Monday, September 28, 2009

Working on Sensitivity

I received a question from Joy today, asking me for more clarification on an old Ask Dr. Debra column: How to Become Less Sensitive to Negative Words. (See my website: ) She wanted more specifics on how to become less sensitive.

I promised Joy that I'd use her question for my next Ask Dr. Debra column, which I've neglected to write in the last few months. This has also spurred me on to complete my (mostly finished) 10 minute ebook titled, Overcoming Sensitivity. I have several 10 minute ebooks languishing on my computer, awaiting final input.

So thanks, Joy, for the inspiration.

What I'd love from readers is comments or questions about sensitivity--either their own, or someone else's. Don't worry, I change names and circumstances for privacy.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mad at Chase Bank

I am not a ranter by nature. Usually I'm a calm, even-keeled person, who stays moderate in most things in life. But I have a situation that is making me crazy annoyed--my local branch of Chase Bank took out the drop box.

I didn't mind when Chase Bank bought out Washington Mutual. I even opened up a business checking account with them. But taking away the drop box definitely spiked my anger.


I deposit checks two or three times a week. I almost always use the drop box. I have my deposit prepared beforehand, so I just need to take two steps into the bank, drop the envelope into the slot of the box, grab a new envelope and deposit slip, and leave. 15 seconds max, maybe even 10.

Then one day, there was no drop box. When I enquired about it's absence, I was told the district manager had ordered them taken out, and that I was about the 6th person that had complained to this particular teller. I briefly spoke with the assistant manager, asking her to talk to the district manager to bring the box back. I assumed that when the DM found out how many customers were dissatisfied, he'd immediately return the box.


The next time I went into the bank, still no box. This time I asked for the DM's phone number but instead was given a customer service number. I called and complained. The next week, I again spoke to the bank manager. He said it was a Chase policy.

He wasn't real aware of the complaints about the drop box. I couldn't believe the lack of communication between the tellers and the branch manager. If that many customers are complaining, shouldn't he be told? Wouldn't he have let the tellers know that he wants information about problems?

I also feel that I'm battling alone. All the other dissatisfied people probably stop at complaining to the tellers. They don't take the time or effort to go the extra step. Or they shy away from confrontation. Therefore the branch manager, district manager, and Chase probably think they are dealing with just one crazy lady.

I still wasn't given the DM's phone number, but instead was given the assistant's. I left a message and she called me back, claiming the decision was Chase policy.

I checked on surrounding branches in the area that I occasionally use. They ALL have their drop boxes, so I've started using them instead of the branch I usually use. When I spoke with one manager about the box, she said, "We have no intention of removing the drop box. Our customers would be very upset."

So I was lied to about the decision being company policy. Obviously there could be some leeway with the choice.

That REALLY made me angry. I had planned to refinance my house with Chase. But instead, I took my business to the company who already had my mortgage--Wachovia, now becoming Wells Fargo. I also opened a checking and savings deposit with them. The drop box isn't an issue because I've never seen a line in this Wachovia branch and usually just walk up to a teller, hand her my mortgage payment and walk out. Same as using a drop box.

Yesterday, I forgot to drop off a deposit at the Chase branch I drive by, and needed to go into my branch. Still no drop box. That made me mad all over again.

I again called the customer service number and received the same bull--I could use the night drop or the ATM machine. I don't want to use the night drop because the deposits aren't recorded until the following day. Nor do I want to use the ATM because it takes more TIME. Especially if there's a line.

I also left another message for the DM's assistant.

I can't believe a company who previously didn't do business in California, but now, due to the takeover, is trying to build the brand, satisfy current customers and gather new ones, would make a STUPID, LITTLE decision that would cause customer dissatisfaction instead of satisfaction.

So easy to remedy!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Love TWEET Love

What the world needs now ... is love ... TWEET ... love....

The last two days have been blessedly quieter for me. Except for the clients in my private practice, I have not worked. No consulting jobs this past Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Wow. That hasn't happened in months. I'm had so much corporate crisis counseling work, that I've had to turn away a lot of jobs. I'm extremely grateful for the work and the opportunity to help others at a difficult time in their lives, yet I've also been more stressed and exhausted than I like.

