Never Enough

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Never Enough
The finish line is imminent. Don’t give up now! You have planted the right seeds and now you are waiting for the harvest. Now all there is left to do is wait… that’s the most difficult part.

While waiting for your plans to come to fruition, it is never enough to simply speak about your dreams, you must actively pursue them. So many people have great ideas and visions that the world may never behold because they fail to cultivate their dreams by engaging in the necessary tasks to achieve their goals. No good thing in life comes without work and sacrifice, so dormant goals are just that — an imaginary reality.

Once you invest time and energy into your dreams by praying or meditating, reaching out to individuals who have attained success in the area of your desire, and becoming a scholar of your specific area of interest, you will begin to breathe life into your dreams. As soon as you begin to see the manifestation of your desires come to pass, you will want to do it again, and again, and again.

As human beings, we are created to be innovators. Realizing a dream or accomplishing a goal should not be a one-time occurrence in life. Achieving your goals should become so addictive that you cannot and will not rest until you have achieved one goal, then the next, and then the next, finally accomplishing all of your goals, one by one.

Become inspired by life. Take time to live in the moment and enjoy the beauty of a sunrise or sunset. Express appreciation for a memorable conversation with an old friend or regain strength and motivation that you are indeed on the right track by sharing your innermost dreams and desires with your family. Your life experiences breed inspiration. Inspiration encourages you to dream. Dreams inspire action. Action produces accomplished goals.

What is currently inspiring you? Open yourself up to receive the message from the inspiration. That message or lesson could be exactly what you have been searching for to unlock the inspiration for your dreams. Dream big! Respect the process and enjoy the journey of pursuing your goals and aspirations. Remember it is never enough to only dream — you must actively commit to make those dreams a reality.

Subliminal hypnosis: sports hypnosis, weight loss hypnosis, mental health hypnosis, and 40 different topics hypnosis at, full catalog photo 2163_zps044fb03b.jpg


Spiritual but Not Religious an Oxymoron? – Huffington Post

spirituality – Google News
Spiritual but Not Religious an Oxymoron? – Huffington Post

Spiritual but Not Religious an Oxymoron?
Huffington Post
"Religion" has become a bad word for many Americans. This does not necessarily mean that Americans have become any less religious. Instead, many people have come to prefer different language to describe their religious beliefs and practices. This is …

soulful – Google News
The Black Keys deliver a tight and soulful new single – The Globe and Mail

The Black Keys deliver a tight and soulful new single
The Globe and Mail
The Black Keys have always insisted they were not a blues band, and now we are beginning to believe. The tight, soulful lead single to the American rock duo's upcoming eighth album – they really do churn them out – is stealthy, synthy and the opposite

John Legend Gives Soulful Performance at Berkeley’s Zellerbach – East Bay Express (blog)

East Bay Express (blog)

John Legend Gives Soulful Performance at Berkeley's Zellerbach
East Bay Express (blog)
On Sunday night, Grammy-winning singer/song-writer John Legend gave a soulful performance at Zellerbach Hall at UC Berkeley. It was the second Bay Area stop on his “All of Me” tour. From behind the piano, the multi-talented R&B artist entertained the …

Still feeling so soulful – Geno the 60s survivor – Thame Today

Thame Today

Still feeling so soulful – Geno the 60s survivor
Thame Today
Still feeling so soulful – Geno the 60s survivor. Geno Washington. Published on the 31 March 2014 12:50. Published 31/03/2014 12:50. Print this. Geno Washington is still known as the UK's No 1 1960s soul man, he's the real deal, enjoying cult status on

and more »

spirituality – Bing News
How Do Religion And Spirituality Affect Your Health?
New research from Oregon State University dives into the effect that religion and spirituality have … which can also improve physiological characteristics like blood pressure

soulful – Bing News
The Black Keys deliver a tight and soulful new single
The Black Keys have always insisted they were not a blues band, and now we are beginning to believe. The tight, soulful lead single to the American rock duo’s upcoming eighth album – they really do churn them out – is stealthy, synthy and the …

John Legend Gives Soulful Performance at Berkeley’s Zellerbach
On Sunday night, Grammy-winning singer/song-writer John Legend gave a soulful performance at Zellerbach Hall at UC Berkeley. It was the second Bay Area stop on his “All of Me” tour. From behind the piano, the multi-talented R&B artist …

Subliminal hypnosis: sports hypnosis, weight loss hypnosis, mental health hypnosis, and 40 different topics hypnosis at, full catalog photo 2163_zps044fb03b.jpg

5 Ways to Nurture Your Spirit

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
5 Ways to Nurture Your Spirit
The body, mind and spirit thrive if you nurture them. Since they are all connected into one being–you, optimum health can only be achieved when all three areas are balanced. The body needs healthy food and regular exercise. The mind needs stimulation and challenge. And the spirit (your true essence) needs regular nourishment, although it’s the area that’s often neglected.

