Archives for the month of: May, 2017

The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat intangible..It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

There is no question that there is an unseen world. The problem is, how far is it from Midtown and how late is it open? ~ Woody Allen

Ah, the paradox between poetry and practicality, art and accounting, beauty and bottom line, meaning and metrics. Especially in the results-oriented, materially-focused, high-powered metropolis that is New York, it’s often challenging to communicate the value of things we are unable to touch, see or precisely measure.

I recently assigned some journaling to a client, and she seemed perplexed and not too happy about it.  Her concern, she said, was that it would be difficult for her, an MIT graduate, not to have any sort of metrics or immediate tangible outcome to guide her or let her know she was doing it “correctly”, which her perfectionist self needed in order to be validated in the exercise.  She was not the first to be challenged by or to question the effectiveness of the solution I offered, just the first to articulate it so well!

This type of scenario has been the bane of my existence. The world of the intangible has been my field of expertise and the “meat” of my work for most of my professional life – teaching  or speaking, creating programs that promote intercultural understanding and women’s empowerment, individual and group coaching, even writing these little essays.  Most everything  I do is impactful on an internal level, enabling shifts in perception and healing to take place, so my challenge has always been how to grade, evaluate, measure or assure the merit of such things: How do you quantify understanding, inspiration, identity, and transformation?

With flowers and trees now blooming all around us, remember that they didn’t just magically appear overnight, as unseen forces were at work during the barren winter months. The result is tangible, but the process itself is something, too.  Fertile soil, sunshine, water, time and Nature’s mysterious special sauce work consistently in harmony behind the scenes, making it all come together for us to once again enjoy the gorgeous potpourri of colors and shapes.

Feeling like your Spring needs to be sprung?  You might just need a little professional tending to your garden, fertilizing it with process, presence and patience – along with some Xray vision – so give me a buzz, I’ll help  bring on the blossom and have Everything Coming Up Roses for you again!

(Today’s PGG was originally published on April 26, 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. 

Read over thirty 5-star “Yelp” style reviews here

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We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves. ~ Dalai Lama

He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.  ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I was recently asked by an attendee at one of my talks, “Are you happy?” It was the first time I had been so directly posed that question, and it took a minute to figure out how I would answer, because for me, happiness is not a state of being; it’s a superficial feeling, a temporary, descriptive way to express a reaction to a gesture, creature comfort or occasion.

I answered by saying I don’t really think about being “happy” but am generally able to navigate life in a way that does not fluster me at my core. In other words, my overall evaluation of my existence does not depend on whichever way the wind is blowing. At this point in my life, I am grounded in and connected to who I am, surfing the unpredictability and chaos of external circumstances as they arise, experiencing joy and pleasure when appropriate, and mitigating the inevitable stress and sorrow with various tools and techniques I have gathered and developed to get me through when times are not so hunky-dory (there are plenty!). And I am grateful for it all, as I know in the end whatever is happening is for my greater good.

I do work that is immensely fulfilling and have relationships I value tremendously. I am constantly growing and evolving by overcoming challenges big and small, and I allow myself to rest and reflect until another cycle begins. I am human, therefore I strive to understand and accept everything that entails. I have my own issues and areas of growth and healing that call out to be addressed; I feel my feelings and give them the space, time and respect to inform me of what has to be confronted or released, either internally or externally in a particular situation, and then heed the call to the best of my ability. I pay attention to and take care of my needs. I go with the flow. I recognize and honor the fact that I am a creative being. I love and trust myself.

It was a long answer to what appeared to be a simple question. The next day, upon further reflection, I realized the simple answer: What I was saying was that I am at peace, which is far more profound. Or put another way, having a sense of inner peace = my version of being happy.

With all the emphasis and research in our current culture on “happiness” — an obsession only magnified and distorted by social media — you can be easily fooled into thinking you are somehow deficient in this department. The better question to ask yourself is “Am I at peace?” Happiness is great while it lasts, but that’s the point — it’s transient. Yet with awareness, practice and discipline over time, peace can be permanent.

Peace allows you to be the calm in the center of a storm, and the glow of joy in the midst of abundance.

