Silence: Finding Peace Without Noise

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Silence is not always the easiest thing to experience. Who wants to sit through nothingness and void? We are often bombarded by noise. It’s all around us. It’s in our technology: Smart phones, tablets, laptops, computers, television, radio, music. There is noise everywhere. And where there are coffee shops, we are sure to have caffeinated humanoids who are overly chatty and overly boisterous. Noise feels like energy; it resonates as if life is riveting through us. This is why many of us feel the need to go to coffee houses or bookstores to do work. Silence feels like isolation, and this is why some of us crave crowds and the noise that comes with it.

What’s wrong with silence? Can we handle the void that silent moments often bring? I often feel like I have to fill them with nonsense, talk about the weather or my latest meal or maybe the latest breaking headline on CNN.

According to an article [1]This is your Brain on Silence there are negative ramifications to living with noise:

“Neurophysiological research suggests that noises first activate the amygdalae, clusters of neurons located in the temporal lobes of the brain, associated with memory formation and emotion. The activation prompts an immediate release of stress hormones like cortisol. People who live in consistently loud environments often experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones.”

Another study conducted by the [2]European Heart Journal found that:

“Long-term exposure to high levels of noise dramatically boosts heart risk. Men exposed to prolonged noise were found to have a whopping 50 percent higher risk of having a heart attack. Women were found to have an even greater risk, almost 300 percent.”

Clarity and inner peace are said to be found through silence. Eastern medicine often equates silence with meditation and the attainment of a deep, personal wholeness that is invisible when surrounded by noise. The Hindu call this mauna. Essentially it is a vow of silence. As the [3]Hindu believe, “Outer peace is simply a means to help us find inner silence.”

If we are so used to the distractions that our environment brings, the difficulty comes when there is silence and we feel there must be some sort of noise that needs to fill it. The more comfortable we are with silence, the more comfortable we are with our inner selves.

The Bottom Line:

There is noise all around us. And often, noise filling our mental space clogging our brains with overthinking. There is so much of it that we are constantly distracted. But if we learn to envelop the stillness, we become at peace with it and we understand that we can’t evolve without a little bit of silence.

Lao Tzu silence




Rejection: The Root of Gun Violence?

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Rejection is the most powerful human emotion. Without a doubt, it is a universal experience that, it’s safe to say, everyone hopes to avoid. Personally, I believe everyone has a deep desire to be accepted.

Acceptance is the driving force behind everyone’s human need to love and to be loved. Without the acceptance from peers, friends or family, feelings of rejection often result as does the seeking of vengeance. In our generation of gun violence and school shootings, most of the deadly news headlines have resulted from the same recycled cause. Read the rest of this entry »

Life’s Beautiful Moments in Focus

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It’s easy to be so busy that we forget to live in the moment. Before I became a mother, I found myself consumed with two things: Living in the past or worrying about the future. You can’t undo the past, but you can learn from it. And it’s important to plan for the future, but obsessing about it only increases anxiety. At least, this is what I have learned. Read the rest of this entry »

What Have You Done For Me Lately?

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People want to be around winners. Politics is the prime example because people often are undecided about which candidate they will back until a “front runner” emerges. It can be the same with sports. There are the die-hard fans who bleed their teams colors and there are the fair-weather fans who wait to see which teams make the playoffs before they get really interested. Read the rest of this entry »

Transformed by Despair

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Invaded By Despair- Finding Hope

Everyone, even the likes of Tony Robbins and Eckhart Tolle, has a bad day. And if you’re one of the few who swears you’ve never experienced dark times, I question if you are human. Some can use spiritual or Zen rhetoric to pontificate that there is no such thing as “bad,” that it’s simply perception. But if you were to strip out the spiritual jargon, a bad day is a bad day.

This is especially if it’s not only bad but you’ve reached your lowest point. You’ve hit rock bottom. Taken from 16th-century Spanish poet, Saint John of the Cross and his famous Noche obscura del alma. Translated into English it means The Dark Night of the Soul. Tolle and others have used the poem’s title to describe a moment in their lives when the feeling of utter despair became all-consuming. Read the rest of this entry »

Raising Your Energy: Nothing Happens Without Movement

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Raising Your Energy: Nothing Happens Without Movement

I am a firm believer in a layered approach to productivity, living a healthier and potentially happier life. A layered approach to progress is like living in snow country. When it’s 30 below zero (I’ve actually lived in such conditions) you have to dress in layers. It’s the same when it comes to addressing a stable emotional, spiritual, mental and physical life. Some of you might only need a couple of layers, while some of us might need several. After all, everyone handles cold weather differently.

Locals might be so used to the weather, that they’re almost immune. Others can live in the same area for the same amount of time and can never get used to how cold it is. Then there are times when it’s so damn cold, that wearing layers is the difference between life and death, no matter if you claim to be thick skinned or not. My main pursuit is happiness, as my main struggle has been my ongoing battle with depression. I know many creative people and artists who struggle with depression. But what I learned is that it really does take a layered approach. You have to try every angle and you have to tackle each life area and analyze it, to see if there’s something that can be improved. Read the rest of this entry »

Depression is NOT Lack of Gratitude

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Depression is Not Lack of Gratitude

In my experience, anytime people hear of someone who throws the word “depressed” around with the next breath you are automatically bombarded with the word “gratitude.” And the more you’ve seemingly accomplished in life, it seems, the more you’re a total moron for living with a serious and underestimated illness such as clinical depression. Read the rest of this entry »

I Haven’t Reached Enlightenment

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I Haven't Reached Enlightenment

I haven’t reached enlightenment yet. And although we are all on a path to hopefully discover this for ourselves, sometimes people will not understand your process because it’s not theirs. We see things often one-sided through one story and one set of lens.