In previous generations, Sunday was the day set aside to nurture the spirit, whether that was attending a religious service or spending quiet time at home with family. For many people, Sunday is now occupied with a myriad of tasks and activities, none of which bring you closer to your spirit. In order to create true balance and peace in your life, it’s important to get to know your spirit and renew it regularly.

Here are five ways to nurture your spirit:

1. Feed a hobby or passion
Spending time — even if it’s just an hour a week — doing something you love excites the spirit. A good place to start is remembering what you loved to do as a child or what brings you joy as an adult.

2. Be still
Whether it’s meditation, prayer or yoga, anything that stops the constant chatter in your mind will help you to relax and open your spirit to new possibilities and ideas in your life. For more information on the benefits of meditation, check out my previous article on this topic.

3. Take a vacation
Time off can be a day trip, a long weekend or a two-week excursion. Any time you remove yourself from your daily routine, you are renewing your spirit. And never work during a vacation! Really, what’s the point?

4. Spend quality time with friends and family
Whether it’s a meal out, a hike or a family reunion, nurturing relationships in your life will also nurture your spirit. Life is too short to put chores and work above friends and family. Just remember to choose friends and family you want to be around.

5. Make someone else happy
Volunteer for a non-profit. Give someone a gift for no reason. Compliment another person. Mark Twain said, “The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.” Doing good for others make you feel good from the inside out. And what’s on the inside is your spirit.

Subliminal hypnosis: sports hypnosis, weight loss hypnosis, mental health hypnosis, and 40 different topics hypnosis at, full catalog photo 2163_zps044fb03b.jpg

My Journals Knew I Was an Alcoholic Before I Did

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
My Journals Knew I Was an Alcoholic Before I Did
For by Susan Linney

Photo credit: Andy Kropa

For many years I wrote nightly in a journal, with a pen and a bound book of beautiful empty pages, which I filled fast and furiously before bed.

Then one day, I stopped. As near as I can figure, this quitting occurred around the time Wifi came into my life and my apartment. Instead of bringing my journal into bed with me, I brought my laptop. And while I’m pretty sure I simply meant to shift my personal reflections to the digital writing device I was now using so often, clearly I was an analog-only journaler. It was in 2007 — ironically, the same year I started a Facebook account — that my 20-year journaling career came to a screeching halt.

I realized this a few weeks ago, while organizing boxes in my stuffed-to-the-max storage unit. I found one filled with all of my old journals; writing that began in the 8th grade and went right through my 32nd birthday. There were more than 30 various notebooks in that box, of all different shapes, colors and sizes. A 20-year record of some of the most important (and not so important) moments in my life.

I’ve been pouring over these journals for the past few weeks, and I’ve realized that the negative voice in my head — that THING that’s so closely tied in with my alcoholism — existed before I ever drank.

In my earlier entries, the teenage years, there’s a pervasive undercurrent of self-loathing. I know that most kids experience the inevitable teen angst “bullshit” (some even come with a body count), but there’s something about my writing that goes beyond basic growing pains.

In most of my entries I question my entire being — not my circumstances (such as, I hate my school, why is everyone so stuck up?, etc). Instead, I cite laundry lists of problems with my character. Things like: “What’s wrong with ME? Why am I so different? Why can’t I just feel normal? What can’t I say what I want to say? Why am I so broken?”

This entry, from October 22, 1991 (I was 16), sums it up the best:

“Why was I born like this? I try so hard to speak, to pull those strings of thought from the pit of my stomach into my throat, but it only makes me choke. I doubt what I have to say makes much difference anyway, but why can’t I at least say it? I find safety in silence, but it also makes me hate myself. How can I expect to be or do anything with my life when I’m so afraid of everyone and everything in it?”

Or this poem, written on January 3, 1992:

“She rests her hand on her empty belly
That is starved not of food, but of feeling.
In a light sleep, she can trace the edges of happy memories
But the pictures fade and her open eyes erase.
She frowns and sees her companion birthed by the mirror
And knows that she can only starve for so long
Before nothing molds her into nothing.”

OK so the poem is pretty bad. But its basic message is very helpful to me now: I was empty. I was lost. I had nothing inside that excited me. I had no idea who I was. I had no idea what I wanted to be.

All things that alcoholics often feel — and find relief from in the form of a bottle.

