Monday, April 18, 2016

At least twice a year my Nana would ask me to move her refrigerator so she could clean behind it. You would think there were dead animals back there, or at least stuff growing out of the coils based on her urgency. "Donna doll, please...would you mind?" Of course I never minded, but I knew before I moved it there would be nothing more than a few dust balls. I loved her dedication to cleanliness, but it made me wonder, 'Am I a slob for not caring what is behind mine?"
Funny thing is, when it comes to finding what's hiding behind my decisions, actions and thoughts, I run with a duster and vacuum hoping to find all the dirt, dust and cobwebs that are hiding under my psyche. Nana on the other hand, never even discussed her past. She never had a need or reason to go "back there." And she didn't seem to suffer because of it. Happy with very little, her entire life consisted of two daughters, 21 grand and great grandchildren, a tiny, one-room apartment filled with animal statues and plants, and Friday afternoon bingo. So simplistic about life that getting cards on the holidays and her birthday made her thankful for the entire year. She was a woman who could spend two hours at a discount store, come home with one statue of a bird, and then spend three days re-arranging her entire apartment just so that one little creature would fit in perfectly. Such joy in so little!
'Was my Nana happy?' I have often asked myself that question. My answer now, after years of learning from her simplistic way of life: The idea of happiness is like a mirage...whatever you want is what you will see, and what you see, you can imagine makes you happy. Is being a little obsessive about knowing what is behind something, albeit an appliance or a mindset, a good thing? Nana would say, "If it makes you happy Donna dear, do it!"

Millennials Show Us What ‘Old’ Looks Like, and I show them what 'Old' really looks like.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

We complain an awful lot as a nation about healthcare costs and whether medicine should be socialized or not. Since I'm entrenched in the health/wellness/prevention industries as a coach, I have some opinion on how things got so bad. I thought I would do a little research to show why I don't complain; I get busy and get to work...

From 2000 to 2012, our nation paid out about $133 billion on its smoker's and their illnesses. (As an FYI, Canadians paid $2.8 billion. That shocked me!) All related preventable costs break down to this: For every $7 or $8 a smoker spends on his/her pack of cigarettes, we each pay about $35 for their health related costs, so essentially their habit is our problem. We rank highest in the world, by the way. Here are some other eyeopeners:

Type 2 Diabetes, another preventable disease, has skyrocketed...up 700 percent in the last 50 years. Having a cure (change the diet and start exercising) hasn't stopped us from racking up over $200 billion in healthcare, loss of productivity and disability costs. That is estimated at about $700 a year to each and every one of us.

If you don't think that is eye opening enough, check this out from about high cholesterol: By 2030, about 40% of our nation is expected to have some form of CVD. Direct medical costs expected to triple from $273 billion currently to $818. Indirect costs due to lost productivity should increase approximately 60%, rising from $172 billion to $276 billion. This combination comes to more than One Trillion Dollars! The website says that if we could cut those numbers down, it would be like giving every American household a $9,700 check every year.

This is only a sampling of a few preventable diseases, as I haven't even touched on drugs, alcohol, addiction, accidents, and so many of the diseases associated with what we put into our bodies. Did you know that the number one cause of cancer according to the American Cancer Society is no longer cigarettes? It is food.

So if we want to be fair about how things got so bad...if we really want to create change, we need to ask ourselves how much our own lifestyle practices are contributing to our ongoing complaints, our stress, not to mention our unhappy bodies. As far as offering healthcare for might be cheaper to offer prevention and wellness for free, because if the old adage is right, a thousand in prevention will be worth a billion in cure.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Bandaids Don't Heal Wounds

Im finding one of the biggest emotionally-charged divisions between the political parties is the word "disadvantaged." One side seems to talk consistently about environment and believes that lack of monetary resources will preclude someone from ever becoming successful. The other side stands firm in their belief that nothing can get in the way of our potential except ourselves, and money won't permanently solve anything. When I hear opinions from people on both sides, I am floored at the dichotomy, because both are true! As a coach, I take into account all the circumstances surrounding each client. Let's face it, the more hurdles someone has to jump over, the more daunted and exhausted they are. I refuse, though to discount the human spirit that resides within every single one of them. I'm not of the belief that just because a person is not succeeding, it doesn't mean they don't have potential; just because someone was raised with few resources, it doesn't mean they can't rise above; just because a young person is not exhibiting innate talent or abilities, it doesn't mean they don't have any.

Speaking to anyone, whether they are a self-professed conservative or a liberal, if they are holding firm in one believe system and unwilling to see another side, it is like trying to argue about the exact hue of blue the sky is with someone who is color blind; they see it only one way, their way and there is no real discussion. As a person who looks at the sky and sees the rainbow, I want to heal the issues, not fight about them! If we truly want to help our kids prosper, we have to assume that where and how they grow up will play a HUGE role in how they view the world and themselves, which has a great bearing on how they choose to live their adult life. We should, however, NEVER discount the human spirit and assume money will solve all their issues. Bandaids don't heal wounds. They just protect the wound so it can have the opportunity to heal itself.

