Archive for August, 2010

30 aug

Getting Back to Routine

happier_confidenceHow many times have you resolved to live a healthier life – to eat less, exercise more, and take care of your body? It’s hard to keep on track and persevere. There are so many daily distractions to keep you from reaching your goals. Establishing an everyday routine will help you get on the right path. Don’t know where or how to begin? Don’t worry, we’re here to help! Follow these five tips to kick-start your new regimen. Before you know it, you’ll be hitting the gym and snacking on veggies. Aren’t you the picture of health and happiness?

Drink Lots of H2O

You know that your body needs to stay hydrated. But you never seem to drink enough water. (Chug those eight glasses a day!) Try swapping your soda or juice for a glass of good old-fashioned H2O. And make a habit of carrying a water bottle in your purse everywhere you go. You’ll feel refreshed and replenished. Bonus: You’ll see a subtle difference in your skin too! (You look radiant, darling!)

Incorporate Exercise

Let’s take baby steps. Ideally, you want to get some cardio in. But incorporating exercise into your daily routine will also help. Walk or bike to work, take the stairs in your apartment building, and do a few stretches, lunges, and squats while you’re watching TV. No more Ms. Couch Potato!

Make Substitutions

We’re not going to tell you to go vegan and cut out all your favorite foods. Like we said,…baby steps. But it certainly wouldn’t hurt to eat more veggies and produce. Simple swaps go a long way. When you’re craving something sweet, nibble on fruit or eat yogurt. And when you’re dining out, use your brain. (Skip the fries and get a side salad!)

Take Time for Yourself

We know how it is. You have a lot on your plate, and you’re always on the go. But it’s important to carve out time to do something just for you. Meditate, practice yoga, read a book, or watch a movie – anything that makes you happy. Try to fit even 30 minutes of “me” time into your day – every day! You’ll feel a difference as you become the new, improved you.

Take Your Vitamins

We totally sound like your mom. (She was definitely on to something!) This seemingly small step can make a difference in your overall health and well-being. Find a daily vitamin that’s suited to your lifestyle. One A Day offers vitamins that support your specific concerns, like Menopause Formula, Women’s Prenatal, Teen Advantage for Her, Women’s 50+ Advantage, Women’s Active Metabolism, Women’s Active Mind & Body, and Women’s. Once you’ve found the vitamin that’s right for you, the challenge is remembering to take it every day. Leave yourself a note on the fridge for the morning, or put the bottle inside your morning coffee mug. Bottom’s up – here’s to your health!

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by First 30 Days on August 30th, 2010 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

29 aug

Have the Time of Your Life

JayForteI have great respect and affection for older people. Maybe I have an old spirit or just really admire the strength to survive on the planet for many years, but I find older people remarkable.

I was particularly fond of all four of my grandparents. And unlike so many of my friends, I had a great opportunity to spend a large part of my life with these amazing people. Their life lessons showed their generosity, limitless love and energy, and at the same time their criticalness and worry. After all, they were human too. But most of what I remember is their love of every day – that wherever you were, you were to be there, in that moment, and appreciating what was around you.

I was reminded of all this as we sat at lunch this week with friends of my in-laws. Both in this couple are older, nearly eighty, and one is significantly ill with scleroderma. But neither condition stops them from being fully present in their lives.

At lunch they shared stories of their recent road trip that took them over four thousand miles to see family, be part of a wedding, visit old friends, and spend time with their kids. Originally, they planned to make this a bus trip but opted instead to drive. Armed with a GPS and a preferred card at Choice Hotels, they spent nearly four weeks meandering through the lives and homes of their friends and family. With the health condition they had to take it slow and rely on the help of people at the hotels and on their families. Everyone stepped up. As they both said, “It was a trip of a lifetime.”

What impressed me most, besides the excitement still in the voices as they shared story after story about the trip, was their courage – the courage to go on this trip – the courage to get up and actively live each day. They appreciate life, its plusses and minuses as part of the way life is. They choose to live as much of life as they can. None of the significant challenges they bear showed up in their stories. No complaints; nothing owed to them. They wanted an amazing trip – they did it, they loved it and they will remember it forever. They had the time of their lives.

My first thought in all this was to applaud them for the courage to go for what they dreamed of. But it made me think – isn’t that really something we all should feel? Why is it we feel that life is any less sacred, important or valued when we are young than when we become old? Why is life any less spectacular when we are well than when we are sick?