Perhaps the most telling tidbit to share is my first entry that mentions booze, which was written in 1998. I don’t say it explicitly, but the connection is clear. Mind you, at this point I’m 23, working at a publishing house, no longer a kid but clearly still struggling with self-doubt. (“Why can’t I just SAY HOW I FEEL?” I whined in one entry from late ’97. “Everyone loves me at work, I’m able to step up to the plate, but it’s torture. I want to share my ideas without feeling like I’m going to faint or forget how to speak.”)

But on the night of October 3, 1998, something clicked. Why it hadn’t before, I’ll never know, but it really doesn’t matter. That voice I longed for? That empty hole I was trying to fill? I finally found the solution that evening. Alcohol.

“FINALLY. I was the person I want to be tonight. I was in my body and able to speak. XXXX took me to a launch party for one of her clients, and while I was around people I didn’t know, I was actually able to talk. And enjoy myself. I felt like I fit. They were all grown ups, and I felt like a grown up, too. The pre-party open bar certainly helped, and I even bought a few rounds for my new friends once the freebies were finished. So maybe it just takes time. Getting older. Believing I’m a grown up, cocktail in hand, unafraid to express myself and tell my funny stories. Could this be it? The end of my social anxiety? God, please, I hope so.”

Sadly, the answer was yes, but for a limited time. Because it was the booze that gave me a feeling of self worth that night — a feeling I had never really had before. I wouldn’t call it liquid courage, it’s more complicated than that. Instead, it was a solution, something that finally filled that hole, squashed those fears, shut off that negative voice and allowed me to express myself. Something that felt so right. It was what had been missing all along.

And it worked for quite a while. A long while. And that’s the real the bitch of this disease. It works until suddenly it doesn’t. It turns on you when you least expect it, and if you drank as much as I did, it leaves you in the clutches of a progressive, irreversible illness, and will not let go without a vicious, down and dirty fight.

So you drink more, hoping beyond hope that things will go back to the way they used to be.

But once you’ve passed a certain point, it’s impossible —  and almost equally impossible is the ability for the active alcoholic to understand this fact and believe it. I never did, until I finally hit that bottom that gave me no choice but to see the truth.

But you’ve heard about all that.

So I’m grateful for all those pre-computer years when I wrote in a journal. Those entries give me insights that are so helpful to me now. I’m going to try to get back into the practice, because who knows what I could teach my future self? In many ways, those writings probably saved me on certain occasions; if not then, they certainly are now, as I look back in an effort to live forward, clean and sober. Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive, lifelong disease  — one that cannot be cured but, luckily, can be treated.

But it’s often easy to forget this fact. Now that I have my journals, I have yet another reminder of what I am, what I have to do to to live well, how far I’ve come, and how much I have to lose. I’m still learning how to fill that hole — and why it came to exist in the first place. Which certainly isn’t easy. But I’m no longer living with booze-filled blinders on. My life may still not be what I’ve longed for (although it is getting close), but at least it’s no longer a lie.

Read more of Susan Linney’s “Bottles Down” column on TueNight. You can find her on Twitter @Susan_Linney.

About TueNight:
TueNight is a weekly online publication for women to share where they’ve been and explore where they want to go next. We are you, part two.

Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.

The Gifted Speaker: ‘Like, Um, Like, Like, Like, You Know, You Know’ — Filler Overload
“So um, today I’d like to talk about like, you know, um, like, like you know… “

If there is any one bad speech habit that makes me check out it’s filler. Similar to our habit of the up-inflection we discussed a week ago, nothing annoys an audience more.

The up-inflection and the filler are frequent complaints I hear from people about speakers. Here’s what my readers said about the up-inflection:

“This is like nails on a chalkboard. Why do they do it?”
“This makes me so crazy.”
“I hate when people do this, I can’t listen to them.”
“This and like, like, like. I just hate it!”

The problem with the up-inflection and the filler is that for most people those habits become the entirety of the speech. The sound of a like, like, like, makes many of us start to bristle. I know when I listen to it I start to wonder if the person talking actually has something to say or simply decided it was their turn to talk.

For many people the filler is ingrained into their daily speech and difficult to get rid of. As ingrained as this is however keep in mind; nothing will make you sound less professional, too young to know your subject and yet again put people on the fast train to not listening to you. You could be talking about the cure for cancer, the stock that will make us all rich or the absolute biggest revolution in technology but I will not have heard you. You could be the smartest person who ever uttered the words “OMG, like, um, you know” but I will have checked out after the first paragraph.

I can’t control my fillers.

This one is tough. I’m not sure you can fix this problem without help but here are some things you can try.

Tape yourself and count. The sheer embarrassment of that number may make you think twice about using the filler.

Slow down and don’t improvise your speech. Memorize it. Know your topic so well that no matter what happens in the room you will not get derailed and start adding filler.

