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In case you haven’t noticed, change is in the air.  It has been for a while now, but the pace is accelerating faster than you can say Speedy Gonzales.

Whether we are experiencing change via technology, elections, economic shifts, loss of loved ones, the effects of global warming, natural disasters, or in the most extreme cases, living in the midst of or fleeing war and/or genocide, it’s important to have as much clarity and strength as possible to weather such turmoil, and have an inner resolve of peace and harmony that can carry us through when all around us is anything but.

I recently saw the films The Promise and Their Finest, both of which take place during some of the most tumultuous times on our planet, World Wars I and II respectively. Although they are situated a long time ago in foreign lands, unfortunately the themes and similarities are all too close for comfort in this political climate which we now find ourselves. Watching them only confirmed my sense of urgency about doubling down on living in the present, stopping even more to smell the roses and appreciating all that we have when we have it. Essentially focusing on our positive feelings, which at the core helps to maintain a state of peace in all its relative forms.

This is why practices like mediation, yoga, affirmations and other mindful activities I often prescribe to my clients are so important, now more than ever, not just for wellness, sanity and self-care, but for building up a muscle you don’t even realize exists until you are required to flex it in times of crisis and chaos.  This is what will sustain you when the goin’ gets tough.

Another way you can build up that foundation of calm, centeredness and strength is to be continually conscious of the present, and really feel each good, joyous, peaceful moment as you experience it – not just observing or having a positive attitude – but by integrating and absorbing them into your cellular memory so that they can be recalled as needed at any point down the line and when you might least expect it.

Take advantage of every glorious encounter – which could be small but meaningful, like soaking in the sun on a warm spring day or having a good laugh with your bestie – by staying awake to your own existence, absorbing its essence and expressing gratitude for it on every level.  This creates a storehouse for when the storms and stress arrive – as they inevitably will, such is the cycle of life – but you can then be more fortified and less influenced by the accompanying toxicity and dis-ease when they do.

Become hyper-aware of when you are enjoying moments of pleasure, connection, joy, love, beauty, justice. Although they, like everything in life, are always temporary, when you more viscerally allow yourself to experience them on all levels of mind, body and spirit, you are building up an internal stockpile that will serve you in times of shortages.

Be sure to rest whenever you have the opportunity, and be disciplined about recognizing, seeking out or making it possible when you don’t.

Embrace and savor fully music, dance, food, conversation; listen deeply to your friends, kids, parents, spouse, partner, neighbor, strangers. Really hear and interact with them with every cell of your being. This is what builds up your reserves for those more isolated or disorienting and dehumanizing times. Remember your humanity.

Clean up and stay clear with your emotional, mental and physical clutter, so when situations and crisis’ arrive, you can be fully present and deal with them standing in the most enlightened, compassionate version of yourself. 

Sink into the present like the past or future doesn’t exist, because technically, at this moment they don’t. Learn from and then let go of the past – you cannot change what has already transpired, so no reason to regurgitate and relive it over and over, especially if it was a a painful or negative situation – this is where forgiveness comes in! – and get out of your head to be open to and grounded in the possibilities at hand. Therein lies our empowerment and salvation: that our current thoughts, words and deeds are our building blocks, and the more aligned and aware you can be in your present intentions and interactions, the more fulfilling and peaceful your destiny will be, since it is you who is creating it.

By being fully present, we can weave a future to be proud of and is comfortable to live in, even in our darker hours. In other words, liberate yourself today by being in the here and now, and you will ensure a better tomorrow, even if it’s only your ability to more easily and successfully cope with whatever that future beholds.

Feeling like your life needs a little Ray of Light to illuminate the positive and keep it from flying by? Give me a buzz and I’ll help you slow things down and get focused enough for you to feel like you just got home to taste the rainbow of goodies contained within it!

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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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I always like to remind folks who attend my talks that we are living in extraordinary times. Now more than ever we need to listen to our hearts and march to the beat of our own drum. Yet we are not solo performers on this stage – but more like duets, with the Universe as our partner – in what I like to think of life as the dance of life. There is ebb and flow, push and pull, reap and sow.

