Archives for the month of: February, 2013

It used to be that scary movies only came out around Halloween, and there were just a handful at that.  Nowadays they seem to be released throughout the year in waves and are more creepy, disturbing and bloody than ever.

Besides the usual monster mashes and alien invasions, there are the stories that prey on our defenselessness to natural disasters, biological vulnerabilities and other such forces beyond our control. And then there are the films and shows that simply glamorize and cool-ify violence and revenge, and types of people who are clearly negative, like serial killers, drug dealers, vampires, ghosts and witches to name a few.  That last group scares me the most, as they are slowly but surely desensitizing us to characters with qualities we should not want to be chummy or fall in love with.  But I digress…

When it comes to our ‘real’ lives, there are all sorts of metaphoric and literal things that go bump in the night, but the biggest one and root cause of all the others is the fear of the unknown. Whether wondering what that noise in the basement is, what havoc a major hurricane, earthquake or terrorist attack will wreak, to being unsure of where your next meal, paycheck or retirement income will come from, or what happens when you have to speak in front of a crowd or after you take your last breath…. all the possibilities that can run rampant in your head boils down to one outcome: not knowing what the outcome is.

Most humans, especially Americans, and particularly New Yorkers, like to control everything. And because we are constantly active and living in this 21st century distraction-filled and overstimulated world, the paradox and irony of the antidote to the fear of the unknown is for many the biggest fear of all: knowing ourselves.  

The best way to deal with any fear and anxiety (no, not grabbing for a xanax) is by being in the present deal and with what is right now, not what was or what could be.  And to be in the present you have to be with yourself.

By being in touch and comfortable with who you are and what you know and are capable of, you can take control of your life in a healthy way and come to trust in the process of a Universe that is always conspiring for your good. At the same time you must be vigilant and discerning as to what might be posing an actual threat or leading you astray.  The goal is to balance that faith and trust with information, knowledge and understanding by being practical, realistic and prepared without becoming or succumbing to an alarmist, getting caught up in others’ fears or letting your imagination run wild – because it’s almost never as bad as we think it will be.

There is a school of thought that says the opposite of love is fear, which makes sense since the way to overcome fear is with courage, a word whose Latin root means ‘heart’, the muscle we use to express – you got it: love. So whatever it is you are currently afraid of,  Put a Little Love in Your Heart and notice the fear starts to melt away.

Feeling like the Lion in the Land of Oz?  Give me a buzz and I’ll show you what fears are real and imagined, and help you develop the courage to move forward on your own personal yellow brick road. I promise you’ll be stronger, braver and wiser for having made the leap of faith to a new normal where you will wonder ‘what was I so afraid of in the first place’? 

(Originally posted on August 30, 2011)

Newton’s famous law states that a body at rest stays at rest and a body in motion will stay in motion until some external force acts upon it.  With our 24/7 always on, hyper-connected, over-achieving, digital info-media world, most 21st century Americans live in a flow of perpetual momentum with no end in sight. Neither extreme is good, so to balance ourselves we must consciously and continuously self-regulate and self-impose as a rejuvenating and/or preventative measure the act of stopping all activity from time to time. Yes, I said stop. all. activity.   

I think pretty much all the time, about practical and bigger picture things, reflecting on the state of the world, my life, my work, analyzing, understanding, observing and being as aware as possible every waking moment, and of course am not immune to the stresses that everyday life and being human entails.  This past weekend I ‘slept’ for almost an entire day. But not due of lack of zzzz’s, or being sick, depressed or eating bad food – simply because after everything I’ve been dealing with the past month or two, my mind, emotions and body needed for me to temporarily shut down. I had nothing pressing going on, which the wisdom in my body knew, and said to me as it does every now and then: time for a rest.  

Just like bears that hibernate each winter, we need to take a periodic pause – especially after or during a busy, challenging or stressful period to let our bodies be still on all levels so we can re-connect, re-group and emerge refreshed and re-energized to our lives and the tasks at hand. That means [gasp] disconnect from technology and interacting with other people if possible so as not to expend any physical, mental or emotional juice.  

You can sleep or not sleep but there should be no distractions, or even sound if you can swing it. And no thinking, no reading, no writing. And no guilt.  Just luxuriate in the nothingness. Schedule and treat it as if it were a doctor’s appointment or trip to a resort spa – because it is that crucial to your physical and mental health. In other words, why not give your body and mind a break before they break down on you?

