Saturday, December 29, 2012

It's Time To Be Selfish & Get Happy!

Today could be the day... or tomorrow... or July 22, 2022. Who knows? What I do know is that time moves fast and forward and is finite. So how shall we spend it? I say: HAPPY!

The Dalai Lama was once asked what the purpose of life is, his answer: to be happy. Everyone will find happiness in different forms but you only need look around to see, hear, and feel for yourself that we are surrounded by many, many folks who aren't living a happy day.

A few weeks back I was lunching with a close friend who from external observations looks to have it all: nice family, comfortable lifestyle, healthy, charitable, etc. And yet when we began talking about her plans for the new year she tossed around that she really needs to be doing more. Should she get a part-time job, do more volunteer work, what? I took a deep breath and mustered my compassion and offered up my boldly blunt take- stop with the doing, work on the being!

I have noticed that almost all my friends are living exhausted lives. Whether they're parents working inside or outside the home, or single and trying to date while moving up the success ladder- it's all this doing, doing, doing. And yet, all the things and people and activities seem to do is drain them; and while maybe not unhappy, they're not joyfully happy either.

As the unconventional friend who decided not to marry or have kids, and is wandering a different path it's so clear from my outsider's little perch our society is overwhelming our minds, our bodies, our kids. People are so worried about preservatives, guns, stranger-danger, and breast cancer when the top reason (75%+) people see a doctor is stress related. And it affects everything: OSHA reports workplace stress is a $300 billion drain on American industry. Even as someone who manages my stress rather well, that is not enough. Even Joy needs more joy in her life!

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to what will cure this malaise. But whatever it is, it starts with working on our happiness. My advice to my friend was more baths, naps, massages, fun reading, and time just drinking and hanging out with friends. Then coming from a rested, rejuvenated place she can create what would truly light her up.
Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.                                  ~Howard Thurman     

She paused, seemed taken aback, and then got choked up. She said it sounded so selfish to spend all that time and energy on herself. Really? Listen, there are things that need to be done to keep our lives moving forward but we do no one, NO ONE any good walking around exhausted, depleted and less then our fabulous selves. When I hear someone complain they have no time for fun or time for themselves because they have to run their kid here or there, or they have this obligation or that... I think to myself (and occasionally say outloud)- uhm, no you don't. Or at least you don't need to do it in a way that it completely leaves no time for you to work on yourself and your happiness.

In the last few years I have seen several friends go through painful divorces, and you know what even when it wasn't their fault, so to speak, it was... at least in some part. If you pour all your energy into your kids, house, pets, job, volunteer work and don't have time for yourself-- how happy do you think you are to be around? How happy is your couplehood? How happy is your home? How happy can your kids possibly be with exhausted, un-loved-up parents (wink, wink... you know what I mean)? 

You could wait until you have every-other weekend free to work on making yourself happy, or until you're sitting in a hospital bed waiting on your next treatment, or when someone you loves passes to get the hint or you could make 2013 your year of happiness. I guarantee you, there is no effort, dollar amount, time sacrifice that is too much to pay for your happiness. Everyone, EVERYONE, benefits from your happiness: spouse, kids, in-laws, co-workers, neighbors, lady in line behind you in the grocery store who catches a glimpse of your smile.

So my wish for you this New Year ahead is that you get selfish and get as HAPPY as you can be!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thankful For It ALL!

November 19th: World Toilet Day

Every year I spend the days before Thanksgiving making my ThanksGiving List, where I note some specifics of what I want to thank my friends for during my traditional Thanksgiving Calls to them on Thursday morning. It takes some pre-thought to decide exactly what I want to say but it's easy and such a pleasure to spend the time thinking about all that I am thankful for in those I love. 

Gratitude for all the good and love in our life is easy; not everyone takes the time but if put on the spot each of us can without much effort think of at least a few things to be thankful for in our lives. The harder, more deeper, and dare I say more joyful exercise is to practice being thankful for it all. Everything in our lives! 

When I read about World Toilet Day it had a profound impact on me and upped my gratitude exponentially. Did you know that 2.5 BILLION people live without a toilet and proper sanitation?! World Toilet Day along with Charity: Water and Water.Org do great jobs drawing attention to the fact that there are BILLIONS of people living without the most basic of basics. 

