Monday, December 24, 2012

As a very young woman in my early twenties, I had a block about giving compliments. I would look at a friend and think, “Wow her hair looks great today,” but I wouldn’t express it. Crazy as it sounds; I somehow believed that complimenting someone else might take away from me, possibly exposing what is wrong and ugly in my body and persona, instead of giving to both of us. When I set out to be the best I could be however, this was the first aspect of my personality I wanted to change. So I put out my intention to heal from this issue hoping to be able to share the love I had with more and more people.

I will never forget my first attempt. I was standing on a train platform one really cold morning and spotted a beautiful woman standing by. She was dressed in black from her raven-like hair to her cashmere coat and boots, but she accentuated the look with crimson-red leather gloves. It took a little mental cajoling, but I finally got up the nerve to talk to her. “Those gloves are just perfect with that coat. You look incredible!” Her eyes lit up, and we started a conversation that continued all the way into Penn Station, leading to a friendship we shared for years.

Once I started the practice of sharing sentiments, it prompted many more opportunities to “gift” others. It took time for me to understand the energy exchange and how truly healing it could be, but once I did, I couldn’t stop! I was a complimenting fool and made it a goal to express every positive thought, emotion or notion I had. If I didn't see the beauty in someone right away, I looked for it so I could pass it on. Of course what we say has to be real and truthful…not contrived or the other person will know, creating the opposite effect energetically. Instead, if you think or feel something wonderful and positive then say it!

A penny for your thoughts may have been a good deal a long time ago, but we know better now. Science is proving that we can afford to be generous too, because what we give out, the universe will give right back…and more and more and more.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Answers Lie in the Face of Every Child


We have many problems in America. From money and budgets, to illiteracy and violence, we run the gamut of low to high stats that dictate just how dysfunctional we are. But there is one issue that makes us far worse than the rest of the world…one really ironic issue considering what we are called: We are one of the most un-united countries in the world.
There is no imaginary line from north to south. No fences or gates, but there is a clear delineation. In our effort to be a “democratic” nation, we divided ourselves into two parts with two totally different belief systems that are pulling us apart. Divided we stand, and we have been “falling” out of stature for quite some time. We are aware of the problem, but what are we doing about it?
This latest tragedy in Connecticut has tugged at the heart of every one of us. The idea that we can send our children off to school in the morning and have them shot dead by early afternoon was not even a viable notion to most parents. Now it is a reality…there is no safe place. But the reaction in the wake of this heartbreak is not understandable. Instead of pulling together, we stay true to our division. There is no agreement from left to right on how we should deal with our issues going forward. Creative, intelligent people are digging their heels in the ground, standing true to their beliefs even though that is not going to help or solve the problems we face.
The verbiage I hear from both sides is redundant. Constant inculcation of the same message tells me that no one is utilizing their potential as a human being. When we close off our minds and hearts, we are weak. When we decide to look at every aspect with openly, we become omnipotent. We tap into energy and intelligence far greater than our own human potential. We only have to decide to see truth, then ask for answers and they come. And there are plenty of both to behold!
Since we are physical, emotional, mental and spiritual beings, we need to look at every aspect of life from those same four perspectives. It is not difficult to recognize that we need to seriously rethink what we are doing to ourselves. We are ingesting chemicals through bastardized food and drink every day and have NO IDEA what effect they have on the mind and body. How about the constant interruption of brain wave activity with the radiation we are exposed to? Are we in denial of the potential that all technology has to re-wire the developing brains of our children?
There is a tremendous disconnect between mental illness and violence, meaning that we have no clear cut system in place to deal with people who are functional but socially “distorted.” If that isn’t bad enough, we commonly treat mind and body as two separate entities within one human, using many practitioners to handle the same person. Most often, they never even discuss their patient’s needs, let alone come together to treat them. How do we allow this detachment knowing full well how much our bodies’ bio-chemistry can dictate our minds, moods and decisions?
And we ask why are we seeing so much violence? What are our hate-mongering video games, TV shows and movies doing to our children’s personas? There is evidence out there proving that it has a negative effect, yet more horrible depictions of human behavior are popping up regularly in every form of media. Emotionally speaking, what are we doing to our young people’s ideals by constantly exposing them to hatred?
There is no greater spiritual sorrow to the vast majority of the population (almost 90% shown in polls) than to see our children shielded from religion in schools. From taking the word “God” out of our pledge to eliminating Christmas and Hanukah references, we are literally sending the message that having a soul and faith in a power greater than ourselves is “politically retarded.” What in God’s name is so awful that we can’t expose our children to it? When did we decide that it was more beneficial to eliminate all references rather than allowing for the exposure to ALL religions they can learn and grow by?
I don’t profess to know all the answers to every issue, but I write, advocate and teach many. It is possible to change, and it wouldn’t take much, though the key to accomplishing it seems implausible. It would mean all of us dropping our guard and fear of being controlled and legislated. It would take living up to our country’s founding promise.
We need to finally decide that our individual beliefs, coupled with our division about it, is getting us to a place we can’t return from. We need to fully comprehend for the sake of our kids that we aren’t going nowhere. We are going somewhere. What is the expression, “to hell and back?” Hopefully the faces of those little angels will help us return to reality. We are called the United States. Let’s start acting like it. DM 12/2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Keeping the Backbone of America Strong


This election has spawned the need for a new “party” to emerge…one that speaks for a real issue and that is personal responsibility. We talk consistently about the imbalance of wealth, but few talk about the imbalance of work. Who is toiling and who is not? Who is paying in and who is taking out? This is not a democrat vs. republican issue. The Backbone of America is being threatened and no matter who is in office, we need to keep it from breaking or the entire country will collapse from lack of support.

When we are able to see that the problems are not red or blue, we will be able to see truth. We cannot handle taking care of people that want a better life, if we are taking away the better life that others have worked so hard to create for themselves. We are not strong enough or big enough to tackle the issues of the world unless we can finally stand united in our belief that everyone needs to pull their own weight. Unless a person is at such a disadvantage they cannot work or contribute, “Everyone,” as my grandfather used to say, “needs to have a broom in their hand.” Sweeping America clean of its deficit and waste can only come when we finally define who really needs what.

As any great parent will tell you, in order to run a household, all inhabitants must do their share or the imbalance breaks the back of the provider. One spouse supports outside the household while the other supports inside or they share both accordingly. Children do their part, irrespective of how small the task, and even the dog or cat serves as protector or loving companion. The second there is an imbalance though, the “stronger” becomes the weaker and can succumb to malaise, sickness or despair.

By 2025 the leading cause of death will be heart disease. The second leading cause will be depression...this coming from the World Health Organization. Autoimmune disease, which characteristics and causes have eluded every expert, is now being researched from a new perspective. “If we can’t find the physical cause,” says German researchers, “let’s try to find the emotional!”

Right now the medical community is attributing 90% of disease to stress; another condition that cannot be tackled or healed without difficulty, because it is defined and handled uniquely in each person. Although intangible in one way, it is still felt deeply in another. Consider the entrepreneur who feels it through his/her lack of control over the economy; the jobless who can’t find employment; the single parent who fears, “What is going to happen next?” How about our children who feel it secondhand but have no skills to handle it?

There is no need to blame any sector, government or private. It is a culmination of the whole; those numbers who choose to take advantage have just as much responsibility as those who choose to do nothing to fight for their own rights and beliefs. EVERY HUMAN BEING of a reasonable age needs to look at their participation in the course this country is taking. As soon as any one citizen turns their back on the direction of their own life, we all lose control of our future as a whole.

So what will the other half of America do with the negative emotions they are feeling after this election? How is the “Backbone” of America going to handle the next four years of pressure? Where is the division going to take us? If half this country likes the job Obama did, exactly what are their expectations going forward? Are we not raising the bar high enough on all of our government leaders, both red and blue? And an even scarier question: Is the rate of illness in America indicative of the number of us that have already succumbed to the pressure, believing that we are powerless to ever affect real change?

Fortunately, the answers don’t have to be left to “time will tell.” We can create our future, but finding solutions to our problems won’t be at either end of the right or wrong spectrum. When we want to resolve an issue, we shouldn’t be looking at what is there and obvious. What is taking up the space in between? How can we see each other’s side? What have we lacked as a society that we can now foster?

