always say, your time and energy are your most precious resources.  And punishing yourself or beating yourself up is a waste of those valuable commodities and serves no purpose (except that it can greatly adversely affect your health!) So what do you do?

I normally have a few tools in my toolbox to process such a spell, but thanks to Noga, I was introduced to a new one: Pretend the feeling is like holding a pen in your hand, and just drop it. DONE. GONE. ARRIVEDERCI.  Since I have developed quite the strong muscle for being in the present and monitoring my thoughts, I simply needed to transfer this skill to eliminating useless, unproductive, and destructive emotions!  And guess what? It works.

So for this week’s PGG, I really just wanted to share that.  And for all of you out there who could use a little more awareness yourself, need someone to talk to (with x-ray vision and supersonic hearing) who can offer you some insights and tools or simply need a little help developing your own presence muscle, give me a buzz.  I will be there to meet you wherever you are at in da funky club of life!

(Today’s PGG was originally published August 13, 2013)

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Want to make 2018 the year to become more self-aware but not sure how?

Contact me today and I’ll help you break through your own limitations in work & life!   

***Click here for my special Spring Cleaning private coaching offer!*** (Good through May 15th) 

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Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for up to date posts, helpful articles and inspirational thoughts.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Check out this very-roughly-edited-not-the-best-quality video of uninterrupted remarks wrapping up the workshop “Lead Yourself to Success (in Work & Life!)In this excerpt covering the final ten minutes, I summarize my thoughts about confidence, being a leader in your own life, maintaining your individuality and humanity in the times we live in, and why the world is relying on you to be successful.

Click here to watch video

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If you like what I write, you’ll love what I have to say in person!   Click on above links for info about my coaching and speaking services and contact me today. 

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Perfection is the enemy of good. ~ Voltaire

Unlike what Fox News, ISIS, PETA or Kanye might have you believe, there are very few absolutes in life, and extremism in thought, word or deed is never the route to go. Like the Buddha says of a string on the sitar, if it’s too tight it will break, too loose and you won’t get any sound from it. Either way, the music dies. Life does not exist in black or white, but in fact is found in the many shades between.

Everyone has ways to escape or numb, whether from current circumstances and the daily grind, or from unresolved pain of the past. And when there is no awareness around the suffering and its source, the turmoil is turned inward as unhealthy behaviors, addiction or abuse, or directed outward as jealousy, hatred or violence in its many forms toward “others.”

In this era of plasticsurgery-photoshopping-selfie-celebrityworshopping-heylookatmyfabulouslife culture, it’s easy to think the grass is always greener, or that everyone but you has their act together or has an easy-breezy life. As someone who works intimately with hundreds of folks for a living, I can tell you that no one has it all together. Everyone has issues. It’s just which issues, in which department (relationships, money, sex, career, family, physical, mental and/or emotional health), and to what extent. And if you didn’t have the issue you have, you would have different one. But you’d have one. Or two, or three, generally all connected. It’s just the way it works.

The question is: How well do you acknowledge, accept, and then begin the process of addressing them?

The idea that there is some level of “perfection” that we can attain in our lives, in our mates, our work, our bodies, our lifestyle, is fiction. It doesn’t exist. No one is perfect. The mere fact that we are human beings means that we exist in order to heal and grow. It means that we are inherently flawed and are expressly alive to learn certain lessons and make whole the various parts of our mind, body and soul that are dis-eased. 

When you come to terms with the fact that you are a beautifully imperfect being and become aware of the imperfections, love yourself in spite of them; then with compassion and discipline, set out to improve or change what you can. Then, and only then, are we able to start accepting one another: our family, our neighbors, our enemies, or anyone who is simply different from us in color or creed. Remember that fellow humans might be having a harder time recognizing and dealing with their own problems and pain right now – we all wake up to our humanness at our own pace, sometimes not of our own choosing. This is why we need a steady flow and heaping amounts of patience, empathy and kindness in our world.

Just as the journey is more important than the destination, the striving is more important than the actual perfection. It means we are constantly evolving into the best, most kick-ass, peaceful versions of ourselves , accentuating the positive and mitigating or transmuting the not-so-positive. The daily choices we make, the love that we give and receive, the joy and the sadness and anger and passion we allow ourselves to feel, knowing that it is not going to be the same emotion every day all day. There are sunny days and there are cloudy days, and we appreciate both equally. As we experience our challenges, we know that victory is right around the corner, and in those moments of happiness we know at some point we will again feel sadness or disappointment. It’s just the way it works.