Introspection is more than digging deep within yourself to face the mirror towards our own face, but it’s also asking others to respect the period of transformation you undergo. I am working on doing the best and being my best that I can be without comparing or competing against anyone other than myself. I do my best to avoid situations and people who function off of one-upmanship. I know people who see nothing wrong with it, as they literally thrive off of trying to outdo everyone around them. Read the rest of this entry »

To Self-Publish or Not Self-Publish

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I’m seeing more and more aspiring writers and future authors impatiently go the self-publishing route. I say “impatiently” because it indeed takes some time to go the traditional way, namely knocking on publisher’s doors and, often, getting rejected over and over again before something happens.

Like many bloggers, I’m a writer who aspires to have her books published, but I don’t feel it necessary to constantly post or discuss it. As a matter of fact, I prefer not to discuss it. Having said this, for the sake of this post title, I’ll finally mention it. I’ve written a memoir titled Scars of Valor, but I am also considering it as fiction “based on a true story” about my experiences as a former Army wife who struggled through our nation’s period of heavy deployment to Iraq and then to Afghanistan. It’s an insight into depression and isolation caused by moving from base to base, town to town, and enduring Army life, PTSD and, then, divorce. Read the rest of this entry »

Expect Nothing: No One Owes You ANYTHING!

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Ever heard of the biblical saying, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you?” You don’t need to be religious to understand the meaning or to abide by it. Just because you live by a certain moral and ethical code, it doesn’t mean others do.

Over time I’ve grown to realize that living my life this way would one day reward me on many different levels. At the same time, I’ve also learned that having expectations of other people and how they live is wrong because everyone has free will. Just because you respect someone else’s time and planning doesn’t mean that they have to return the favor. People will say that respect is earned, but this is not always the case. You’ll meet people who simply refuse to respect you regardless of what you have or haven’t done, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. Read the rest of this entry »

You Cannot Lose. You Either Win or Learn!

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You Cannot Lose. You Either Win or Learn.

From the time that we are in kindergarten or maybe even preschool we are conditioned to keep score. We are introduced to scoreboards, on which we receive stars for doing good, or we lose them for doing bad or at least not good enough. The more stars we obtain, the closer we get to winning some type of prize.

We are ranked from childhood. We have report cards that indicate how well we are doing in our school subjects. By December, we even have Santa Clause to remind us if we’ve been naughty or nice. By the time we are deep into elementary school and junior high, we realize that not only do we have to do well because our grades depend upon them, but we learn the importance of conforming to social and family pressures of perfectionism. Read the rest of this entry »

Lack of Community + Selfishly Independent = Depression

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People working in a community garden --- Image by © Monalyn Gracia/Corbis
People working in a community garden — Image by © Monalyn Gracia/Corbis

Until 12,000 years ago, approximately 90 percent of human history functioned off of food foraging. Our communities were simple with simple tasks and roles. It seemed the simpler our society, the easier it was to live comfortably in supportive communities where people truly helped each other. Perhaps in communities, relationships are naturally cultivated and nurtured. The more advanced our civilization has evolved, the more competitive and autonomous we’ve all become.

We triple lock our doors, scoff as we wiz by the neighbor with the morning coffee in hand and hope that no one else interrupts our perfectly sculpted routine. Today, especially if you live in big cities, it almost seems impossible to say you live in a real community. Back in the day, we used to be able to knock on our neighbor’s doors to borrow a cup of sugar. We used to wave to familiar friends as we jogged down the street. While some people can genuinely say that they’ve managed to find the best and most friendly community to live in, I’m going to say most people have naturally become more shut off. It’s like the more you crave community, the more it shows that you are weak, needy, and even insecure?! Read the rest of this entry »

The Value of Forming Organic Friendships

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Walking along the beach one day, my 15-pound Jarkie (Japanese Chin/Yorkie mix) immediately took to Molly, a Tibetan Terrier. Abigail my 5-pound Japanese Chin was a little more aloof because that’s just her personality and, by default unfortunately, Chins take a while to warm up to people – or other dogs – they don’t know. Just like dog breeds have natural disposition and personality quirks, it goes the same for humans.

On that walk along the beach I immediately took to Melanie, Molly’s owner. She was sweet, honest, willing to listen, open to forming new friendships, and she was 65 years old. Ever since, we’ve walked every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We met the month I got pregnant and walked throughout my pregnancy, and we’ve continued to walk after my daughter was born. Melanie’s an no-nonsense Jewish woman who’s lived an interesting life full of old school gender roles, sexism, and adjusting to being a mother while juggling a career as an accountant. Melanie and I have enjoyed coffee and breakfast and genuine, good conversation that money cannot buy. Read the rest of this entry »

Get Over It = The Worst Advice

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Regardless of how small, insignificant or serious circumstances might be, telling someone to “just get over it” is not only insensitive, but the worst advice. Everyone grieves in their own way, and what might be a small hiccup in life’s journey for one person, might be a catastrophic event to someone else. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Is Your Baby So Skinny? America’s Obsession With Fat Babies

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Ariabella Zofia Gray
6 weeks old, a little over 8 Ibs and growing!

If you don’t already know, I had my daughter on May 12, so as I write this she’s exactly 6 weeks old (a little over one month in non-mommy lingo.) I know, I know, it’s annoying how mother’s use weeks when asked how old their child is, as in they’re like “24 weeks,” and you quickly have to do the math in your head to figure out the kid is 6 months old.

It is odd how being a new parent changes your vocabulary, disposition and level of patience and how it forces you to become the best time manager ever. You literally have to plot out a strategy as to not when but if you will shower, and only then can you maybe figure out when it will happen. You spend way too much time figuring out how you will walk the dogs and how you will get everyone (including baby) out the door. If you’re crafty, you manage to go to the toilet while the baby is still snuggled against you in the baby carrier. Read the rest of this entry »

The Various Stages of Life: Can Grief & Happiness Co-Exist?

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The Various Stages of Life- Can Grief & Happiness Co-Exist?