When I have a bad day, feel something's lacking, or am just not fully present to the joys of my day, I stop myself and for one brief moment give thanks if I have nothing else in life... I have water and a toilet. To think there are so many that don't humbles me and makes anything I have to complain about seem small and trivial. So this Thanksgiving I'm not just thankful for the big things, I'm thankful for the smallest, simplist things too.

To be thankful for it all we need to evaluate any upset in our lives in reverse. I was annoyed earlier in the month about how friends were fighting about the election then I thought how awesome it is to live in a country we get to debate these kind of topics out loud, how great it is folks care enough to fight about what's important to them, and lucky I am to have passionate people in my life. Irritated I am getting a cold this week, I was reminded how lucky I am to be healthy most of time and how fortunate I was to be able to be there for people I loved when they were ill.

Only when we can be grateful for all life has in store for us are we really living in gratitude. Sure it takes some effort to find gratitude in the annoyances, disappointments, and suffering in life but like a friend who had gone almost two weeks without power said after the storm- at least we were safe and we were together. 

There are some shitty things that happen in life- things that can almost destroy us... but if we're here after we get knocked down we have, if nothing else, another day, hour, minute to be thankful for. 

I'm hoping you have the Happiest Thanksgiving ever and am wishing you gratitude for wherever you are, whatever you have, the strength to handle whatever you're dealing with and the joy to appreciate all that life brings next :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

FORWARD >>>> Together!

Anyone who's remotely interested in politics has had their heart broken in the last decade. It's the rare voter who cast theirs: Bush, Bush, Obama, Obama. So we've all been there the day after a big disappointment.

I was elated with Obama's win last night and went to sleep exhausted but very content. Then came today! Complete melt-down from my Republican friends on Facebook. And I don't mean aw-shucks disappointment I mean: "vomit"; "I'm disgusted that people are so stupid"; "I’m just really scared and sad for our country". There is also the irony that these comments are all coming from normally loving, kind Christians.  Made me wonder: Isn't that what He wanted? Why are they fighting God's will? But I digress...

As I was reading through these posts at first I got very angry and could barely control my annoyance. I was especially worked up at someone's bashing of Obama on healthcare because she fears for Obamacare. She has a pre-existing condition but is under the impression that her care will be compromised more with new laws vs existing. I was about to look up the facts and tell her how wrong she is and how she is being ridiculous because it actually removes yearly and lifetime caps so it is doing the exact opposite of what she is claiming....

But then I stopped and thought about why someone who is a good person is acting so emotionally. And a wave of what I can only think of as compassion flowed through me (it might have been the Lord speaking to me, who knows?). First, I'm no healthcare expert, maybe she's right and her understanding of her care is correct. Second, even if she is totally wrong, she is scared, she is not healthy, she must be really frightened to be this worked up.

And even the people I know who have little if nothing to lose with an Obama second term, have something going on with them that is making them nervous and upset. What would be the upside of gloating?

If we are this divided and angry about an election no wonder we carry that through to not being able to work together. Today instead of being a happy day, I was a bit heart-broken: if there is this much anger and venom in my own neighborhood how will there ever be peace in the world?

The only way is to move forward together. To realize we don't get all that we want in any relationship, be it working, romantic, or familia. Our sister doesn't listen to all our advice, our spouse all our preferences, or our co-workers all our requests. We need compromise and cooperation.

Clinton joked about it, but Nate Silver, the stats-wizard who predicted perfectly how the electoral map would land, proves it to be true: MATH is important. Things need to add up and be understandable if we want to transform them. Let's take one of the most controversial topics in the election: abortion. The Republicans have strong held beliefs that life begins at conception and I understand their passion on this issue. But, there is the math of it. Abortion numbers will not go down and in fact go up if birth control is not available and affordable. Teens will get pregnant if they are not given proper sex-education. Rape does cause pregnancy in over 30,000 women a year. People have sex no matter what other people's moral convictions are. It is proven the majority of the population does not wait until their wedding night to have sex nor want every child that may be produced once marital relations commence.