If we choose to believe in something, then let it be this: Throughout history we have seen that every issue can be resolved with a symbiotic solution if we come together and meet halfway. And if we adopt this policy of tolerance, then we need to take it much further this time. We have to finally look at ourselves and stop laying blame. What am I giving or taking to help or hurt America? What am I doing or not doing to provide for our future? Can I stop whining long enough to participate in my own potential? Am I an American willing to take responsibility or not?

We can change the course this country is on no matter which man or woman is in office. We first need to change that part of ourselves that won’t see, hear or feel the in between. We have to empathize without enabling. We need to put ourselves in the shoes of others just long enough to do the right thing by them, and then step back into our own so we can continue on the journey we were meant to be on. When we finally look to heal what is not working in our own lives, the job of healing our nation will be done. DM

Monday, October 22, 2012


Today would have been my Nana’s 95th birthday. This is the first time in my entire life that I am not seeing her on this day. Although I was sad waking up today, I realized when I turned on my computer and looked at the date that it was 10/22, 2012. I love numerology and immediately saw the numbers were exactly the same just scrambled. That can only happen twice; once this year and then again 2021. I knew it would be a great day. In fact, I was “counting” on it!

Anyone who has read my book will know that I was influenced all throughout my life by Nana’s gracious ways and loving heart. She was an unknowing mentor to me, and her unique way of handling her own divorce at a time that divorce was unheard of, was the example I followed during mine. There was another energy throughout my book though. As a young woman, I always felt inspired by the God Squad. Father Tom Hartman and the Rabbi Gellman were profound examples of how we could come together for the purpose of love and goodness if we made the effort. So when I wrote the first draft of the, “The Ten Commandments of Divorce,” I contacted a young Rabbi who was an author as well. I asked him to consult on certain aspects, because as a Christian, I wanted the Jewish perspective. He was happy to do it, and we joked about being the “God Squad of Divorce.”

The book was published one year ago, but just last week, I had the honor of meeting the Rabbi Gellman at a function for his partner, Tom Hartman. Although I only had one minute to talk, I was able to tell him how much I admired them both and used their “energy” when writing my own book. He handed me his card and said he would read it. I was thrilled and dropped the book off at his office the next day.
This morning I received a call from the Rabbi Gellman. “Donna, I just finished your book. I absolutely loved it! It is a great work. Please come in so we can talk about how I can help you with it!” When I got the call, I almost couldn’t speak. My heart was almost singing at the thought of my angel up there on her birthday, orchestrating my life. The woman who was always my champion here on earth, was now more powerful than ever and helping me all the more.

For the rest of the day, she showed me signs and kept validating her presence and guidance. I have no doubt that she is now “counting” on me to follow through and make her story help millions of people. It is not a stretch to say that one little woman can change the world. She has already changed mine.

Monday, October 15, 2012


Many years ago, when I was a sales person in the construction industry, I sat myself down in my boss's office and whined, "I feel like I am working nonstop and getting nowhere. I am starting to think I am lost!"

He said to me, "Donna, I see exactly where you are and what you are doing. Think of me as a helicopter pilot and I am hovering over the forest you are in. I see you clearly chopping away at every tree in your way, and you are creating a perfectly straight line heading right for your destination. Don't fear that it is all for nothing. You are making great progress. You will be out of the woods soon enough!"

And in fact, he was right. Not long after, I reached the “tipping point” and sales soared. I will never forget his encouraging words, but there was something else very important that I gleaned from that day...the knowingness that even though I felt lost and couldn't see the “forest from the trees,” I was still going exactly where I needed to go. My goal and motive were so clear that nothing could stand in my way…not even myself.

We all have the power to see what isn't there; to envision our dream; to bring in whatever we need to accomplish our goals. We just have to keep remembering that the physical part of ourselves is not our ultimate power…it houses our ultimate power. Just let go of what you “think” you need to do in order to “feel” and “hear” direction. The person in the helicopter exists within YOU.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Is there such a thing as MODERATION?


Recently I was invited to become part of a business group on Long Island that had created a committee dedicated to wellness issues in schools and businesses. Sounded like a great fit so I volunteered to become part of the discussions. In a short time I received an email telling of the next meeting and the topics that would be discussed, namely, developing wellness programs in schools, educating business owners about employee health issues, speaking with hospitals and doctors about how we can cut insurance costs. The email ended with a last note: “bagels will be served.”

If it were any kind of traditional business function, the idea of serving bagels would cause a slight reaction in me, but this was a meeting about wellness. As far as I was concerned, serving bagels at a wellness breakfast was no different than serving beer at an AA meeting. After all, if we are going to educate people, especially children, shouldn’t we be practicing what we preach?

I quickly sent back an RSVP that I would attend, but politely suggested that we might consider serving fruit instead of bagels since it is a discussion about health. The director, a young woman in her twenties, responded with, “Donna, Everything in moderation!”  I think it was the smiley face that did it for me. I wrote back a bunch of reasons why the words bagel and moderation would never fit in the same sentence for most people, including those with gluten intolerance, diabetes and stomach issues like IBS, Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis. I then added, “If this group really believes in creating change, shouldn’t we start with the very meetings that we are using to create that change?”

After a couple more paragraphs I concluded with, “We have to walk, talk and act as if we are the very people we are trying to help and empower. I’m sorry, but if we are in crisis, moderation just won’t cut it. Please email if you would like some healthy options. I am anxious to help the cause.” Sorry to say, I never got a response from her or anyone else from the organization. When I arrived at the meeting, not only were bagels present, there were also pastries and muffins.

Initially my response to complacency about the state our Country’s health is in is shock. I can’t say anger or judgment because I understand that most people just don’t know enough about the human body to make the right choices for themselves. However, when given an “expert” opinion and information gained from years of research, how do you ignore it? Obviously, I didn’t join the group, but it wasn’t because they ignored my email. It was because they are not motivated to lead by example and I believe that is the only way we are ever going to create real change amongst ourselves and our children.

Am I acting like some Don Quixote, fighting issues that don’t exist? Fifteen years ago, people told me I was crazy fighting for clean air and a reprieve from second-hand smoke. They don’t think I am so crazy now. The food issues in this Country are real and we, the people that make up the population, are the only answer to the problem. Unless we stop eating and serving the junk, the food companies will continue to make them and never come up with better choices for us and our kids. It is up to us. It always has been.

Simple solution for us all to follow: ALWAYS serve wholesome foods at every business function. It’s easy! There are many caterers that will be happy to offer healthy choices and if your source doesn’t, then you change vendors. Unless we stop eating what we know is not good for us, we will never be able to change the unhealthy course our kids are on, and that is no windmill I am fighting. That is fact. D.



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Soda Wars!


And the debate continues: The soda ban, albeit well intended, is not going to solve the obesity issue. In fact, I believe it is actually causing more harm than good. I am a fan of the Mayor and his efforts to create wellness programs with city employees and also the population, but I can’t agree with the methods he is using to deliver the message that soda is a contributor to obesity and illness.

I would like to see a mandatory calorie count on every cup, in big numbers of course. Many people don’t realize that a 38 oz cola (the size of a 7-Eleven Super Gulp with ice) is 512 calories and 128 grams of sugar. That is more sugar than 7 bananas, and ½ the calories a dieter is supposed to get in a day. By banning, we (wellness advocates) risk alienating the very people we are trying to help. If we educate, we have a shot at getting their attention without pushing our views on them.

Yes, I fought hard for second-hand smoke laws and the banning of cigarette smoke in any public place, but that was to protect the innocent—those of us who want to breathe and smell air without carcinogens. Big difference between the two, don’t you think?. I totally understand why the Mayor is doing this. I agree with his intention; I love his desire to create change; and I applaud his passion. I just don’t think we are going to achieve the desired effect; which is to get Americans healthier and more responsible for their food and drink choices.

Mayor, if you are listening, “I love you; I respect you, but we may need to rethink this one.” D.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Before You Leave Your Marriage...

Excerpt from "The Ten Commandments of Divorce" The Last Resort, or is it?