In our technologically advanced, left-brain evolved world, we think we can do more and know all the answers in making things happen for ourselves. But the truth is that we are only half the equation: the Universe, with its great unknown and unseen power, process and nature, is the other half.

There is a sublime order to things in our world if we only allow ourselves to honor it, regardless of how long our journey takes or what form or shape the fruit of it bears – and the Universe always knows better than our little pea brains. There is a method to its seeming madness and oft-lengthy timeline, but the more we resist its infinite wisdom, the more we suffer, the more mess is made, the more there is to clean up, and the longer it can take to get back on track.

Instead, we must learn to go with the flow – not in a loosey-goosey kind of way, but with faith and confidence, like a farmer planting his seeds, in knowing that the sun will rise tomorrow and that what comes up must come down.

Any artist, dancer, musician or athlete understands that practice and technique will only get you so far; at some point you have to let go and allow the Universe do its thing. In other words, no matter what you are working toward – getting a new job, growing a business, reaching health goals, or improving relationships – you need to simply “do your best and surrender the rest.”

If you haven’t seen the external results you desire, take a moment to slow down and reflect. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice you’ve been undergoing some major inner reconstructing and re-arranging of molecules, experiencing a deep emotional and mental detox encouraging you to let go of the past in order to move forward; this too is part of the dance. Sound familiar? If not, and you’ve been feeling blocked at every turn, ignoring the call to do this type of internal work is probably to blame, and is easy to correct.

The beauty of dancing with the big U is that that once you get in sync with it, things actually get in sync with you, and stuff starts to happen, as I always say, “in time and on time” – and often more miraculously than you could have ever imagined.

Not sure of what steps to take next or feeling like you wanna rock right now?  It Takes Two to make a thing go right, so give me a buzz and I’ll help you to make it outta sight!

Today’s PGG was originally published in longer form on November 12, 2013)

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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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These days it seems that ugly is the status quo. We are bombarded with so many negative events, factual and fictional – both served up as entertainment- that we have simply become used to it. In these days of doom and gloom I encourage you all to imagine the opposite: What if Beauty became the norm?

And when I talk about Beauty, I don’t mean a two-dimensional feast for the eyes, or pleasure for pleasure’s sake, although that is part of it.  True beauty is three-dimensional; it is something to be felt and experienced, not just superficially appreciated.  Beauty happens inside and out.  It is never just cosmetic. It is something to be absorbed by every fiber of your being, whether admiring a work of art, listening to music, observing Nature in its magnificent glory, witnessing an act of courage or compassion or enjoying a person’s human expression at its best.

So, where do we begin, how do we do this? It’s tempting to just tune out and distract ourselves with whatever we can, and hope that the problems of the world instantly vanish or some drug company creates a pill for peace.  But the truth is that the more disconnected and desensitized we become, the more problems we will have.

Most people are walking around emotionally constipated. We need to keep our senses alive, intact, ebbing and flowing in a balanced way – yet not letting them run the show or allowing any external images or situations grab control of us. We need to be able to respond from the deepest human level so we can know how to react, when to take action, when to pick up the phone, when to tweet or post something, when to set boundaries or ask for help, and when to turn off the TV or computer.

Brene Brown, in her now-famous Ted Talk on vulnerablity, tells us that when we numb the bad, we numb the good too.  So you can’t just shut yourself off if you want to feel love, compassion, empathy, kindness, and yes even feel beauty.   Feeling means we are alive.  If not, then what are we?

Duality is a fact of life: in order to appreciate the sunshine, you need the rain. Once you are able to connect with and feel ALL of what is going on within you, with a little regular detox of  laughter and tears, you can deal with the not-so-pleasant emotions as they come up, let go of them more easily, and conversely take hold of and relish in the positive, ecstatic and joyous ones even longer – expanding and benefiting from that energy more profoundly.