So what does that mean for Republicans politically? It means if they want less abortions they need to work with Democrats to reduce those numbers. Moral high-ground is worthless without coming to the table to work on a solution. They'll need to support women's healthcare, and dare I say support Planned Parenthood's goal of providing women with birth-control options. They'll need to support giving teens the biological facts in school while sharing their own moral convictions at home. And I have a brilliant idea on not only how they can make women safer, but also score some political points, AND reduce abortions: Make the first bill they champion across party-lines and send up for a vote in the next session the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry Act (SAFER). Have every Congressperson join together to fund a sexual assault registry and to make it mandatory to process all the hundreds of thousands of unprocessed rape kits.

Read more here:

I am an independent voter and I have voted for numerous Republicans in the past when they were for fiscal responsibility, national defense, and personal liberty. No matter what party, I think we can all agree on the upside of reducing tens of thousands of abortions while providing safety for women by getting more rapist off the streets. Win-win.

We aren't going to get everything we want in life and especially in governance, so we need to all collectively work together, put something of value on the table, and stop trying to make it a winner take all, zero-sum game. We can only move FORWARD as a nation TOGETHER!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Who Cares?!

v: @anamariecox 
Storm Sandy was nowhere near where I live, yet I could not escape it. It was everywhere you looked: online, on tv, on FB, Twitter... everywhere! And many of the people I care about were smack dab in the thick of it.

It was chilly in Chicagoland but sunny all week and so it seemed so weird that the East Coast could be almost washed away while I was busy running errands and going about my day. This was the first national disaster where I was watching my social media feeds and my phone document the scene my friends were going through. It was hard to hear and watch it without being able to help.

It made me tear-up to see folks offering to help my friend/agent Laurie get gas for her generator or to put up her family if they could make it to NH from NJ. Or the way Lisa was directing her friends how to get help if needed or where they could go to volunteer to help their NYC neighbors if able. Heartwarming!

And then there was the idiots like Donald Trump who instead of donating all he could to relief efforts was ridiculously continuing to try and bait the President with a $5M donation for his college transcripts. Or the desperately delusional Twitterer who thought it was amusing to put out false tweets about NYC conditions while New Yorkers were hungry for information. 

AP: Frank Franklin II
There were heros who tried to save people during  the storm who lost their lives that broke my heart and there were bi-partisan political buddies Obama and Christie that gave me hope. There was even the irony and beauty of a rainbow that appeared over Queens after much of it was ravaged. 

When calamity strikes it brings out people's true nature... and thank goodness most of us are there for our neighbors and do what needs to be done. The endless energy of Mayor Cory Booker driving around delivering diapers and supplies and checking in on people's grandparents; even the small kindness of letting others use their power so they could charge their phones made a difference. 

It warms my heart to see all the folks who truly care for each other in crisis. And for the ones that don't, it is their loss, because when darkness hits their door who will care about them?! 

[fyi:  American Red Cross needs cash and blood if you can spare either. I'm scheduled to donate blood at Lexington Health Care Center 675 S. Roselle Road, Schaumburg on Nov 6th at 2:30 if you want to join me :) ]

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Imagine: No Religion

When we're young we're taught what to believe by our parents, teachers, friends, community and continue to believe these things until we are educated otherwise or begin to question these beliefs on our own. Aside from learning that turkeys can't fly, the other big take-away from one of my favorite shows as a kid, WKRP, is to imagine what it would be like without religion....

As kids we are lead to believe: there is a jolly middle-aged Santa that flies around the world on one night bringing every kid that is good a present; there is a giant Easter Bunny that brings eggs and sweets each Spring (still not sure the meaning behind this act of generosity, but why question baskets filled with candy?); and a Tooth Fairy that will pay us money for our discarded teeth (I'm not even going to ask what a fairy needs with all those children's teeth).

As adults we know these are harmless tales told to motivate kids to behave, to carry on some fun traditions, to make the trauma of loosing parts of us ok and even something to endure a little pain for so we can have a reward in the morning.

Parents can become furious if they find out a sibling or even worse some random kid on the playground burst the bubble of belief in Santa & friends for their child. Why? To tell them the truth takes away their innocence and the fun of playing along.

How long should children believe in magical beings and mystical fantasies?