What is true disadvantage anyway? Let's all agree that sexual abuse and incest, learning disabilities, birth defects, lack of mental and physical capabilities, no mother or father, illness, disease, addiction, dueling and divorcing parents, confusion over sexual orientation...issues that are not exclusive to one race, gender, economic status or neighborhood...these are real disadvantages! And yet we have all seen children and adults who were able to rise above. What is the secret ingredient to their success over hardship? What about being raised without the nurturing needed for the mind and human persona? Is there something worse for a child than feeling unwanted and unloved, told they are unworthy or useless and downright bad or perhaps never taught any moral or ethical code whatsoever? Do these issues have exclusivity?

Ask any successful person who was raised in what is deemed true poverty or has less than four limbs, we don't need money to be successful. We need love, values, positive belief systems, nurturing of the spirit and lessons in accountability and humanity. We need role models we can look up to, coaching and coaxing, sometimes a kick in the butt, sometimes a helping hand. We have learned from others what works! Bottom line, as a nation, we need to offer resources to house and feed bodies and educate minds, but if we can't agree on what children really need to prosper, they will never grow into their unlimited, unmitigated and un-wavering Personal Power. They will just grow into adults who may never realize just how much they can prosper on their own. Imagine growing up believing you need someone else to take care of you...that is disadvantage of the worst kind.

Luckily, we can start to create change without having to wait for a politician (democrat or republican) to win a presidential race. We are already in a race of the human kind! We start by being accountable for what we are bringing to the table in our own lives, then our families, then our communities and work outward from there. We can't doubt for one minute that we can help each child rise, but first, we have to stop judging one another's political stance. We need to come together and work together, because this eagle always has and always will need both its wings to fly. <3

Friday, March 11, 2016

We have got to Grow UPP!

The government doesn't make people overeat. They don't make people cheat on their taxes, litter in the street or run through stop signs. They don't make a woman cheat on her husband or a man beat his wife. They don't cause birth defects nor are government leaders responsible for women becoming pregnant when they are not ready for it. The government didn't create our disease or our divorce, force our kids to do drugs or fail their first semester in college. They didn't allow the drunk driver to kill that woman and her baby or give your friend terminal brain cancer. The government was not the entity that caused millions of people to say disparaging words to one another, to text while driving or instigate road rage.

The banks and wall street did their share to hurt our economy, as well as every big business who takes and steals and robs, but every single person who takes and steals and robs, even if it is an item they forgot to pay for at the grocery store, should also be included. If we want to play the blame game, then we have to play fair. We have to include each and every one of us, along with each and every infraction we create against ourselves, our loved ones, our community, our job, and our country. I know, I know, but the senator that took the bribe should be put in jail, but then so should your neighbor that is not claiming some of his salary so he can collect government subsidies. And those big companies that only pay minimum wage...for sure they need to re-evaluate how they care for their employees, but those employees who only give half effort in their work day, call in sick, come in late or steal goods also need to take more responsibility for their job. And if you think a CEO of a public company shouldn't make a million a year, then you also have to be upset about the executive director of the not-for-profit you donated to who is doing just as well.

If for one day, each and every person could stop playing the blame game and start thinking about what s(he) contributes to our country's woes...everything from littering, polluting our environment, running the car or faucet for no good reason or running a stop sign to overeating and smoking (talk about the high cost of insurance!), to lying and cheating on their taxes, driving while texting or slightly buzzed, abusing their rights as a parent in a divorce scenario...I can write for an hour and take up ten feet of newsfeed on Facebook describing what we do to make life harder in these here Un-United States, but everyone would still need to admit to doing their share before it would make sense. Who is game for that? The best thing I ever did in my life was to realize I needed to Grow UPP (Ultimate Personal Power) and take responsibility for EVERYTHING I bring to the table. I still recognize what participation other entities have, so I work to help create change by writing new programs or instigating new laws that protect us, but it is not about what "they" are doing wrong in as much as it is about what we can do together to make things right. I learned a long time ago that blaming alienates, whereas finding solutions ingratiates.

Ultimately, taking responsibility for our participation in all the situations we find ourselves in is what frees us of the victim mentality, makes us realize our potential, and helps us understand how we co-create and manifest. Doing so opened my eyes to the process of positive manipulation...a process we can use to get over ourselves and our human weaknesses so we can tap into our spiritual strength. Why is taking responsibility so powerful? Because when we take responsibility, we take control, and when we take control, we can finally create change! I don't play the blame game because it is a waste of time and a cop out. It is non-productive and it creates discomfort and dis-ease in my mind, my body and my life. Why would I want to believe that other people have all that control over me, my future or my rights as a human? Nah...powerless is unattractive; not my style; not what I taught my kids; and not what I want for my country and the people in it. No matter what our lot in life, we can start the UPP process. We are not victims; we are victors. We are not turkeys; we are Eagles, and we need to start acting like we each have the potential to do better...that we have the personal power to rise above. I promise, once we start UPP Rising, we will never feel helpless, weak or vulnerable again. <3