Archives for the month of: August, 2010

I recently attended a workshop with Erica Jong, who implored us to write the story we absolutely had to tell or we would die. She also taught us to write something that unlocks who we are, encouraged us to be ourselves, to discover and write in our own voice.  But how do you know what your voice is if you never use it? (Sorry, but tweets and texts barely count, if at all!)

You don’t need to be an aspiring blogger, poet, or novelist to heed these wise words.  I always recommend that folks write as much as they can in order to get in touch with their inner selves – a journal is a place where you can be the most free in expressing you are and what you need to say.  When connected to that internal, emotional voice honestly and often enough you will begin to reveal who you are and what is important to you, whether in career, relationships or life in general. We write what we need to read.

It’s a place to clarify your feelings, share your ideas and experiences, release the past and make plans for the future, all without judgement. Your journal is your best friend. At the very least it is a to-do list, for items big and small. The act of writing something down makes it real and tangible and helps crystallize the hurricane of thoughts and emotions we often have swirling around inside of us.

After the process of putting it all on the page, it can make us more effective in communicating what it is we need or want from others or from ourselves, and actually make sense doing so! I also suggest using a pen and paper whenever possible-  it’s more organic and raw when you take out the technological middle man.

If you access your authentic voice in writing then, as Erica said, “being an author makes you an authority.” You don’t have to be the next Maya Angelou, JD Salinger or Danielle Steele to be the author of your own life and truth. Have a little writer’s block or need a ghostwriter to help give you context or an outline of how to even begin? Just give me a buzz and I’ll have you on your own personal best-seller list before you can say Pulitzer Prize!

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In the movie Ever After, Drew Barrymore’s character Danielle asks Leonardo da Vinci, “A bird may love a fish, signore, but where will they live?”

There are some of us who like to exist more submerged, exploring inner space and our emotions like a scuba diver or that cool Deep-Sea Vehicle used to examine the Titanic wreck on the ocean floor; there are others who fly through the air and live high above the clouds flitting and fluttering this way and that, getting a brief overview of it all and only experiencing the external surface of the world. There are landlubbers, jet skiers and snorkelers who operate somewhere in between. Which one are you?

Humans are made up of at least 75% water, so it makes sense to spend a little time in the metaphorical H2O to get in touch with our feelings and desires, an honest assessment of what’s going on within, even if it’s not your regular place to hang out.  The ideal is to have the best of both worlds, to be able to move between the two when the situation demands: to be either a bird who can swim or a fish that can fly – which although rare, do indeed exist. Or maybe just change your name to Ariel.

But if you’re a little afraid of the abyss, don’t have the right gear or if you need an expert dive instructor, I’m your gal. Or perhaps you’ve been down there a while and are ready to come up for some oxygen and explore new vistas; if so just give me a buzz, and like the great Italian master (just change the o to an i) assures Danielle, “Then I shall make you wings.”

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s one of those times of year when New York City is overrun by tourists, many of which are Europeans who  take much of August for their ‘holiday’.  It’s expected that they have a minimum of four weeks off, which includes touring abroad when possible. Americans can take a hint from that mandated break, and the old world lifestyle of working to live instead of living to work.

Travel is an amazing vehicle for self-discovery and cross-cultural understanding, but you don’t have to have to rely on a Lonely Planet guide or go on a fact finding mission to Italy, India or Bali for a year to  get to know yourself and how to really live. If you took time out to reflect and rejuvenate on a more regular basis, things wouldn’t get to a breaking point that might to cause you to do something so drastic or exotic.

And you don’t have to break the bank either. Vacation simply means to ‘vacate’ from your everyday life – no matter what that means to recharge and get a different view. A simple change of scenery for even a day can do a world of good to give you fresh perspective of where you’re at – especially now before the new ‘school year’ begins and you focus on the next set of goals.

As we approach these dog days of summer, it’s a good time to check out, in order to check in with yourself whether you have a specific itinerary or simply take a mental vacation from your daily routine. Can’t quite get it together or find the perfect destination? Leave the comedy and calamity to Clark Griswold, and instead give me a buzz; I’ll be a tour guide for a smooth and easy getaway to your own personal version of Wally World!

Kristina is taking a summer break from her Personal Growth Gab duties this week, but in the meantime you can enjoy her tips quoted recently in the blog Downtown Dharma and syndicated in the Huffington Post and  Psychology Today, called The Problem with Thinking.

A client of mine recently had a job interview and the first question posed to her was, “So what do you do for fun?” Caught off guard like a deer in headlights, she searched back into the cobwebs of her memory to come up with something from the last decade.

I often advise folks to relax, take time off and have to convince them that a healthy dose of pleasure is indeed productive. When I suggest that they do something that is a treat for them, an automatic excuse is that they “can’t afford it”, but there are many things you can do that don’t cost a lot in time or money.

You can find joy and relaxation in simple pleasures like listening to your favorite music, taking a Zumba class, playing bridge, laughing with a good friend, cooking a delicious meal, being on the beach at sunset or sunrise, talking a walk at lunchtime, riding a roller coaster, drinking a cold beer on a hot summer day, cuddling with your pet, reading a good/ trashy novel or fashion/tabloid magazine, or enjoying the swirly goodness of Pinkberry made extra special by half -off happy hour prices!

And don’t forget, our bodies are built for pleasure, so be sure to make time for that, too, and reap the scientifically proven benefits that accompany a good roll in the hay with that special someone in person, or in your head….(Javier Bardem anyone?)

All work and no play, or too much play and not enough work, will most definitely not keep the doctor away. As in all things, balance and awareness is key. Taking a few moments, hours, and days to adjust on a regular basis will make your life more refreshed, energized and focused – and contribute to landing that next job!

So if the last time you remember having fun dates back to Janet Jackson’s 1986 hit song, or you can’t seem to allow yourself to let go now and then, give me a buzz and I’ll give you the permission you need to put the pep back in your step and the zest back in your quest.

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