How long should adults?

I know quite a few people who think Scientology is a crazy cult and would probably agree the same about the origins of Mormonism except it isn't related to Tom Cruise and John Travolta so why bother reading up on it. Sure it is possible our next President, who as Commander in Chief will have the nuclear codes, believes in a magical angel sent down in the 1820's with golden scrolls and that when Jesus returns to earth he'll be landing in Missouri, but since Romney seems clean cut and successful why worry about his logic and what he believes.

It is impolite to discuss politics, religion, and sex at dinner parties or "in polite company" and so I mostly avoid making other people feel uncomfortable by not doing so. But when does politeness lead to world destruction? When we have people being killed and political anarchy over a single stupid ridiculous YouTube video and that said 14 min clip spread so fast and caused such destruction that it might provoke acts of war. Or how about when World Leaders go infront of the United Nations threatening each other with redlines or refusing to recognize the existence of each other at all? How about then?

If we can't tell the truth about the basic fundamental tenants of religion how will we ever get to the truths of the other things that divide us: racism, poverty, violence, etc. Where is the integrity? We would probably all agree a woman who believes her cat is speaking to her is delusional but we think nothing of congregations full of people worshipping something they've never scene with their own eyes or claiming their clergy have a relationship with God. At least we know the cat is real.

And why do I not believe in an all mighty God? Simple... I refuse to believe in a God that would force St. Jude's Children's Hospital to beg for money to save innocent children with cancer while Donald Trump is walking around gold plating and naming after himself anything that is not nailed down. Why God would let children have cancer in the first place is beyond me to start with. And yes, I get the irony of using a hospital named after a saint in this chosen example. Now I do understand why people find refuge in religion- there is the sense of community, of support, of comfort, especially in the belief in something beyond us and after life here on earth. But can't that not also come in the same construct minus the absolutes in doctrine?

My fear of offending anyone has been overcome by my fear of WWIII. It is time for an adult conversation about how religion is not saving the world but instead jeopardizing it. If you can't even imagine your God, Prophet, religion is not true how can anyone else? It's the absolutes the folks fight over. My skin crawled when I was watching a Charlie Rose interview with Thomas Friedman and while discussing Syria Tom said he had no idea how the conflicts could ever be resolved because the oldest ongoing civil war is based on a 7th century conflict regarding who is the proper heir to the Prophet Muhammad. He has both Sunni and Shiite friends and can't tell the difference and wonders if they ever ask themselves: Why are we fighting with each other? Over what? 

When religion starts wars vs ending them don't we have to question what it's all for?

Ask yourself, is your religion worth sending your children into a WWIII over?

I have to believe if there is a God, he sent WKRP across the airwaves, he made me a non-believer, and he has you reading this post right now. I guess I do believe in this: God if he is out there has a sense a humor, is not so fragile he can't stand a little good debate about his existence, would choose peace over fanatical praise, and would rather us discuss him and find some common good amongst his children then blow up and destroy his finnest creations.

Update: Always up to changing my mind if shown new info. Willing to convert to Believer if Donald Trump donates $5 Million to St. Judes by October 31, 2012. Dare him to prove me wrong!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Off My Pedestal!

We all yearn to live a deeper, richer life. I dare say we all, like Dorothy & Jerry, also:  just want to be inspired! In that ever elusive quest we hunger to find inspiration in anything we come across: authors whose words speak to us, politicians that can promise a brighter tomorrow, musicians that can rock our world, lovers that can make us feel cherished. We take the person that has the rare gift to inspire us and we put them up on a pedestal.

Problem is it is so easy to project our fantasies of who someone is onto them and in this day and age we think fame, power, fortune, even follower-count makes someone worthy of that admiration. Silly, silly us. 

Let's take me: I love authors. I especially love business, self-development, and political writers. Because I have been known to send a letter, a couple tweets of appreciation, or occasionally even go see them speak at events, my sister has dubbed me an "author-stalker". I wear this as a badge of honor that I am supporting great thinkers and what is wrong with being crazy for brilliant people?

