Archives for the month of: August, 2013

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace. ~ Jimi Hendrix

If you have been receiving PGGs for a while, or have worked with me individually or come to one of my group sessions, you know that I talk a lot about love. But the love that I talk about is not some airy-fairy, nambi-pambi, hippie-dippy notion or one that has been misused, watered-down, misunderstood or simply lost its meaning with lip service.

Real love is the real deal. As Mahatma Gandhi says “Love is the strongest force the world possesses and yet it is the humblest imaginable.”  Fifty years ago we witnessed an era where our Civil Rights leaders and all those who were part of that struggle dug deep and called upon this force within themselves to withstand the immense opposition and cruelty they experienced on a daily basis in order to transform society as it existed at the time.

More recently we could not have had a more immediate, direct and tangible example of this phenomenon when one single woman, Antoinette Tuff, used it to save the lives of over 800 people, most of them children, from a lone, heavily loaded mentally ill gunman in Decatur, Georgia.  If you do not know the story, or haven’t seen this extraordinary woman talk about what happened, you must learn about her. (Google the numerous stories, or watch this interview and  listen to the entire 911 call).

As humans we are all built from the same stuff.  Love doesn’t know race, sexual orientation or religion – if you are human you can love.  If you are human you respond to love.  As Antoinette and Michael Stipe say, Everybody Hurts sometimes. Everyone needs connection and affection.  Compassion and empathy are palpable and are the best antidotes to fear and pain.

If you’ve seen me speak, you know I am always mentioning the fact that the root of the word for courage is Latin for ‘heart’.  Which means that true bravery is about connecting to that part of yourself, knowing its innate power, and having faith in a force greater and wiser than yourself (or beyond your ego/brain).

So the next time you find yourself in a challenging situation or being attacked in some form, whether it be mental, emotional, or yes, sometimes even physical, instead of using violence to counteract violence, why not call upon the most powerful weapon at your disposal: L.O.V.E.  

Need a little help harnessing the heft of your heart? Give me a buzz and I will show you how to give it a good work-out, because at the end of the day love like is a muscle – the more you use it, the stronger it will become – and who knows what miracles will occur in your life or the lives of others because of it!

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Do you have the discipline to be a free spirit? ~ Gabrielle Roth

In the movie Silver Linings Playbook, the main characters Pat and Tiffany are in training for a big dance competition that turns out to be much more than a fancy booty shaking contest. A unique romantic dramedy, it’s a film that shows there is a fine line between sanity and insanity, acceptable versus unacceptable behavior, and the beauty of living life to the beat of your own drum.

In the movie The Sessions, Mark O’Brien is confined to an iron lung 20 hours a day, existing on a gurney unable to move from the neck down, and yet he writes poetry, is a professional journalist and decides to hire a sex surrogate so he can experience the most human of experiences. We go along on his journey (based on a true story!) and find him to be one of the most alive, loving and liberated individuals to have ever lived despite such extreme physical limitations.

And as seen in the movie Lincoln, our 16th president is clearly not your Average Joe. He was always thinking out of the box, used his quirky sense of humor to diffuse or illuminate situations, and took numerous risks throughout the most heart-wrenching circumstances our country has endured. He stretched the Constitution to its limit, working within an established framework while implementing his own interpretation and/or bending the rules based on his hard-earned wisdom, keen observations and superior judgment as unprecedented needs arose and critical decisions had to be made in order for progress to occur.

In the conscious movement class I take, we are told to ‘dance it your way’ and have breaks of ‘free dance’ where we boogie as we see fit; it’s not chaotic because there is an organized structure and unity contained within the flow as we come back together intermittently as a group throughout the hour. It’s a super-small class because for many people, when given the opportunity to move and think for themselves, even for just a few moments, is a daunting and uncomfortable feeling; it’s an empowering exercise that requires more effort and less inhibition, and many simply don’t know what to do if they are not following the instructor. And that, my friends, is indicative of a larger problem with implications reaching much farther than a gym studio.

Spielberg’s Lincoln asks, “Do you think we choose to be born? Or are we fitted to the times we’re born into?” As citizens of the 21st century, we are certainly living in extraordinary times that will require us to become the fullest and most unique beings we are meant to be. We each have something that needs to be expressed, something that no other person on this planet, no one who has come before or will come after can express. Right now we need new ways of looking at old problems and to change old ways in order deal with new problems, so it’s more important than ever for you to do your own thang, because there is no other way to generate inspiration and birth innovation.

In any era it’s easy to get stuck in past habits and sucked into the zeitgeist of the day. Resist the urge to follow the herd, fight to honor yourself, think and speak your own thoughts and begin to know and create yourself anew every moment of every day instead of getting swept up by social media, news, commercials, and even your peer groups, work and ethnic cultures or family and friends who are all, consciously or not, forces that can easily grab hold of your mind, body, spirit and/or bank account. Don’t let your physical characteristics, family roots or societal dictates squash all the rhythms inside you that might be quite different from what those outside influences might have you believe, say or do.

Not sure exactly what your groove thing is? Give me a buzz and I’ll get you started with some basic choreography and point you in the right direction, because ultimately You Should Be Dancing your own steps throughout life, hopefully with a fun disco floor beneath your feet along the way!

Today’s PGG was originally posted on November 28, 2012

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 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 un-official 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 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 is your most precious resource.  I can tell you this: punishing and beating yourself up is a waste of that precious commodity and serves no purpose whatsoever (besides the fact 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 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!

For related thoughts on this topic, check out my posts Mommie Dearest and The Present of Presence

Every life we have some trouble, but when you worry you make it double. ~ Bobby McFerrin

As the saying goes, there are three things that are certain in life: death, taxes and change. Change comes in all shapes and sizes, some more scary than others. Climate change, career change, graduations, marriages and relationships changes, TV changes, sex changes, change of residences, and regime change to name a few – and June seems chock full of them!

The reality is that time keeps on slippin’ into the future, so we have no choice in the matter of change, because like Kevin James’ dancing in Hitch [ff to 2:10], “You can’t stop this, you cannnoottt stop it… ”

Most folks have a hard time with change. We’d rather stay comfy and/or miserable rather than letting go of our crutches and seeing what else life might have in store us. We cannot control things but we can control how we respond to them: we can resist and go kicking and screaming or we can accept that change happens, and just go with the flow.

Going with the flow means listening to yourself, and giving yourself what you need at any particular moment. The best way to navigate change is to trust in yourself and be your own best counsel, so it’s important to have that ‘muscle’ in place as you go over the white water rapids of feelings that come with this thing called life.

Change is not always fun, but it’s almost always for the better, because change forces growth and growth is good. And once the change happens, we can’t be like a goldfish who lived in a fishbowl his whole life but then when put into the ocean still swims around in a little circle as if he were still in a bowl!

David Bowie tells us time can change you but you can’t trace time. So this summer, if you feel you are ready to be hatched, then fly, be free! Not quite like Mork’s egg, but more like Steve Miller’s Eagle or with the help of Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds and the wonder of that other Stevie who sings, Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing

But if you’re not quite ready to fly the coop, walk without those crutches, or swim in the big blue ocean, give me a buzz and you can Lean on Me until you get strong and carry on!

(Today’s PGG was originally posted on June 7, 2011)

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