Anytime there is a life change, the stages you go through can often mirror those of grief. If your only child or youngest finally goes off to college and moves out, you may experience “empty nest syndrome.” Or your 40-year career is finally winding to a close and the light of retirement that you once looked forward to at the end of a very long tunnel suddenly is replaced with a feeling you didn’t expect – sadness.

Say you’re moving out of state for a new job. Coming from personal experience, having moved around more than the average person (an ex-military brat), I can say that moving can be stressful on so many levels, not only physically but emotionally. You’re likely met with a heavy heart as you are faced to deal with saying goodbye to people, places and things that you’ll miss more than you can comprehend at the time. Saying sayonara to friends, relatives and, heck, even old routines makes you yearn for familiar stomping grounds. Read the rest of this entry »

The Homeless Generation

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Hunched over on the cement bench facing the ocean at Redondo Beach is Esperanza. Most, if not, all locals know who she is by sight though very few know her by name. Esperanza in French and Spanish, ironically, mean’s hope, though perhaps from society’s perspective she represents the loss of it.

I have tried to talk to Esperanza on several occasions, only for her to retreat by hanging her head in shame, reversing her cart piled with a hodge-podge collection of discarded junk, but it’s all that she owns. Despite her need for privacy or, perhaps, due to her fear of the outside world, I managed to catch her on a good day and squeezed out her name. Walking my dogs along the beach, we’ve managed to get to know other dogs and their owners around the neighborhood. So, I wanted to also know Esperanza by name rather than to simply point to her, referencing her by apparent her lack of finances and an address. Read the rest of this entry »

But, That Wasn’t The Plan?!?! – Dealing With Life’s Curve Balls

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I haven’t gotten a chance to breathe, at least that is what it feels like since May 12th when my daughter was born. I’ve managed to check my email here and there via my cellphone (starting to really pat myself on the back for choosing the iPhone 6 Plus for its large screen) and to virally poke in from time to time on Facebook. But that’s the extent of it. This is my very first time turning on my computer and attempting to write a post before I am back up to my eyeballs in poop and pee-pee diapers.

As a late bloomer, motherhood didn’t seem to sink in for me during my pregnancy. Perhaps I should blame it on my body’s amazing ability to absorb most, if not, all of the negative side effects and instead leave me feeling mostly symptom-free. Compared to the ordinary woman and most stories I’ve read and heard, my pregnancy was by far the easiest. I never felt sick and did not experience any swelling whatsoever. Occasionally I’d need a nap after I ate, but that wasn’t until I was nearly 8 months prego. So, honestly, my pregnancy itself was DRAMA-FREE! Read the rest of this entry »

The Negative Affects of Unloving Step-Parents: A New Dad’s Pledge

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Here we are at Manhattan Beach, CA. Ryan picked out this pose. :)  Photography By: Yaz
Here we are at Manhattan Beach, CA. Ryan directed the photographer inspiring this pose. :-)
Photography By: Yaz

Guest Author: Ryan Gray

I’ll obviously never know the miracle of motherhood from the physical sense. But, in looking with Mother’s Day now in the past at least for 12 more months, I was reminded that motherhood is more than just the act of giving birth to and of nurturing and of loving one’s child. Being a mother is state of mind, and men can certainly display motherhood traits when they want. I’m experiencing the latter as my partner and I prepare for the arrival of our daughter.

My girlfriend likes to poke fun at the fact that I can wear my emotions on my sleeve. It’s not a rare occurrence for a tear or 12 to dot my eyes when watching a heart-gripping movie, for example. But as we have gotten closer to our baby’s arrival, I’ve especially grown emotional at the thought of holding my precious girl in my arms and embarking on the life-changing event of fatherhood. Read the rest of this entry »

1st Time Mommy: Why I Kept My Pregnancy in the Social Media Closet

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Baby Bump
Me & my bump at Manhattan Beach. Photography By: Yaz

As Mother’s Day approaches, I thought it fitting to explain the reasons behind a very personal decision to not write or discuss a huge moment in my life. For the past few months, I have kept this very huge life transition practically secret on Facebook, Twitter and the like, opting instead to share the news the old-fashioned way. In about a week and five days, my first child will be due. You’ve heard me correctly; I am 9 ½ months pregnant, 38 weeks to be exact. My daughter can come any day now, as I am full term.

I have discussed my education in some of my posts, but what you might not know is that I’ve always been a bit of a late bloomer. I didn’t graduate with my bachelor’s degree in film production until I was 29. This wasn’t by choice; I was working full-time and didn’t receive any help from family. Following graduation, I waited a few years before getting my project management certification, and then I opted to get my master’s degree after that. Somewhere in between, I wrote a couple of screenplays and a novel that I am attempting to publish after a few final touch ups and last-minute revisions. But, who hasn’t written a screenplay or a novel? Tons of bloggers have and they even write about their self-published or traditionally published books. It’s more common especially now days and especially in Los Angeles. Read the rest of this entry »

The Condition of Unconditional Love

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More times than not we place conditions on everything. This is especially true when it comes to love. I am not necessarily speaking of romantic love but the kind that you give to yourself. But, many of us continue to place conditions on ourselves as we do others.

There’s a quota we must all meet, and if this minimum is not satisfied, then we put up barriers and our love is constrained. Disappointment can equally set in and devastate our motivation when we haven’t lived up to our own expectations. FYI – beating up on yourself or others, whether physically or verbally, is not love. Read the rest of this entry »

Diversify Your Coping Skills

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If you’ve watched Limitless you’ll probably agree that the concept of taking one pill to make you brilliant, happy and invincible is not a new one. Like the “fountain of youth” we’re always looking for that magic elixir that will make us younger and more beautiful, or the best medically crafted and extensively researched pill that can make us not only exceptionally happy but also elevate our IQ to a level that provides us with solutions to all of life’s problems and removes from our mind all doubt in our abilities.

