Archives for the month of: November, 2011

Rules are mostly made to be broken and are too often for the lazy to hide behind. ~Douglas MacArthur

There are no rules here — we’re trying to accomplish something. ~ Thomas Alva Edison

One of my all-time favorite films is Strictly Ballroom for a variety of reasons, one of which is how the main character, a world class ballroom dancer wants to use his own steps in competition and the outrage and ultimately, delight, it causes.  I’ve always loved to dance, but hated formal exercise.  Since I’m not out at the clubs much these days, Zumba and CardioSalsa at the gym have filled the gap; but I never was into doing exactly what was presented – I generally stand in the back enjoying the music and sort of go along with the group.

I recently found a new class called NIA that is perfect for me – it includes sections for “free dance” and encourages you to “dance it your way.”  It kind of looks like hippie dancing, or what you might do if you were in your room when no one was watching; it’s a great workout that speaks to my body in a way that makes me feel good.

This time of year especially is filled with many traditions and routines, along with thoughts about the changes we want to make in the New Year.  My Mom has always made the holidays extra-special with borderline excessive (but not at all tacky) decorations around her home, and this year she just wasn’t feeling it. When I suggested she could put the tree up with a few accent pieces instead of doing the whole Winter Wonderland/Santa’s Workshop she thought it was impossible – it had to be all or nothing.

I insisted it could be done – and took some of the items she put in the same place every year and used them differently.  She fought with me tooth and nail until I proved they would indeed fit in spots she said they wouldn’t. The house looks festive and the mission was accomplished – it feels like a maximum amount of decor with minimal amount of effort!  But it was her resistance to change and incredulity that several options and alternatives existed which were the hardest parts to tackle – she simply couldn’t see any other way except how she’s done it year after year.

Tradition can be a good thing, but it’s important to know when those traditions and routines are serving  or restricting us.  Sometimes you just gotta break the rules, think out of the box, do it ‘your way’. Where we would we be without the hundreds and thousands of rule-breakers both known and unknown in every field, especially the arts, science, fashion, and civil rights?

But the truth is that often our most fervent rules and regulations have been totally self-imposed, and/or are no longer necessary. It’s easy to get caught up doing the same old thing just because that’s the way we’ve always done it.  Sometimes we need a fresh eye, another brain, to look at the same situation and come up with a new solution, a new way of doing things that you couldn’t see because you were too close/it was too engrained in your psyche.

Wondering if change will serve you better than reinforcing the ‘rules’ you have in place right now, or which walls need to come Tumblin Down and be replaced with some new Moves Like Jagger?  Give me a buzz and I’ll be the law enforcement that looks the other way and the instructor that helps you create the right combination of funky steps you can dance to the beat of your own drum!

Kristina is taking a break from Personal Growth Gab this week but is re-posting a blast from November 2010 here. Happy Thanksgiving!

Whenever the fourth Thursday in November rolls around, we are meant to reflect on all the blessings in our lives. Traditionally that would imply appreciating all that is good or positive and bring us joy and happiness or that we could not live without.

While that is certainly warranted, why not also be grateful for the funky, not-so-positive, annoying and pain-in-the-you-know- where stuff as well: the people, things and situations that challenge us, push our buttons or make us feel uncomfortable.

There is a saying that “There are no problems, only opportunities.” Our crises and difficulties are chances for us to test our mettle, see what we’re made of, and to become stronger and wiser for it. They are occasions for us to make course corrections, adjustments, tune-ups and put ourselves back in balance or on track, or perhaps a different, better track. If things went great all the time you wouldn’t have to dig deep, really look at yourself, search within for answers, find new creative ways of doing things.

Innovation is problem solving at its most basic level  (just watch those Dyson commercials), so where would we be without all the problems we’ve had? Whether unemployed, having a health crisis or trouble in your personal or professional relationships, take a step back and see what is the Universe trying to show/teach you?  Remember those carbon atoms wouldn’t become diamonds without extreme high pressure and heat.

So this year, be thankful not only for the bird that you are about to eat (or tofurkey if that is more your style) but for all those ‘turkeys’ in your life: those folks and circumstances that have given you stress and grief but allowed you to go through and overcome whatever you needed to in order to grow and become the person that you are today.

And if you need a little help seeing how the cr*p in your life is really cool, give me a buzz and we’ll figure  out what should be basted and tasted, and what is simply a little fat that needs to be trimmed.

We’re working our jobs, collect our pay
Believe we’re gliding down the highway, when in fact we’re slip slidin’ away Paul Simon

How is it that next week is Thanksgiving?! I’m not sure why the older we get the faster time seems to go, but coupled with the technological superhighway we’ve been on, the perception of it is certainly speeding up and life is passing us by in a blink of an eye.

Between the boob tube, a gazillion distractions on the internet, aimless nights out on the town or sales at the mall, and whatever celebrity gossip channels and news media outlets force us to be focused on at the moment, it’s easy to lose track of what we can control and create for ourselves.

And no matter what you do for a living, it’s easy to let the daily grind eat up your days;  if you’re not connected in a meaningful way to your work it makes it worse, and if you have others to care for on top of your own stuff that adds even more to your load.  Whew!