Hire a coach or enlist a friend to listen to you. Have them count the number of times you use fillers. It will probably be important in this fix to enlist someone who doesn’t use a lot of fillers when they talk.

Assess why you use the filler. Do you get derailed? Do you really want to talk or do you feel obligated to talk? Is it just a habit that you and your friends do?

It’s Not Hopeless
I have many students who have struggled with this problem. All of them have been able to conquer it with some success. Most important though is consider where you are and what you are trying to say. There is a time and place for everything. I’m sure you’d rather those CEOs you are trying to sell your product to did not hear you say, “OMG like, like, you know?”

If you can’t rid yourself of the filler, hire a coach. Ask yourself: Is filler what you want to be remembered for? Or do you want to remembered for what you talked about?

Embracing Boredom
When I do assembly programs for kids, I tell them that I’m really a kid at heart. (This serves to level the playing field so they want to listen to me.) To prove it I recite a poem I wrote when I was 11 years old:

A Boring Day

On a dreary, gray, cloudy day
There’s nothing for me to do or play.
“Why don’t you dance?” my mother says,
“Or cook a meal or make the beds
Or read a book, or play with Elly.
And if you’re hungry eat bread and jelly
Play the piano or fuss with your hair.
Don’t just sit around and stare.
I can name hundreds of things you can do.”
“I know that,” I say “But I don’t want to.”

Then I poll the group, “How many of you have ever felt like that?” Most hands go up and I make sure that the teachers also participate. One might think that today’s kids, who are constantly connected to electronic devices, may not experience boredom, but apparently that is not so. (Boredom is defined as an unpleasant state with no engaging activity or interest in surroundings.) I then proceed to tell them how I hate to be bored and that the library is anti-boredom insurance, trusting that this will be a nice segue into a discussion involving books. This has worked for me for a long time.

Scientists, who study boredom, seem to find that boredom is not a good thing. In fact, they’ve recently discovered a fifth type of boredom — “apathetic boredom” — that is particularly troubling, especially in teenagers, because it can lead to drug use. However, there is another side to this.

The recent reading I’ve been doing about the impact of technology on behavior, particularly on the behavior of children, has got me wondering. What happens when we’re bored is that we’re suddenly thrust back on our own resources. It is an uncomfortable feeling. We have to do something to escape its pall. (The entertainment industry is really selling escape from boredom. Solitary confinement in prison is the punishment of forcing one to live with oneself without distraction.) We look for diversions outside ourselves with varying degrees of success for snapping out of it. I have discovered that I always experience a period of boredom prior to a period of intense creative activity. Hmm… Is there a connection here or is it a superstition?

I’m not a neuroscientist but I have learned how to make my brain come up with stuff. I treat it just like the computer it is. I feed it information in small and large chunks including reading and experiencing and interacting with others. In the last few years I’ve been on a very steep learning curve. I’ve started a new business. I’ve become a videographer. Currently, I’m researching a new book about flooding, interviewing experts from New Orleans to the Netherlands. I read Kevin Kelly’s book What Technology Wants after reading The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. I’m interacting with lots of new people after leading a pretty solitary existence for years as a writer. So there’s a lot being put into my head that I haven’t yet sorted out.

If I have an assignment (and lately with all my blogging I always have an assignment) I give my brain instructions. I tell it to think about the assignment and the information I’ve put into it. I tell it to make connections. I also give it a deadline to sort out the information and come up with the big idea. Since I don’t like working at the last minute, I always give my brain plenty of lead time. Then I wait. Occasionally, something I come across triggers a connection. Sometimes nothing happens for a long time — days, even weeks. I get bored and depressed. I find other activities to do. Then suddenly, when I’m just waking up, or I’m in the shower, or I’m taking a walk ideas start popping into my head. The pressure builds and I can’t stay away from my keyboard. Blat! It comes out of me, fingers flying feverishly. I perseverate and read it over and over, tweaking at words here and there. I sleep on it and review it the next day and always see ways to make it stronger. This can go on for a while until I see no more changes to make. Then I let it go. (Now, whenever I get an inspiration, I rush to write it down, stockpiling ideas, so I have something to turn in when I’m too busy to think.)

Time and boredom appear to be integral parts of the creative process that has limits on the speed of turn-around, which is highly individual. Young Isaac Newton was a student in Cambridge when the Black Death broke out. He retired to the boring countryside to wait out the siege and entered the most creative period of his life (1665-1666 “the prime of my age for invention”) possibly because he had no distractions. Poet Laureate Billy Collins said:

What I need to write is boredom. I need stretches of inactivity, of doing nothing in order for the poem to get generated. I think boredom is like the mother of creativity.