Actually, a lot. Last night it was a two-fer. At the Republican National Convention first Clint Eastwood did what can only be called a bizarre speech talking to a chair. As I was sitting there cringing, then laughing, then being very sad for him, my heart went out to all the people who had to see him like that. All the actors, directors, fans who had thought he was the greatest and now will see him as an old man who was giving away his dignity. Then Romney took the opportunity to point out why voters should stop hoping for change and how Obama didn't live up to his "promise" to stop the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. I still strongly believe in Obama and his chances in November but no one can deny that his shine has been a bit scuffed up. 

It made me remember the heartache of repeatedly learning the truth about people I had put up on my pedestal: the authors who turned out not to live true to their words, the leaders who behind closed doors demonstrated no integrity, the intellectuals who ran scared when challenged on their ideas. Over the years I have gotten the opportunity to see some semi-famous, some powerful, some admired people behind the curtain and I am convinced it's all the illusion of Oz! 

The thing is everyone we look up to is as human as we are and flawed in many ways. More times then not people aren't who they say, seem, or show us they are. They may be gifted in one area and uber successful at something but that doesn't make them worthy to be placed on a pedestal.

The ironic thing is when I reevaluated who deserves my admiration I realized it was more due to the people who seek little or no admiration but are just quietly awesome. Take my friend Karyn who in addition to creating beautiful art runs marathons just for the challenge of it; Bridgitt who kicks ass as a mother and advocate for special needs children while simultaneously being one of the most optimistic, energetic people I know; or my friends Sue and Heidi who are both happily married hetero moms who regularly speak out to support their gay friends because they want to stand up for equal rights. 

People, Sports Illustrated, Fortune magazines are filled with people who are famous in their worlds and some aspire to be... I say learn, get motivated, be inspired by everyone we come across- but lets not wait to find someone else to plant atop our pedestal. Instead, let's be the very best we can be and then climb up on our own pedestal and heck even take a bow because we inspired ourselves.

Friday, June 22, 2012

What A Difference A Decade Makes

I refer to 2002 as my year of discombobulation. One hell of a year... my grandmother passed, my college sweetheart was found dead, I left a job I had for over a decade, and went through a painful breakup. Not all the events were bad- three of my best friends and my sister got married- but even so all that happiness for others (plus involvement in two of the weddings) while my world crashed around me plain wore me out. All the while, many old friends faded from my life and everywhere I turned was change, change, change. 

10 years later and I'm looking back at that time of my life and the things I've learned and how I worked through some of the discombobulation of that time. Here are 10 things I learned:

  • Time Heals: but it doesn't numb. I feel sadness for the ones I've loved and lost much less frequently after so much time has passed, but heartbreak over missing them still hits me a few times a year and that pain is as sharp and brutal. The key is to let the sadness remind us to appreciate all we have to be grateful for today. 
  • True Friends Stick: Most people are fair-weather friends but only a few people will have our backs and deserve our devotion. Nothing to be mad about, it's just helpful to know the difference between someone we are friendly with and a true friend.
  • Tell People Now: Mad at or in-love with someone- tell them now! We never know how long we have in this life and no grudge is worth keeping so fight it out and be done with it. Or profess your love. Life's too short to keep grudges or crushes to ourselves.
  • Forgive Everyone: No one who is good does anything purposely mean. It's not personal, it's simply the best they can manage at the time. The rotten ones that are evil at their core can't help themselves they are broken/sick. Forgive them because they are not well. Compassion brings peace when we realize everyone is doing the best they can with what they have to work with.  
  • Jump In: Life is not safe and we can't protect ourselves from most things in life so we might as well go for it. I try to remember when we go for something we end up with: what we wanted, a new starting point, or a lesson learned. Better any of that then regret for not trying.
  • Energy Ripples: All the good or bad energy we put out in the world eventually touches people and we rarely know its ultimate outcome. We might inspire or wound someone we have never met without even knowing it, so we need to be aware of the vibes we send out and be in touch with how powerful our words and actions are.
  • No = Not Them: If someone doesn't want to marry, hire, friend, etc. us then their no just means it's not for them. We can't take someone's no on as our own. Almost all great things (or maybe just all great stories told about greatness) start with a string of no's before they hit the right yes.
  • Drop The Past: We carry our baggage around with us and wonder why we have no room in our life for new people, things, love, experiences, etc. We need to clean up our messes and then just move on. Anything we carry with us should serve us or it's a waste of our energy and time.
  • I'm MEan: We are all mean in our own way and when we pretend that we haven't hurt people we are denying our nastiness and avoiding the me-ness of meanness. Owning up to our imperfections and cleaning up our messes and is a much more powerful way to get on with our lives. 
  • Life's A Story: We are the author of our life story. The bad news is we believe in our own stories so we often suffer because we can't see the truth of reality only our tainted version of it. The great news is we have the power to write our own stories and even retell them in a way that empowers us. 
The biggest thing I'm working on now is to turn the next decade into one worthy of the next 10 years of my life and the loved ones who are not here to live it with me. There are many things I want to do and see and be. Many chapters to be written, adventures to be had, and love to be lived. Looking forward to it!