With this free time, I've played on Twitter a lot more. To start off, I'm not a social networker. One of these days, I'll do Facebook, but in the meantime, I'm starting out in the shallow water of the Twitter pool.

Up until this week, I've often wondered why I'm doing it. I don't want to post a bunch of boring, personal tweets about what I'm doing. But I do want to pass on motivational, thoughtful, or interesting quotes. Maybe sometimes these quotes will even be mine.

Sometimes this has been a hassle. I prefer not to go to online quote sites and pick one out. Instead I like to glean them from the newspaper, magazines, talks, movies, blogs, emails. In other words, I stumble across them in my personal life, realize what I just read or heard is a great quote, and I save it to tweet.

I usually pop on Twitter once, maybe twice a day. Although there are times when I can go several days when I'm too busy. I try to follow people I know, or people who might inspire, motivate, and teach me. One website, I've learned about is Great blogs, often excerpts taken from self-help books. I've a couple of the books on my to-buy list.

But this week, I've had the luxury to play on Twitter. I've popped on a lot, getting to know more of my followers (all 130 of them). And I've had some wonderful experiences that have let me know that the Twitter World may be more exciting and interesting than I'd previously thought.

On Monday, I was engaged to speak on Woman's Day Radio for the debut show, What's Talkin' With Tra'Renee. My topic was Giving Up Your Job--For His.

About an hour before the show, I read on Twitter that Thomas Herold, owner of had a new blog post up, so I decided to read it. In the blog by Deborah King, author of Truth Heals: What You Hide Can Hurt You, she writes, "Throughout the generations, women have consistently lost their identities and stopped living their truth when they marry."

Wow. What a perfect quote to use as an discussion opener. I had a lovely interview, and did, indeed, mention Deborah's quote. Later that day, I googled her website and sent her an email to let her know what I'd done. I also found her on Twitter and began to follow her.

Yesterday, one of my followers, whom I slightly know from one of my writers online groups, posted about having a meltdown. Normally, I wouldn't have seen this post, but since I was visiting the site a lot, it caught my attention. And, of course, I had to find out more. I sent her a direct mail, wondering what was wrong.

Turns out, Crystal-Rain Love had been laid off and was afraid she'd lose her house. The discussion with the mortgage lender was what sent her into a meltdown. I wrote back something supportive, but wanted to do more to help, so I went to her website: and from there to her publisher: to buy her two books. Cost to me, less than $10.00. The books are ebooks, so I downloaded them right away.

But it occurred to me that I could send out a tweet about Crystal's plight, and maybe some of my numerous (I'm thinking positive, here.) followers might also buy Crystal's books. Then I went to our writers group, posted about Crystal's problems and asked that others also tweet about her. I imagined my little email and tweet about Crystal being spread around the internet, hopefully generating enough books sales to tide her over until she found work.

In helping Crystal, I found myself uplifted. Her situation (like that of so many others) reminded me to appreciate my wonderful life and express gratitude for my blessings. So Crystal ended up helping me far more than I helped her. :)

A little while later, someone I was following posted about an online writers auction for author, Janis Reams Hudson, who needs a lung transplant, and I retweeted it. That's when I realized how much social networking, especially Twitter, could be a wonderful source for GOOD! Wow.

Later that day, Deborah King became a follower, listened to the radio show, and emailed me a compliment. Icing on the cake for my Twitter day.

A few minutes ago, an organization I'm following,, posted the line from the Carpenters' song, What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love. That's when the Tweet Love play on words popped into my mind and inspired this blog. Can't wait to see what other Twitter wonders lie in store!

What good things has happened to you from using Twitter or other social media?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Enjoying the Last Days of Summer

After a crazy busy June, July, and much of August, I've had a little more time in my life for the last two weeks. With that space, I noticed that the summer was practically over, and I hadn't done much of my favorite summer activities.