Although I hate to be bored, I’m rethinking it. Boredom, for me, is now a harbinger that something good is about to happen. As an educator, I worry that kids have no time to process what they input and no periods of boredom for it to gestate into something new. I’m worried that their brains will be permanently numbed by overstimulation without time to recover. I’m worried that if they’re never bored there will be a hefty price to be paid both personally and by society.

I hope I’ve given you something interesting to think about. Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks this way.

The Key to Being Happy, No Matter What Happens
When my father died there was a great upheaval in my family. We moved several times, my mother re-married, and we lost touch with his side of the family. The greatest causality was losing contact with my half-brother, Peter — my father’s only child from his first marriage. Eighteen years older, he was in the air force, newly married and starting a family. He wasn’t sure which name we went by or where we went. As the years flashed by, after many attempts to find him, I was sure I had lost him forever.

As I grew into a young adult I developed a personal history. I authored a narrative — a story — about where I came from, who I was, and all the people in my life. It included the heroes who inspired me and the villains that stood in my way. In my story I was the main character telling the tale of everything that had ever happened to me. I recounted my joys and sorrows, my greatest successes, and my most stinging failures.

My story about my personal history became the filter through which I experienced everything. Unfortunately, it greatly distorted what I perceived. My story held together my construction of reality — a framework of all my beliefs, my opinions, other people’s opinions, my experiences, and all my accumulated knowledge. What happened to me did happen. It was true, but my story about it was only my interpretation — what I decided it all meant.

I even began to pass my story onto my son. Good and bad it contained real tragedy — how I lost my brother and could never get him back. Telling that story invoked an upheaval of emotion. Telling the story about how I lost my brother made me unhappy.

Then Google happened. With the revolution of the Internet came the ability to tap into vast resources of information that never existed before. With a little effort, and Google, I found my long lost brother, Peter.

But the reunion was bittersweet. Peter’s health was failing. There were so many questions about my Father and his family I wanted to ask Peter. I asked my questions, but his memory, along with his health, was frail and failing.

So we just sat together. Spent time. Talked about whatever came up. Even though he understood that things for him were not going to get better, he was happy. He chose not to create a big tragic story about his situation because of the way it made him feel.

The lesson I learned by finding Peter, reinforced over the years, is simply this: The only real power we have is what we decide every experience means.

I used think it was impossible to be happy and content in the most difficult times. As hard as I tried my desire for happiness wasn’t being reached by having more, knowing more, or finding my long lost brother. The problem with my search for happiness lay hidden within the core of my deepest beliefs, and the stories that were fueled by those beliefs.

We think we are in control of so many things, but in fact we are not. All we have control over is where we place our attention and the decisions we make about what happens to us, or around us. We decide what things mean and those meanings become the stories we tell about everything. More importantly, the stories we tell ourselves invoke emotions perfectly aligned with those stories. Unhappiness is manufactured by how we interpret what has happened. No matter what happens.

It’s funny, but now when I practice yoga, mediate, or just hike in the mountains and quietly align with the present moment, everything is okay! And I’m happy. What’s extraordinary about this is that nothing has changed.

The key to being happy is realizing that you decide what everything means kindling emotions that are in line with the story you have been telling yourself. With that awareness you have a choice — the choice to be happy, no matter what. Happiness just happens. Unhappiness is a byproduct of every limiting interpretation you make.

Choose to Be Brave!
We all face challenges. Some of us actually face such monumental challenges, they could be our very demise. For me, the loss of my youngest daughter, Cait Chivonne, has been the challenge of my lifetime. It is perhaps within the depths of facing such unimaginable and overwhelming challenges that we find our true saving grace. For in the very center of our devastation, we just might find our courage. We just might have the opportunity to choose to be brave. At least that is my prayer…

“I am a survivor. I stand tall to represent my loved ones, both passed and present. You might not see the pieces cruelly blown apart from me. You might think I appear whole and remain unscathed. But, make no mistake, I am mortally wounded; however, I have made a conscious decision to survive.

I have suffered and have dived to the very center of myself. I have eaten my guts and spat them out. I have questioned every move and decision I have ever made. And yet, I choose to survive.

Yes, I choose to survive: to accept that I am not perfect and neither have all my choices been. But in the whole scheme of things, I have loved well, made the tough choices, dedicated and honored well, and in the final analysis… lived well!

I have been blessed, mightily, and will not ever take that for granted. No, rather, I shall be thankful for all that I have, and I choose to survive so that I may continue to honor my Caity, my whole family, friends and community.