A portion of my time coaching is spent trying to save marriages. That’s not to suggest that there are people out there who are too hasty in their decision to divorce. Most couples feel they have no choice or lack the means to deal with their differences and unhappiness. They don’t believe they have the ability to change the negative aspects of their relationship, and they usually blame the wrong reasons for their marriage becoming unhealthy. That is where I step in, because statistically, staying and working things out is the best recourse. According to the Institute for American Values, almost eight out of 10 couples who avoided divorce were happily married five years later.

Everything from hormones and the chemically ridden food we poison ourselves with to the environment, money and stress can contribute to the downfall of a relationship. We often blame it on a lack of love, not realizing that love is a decision. We claim “irreconcilable differences,” not understanding the need to continuously forgive each other and ourselves. We cite infidelity as a leading cause, but we never look into how bio-chemistry plays a role in leading us astray. We complain of “cruel and unusual punishment” and fail to consider mental illness as part of our vow to stick it out “in sickness and in health.”

Too often we are ready to jump ship without really investigating the underlying causes. Not because we want to get divorced, and certainly not because it is easy. Staying almost always seems harder than leaving. Rather, it’s because we don’t understand the options. To know how to save a marriage requires the skills of a psychoanalyst, bio-chemist, translator, coach, mediator, nurse, financial advisor and in some cases, addiction counselor. We just aren’t equipped emotionally or intellectually to handle all the idiosyncrasies of the human persona – our own or that of our spouse.

Since we don’t know how to fix each other’s problems, we decide to depart, not realizing that leaving doesn’t necessarily solve anything. When couples split, they are often amazed at how unhappy they still are! Clients who have been divorced for any length of time come to me with their tales of woe, and I listen as they walk me through their former marriage and subsequent relationships, all with pretty much the same outcome. When they are done, I ask, “Who or what is the common denominator in your life?” Ultimately, they come to the conclusion, “It’s me.” When the realization is made that it may not have been entirely the other person’s fault, when the need to work on their own issues becomes clear, the real mending can begin.

After becoming single, there are so many new problems to pin misery on. Co-parenting issues, lack of money and living arrangements are a few, but many of the real reasons for discontent are still with us, or I should say, within us. As the German writer and spiritualist Eckhart Tolle puts it, They (intimate relationships) do not cause pain and unhappiness. They bring out the pain and unhappiness that is already in you.” Clearly, the issues that we need to heal from do not leave our personas as we physically leave a marriage. They follow us … relentlessly.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

On changing the world...

Some people think I am crazy for believing I can help heal the world.Some people think I am arrogant for thinking I can make a difference.
Some people think I am audacious for even talking about my ideas.
I choose to listen to the ones that have been telling me I can.

Helen Keller: “You are only one, but still you are one. You cannot do everything, but still you can do something; and because you cannot do everything, you should not refuse to do something that you know you can do.”

Theodore Roosevelt: “Believe you can and you are halfway there.”

Anne Frank: “How wonderful it is that you don’t need to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

Leo Rosten: “The purpose of your life is not to be happy—but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all.”

Robert F. Kennedy: “Each time you stand up for an ideal, or act to improve the lot of others, or strike out against injustice, you send forth a tiny ripple of hope…and crossing each other they form a million different centers of energy, and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that you and a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Woodrow Wilson: “You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world.”

Gandhi: “If you change yourself, you will change your world. If you change how you think then you will change how you feel and what actions you take, and so the world around you will change. Not only because you are now viewing your environment through new lenses of thoughts and emotions, but also because the change within can allow you to take action in ways you wouldn’t have—or maybe even have—thought about while stuck in your old thought patterns.”

Martin Luther King Jr.: “No one has the right to rain on your dreams.”

Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Charles Eames: “Choose your corner, pick away at it carefully, intensely and to the best of your ability and that way you might change the world.”

Wayne Dyer: “Your mind at peace, centered and not focused on harming others, is stronger than any physical force in the universe. Anything you really want you can attain, if you really go after it.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: “If you would hit the mark, you must aim a little above it. Every arrow that flies feels the attraction of the Earth.”

B.J. Palmer: “You never know how far reaching something you may think, say or do today will affect the lives of millions tomorrow.”

Harriet Tubman: “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

Sri Chinmoy: “Do you need a revolution to change the world? I suggest that the most effective way to change the world is to begin by changing yourself. If these ideas gained greater acceptance, the world would unmistakably change for the better.”

An old Friend: “Past the seeker as he prayed came the crippled and the beggar and the beaten. And seeing them, he cried, “Great God, how is it that a loving creator cannot see such things and yet do nothing about them?” God said, “I did do something. I made you.”

Who inspires you? DM

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

You May Want to Get Out of My Way...

It is a day of independence…one in which we commend and honor our forefathers who bravely fought for a new ideal and what they believed would be the land of the free. I haven’t fought in a war, but I fight for the rights of many every day. It is because of me and people like me that many get to sit in a restaurant, movie theatre or airplane without inhaling carcinogenic smoke. It is because of me and people like me that many are becoming aware of the dangers of gluten, sugar and other “food” products which is forcing the food companies to amend their offerings. It is because of me and people like me that many will be offered wellness programs at work and school…a practice that is proving to induce healthier lifestyles and money savings for all who participate.

With this post, I am not asking for recognition. I am not asking for donations. I am not even asking you to click the like button! But if you are so inclined to help, there is one thing that each and every one of you can do, and that is, “Listen to me before you condemn what I say!”

A long time ago, I stopped waiting for the country to change. I decided instead to be the change the country had been waiting for. You too have a voice, but please don’t use it against me and others who are trying to save lives, educate and empower. YES! I want to take soda and high fructose corn syrup away from kids, and if everyone really opened their eyes to its dangers, no children would be allowed to drink it. YES! I want to abolish smoking in public. I want clean air for everyone, and if there was no such thing as a cigarette, my father would still be alive, along with so many of our Country's citizens. YES! I want to eliminate sugar in all our schools. If educators and parents understood the correlation between sugar and obesity, diabetes, aggression, depression, alcoholism and drug use, they would want it gone to.

Although I don’t carry a weapon, I am a patriot and a soldier, and I believe one person can fight a war with love and goodness better than an army can with guns. I am a researcher of science and a teacher of truth, with a loud mouth and a rowdy pen, and I will never stop using either. In the end, I would rather die fighting for what I believe in, than live a life fighting regret…regret for the loss of people who don’t know any better or who are hell bent on killing themselves because, after all, “it is a free country.”

Join me or you may want to get out of my way, for I am a river, and what I can’t go around, I will go through. This Country needs to change direction, and whether everyone likes where I want to take it or not, trust that it will keep all of us alive and healthy. This Country needs a reality check, and like what I say or not, trust that it is factual. This Country needs a leader who will fight the tough fight, and like ME or not, I plan on continuing to be one of them. DM

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mayor Bloomberg: Protector of Health or Food Nazi?


Ask anyone that knows me, “who is the most progressive wellness person you know?” and their answer would be, Donna Martini. So why am I opposed to Mayor Bloomberg’s recent attempt to control the consumption of soda? Simply put, I don’t think it will affect positive change.
Many years ago I learned the hard way that telling people what they should do doesn’t work. Fervently speaking to smokers about their life and death decision to poison themselves got me nowhere. When I turned it around and began to champion the second-hand smoke issue--pleading for the rights of children and adults to breathe clean air--I got my traction for the cause and affected change.
When the Mayor put the “No-Smoking in Parks” law into effect, I applauded him. There is no logic to going to a park in order to get some fresh air into your lungs and then having to breathe in another’s cigarette smoke. In fact, it is ludicrous. I was happy when he instigated wellness programs for city employees. I thought he was reaching for the stars when he began to control fat and salt in the restaurants, but hey, it seemed to go over okay. Now though, I think he might have set the wellness movement back a bit. When people start to believe they are being controlled, they rebel even the most well-meaning attempts at helping them. Control isn’t a bad word…though I think Mr. Mayor is using it on the wrong people.
How do we exert power over consumers without having power over the companies that make what we are consuming? It makes no sense to me that Pepsico is allowed to make such devastating drinks, advertise them to our youth and make billions of dollars on us, just so we have to now make laws to stop the overconsumption. But of course, we have been doing this for years. Where is the logic in spending billions to heal from the ill-effects of cigarettes? How do we subsidize corn growers so we can poison ourselves with high fructose corn syrup and meat from grain-fed cows that have been nutritionally deprived?
In my opinion, one of our biggest issues is lack of creativity. Anyone who cooks can attest to this: It is easy to make something taste great if you have no limit to how much fattening, salty, buttery, sugary ingredients you can put in. The real trick to making a product delicious is to also make it healthy and reasonably priced. If manufacturers would put as much talent into their recipe creation as they did into their advertising, we might actually be able to combat obesity in this country.
I am only one woman, but thankfully, the wellness movement has many champions. Instead of alienating people though, I need all of them, most especially the government leaders of our country to stand up to the real culprits involved in our current obesity and diabetes epidemic. Personal responsibility is crucial, but we also need healthy choices! Right now, living in America and being told to stay healthy, is like asking a reformed gambler to work in a casino. The odds are against all of us and we need to change more than just our minds in order to get this country on track to being the stellar example of world power we once were.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cyclist's Near Miss