This is why it’s so important to stop every now and then – daily, weekly, monthly quarterly – the more the better – to see what’s really happening in your life, rather than perpetually going through the motions to get through the day.

I am constantly reminding my audiences and clients that our time and energy are our most precious resources, so with only seven weeks left of 2011, take this opportunity to check in to see if you’ve been using yours the way you said you would back in January.  Have you checked off all the things you wanted to accomplish before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st?  If not, there’s still a reasonable amount of time to do something about a few of them I’m sure.

It’s also that time of year when we reflect upon all the blessings in our lives – and no matter how challenging things might be, we can always find something for which to give thanks.

Because unlike the shows on our DVR’s, we cannot simply rewind our lives and recover lost time, but we can review for ourselves what’s transpired in order to learn from our experiences and move forward with a better understanding and clearer purpose for whatever is next on the horizon.

Not sure where the minutes, hours and days are going, what you did with the ones you had, or feel like you don’t have anything to put on your gratitude list this year?  You can get some ideas from Alanis, or simply give me a buzz – we’ll do an instant replay and send you on your way!


P.S.I am very grateful for all of you out there who continue to read my thoughts in these blasts, with a special shout-out to those who take the time to give me your feedback – it lets me know that the 5-7 hours I spend working on them each week are not in vain or wasted away in some digital black hole….Merci, gracias, danke, xie xie!

“There’s just me.” ~ Jill Scott 

The number one has always garnered a lot of attention. With all that talk about the top 1%, who came in first place and what gets to be number one on which list, it should be no surprise there has been lots of hoopla about last week’s date, 1-1-11, and even more for this Friday, 11-11-11.

It only takes one person to change the world (for good or bad), and whether conscious of it or not, we all strive to have those blissful moments of becoming one with something or someone outside ourselves; it can happen with your loved one, but also with your dance partner, your paintbrush, your horse,  your golf club, your violin, with Nature and the whole of humanity.

We also need to take care number one, because if you don’t who will? How can you help anyone else if you haven’t first cared for yourself?  And hey, if you’re happy there’s a much greater chance of everyone around you being happy too, just like the pebble thrown in a pond whose ripples go out far beyond…

And one doesn’t have to be the Loneliest Number, because at the end of the day you’re the only one you’ve got – no one else can inhabit your body, mind and spirit and experience your challenges and successes. You are ultimately responsible for your joy and fulfillment, how you relate to the world and make the most of what you’ve been given.  We only have One Live to Live, so how can you know and love who you are and what you think, feel and desire if you don’t spend some quality alone time with yourself on a regular basis?

The proverbial saying tells us a journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step, so now is as potent a time as any to finally make some effort, take some action towards a goal or way of being that you want to achieve and/or be open to discover new, unimagined opportunities and vistas that may bring you out of your comfort zone but closer to your best life.

As Bono sings, we’re One, but we’re not the same; we’ve got to carry each other, so give me a buzz and I’ll help you figure out how there’s just One in a Million You, show you what should be Numero Uno in your life right now and move you towards feeling One Love more than ever!

I walk.  A lot.  My feet are my major source of transportation, as my Manhattan abode and general goings-on allow me to do so with relative ease.  It’s nothing for me to walk 30 blocks instead taking a subway, bus or cab.  If the ride is going to be 25 minutes or less plus walking to/from the destination, I often prefer to hoof it for the fresh air, exercise and lack of crowds, plus I save a few bucks and sometimes it’s actually faster!  I put on my Ipod, clear my mind and de-stress with each step; I consider it a moving meditation and wonder what discoveries I’ll make along the way.

But in the Big Apple with its hustle and bustle, we must walk around with a little protective bubble around us to keep us sane and safe – because if we truly took everything in all at once there would be serious stimulation overload, and perhaps a few unpleasant experiences.

Sometimes though, people take being in their own world to the extreme. I regularly observe legally blind men and women fumble or wait at a corner only to have folks of all kinds pass them by as if they were invisible.  Perhaps a few notice but not sure what to do or are uncomfortable approaching a stranger.  I generally ask, “Do you need any assistance?”  Sometimes the answer is “No, thank you,”  but more often than not they just need to be pointed in the right direction, know if it’s okay to cross the street or confirm what block they are on.  Other times I’m met with profound relief as they grab my arm while I escort them wherever they need to go.

It never takes more than a minute or two, and the fact that no one else seemed to care upsets me every time. All it means is being a little more aware of your surroundings, which is a good thing no matter what, while still maintaining your “Don’t mess with me” NYC look and attitude as you strut you stuff.

But I realize there’s also something deeper to be learned from these moments, especially when they occur more than once in the course of a week: What is it that I’m not seeing in my own life?  Where is my blind spot? Or how can I do more to show others what they cannot see for themselves?

So big guy (or gal), asking for direction(s) is never easy, but we all need help now and then. Looking for some assistance getting from point A to B?  Give me a buzz and I’ll be happy to get you on the right path and walk you through, step by step, guiding as much or as little as you’d like along the way!

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