What have you gone through and learned from in the last decade and what are you hoping to create in the one ahead?

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Our Hypocrisy Will Eventually Haunt Us

What will you regret on your deathbed? Will it be not living a big enough life, the road not taken, not living out your dreams? Or will it be the entire way you made your living, acquired power and stature, and lived your life?

The way we live our lives is a big deal. No one can live a life of complete integrity, we are all imperfect human beings after all... but how congruent can we get? How closely do our values, words, and actions match up?

The movie Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story (2008) is a fascinating documentary of a man who took politics as low as it can go and then spent his dying days apologizing for how he had lived his life and what he had done in the name of success. The quick version is he helped President Reagan and especially President Bush with dirty tricks and slime-slinging behind the scenes and then at the shockingly young age of 40 got sick with a brain tumor and spent his dying days terrified envisioning what awaited him for living such a shady life.

I don't believe politics is a clean sport and I don't think hypocrisy is by any means limited to Republicans, but the shocking thing to me was how few of his admirers (like Karl Rove) learned from him that it is not a good way to live a life. Sarah Palin preaches about abstinence-only education while her two eldest children both started families out of wedlock; Karen Santorum backs her husbands stance on birthcontrol and abortion when at 22 she dated and lived with the 63-year-old doctor who not only delivered her as a baby but also preformed abortions; Maggie Gallagher the woman who has spent most of the last few years fighting same-sex marriage as the founder of National Organization For Marriage not only had a child out of wedlock but is rumored to be living apart from her husband... and yes, for goodness sakes yes-- there are numerous Democrats too. Making a living judging, legislating, or fighting against others rights seems like the kind of hypocrisy that is dangerous to be playing around with.

Of course in extends way beyond politics in to every walk of life, socio-economic level, and every profession including clergy of ever denomination. Heck, we're all hypocrites in some form or fashion.

The spine-tingling part of the movie that hit me was when Ed Rollins, Lee's previous boss who he had ruthlessly thrown under the bus, tells of how when Lee knew he was dying he begged Ed to take care of him because after all that was said and done he was the only one he could trust.

Who will end up being there for us? Who will we trust? Will we be able to look ourselves in a mirror and be proud of our lives? Will the judgement we use on others be turned around to judge us?

Will the hypocrisy of how we lived our lives be something we can live with... or, like Lee, will it haunt us?

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Rush to Bully

Last week was not a good week for bullies. First Andrew Breitbart unexpectedly passed away and then Rush Limbaugh began his hostile verbal bullying of a woman who had dared to express her opinion about birth control coverage. Rush is not as I see it the problem; he is a damaged person who makes tons of money selling hate while numbing himself with multiple marriages and painkillers. There are always people without integrity willing to sell their soul for fortune and fame. But how did he get so powerful in the first place, who's buying what he's selling?

It is shameful in my opinion to perpetuate hate for a living. It is just bad karma. Every time we see a preacher, politician, or pundit spewing hate at a group there is almost like clock work a scandal exposing them for doing the exact thing they were just condemning. The fact that it is now whole networks and even people running for the highest office in the land is sad. As is the notion that it is politically detrimental to stand up to a bully like Rush. When George Will described the GOP leadership this weekend, it kind of said it all: They want to bomb Iran, but they're afraid of Rush Limbaugh.