He was in the shoulder, speeding and passing the cars lined up at a traffic light about to turn green. I didn’t see him. I was in the only lane, trying to make a right on red and had no reason to check in my passenger-side mirror, but gratefully, something caught my eye, and I slammed on my brakes. His bike sped by just as the light turned green, travelling downhill at over 25 miles per hour. If I didn’t stop, he would have slammed right into the side of my car.

After this narrow escape, I decided to look into the statistics related to bicycle accidents, injuries and death. I wasn’t at all surprised that the average bicyclists killed in 2009 was 41 years old and almost exclusively male. I see this age group all the time in my hometown, which is filled with scenic winding roads. They are usually riding two by two and sometimes three-wide across narrow roads.

There are many bikers in this age group, so the stats seem logical, but shouldn’t any male over the age of 25 be more experienced, and therefore cautious? Only a small percentage of people killed on a bike are under 16, which is the demographic you would think took chances and were not as careful with their lives or bodies. There are many factors that go into the numbers of course, but could we deduce, even partially, that some of it relates to overconfidence?

There are some bicyclists out there who take unnecessary chances and disobey traffic laws. There are also motorists who don’t take into consideration the right of way of cyclists. Who has more rights or who should pay more attention are not questions we should be stuck on though. Who has more power to crush should be the issue. Any biker (and this goes for motorcyclists too) who takes for granted, human error or the size and weight of the vehicles they are travelling next to is not only being na├»ve, he/she is living dangerously.

Rather than debate the issue though, I want to offer some advice. Whether you are a daring, adrenaline junkie, an exercise enthusiast or just an out-for-the-fun-of-it cruiser, there is something you can think about every time you are about to do something even remotely dangerous: “Would I want to see my son or daughter take this chance?” This is the thought I put in my head when I even think about texting while driving. If you are not a parent, replace it with brother, sister, mother, father, best friend (you get the idea).

Taking chances and pushing past personal limits are part of any sports enthusiast’s active lifestyle, but what good is having a fit heart and iron quads if you are in a casket? Keep pedaling, but while you are out there, please keep in mind that your resilient personality and invincible spirit are housed in a very human body, and unfortunately, it doesn’t bounce.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Part II: Confessions of a Recall-aholic


“…use the negative episodes (you encounter) to figure out what common denominator they all carry, namely you!”

Learning From Their Mistakes Excerpt from "The Ten Commandments of Divorce"

On my life journey, I realized I was attracting the same hurt and pain from every man I was in a relationship with. And that notion was confirmed some years ago after spending time researching American Indian Medicine. In the book, “Medicine Cards” by Jamie Sams and David Carson, the authors describe how Native Americans use animals to recognize their strengths and frailties, and they turn to “animal medicine” to heal. There is an amusing story about a rabbit that brought so much clarity to me, I have to share it.

At one time, the rabbit was considered courageous and bold, but after encountering a witch, he was cursed with attracting fear into his realm. Since then, the rabbit has been referred to as the “Fear Caller.” While peacefully grazing in a field, the rabbit will look up and see an eagle. Sams and Carson write, “He goes out and shouts, ‘Eagle, I am afraid of you!’ If Eagle does not hear him, Rabbit calls louder, ‘Eagle, stay away from me!’ Eagle, now hearing Rabbit, comes and eats him.” This story sounded crazy to me until the authors revealed the ancient wisdom behind the tale. “As the story shows, Rabbit medicine people are so afraid of tragedy, illness, disaster and of ‘being taken,’ that they call those very fears to them to teach them lessons. The key note here is: what you resist will persist! What you fear most is what you will become.

Being a student of energy, I recognized the law of attraction right away, and then it was seconds later when I realized my long-time fear of emotional abandonment was almost luring in, energetically and unwittingly, men who were masters at emotional escape.

The picture was becoming crystal clear: Since every fight I had was over the same issues with each man, it would trigger the pain from all past issues that were never resolved. When I found my own weakness and realized I was the common denominator in each of these relationships, I decided I needed to change myself and work on those very issues that were keeping me from staying in the present. My thought was, “If I want a great guy, I have to be a great woman!” I understand now that if I didn’t take responsibility for the annoying habit of rehashing, it would have never changed no matter what man I was with. It became obvious that the mistakes they made with me became my lessons to learn from.

Next, look for Part III, Confessions of a Recall-aholic, How to Rewrite the Past

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Praying for Change

“Did I hear right? Tebow is coming to NY!?” This was my post on Facebook the day his trade was announced. Excited, I thought he would infuse some positive energy into my favorite sport and team. Little did I know that one innocently written sentence was lifting the lid on football’s version of Pandora’s box.

They (the comments) came flying in from all over from people I didn’t even know. Although there were a few excited fans, insolence, and anger was the main theme. Shocked and shaken by the rage, I realized my anxiety wasn’t over the controversy. I felt sorrow about the hatred…all over a kid who bows.

Part of my duties as an activist is to write and implement programs in schools that promote health, and well being. High on the agenda is conflict resolution and bullying prevention. As a nation, we are making headway bringing awareness and also in dealing with the aftermath bullying creates, but we are at a loss over how to prevent the underlying causes that promote this unbearable behavior. My focus is to teach kids about spreading goodness and about energy exchange through what I call, “The Law of Return” (which means, whatever you do, good or bad, will come back to you). Another program addresses moods and makes children aware of the outside and inside influences that affect their bodies’ bio-chemistry. This helps them understand where negative feelings may stem from so they can appropriately handle and manipulate them before they are unleashed on others.

After reading the Facebook posts, I felt bullied! A Giants fan tears me apart verbally because I am a Jets fan…how does this make sense? Since I was a little girl, I have loved many teams, but have never found it necessary to hate any of them. If you love the game, how do you not make it a “pastime” to find the good in all of it? The talent, the sportsmanship, the incredible human and spiritual energy it generates: What turns passion into fury? Could it be bio-chemistry? Money? Some jealousy? Why would grown adults spew, spit and fight over what is supposed to be enjoyable and entertaining?

There is some research needed before I can answer these questions, but this is clear; if we as adults expect our children to be civil, sympathetic and honorable, then we need to change the way we handle our own verbiage and emotions. If we don’t, our kids will never have a shot at becoming problem solvers and peacemakers, and we will forever perpetuate the incivility we are now experiencing in our “Un-United States.”

In the end, Tebow may or may not be bringing in what the Jets need to win a Super Bowl, but he is bringing in some form of lesson to a nation that is in dire need of finding its way back to honor, integrity and grace. Perhaps all we need to turn ourselves around is to look for the good versus the bad in everything we encounter. Perhaps we can start with sports. After all, isn’t the whole idea of athleticism supposed to be about seeking out the best of what we have to offer? We need to remember: The human race is not a challenge...it is a team. We need to find a way to pull it together before we all lose.

For more information on programs for your school, contact me at donna@donnamartini.com

Photo taken from http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/kidspost/denver-broncos-quarterback-tim-tebow-is-the-biggest-story-in-the-nfl-this-year/2011/12/13/gIQAXt0duO_story.html

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Ask and You Shall Receive

Today I received a gift...another reminder that we are not alone. My ex-husband sent me a picture. I cried the second I saw it, because I recognized who sent it. Yes, it came from his cell phone, but there was another energy involved. An angel named Katherine heard my question today and sent me an answer.