Look for Beauty everywhere and let in the Beauty to overpower the beast. Allow the darkness, anger, pain and shame to move through you so that you can then use that same vehicle to embody and express supreme joy and love when they abound. You can then more accurately observe and call out injustice because you know in your heart what truth, justice, goodness and beauty look and feel like.

Not quite sure how to go from Blah to Bliss? Give me a buzz, and I’ll show you how living life as a fully-fledged member of the human race has its rewards, and being able to FEEL Truth, Freedom, Beauty & Love are by far the best!

(Today’s PGG was originally published in longer form on August 20, 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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A client of mine recently had a job interview and the first question posed to her was, “So what do you do for fun?” Caught off guard like a deer in headlights, she searched the cobwebs of her memory to come up with something from the last decade.

I often advise folks to relax and take time off and have to convince them that a healthy dose of pleasure is indeed productive. When I suggest that they do something that is a treat for them, an automatic excuse is that they “can’t afford it”, but there are many things you can do that don’t cost a lot of time or money.

You can find joy and relaxation in simple pleasures like listening to your favorite music, taking a Zumba class, playing bridge, laughing with a good friend, cooking a delicious meal, being on the beach at sunset or sunrise, talking a walk at lunchtime, riding a roller coaster, drinking a cold beer on a hot summer day, cuddling with your pet, reading a good/ trashy novel or fashion/tabloid magazine, or enjoying the swirly goodness of Pinkberry made extra special by half -off happy hour prices! And don’t forget, our bodies are built for pleasure, so be sure to make time for that, too, and reap the scientifically proven benefits that accompany a good roll in the hay with that special someone in person, or in your head….(Javier Bardem anyone?)

All work and no play, or too much play and not enough work, will most definitely not keep the doctor away. As in all things, balance and awareness are key. Taking a few moments, hours, and days to adjust on a regular basis will make your life more refreshed, energized and focused – and contribute to landing that next job!

So if the last time you remember having fun dates back to Janet Jackson’s 1986 hit song, or you can’t seem to allow yourself to let go every now and then, give me a buzz and I’ll give you the permission you need to put the pep back in your step and the zest back in your quest.

(Today’s PGG was originally published on August 3, 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. 

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John and Abigail Adams. King Hussein and Queen Noor. Bill and Melinda Gates. Barack and Michelle Obama. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson. Kim and Kanye? These are just some couples who appear to have a great partnership as well as romance and passion in their marriages. ( I suppose the jury is still out on Kim and Kanye…..)

Back in the day (and in some parts in the world still) being hitched, especially for women, was linked to survival or a business transaction between families. In the 21st century, when woman now lead successful, independent lives, where does that leave us with the whole question of saying “I do”? (For an interesting musing on the subject check out Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Committed)

The “fruits of feminism” have at times confused us all. As I recently heard in a lecture by sociologist and masculinity expert Michael Kimmel, if a woman is captain of the ice hockey team and top of her class at Yale, the guys subconsciously think, What the heck does she need me for?

Male or female, we all have needs, along with the things we think are needs. You may not need another person to take care of you physically, emotionally, financially and/or spiritually, but everyone wants someone to love and to be loved in return, whether you’re woman, man or even a fish. We look for partners, friends, lovers, intimacy. And that has nothing to do with what gender you are, what era you were born in, or who the object of your affection may be — it is a timeless, eternal and basic human instinct.

But before you tie the knot with another (or at any point throughout your journey to nuptial bliss or blitz), I always recommend marrying yourself first — whatever that means to you. Because if you don’t promise to love, honor and cherish yourself, why would anyone else?  

Can’t quite make it to the altar with yourself or your beloved? I’m no Dr. Ruth, Millionaire Matchmaker or internet-ordained minister, but I can serve as a justice of inner peace and help you discover that first comes self-love, then comes some form of marriage, then comes whatever it is you desire, even if it is just a cabbage.

(Today’s PGG was originally published on July 20, 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. 

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As a career/life coach I have a unique vantage point to observe all types of people and notice certain trends and patterns that emerge. In addition to my clients, there is my circle of friends and family as well as my own personal experience, since I, too, am not immune to it all!

