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


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

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!