We never know the amount of time we are given. That should remind us that life is truly a gift and that it is to be celebrated, applauded and fully lived each day. In the utterly spectacular book, Kitchen Table Wisdom, author Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen shares a powerful line said by a patient who was challenged with a terminal illness, “When you are walking on thin ice, you might as well dance.” Isn’t this really the way we all should live? Since we never know what is coming next, shouldn’t we spend more time dancing?

As with many older people, their lives, attitudes and stories share the wisdom that everyday is more valued, more spectacular and more extraordinary because you get to have it. And why not take a road trip to share your life with those who matter most to you? As much as the road trip was a trip of a lifetime for our friends, it was also the visit of a lifetime for the people they saw. Funny how that works. When we are busy having the time of our lives, we are also helping to create the time of someone else’s life.

It seems that the smartest people on the planet are those who are in touch with their humanity and mortality. They don’t waste time on things that don’t matter. Dave Ramsey says it best, “[So many people] spend money they don’t have to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.” Wise people choose life events over life things. Maybe this is the wisdom in age that I so appreciate. Maybe this is the lesson for all who are younger. Don’t wait. Live the life you love. Make good choices. Have the time of your life.

Jay Forte is a business and motivational speaker, performance consultant and life coach. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, and the on-line resources, Stand Out and Get Hired, and The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual. His new book, The Greatness Zone; Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform Your World, will be available in October 2010. He inspires people to connect to their talents and passions to be fired up! in life and at work. More information at www.LiveFiredUp.com and www.TheGreatnessZone.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jay Forte on August 29th, 2010 in Career, Family, Health, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Spirituality, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , ,

23 aug

What Part of Your Life Is Currently Under Construction?

Tracye2At any given moment on any given day everyone has a new project. Maybe it’s a new addition to the house, a new workout plan, a new baby, a different job, the 20-page “To-Do” or “Honey-Do” list, or more. It never ends.

When we are constantly in movement, or obsessing about movement, sometimes we stall. Stalling is not stillness, which is a beautiful thing. Stalling is when our “construction” becomes obstruction.

Oh certainly some things will just happen naturally. But most take our getting busy to accomplish. Check out my tips to get you charged:

1) Stop punishing yourself. So you haven’t gotten to it yet. NOT the end of the world.
2) Scrap your “To Do” list and make a Victory List as Jack Canfield says in his book The Success Principles. Yep, it’s a mind trick. But, I’m simple and it works for me!
3) Downsize the tasks. One small victory at a time. Call the contractor or call for info on that new gym or yoga studio. Victory!
4) Move your body. It will move your mind!

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Tracye Warfield on August 23rd, 2010 in Uncategorized | No comments

23 aug

Body-image and Our Relationships

SarahMariaHave you ever hid under the bed covers, not wanting your lover to see you?

Or have you cringed at the thought of seeing yourself in the bathroom mirror?

Were you competitive with your siblings or your parents about the size of your body?

Has anyone you love, has anyone close to you, been judgmental about your body?

Are you, or have you ever been, in a relationship where your lover didn’t like your body?

The fact of the matter is that our bodies and how we feel about our bodies and ourselves can dramatically impact our relationships, either for good or for bad.

Here are some of the ways that Negative Body Obsession can adversely affect your relationships.

- Your lover finds you attractive, but you can’t believe him or her. You are too concerned about how you look, and unable to enjoy the love that is being given to you. Without realizing it, you push the other person away and over time destroy the relationship.

- Your beliefs about being unattractive unconsciously lead you to pick a partner who reinforces your low self-esteem and negative self talk. You find yourself stuck in a negative relationships and are unsure of how to break free.

- You are alone and long for love, intimacy, and connection. You have been listening to the lies of Negative Body Obsession, which has kept you isolated and alone.

There are an endless number of scenarios and examples, but the simple fact is that if you are living in the trap of NBO, you are unable to connect with other people for real. The beautiful, amazing fact, however, is that true intimacy and connection are available. No matter what your size, shape, condition, or anything else, you can enjoy deep love and sharing. But this is only possible if you learn how to ignore the lies that say you and your body are not quite good enough.