Peace acknowledges that there are ups and downs and stresses in life, but it never lets you be affected by them in the deepest part of who you are.

Peace means even in times of anxiety or fear, you are just observing surface feelings that wreak havoc on your psyche until you recognize what they are trying to teach you — which is usually an exercise in love and acceptance of yourself and the here and now and/or what you can and cannot control.

Peace is the solid foundation that becomes integrated in every cell of your being and accompanies you with whomever and wherever you are.

As the great Mahatma Gandhi said, “Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.”

I often quote the song, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” It may be too hippy-dippy or cliche for you, but it’s true. As I say in my talks, we all have our individual spheres of influence, i.e., “happy wife, happy life.” We all know how it feels to be around someone in a good mood, who’s truly relaxed, maybe just back from a vacation or in love, or one of those rare folks who just embodies a sustained level of chill and contentment. Conversely, when someone is really down, toxic, or generally negative in outlook, we know how that can permeate the entire environment.

Emotional energy and good or bad vibes are contagious — especially to those of us who are highly sensitive. You must realize then that no matter who you are, you have more influence than you think you do. Who do you want to be: someone who brings peace, calm and/or joy wherever you go or in times of crisis, or the Debbie or Dougie Downer, the Negative Nelly or Neil, the one who poisons the atmosphere around you? Here’s where you don’t need a special superpower or fancy costume to be a hero!

Train yourself to be mindful of what you are putting out there or carrying with you; go inward to listen to yourself instead of automatically focusing outward to distraction or detachment. Express gratitude wherever you can in thought, word and deed. Bring your awareness and attention to every moment, to what are you thinking, feeling and sensing about the truth and reality of the situation AS IT IS — not as you are doomsday-ing it to be or wishing it was or regurgitating some imagined past version of a problem — because today’s realization is what creates tomorrow’s solution. The more you can Be Here Now, the more you can exercise that presence muscle, the deeper the well of peace you can draw upon when you need it most.

Have you been crying lately, Thinkin’ about the world as it is? As I have often said, especially in these tumultuous times, each of us has a responsibility to create “peace in our piece of the pie.” What are you doing to contribute? ’Cause out on the edge of darkness, There rides a Peace Train.

Want to get all aboard but not sure how? Give me a buzz, and I’ll be the conductor who puts you on the right track. We’ll fire up the steam engine and get you smiling on a regular basis, thinking about the good things to come! 

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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. 

Read over thirty 5-star “Yelp” style reviews here

Join Mailing List
Like me on Facebook  Follow me on Twitter

Read more about me and my work in these past PGG’s:

All Roads, Same Place | And Now, A Word from Our Sponsor | Strong Medicine | 10,000 Hours | Express Yourself

Perfection is the enemy of good. – Voltaire

Unlike what Fox News, ISIS, PETA or Kanye might have you believe, there are very few absolutes in life, and extremism in thought, word or deed is never the route to go. Like the Buddha says of a string on the sitar, if it’s too tight it will break, too loose and you won’t get any sound from it. Either way, the music dies. Life does not exist in black or white, but in fact is found in the many shades between.

Everyone has ways to escape or numb, whether from current circumstances and the daily grind, or from unresolved pain of the past. And when there is no awareness around the suffering and its source, the turmoil is turned inward as unhealthy behaviors, addiction or abuse, or directed outward as jealousy, hatred or violence in its many forms toward “others.”

In this era of plasticsurgery-photoshopping-selfie-celebrityworshopping-heylookatmyfabulouslife culture, it’s easy to think the grass is always greener, or that everyone but you has their act together or has an easy-breezy life. As someone who works intimately with hundreds of folks for a living, I can tell you that no one has it all together. Everyone has issues. It’s just which issues, in which department (relationships, money, sex, career, family, physical, mental and/or emotional health), and to what extent. And if you didn’t have the issue you have, you would have different one. But you’d have one. Or two, or three, generally all connected. It’s just the way it works.

The question is: How well do you acknowledge, accept, and then begin the process of addressing them?