Lately the theme has been that of warrior being challenged in one or more areas of life, confronting unpleasant people or situations, dealing with loss, or relentlessly fighting a seemingly uphill battle at every turn. If you’ve been feeling tested (or testy) in the areas of relationships (all kinds), work (too much or not enough of it), finances (‘nough said), or having a health or identity crisis – essentially, the stuff of life – raise your hand and know that you are not the only one who’s been beaten up these past couple months.

As difficult as it may be, the key is to acknowledge and recognize through all the discomfort/frustration/stress where growth has occurred, understanding has transpired, and wisdom will eventually come. Don’t spend too much time figuring out why things have been going the way they are – instead, save your energy for what can I do and learn as a result of what I’ve been through and how can I incorporate these new found strengths moving forward?

“Misery loves company'” is a phrase we’ve all heard. It’s not a concept that I would normally promote, but in these times of technological isolation and the era of social media’s “Look at my fabulous life” updates and photos, there is comfort in knowing we’re not the only one struggling and that it’s OK to share the truth of how we’re really doing. The trick is not to have a pity party but to find community and provide mutual support; to take a collective heavy sigh and deep breath and have a good laugh about it, knowing that we’re all in a similar boat, and do what we can to make things better.  At end of the day, we are all human and can offer one another a hug and a smile to get us through the hard times, which are always temporary.

But if you want to dig a little deeper and sort out the who, what, why, when, where and how of what’s been going on, give me a buzz and I’ll help you see the lesson in the lickin’ and the light at the end of the tunnel.

(Today’s PGG was originally published on December 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. 

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Patience is not passive; on the contrary, it is active; it is concentrated strength. ~ Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton

Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet. ~ Jean-Jacques Rousseau

I find it curious that the word patient has two distinct meanings, yet both encompass bearing some level of discomfort over a period of time (even if it’s just being in the waiting room of a doctor’s office!).

We all have individual and collective anniversaries, memories and milestones that we share to some degree or another; regardless if they were positive or negative, hopefully you are able to see the growth and healing that has since transpired. Tomorrow will mark three months to the day* my mom underwent open-heart surgery, and after minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, day-by-day, week-by-week attention, care and rest,  she was back out at her clubs  (yes plural, and yes, as in nightclubs/dancing) this past weekend. [originally posted in 2012]

It’s truly amazing what time can do when you give it a chance to work its magic. But in this action-oriented, left -brained, results-demanding, pill -for-everything, instant-information, fast-food society, time gets a bad rap.  Faster is perceived to always be better and action trumps rest in the eyes of others.  With almost everything available to us on demand and bottles of 5-hour energy at our disposal, we’ve grown impatient beyond reasonable expectations.

Patience is a virtue” and “Time heals all wounds” are two of my favorite adages because they express the type of ‘muscles” I’ve exercised and “tools” I’ve developed – you guessed it, over time – as they become realities when you see the proof in the pudding. In my coaching and speaking work, I am constantly trying to get folks to understand that although we are living in a 24/7 instant access technological wonderland, Nature does not work that way – the acorn does not become an oak tree overnight!

Clients are often frustrated with me when I advise them not to do anything that they consider as “doing” or will have a direct and immediate impact on their job search or life’s path. What I suggest doesn’t mean they should sit around twiddling their thumbs; it’s about understanding that there is a process, and it’s inner work through activities that don’t seem “productive” or results-producing, when in fact they are the true heavy lifting of personal growth.  We all have wounds that need to be healed, and not addressing them or allowing them the time and space to do so is often what blocks us from moving forward; therefore, that is where time and energy needs to be spent.

I am always planting seeds when I work with clients, giving them ideas and suggestions they may not necessarily be ready to implement immediately, but should think about, pay attention to and consider down the road. I also guide them towards the many stepping stones they need to take on the path to their ultimate goal, whether or not they are aware of that goal.