If you have lived a life listening to Negative Body Obsession, you truly do not know the relating that is possible to enjoy with other people. Negative Body Obsession acts as a true barrier. Insecurity and negative self-talk truly make it impossible to enjoy the love that is available. Even if you are involved in many relationships with different people, if you are listening to your negative thoughts and beliefs, they are preventing you from truly connecting.

It is imperative that you understand the cost of entertaining your negative beliefs. The inability to truly connect with other human beings, the inability to truly relate, is a huge cost. I recall a spiritual teacher once saying that love is food for the soul. Just as our body needs fuel to survive, so our soul needs love to survive. Now, you can live off of a meager diet, lacking in vitamins and minerals, devoid of nutritional content, and you will probably survive. But will you thrive? In order to thrive, you need a diet that is nourishing and health promoting. So it is with your human relationships and interactions. Are your relationships truly nourishing you? Are they supplying you with the deep love, connection, and intimacy that feeds your soul?

If you are living with Negative Body Obsession, or negative beliefs about yourself, the answer is no. The answer has to be “no” because these negative beliefs are making you unavailable to enjoy what may be right in front of you. They are acting as a shield, blocking out the love that is possible for a human life.

If you long for love in your life, for the true enjoyment that comes from sharing yourself with other people, make a commitment to yourself to finally break free from your negative beliefs about your body and yourself. When you turn your back on Negative Body Obsession, with its never-ending lies and delusions, you open yourself up to a life that is richer than your wildest dreams.

If you are finally ready to end the negative self-talk and enjoy the relationships you long for, register for our September call on Body-image and Relationships. Join me and well-known author and relationship expert Lissa Coffey for 60 minutes dedicated to helping you transform and discover the love that is always available when you allow it.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Sarah Maria on August 23rd, 2010 in Relationships | No comments Read related posts in ,

23 aug

The Importance of Unplugging

MikeRobbins96What percentage of your waking hours are you “plugged in” (i.e. checking things on the internet, doing email, texting, playing with your wireless device, watching TV, posting to Facebook or Twitter, and more)? If you’re anything like me and most of the people I know and work with, probably more than you’d like to admit.

Recently I began to confront my own obsession (borderline addiction) to being plugged in. For many years I’ve justified my somewhat obsessive nature about email and internet use by the fact that I run my own business and have to stay connected in order to make sure I’m taking care of my clients, generating new business, and not missing out on important opportunities.

However “true” this may seem, in the past few years (especially with the addition of social networking, texting, and other forms of “instant” communication and information sharing), it has become clear to me that my desire to stay connected has gotten a bit out of control and has had a negative impact on my life, my well being, and my relationships.

From entrepreneurs to sales people to managers to stay-at-home moms – just about everyone I know and work with seems to have some form of electronic obsession impacting their lives in a negative way.

About a month ago, I woke up on a Sunday morning and said to my wife Michelle, “I’m going to have a media free day today – no email, iPhone, internet, TV, or anything else. Today, I’m going to be totally unplugged.” She looked at me with a bit of amazement and disbelief – I think both because I was actually saying this and because she wasn’t convinced I could do it.

I had my own doubts and a few weak moments early in the day where I almost fell off the wagon and checked my phone. However, I was able to do it and by the end of that day, I felt great. I was able to relax and be present in a way that felt grounded and peaceful. The past four Sundays I’ve been “unplugged” and I’m loving it.

What if we unplugged more often? What if we gave ourselves permission to disconnect from technology and the “important” world of uber-communication? While for some of us this is easier than others, most of us could benefit from a little more unplugging and a little less emailing/texting/web or channel surfing in our lives.

What’s funny to me is how hypocritical we often are about it. When our spouse, co-worker, or friend is busy on their phone, checking email, or being “obnoxiously” plugged in, we often get annoyed. However, when we’re the one doing it, it’s almost always “necessary.”

Here are a few things you can do to start unplugging yourself in a healthy way.

1) Take inventory of the negative impact of technology in your life. How much stress, frustration, and difficulty does being constantly “plugged in” cause for you? Think about this on a physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual level. Admittedly, this is a bigger issue for some of us than others. However, the more honest you can be with yourself about it – both the impact it has on you and any underlying fears that may be associated with it, the more able you’ll be to alter your habits.