I choose to survive and to live, to empower myself with the richness life offers. Never to simply exist, but to embrace each opportunity provided to me, so that I may represent — represent myself — represent my family — always with respect, pride and deep gratitude for this thing… called life!”

At one point during my journey, I was further inspired by a music program that was being developed for children’s hospitals. It made me think about the choices we have before us in life… the choices we make when faced with life’s most difficult challenges. I wrote the following song, Choose to be Brave, in celebration of the depth and breadth of the human spirit, as per my own experience.

Choose To Be Brave

There are times in life, when we face a choice
In those times of strife, I hear my inner voice
Something deep inside bubbles up and out of me
I stand tall and proud, I shout out loud

I will not fall down, I’ll be courageous
I will face the things that seem outrageous
I will stand by you, never, ever cave
I will choose…
I will choose to be brave!

In those times of fear, when I wanna run away
I will hold you near, forever and a day
I will call upon something deep inside of me
I’ll stand tall and proud, you know I’ll shout out loud

I will not fall down, I’ll be courageous
I will face the things that seem outrageous
I will stand by you, never, ever cave
I will choose…
I will choose to be brave!

So when we’re afraid, and things seem so scary
We won’t run away, no — on the contrary
We will call upon something deep inside of us
We’ll stand tall and proud, we’re gonna shout out loud

We will not fall down, we’ll be courageous
We can face the things that seem so outrageous
We will stand together, never ever cave
We will choo-oooo-se…
We will choose to be brave! We will choose to be brave!
We will choose to be brave!

From: Love Honor Celebrate: A Mother’s Journey of Transition, copyright 2013 Deb Carlin Polhill.

Subliminal hypnosis: sports hypnosis, weight loss hypnosis, mental health hypnosis, and 40 different topics hypnosis at, full catalog photo 2163_zps044fb03b.jpg

Standing Naked at My Party

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Standing Naked at My Party
I recently read a survey that indicates our favorite place is our home and what makes us most happy in our home, is the smell of food cooking. No big surprises, there. Yet why is it so hard to blend the love of home, and home-cooked meals with what scientists say is our greatest need — feeling connected to others? From these studies, home entertaining should yield us our most wonderful memories. Yet for most, the idea of a party or a gathering feels like putting on an exhibition of one’s life. And at the center of the exhibit, we stand, naked, exposing every unseemly aspect of us. Every blemish and every flaw.

We have a love-hate relationship with entertaining. We love the idea of it, but once we begin the process of it, all our stuff tends to come up. Feelings about our financial situation, relationship struggles, decor weaknesses, cooking vulnerabilities, disenchantment in our circle of friends, and the fear of — will anyone show up? What we feel is wrong in our life, suddenly feels amplified and suffocating. Thank you, party! All I wanted was a little fun, and now you’re making me see all that’s wrong with my life!   

Before I threw my first ever party, I chose to explore the party as the paradigm through which I would live life differently from my parents. My parents were and are — unbelievably wonderful parents. I cannot fault them. But when it came to even the smallest of parties, oh my lord, it was as though Mum was setting up an emergency triage unit in the middle of a natural disaster. It was as though lives were on the line and there was only so many hours in which those lives could be saved. The weight of the world was on Mum and every little thing that Dad did to try and “help”, made the weight that much heavier on Mum’s petite shoulders. Mum’s dinners and parties were the best in town, but the suffering to get there, I vowed I would never endure that pain.

I realized that how I threw a party, was also a way that I could choose to live my life. Starting with the guest list. Did I feel obliged to invite anyone or the need to impress any on the list? If I did, I would only include those I truly wanted to give to and in terms of impressing, I would remind myself that the most impressive thing to me is authenticity. Being my authentic self simply required me to get creative and use every aspect of the party as a canvas to express myself.

If we shift our approach to the party and simply do what we truly want to do, the focus is no longer about what is trending in home entertaining or decor, it becomes about enjoying how we choose to express ourselves via the party and enjoying our company. That might very well mean not having the party we originally envisaged but redefining what a party means to us. Oprah recently celebrated her 60th birthday by enjoying a picnic on the floor with her companion, versus a party with over 400 guests. If 2014 is the year of mindful living, we should be gathering in our homes more often, to connect with folks we can share our authentic self with.

At The Delish Life, I look at any kind of gathering as an opportunity to celebrate who we are at any given moment. Who do we want to deepen our connections with, laugh, dance and make memories with? Its a snapshot of how we express ourselves, what inspires us and what is important to us. What do you want your party to say about you?

Where Do You Follow Your Nose?

It’s been five years since I had a Krispy Kreme.

It isn’t a coincidence. It’s on purpose. I’m powerless over the kind of love I feel for Krispy Kremes. Realizing that — and steering clear of them altogether — has changed my life.