The philosopher Kierkegaard said, “Patience is necessary, and one cannot reap immediately where one has sown.”   I have had the pleasure of finding out recently how many of my clients are beginning to reap what they have sown, with projects, jobs and opportunities that are only now coming to fruition, one, two and even four years after we met, which is extremely rewarding and only reinforces the “method to my madness.”

The paradox and balancing trick, of course, is that time doesn’t stop; it can pass us by quickly, so we need to be in motion with it and “make hay while the sun shines.”  But on the other hand, we need to accept and be comfortable with what is realistic in terms of how long things take to change and develop. Just like we are all students in this school called Life, we are all patients in the healing of our lives which is part of what growing means – healing the wounds of our past so we can move forward ever more healthy and strong.

Need a little help on your journey from acorn to oak tree, or from wounded to well? Give me a buzz and I’ll take a look to see how you can use the gift of time to speed things up or slow them down, keeping in mind, that might just be the opposite of what you think…

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(Today’s PGG was originally published on September 11, 2012)

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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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When we are no longer able to change a situation…we are challenged to change ourselves. ~ Viktor Frankl

I recently read about a pill being developed that would erase unpleasant memories, kind of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind-ish. Of course I was appalled. It’s bad enough the American public is seduced by quick fixes to deal with many physical ailments that a simple change in diet and exercise, a reduction in stress, a healthy dose of self-love and/or a little mind/body/spirit elbow grease would take care of. Now they want to get rid of negative memories?!?! We’re already a society who overeats, overdrinks/drugs, over sexes, over technologizes, overworks and over reality shows to avoid what we’re feeling!

There’s a saying that many athletic coaches and trainers use: No pain, no gain. Yes, that can certainly apply to losing 20 pounds or training for a marathon, but it also applies to our inner workouts. As humans we like to avoid pain as much as possible, but pain can be a very useful tool if we let it. Emotional, mental, physical or spiritual/soul pain shows us where we’re out of wack and where attention needs to be paid and adjustments must be made in order to learn and grow in any area of our lives.

To the extent that you are “asleep,” the Universe is going to use some big ol’ version of its alarm clock to wake you up and give you a big kick in the butt to do something about it.  And a kick in the butt doesn’t feel too good, but we all need one now and then to propel us into action. Most of us don’t want to endure prolonged suffering, so the pain forces us to take action. In other words, as I mentioned in an article I was featured in on  Well & Good.com, we often need to have a breakdown in order to have a breakthrough.    

Remember that without pain we wouldn’t know joy. When we are experiencing something akin to the “dark night of the soul,” think of the caterpillar who thought the world was over just before it became a butterfly, and that “it’s always darkest before dawn.” Sometimes we just need to go there; these are the times that are meant to test our mettle and force us to rise up like the phoenix from the ashes in order to evolve into a better version of ourselves – and who wouldn’t want that?

So if you’re feeling like you’re about to crack, have been sleepwalking a little too long, or need someone to push you off that diving board, just Let Go, jump in, what are you waiting for? Give me a buzz and we’ll find the amazing beauty in whatever type of breakdown is occurring in your life.

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(Today’s PGG was originally published on April 24, 2012)

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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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Hello

I love myself

I love myself

I love myself

We are so happy to be alive

I love my life

Our lives are great

We love ourselves

We love being alive    

“I Love My Life” ~ Song & lyrics by my special friend Zachary Miles Lefkowitz, age 4 1/2, September, 2013

When at a wake recently with my 14-year-old nephew, I recalled to him the time he was about to turn four and I asked if he was excited about his upcoming birthday. He began to cry hysterically saying he didn’t want to have any birthdays. This was because he spent a lot of time around my ailing grandmother who had just passed away in her 80’s and he made the very astute observation that getting older means you are one step closer to dying.

I asked now what it was about death that bothered him most.  He did not hesitate for even a second and simply, and very seriously, said “Because you won’t have the exhilarating feeling of being alive.” 

I thought this was a profound answer as folks around us were suffering with the loss of our loved one; Jake homed right in on the crux of the matter: We are alive, and we should experience and treasure every moment that aliveness brings us. 