2) Challenge yourself to take conscious breaks. See if you can schedule a full day to be “unplugged.” If that seems to scary at first, try a morning or a few hours. And, if doing a full day seems easy – try a full weekend, a work day, or something else that will be a stretch. I’m working up to doing a full weekend myself and entertaining the idea of week day (although that seems scarier to me at the moment). Push yourself, but go easy on yourself at the same time – baby steps are important and perfectly acceptable with this.

3) Unplug together. See if you can get other people in your house, your family, or those you work with to unplug with you. Doing this with the support of other people can be fun and make it easier. It will also create accountability for you and those around you.

Our issues and challenges with technology and our obsession with being connected and online 24/7 don’t seem to be going away or getting better culturally. In fact, if we just take a look at our own lives and habits in the past few years – for most of us, things are getting worse. It is up to us to interrupt this pattern and to disengage from our electronic obsession in a conscious way.

While unplugging may not always easy or encouraged in the environments we find ourselves in, it’s crucial to our success and well being in life. When we’re able to disconnect ourselves, we can regain some of the passion, energy, creativity, and perspective that often gets diminshed or lost when we allow ourselves to get sucked into our phones, computers, TVs and other devices.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on August 23rd, 2010 in General, Global/Social Change | 1 comment Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,

17 aug

Chart Your Own Course

JayForteI grew up in a very Italian family. And by “very” I mean the strong traditions that came directly from Italy guided many aspects of our daily lives. This included parents who felt it was their responsibility to tell you who you were supposed to be – how to live, what to believe and what work to do. At least that is how things started.

The good news is we were also raised to be independent. And independent people don’t like to be told how to live, what to believe and what to do. That independence was the key for my siblings and me to determine that our lives belonged to us and that the key to our happiness and success would be for us to make critical life decisions for ourselves.

Though we had loving and well-intentioned parents, their perspectives of who we were and how we should live were nothing more than their perspectives. We did listen to their suggestions but determined the loudest voice directing our lives should be our own. This process was not without conflict. Nothing good ever comes without challenge because challenge helps us develop our own voice, see others’ perspectives and take responsibility for our decisions.

I firmly believe that each of us is hardwired for greatness – we have a customized combination of talents, strengths and passions that allow us to be good at some things and not others. We love some things and not others. And no matter how close we may be to our families, they can never know how we think and feel as well as we know. We must always be the voice that decides what is right for us – in work and in life. We must always know the facts, then own the decision. We must chart our own course.

Though my five siblings and I are part of the same family, and all close in age, none of the six of us has the same hobbies, the same careers or the same attitudes about politics and church; we have always been very different. Though I greatly appreciate the effort and intent of parents who felt compelled to tell us what to do with our lives, we all clearly saw that both our happiness and success required each of us to make these decisions for ourselves.

No one can know me like I know me. No one can identify my passions and talents as I can. And I honestly feel it is intended to be like this. Our lives are our gift. Part of appreciating the gift is in the anticipation and excitement of unwrapping it. We unwrap our lives as we live them. We get acquainted with more and more of who we truly are by living each day – by spending time noticing how we think, what we love, how we feel and what impacts us.

The more self-aware we become, the more information we have about what matters to us. The more we know ourselves, the better road we can chart for ourselves. I don’t want your road – you don’t want my road. My road is customized for me; yours should be customized for you. No one can do this customization except for us. And if we choose not to do it, or never learn how, then we live our lives according to how others tell us we should live. And I personally believe we then live only a fraction of our lives and never realize the our greatest purpose and value to ourselves and to our world.

There are many well-intentioned friends, colleagues and families who are loaded with advice on how we should live, who we should love and where we should work. Go ahead and listen to what they say. Consider everything. Then, value your own perspective about what is right for you more than what other says.

To help you customize your road, answer the following:

1. What is fun for you, and how do you add it into your day?

2. Who matters to you and how do you include them in your life each day?

3. What is critical for you and how do you address it each day?

4. What inspires you and how do you have more of it each day?

5. What challenges you and how do you learn to grow from it each day?

You own your life – and all that goes with it. Chart the right course for you so that each day you wake, you love the life you lead and make your greatest impact on those around you and on your world.