How can we move toward a balanced, healthy life without knowing where we need to focus in order to heal and grow? Use this time the way a med student would study the body, inside and out: Truly see all of who you are and embrace it. Accept it. Love it. Then take a look at those around you and do the same. Then you can make an honest assessment about what needs a little therapy, a little remedy, or perhaps even surgery.

Think you might need someone in Private Practice to make sense of it all? Give me a buzz and I’ll help you avoid a soul-sucking Scandal and prove you most certainly cannot Get Away With Murder, preventing you from killing the dream of a prosperous, fulfilled life you absolutely can and deserve to have!

(Today’s PGG was originally published February 12, 2015)

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Want to make 2018 the year to become more centered in who you are but not sure how?

Contact me today and I’ll help you be your most balanced self in work & life!   

***Click here for my special Spring Cleaning private coaching offer!*** (Good through May 15th) 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for up to date posts, helpful articles and inspirational thoughts.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Check out this very-roughly-edited-not-the-best-quality video of uninterrupted remarks wrapping up the workshop “Lead Yourself to Success (in Work & Life!)In this excerpt covering the final ten minutes, I summarize my thoughts about confidence, being a leader in your own life, maintaining your individuality and humanity in the times we live in, and why the world is relying on you to be successful.

Click here to watch video

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

If you like what I write, you’ll love what I have to say in person!   Click on above links for info about my coaching and speaking services and contact me today. 

Read over fifty 5-star “Yelp” style reviews here

Join Mailing List

 Like us on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter   View our profile on LinkedIn  View on Instagram                 

Read more about me and my work in these past PGG’s:

All Roads, Same Place | And Now, A Word from Our Sponsor | Strong Medicine | 10,000 Hours | A Decade of Doing What I Do | Express Yourself 

Each generation doubtless feels called upon to reform the world. Mine knows that it will not reform it, but its task is perhaps even greater. It consists in preventing the world from destroying itself. Heir to a corrupt history, in which are mingled fallen revolutions, technology gone mad, dead gods, and worn-out ideologies, where mediocre powers can destroy all yet no longer know how to convince, where intelligence has debased itself to become the servant of hatred and oppression, this generation starting from its own negations has had to re-establish, both within and without, a little of that which constitutes the dignity of life and death. ~Albert Camus (Nobel speech, 1957)

Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose. ~President Lyndon B. Johnson (Thanksgiving Day speech, 1963)

The huge Barnes & Noble, a staple of my neighborhood and one of the anchors and few big bookstores left in Manhattan, has closed its doors after 21 years. This follows a pattern of many other longtime rocks and havens in my ‘hood: the diner, a dry cleaner, two grocery stores, the nail salon, even my super — most of which had been there two decades or more. So many other businesses have vacated the premises over these past several years, only to make way for yet another bank, chain drugstore or fancy condominiums I’m not sure who can afford. Yes, this has been the trend of the Big Apple as it changes and mall-ifies, and people, including some of my friends, if they stay in the area, have been fleeing to greener, and/or less expansive pastures in places like Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island, New Jersey or Westchester (forget Brooklyn at this point!)

I have gone through some pretty major life changes over the past couple of years, and these disappearing touchstones of “home” have compounded and affirmed the sensation of being reincarnated in the same body, and feeling like I’ve moved without actually having moved. The surroundings are familiar but feel different; sometimes it’s like being in one of those dreams where everything is a bit topsy-turvy.

Oh yes, and then there is the political landscape … . Never before in the history of this country (need to fact-check, but am pretty sure) have we participated in and witnessed the slow dismantling, unraveling and unhinging of our government, culture and citizens at large, mutating into an almost unrecognizable caricature of our former selves. It’s been a rude awakening for many in this nation that racism indeed still exists, and that being born a certain color can in fact determine whether you live or die in even the most benign of situations; that gun violence and extreme masculinity, rampant impropriety, dinosaur consciousness and medieval principles are coming out of the shadows and are alive and well, kicking and screaming, trying to hold on for dear life as the future marches on at an ever-increasing pace.

And in this digital landscape — where things are warped, exaggerated and regurgitated ad nauseam — we must be careful of how we relate to life, to become mindful of when we are living more online than off. What are we doing? We must be hyper-aware of and ever vigilant about when we are letting outside influences, the manipulation of media and/or external distractions affect our ability to think for ourselves and control our most precious resources of time and energy. We must be the producers of our own plots and storylines in which we are the writers, directors and stars.