Much of my enjoyment of summer comes from being on or near the water. Water relaxes me. It also gives me creative energy. So I've been taking the time to swim, even if it's only a few minutes a day.

Saturday, I had my two youngest nieces over, and we stayed in the water for hours. Ten-year-old Kelsey taught me how relaxing it could be to just float on an innertube, while seven-year-old Kimmie wanted to play water games. In between swimming in the pool, we took the time to make peach ice cream--although I hadn't frozen the peaches long enough and we ended up with peach smoothies. Yum.

The week before, Don and I took his boat out and cruised around Newport harbor, looking at all the beautiful homes. Then we docked and relaxed on the boat and ate dinner, watching the other boaters go by.

Today, I've noticed that I'm relaxed and energized. I've edited 100 pages of my book, and caught up with a lot of my email. I've tackled some chores around the house, and taken the dog for a walk. I no longer feel like summer is escaping me.

In Southern California, we'll have summer weather for a while longer, so it won't be too late to enjoy the outdoors. But even if you don't live in Southern California, you probably have a few weeks left of warm weather.

Take the time to stop and ask yourself what you'd like to do for yourself before the summer's over. Don't allow the season to pass you by without doing something you love.

Any suggestions?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Julie and Julia

My boyfriend, Don, and I went to see Julie & Julia yesterday. I thought the concept of the movie, sounded fun, and since Don loves to cook (I don't) I figured we'd both enjoy the movie. And I was right. Charming and funny--I laughed out loud in several places--I especially enjoyed the scenes with Julia Child in Paris.

In this movie, Nora Ephran combines the memoirs of both Julia Child (author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and star of the television series, The French Chef), and Julie Powel, author of Julie & Julia. The parallel unfolding of both women's lives is a fascinating, well-woven movie.

At the same time, the movie had an important theme--persistence pays off. Both Julie and Julia encountered obstacles in their path to their goals. Both came close to giving up. But they didn't. The movie shows the importance of finding your passion in life and following where it takes you.

The movie also shows how wonderful a strong marriage can be and how having a partner who supports your dreams and encourages you to overcome your obstacles, can make all the difference in having a successful outcome.

As often happens to me, seeing a certain movie only made me more curious about the book and the lives of the two women I saw on the screen. Later that day, I bought the book, Julie & Julia, expecting have a delightful read and fill in the blanks of the movie.

But that didn't happen. Not a delightful read. Instead, I read a type of memoir that included some segments of Julia and her husband's Paul's life, but was mostly about Julie Powell. The parts about Julia and Paul were disappointingly brief, and written in a more passive voice than the rest of the book.

The author is honest in showing us her flaws, but I found them offputting, rather than endearing. The book is much darker and snarkier than the movie . Julie uses a lot of profanity in life, and thus in her writing. She often mentions her blog readers taking her to task for it, but doesn't try to change. I, too, could have done without the profanity, and even better wish I could have seen her grow in this area.

However, once I got over my disappointment with the narrative and narrator, I became interested in the story. I can't imagine cooking even one of the recipes in Julia's book (or in any other cookbook for that matter) and reading her descriptions of her experiences, good and bad, was fascinating.

But, my craving to know more about Julia Child and her early life wasn't satisfied. Next on the reading list is her autobiography, My Life in France, and the biography, Appetite For Life, by Noel Riley Fitch.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What if ETs Exist?

Although I'm an avid science fiction and fantasy lover, the concept of aliens visiting Earth isn't something I devote a lot of thought to. I do believe that God probably created life in more places than just Earth, but I don't pay much attention to the idea of UFOs. (Except when I'm driving late at night, all alone, up the winding road, to Big Bear Lake, in the mountains, and see a light streak across the sky...)

Then last night, while in the car, I was listening to what I thought was a current talk radio show, but it turned out to be one from about 15 years ago. (I hadn't chosen the station.) In it, the host was describing some alien autopsy photos that had been released to the internet. These were taken from some supposed footage shot by a cameraman in 1947 on an alien autopsy. The radio host sounded pretty excited about the story and the possibility that these could be real.