Jay Forte is a business and motivational speaker, performance consultant and life coach. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, and the on-line resources, Stand Out and Get Hired, and The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual. His new book, The Greatness Zone; Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform Your World, will be available in October 2010. He teaches people to connect to their talents and passions to be fired up! in life and at work. More information at www.LiveFiredUp.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jay Forte on August 17th, 2010 in Career, Family, General, Health, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Spirituality, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , ,

17 aug

Authenticity

The honeymoon is over and we find that dining by candlelight makes us squint,

And that all the time

I was letting him borrow my comb and hang up his wet raincoat in my closet,

I was really waiting

To stop letting him.

- Judith Viorst

Many of us are “someone else” in the beginning of relationships lest the person we are attracted to really see who we are. Therefore who they fall in love with is not us at all and who we fall in love with are not them at all.

When we start to “stop letting them” do all the things we let them do, that is when the battle begins. They are shocking us; we are shocking them. We try to talk it out and find we are speaking different languages.

The rest of the relationship is devoted to battling it out with this person and sighing and dreaming of the person we fell in love with and waiting for him or her to come back. Newsflash: Who you are fighting with is who they really are. The person you are now dancing the destructive dance with is who they really are just as your person is who you really are.

Sometimes people give us hints as to who they really are in the beginning and we choose to ignore it. Later on it becomes a battle. We can’t say they didn’t give us the information. Sometimes the warning is more than a glimpse, it’s a billboard. Later we will find ourselves saying, “I should have known when….”

Yes hindsight is 20/20 but when we are willfully blind, it is not that we can’t see…it is that we choose to not see. We got into this relationship, we had hopes for it…we’re not too upset right now…it’s only one indiscretion, only one slip up…it means nothing…everyone makes mistakes…everyone is human….

Stop ignoring red flags that let you know, in living color, that you are not going to make it with this person. Stop excusing inexcusable behavior early on that you will not excuse later on. Stop being someone you are not. Be authentically you from the beginning and don’t give your heart away too early.

Use the early stages to OBSERVE who this other person is and allow him or her to respond and react to who you REALLY ARE. If you realize, several weeks into it, that you simply don’t communicate the same way, don’t see important things the same way, and are destined to fight over things neither of you will budge on…it’s NOT the relationship for you no matter how wonderful things seemed a few weeks earlier. Learn to distinguish between “good vibes” and “good early compatibility” and the ingredients to a successful, long-term relationship. Don’t be so swept away by the early signs of goodness that you miss the later signs of not-so-good.

To learn to be okay with who you are is a big step. But learning to figure out who someone else is…really is…is a bigger step. Before you start dating think about what you want and what things are non-negotiable. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Stand up for something or you’ll fall for anything.” If you don’t know who you are and what you want, you will just go with the flow in a relationship that has “DOOM” written all over it.

Without early authenticity and early objectivity, true love and good relationships cannot and will not develop. Stop chasing the drug of puppy love and learn to keep your head screwed on a little straighter during the early stages of courtship. Observe. Observe. Observe. Keep the checks and balances. Know who you are and what you want. And be ready to walk away when it’s clear that the relationship is never going to be all that you want it to be.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Susan J. Elliott on August 17th, 2010 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , ,

12 aug

Are You Choosing Unhappy Over Uncertain?

MikeRobbins96I’ve been re-reading Tim Ferriss’ great book, The Four Hour Workweek, which has been expanding my mind and giving me lots of great ideas. In the book, Ferriss states that “most people choose to be unhappy rather than uncertain.”

As I began to reflect on this bold and somewhat critical statement, I realized how true it is for me in certain aspects of my life and work. While I like to think of myself as someone who boldly takes risks and tries new things, there are clearly places in my life where I avoid change, suffer with “how things are,” and allow fear to stop me from doing things differently (even if the way I’m currently doing things isn’t really working). Can you relate?

Change is a funny thing. Most of us seek it and fear it at the same time. Especially in the past year or two, with so much change and fear swirling around us – at work, in the media, in our families, and more – it seems as though many of us have gotten even more risk-adverse. And while this makes sense given the nature of the economy and other circumstances, our risk-aversion isn’t making us happier and more fulfilled, in fact it usually has the opposite effect.

Ironically, wherever we find ourselves on the risk continuum (i.e. someone who takes lots of risks, someone who rarely does, or somewhere in between), we all have had lots of experience with risk, change, and stepping into uncertainty. And while we often dwell more on the times we’ve taken risks and failed (and use these “negative” experiences as justification for not doing things differently or being bold), most of us have way more successes than failures when it comes to change.