The popular trend heads more towards a culture obsessed with organic living, one that praises the holistic, go-green, recycle, anti-dairy, gluten-free, take-your-vitamins-and-herbs, and don’t-forget-to-consume-only-organic/non-pesticide-riddled-food. Others find a bit more comfort in modestly embracing the organic trend, realizing that not everything prescribed by our doctor or psychiatrist is necessarily horrible or evil. I believe in a customizable approach to life, where people ought to realize that they’re individuals and that not just one solution fits everyone. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Embrace Being Average?

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I finally got around to watching “Big Hero 6” via Redbox and was surprised at how much I enjoyed the story as well as the moral behind it. In many ways the movie hits the mark in describing that inside all of our geeky, quirky, and oddball shells lies a soul longing to fight against dullness.

There’s a huge fascination for turning yourself from an ordinary human into someone with super powers: Hollywood, comic book creators and video game developers exploit this. Let’s also not forget sci-fi and fantasy writers. It’s nice to live vicariously through an avatar, one that is stronger, braver and smarter than you may ever be. Read the rest of this entry »

Managing ADD/ADHD: Simplify

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Managing ADD_ADHD

As a child I wasn’t diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, but I always new that I was different. As an adult, a doctor would later confirm my suspicions. I recall, childhood was laborious. My handwriting was extremely messy, I read slower than other students, and it was harder for me to get focused. I wasn’t the hyper kid bouncing off the walls, but I remember being a talker. The absolute most difficult thing in the world was taking tests.

From the time I was in elementary school all the way up until I got my master’s degree, test taking was never ever my forte. Only during special situations and classes that really interested me did my brain seem to memorize the material photographically. I recall one of my favorite classes was cultural anthropology at a community college. I don’t know why I enjoyed it so much, maybe because it explored a variety of cultures, societies, lifestyles, religions, and all with such an educated, yet open-minded objectivity. I found exploring cultures so fascinating, and I still do. Read the rest of this entry »

Going With the Flow Can Result in the Best Decisions Made

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Going With the Flow Can Result in the Best Decisions Made

I recently found myself consumed with tasks that take up a good portion of my mental and physical energy, hence the lag in updating this blog. I had been meaning to post one or more articles daily, or at the very least, on a weekly basis. It’s amazing that, when push comes to shove, some things must really be put on the back burner while life takes priority. Everyone will tell you until it almost becomes an exhausted cliché, that “Oh, just write down a list of what your priorities are and what aren’t.”

But often it’s true the best way to decide what needs to be tackled is to just make it brutally simple for yourself and tackle what needs to be done right this second and let the rest wait until later. But, what if all the tasks on your list hold equal importance in your eyes? I think it’s important to understand the way our minds work in these instances. Read the rest of this entry »

One-Dimensional Thinking: What’s Your Label?

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One-Dimensional Thinking: What’s Your Label?

It sounds like a generic interview question, but what is the one adjective that best describes you? Do you consider yourself hardworking, motivated, conscientious, methodical, a team player, honest, reliable, confident, ambitious, or punctual?

There’s not a soul that doesn’t have their own best intention in mind, and certainly for a job interview we all want to ensure we put our best foot forward. The same goes for cover letters and resumes but also for online profiles, in-person networking opportunities, the first time meeting your partner’s parents — nearly everyone wants to present him or herself in the best possible light. Read the rest of this entry »

Social Media Obsession: Do You Have A Life?

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facebook, more like bragbook
Created by Sonyo Estavillo

Once upon a time, I thoroughly enjoyed updating my whereabouts 24/7, especially on Facebook. Guilty like many of the other 1.39 billion users around the globe, I would post sexy pictures of the most scrumptious meals and boast as to where I was dining, or shopping or whatever that day. And if not updates of provocative, mouth-watering and expensive meals there were the pictures from Disneyland, the weekend getaways, the latest DLSR camera purchase, or simply a note with a picture of my washed Prius just to demonstrate how nice and shiny it is. Oh…and let’s not forget doggy and kitty pictures. They are by far the best especially when wanting to garner extra attention.

It’s true, we’ve all been guilty of bragging, boasting, gloating, exulting, and showing off via social networking accounts. Caught red-handed and equally red-faced, I refrained from the boastful social media braggadocio for the first month and a half of this year. But recently I backslid and allowed a fitbit sticker I won to be posted on my timeline. I proudly gloated that I walked 20,000 steps in a day exactly 12 days ago, not that I was counting. (Well, yeah, I was.) And although it garnered only two “likes,” I was pleased with myself and patted myself on the back while enjoying a couple of “atta-girls” from FB friends. Sigh. But there are so many friends and family members who are rather talented at soliciting enough likes to graduate them to a level of importance that supersedes us dull, unpopular FB folk. Read the rest of this entry »

Dealing With Haters: Internet Trolls and Nasty Comments

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I have been bombarded by comments as I have two blogs I write and manage, this one and tvshowjunky. I find myself mostly deleting rather than approving them. Either someone is trying to promote a work-from-home opportunity or they have nothing better to do than to troll and try to pick an Internet fight. So it was little surprise to receive a pretty rotten comment from f*cky*, originating from IP address,, tracked to someone in the region of Alberta within the city of Edmonton, Canada to be specific. There was also this whois link attached:

The attack was in response to an article I posted that tends to generate the most views: From Tots to Adults: When Spoiled Brats Grow Up into Bigger Ones! Let’s just say that I was called a word rhyming with “blunt,” and my mother (who is Korean) was suddenly a Chinese piece of sh*t. Yes, we look alike, but c’mon! Read the rest of this entry »

Planting Yourself In the Proper Soil: A Lesson From Nature

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It’s been almost two years since I discovered my love for orchids. Ever since, through trial and error, I have learned that orchids can be simple, yet fickle, even sensitive indoor plants to grow. For in everything in life we can glean similar lessons from nature, if only we truly pay attention to the subtle way it speaks to us.