I couldn't wait to get home to my computer to see the pictures and read about the buzz on the internet. Then the topic switched to the problems in Bosnia.... And I thought, "How can there be a war in Bosnia again? I know I haven't been watching/reading the news much, but I don't think I would have missed this."

Sure enough, an internet search revealed this was a hoax from the 1990's. (When you check out twitter, and the only Roswell posts have to do with driving though the place, or visiting it, that pretty much gives you a clue.)

But I decided the thoughts I had while listening to the show are still valid.

If the government does have evidence of ETs, I believe, this is a good time to come out with the known facts. Why?

1. Most Americans under the age of 50 have grown up with science fiction television, movies, and books. It's not that you can't be a SF fan if you're over 50, but you didn't have as much available to you to make it seem "normal" when you were growing up.

We've had our share of aliens as bad guys. (Independence Day is one of my favorite movies.) But we've also had plenty of aliens as good guys. Aliens can be funny, silly, crafty, or honorable--think Star Wars, or Star Trek--just like humans. Therefore the concept of real life Aliens, might not terrify the people of today in the same way they would have 60 years ago.

2. If the government has any "proof" of aliens, UFOs, etc, they probably would have gathered it over many decades. The fact that we've had sightings or visits but nothing bad has happened in all that time should reassure many. If the aliens were going to destroy us, they would have had plenty of opportunity before now.

3. If Roswell (1947) really happened, that crash is old news, and the truth, while exciting, would not evoke the fear that would happen if a UFO had crashed last week.

4. We've put men on the moon, and a space station in space. There are private companies trying to build space ships for commercial use. The idea of space travel is more of a reality than it's ever been.

5. Although I disagree with some of President's Obama's policies, I do think he's the type of president who would be willing to admit the truth.

So I call upon President Obama. Please, between your important work as the President of the United States, husband, and father, could you set aside some time to find out what the government really knows about UFOs and aliens? Then, once you've been briefed, please have a press conference and release the information, even if the news is that we don't have any information. Let's silence the Roswell controversy once and for all.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Why So Many Were Moved By Michael Jackson’s Death

Michael Jackson’s memorial was watched by 37 million people in America, and millions more around the world. That doesn’t count those who mourned, yet were unable to watch the ceremony due to work or other responsibilities.

For some, the service brought comfort and closure. It gave them a chance to mourn and say goodbye. For others, the sadness has lingered. Or grief may have ebbed, only to reawaken when the media reports some new or old controversy, or questions arise about Michael’s way of life, why he died, where he’ll be buried, his estate, or his children.

Other people can’t understand why the media made a big deal over a man with such a questionable personal history. They wonder why fans and media are glossing over these flaws.

Whenever someone dies suddenly, it makes people stop, remember, and mourn. People realize that life is short. They stop and appreciate all they have and take the time to cherish loved ones.

If the deceased is a celebrity, especially someone who made an impact on people, the loss is shared by others. The sorrow over Michael’s loss is a universal expression of grief. Strangers are united in their memories of how that celebrity impacted their lives. People all over the country, and in Michael’s case, all over the world united in their mourning.

Many, especially in America, revere celebrities. Most people have the need to connect to (what they perceive is) something greater than themselves. Celebrities, with their talent, wealth, and glamorous lives can cause people to form imaginary relationships with them. And although the relationships may only exist in peoples’ heads, that doesn’t mean it isn’t very real for them.

The ability to imagine is part of being human, and people of all ages indulge in fantasies. However, adolescence is a time especially rich in fantasy life. For children of the 70’s and 80’s, Michael was a larger-than-life performer—someone who had the ability to electrify the audience with his intensity, his singing, and his dancing. As one friend described it to me, “He pretty much “owned” pop music at that time.”

The love of a song, of the singer, can unite people of different races, beliefs, ages, and social-economic status. In the 60’s and 70’s, Michael (and the Jackson 5) broke racial barriers, becoming revered by people of all races.

Through his music, Michael created experiences and provided memories.