The advent of virtual reality and its widespread use in a variety of circumstances will confuse our brains even more in distinguishing time and place, and what is real or not. But remember, you also create your own virtual reality, for example, when you are thinking of something that has already happened, your brain cannot tell the difference between present and past, hence you re-experience those memories and emotions as you replay them over and over. And because those experiences were more than likely the negative ones, you are constantly re-injuring yourself, causing unnecessary suffering and a skewed perception of your actual current state of being.

As the saying goes, like death and taxes, change is one of three things that are certain in life. But more recently we have been living through big upheavals and endings, not just of chapters, but of eras. Therefore, now more than ever, letting go of the past is one of the most important things you can do in order to adjust to and situate yourself in this new uncharted territory. You must liberate yourself from the chains of the past and be fully present as to what your reality is today — whether you chose it, or like it or not — before you can start to build, create and expand within this newfound orientation.

Who do you want to be as we move forward in this new era? What do you want to accomplish? How do you want to live? Are you at least living in your own body? Can you get so comfortable in your own skin and inner being that you could be plopped down in the middle of Mars and still feel “at home”? It’s important to spend a little time pondering these questions and sowing the seeds of their eventual harvest that will come days, months and years from now.

Just as we are all going through an accelerated evolution as individuals, so is our country and the world, which is why so much upheaval and chaos abound; gotta clean out the junk in the basement and attic and do some demolishing before you can remodel … . And just like that process, we can remember, incorporate and/or hold on to the good and let go of the bad.

It’s time to get back to the essentials of why and how our country was created: what we stand for, who our founding fathers intended us to be and what they hoped we could accomplish as a nation. In so doing, we must recognize that a nation is comprised of people, and therefore it is people who are entrusted with doing the right thing, making big decisions, coming up with solutions to problems, and then allocating the appropriate resources to take care of and protect its citizens — which is the sole purpose of government.

No doubt we need to change as a country, but what is the thoughtful approach to that process? It’s not a shocking headline, clever meme, funny GIF, or a superficial spouting of patriotism; there is real work to be done, real structural changes that must happen, and most importantly, a genuine cultural shift and unification that needs to coalesce. But how do we do so without throwing the baby out with the bathwater? In other words, how can we help the country reincarnate in its own body, its own basic framework, while recognizing, mitigating and/or eliminating the inconsistencies of our past declarations, deeds and demonstrations so that we grow wiser and stronger?

Yes we should all vote, but there is more we can do, which may or may not involve running for elected office. We all have a part to play in restoring dignity to our democracy and society at large, and in preventing ourselves from imploding. We have more power when we acknowledge and assume responsibility for our own lives, and the part we play in improving them for those around us, because we are all in this together. That may require us to take time away from Facebook or bingeing on the latest Netflix series, or at least learning to use them in a productive, balanced and constructive way …

And so my fellow Americans, my plea to you today as we rapidly enter this new era is to express yourself as positively as possible and develop your fullest potential, which will indirectly, or perhaps even directly, develop and express this country’s potential, and set our course, and that of the world, in the right direction, lest we will very soon be dealing with even Stranger Things.

Not sure what star or stripe you have to contribute to this terra incognita? Give me buzz, I’ll help you find, inhabit and make your true Home on the Range the best it can be, so that collectively we can make Our House a very, very fine house.

(Today’s PGG was originally published on October 5, 2016)

Want to make 2018 the year to find your own terra firma but not sure how?

Contact me today and I’ll help you be the master of your domain in work & life!  

***Click here for my special Spring Cleaning private coaching offer!*** (Good through May 15th) 

Text CLEARLYKRISTINA to 22828 to be added to my mailing list and be in the loop with my coaching and workshops as well as have these essays delivered to your inbox!

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Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for up to date posts, helpful articles and inspirational thoughts.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Check out this very-roughly-edited-not-the-best-quality video of uninterrupted remarks wrapping up the workshop “Lead Yourself to Success (in Work & Life!)In this excerpt covering the final ten minutes, I summarize my thoughts about confidence, being a leader in your own life, maintaining your individuality and humanity in the times we live in, and why the world is relying on you to be successful.

Click here to watch video

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

If you like what I write, you’ll love what I have to say in person!   Click on above links for info about my coaching and speaking services and contact me today. 

Read over fifty 5-star “Yelp” style reviews here

Join Mailing List

 Like us on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter   View our profile on LinkedIn  View on Instagram                 

Read more about me and my work in these past PGG’s:

All Roads, Same Place | And Now, A Word from Our Sponsor | Strong Medicine | 10,000 Hours | A Decade of Doing What I Do | Express Yourself 

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