Archives for Inspirational

Good News

The Secret to Sustaining Happiness


Many years ago, I was sitting on the floor of an ashram, wearing what looked (to the westernized me at least) a lot like pajamas.

Our lesson that day was about happiness - how to find it, how to hold onto it.

Our teacher explained, "People will fight so hard to get rid of pain, suffering. But when it comes to joy, they think it should just come to them and stay all by itself."

Since that day, I have never taken my own happiness for granted. 
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Celebrity Mentors

What Would Judy Say?

My mom sometimes likes to check out library books for me to read.

Recently she presented me with a particularly unexpected selection: "What Would Judy Say? A Grown-Up Guide to Living Together with Benefits."

I have watched Judge Judy on TV for years, but I'd never really taken the time to get to know the woman behind the show.

Well, my loss! Judge Judy is UH-mazing!!

She has the coolest website called "What Would Judy Say?" where she tackles issues as diverse as cancer and divorce, child custody and roommates, finding your passion and (obviously) living together outside of wedlock.

Now, to clarify, I am not currently living with anyone outside of wedlock or otherwise - except for, of course, my 14-year old parrot, Pearl, and my 13-month old tortoise, Malti.

But I have in the past, and if I did so again, I would follow Judge Judy's advice to the letter - especially the parts about taking care of what my mentor calls "my own side of the street."

Judy would call this "no joint anything."

I call it planning for my own future....whether or not my significant other will or won't plan for his.

The thing I like the most about Judge Judy is how very, well, grownup, she is about it all.

On the reverse side of her book, she shares an African proverb:

Only a fool tests the depth of the water by jumping in with both feet.

Maybe you are nodding your head right now (I was when I first read it!) But I have done this....I have jumped in with both feet, sometimes even thinking myself brave as I did!

Later I found out testing the water with one foot would have been both wiser and braver....and would have likely required far fewer band-aids.

The truth is, while there is plenty of drama in Judge Judy's television courtroom, little if any of it is coming from her.

And while she can appear brusque or sharp at times, I have always sensed a deep underlying compassion - a kind of "get over it already life is short and if you don't get unstuck now you'll just have to get unstuck later!"

There is something else I didn't know until I read "Living Together with Benefits."

Judge Judy has been divorced twice - and one of those times was to the man she has since remarried (and is still married to), Judge Jerry.

She has definitely had her share of heart aches and heart breaks.

She has five children and 13 grandchildren.

She is not someone who sits on the sidelines, watching and listening to - and often, um, judging - others' choices, and then writing about them.

She has lived what she writes about - which is to say, she is a mentor I can much more readily trust. 
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Inspirational

The Secret to Longevity

If you really wanted to live to be over 100, and you were able to take advice from those who had achieved it, would you do it?

Would you try their "secrets to longevity" for yourself?

The only sensible answer appears to be "yes" ... at least on the surface.

But what if this was the advice you got? (thanks, Time magazine!):

Drink one can of beer a day (110 year old Mark Behrends)
Drink lots of coffee (107 year old Downing Kay)
Stay away from men (109 year old Jessie Gallan)
Eat raw eggs (115 year old Emma Morano-Martinuzzi)
Sunbathe (116 year old Jiroemon Kimura)
Eat sushi (117 year old Misao Okawa)

What do you think?

I mean, these people are pretty....well....old.
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Good News

Your Way IS the “Right Way”


For so so so SO many years, I kept looking for the "right way."

I wanted to know the precise "how to guide" to achieve whatever goal I was pursuing at that moment.

I wanted "the" steps - the ones that actual successful folks followed (an important distinction since at the time I didn't include myself in that particular group).

I never found that how to guide or those steps.

No matter how wide I cast my questioning net, or how long and loudly I asked, no one ever walked up to me and handed me the secret manual to successful living - the one I was sure everyone but me had already received.

Today, I know this is because there is no secret manual - at least not one that applies to everyone.

There is only my secret manual - my way. 
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Inspirational

I May Really Be as Old as I Feel


Okay - here's something weird.

Recently I read an article - a series of articles, really - about aging.

Specifically, the series was focused on all the ways, available and emerging, we can stop or even reverse the aging process.

Many articles focused on learning techniques to promote restoration or longevity for our physical body - as such, these read much like a short course for auto enthusiasts striving to better preserving paint or battery life in a favorite antique car.

The article that captured my complete attention was called "Get Your Head in the Game: cutting-edge research is showing that your outlook can change how you age-at a cellular level."

Its premise was simple - so simple it sounds like a cliche I was tempted to ignore ("You're only as old as you feel" - well, what if some days I feel five and other days I feel 80? Divided by 2, that places me well within range of my actual age - 44).