His music (from the Jackson 5 or individually) has intertwined through peoples’ lives, either deliberately or unconsciously. (It’s difficult to live in America and not be aware of pop songs, if only because of the background music in stores and other venues.)

With artists, especially actors, musicians, and singers, or with sports figures, many people are able to separate “art” or “the game” from the performers’ personal lives. For example, we might disapprove of an actor’s lifestyle, but still choose to see her movies. We might revere a performer like Michael Jackson, even though he displays behavior that we’d never tolerate in those around us.

Yet, as Michael grew older, more reclusive, more bizarre, more controversial (especially the sexual abuse allegations), without generating new musical hits, many people set him aside. They considered him part of a bygone era.

Although his personal life may have tarnished his music for many, others continued to love him. And with his death, people remember a younger Michael, the one before the controversy--the one whose energy lit up the stage, and whose music and dancing touched lives.

His death makes people remember their memories of Michael, and thus they recall their own past. Over and over, I’ve heard people tell stories of when they first started listening to him. Maybe they attended a concert, or watched Thriller again and again. They might have tried to dance like him, or had movie posters in their bedrooms. Perhaps they had a romantic fantasy relationship with him. Maybe “We are the World” helped them feel more connected with humanity.

These people may grieve not only for Michael, but also for a time of life that’s gone. In their nostalgia, people also mourn their lost youth.

His death may also bring up sadness for the death of other loved ones, especially family and friends, but also the loss of other beloved celebrities. Remember the funerals of Princess Diana or John Kennedy Jr. Or recall the sadness of Heath Ledger’s death, or even going back to the deaths of Elvis or Marilyn Monroe due to drug overdoses.

Michael’s death is also a reminder that wealth doesn’t buy happiness. This is an even more poignant message in a struggling economy, where people are coming to value a simpler lifestyle. Michael had talent, wealth, and love. Yet all of that wasn’t enough to sooth his inner demons.

It’s painful to watch celebrities self-destruct. Too many have died because of the unhealthy choices they made in their lives.

The adulation of hundreds, thousands, or even millions, doesn’t fill up a person who feels empty inside. All the love and energy a performer absorbs while on stage, doesn’t remain. It only deflates, leaving behind someone who can feel even more lonely and empty. Drugs and alcohol are classic ways of trying to mask this kind of pain.

As long as someone is alive, there’s hope for change, for personal growth, and for peace for a troubled soul. But death is the final ending, and hope for Michael died with him.

People may mourn the future that might have been. Perhaps Michael could have made his comeback. Maybe he would have gotten the help he needed to heal his wounds and change his life. What music lies buried with him, never to be written, played, and performed--songs and performances to move us—to change the world?

Music is perhaps the closest thing to magic we have. Listening to a song or a piece of music can transform us, if only for a few minutes. It has the power to move us to tears, convey love, lift the spirit, unite a differing people, inspire creativity, tell a story, set feet to dancing, makes us hum and clap and sing, create a mood, and bring us close to God. The creators of music that touches peoples’ hearts become magicians, not just musicians.

Michael Jackson, the magician has died, but for his fans, his music will live on.


Dr. Debra Holland is a psychotherapist and corporate crisis counselor, who lives in Fullerton, CA.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Using a Musical Experience to Transcend Stress

Last night I attended a Yanni concert. This is Yanni's new tour, called Voices, where he has four talented young singers who've given words to his music. I'd been watching/listening to two of Yanni's DVDs for the last few months in preparation for the show. In the DVDs, Yanni introduces the four singers, my favorites being Nathan Pachaco and Cloe.

Our seats were close to the front, plus a big background screen blazed the performers' images as they sang or played instruments. Over the years, Yanni has gathered incredibly talented players, and the tight bond between the performers was apparent. They were truly amazing. Yanni's joy in performing, his pride in his people, glowed on his face the whole time.

The music was sublime. One song by Nathan and Cloe transcended me with its incredible beauty. I felt aware of the happy energy buzzing through my body and joining with the energy of the audience, all of us in awe of what we were hearing and seeing. The rest of the world fell away. It was impossible not to be completely present in the moment.

