Archives for the month of: July, 2016

Truth is a deep kindness that teaches us to be content in our everyday life and share with the people the same happiness . ~ Khalil Gibran

If you look for truth, you may get comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and, in the end, despair. ~ C.S. Lewis

New Year’s always stirs up thoughts about what we want to change in our lives, but that means you need to have a good idea of what needs to change in the first place – and like the famous prayer says, have the serenity to accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Getting to that accurate perception is the first step, and might actually be more important than making the change; therefore perhaps our work this year is to ‘snap out of it’ and instead see ourselves, situations and people as they really are, not how we’d like them to be.  Then and only then can real change begin.

Humans, especially 21st century versions, want what we want when we want it; our media and technology only makes this worse, fueling our impulses and imagination with its magnified distortion of time, place and interaction; they enable us to more easily delude ourselves in thinking our situation is one way when it is in fact another; when we think a job, our health, or a relationship is positive when it’s not, or vice versa. They distract us and makes us forget that anything lasting is a process and requires massive amounts of reflection, patience and perseverance.

As the biblical saying goes, ‘Know the truth and the truth shall set you free’.  It’s not always fun getting there. Letting go of lifelong dreams and illusions as well as accepting ourselves, people and circumstances as they are- relinquishing any hope that they are or will become what or who you wish them to be- can be extremely painful and, in fact, feel like a death that you need to grieve.

The good news is that knowing and accepting the truth affords us a more profound, productive and meaningful life experience when we know what is real. When we live from that place we can then make better decisions about addressing any situation, how to improve it or let it go – the more accurate the assessment, the more effective the solution can be.

Because of my talent for connecting the dots, cutting through the ‘crap’ and getting to the root of things quickly and directly, my clients might not like what I have to tell them at first – yet they always come back to me days, weeks or years later and admit it was not necessarily what they wanted to hear, but ultimately exactly what they needed at the time. (And saved them thousands of dollars in therapy!)

The truth can be overwhelming but once you acknowledge it, you can really start to move forward. So before you seriously embark any resolutions, begin there. It’s strong medicine to start off the year, but essential if you want to get healthy in any area of your life.

Feeling like A Change is Gonna Come, but not sure how to make it happen? Give me a buzz and I’ll be the doctor with the diagnosis and that spoon full of sugar to make the medicine go down!❤

(*Today’s PGG was originally posted on January 7, 2014)

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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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CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE Personal Growth Gab (PGG) Volume One FROM AMAZON

FEELING STUCK IN YOUR CAREER? CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO!  

Last November I was one of the career experts featured in a panel discussion hosted by The Muse.  Here is the full length video where you can hear my thoughts on career transition, working with a coach, building confidence and handling emotions in the workplace.

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The only thing we have to fear is fear itself . ~ FDR

Do the thing you fear the most and the death of fear is certain. ~ Mark Twain

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. Then there are the films and shows that simply glamorize and cool-ify violence and revenge as well as 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, 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 a Xanax) is to be in the present and confront 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?    

Today’s PGG was originally posted on August 30, 2011)

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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.

Join Mailing List
Like me on Facebook  Follow me on Twitter

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE Personal Growth Gab (PGG) Volume One FROM AMAZON

FEELING STUCK IN YOUR CAREER? CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO!  

Last November I was one of the career experts featured in a panel discussion hosted by The Muse.  Here is the full length video where you can hear my thoughts on career transition, working with a coach, building confidence and handling emotions in the workplace.

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 was white – with the bonus of having very blonde 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 phenomena and may apply to less 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 misperception, institutionalized prejudice, fear, bias and/or hatred the majority of those of darker shades must endure, and are too often endangered by.

I realize in telling you this story I may sound naive, but you have to know this came at a time to someone who from childhood in theory, and more than ten years prior to that moment, in practice, was not only quite aware of, but particularly passionate about, the issue of racial inequality and had many interpersonal experiences, observations and relationships informing a significant understanding of the complexities all that entails – earlier that year I had even started a non-profit organization to dispel stereotypes and bigotry in order to bring women together to “Recognize Our Unity” and “Celebrate 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 up until that point in my life, because I am White, had only been subtly 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 got to experience 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 them.  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 only going to 78th between First and Second, probably one of the Whitest blocks in the city.  It was perhaps the closest I will come to know 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 my talk at the NY 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 to me what he had written down so he could make positive change going forward. He then said he had recently been released from federal prison, would I be willing to work with people 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.

What we are dealing with in the aftermath of injustice after injustice against people of color are 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 was originally posted on December 5, 2014)

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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.

Join Mailing List
Like me on Facebook  Follow me on Twitter

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE Personal Growth Gab (PGG) Volume One FROM AMAZON

FEELING STUCK IN YOUR CAREER? CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO!  