So I stayed focused on facts - aka what we already do know is possible when body and mind are linked.

Here is what we know: 
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Inspirational

Why I’m Not Quite as Afraid of Death Anymore


This past month or two, I've been posting a fair amount on what appears to be a "mid-life fear-of-death crisis."

While I'm not totally sure what brought this on, I suspect it has something to do with watching my best friend's parents pass last year (both were in their 90's and had been married 65 years).

In witnessing their fears of death, I also uncovered my own.

Don't get me wrong - I'm glad I figured out now that I'm afraid of death, rather than waiting to die before I figured it out!

But not knowing how to address this fear - or how to solve it - has still felt like an obstacle....until recently.

After my last post about my fear of death, a sweet Facebook friend commented that I might enjoy a certain book by Annie Kagan called "The Afterlife of Billy Fingers."

When I first read the title, I was quite sure I wouldn't like this book at all - "Billy Fingers" sounded like a ghost's name, and perhaps one with ties to the kind of folks who like to bury their dead in concrete shoes.

However, my desperation for something to do trumped my hesitation, and I ordered a copy that same day.

As of today, I am on my third straight reading. 
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Animal Mentors

The Face of Unconditional Love


It has taken nearly half my life to realize unconditional love is a very achievable experience that I really can have.

I can receive it. I can give it.

However, being me, at first I tried to tackle unconditional love the same way I try to tackle everything new - the hard way.

I tried to give it long before I knew what it felt like to receive it (no experience = no ability).

I also tried to find it with people first (in a word - whoops).

And I tried to find it in big chunks rather than in fleeting moments (which was all I could sustain at first).

Later I learned it is much easier to find unconditional love in nature before seeking it amongst my own kind. 
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Celebrity Mentors

A Sudden Spurt of Senior Style – and Why I Love It


All of a sudden, "women of a certain age" are hot.

This, perhaps more than any other phenomenon I have witnessed in my 44 years to date, showcases that fashion trends are just that.....trends.

They are literally meaningless until the masses (aka us) give them meaning.

If no one pays attention, the trend doesn't catch on, and the fashion industry moves on to something else, hoping for a better response.

Somehow, when 14 year-old British model Twiggy was first introduced to us masses in the 1960's, her look caught on, especially amongst other kids her age, who could see themselves in her somewhat androgynous, boyish appearance.

This ushered in the "age of thin," which has persisted to this day (although recent fashion trends of a different sort are beginning to signal a shift here as well).

But now, all of a sudden (or for at least a year or two back as the fashion industry has been planning for its own future trends) we see Helen Mirren, age 69, as the face of L'Oreal Cosmetics in the U.K.

Jessica Lange, age 66, is representing Marc Jacobs. 
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Animal Mentors

You are Wonderful


"You are wonderful."

Those have to be three of the most, well, wonderful words in the world.

I say them about 2,500 times a day to my parrot, Pearl, and my baby tortoise, Malti.

I often share that having pets is like having built-in reminders to say my daily affirmations.

This is because, even though I'm speaking the sweet words to other beings, in a way I'm saying them to myself at the same time.

I can tell this is true because I also feel more wonderful after telling someone else I think they are wonderful.

After a time, after so many affirmations spoken very authentically from my heart, I begin to believe they apply to me too. 
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Celebrity Mentors

Stephen Hawking In His Own Words


I haven't seen the new Hawking film, "The Theory of Everything."

But the Stephen Hawking I met in "Hawking," a 2013 film in which Hawking himself narrates the story of his life, is a man I won't soon - or ever - forget.

At one point in the film, long after his body has become virtually useless due to the ravages of ALS disease, Hawking shares:

Because every day could be my last, I have a desire to make the most of each and every minute.

We are all different, but we share the same human spirit. Perhaps it is human nature that we adapt and survive.

This is a man who states he does not believe in any concept of a god or the afterlife.

So to Hawking, this life - one day by one day - is what each of us is given.

Today is the only "known" we have (and as such, the only "proof" we have to rely on that our life is even taking place!)

Hawking has three kids and has been married twice.

He has appeared on the "Simpsons," "The Big Bang Theory," and "Star Trek" (his favorite sci-fi show).

His book, "A Brief History of Time," has been a worldwide bestseller for years.

To review all the awards and honors he has received would be - well - these have been catalogued quite admirably elsewhere.

But what inspires me the most is how clear it is that Hawking does not inhabit his body - rather, he inhabits his mind, his emotions (in the form of passion for living and for connecting people with the science he loves), and his relationships. 
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