So naturally, when my husband and daughter partake I can’t wait to grab the box of doughy goodness and inhale it so deeply I worry I’ll ingest a donut through my nose.

“Why put yourself through the misery?” you may wonder.

Oh, but it isn’t misery. It’s heaven. Until I gave up this kind of decadence I didn’t realize smell was a sense unto itself. Before it was always a means to an end, the thing that led me into temptation.

Now the aroma’s just that. An aroma. And it’s heavenly. I enjoy it without needing it to lead to anything else — like a donut binge and the ensuing guilt.

That surprised me. I hadn’t realized how powerful scent was until I separated it from my other senses.

There were clues, though.

There’s a armoire in the basement of the house my parents still live in where they keep the World Book Encyclopedias. Nothing, and I mean nothing, calls up my childhood faster than opening those doors and taking a breath.

I wore Ciara cologne in high school. One whiff of that at Target and I’m right back in the drafting room, plotting what I thought was my future as a civil engineer.

The aroma of creosote (yep, aroma) when I pass a railroad yard whisks me back to the construction crew I worked on one summer when I was in college.

That’s why I suggested Katie splurge on some expensive cologne for our vacation last year — so every time she spritzed some on she’d remember being in Europe for the first time with us. She thought that was a good idea. Once home, once it started working its magic, she thought it had been a great idea.

Katie’s nothing if not slathered in something heavenly. Getting into a car with her is like climbing into a piña colada. On a morning not long before we moved her to college last August I rounded the corner downstairs on my way to her dressing room. It’s the only part of the house that’s finished, and it’s movie-star dreamy. I inhaled whatever she’d bathed herself in that morning as it hit me: “I will miss her scents.”

Now I treat her to a big bottle of something yummy she uses when she’s home. I finish it up after she’s gone, and it keeps her a little closer.

Aromatic memories will break your heart with their sweetness, if you let them. Don’t take my word for it. Open the box of your daughter’s baby clothes you’ve tucked away in a closet, smell your sweetheart’s pillow after he gets up early, pop your head into any elementary school classroom and get knocked over by the scent of Elmer’s Glue.

See — I mean smell — what I mean?

How do you store your memories?

New York Is a Difficult Place to Live, But New Yorkers Make It Easier
New York City has a well-deserved reputation for being a difficult place to live. Especially for parents of small children. We pay a ridiculous amount of money for a glorified closet without a basement or a backyard for kids to play in. We fight for spots in schools — even preschools! — because there are too many other kids applying for not enough slots. And many of us, myself included, go about our days of child-schlepping, errand running and grocery shopping without a car.

Car-less, we rely on our strollers an immense amount. My stroller is a car replacement. I use it not only to transport my infant, but also to hold my older son’s lunch on the way to school, to help stash necessities and my diaper bag, and to load up with groceries on big trips to the store.

Last week, I made one of those big grocery excursions. When I make the 20-minute walk to Trader Joe’s, I literally buy as much as I can stuff into my stroller. That day was no exception: I left the store with a full shopping bag hanging off the Mommy-hook and had filled the entire undercarriage of my Citi Mini Baby Jogger stroller with cans, frozen foods, spaghetti sauce, vegetables and various sundry heavy items.

Walking out of the store, I realized I had 15 minutes to make the 10-minute walk to my 4-year-old’s preschool. Score! I am rarely on time for pick-up, let alone early. Just as I congratulated myself on my time management, the stroller stopped moving forward. It just stopped. The stroller was still upright — the baby safe, facing me, nonplussed. Confused, I looked around. The man standing next to me pointed out the source of the problem: a wheel rolling away. I lunged for it. One of the two front wheels had completely popped off the stroller. Fortunately, the two sets of back two wheels were fine.

The man stopped and tried to help me put it back on. “Be careful,” he warned me, “it’ll probably just come right back off.” It did. I couldn’t even move a couple of inches forward without the wheel falling off again. I put it back on. It fell right off. I put it back on, tried to hold it on with my foot, made it a few inches and it fell right off. Over and over I fruitlessly tried to move down the block, but was thwarted at every attempt.

What was I going to do? With my lead time draining away, how would I pick up my older son at school? What would I do with my baby? The stroller? All the groceries? I stood there with no idea of what to do next. I felt completely helpless and trapped.

And then, something amazing happened. The man who had helped me with the wheel was headed to his car, but turned around and said, “I can take you home if you want.”

“Oh, that’s incredibly nice of you,” I replied, “but I’m not even going home — I have to get my older son from school.”

“Well, if you live close and his school is close, I have time to take you before I have to pick my kids up at school.”