The question came after I received a message from a facebook friend who just lost her husband two days ago. I was stunned. He was only 44 and left behind three teenage children. I immediately thought about my own father and his death just before Easter. All morning I had been reaching out spiritually to him, reflecting on life and death and what it meant to be reborn. I felt helpless to take away this woman's pain. What do you say to someone going through such a tragedy? Still, I wanted to give her something that may bring comfort, if not today, in the near future. I wrote about how I felt my dad and others who had passed on; that they send messages and let me know they are always around. "His energy has not left you," I wrote.

When I typed those words, I wished that I had a way to prove it. "What can I do for her and her family to ensure their belief that he is still with them?" I asked the question out loud, but I had no idea who I was asking.

Close to two decades ago, my friends lost their little girl. Only 9 months old, she died of a rare disease that slowly stopped her tiny heart. For some reason I felt very connected to that little baby. She was truly an old soul whose eyes spoke for her. So many people came to help the family mourn, but again, what can you say to a family that has lost a loved one, especially a child? At the time, I was just beginning to write, so I started to think about what a little girl would say to her parents about being in heaven. A poem came to my hand very quickly, as if she was dictating it to me. I put it on parchment paper and tied a ribbon around it. The day of the funeral, I went to a nursery and picked up a small tree. I attached the poem to one of its leafless limbs and left it at the house so it would be there when they arrived back from the cemetery.

The family loved the tree and planted it in their backyard. The first year it bloomed, I got a call to say that it was lovely with white flowers and one tiny pink blossom. They believed it was their little girl giving them a message that she was okay. It made me happy that they had some comfort and that I could help them in some small way.

In these last 18 years or so, I only got to see the tree once, but I have heard from baby Katherine countless times. Today's picture was no different. She, in no uncertain terms, is letting me know that there is proof. Her tree, now tall and majestic is as beautiful as she would have been. The message she and others send me is clear, "There is not death. There is only rebirth and new life in a different form. We are in all you do and see. Look for the signs, because we are sending them always."

This goes out to my new facebook friend: Katherine has a message for you.

Katherine’s Tree

This is my tree; I leave it to you,
It will grow strong, as I will now do.

You see, on Earthly plains I could not thrive,
But in Heaven’s domain, I come alive!

As my tree’s branches thicken and soar,
Know that I am growing like never before.

Feed my tree as you would have fed me,
And the wonders of God you will now see.

While the leaves of my tree begin to unfold,
God will be shaping my new mold.

He has a plan for him and I,
He wanted me here. He’s telling me why.

So as my tree’s limbs reach for above,
Know that I’m basking in glorious love.
And as my tree’s leaves see their last fall,
Remember, we’ll meet again when You hear God’s call.

Written by Donna Martini

Friday, April 6, 2012

No matter what I say, I can't get some people to listen...

"If I start to think like Gandhi, love like Mother Teresa and act like Martin Luther King, Jr, then will you listen to me?"

This is the question I want to ask every time I encounter someone in a position of power who does not want to heed my warnings about the healthcare issues our country faces today. I keep thinking it must be me, my approach, my verbiage or possibly my attitude. Unfortunately, it is not just strangers who don't want to hear it or take the steps necessary to affect change. Sometimes the worst offenders are my family and friends.

A recent plea to a close friend (who had told me he didn't feel well) was no different. He did not understand the motive behind my desire to help him. "I am not trying to make your life harder," I pleaded, "or tell you that you are a bad person for not exercising and eating right. I am trying to help you get rid of all that is keeping you from being happy and healthy!"

When I coach strangers or acquaintances, I have a motto that I will only work as hard as they do to help themselves. I never go where I am not invited, and I don't get emotionally involved in their lives, only in their decision to reach their goals. I love helping others learn what I know, and when there is vast improvement due to our mutual investment, I am more than thrilled that I had the privilege to participate in their wellness journey. Something changes, however, when we love or are related to who we are trying to help. There is a bigger investment of course. Our happiness and sometimes our own well being is very much contingent on our loved ones staying healthy, and more importantly, alive.

The reason I asked my dear friend to "please go to the doctor for blood work and start working out with me", was because he was complaining of tiredness, weight gain and an inability to feel joy. Nonetheless, he was furious at my persistence and demanded I drop the subject. But watching his body and mind become unhealthier by the minute was now stressing me out. When logic and pleading got me no where, I wondered how I was finally going to convince him before disaster occurred.

It boggles my mind that we as humans have such incredible survival instincts, but when it comes to our bodies and what we are doing to ourselves, we ignore, fight and resist the signs and symptoms that warn us of physical, emotional and mental dangers. Much of America's medical woes are connected to this disconnected way of thinking.

Not about to give up on my friend, I finally pulled the guilt card I was holding. Just one year prior, I took him from start to finish through an agonizing back surgery. I didn't want to throw it in his face, but I was desperate. Teary eyed and with one hand on my hip (the other was pointing and waving), I said, "And guess what! If you get sick or have another surgery, who do you think is going to be there with you every step of the way?" He hesitated for a second, looked me straight in the eye and calmly stated, "Who else...You."

Days later, he called me, promising to start exercising if I promised never to say the word colonoscopy again. “Not on your life...literally!” But he is still starting a workout regimen next week. Few of us can make someone do what they don’t want to do, but we should not give up trying. Perhaps, though it would be good to re-evaluate our approach. Asking ourselves, "What does our loved one need to hear?" or "How does he/she need to hear it?"

Truth is, we should all feel obligated to take care of ourselves for our own sake and that of our family. There is also the much bigger picture to consider: We are all connected; we are all affecting one another as a society in every way, including but not limited to each other's money, health, stress and pursuit of happiness. We can't step out of our house in the morning and think that what we do and say on a daily basis does not ripple an effect on dozens, hundreds, if not thousands of other people.

My message is clear and evidence based: There is no healthcare crisis in America. There is only a wellness crisis, and the solution to reversing it is simple: We need to stop relying on a “system" or government to get ourselves and our families healthy and instead start doing what it takes to actually be healthy. It is our body. It is our challenge. It is our responsibility!

In the end, I can acknowledge that I am not as centered or gifted as my three guides, but I can still learn from their wisdom:

Dr. King, cautioned, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter," so I will not stop talking.
Mother Teresa taught, "We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love," so I will not stop caring.
Gandhi challenged, "Be the change that you wish to see in the world,” so I will not stop trying to be the change the country needs.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Your Body Has Rights Too


“My daughter has always been an overeater all her life. Ever since she was two, all she did was eat!” This was the statement made to me by the mother of a very depressed and mal-adjusted 21 year old woman. My face contorted as she told me about the lap band surgery she allowed her to have at 18 years old, her constant depression, body aches and inability to have friends or boyfriends. My first reaction (that went unspoken) was who fed her so much? Did she waddle, diaper-clad into the kitchen as a toddler and start making pasta?

My frustration is constant lately. We, as a nation, are not getting it! Food and over-eating are destroying us in so many ways, and we are purposely ignoring the devastation because we don’t want to feel deprived. I don’t want anyone to feel deprived either, but let’s change our minds about what we want! If we keep closing our eyes to this reality, we will be depriving ourselves of health and wellness, of the liberty of a free life, of goodness and peace of mind and most probably, self love.

When this woman spoke of her daughter’s mental illness, the drugs she was on and the special school she needed to attend as a teen, my heart was breaking. Why? Because I felt deep down that I could have helped them prevent almost all of it. This girl started out life with a disadvantage. He mother wanted to love her through food, but unfortunately, food is not love. Food is chemicals on a plate, and those chemicals can either help us or hurt us depending on our body’s foundation. Her daughter may have had a genetic factor or predisposition to depression and obesity, but that didn’t have to determine her life’s path. DNA is only a blueprint. I feel certain that with the right diet and amino acids, fine tuned to her needs, so many of her symptoms could have been avoided.