Today, the echos of the concert still resonate in my mind. I find myself humming the music. Somewhere in the hours between the concert and now, I found a twist ending to a story, involving a musician, I'd imagined on and off for years. I feel filled with creativity.

Obviously, my experience last night filled my energy and creativity well.

But what about when you don't have the time, opportunity, or money to attend a beautiful or fun concert? I know a lot of my author friends write to music. Listening to music during a long commute in traffic makes it tolerable for many drivers. Other people play songs/albums according to their mood--to lift their spirits or console themselves. Singing (loudly) my favorite hymns on Sunday definitely makes me happy.

So, how do you use music in your life to release stress or make yourself feel better?

Friday, May 1, 2009

In Search of Replenishment

After months of consulting jobs, projects, and clients, I'm desperately in need of replacing my energy. I'm very blessed to be working so much, and if I want to continue at this pace, I need to recharge.

So I'm heading to the mountains to my family's cabin near a lake for four days. I'm going by myself, so I can follow my own inclinations, which I already know will be read, write, sleep, maybe some walks, garden and more sleep. I'm also doing a juice/tea/water/detox fast.

I plan to return with several thousand words written of my novel, two chapters done (rough draft) for my nonfiction book on dealing with difficult people, and a column (overdue) completed. Oh, and that newsletter I've been promising my new subscribers...

Can't wait to get there...  :)

What do you do to replenish?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Joys of Working Out

When it comes to exercise, I've found that the more I avoid working out, the harder it is to push myself when I finally do drag myself to the gym. (This is good to know if you tend to start exercising, but easily become discouraged.)

I know I've been struggling with not wanting to work out. After several months full of consulting work and little time or energy for exercise, I started regular work outs about a week and a half ago. I don't like feeling out of shape, and those first workouts really showcased my lack of endurance. Last Saturday, I forced myself to finish 45 minutes of weights. I had to continuously coax myself into finishing the workout.

Today, the time sped by. At one point, I looked at the clock and realized 25 minutes had flown by. I'd planned on exercising for a hour, mostly weights with a little jump rope and eliptical thrown in. I figured that last 15 minutes might be a push. But I enjoyed the process enough that I ended up doing an extra 10 minutes. 

Afterwards, I felt great. A great way to start the day.

Hopefully this week I won't have such a mental struggle to get myself to the point of working out.

Do you have similar struggles?

Workout: YES!
Reading--fiction: Better of Dead, by Meryl Sawyer
Reading--nonfiction: Life is a Series of Presentations by Tony Jeary
Writing: Blog for Monday
Prayer: For the family of 44 year old Tony Matson, who passed away leaving three young daughters. 
Prayer: For Rich Lewis, choir director at my church, who suffered two heart attacks, and needs a miracle.
Affirmation: I'm grateful for my healthy mind, body, and spirit.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Living in Earthquake Land

A few minutes ago, Southern California had it's third earthquake in the last 24 hours. I've grown up in Southern California, and weathered the earthquakes nature has thrown at us. I'm use to being


Deep breath. Ok, continue. I'm use to being woken up by an earthquake and judging the magnitude..."Oh, it's just a 3." Then I go back to sleep. Or, I'll be awake, and have a similar experience. Something to just shrug off.

But today's shaker, I have yet to find the magnitude, was scary because of the noise. I was descending the steps to my boyfriend, Don's basement, when a deafening boom happened. It sounded like an explosion, and it scared me because it's not a normal 3 pointer. (My ears are still ringing.)

Deep breath. Actually when I think about it, when you're close to the epicenter, the earthquake is louder. But the movement is also stronger. Ok, I'm thinking about enduring the Landers quakes, when I was in nearby Big Bear. Sevens. (That's another story.)

I'm in Yorba Linda right now. Last night's epicenter. I was driving home, so I didn't feel it. 

I'm feeling unsettled because of having 4 earthquakes. When you live in California, the specter of "The Big One" hangs over you. But mostly we ignore it. But not when a series of small quakes are occurring in the same area.