Unfortunately hate never runs out of supply, but I think the more the world is changing the less long term stability it has. The next few years will probably be great for hate. There are still large section of the US not happy that we're becoming a multi-cultural, religiously, and sexually tolerant nation. They'll probably double down on fear frightened that their way of thinking is under attack. But eventually, and this is surely happening in the generation below mine, they will bawk at such discrimination and hate.

It's a percentage game, eventually times change and the youngsters of today are sweeping in a different era one in which they all have friends, family members, or are social media fans of a cornucopia of people. They have gay friends, hispanic classmates, atheist uncles. They think it is cool to have a black president. They don't want to fight wars over religion because they know people from that religion and they realize they are just like them.

Bullying and hate is the easy, cheap solution. The more noble, sustainable, healthier solution is to come together and see what we can do bringing the best of ourselves to the table (or radio, tv, work). If we must fight let it be for how best to help each other, how tolerant we can be to our neighbors, and how much good we can bring into the world. Hate is so played out... let peace, prosperity, and partnership be what we teach our children, hope for our nation, and practice for ourselves.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Get Happy: Bright Side Up!


Today is Book Day for my friend Amy Spencer, her Bright Side Up: 100 Ways to Be Happier Right Now is being being released today- Yippeee! One of the blessings of my life in the last few years is getting to meet some awesome writers through my agent Laurie and many of them are now pals of mine. So when one of their books comes out I am usually very excited and supportive no matter what, but with Amy I am extra excited because... I am in it!

Yes, that's right it is my first (to my knowledge) mention in someone else's book so you'd think today is my book release date. BSU is all about optimism so when last year Amy was so kind to ask if she could include The Thanksgiving List in her chapter about gratitude I was thrilled. I had wondered if I made the final cut or if I was left on the editing floor but it has been confirmed if you check out pages 137-138 you'll see TTL is on its way to making people happier right now.         

Dating Optimism

The book has been getting rave reviews and is on many hot lists: Oprah, Shape, Star, Psychology Today, O Magazine, and numerous blogs. The thought that people are going to be thanking it forward makes me verklempt with happiness.

Amy lives her life as an optimist and whether it comes naturally to us or takes some effort I think there is no better way to go thru life- so I encourage you to watch her video, buy her book, follow her @datingoptimist and if nothing else bring a little bright side up into your life today :)

It's also a perfect time of year to add a little optimism to your love life, so check out Amy's first book too!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Scatter Joy .... & Jenna

Yesterday I called to wish a guy friend of mine, will call him "Fred" (he's shy), congratulations on a new job offer. I was so happy for him and was thinking what a great guy he is and how this company is going to be lucky to have him. I had just hung up the call when I see my pal Jenna McCarthy (not the Playboy naked one, although she is hot enough to be asked) posted this tweet. I was so inspired and it struck me that I always tell my closest friends how much I love them but I don't often get that mushy with my guy friends or my other friends.

Well off went an email to Fred telling him how his Mother would be so proud of him as a person, the gorgeous, fun, kind kids he is raising, and the amazing husband and friend he is today.  I had a warm fuzzy right after that I shared with Jenna who then also got a warm fuzzy -which might be slightly alcohol-aided because at this point she was drinking a toast to her Dad- ... then not too much later got a note back from Fred that he was so touched that he passed the note to his wife (one of my BFFs) who responded: now that's the kind of email you save for when you need a pick-me-up!

So one tweet brightened 4 people's day, and I am sure many others because Jenna has many followers who probably did the same.  And you're reading this now and will also partake too, right?

The world might be scary and times might be hard but it takes but a minute to find some Joy, or Jenna, and scatter some happiness and appreciation in your path today.

Scatter Away :) ... (: ... :) ... (: .....

*btw: check out Jenna's hilarious new book for some more good vibes, warm fuzzies, and a plethora of profanity and get a daily treat by following her @Jennawrites.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

ME Mapping: Creating Your Year

Want to have your best year yet? Want to hedge your bet just incase the Mayans are onto something? Want a map of where you're going and where you've been? Excellent! Then ME Mapping is for you:

You can also check out ME Mapping (for your current life).

(UPDATED for 2014 from original 2012 post.)