Throughout my time as a wellness coach, I have seen so many diseases and symptoms reverse, or at the very least, lessen in severity with diet change. Conditions like hormonal imbalances, depression, addictions, OCD, diabetes, even learning disabilities. Did you know that over 80% of rheumatoid arthritis is due to a gluten and/or dairy intolerance? So many aches and pains can be avoided by eliminating foods. How easy it is to just not put something in our mouths? Yet, we Americans can’t seem to stop ourselves from eating what we deem pleasurable. My question is, “How pleasurable is it to feel sick?”

Hippocrates, the father of medicine said, “Before you treat a sick person, first change their diet. If that doesn’t work, treat the illness.” He lived over 4,000 years ago and he knew then what doctors now haven’t even been trained to understand. But to tell you the truth, we don’t need them to tell us. We should understand this ourselves since we are the ones shopping for it, paying for it (in more ways than one), cooking it and eating it! Instead of believing the ads and the ignorance, we need to believe in our symptoms, which are our body’s way of telling us, “This is not good for me.”

The US Constitution states that it is your unalienable Right to pursue life, liberty and happiness. So what are you doing for your body’s constitution? What rights does it have? How can it stay beautiful, athletic, expressive, supple, young and disease free if you don’t make a conscious effort to take care of it? No, you are not having a bad day or a bad life. You are having a bad diet. We need to take responsibility for the state our body is in, and when we do, it gives us control, and when we take control, we can finally create change. Love your body. It is all you have in this world. Without it, you’re out.

Written by Donna Martini, March 26, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Did I Do That to Myself?


Recently I was in a meeting with two women who run a school for girls. They asked me to speak at a seminar about how physical fitness can contribute to a positive mental attitude in young women. I was excited to do it and our pre-meeting went well…or so I thought.

A few days after speaking with them, one of the women told me I offended her associate. She said, “She was upset when you said that we are responsible for everything that happens to us.” Apparently, this woman had cancer some years ago and did not appreciate the fact that I was accusing her of bringing on her illness. Taken out of context, my statement can sound awfully rigid and unsympathetic. But if she was really listening to me, she would have realized that what I was saying was empowering her to create change.

Many people believe that sickness just happens. They assume we have little or no participation and are just unlucky enough to be stricken by disease. As a wellness coach, I teach the opposite. We might not be knowingly bringing in a condition, but we certainly contribute.

From the physical, emotional and mental aspects of being human, all the way to the spiritual, there are many reasons why discord in any one or more of them could lead to sickness.

I have always believed that auto-immune diseases were multi-pronged. It made sense to me that we couldn’t find a cure because we didn’t have a handle on the cause. Some years later, I was able to sit with scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Labs on Long Island who have come to the same conclusions. These researchers spoke of the four factors of disease: genetic, environmental, nutritional and emotional. In other words, who you were born to, where you live, what you breathe and are exposed to, what you eat and absorb, and how you handle stress all play a role in determining how your body heals itself and prevents sickness. The experts found that you need an imbalance in at least two, most likely three of these factors to create a disease in your body. I call this “the perfect storm.”

So how does this discovery help us? It is exciting and encouraging news! Think about all the control we have over at least three of those factors. Genes will make you predisposed, but what you were born with DOES NOT necessarily dictate the direction your body has to take. Knowing that we have responsibility in the “getting there” of a diseased state gives us control, NOT BLAME. It helps us to determine our own destiny, not one that is somehow cast upon us.

Do you think you are doing everything right? Perhaps you are…at this moment. But now that you know ALL of the aspects you can improve upon, are there things you might want to change? For me and my disease, which is Crohn’s, there was unaddressed emotional stress from my past that was literally attacking my colon. At the time I developed the condition, I had no idea how trauma could contribute to disease. Do I blame myself for this? NO! But now that I understand, I am taking the appropriate steps to learn how to better deal with issues that plagued me in the past so I can protect myself in the future. At this point in time, I am living a full and active life without drugs even though I have a devastating illness. I owe this to my healthy lifestyle, but more importantly to my attitude and acceptance of my participation in the direction this disease takes. In the end, I have Crohn’s. Crohn’s doesn’t have me.

When it comes to taking responsibility, consider it a power play that allows you to be in command of your own body. Can we manage everything that happens to us? We can only do our best based on what we know at any given moment, and that is what I am suggesting. Open your mind to the possibilities and you will be amazed at the information that pours in. Take care to listen to the body you came in, and that body will always try and take care of you.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

“You’re the Inspiration”


Yesterday I woke up to this beautiful song playing on my radio alarm clock. It stuck in my head and an hour later when I picked an Angel Card for my daily “inspiration,” the SIGNALS card flipped over. “Look for the songs” it said so I did. I found the tune on YouTube and really listened to the words.

Although some of us may not have a special someone to love, we always carry the energy of the person we are supposed to be with. The right partner does not just pop up and out of the cabbage patch the day you actually meet them. They are living beings waiting for you as well.

In order to bring in the partner that is your perfect match though, you need to become ready. I always say, “If I want a great guy, I’ve got to be a great girl!” What I mean by that is: If we want someone who is wonderful and has all the qualities we desire, we need to become as wonderful for them, or there will be an imbalance, and they won’t be “attracted” to us. Like energy attracts itself. If we don’t become what we need to be, we will bring in people and relationships that will carry lessons we need to learn from in order to grow. Instead of continuously bringing in more lessons, we need to hold onto the energy and qualities of the one we want to attract, and then build ourselves, our persona and our bodies to match the vibration that person carries.

Listen to Chicago’s song and think about the man or woman you want to bring in. Don’t put a face on this person. Leave that open for the Universe to decide. You might think you know who you want, but you can’t possibly know the best partner for you. Trust that when you put out your intention for your best mate, there is a higher power at work. You only need to imagine yourself in a loving relationship with your perfect match and that higher power will provide the ways and means to bring him or her in. Listen for the SIGNALS. Get ready by becoming the best you can be. Become inspired by the person you desire! Believe you deserve this person and they will come. It is your destiny.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrJSKvX0AcI&feature=related

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Excerpt from "The Ten Commandments of Divorce," Confessions of a Recall-a-holic"


Confessions of a Recall-a-Holic

I have to admit, I am famous for this one as any man in my former life would attest to. During my marriage and in other relationships, I would continuously recount every episode until I was red with rage. Of course, this got me nowhere and it was usually at some point during my “how can I ever forget when you…!” diatribe that my partner’s ears would flop over. Truthfully, I have a notion that women do this more than men do. It is as if we rehash our pain through every episode we encounter and they all seem to trigger the same emotion. So when a current episode feels just like a past one, we tend to think it is necessary to recall them all! Not helpful, but we do it anyway. Here’s the thing though; you are not married anymore, so there is nothing to be gained by bringing up old hurts and pains. Instead, save it for your therapist and if you want to take it a step further, use the negative episodes to figure out what common denominator they all carry, namely you!

Learning From Their Mistakes

On my life journey, I realized I was attracting the same hurt and pain from every man I was in a relationship with. And that notion was confirmed some years ago after spending time researching American Indian Medicine. In the book, “Medicine Cards” by Jamie Sams and David Carson, the authors describe how Native Americans use animals to recognize their strengths and frailties, and they turn to “animal medicine” to heal. There is a delightful story about a rabbit that brought so much clarity to me, I have to share it.

At one time, the rabbit was considered courageous and bold, but after encountering a witch, he was cursed with attracting fear into his realm. Since then, the rabbit has been referred to as the “Fear Caller.” While peacefully grazing in a field, the rabbit will look up and see an eagle. Sams and Carson write, “He goes out and shouts, ‘Eagle, I am afraid of you!’ If Eagle does not hear him, Rabbit calls louder, ‘Eagle, stay away from me!’ Eagle, now hearing Rabbit, comes and eats him.” This story sounded crazy to me until the authors revealed the ancient wisdom behind the tale. “As the story shows, Rabbit medicine people are so afraid of tragedy, illness, disaster and of ‘being taken,’ that they call those very fears to them to teach them lessons. The key note here is: what you resist will persist! What you fear most is what you will become.” Being a student of energy, I recognized the law of attraction right away, and then it was seconds later when I realized my long-time fear of emotional abandonment was almost luring in, energetically and unwittingly, men who were masters at emotional escape.