Last November I was one of the career experts featured in a panel discussion hosted by The Muse.  Here is the full length video where you can hear my thoughts on career transition, working with a coach, building confidence and handling emotions in the workplace.

I got my patience and I’m making do

I learned my lessons from the ancient roots

I choose to follow what the greatest do ~ Anderson .Paak, The Bird

We’ve been through, and continue to go through, so much turmoil and loss these days it seems to be the norm as we move from one tragedy and outrage to the next.

Just like a kid going through puberty, America seems to be having a growth spurt as if we are in junior high all over again, with the requisite bullying, name calling, ugliness, awkwardness, manipulative reasoning, unnecessary emotional and physical cruelty, faulty judgment and disturbing sensationalism that come along with adolescent behavior, only to be magnified, rewarded and abused by the internet, social media and reality television (which includes our news broadcasts).

As the experiment that our country is, we have always needed extraordinary people to rise above the fray, to serve as a moral voice and bearers of Light, Love, Peace, Justice and Reason; to make sure our hormones and lower selves don’t rule the day, that neither mob mentality nor corruption of power or relentless greed takes hold in a way we will eternally regret; to steward our democracy and remind and inspire us through their words and deeds that our “better angels” must prevail.

The passing of Elise Wiesel, one of the most influential standard bearers of our time, significantly and symbolically, just before our Independence Day celebration, was not lost on me, however it did seem to get lost in the shuffle of hysteria and hyperbole that we unfortunately have also come to know as the norm in our mainstream media and discourse.

When I turned on the television Sunday morning, no one was talking about or honoring this great man with any sort of coverage like we saw with two other great souls we lost recently; Prince and Muhammad Ali.  Instead all I saw was nonstop regurgitating and fanning the flames of the mudslinging and nastiness between the two presumptive presidential candidates, and the other incessant topic of terrorism, with the headline in big bold letters, “Why They Hate Us.”

It made my stomach sick that such an opportunity to focus on what Elie Wiesel’s message was and what his life represented was not used, consciously or not, as a balm, an antidote to all the negativity being spewed. And it made me sad to think that yet another giant of goodness and voice of decency has left the planet, because who is coming up behind them?

We cannot underestimate the impact these three humans had on our modern times and how the lack of their presence will create a void, a vacuum that needs to be filled with comparable or better than the gifts they bestowed on us:

Prince, a musical genius whose example of profound and prolific creativity, encouraged us to get our sexy on, to not deny those natural, healthy urges because when repressed too long and too far down come out mutated as rape culture and generalized violence; he wanted us to make love not war with each other and was a behind the scenes crusader for social justice.

Muhammad Ali, a tower of strength, boldness and courage, who taught us self-worth and discipline and being your own moral authority, asserting that right when necessary even if it goes against popular opinion, personal gain and an unjust system.  He taught us that standing up for justice and equality, and fiercely defending the concepts of religious and racial tolerance and love for all people everywhere is the greatest fight of all.

Elie Wiesel, who understood pain and horror on an unimaginable scale firsthand, served as a witness to and reminder of the worst we are capable of doing to each other, and yet turned his experience into one of insisting that we bring out the best in each other, emphasizing the importance and value of friendship and brotherhood, that we should never be silent in the face of injustice anywhere to anyone, and that the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.

On the outside, these humanitarians couldn’t be more different: just think of the contrast between Muhammad Ali, physically big, strong and conventionally attractive, who was outspoken and sought the media spotlight and challenged authority, with Prince, a wisp of a thing probably no wider than one of Ali’s legs, extremely soft spoken and media shy almost to the point of being a recluse (yet interestingly Ali often made himself “smaller” while in the boxing ring to tire or outwit his opponent, whereas Price exploded into something much larger than life on stage). And then of course there is Wiesel, known more as an older man, who because of his minority status as a European Jew during WWII was literally fated to be extinguished, instead became a beacon of light to humanity, especially to those who are persecuted anywhere.  Yet they shared so much in common.

We can also talk about the price of not heeding, or expressing the inversion, of their ideals and principles, like the Orlando massacre, the Brexit vote and the terrorist attack in Istanbul. In their most simplistic terms you could deduce that the Orlando massacre was caused by the repressed sexual feelings of the shooter (Prince), the Brexit vote was about not accepting the “other” and challenging authority to mandate that view (Muhammad Ali), and the terrorist attack in Istanbul using religion to justify the annihilation of another (Elie Wiesel).