I'm hope it's just the earth letting off steam (not literally, of course) so we don't have a big one.

Prayers, everyone, that Southern California stays safe.

Anyone else experience those earthquakes?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

10 reasons for the popularity of Susan Boyle

I first watched the You Tube clip of Susan Boyle when it had about 12,ooo viewers. I remember tearing up and having goosebumps pop up on my arms. As of April 20th that You Tube clip had over 100 million views. So why is Susan Boyle's appearance on, Britain's Got Talent, the British equivalent of American Idol, so inspiring?

1. Susan's frumpish appearance and claims to rock the audience was greeted with skepticism by the audience and judges. It's moving to see that with a few words of the song, she immediately changes their minds.

2. Her lilting, lyrical voice is, indeed, beautiful.

3. She chooses a beautiful, poignant song from the musical, Les Miserables, which is about life killing youthful dreams. Susan, obviously, has lived this song.

4. She shows us that talent can live in the most unproposing package. This gives hope to all lack self-esteem because of their outsides, yet nurture a secret dream within their heart.

5. Her singing made Simon's Cowell's face light up with surprise. (A welcome change from his usual impassive or critical expression.) His joyful smile was as touching as Susan's performance. 

6. The other judges, Piers Morgan and Amanda Holden, showed how moved they were by Susan's singing.

7. She showed that it's important to never give up on your dreams, at the most improbable times and places, they can come true.

8. She demonstrated that taking a large risk, exposing herself to national ridicule, can pay off. How much more can taking small risks, pushing beyond your fear of someone(s) judgement, bring you success.

9. We can't help feeling happy for Susan, when we see how happy she is at the end of her song.

10. As Amanda says (paraphrasing) this was a wake-up call not to be so cynical.

What are some of the ways Susan's performance touched you?

For today:
Reading fiction--Deception Point by Dan Brown
Reading Nonfiction--Save the Cat, by Blake Snyder
Affirmation--I enjoy my time off to the fullest.
Prayer--that life brings Susan Boyle all the goodness she deserves.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Overcoming Child Abuse

Yesterday, I read the true story of Dave Pelzer, A Child Called, "It." One Child's Courage to Survive. When I say read, I need to admit to skimming parts. The torture he endured from his mother was too much to take in. I felt sick to read as much as I did.

Like I wrote in my post yesterday, it's impossible for good people to comprehend true evil. I cannot fathom how a mother could brutally torture and deliberately neglect her son. Nor, can I understand a father who would allow this to happen.

While I can understand (although not condone) a frustrated parent losing his or her temper and smacking a child, repeated abuse is beyond my comprehension.

However, Dave Pelzer went on to serve our county and earn a presidential award. He currently works to educate people about child abuse and works to abolish it. 

Have you ever witnessed child abuse?

For today:
Workout: 30 minutes combination of walking on the treadmill and jumping rope to a count of 100.
Nonfiction reading: The Lost Boy, by Dave Pelzer
Fiction Reading:
Affirmation: I have financial success, being of great service, in an easy, relaxed way.
Writing: newsletter article
Prayer: That I'll be of love and healing today.

The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler

Last night, I watched the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler. What a testimony to both the depth of human evil and the strength of loving courage. When I went to bed, I lay awake for a long time, thinking about fear, courage, convictions, evil, and propaganda/brainwashing.

Although I see myself as someone who makes choices for good, I don't know that I would have had the courage to do what Irena did--going into the Jewish Ghetto/prison in Warsaw to rescue over 2000 Jews, mostly children. These people where spirited away to live with Polish families or in Catholic convents, given new names, family histories, and learning to recite Christian prayers. Most of these people were never reunited with their families because they all perished in the death camps.

I'm often asked how evil people can do what they do. My answer is always the same. Good people can't wrap their minds around evil actions. No matter how much you attempt to understand someone who is evil, you won't. So don't even bother.  Instead, focus on what you can do to combat darkness, even in little ways, such as smiling at people, contributing to charities, avoiding negative gossip, and encouraging others to be their best selves.