The picture was becoming crystal clear: Since every fight I had was over the same issues with each man, it would trigger the pain from all past issues that were never resolved. When I found my own weakness and realized I was the common denominator in each of these relationships, I decided I needed to change myself and work on those very issues that were keeping me from staying in the present. My thought was, “If I want a great guy, I have to be a great woman!” I understand now that if I didn’t take responsibility for the annoying habit of rehashing, it would have never changed no matter what man I was with. It became obvious that the mistakes they made with me became my lessons to learn from.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chinese Proverb


An elderly Chinese woman had 2 large pots, each being on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the house. The cracked pot arrived only half full. For two years this went on with the woman bringing home only 1 and ½ pots of water.

Of course the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, but the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfections and miserable that it could only do ½ what it had been made to do.

One day after 2 years of what it perceived as bitter failure, it spoke to the woman. “I am ashamed of myself because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house. The old woman smiled, “Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That is because I have always known about your flaw so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path and every day while we walk back, you water them. For 2 years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house or my life.”

When I was in High School, I tried out for the gymnastics team. Being the worst on the squad, I would become despondent and wanted to quit. My coach told me something that helped me realize my position and importance on the team. She said, "Donna, you don't have the high skills that some of the other girls have, but you try hard and put integrity into all the poses you do know. You pull up the bottom scores and help the team win in your own way." I never forgot that gym teacher or what she said. To this day, I try to reach my personal best in all eneavors, but best of all, I never concentrate on what I lack or can't achieve...I only think about what I can.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Windmills came to life after all.


For me the wellness movement started over a decade ago when I sat at corporate breakfast meetings constantly hearing business owners complain about the high cost of healthcare. I would scan a room filled with a hundred people, many with pretty large bellies eating sausages and bacon, bagels and jelly donuts and wondered if they knew just how much they were contributing to the very thing they were complaining about. Exhausted by their ranting, I would stand up and voice my opinion. “You know we have more control than you think! Look around you. If we weren’t eating the wrong foods, smoking and drinking so much, we would save millions of dollars on doctor and hospital bills. The insurance companies aren’t gouging our pockets. The cost of insurance is high because we are overusing the system!” To this diatribe, I got a few understanding nods, but the majority of the room looked at me like a Quixotic fool. You could have stuck me on a skinny horse and called me Don, because almost no one was taking me seriously.

In the early 90’s, very little was said about food, diet and lack of exercise as the contributing factors of most illness. I understood because I was already healing myself of chronic ailments through diet change alone. I knew then that there was a tsunami about to hit. Like people who predict earthquakes or the crash of the stock market, I saw the healthcare crises rising like a tidal wave about to envelope small businesses and governments alike. I called it a wellness crisis though, and as opposed to other natural disasters, this one was manmade and easy to predict. It was also easy to repair…well, in theory anyway.

People wonder why I have 8 websites. Quite frankly, I need about 20 to cover all areas of concern. From the food we grow and eat, to the air we breathe; the buildings we are housed in to the environment we are surrounded by, everything points to wellness. Originally, my hope was to help kids learn how to eat properly, so I came up with Corey the Wacky Apple. Corey is wacky because he has lots of moods that relate to how he eats. At the time I was selling school furniture and athletics. Continually learning about ergonomics, I was acutely aware of the damage being done to our kids’ bodies by making them sit for hours in metal and plastic chairs. That led me to wanting to get yoga into the school curriculum, hence OmRoom Yoga was born.

It wasn’t long after that when I became concerned about the lack of spirituality in their day. I felt we needed a way to teach kids about sharing positive energy and goodness, so I came up with HeartRocks. After addressing the children, I kept asking, what about their parents? If we don't get them to buy the healthy food, the kids don't stand a chance. And if the schools didn't change the menus, how were children going to be able to make better choices? How do I get the educators to buy into the yoga movement? And what about the air quality in the schools? Water? Lighting? All made a difference in how they felt, which made a huge difference in how they learned, but the districts were slow to buy into the concept, and it felt like a completely uphill battle to try and get them to see where changes could be made.

My wellness mission expanded yearly and so did my need to educate and be educated. It took me on a journey into the green movement and the US Green Building Council. It took me to Albany and Washington to lobby and the American Cancer Society and the CIC of North Shore/LIJ to advocate. It led me down paths of schooling in Feng Shui, ergonomics, green and renewable building practices, solar and wind energy. My study of the human body stretched too as science caught up with what I already experienced, and that is how food and its bio-chemistry was affecting us all emotionally and physically. It was obvious that we needed to get back to basics, and when I started to get the word out about school and community gardening and the positive impact it would have on children, the Soil and Water Conservation District approached me to be on their board. Their main focus for this decade: To aid districts and townships in creating their own food gardens.

With more and more people, organizations and industries promoting wellness, I no longer felt like I was fighting the windmills alone, but even with all this movement, I was still being asked, “What is wellness?” The answer is as basic as life itself: It is the state of being well! No tricks and no hidden meanings, but we need to want it and take responsibility for it. We need to make ourselves aware of every facet of our body and how that relates to how we feel and act at any given moment of each day. Yes, it is exhausting! Yes, there is a lot to learn! Yes, we are swimming against a strong tide, with a huge wave looming behind, but there has never been a better time. TV shows, magazines, radio and websites promoting health are popping up all over, schools are getting on board and businesses are recognizing an incredible return on their wellness dollar—almost $6 return on every $1 spent. That is huge! And if we can continue to educate our kids about their physiology, the food they eat, the environment, sustainability, green building, renewable energy and all the issues in between, the world and our bodies will become cleaner and healthier as each decade passes.

Funny how everything old becomes new. We are going back to basics, and as we learn to use less machinery and grow what we need to eat; as we take out the additives and leave it to the earth to enrich us; and as we rely on natural resources to energize our bodies and our lives, we become a better society and a “richer” nation. The windmill of the past has become our savior of the future. Who knew? Truthfully, I have no problem answering to the name Don. I would rather fight for what I believe in and be considered a fool, than to not fight at all and never realize the change we all so desperately need to see.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

COMMANDMENT VI: THOU SHALT KEEP THY OPINIONS TO THYSELF!

Holding Your Tongue (Excerpt from “The Ten Commandments of Divorce”)

“How often do we hear someone trash their former spouse so vehemently you wonder how love could ever have existed between them? Some people can’t even say their ex’s name without slanting their brows in anger or snarling in disgust. When you are a parent though, you need to remember something of primary importance; the person you may have such disdain for is the father or mother of your child. You may also want to remember that you chose this person, you married him/her, and you vowed to spend the rest of your life with them. To trash them now in front of the very people who watched you take those vows would say more about your lack of discernment than it would about their faults.”



This excerpt from my book came to mind when I watched Newt Gingrich being eviscerated by his ex-wife. She decided that Americans needed to know what kind of husband he was. You should know that I do not condone any actions by this man, nor do I endorse him as a presidential candidate. This call-out is mainly to convey an important Commandment and to stress just how dangerous trash talk is. There are victims in this real-life drama; namely, his family and children. Did she think about all the consequences before she went public? Were her motives altruistic or vindictive? Considering how she may be portrayed by the public, was this attack on his morality worth it?

He said, she said, and then there is the truth. We all know that we as humans remember the events of our lives based on the emotions we feel. The truth is, EVERYONE has participation in the direction their lives take, irrespective of how much “blame” can be put on another person. In the end, we can hope to forgive and find common ground to share for our own sake and that of our children. Although this personal attack was difficult for Newt's family, many people in America believe it was necessary to expose him and his lack of sexual discernment…and they might be right. My question is, when it comes to pointing the moral gun at a presidential candidate, who should be the one pulling the trigger?

Monday, January 16, 2012

When good intentions go south (As seen in Long Island Business News)


Article Written by Ambrose Clancy
Published: January 5, 2012

Two questions for January: How late can I still wish people a Happy New Year without sounding like an idiot? And, does my New Year’s resolution apply to weekends?
The first question is up for debate, but the second needs no answer, since it describes the pathetic position most people who firmly resolved to be better in the old year, now find themselves in the new.

