Archives for the month of: July, 2020

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?

***Click here for Group Coaching info and Special Anniversary Coaching Sale***

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

Click here for PGG newsletter with my introductory note to this essay

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Check out this very-roughly-edited-not-the-best-quality video of uninterrupted remarks wrapping up the workshop “Lead Yourself to Success (in Work & Life!)” In this excerpt covering the final seven minutes, I summarize my thoughts about confidence, being a leader in your own life, maintaining your individuality and humanity in the times we live in, and why the world is relying on you to be successful.

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In that famous scene from the movie about Joan Crawford, the renowned actress declares in a rage to her daughter Christina, “No wire hangers — ever!”

Hopefully you did not grow up with that kind of extreme abusive relationship, but it is not so farfetched to think that as an adult you might be treating yourself like Cinderella’s evil stepmother on steroids from time to time, subtly, overtly or subconsciously beating yourself up about the most trivial or significant things. Until we recognize and do something about it, we are often our own harshest critics when we need to be our most compassionate caregivers.

Do you speak nicely and are kind to yourself, especially in that tape that runs in your head? Do you take care of your body by eating healthy when you’re hungry, dressing appropriately for the weather, getting enough sleep, nursing yourself when sick, exercising, resting and playing on a regular basis? Do you allow yourself to express any emotion you are feeling — anger, sadness, frustration, joy, laughter — in an appropriate and timely manner? (Meaning, don’t walk around emotionally constipated!) And especially if you are a mother of young children, responsible for an aging parent, a teacher, healing professional or assumed the role of ‘official’ caregiver, are you taking care of yourself as much as you take care of others?

Or perhaps on some level you operate like a neglected ‘orphan’, walking around searching outside yourself, doing anything for that feeling of warmth and nurturing (or a continuation of it if you did have it as a child). The bottom line is that we can’t rely on someone else — spouse, partner, boyfriend/girlfriends, parents- to provide this for us; as mature adults (which has nothing to do with age) we should strive to be emotionally, physically, financially, and intellectually self-sufficient, and most importantly, loving towards ourselves.

Whether or not you had a positive experience with whoever raised you, learn to nurture yourself as if you were your own precious child. When we are able to mother ourselves, it becomes a lot easier to give and receive love and compassion with those closest to us, and even with strangers. It doesn’t matter if you are ill, out of work, frustrated with a relationship or the state of the world — if we each commit to healing ourselves and take responsibility for our own well-being, we will begin to see positive change around us in big and small ways.

And to all the men out there, gender doesn’t matter — we each have a gentle feminine nature within us that we can call upon and develop, just like we also have a macho warrior spirit!

So tonight when you go to bed, tuck in that little girl or boy within you, maybe drink some tea, read a story and tell yourself you are sublimely cherished and grateful for all that you are, because as Lenny Kravitz’s Mama said “Your life is a gift” and “Love’s all that matters.”

***Click here for Group Coaching info and Special Anniversary Coaching Sale***

(Today’s PGG was originally published on March 12, 2013)

Click here for PGG newsletter with my introductory note to this essay

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If you like what I write, you’ll love what I have to say in person!  

CLICK HERE TO BOOK ME AS A COACH

Click here for info about my coaching and speaking services and contact me today. 

Click here for some testimonials from past clients 

Click here for a video that explains some ways I can help you as a coach

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter for up to date posts, helpful articles and inspirational thoughts.  Slowly building my YouTube channel so you check that out and subscribe too!

Text CLEARLYKRISTINA to 22828 to be added to my mailing list and be in the loop with my coaching and workshops as well as have these essays delivered to your inbox!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Check out this very-roughly-edited-not-the-best-quality video of uninterrupted remarks wrapping up the workshop “Lead Yourself to Success (in Work & Life!)” In this excerpt covering the final seven minutes, I summarize my thoughts about confidence, being a leader in your own life, maintaining your individuality and humanity in the times we live in, and why the world is relying on you to be successful.

Click here to watch video

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(Today’s PGG was originally published on November 8, 2010)

Click here for PGG newsletter with my introductory note to this essay

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

If you like what I write, you’ll love what I have to say in person!  

CLICK HERE TO BOOK ME AS A COACH

Click here for info about my coaching and speaking services and contact me today. 

Click here for some testimonials from past clients 

Click here for a video that explains some ways I can help you as a coach

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter for up to date posts, helpful articles and inspirational thoughts.  Slowly building my YouTube channel so you check that out and subscribe too!

