Archives for Inspirational

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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Inspirational

What Helps Me Find My Middle Way


The Dalai Lama talks a lot about finding a "middle way" to navigate through life's challenging issues.

When I hear the phrase "middle way," I often think about finding balance or moderation (which of course makes me want to find both and experience them!)

But liking the concept of the middle way is one thing, and actually achieving a daily practice of it is quite another.

Lately, as I progress through the first quarter of my self-described Year of Living Intuitively, I have become ever more fixated on finding a middle way within.

And since I have always needed a hands-on approach (aka something to "do" to participate in my own learning process) I have started noticing what helps me remember to seek a middle way and step back from extreme reactions.

Here are 2 examples.

Example 1: Construction 
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Celebrity Mentors

Monica Lewinsky, Mentor

My mom recently sent me an article about Monica Lewinsky.

The article, titled "Monica Lewinsky is Back, but this Time it's on Her Terms," sounded intriguing.

So I read it.

And then it broke my heart.

I didn't realize we are only four years apart (she is 40, I am 44). Thinking back to when I was her age, I must admit I did some very regrettable things (and got involved with some very regrettable folks).....but since none of those oopses involved a U.S. president, mostly even I don't remember them now.

Thank goodness.

But Monica Lewinsky can't go an hour without remembering.

A few months ago I posted a blog called "Handling Hate Mail, Hateful Comments, and Hate."

In this post, I shared one comment - just ONE comment - that cut me straight through....which is one of (in comparison with Monica Lewinsky) just a handful of comments I have received over the years in my semi-public profession working with recovering and recovered people.

At one point during her recent TED talk, Lewinsky asks, "Where is the compassion?"

I have often wondered the same.

The haters who post and write and call anonymously are one thing....but today, very few even bother to hide their identity.

That boggles my mind.

Where is our fear of repercussion? Where is our compassion?

Where is our humanity?

We just spew out our hatred and anger and condemnation so freely....and then....what? Go home and hug our kids? Kiss our partners? Vent to our friends about how mean such-and-so is for gossiping about us at the office? Hope for a five-star review on our annual performance review at work?

Do each of us (or most of us, anyway) really have two personas - the kind, nice, hard-working, hopes-to-be-understood-and-respected-and-loved daily one - and that "Other One" - the one with the really white skin who wears the scary dark cape and has retractable front fangs?

I know both live inside of me. 
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