Research at the University of Scranton discovered 45 percent of us make one or more resolutions a year, and research conducted by British psychologist Richard Wiseman found nearly nine of 10 people pledging to reform failed to eliminate bad habits.
Is it worth it, then, to make promises to ourselves to lose weight, or stop smoking or cut down on drinking, or generally lead healthier lives? Most experts say yes, and can point to that University of Scranton study, which reported that people who explicitly made resolutions in health-related matters were 10 times more likely to attain their goals than those who didn’t sit down and give themselves a stern talking to.

But there are dissenters, who say making resolutions is programming failure, and when the formerly pure of heart succumb to temptation, the crash can be crushing.

Eliminate the negative
Dr. Kevin Marzo, chief of cardiology at Mineola’s Winthrop-University Hospital, believes resolutions are important for those who don’t want to meet him in an operating room. But specific timing isn’t important.
“When it comes to resolutions, any day should be New Year’s Day,” Marzo said. “Make realistic, attainable goals and be specific. And remember, all meaningful change is slow. This is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Marzo added that too many people don’t accentuate the positive when making a resolution, but concentrate on losing something, such as weight or a habit. “You’re not losing something – like 20 pounds. You’re gaining something by feeling and looking better,” he said. The most essential resolution doesn’t require giving up anything except a little time, Marzo said. “Make an appointment to see your doctor and get an annual physical."

It’s not a death march
Kathleen Logsdon Carrozza, director of patient food and the nutrition service department at North Shore University Hospital-Manhasset, has advice for people thinking about resolutions: “Don’t make them.”

Logsdon Carrozza has seen too many people creating expectations they can’t meet, which can worsen the situation. “When you fall off the wagon, you start a downward spiral,” she said. The best method to become healthier is to silence the grandiose resolutions and start in a minor key. “A small thing that’s attainable becomes a great accomplishment, with the person saying, ‘I can do this,’” she said.
An example of a wrong-headed resolution is for cookie monsters to declare they’re never going to eat another cookie, Logsdon Carrozza said. “Two days later the only thing you’re thinking is, ‘I’m dying for a cookie,” she said. Better to resolve to skip cookies two days a week, Logsdon Carrozza advised, and munch away on the other days, gradually cutting back the intake.

The buddy system is good for positive reinforcement, she added, but it can become negative in a hurry. “You can’t have one person becoming a parent, telling the child what they’re doing right and wrong,” she said. “That can get nasty.”

Keep punching
Mary Languirand, a psychotherapist practicing in Garden City, believes making resolutions is a good method of improving your health. She also agrees when setting sail on a healthier life, it’s good to have shipmates. “Other people can offer lots of reinforcement,” Languirand said. Even if you’re heading toward healthier living without a buddy, it’s a bad move to keep resolutions to yourself. “Tell people about it,” she said. It’s not the end of the world if resolutions are broken. “Many people have ‘practice tries’ before real ones can be achieved,” she said.

In her practice, however, she doesn’t buy resolutions from some patients. If there’s a serious health problem, such as alcoholism or addiction to drugs, promising to be better doesn’t cut it. “We’ll talk about their employment and their health insurance and get them into the hands of professionals and rehab,” Languirand said.

Re-evaluate to resolve
The sides to the wagon weren’t high enough and you’ve taken a tumble. What now?
Donna Martini, an Oyster Bay author and wellness and nutrition consultant, advises not giving up but taking a history of the situation.

“Most people commit to a routine or a strict diet on Jan.1 and in three days, they can’t handle the drastic change in lifestyle and want to give up,” Martini said.
That’s the time to focus on specific goals. “I always start my coaching clients with an ‘elimination’ diet,” Martini said. This means taking out one food a week she characterized as a “saboteur” – bread, for example – and replacing it with something more nutritious. “Or with exercise, if someone is not exercising at all, we start with 10 minutes and build up,” she said.

Most importantly, Martini said, is the old advice of “know thyself.”
“Do a quick check on yourself by deciding to start your resolution right now,” Martini said. “Can you do it, or are you still looking for excuses to wait?”

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Relationship Expert? "Not I!" said the coach.


Many people call me a relationship expert, but to that I quickly answer, “In no way would I consider myself an expert on anything but being human!” Not to be coy or discount the work I do, but my claim to the relationship game is in helping people understand their participation in their own life and where their journey has taken them. I educate clients about the correlation between their body, moods and mindset, and I show them ways to appropriately manipulate (Positive Manipulation) the energy they give off and are surrounded in. All of my training and research has led me to an incredible, discerning awareness of how we can help ourselves chip away the negativity we encase ourselves with so we can finally “get out of our own way.” Only then can we set out to have our best relationships and our best life.

Through the process of coaching and also learning and study, I come across many teachings that are worthy of promotion. This weekend I read a book called, “Creating Love for a Lifetime…The Five C’s to a Successful Marriage.” The author, Kathy Infeld, and I met while doing a radio show last year and have been collaborating ever since. She is a relationship expert and has been counseling and coaching clients for over 20 years, utilizing her varied skills as a psychotherapist, mediator and coach. Our philosophies are very similar, and we each acknowledge that our backgrounds and specialties, although diverse, should be aligned so we can bring a more comprehensive program to the masses. She has been recommending my book, “The Ten Commandments of Divorce,” to her clients, and I have been talking up a storm about hers as well. Between the two writings, we cover all the bases to having a great relationship, whether it be in or out of a marriage.

If you are motivated to do the work needed to have a great partnership, check out this book and her teachings. I just love her energy, wisdom, intention and motivation to heal all those she meets. And more importantly, she shares the same mindset as I, meaning that there is more than enough room for all of us experts to come together and combine our strengths. After all, as humans we are comprised of so many facets, so should our healing methods and advice be as diverse. Spread the Goodness! D.

Kathy Infeld, MSNc, PMHCNS-BC
http://www.kathyinfeld.com/

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Push-Pull, Understanding the Energy Dance


Many of us don't understand, or I should say, are not in tune with what unseen factors are involved in every relationship we engage in. Whether it is parent/child, client/vendor, friends or lovers, there is a dance that takes place involving the energy we give off and the one that is coming at us. How we handle that energy can make a huge difference in the outcome of each and every encounter.
As a sales person, I always seemed to understand the needs of my clients. My motto was, "I want to make you happy to buy from me." Part of this creed came from my desire to save time. I really didn’t want to go after clients who didn’t need or want my services. The other was to recognize that I couldn’t accomplish my own goals, without first accomplishing theirs. Creating a symbiotic outcome should be every business person’s motive. With that come the close and the monetary reward that follows. I was very successful as a sales person, but for many years, I didn’t use the same principals in many of my other relationships. It took me some time to realize it, but I had a tendency to “push” my energy on those I wanted to help, and unfortunately, this didn’t always get me the result I wanted.
In order to create change, I started to look at what I handled well and tried to mimic it. I was always a good dancer. Not only could I lead (I always played the part of the guy in my all girls high school gym class), but I was able to pick up on the nuances of any dance when in the company of a great dancer. A strong lead senses his partner and then gently guides. There is no pushing involved, no ulterior motive other than a mutual coexistence on the dance floor. He should quickly ascertain his partner’s skill level and then appropriate his moves accordingly, not wanting her to be uncomfortable. When she is totally secure in the knowledge that she is safe in his arms, her moves will be relaxed, fluid and completely in tune with his. What I am describing here is the ultimate dance…when two people are sharing space and completely engaged energetically.
It seemed logical to me that all relationships were exhibiting some sort of dance; a give and take, a slight push or pull, a leader and a follower. There is always an engaged energy when people interact and there is no rhyme or reason to which place someone holds at any given time. The lead can be male or female, younger or older, more educated or not. When appropriate, you can decide to lead a person who desires guidance, or be the one that succumbs to the other’s strengths. As with any great dance duo, the main ingredients you need to posses in order to have a successful partnership is intention and willingness to be in tune with the others needs rather than one’s own. It is done correctly when each partner understands their position and direction, constantly adjusting their own motives to be aligned with the other’s requirements. It is done beautifully when both listen to the music they hear and move to the beat that their heart feels. Dance is a part of life, but more importantly, life is the dance. Enjoy!