I hesitated. Did I really want to get into a strange man’s car? A) at all or B) with my baby? I watch Law & Order and Criminal Minds. I know what kindness from strangers can lead to. But I took a risk based on his nice smile (and the child car seats in his backseat).

When we went to load the trunk, I said, “I’m Jen, what’s your name?”

“Eddie,” he replied.

“Are you married?”

He laughed and said, “Yes, why?”

“Because I want you to tell your wife that you win all the karma awards for the day. This is huge. This is amazing. I have no idea how I would have done this without your help.”

I loaded all the groceries from under the stroller into the extra Trader Joe’s bag he happened to have in his truck, and we threw in the other bag of groceries, my diaper bag, the folded stroller and the wheel. Then we drove the six blocks to my son’s school. Leaving all my stuff except the baby (I wasn’t quite THAT trusting), I ran in and grabbed my son from the pickup line.

I told him we were doing something extra special and silly and going home in a car with Eddie. “Are we taking a taxi?” he asked. Nodding, I introduced him to Eddie who got him buckled in. After I got myself and the baby buckled in, we were off on the short drive to our apartment.

We chatted about my boys and his kids, and when he pulled up in front of my apartment, he apologized for not having the time to come in and help me bring everything upstairs. “Are you kidding,” I said, “You have no idea how your help made our day so much better. You are wonderful, and I can’t thank you enough.”

With an act of kindness that took less than 15 minutes, this total stranger/fellow parent/guardian angel/New Yorker radically changed the course of the rest of our day and transformed what potentially could have been a disastrously stressful experience into a celebration of one neighbor helping another neighbor.

So, again, I want to say “thank you” to Eddie. Yes, New York is often a very difficult place to live, but New Yorkers make it easier.


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50 Years Of Hot Jams And Soulful Sounds From The Bar-Kays

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The Purposeful Life (Hint: Don’t Wait for Retirement)

#truelove #allowing #dating

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The Purposeful Life (Hint: Don’t Wait for Retirement)
I have several close friends who are contemplating retirement, and a few have been teetering on that decision for a while. They are not hesitating over financial worries, but more over quality of life issues. They want to be sure that the next stage of life is at least as rich and purposeful as their working years have been. They want their days to be full.

Who doesn’t? But there are other reasons for planning a meaningful retirement, most notably the health benefits. Our later years bring added health risks, but accumulating evidence shows that older people with goals and a clear sense of purpose live longer.

But why focus on just the old? If meaning is linked so clearly to diminished mortality, isn’t it possible — even likely — that younger people will also benefit from a clear sense of purpose? That is the question that psychological scientists Patrick Hill of Carleton University and Nicholas Turiano of the University of Rochester have turned to recently. It may be more challenging to find purpose and structure in a life without work, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that purpose is only beneficial to the elderly and retired. Perhaps a sense of purpose will convey longevity benefits for even the youngest adults.

Hill and Turiano explored this important question by using data from a large national, longitudinal study of health and well-being, called MIDUS. MIDUS began in 1994 with sample of more than 7000 adults between 20 and 75 years of age. The scientists phoned participants and interviewed them, and also had them complete a questionnaire at home. In addition to basic demographic information — including work and retirement status — the participants answered questions about their close relationships with other people and their positive and negative emotions. The scientists included these questions to rule out these other possible variables and more effectively home in on sense of purpose and its influence on longevity.

Hill and Turiano assessed participants’ sense of purpose by asking them to agree or disagree with three statements: “Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them.” “I live life one day at a time and don’t really think about the future.” “I sometimes feel as if I’ve done all there is to do in life.” Participants could agree or disagree strongly with these sentiments, or come down somewhere in between, and the replies were all compiled into a purposefulness score.

Finally, the scientists followed these participants for 14 years, during which time about 9 percent of the participants died. They recorded how long each had survived and then used various statistical tools to crunch all of this data, leading to these intriguing conclusions, summarized in a forthcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science:

Most notably, those who led purposeful lives lived significantly longer than those who were more aimless. This held true even when the scientists controlled for other markers of psychological and emotional well-being. But more important, these longevity benefits did not depend on age. That is, even the youngest adults lived longer if they lived meaningful lives, and it didn’t seem to matter whether or not they had retired from work or not.

And why are meaning and structure so essential to longevity? It’s not really known, but Hill and Turiano think it may have something to do with an enhanced sense of agency. That is, people with goals and direction feel more in control of their lives, and this attitude might be linked to daily physical exercise and achievement. Whatever the pathway, these findings point to the importance of establishing one’s direction as early in adulthood as possible. We think of the words “healthy aging” as a goal for the retirement years, but waiting for that last paycheck may be a bad idea.

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