With the departure of each of these great souls (Nelson Mandela, Grace Lee Boggs, Maya Angelou to name a few others we’ve lost over the past few years), it feels more and more auspicious; I keep wondering who is going to take their places (because no one could fill their shoes), who will demonstrate wisdom and profiles in courage, who will be the new voices?  It was encouraging that Jessie Williams seems to be walking that path with his activism and incisive passionate speech on BET about institutional racism, there is Rebecca Solnit or Tim DeChrisptopher fighting for climate change and protesting the destruction of the environment…But where is their airplay, as most of you have probably never heard of them.  If Elie Wiesel couldn’t get it, why would they?

More importantly though:  What is your voice putting out there?  What is the message of your life? What example, inspiration, motivation are you being to others?

It is no coincidence that Hamilton, the Musical is the phenomenon that it is it RIGHT NOW. There is a certain magic and Universal order to these events; yes you can say the talented performers, and of course concept and writing are to “blame” — but why now, why was this birthed at this particular moment in time and not five years ago or in five years?

I also find it interesting that some our biggest and most socially aware and/or politically active, and aging musicians are on tour this summer, perhaps for their last, like Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel and Sting, Van Morrison, and Dolly Parton; artists who have been around for decades with socially conscious messages, bridging cultures and creating thoughtful lyrics and positive vibes, thankfully playing to thousands of people to help counteract the opposite that abounds.   And it seems the only movies out there are superheroes or supernatural demons. Again, I don’t think any of this is a coincidence.

I bring all of this to your attention because it seems that everyone has been experiencing their own personal crisis’ and can barely get their heads above water, and when they do come up for air the world seems to be falling apart and things are just too overwhelming to try to comprehend or relate to, and/or they feel powerless to do anything about it.  But it’s so important that we find a way to connect our own lives and those of our neighbors both next door and around the globe and take whatever actions we can to make it better, lest we wake up one day and find a world that we simply do not recognize or feel a part of at the least, and are oppressed by or fearful of at the worst.

So instead of being swept up in the events of the day, week or month, find a balance between being aware and caring, and do whatever little bit you can to bring love, compassion, tolerance, peace into the world in your own way – choose to show kindness to a stranger or family member, make art, put out a positive post on your social media, allow yourself to relax and breathe, express love to someone you are not feeling so loving toward; try to understand and even stand up for someone instead of dismiss or shout at them, especially if they have a different skin color, religion or political view.

Unconscious times call for as many people to become as conscious as possible, and to make an effort. Look at your own internal structures and see what can be healed or repaired, where can bridges be built in your own sphere of influence, in your family, community, even workplace? Be courageous like Muhammad Ali, and take a stand for peace and justice, be creative like Prince and make art and love, be compassionate like Elie Wiesel and do not give into revenge or hatred of your real or perceived enemy.

Not sure where to start, what needs to change, or how you can make a difference? Give me a buzz and I’ll help you fly like a butterfly and sting like a bee, while playing the ten instruments wearing purple, getting you one step closer to being considered for your version of a Nobel Prize!

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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.

Join Mailing List
Like me on Facebook  Follow me on Twitter

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE Personal Growth Gab (PGG) Volume One FROM AMAZON

FEELING STUCK IN YOUR CAREER? CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO!  

  Last November I was one of the career experts featured in a panel discussion hosted by The Muse.  Here is the full length video where you can hear my thoughts on career transition, working with a coach, building confidence and handling emotions in the workplace.

Our founding fathers, mothers, cousins and friends infused our nation with extraordinary concepts of human evolution and the ideals of true freedom, and we have much to thank them for.

Their “greatest social experiment in history” has had its ups and downs, and our culture is in constant motion – good, bad or otherwise- because of it. Although we no longer exist beneath the thumb of our former rulers across the pond, we all live to some extent under the control of something or someone.

July then is a great time to step back from, reflect upon and extricate yourself from whatever that might be – whether technology, bright shiny things, outdated relationships or ways of thinking, food or other substances, and the illusion of connectedness and fulfillment that they all give.  Find your voice among all the white noise and distractions, replacing them with the enlightened, revolutionary spirit this country was founded on: your definition and assertion of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

These times they are a changin’, so in the Spirit of ’76 take this month to also perform your own experiment and declare independence from blind obedience to conventional wisdom that may no longer be conventional, nor wise.

If you can’t quite see through the rockets’ red glare, give me a buzz and I will show how you do indeed live in the land of the free, and can make your life a home of the brave!

Today’s PGG was originally posted on July 6, 2010)

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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.

Join Mailing List
Like me on Facebook  Follow me on Twitter

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE Personal Growth Gab (PGG) Volume One FROM AMAZON

FEELING STUCK IN YOUR CAREER? CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO!  

Last November I was one of the career experts featured in a panel discussion hosted by The Muse.  Here is the full length video where you can hear my thoughts on career transition, working with a coach, building confidence and handling emotions in the workplace.

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