Text CLEARLYKRISTINA to 22828 to be added to my mailing list and be in the loop with my coaching and workshops as well as have these essays delivered to your inbox!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Check out this very-roughly-edited-not-the-best-quality video of uninterrupted remarks wrapping up the workshop “Lead Yourself to Success (in Work & Life!)” In this excerpt covering the final seven minutes, I summarize my thoughts about confidence, being a leader in your own life, maintaining your individuality and humanity in the times we live in, and why the world is relying on you to be successful.

Click here to watch video

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Read over 100 5-star “Yelp” style reviews here

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The opposite of collective joy and collective pain is dehumanization, and we are in a time of rampant dehumanization.~ Brené Brown

… [T]he truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery. While those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them. ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. ~ Sun Tzu, The Art of War

A couple of weeks ago I realized that my phone was not lasting very long once charged, and instead of having to get a new one, I found out I could bring it in for a battery replacement, as it was indeed dying. It became more involved than just dropping the device off at the Genius Bar for an hour — I ended up having to go back three days in a row to have it resolved — but the two hours straight without it was unnerving to say the least: It was as if my link to being alive was cut off, and this was incredibly disturbing to me. Of course, I now have a new battery and my phone is refreshed and ready to text, email, photograph, talk, and mostly take on whatever Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook want me to pay attention to … #notaddicted?!

Prior to this tech episode, I had been through a pretty long stretch of very little interaction with folks who know me well. Of course there are clients and daily neighborhood exchanges (although my banker, whom I’ve hugged every time I go into my branch, just left!). These can be helpful points of human connection in their own ways, but connecting with a good friend or family member brings a different kind of nourishment that is generally much more nutritious and satiating.

When I get into these cycles and start to feel relationally malnourished, one friend and I have a code word for saying “I know you’re busy and don’t have time for a long conversation or catch-up, but I really need to at least hear your voice and connect for a few minutes.” (Relationally malnourished, by the way, is a perfect metaphor I just came up with since loneliness is a condition as primal as thirst or hunger, and is now just as dangerous a health threat as smoking or alcohol, if not more.) That code word is “charge” — as in the bars in my soul are running low and I need to plug into another familiar human in order to get that percentage out of the red. I will text her and ask when she might be free because “I just need a charge.” It could be a 5-, 10-, 15-minute call to vent, discuss a particular issue, or anything, really, simply knowing we are linking up through our direct energy. It’s like taking a power nap — and then I can go back to my life feeling refreshed until a more luxurious, deeper sleep. It really helps.

I also have a deal with one of my brothers who doesn’t live in the city but works within walking distance of my apartment. He is extremely busy with his job and family, and he travels often, but he is one of my favorite people to hug, due to both his big size and big heart, and is the balm that I need from time to time to feel connected and loved. So sometimes I make a date to meet him outside his office or before he gets on the train for 10–20 minutes for the explicit purpose of getting a charge in the form of a big fat hug! #grateful

Just like monitoring your intake of food, drink and oxygen, connection is essential to human survival. We are an inherently social species and are becoming endangered in more ways than one because of this increasing perversion to our core DNA. And the condition of loneliness — which is a lack of consistent, meaningful connection, and a transient or temporary condition whose causes and effects I believe are more situational and physiological than mental — is becoming an epidemic; so much so that the UK appointed a Minister of Loneliness to study its pervasiveness and address it as a serious public health issue.

It’s the great irony of technology that so many people are feeling alone and isolated, because we have the appearance of being, and indeed are, more connected than ever, but generally only superficially. As with anything else, the internet and its accoutrements are a tool that can either enhance or hinder our lives, but the current reality is that many people are falsely assuming their “social” media consumption is like eating a home-cooked or delicious farm-to-table meal, when it’s really more like several stops a day at Mickey D’s. And just like our bodies would suffer on a diet made up mostly of Big Macs and fries, so goes our emotional selves and psyches that are chronically ill from these often crappy and distorted fumes of discourse and sharing that masquerade as genuinely satisfying relationships and interactions.

One way we can prove we are biologically wired to need human connection for our existence is by studying orphanages where children’s basic survival needs like food and shelter are met, but who are devoid of emotional attention, touch and interaction, and they become sick, autistic or even or die as a result. As adults in the modern world, we have to be more cognizant of and vigilant about this, as we can generally feed and clothe ourselves, and hence feel “fine,” but when we’re not connecting with other humans outside of the online world on a regular basis, we can find ourselves consciously or unconsciously depressed, anxious or sick at the least, and suicidal, brainwashed or radicalized at the worst.