Our society promotes getting it all done, all the time, which can take its toll when not interspersed with some serious downtime, which most folks only allow themselves when things have gotten so bad they are physically ill.  Keep in mind though that you might be getting enough sleep and eating right, and not have the flu, but when dealing with an ongoing stressful situation(s), you burn a different type of energy that needs to be replenished with rest.  And resting is different from relaxing…but if you can’t rest, then relaxing is better than nothing!   

Because I’m pretty good at daily maintenance, I am generally healthy and balanced (including a weekly 24-hour no-computer usage rule) so I know when it’s time to heed the call in order to nip anything else in the bud.(And hey, most of the news, entertainment, activity, tweets would be ‘missing’ is non-essential, irrelevant and often nonsensical anyway – so really, let it go!)

Stress is inevitable, it’s how we manage it that counts, and rest plays a big part. Need help getting going or putting on the brakes? Give me a buzz and I can be the external force that gets the ball moving or the hand that stops you in your track, so you can get back on the right one! 

For related thoughts on this topic check outThe Pleasure Principle and Slow Down You Move to Fast

Actors, when interviewed about their craft, often talk about finding out what the ‘truth’ of the situation is for their part; Shakespeare tells us “all the world’s a stage; all the men and women merely players.

We are all characters in our own play or movie acting out daily scenes, but it’s easy to forget that we’re also the producers, writers and directors, especially when it comes to our relationships.  We can cast to a certain extent who is in our life, assign them certain roles and create all the drama, comedy and romance that we want.  We can even re-write the script when we have the courage to do so.

The best way to do this is to be honest with yourself so that you can communicate from the heart exactly what it is that you want and need. Most of us do not walk around with ESP, so it’s really up to you to say what you mean and mean what you say (in an appropriate way, of course!) and let the chips fall where they may, knowing that you honored what is real and true for you.

If it’s not a common practice, speaking your truth can feel uncomfortable and even messy, and can make you or the other person feel like a deer in headlights- but at least you’ll get to the bottom of things and set the stage to make the next scene better.

You can run but you can’t hide from the truth, and telling it to yourself is the first step.  If you’re too scared or unable to see it, give me a buzz – I can be the spotlight that illuminates what’s really going on and help you create the starring role with a happy ending you so deserve!

(Today’s PGG was originally posted May 18, 2010)

With the current release of films like Lincoln and Django Unchained, and BET’s bringing the acclaimed ’70’s TV series Roots out of the vault, there’s been a spotlight on and discussion about this essential part of our nation’s history both on screen and off.   

Whether or not you are a direct descendant of someone who lived or worked on a plantation in the 19th century, all of us in the 21st century, no matter who or where we came from, can check in to see which areas of our lives need to be emancipated from the tyranny of whatever is keeping us down, holding us back and making us feel ‘less-than’ in both subtle and overt ways.   

Oprah expressed it perfectly when she called slavery “A machine to create inferiority.”  You can only imagine what amazing strength, utter self-belief and profound self-worth was required to break out of that mentality, to really know who you are and be able to simply exist, let alone thrive, despite others perceiving you, and often treating you in, well, let’s just say a most unfavorable way. What it would take to preserve and protect your self, your spirit and your soul under such circumstances is beyond comprehension.

We certainly continue to struggle with the legacy and repercussions of slavery in terms of race on a daily basis in a variety of ways, while at the same time have come very far. But regardless of the color of our skin, there are more inconspicuous ways that we are judged by others, much of which has to do with what we think of ourselves when we look in the mirror, are alone with our thoughts and by the choices we make in every area of our lives.

The foundation of who we are reaches far and wide throughout our work, relationships, health and everyday life so the stronger and deeper your tree grows, the more you can weather even a storm like Sandy. Yes, you might lose a few branches along the way, but you won’t be knocked out for good! So take some time this month to connect to the root of who you are, using this last part of winter to develop, heal and love yourself so you can blossom more fully come Spring. 

You might have some family roots to dig up or some grass roots to build up in the process, but the bottom line is that if you look at any problem, challenge or change you want to make and trace it back to it’s ultimate root, if you’re honest with yourself, will find that the buck stops with you. Remember, this is always good news – because that means you can do something about it. 

Having a little trouble connecting all the genealogical dots of your career and/or life? Give me a buzz and I will get to the root the matter, so just like Alex and Kunta in Africa, we can find you!

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