Think of some of the things you’ve done in your life that felt risky at the time, but in hindsight you’re so glad that you did them (i.e. they really worked out and/or you learned a great deal in the process). Things rarely seem as scary when we reflect on them in the past – it’s the stuff that confronts us in the moment or the things we worry may happen in the future that cause us the most anxiety. However, looking back at our past risks, successes, and even failures can give us confidence as we move through our lives in the present moment. As the saying goes, “If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.”

Right now for so many people, teams, and organizations I work with – as well as many of my friends and family members (including myself), what’s necessary and essential for us to live lives of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment, is to consciously step out of our comfort zone, take more risks, and be willing to be choose uncertainty over unhappiness.

Can taking risks be scary? Yes! Will things work out? Not always. Is our level of fulfillment in life directly connected to our ability (or inability) to lean into uncertainty? Absolutely!

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on August 12th, 2010 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

12 aug

Big Changes in the Little House

MariaOrtnerHow to Talk to Your Child When Facing Tough Financial Times

By Dr. Maria Laura Ortner

We are currently in the midst of huge financial turmoil. Thousands of people all over the world are facing unemployment or otherwise seeing their sources of income decrease or disappear. This situation obviously becomes much harder to manage if you have a family and children, and most parents struggle when trying to find the best way to talk to their kids about all these issues. All too often we hear about friends or relatives losing their jobs because of the recession. The media is inundated with news of business closings, home foreclosures and budget crises. As we adults prepare ourselves to face tough times or to re-plan our future, children are often overlooked. In my practice as a psychologist I frequently hear that parents tell their children very little or nothing about their financial difficulties, or even about a job loss. I have heard parents telling their children they were on an “extended vacation,” because they could not tell them the truth. But this is a disservice to the children.

So let me share some pointers to follow if you, or someone you know, are facing tough financial times:

1- It is very important to be honest with your children and, above all, with yourself. Take a hard look at where you are and what immediate changes you need to make, while at the same time looking to see what new possibilities this situation may open for you and your family. Look at it with optimism. Who knows, maybe this could be the prod you needed to explore new opportunities?

2- If you don’t provide the right information, children make their own interpretations about what they perceive is going on in the family, and because they are naturally egocentric they frequently blame themselves if something is not quite right around them. They of course do this quite unconsciously.

3- Keep in mind that children are usually a lot more perceptive than what we give them credit for. It is almost as if they have a secret radar that detects emotions, moods and conflicts, so you should not avoid the subject – they know when something is afoot!

4- When talking to your children, try to be as simple and concrete as possible. Tell them what is changing in your life, what is not and what you don’t know yet. Be sure to reassure them of your love.

5- Find ways to reduce your own stress. Staying calm and focused yourself is the best way to help your children, and to reduce their concerns. You need to take care of yourself FIRST so you can take care of your children. Look into mediation, yoga, breathing techniques and especially Meridian Tapping to help control your stress.

6- You may say, “Why tell my children, why should I involve them? I want to protect them and they cannot do anything about it.” Let me tell you, they are involved even if you don’t want them to be. Structuring and providing the right information is critical for their mental well being.

7- Be consistent with your messages. Children need to know that their parents are both on the same page. While you may not be able to hide your disagreements on financial matters with your partner, your children should get consistent reminders from both of you that you love them and support them.

As you navigate through this storm it is important to remember that at the end of the day, when everything is said and done, the core issues that everybody values deeply are love, honesty and support. In your journey as a parent it is helpful to keep this in mind. Big Changes in the Little House is a children’s book that offers a platform from which to begin a conversation about a difficult issue. It was written to help parents open a meaningful dialogue on a tough subject and convey to their children that they will always be loved and protected, and that as long as a home is filled with love and support, life will go on.

It is also available in Spanish.

About The Author: Dr. Maria Laura Ortner obtained her degree in clinical psychology at the Universidad Católica in her native Argentina, and later obtained a Sixth Year Professional Diploma in School Psychology from Southern Connecticut State University, in New Haven, Connecticut, and a Doctorate in Child and Youth Studies from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She currently works in Danbury, Connecticut, as a school psychologist.