The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler is a must-see movie. Buy or rent it and watch it with your teenagers. Use it for family discussions. Some possible discussion topics are:
1. Standing up for what you believe.
2. Risking your life to save another.
3. Being of service to others.
4. Prejudice and intolerance.
5. At the least, walking away to not become involved with hurtful behavior towards others.
6. Coaching ways to be assertive with others.
7. Standing up to bullies.
8. Not going along with the crowd.
9. History lessons.
10. Why WWll should never be forgotten, so the injustices aren't repeated.
11. Forgiveness.
12. Loving your enemies.
13. Finding ways to share with others who have less.

For those who saw the movie... What did you think?

Exercise--teaching a kickboxing class
Nonfiction Reading--A Child Called It, by Dave Pelzer
Fiction Reading--Dragonborn, by Jade Lee
Writing--the next newsletter article
Affirmation--I Act the Courage of My Convictions
Prayer--The Serenity Prayer

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Being of Service

In my (few) spare minutes in the last week, I've pondered about this blog. I know if I go to the trouble to write one, I want the post to be of service to others in some way. I believe I have a calling to be a healer--to help others learn and grow.  I want this blog to reflect that.

While the healing I do is mainly on the emotional level, it also touches on the mental, spiritual, physical, and financial aspects of a person's life. When I say financial, I'm using the word as a broad topic about achieving personal goals. For most people financial stability or success is one of their goals. In addition, in my work, I help people improve their relationships--with their spouse, family, friends, and co-workers.

I'm a very strong believer that I have to practice what I preach. Sometimes what motivates me to do something I'm procrastinating on is the reminder that I can't ask a client or student to do this if I don't do it myself. A blog can help others see what I'm personally working on, and maybe motivate others to also grow in some way.

With this in mind, I'm going to blog about whatever topic that catches my attention and I think will interest people. Or I may write about something I have a strong opinion about (not politics). And I will add a little post script about what I'm doing. 

I'm going to jot down what I'm currently reading--both fiction and nonfiction. I'm a big believer in reading. Nonfiction helps you to learn and grow. Fiction engages your mind, taking you into the lives of interesting characters and living their story. I carry a book (or two) with me where ever I go.

I'm going to add a line for my workout of the day. Usually a regular part of my life, for the last two years, working out has (mostly) fallen by the wayside. I've become so busy with my consulting work that I don't have the time and energy I used to have for exercise. (My body reflects that change.) I figure if I'm accountable to my blog readers, that will help me be accountable to myself.

I'm going to add a short line for my current prayers. I say short because my formal prayer time tends to be about 5 minutes, with much of my prayers being the same every day. I'll just write out a bit of what I'm asking.

I'll also add my affirmation for the day. Saying a positive affirmation is a good way to stay focused on your goals.

And I'll write something (among my many blessings) I'm grateful for.

So here goes:
Fiction reading: Dragonborn, by Jade Lee
Nonfiction reading: Save the Cat, the Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need, by Blake Snyder
Workout: 45 minutes of weights
Prayers: For the families of Nick Adenhart, Courtney Stewart, and Henry Pearson, killed in a crash with a drunk driver last week. For Jon Wilhite, also in the crash, that he would be healed to a full mental, emotional, and physical recovery.
Affirmation: "I look with wonder at that which is before me."
Gratitude: I've FINALLY finished all the projects I had to do last month. Currently I have no deadline hanging over me. I feel free! 

Monday, April 13, 2009

I've resisted writing a blog for years. I thought what little time I had for writing needed to be directed towards my articles and books. 

Then, about a month ago, I joined Twitter--my first attempt at social networking. (I'm mostly posting inspirational sayings.)

However, I've found myself frustrated by the small amount I can share on Twitter. Sometimes I've had to discard quotes I like because they're too long. Or, I might break them into one or two posts--not very satisfying. Other times, I've wanted to expand on something, but couldn't. And there's been those times, I wanted to write a lot about something. 

Obviously, time for a blog. And who knows, maybe one of these days, I'll try Facebook.