Over the weekend I had my first massage in over two years, and it really brought home to me these conversations in the most basic and visceral of ways.  Being alive means we are here, in a very physical body in a very physical world. Our body is our vehicle to experience all that life has to offer, so we need to love, appreciate, and take care of it – and, we are also here with other human beings we are meant to love, appreciate, and take care of in a physical way.

Most of us tend to live in our heads and are quite disconnected from our bodies and/or emotions.  Getting a massage – whether by a therapist or having a friend or family member give you a little hands-on tender loving care – affirms our beingness, our aliveness, and our connection to and need for one another.  Numerous studies have documented the necessity of touch, especially for newborns and the elderly; it is literally what keeps them alive and determines their health and longevity.

Diana Ross famously sang, Reach out and touch somebody’s hand / Make this world a better place, if you can.”  If you’re lucky, you have close relationships where you can exchange physical, affectionate touch on a regular basis.  If not, there are lots of alternatives like hugs  and various forms of bodywork you can receive from others in appropriate ways and settings.

And sometimes the most special touch can come from a stranger , like from the tourist in Bryant Park over the summer who, while having her photo taken nearby sensed/saw me distraught and crying (even though I thought I was incognito with my sunglasses, hair covering my face and downward glance!), and in one of the most generous, kind moments I have ever experienced, gently put her reassuring, healing hand on my shoulder for a few seconds as she walked by, saying with that one gesture,   “I see you, I feel your pain; I don’t know you, speak your language or know why you are upset, but I am here to offer you what comfort I can as a fellow human being.”

So as we go further down this technological highway with its isolating side effects and embark upon the holiday season with the increasing commercial madness it brings, remember the basics:  you are here, we are here, let’s love our lives and love one another, and demonstrate that love and compassion in the most tangible and meaningful ways possible.

Not quite sure how? Give me a buzz, because like Robin Thicke reminds us: I got it. You got it. We got the magic touch. 

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(Today’s PGG was originally published on December 3, 2013)

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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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Special note: With these changing and extraordinary times, my writing might seem to be getting more political (and longer) than usual (even though to me it’s more about the bigger scope of our democracy and humanity in general, as I am a nonpartisan person), and this PGG reflects some of my personal views.  If it’s not your cup of tea, have no fear, regular PGG’s will be back next week, and essays like these will only occasionally pop up.  You can now also read me on Medium, so be sure to follow me there, where you can like, comment and share!

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Friday, January 20, 2017, was a rough day. I chose not to ignore but to face head-on everything that had happened since November 8 – after having fully subjected myself to both sides of the presidential campaign for the better part of a year – and by the end of an entire day of exposure to the inaugural events (the finale and final date of a marathon during which I kept hoping that perhaps the Titanic would not actually sink), I needed to take a steam bath to detox it all. After sweating out what I absorbed, I share with you what emerged.

The technicalities of how we got here in the end belong to a man with the initials VP, whose manipulations took advantage of and exacerbated our weaknesses; he didn’t cause them. Besides the virulent last hurrah of racism and sexism, and the imperial karma we have collectively incurred as a nation, along with capitalism run amok, the deeper material of what this is about – beyond red states/blue states, liberals/conservatives, black/white/Muslim/Mexican, etc. – is the obsession with shiny objects and our quick-fix syndrome; the backlash against the “other” and glorification of hyper-masculinity; and our unresolved daddy issues.

Most Americans want someone to blame for, fix their problems or, as we see now, both. We live in a culture that tells us we need to have instant envy and that something is inherently lacking in us; that a pill, lotion, clothing, gadgets will make us feel good and have a fabulous life. That we have to be assertive and desperately grab these things at any cost, both monetarily and socially, instead of being receptive and attracting authentic prosperity in its many forms by our own value, effort and trust (then we find out we don’t need most of what is being sold to us anyway), and that if we don’t achieve a certain fabricated version of success it’s someone else’s’ fault or issue to deal with.

Blinded and lured by glitz, special effects, selfies, a reduced attention span and taking the easy way out, technology has only magnified and monetized our trend toward total superficiality and increasingly addictive behaviors.