The idea that there is some level of “perfection” that we can attain in our lives, in our mates, our work, our bodies, our lifestyle, is fiction. It doesn’t exist. No one is perfect. The mere fact that we are human beings means that we exist in order to heal and grow. It means that we are inherently flawed and are expressly alive to learn certain lessons and make whole the various parts of our mind, body and soul that are dis-eased.

When you come to terms with the fact that you are a beautifully imperfect being and become aware of the imperfections, love yourself in spite of them; then with compassion and discipline, set out to improve or change what you can. Then, and only then, are we able to start accepting one another: our family, our neighbors, our enemies, or anyone who is simply different from us in color or creed. Remember that fellow humans might be having a harder time recognizing and dealing with their own problems and pain right now – we all wake up to our humanness at our own pace, sometimes not of our own choosing. This is why we need a steady flow and heaping amounts of patience, empathy and kindness in our world.

Just as the journey is more important than the destination, the striving is more important than the actual perfection. It means we are constantly evolving into the best, most kick-ass, peaceful versions of ourselves, accentuating the positive and mitigating or transmuting the not-so-positive. The daily choices we make, the love that we give and receive,  the joy and the sadness and anger and passion we allow ourselves to feel, knowing that it is not going to be the same emotion every day all day. There are sunny days and there are cloudy days, and we appreciate both equally. As we experience our challenges, we know that victory is right around the corner, and in those moments of happiness we know at some point we will again feel sadness or disappointment. It’s just the way it works.

How can we move toward a balanced, healthy life without knowing where we need to focus in order to heal and grow? Use this time the way a med student would study the body, inside and out: Truly see all of who you are and embrace it. Accept it. Love it. Then take a look at those around you and do the same. Then you can make an honest assessment about what needs a little therapy, a little remedy, or perhaps even surgery.

Think you might need someone in Private Practice to make sense of it all?  Give me a buzz and I’ll help you avoid a soul-sucking Scandal and prove you most certainly cannot Get Away With Murder, preventing you from killing the dream of a prosperous, fulfilled life you absolutely can and deserve to have!

(Today’s PGG was originally published on February 12, 2015)

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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. 

Read over thirty 5-star “Yelp” style reviews here

Join Mailing List
Like me on Facebook  Follow me on Twitter

Read more about me and my work in these past PGG’s:

All Roads, Same Place | And Now, A Word from Our Sponsor | Strong Medicine | 10,000 Hours | Express Yourself

A good friend would often quote a Yiddish sayingto me: Mensch tracht, Gott lacht. Man plans, God laughs.

The renowned Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh offers another perspective: “People sacrifice the present for the future. But life is possible only in the present.”

In this era of instant everything and a world of answers literally at our fingertips, one of the hardest things for us to do is live in that space where we don’t know what will happen next. With the unemployment rate at record highs, more and more people are learning the hard way how to experience life in this manner.

People in career transition, artists and freelancers have to operate without knowing where their next paycheck will be coming from. People in new relationships are at often at sea in unchartered emotional waters. Whenever we put ourselves in unfamiliar social territory or a take a trip to a place we’ve never been, we journey into the unknown — which is why it’s so important to travel; it’s one of the most natural ways to be in the present.

An easy way to add anxiety and stress in your life is to allow yourself to be overwhelmed by all the things you think you need to accomplish in the near or not-so-near future. The reality is that you can’t possibly know what tomorrow will bring, so you may as well trust that the right decision or action today will lead you where you need to go, even if you don’t know where you’re ultimately going.

So when your life is a big question mark or an empty slate, or if you find yourself in terra incognita, I can help you fill in the blanks and navigate your way through, or simply show you how to be okay with where you right now. Give me a buzz and I will be the lighthouse in the fog, the compass in your pocket, to help guide you to your most authentic destination, in time and on time!

(Today’s PGG was originally published in longer form on September 14, 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. 

Read over thirty 5-star “Yelp” style reviews here

Join Mailing List
Like me on Facebook  Follow me on Twitter

Read more about me and my work in these past PGG’s:

All Roads, Same Place | And Now, A Word from Our Sponsor | Strong Medicine | 10,000 Hours | Express Yourself

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