She has written, produced and directed two bilingual educational films aimed at helping Latino students and their families with acculturation and special-education issues. She has also spoken in the U. S. and abroad on a variety of educational and psychological subjects.

She and her husband have three adult children and live in Brookfield, Connecticut. This is her first book.

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Posted by First 30 Days on August 12th, 2010 in Family, New Directions, Relationships | No comments

09 aug

Coming Out of Survival No. 7: Acceptance

WaniManleyAcceptance

I accept my dark complexion, my coarse, kinky short hair, full lips, my nose, big hips, ass and thighs.

I accept the image in the mirror, the number on the scale in my bathroom.

What’s more, I even love it. I love me.

I accept my ancestry; a gorgeous African I am.

I accept the struggles for all that I have achieved.

I accept the only Love of my Life thus far belonged to someone else. Yes, he was married.

I accept my mistakes; all of them, for they led to my enchanted discoveries.

I accept the humanness in me although I’ve always hidden it with masks just for me you to like me.

I accept I am what I am because of what I’ve chosen to become.

I accept that “I don’t know” is a better answer then “yes” because it leads me to contemplation.

I accept I don’t have it all figured out but I know Grace does, and I accept Grace.

I accept I am on a journey of learning, that I don’t have all the answers or quite know how this cycle of Life will play itself out.

I accept you may not understand my path because I know I take a journey in which you yourself haven’t yet discovered, but eventually you will.

I accept you may not relate with my journey, nor even understand it and as such, you may judge me.

It is not for you to understand. I do.

I accept I’ve hurt some, maybe many, but like you, I was doing the best I knew at the time and in that moment.

I accept right now, I am unattached because I am falling in love with me, my Beloved.

I accept where I am right now, in this moment, is where I need to be for my Beloved, and

for us to walk The Path together.

I accept that all I’ve done is to try to gain your love, your approval, and adoration, but no more.

I accept me. I approve of me. I adore me. I love me. I am so in love with me.

I accept I had to go through what I went through to help me, help you, and to help us.

You see, I am you, You are me, and yes, We are one.

I accept the Divine Plan, the Divine Order, and the Divine Hand.

I accept everything as is, because to do otherwise is to suffer and I choose to no longer suffer.

I accept I can change it all whenever I choose.

I accept victory in the same spirit as defeat because when you look closely, there is really no difference.

I accept that to some extent we are all confused, unaware and even asleep,

but it’s only a matter of time before you wake up as I did.

I accept you may be intimated by me because I am a woman, a strong one at that and you may even be scared of my strength.

I accept I represent and am a reminder to you of everything that you dare to become but are afraid. Like you, I was once afraid.

Go ahead and take the leap. You’ll discover, as I did, that you have wings to fly and will soar.

I accept you may think that I no longer love you and are afraid simply because I now know who I am and realize my power.

But you see, because I now know who I am and also now know you are, I love you even more.

I accept I have a purpose that I must fulfill, which you may not understand. I fulfill it anyway.

I accept my life is the way that it is, have had to have been the way it is only for me to turn it around and to show you how to do the same. This responsibility, I humbly accept.

I accept that you talk about me, ridicule me, judge me, and don’t like me even.

I accept and love you anyway.

I accept I am here today, in this space planting the seeds for a better tomorrow

in this imagined time and space.

I accept I am on my path, The Path, you are one your path, but in the end, if there is such a thing called the end, we shall end up in the same place and that is the place of our Beloved.

I accept I may not know how the journey on this path will look, unfold, what turns it will take, but I choose to take it anyway.

The uncertainty is the beauty of it all, and so, how could I have it any other way?

I accept I am a work in progress and until enlightenment or beyond,

I am forever in the process of growth.

I accept those voices in my head that try to hold me back every time I see fear for what it is and decide to face fear.

I accept me when I’m being me, when I’m not, you when you’re being you and even when you’re not.

I accept that I will have to let go of the old to make way for the new and what new is I have no clue.

I accept that I am losing the mundane to gain the extraordinary.

I accept I may have to lose some, maybe alot or everything just to gain it all.

I accept all the Love disguised as trials, tests, challenges and obstacles, for it is Grace.

I accept me,

all of me,

Finally.

Acceptance, what a beautiful place to be.

Wani Manly

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Wani Manly on August 9th, 2010 in New Directions, Uncategorized | No comments