People think, “Oh he looks good, his family looks good, he’s done well, etc. …” They are projecting a glamorous image of what they think a “successful businessman” is without knowing, of course, the corrupt and unscrupulous ways he has succeeded. The new POTUS and his brood are the Stepford Family of America, a group of people seemingly put together from central casting to make a supersize Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, and they now have the most powerful seat in the world.

Then there is our laziness, combined with anxiety about our own existence and shadow selves, which we project onto and then fear “the other,” as in any person, group, place or thing that is unfamiliar or takes us out of our comfy zone. This is a way of anesthetizing ourselves to the outside world and the broader perspective, wisdom and experience that often come as result of our interaction with it. Instead we would rather retreat into “other” words via our remote control, binge-watching TV series, playing virtual video games or seeing IMAX movies of superheroes divided into good and evil, killing each other and blowing stuff up and saving the day (again the daddy, savior complex, and the hyper-masculinity – even women heroes are portrayed in a masculine way). As a result, we avoid confronting real-world multifaceted and nuanced situations that require patience, understanding and compassion, and the many shades of gray that comprise human interaction.

We are a society that is emotionally constipated. Our culture has become filled with emotional porn (i.e., extreme/gratuitous violence, actual porn, real housewives/girls behaving badly, and/or overusing exclamatory words in a disproportionate/inappropriate way to get your attention, as in “This is EVERYTHING!!”), which is used as a laxative to get things moving around inside.Then when things are backed up so badly and reality becomes too real, we have verbal diarrhea and tantrums at the least, and physical violence at the worst. This is also the root of our addictions in all their many forms.

The backlash against Obama was because he was emotionally mature and thoughtful, and he embodied a feminine approach to his worldview, which includes dialogue and inclusivity. (I always said from day one that if Bill Clinton was our first “black” president, then Obama was our first “female” one.) And if he is a leader, by definition, people look to him as an example, and that’s what should be emulated and encouraged. In fact, in Obama’s first inauguration speech he talked about “the time has come to set aside childish things.” But apparently Americans didn’t want to grow up.

Hence, with Trump, we now have the opposite, as in, “Don’t worry, we have a big, strong man like Daddy (or God via POTUS and/or a narrowly defined Jesus, or a classically abusive husband) who’s going to protect you from the big bad world and take care of everything and make our country great again.” As long as you flatter him profusely, stay in line, be loyal and don’t piss him off, he will get you whatever you want and keep you “safe.”

The bigger, perhaps more urgent, issue is that humans, especially Americans who subscribe (consciously or not) to mainstream culture and consumerism, are resistant to allowing for real inner growth and maturity and taking responsibility for their own lives and happiness.

The cold, hard truth is that at the end of the day you are still going to be miserable until you assume control over your own life – taking into consideration and acknowledging outside circumstances, but working around and with them to the best of your ability; being creative and exercising new skills and growing in the process; and having faith in that process and the very nature of Nature itself.

My philosophy has always been that personal transformation is the key to social transformation. We are living in the most tumultuous times in our country’s and the planet’s history, and the grass-roots efforts we need to make are internal as well as external.

It’s up to us as individuals to find security in ourselves and navigate these waters until we find some terra firma once again.

It’s up to you* to figure out what your talents are and the best way to utilize them now in order to create some kind of living for yourself in the economy of shifting sands in which we find ourselves – mostly due to the ubiquitous, ominous nonpartisan phenomenon called technology, not the outsourcing of jobs overseas – and not blame any one person, group or thing for your current situation. (*Or enlist the help of someone like yours truly to help you do so …)

It’s up to you to create an atmosphere of peace and safety by not militarizing your posture and being antagonistic, but instead by connecting and building bridges and applying the Golden Rule. The bad apples will always be there, but there are fewer than you think and that IS what law enforcement is there to take care of. Just make sure the enemies are real and not imagined, projected or scapegoated.

It’s up to you to filter and synthesize a broad swath of perspectives ……

Continue reading on Medium

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