In June, I wrote about my initial experience with repotting orchids. I learned that when you don’t repot an orchid in a proper pot, the chances of the flower surviving long-term is slim. And just like in real life, if we don’t decide to spread our wings we become stunted. We can’t grow by confining our roots. Back in June, two out of my three orchids died mainly because I didn’t repot them in time. I replaced them and assumed I knew the “orchid trick” to keep them living a long time. Upon getting two more orchids to replace the deceased ones I immediately learned my lesson and bought orchid pots. Read the rest of this entry »

Mind, Body & Spirit: They’re All Connected

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Relationship of body, mind and spirit

Our mind, body and spirit are truly connected. This is why if you stop feeding what lifts your spirit, no matter how physically fit or mentally sharp you might be, there remains an imbalance in your life. The same can be said about our body.

You might work really hard to keep your spirit afloat; in fact, that’s all you live for is to do what ever it is you do. Your work and your title can make you feel on top of this world. However, if you’re too busy working, especially with a high paying, high demand job, then your body might be totally out of shape or stress might be preventing you from getting a decent night’s sleep. Your blood pressure might be through the roof, and your cardiologist might warn that if you don’t slow down and get healthy you’ll be on the brink of a heart attack. That’s if you haven’t already had one. Read the rest of this entry »

The Power of Pain

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We’re never quite ready for what we’re about to face in life when it involves two ingredients: unpredictability and pain. I’m one of those who thrive off of solid plans; I work best with some sort of structure, and knowing where I stand makes me feel secure. If you asked me, surprises are overrated. I’m not big on them.

However, I don’t care if you claim to be the world’s leading psychic — no one can completely be prepared for tragedy to strike. As I described in my last post, an unexpected tragedy struck one woman whose life would be forever altered. On Saturday, Dec. 16, 2006, 26 year-old Claudia Salley drove her husband and her four-month-old son Levi westbound on Interstate 20 in Shreveport, Louisiana. While Claudia slowed her family’s white Lincoln due to road construction, the 18-wheeler behind her didn’t. Read the rest of this entry »

I Will Be Happy When__________________.

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happy smile guy

I can’t begin to tell you how often I have played this game. You know, “the happiness game” where I become fixated on this “major” situation that may or may not be so serious. But it is to me at the time, and if only I can accomplish the goal or avoid the calamity then I’ll be sooo happy.

Have you ever had a “major” thing, be it a goal, desire or wish that you fantasized and dreamed about daily, even to the point of obsession?

I bet that with enough sweat, hard work and tenacity you reached that major goal just like I have. Maybe you bathed in euphoria afterward, but how long did the high last?

According to psychological research, there’s a name to the drop off in happiness after having achieved or reached your coveted goal. The phenomenon is called hedonic adaptation and it’s essentially when we adapt to whatever it is we’ve achieved regardless of how grand the result. In fact, the idea is you return back to the same emotional state before your big reward. Read the rest of this entry »

The Joy of Being vs. Doing

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I need to keep busy and often. If I have too much time on my hands, then I feel like something is wrong and my day feels wasted. For many of us, what we don’t realize is that we’re filled with distractions, ones that can mostly be blamed on ourselves. We usually create distractions for ourselves because often times it’s better than facing what the silence might reveal to us.

For a very long time I needed to keep so busy that working 65-75 hours a week was not only tolerable, but eventually became the norm and the only thing that made me feel satisfied. Once you set a really high bar for yourself and you’re able to somewhat clear it, then nothing below this extraordinarily high standard computes to success. Why is it wrong to have out-of-this-world, ridiculous standards for yourself? Because it not only affects you, it becomes the standard you place on everyone else. It’s not always obvious that you are actually projecting your impossible standards on others because you’re doing so subconsciously. If you’re reflective enough you might catch yourself doing it, or if your fortunate enough a good friend will pull you aside to explain what you can’t see. Read the rest of this entry »

Think-Change: Five Things to Stop Doing to Create a Better You

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Brain Idea for Success or Inspiration , eps10 vector formatDid you know that scientific research found that the brain doesn’t fully develop – especially your prefrontal cortex, the problem solving part of your brain – until your mid-20s?

However, a neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College, London explained in a 2010 article that the brain continues to change shape well into your 30s and 40s. In fact, the prefrontal cortex of our brain takes the longest to develop and is the key area in charge of high cognitive functions: planning, decision making, social behavior, social awareness, emotional intelligence, and various personality traits.

So, when we are told to “grow up” and “get with the program” or “stop being so immature,” technically we can blame it on our brain development or lack there of. What does this have to do with the direction of our lives, especially now that we’re in the New Year and everyone is claiming 2015 as a better year for them? Everything. Read the rest of this entry »

The Power of Surrender

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Surrender seems like an ethereal concept, one that takes more than power of will to remove the ego and to just let go. When stubbornness gets in the way of true change, we find that we’re stuck with old software uploaded into the most complex computer on earth — our brains.

We desire to improve but are often in the way of our own progress because unconsciously we continue to trigger emotions that reinforce negative childhood experiences, hold onto outdated beliefs and recreate negative behaviors, those of which we were taught long ago. We haven’t found a way to uninstall the old software and reprogram our brain with new, improved and healthier software that we’ve personally designed. It is not based upon forced ideals from circumstances, environment or society.

If we could only comprehend how much power we have over the results we wish to see in our lives, we’d stop doubting our capabilities and value the power we hold within us. It goes way beyond the overused concept of “self-esteem” and having “self confidence.” Plenty of successful people have confidence, but they lack the capability to expand outside of their box and welcome change regardless of how flawless their lives appear to be or what they’ve gained externally and the versions of themselves that they flaunt. Everyone today can create a social media profile, one that allows for a perfectly catered exterior and tastefully chosen posts in order to boast and throw up the illusion of an unblemished life. Read the rest of this entry »

Merry Christmas, Ramadan, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Tet, Festivus…in otherwords HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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I just discovered this YouTube video Can we make jingle bells and thought it was not only fun, but fitting. I hope everyone enjoys this holiday with loved ones regardless of your religious affiliation or lack thereof.