We can see how this is profoundly affecting the fabric of society and creating even more “lone wolves” and people getting their sense of identity and belonging from an online tribe, especially if compounded by mental health or socio-economic conditions. It’s basically a tinder box for anyone on the outside who wants to manipulate us, and can foster extreme and irrational acts of violence and hatred.

Brené Brown, in this powerful guest sermon, talks about how we are living in a time in which “we have sorted ourselves by ideology into bunkers … and factions,” yet “the more sorted we become, the lonelier we are.” As it turns out, she says, “Behind the barricades of belief is not real connection — I think we just hate the same people.”

My life’s work, whether through The Women’s Mosaic or my coaching, writing and speaking, has been about helping people know, understand and connect to themselves and each other in order to create both inner and outer peace. There is no more urgent time for you to do the work to know yourself — who you are and what you’re supposed to be doing, as well as what you need to care for yourself, and take action or seek help when you need it. To acquire this self-knowledge requires introspection, which actually requires time ALONE; you just need to be mindful about using the alone time you have in a healthy way; to check in with yourself — your own thoughts and feelings — and separate them from what you’re shown or being told about how to think and feel, whether overtly or subliminally. This solitary activity is essential so we can come back to others and socialize in a meaningful way, and also be aware when we’ve crossed into the realm of loneliness.

Also, if you haven’t taken that time to build a firm foundation of knowing and checking in with yourself, the extremes of the religious and political spectrums, or even the cultural mainstream through Hollywood and advertising, would rather spoon-feed you with their agendas than have you think for yourself or question them — and you don’t want to be fertile breeding ground for anyone to grab hold of your mind or money. Besides, you gain a certain sense of dignity, self-sufficiency and confidence by doing your own observation and analysis, integrating what you know to be true for you rather than buying into someone else’s perceptions of what is right or wrong or makes someone dangerous, successful or powerful.

Only when you are solidly connected to yourself can you truly connect with another, and this is what the world needs now more than ever. Not quite sure how to charge your battery in order to cut through the BS and better bond with yourself and your buds? Give me a buzz and I’ll help you plug into the genuine juice that will make you both eclectic and electric, so instead of enabling the enemy, you’ll be able to excel in every way!

(Today’s PGG was originally published on November 2, 2018)

Click here for PGG newsletter with my introductory note to this essay

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

If you like what I write, you’ll love what I have to say in person!  

CLICK HERE TO BOOK ME AS A COACH

Click here for info about my coaching and speaking services and contact me today. 

Click here for some testimonials from past clients 

Click here for a video that explains some ways I can help you as a coach

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter for up to date posts, helpful articles and inspirational thoughts.  Slowly building my YouTube channel so you check that out and subscribe too!

Text CLEARLYKRISTINA to 22828 to be added to my mailing list and be in the loop with my coaching and workshops as well as have these essays delivered to your inbox!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Check out this very-roughly-edited-not-the-best-quality video of uninterrupted remarks wrapping up the workshop “Lead Yourself to Success (in Work & Life!)” In this excerpt covering the final seven minutes, I summarize my thoughts about confidence, being a leader in your own life, maintaining your individuality and humanity in the times we live in, and why the world is relying on you to be successful.

Click here to watch video

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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, 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 and replace 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 or 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 published on July 6, 2010)

Click here for PGG newsletter with my introductory note to this essay

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

If you like what I write, you’ll love what I have to say in person!  

CLICK HERE TO BOOK ME AS A COACH

Click here for info about my coaching and speaking services and contact me today. 

Click here for some testimonials from past clients 

Click here for a video that explains some ways I can help you as a coach

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter for up to date posts, helpful articles and inspirational thoughts.  Slowly building my YouTube channel so you check that out and subscribe too!

Text CLEARLYKRISTINA to 22828 to be added to my mailing list and be in the loop with my coaching and workshops as well as have these essays delivered to your inbox!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Check out this very-roughly-edited-not-the-best-quality video of uninterrupted remarks wrapping up the workshop “Lead Yourself to Success (in Work & Life!)” In this excerpt covering the final seven minutes, I summarize my thoughts about confidence, being a leader in your own life, maintaining your individuality and humanity in the times we live in, and why the world is relying on you to be successful.

Click here to watch video

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Read over 100 5-star “Yelp” style reviews here

Join Mailing List

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