Writing True to One’s Self

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Do you have a gimmick? That’s how a lot of bloggers get noticed today. They choose their narrative voice and then they decide that perhaps sensationalism is the right approach. And judging by responses from other bloggers, I guess it works. I don’t know how big I am on writing with a gimmick in mind. Sensationalism is a good way to catch someone’s attention— I’ll give you that. I mean, some people are willing to let it all hang out.

I will at times be extremely frank or honest while commenting on a post, and recently I opened up my more “opinionated side” on my newest site, I mean it’s really new, as I only have three posts so far. Anyway, I suppose that particular site is written using more of an “in your face” approach. It might even be considered gimmicky to some folks, it’s not my intention but it very well can be perceived that way. Read the rest of this entry »

No, I’m Not Upgrading My Cell Phone

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I am sure there are those of you out there who can’t wait to upgrade your gadget, but when it comes to technology cell phones tend to be the easiest, most popular (and sometimes cheapest) item to upgrade. If you’re with one of the major carriers you’re likely due for an upgrade every two years. And although your PC gets outdated just as quickly as any smart phone or tablet, it’s not so easy to replace this larger item every six months to a year. Plus, smartphones and tablets are gaining ground as the primary “computer.”

But, ultimately, what does it matter if you get a new cell phone, especially if your current one works perfectly fine? Often it’s a matter of keeping up with the Jones’, as there are many cheaper smartphones now available, and many users don’t even come close to needing the features of the more expensive varieties. Read the rest of this entry »

Choosing Your Blog Platform: vs.

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When you begin designing a site, you need to consider how much time you want to invest and how technical you’d like to get. Those who use a WordPress platform for personal blog, portfolio or professional site have probably heard that there are differences between and

Honestly, I kind of kicked myself for not first building in But if you move over a site you will likely lose your followers as well as links, and even more complications can arise. One of the things that I dislike about is that you don’t have that much control or flexibility over the template you choose. Similarly, lacks some flexibility. This is why if you truly want to build something totally your way, you should consider a web designer who can build it from scratch. However, for blogs some of us like to make things as easy on ourselves as possible. I am no expert at either, but makes it super easy for anyone to erect a quick blog. But, if you eventually want to start making money as a blogger, makes that virtually impossible. Well, at least extremely difficult. Read the rest of this entry »

Family & The Holidays: What Money Cannot Buy

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Christmas gift on defocused lights background

‘Tis the season to be…frugal? While the holidays can bring up so many wonderful emotions it can equally be stressful on the wallet as well on the willpower.

holiday-credit-hangover-image-blogAccording to recent stats from, consumers racked up $28.8 billion on their cards during the second quarter. That was after the same people had finished paying off $32.5 billion in credit card debt during the first quarter. Even if you are using self-restraint and decide to leave the credit cards at home or do something really throwback and bring cash instead, you should still heed overzealous cashiers. conducted a recent survey and found that many retail stores are pushing their own store credit card on to consumers. And approximately 49 percent of consumers who caved into a store credit card after qualifying grew to regret the decision. Meanwhile, three out of 10 Americans admitted they actually felt bullied by various store employees who overtly promote store-issued credit cards by promising such deals as another 30% off the sales price.

Hey, the tactic works, but is that what holidays are all about? Of course not, as most people admit that it’s about spending time with family. But a Daily Mail article in the UK also found that families are now spending slightly a little more than a half an hour of quality time together per day — 36 minutes to be exact. That equates to parents and their children spending a total of eight hours together during the week and two hours on the weekend. The article went on to point out that more than half of surveyed adults (56 percent) stated that the only real time they spend with their family is during a holiday vacation. Read the rest of this entry »

Life Transition? Reinvent Yourself!

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stockAccording to a Huffington Post article, 55 percent of American women polled by PayPal explained that they are entrepreneurs because they seek a healthier work-life balance. Meanwhile, 47 percent of women said that passion for their career was their strongest motivation. For me, both passion and obtaining a work-life balance (quality family time) is extremely important. This is why I strive to keep an open mind when it comes to expanding my self-employment opportunities.

Risk is risk no matter the career. But it’s especially risky as competition increases, such as in a creative field, and takes even more guts. I had an exciting opportunity to work with a friend from undergraduate film school. She was at a transitional period in her career when, after getting sick, she took time off. In doing so, she found the time to pursue another creative venture. The next thing she knew, a hobby turned into a new business – her own fashion line.

The Bottom Line:

I enjoyed the opportunity to film and edit this video. Working in the creative field isn’t easy but can also be extremely rewarding. As I stated in a previous article, you have to think outside of the box and produce your own opportunity in a creative world. It’s great if you have contacts, connections and “peeps” to open doors for you. If you’re applying for jobs, that’s great. Keep at it. But in the meantime, if the doors aren’t opening immediately, then why rely on others to give you the opportunity that you can otherwise create for yourself?

George Lopez

Can Goals and “To-Do” Lists Actually Lead to Self-Sabotage?

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to-do-list1According to a LinkedIn survey, 11 percent of 6,500 professionals said they regularly complete their “to-do” lists. Meanwhile, less than two-thirds actually create a list in the first place. Do you use lists, and are they helpful? All this time, have we been led astray on how important of lists are to our success?

Entrepreneur, weightlifter and travel photographer James Clear writes how goals ultimately reduce the level of individual happiness because one winds up not feeling good about themself until or unless that goal is accomplished. Clear goes on to point out how goals can often become huge burdens. It makes total sense if you’re hard pressed to complete your to-do list and reach big goals rather than changing your perspective or process. It’s like dieting. I’ve often heard from people who have been fighting to lose weight that when they finally achieved their goal it wasn’t because they went on a diet. They stopped “dieting” and they changed how they ate instead.

Similar to what Clear explains in his article, the focus ought to be on the practice and not on the performance. When you’re goal oriented it truly does become about how much you do, how much you get done and how much you acquire in order to have to feel good about yourself. Your self-esteem and, often, mental health rides on items being checked off your list rather than on the actual accomplishment. Read the rest of this entry »

Are There Mental Health Benefits to Joining Facebook Groups?

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freebies2deals-cyber-monday-salesSmall and large companies aren’t the only ones that bank on the convenience of the Internet. Obviously some of us who refuse to camp out in front of Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and any other stores opt to spend our money online to avoid the crowds. But as Cyber Monday has come to a close, some of us enjoy the comfort and convenience of the Internet for other reasons.

Everyone has a bad day, but some of us struggle with the lack of that “happy” gene more than others. According to a Huffington Post article by Michael Sigmen, approximately half of our happiness is linked to our genetic make up. How close are you to genetic happiness?

Half of a PieWow, half is quite a chunk of our happiness pie, leaving the leftovers to be fractioned off to environment, circumstances and/or traumatic life events. If depression is more than a chemical imbalance and is actually deeply ingrained in our DNA, then what can we actually do about it?

The Internet is used for a number of reasons, only some of which have to do with viral marketing. Social media sites allow for individuals as well as organizations to connect with people from all over the world and share their individual brand. But behavior on these sites can run unchecked, which have literally given both social media and the Internet a bad rap. Lyrics posted on Facebook threatening to not only kill his wife but also kindergarten kids landed wannabe rap artist Anthony Elonis in jail for 44 months. Privacy, freedom of speech, an increase in social isolation, and a host of other number of issues arise when discussing social media and the potential negative ramifications. Read the rest of this entry »

Do Blog “Likes” Reflect Writing Quality?

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like message on keyboard button, social media concepts

I write because it’s what I do and have always done. As a child, and without thinking, I used to carry a pen and a note pad everywhere I went. The words always just flowed forth. Even as an adult, for the longest time I had notebooks and notebooks of written material I saved that dated back to elementary school. The notebooks were so old the pages bled and eventually the words were unreadable. At that point I finally had to realize that they were too old and I needed to part ways with literally a large box. When I was in the second grade, I recall my mother’s voice and how she used to insist that all of her children ought to be a doctor or a lawyer. Writing wasn’t the path to success or big money, she reasoned.

I never put too much thought into it, but I always knew I’d be a writer. It never dawned on me that it might not be the best profession to choose to get rich. I didn’t care. Today, I still haven’t gone out of my way to gain blogger likes or approval from other writers. Heck, at one point I even disabled the option. I also don’t spend a terrible amount of time reading tons and tons of other blogs. It’s not that I don’t want to; it’s just that there are simply so many out there. Many writers are motivated to read someone else’s stuff and to receive likes and comments in return. Sometimes the motive is to simply gain more followers or fellow blogger fans. Personally, I enjoy “liking” and commenting on posts that I truly enjoy.

I write because it is what I have been doing since I was 5 years old. It is not something that I decided to just do one day. Not that late inspiration is a bad thing. But for me, it’s something that has been inside of me since birth and that has always flown freely. I recall when I was younger I used to read slowly. I am still a slow reader. My little Korean mother was too stubborn to believe in diagnosis or doctors. I recall hardly ever seeing a doctor because mother said in her broken English, “I know how to do it. I fix.” And it wasn’t until I was well into my adult years that I was actually diagnosed with Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. It didn’t come as a surprise to me. Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Thanksgiving

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The Bottom Line

Let’s try to be thankful for all that we do have and not just because of this one day a year where we fill up on enough turkey to put us to sleep. You don’t have to look too far to find something to complain about or something you don’t have. It’s easy to see what we lack and harder to count our blessings. And the blessings worth treasuring are not monetary, but the loved ones that are in our life whether they are family or close friends. There’s a lot to be grateful for and it usually begins at home.

William Blake



Some Contacts Are Not Worth Keeping: Let the Bridge Burn!

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Burning Bridge

Some people insist that you never want to burn a bridge, especially in professional settings. But, what if there is mismanagement, miscommunications, terrible leadership, indecisiveness, and “too many chiefs, but not enough Indians?” How about a football team. Can a football team work effectively if everyone insists on being the quarterback and the team is unable to work together because everyone wants to be the alpha? Can a marriage or relationship work if both parties refuse to communicate with each other and set clear expectations? Ever date someone who could not communicate what they want and how long did that relationship last? Ever work with clients or in an environment where everything a company leader should not do, that person decided to do?

What about respect? Have you ever had to cut ties with a self-centered friend where everything was always about them? What about dating someone who couldn’t trust anything you did because of their own insecurities? And what if you had to work with people who refuse to respect or trust your abilities because it’s more about their ego and their need to be in charge? If people flat-out refuse to respect your expertise or trust what you are capable of then, I don’t believe that you should desire to salvage that relationship. Period. If there are big egos and entitled behavior where mismanagement is so bad, communication is so terrible then what choice do you have? I do not believe in the type of diplomacy where I must sacrifice my own self-worth and integrity. I do not agree that one must be a martyr in personal or professional situations where one must continuously turn the other cheek only for a repeated slap to eventually turn into a punch.

How many hits do you have to take before you take a stand and say that you deserve better?

The Bottom Line:

I am rather positive on this site. However, I am a firm believer in being an honest writer. Being brutally honest might not feel comfortable or sound like an Anthony Robbins self-help talk. Not that I don’t love that sort of thing, but it’s imperative to not ignore or dismiss fundamental problems especially when working with either dysfunctional professional situations or individuals in your personal life where you should take a stand.

If leadership is lacking it’s usually indicative of a larger issue that stems from the person who’s been given the keys to the company. It’s the same with how a child’s behavior is a reflection on parenting skills. If you’ve got a friend or a relationship that leaves you feeling like you’ve been taken advantage of or where there is a lack of reciprocity, team work, respect and you’ve noticed this to be a repeated pattern. Then you have to ask yourself how much do you love and respect yourself? If you’re around incompetent “decision makers” that continuously make horrible decisions, ones that can potentially cost the company additional funds, not to mention added chaos. A bridge should only be available and cared for if indeed it’s worth it. If you respect and honor yourself you’ll know that you deserve better.

Sometimes the only solution is to take a lighter fluid, ignite the match and burn that bridge down.

Robert Tew

Law and Injustice in Ferguson: Wilson Walks

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I would think that if Darren Wilson were to be indicted then he would have been arrested by now. In paraphrasing, that’s basically what CNN news anchor Don Lemon explained based upon a couple of interviews conducted just minutes before the grand jury announcement, and it definitely made sense. This racially charged tragedy has definitely stirred a deep feeling of injustice and not only for those in Ferguson, Missouri. When it comes to race, things can often become complicated, especially for those of us who are mixed ethnicities. Some of us American mutts face more peculiar looks and questions than others who look more like one obvious ethnicity.

Justice is supposed to surpass race. It’s not just an ethical issue but also one that questions our moral integrity as a society. I believe the grand jury’s decision is unfair and I am not remotely comfortable with it. At the very least, as one who is unable to check just one racial box, it’s undeniably frustrating. I am often asked to pick between the options of “two or more races – not Hispanic,” “Hispanic” or Asian — but where’s the choice for Asian and Hispanic? How can it be in the U.S. melting pot that there isn’t a box for “two or more race including Hispanic?” And why does Hispanic even need to be specified? Some job applications allow for a “two or more races” box to be checked and leave out the “not Hispanic” part. For the most part, most job applications expect individuals to choose one ethnicity. If you are more than one race, you must choose one over another.

I am not sure how my ethnicity qualifies or disqualifies me from having the necessary skill set, education, and experience required to do a job. But, this is just one minor personal annoyance when having to deal with this touchy topic. People just hate talking about race.

The Bottom Line:

Officer Darren Wilson killed unarmed Michael Brown, shooting him six times. If Michael Brown was intimidating as Darren Wilson claims and was acting out or not cooperating with instructions. Why wasn’t a stun gun or other non-deadly methods used instead? Especially for someone who was unarmed? Prosecutor Robert McCulloch (who has been rumored to be extremely pro-law enforcement) made the bizarre, long and drawn out announcement. Where he proceeded to sound as if he was trying to justify how the verdict was decided. If this were a case involving two random individuals, someone would have been arrested by now. But, since it involves someone with a badge, it looks like the “evidence” shows that Officer Darren Wilson will get to go back to his job and his everyday life. Meanwhile, a grieving family and a community suffers through the loss of an innocent life gunned down.

What made the grand jury decide to believe some witnesses and discount others? Perhaps it’s true that those in law enforcement really do serve and protect their own. No, I do not agree with the riots, looting, and violence taking place that’s burning down the Ferguson community. However, I personally have family in law enforcement in New York and regardless I still honestly believe that justice was not served.

Martin Luther King, Jr



It’s Not About You!

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Having a peace that surpasses human understanding is a challenge in almost any situation. There are natural human emotions that course through our bodies in response to professional or personal experiences. But, if you are unable to find peace, then you must examine the feelings inside you and decide for yourself what lesson you will learn.

On a personal level, we all hope that we are able to elevate ourselves above negativity. Instead, we strive to bring into our lives everything that’s good, that we know that we are abundant in every department, which makes up our universe and we lack no resources. While some of us exist with that deep knowledge within us, the reality might be to the contrary. In our professional lives we might have all the skills necessary to prove our competency, but one cannot force respect from others. Respect is “earned,” as some might say, yet even if it’s earned we still live in a world full of stubborn people who sometimes aren’t willing to respect you. It stops becoming about whether or not you “earned” respect and it starts becoming about someone else’s ignorance.

Especially in professional circles, I have found that some people will refuse to show any sort of respect for education, skills and competency regardless of what you do or how much you prove. The greatest lesson I have learned in how and why people treat you the way they do is that their behavior very rarely has anything to do with you. A person’s arrogance, entitlement and egoism — and let’s not forget the natural chip on one’s shoulder — is a reflection of whatever unresolved baggage they still lug around. Read the rest of this entry »

An Artist’s Perspective: A Calling

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There are sure paths that some take, ones that are not riddled with uncertainty. Plenty of people choose a stable career. There isn’t any ambiguity. You go to medical school, you get out and do your residency, and then you’re a doctor.

It’s not so cut and dry for those that have chosen the arts, however. For some it’s not a decision that they woke up one day and thought they’d like to do. It’s more of a calling.

The Bottom Line:

There are some risks in life that are worth taking. Regardless if your path might not be the conventional or safe one, the world needs all kinds of people. What would the world be like without art, without music, without films, without books, without dance, without opera? We would all be shells devoid of creativity, the life force of spirit.

Georgia O'Keeffe

Be Your Own Ally: The Value of Failing

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Two Thumbs Up!!Maybe you live in a world where everyone cheers you on, where everyone is on your side and no one wants to rain on your parade. If so, then I’d love to visit your universe because, in reality, where good exists so does the bad. And if you grew up being told all your life that everything you did was great, that you could do no wrong, then your first sign of rejection probably turned your world upside down.

While it’s fine to get a trophy just for participating, the blow of a loss, rejection, a letdown, and, yes, failure can be just as much of a prize. It might not sound logical at first but understanding how to take a hit is just as valuable, if not, more so than all the gooshy flattering words of affirmation one can spew on another.

Who doesn’t love positive words to affirm our value, self-worth, and give us meaning where we might otherwise feel void of purpose? Who doesn’t want to be reminded of our greatness, to be told we can do anything and everything? When in reality we might hate exercise, for example, so becoming an Olympic athlete might be out of the question. Read the rest of this entry »