Thursday, November 17, 2016

Goals, Family and Consistency

In order to achieve any goals in life, either personal, family or business, it requires continuous effort and consistency. Procrasting or starting and giving up when things don't go your way will not have you where you want to be in the end.

The basis of success and achieving goals is in the daily consistent actions and habits you develop to move you towards these goals!   Same goes for raising children!  Raising children....hardest job you'll ever have and the most important one! Life can be a lot less predictable when you have children but that is just part of your journey.  Enjoy the bends in the road of life. Nothing worthwhile has ever shown up on our doorstep without some sacrifices and detours.

What do you want your life to look like?  Family, single, happy, healthy happy well-rounded and well-educated children, a better job, better body or health?  Everything in life takes the same planning and good habits to get there. Start by setting your goals and game plan.  Success in life in not an accident or thrown into your lap.  You have to earn it!  Don't forget to keep your sense of humor too!

In life, to build character and to become who you want to be and achieve what you want takes practice consistency, reliability, and good habits daily. The sense of accomplishment will in time replace the drudgery it may feel like while following your wish list. By taking the time and initiative of working on these goals that you have set daily, you will make progress. When you just don’t want to do the effort, you must in order to succeed!  Just do it anyway! The hardest parts are planning actually starting, and to keep that daily consistency up!

Achieving success, and reaching your ultimate goals requires practice, practice, practice and even more practice – and the more you practice, the easier it will become to reach the life you want. This is where the consistent quality habits come into play.

How do you get started in developing or improving your consistency and diligence? 

Here are a few basics to guide you:
  • Set a targets in life. Those are your goals.
  • Write down a game plan to reach your goal.  
  • What steps will it take?  
  • Set intermediary goals too so you can help gauge your progress on the way to the target. This is especially good when saving for a house.
  • Set quantifiable goals – Being able to track quantifiable progress works wonders for consistency. It’s encouraging to see that you’re making progress in reaching your intermediary goals. Seeing just how far you've come from your starting point will encourage you. Don’t forget to include in between milestones, since those add fuel to the sense of accomplishment along the way.
  • You need to know how to set up some milestones in order to measure and track progress. Sit down with the goals you've planned, lay it out in writing, and see where you are.  Analyze the progress.  Adjust habits and interim goals as needed.  Be honest with yourself in this analysis.
  • Follow a good example – Trying to get in better shape? Keep an eye on a friend who works out daily, discuss what they've found that helps them achieve and also observe how he or she manages to do it. Want to help your children achieve?  Get ideas from good parents you know without being too specific in asking so as not to embarrass your children. Chances are they’ll feel flattered that you noticed their dedication to their children and that you consider them good parents. Be a good example for your children by following these good habits so they will also pick them up from you.  Children learn what they live.
  • Can't over emphasize enough just how important it is to pay attention, observe and interact with your children.  Get to know what they are really thinking. Listen and talk to them about what they see for themselves in life.  You learn a lot by listening and observing! 
  • Visualize reaching your objectives –  Get detailed with envisioning that end goal in your mind’s eye. Conjure that image every time you feel like taking a break from your efforts even for a day. The more you understand specifically what you’re working towards, the less likely you are to sacrifice what you want most in the future for what you want at the moment. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Art of Becoming One with Yourself

The best thing you can be in life is to be exactly who you are meant to be. Part of finding the "real you" entails the willingness to be open and vulnerable.  Does the word vulnerable scare you?  It’s not a weakness, it’s a strength you need to develop.  It is the guts to be the authentic you!  You can’t just hide who you are from view if you want to become the best you and sync your outer worldly projected self with your inner beauty. Yes, we all have inner beauty.  It's when the outer and inner life doesn't sync that we experience the most angst. Finding the true you will lead you to that healing place and serenity.

We are on this Earth for a reason, a purpose beyond just ourselves.   The World is the great community which we are part of. Each of us must contribute and participate in the World. If you hide the real you, you will not find the reason you’re here for until much too late in life.  We are only allotted so much time on this Earth, don't waste any days.  Do you know how many days you have left?  I sure don't know how many I have left.

We do matter and we are not alone on this “lonely planet”. Being ashamed of who you are or what you want to do because it wouldn’t please someone else is wrong. 

Now let's explore how we've arrived as an adult with a life where our inner self and outer self is not melding seamlessly. 

Many of us grew up trying to please everyone but our self.  Yes, we have been in training to be adults since the day we were born but your parents had expectations for you.  They had the "perfect life plan" for you the day you were born.  

When a baby is born or adopted the parents think "how joyous an occasion, my child will do......and then college, marriage, grandchildren".  You get the idea.  But is that the life you needed for you to be the real you?  Maybe not.  Parents that act like parents and not just like buddies to their kids are good parents. They are our first teachers in life and need to fulfill that role.  

The best parents are not dictators and will encourage their child to explore what truly interests their child.  Everyone has special talents and gifts and those talents explored can be a step forward in syncing their inner and outer being.  When you observe your child expressing a sincere interest in music, writing, dancing, sports or other things encourage the child to explore that interest.  Guiding your child doesn't mean stifling the child.  A great life skill can be taught to your child by insisting that they last the season if they do sign up for a sport or other activity, and then if they really don't like it after all, allow them to quit.  Encourage your child to give the activity their best shot always. By teaching that stick to it mentality you're teaching them to succeed in life and not jump from one project to another when things don't go their way.  

Teaching is what parents need and must do.  Your parents are not you, and you are not your parents. Parents need to show children by example how to be good, kind, caring, responsible adults by being good examples and not just by saying "because I said so". How many of you have ever heard that once or twice in your life? It's an example of one of those phrases you swear you'll never say to your children and then it spills out of your mouth one day, and you cringe remembering never wanting to say that ever to your children. 

Your life is how you create it. Life entails learning new things every day about both the world and yourself.  It's a process of daily growth, exploration and knowledge.  Life can at times be painful, hard and frustrating but on the flip side, it is beautiful, fulfilling, fun and satisfying.  We go through periods experiencing both sides of that coin along the way. Want the rainbow?  Get through the rain.  

Now back to that word "vulnerable", it is hard to explore the world without some vulnerability. You need to take chances, be open to saying what you feel, doing what you love, and not worry about what others will think of you. Stop worrying about being judged by others! Be the real you!

You can't let the fear of failure stop you from finding the real you. Do something every day that may scare you because you might fail. Failure is part of learning and living!  If we do fail, we need to stop and think of what went wrong and how we can try in a different way.  Failure is never a stop sign! 

Have you ever taken a chance on love?  That entailed vulnerability, it could work or it could fail. But that is a learning opportunity for you and  will give you insights into who you really are.  

Every newly created business can be a vulnerability but you can do research and planning to enhance the chances of success.  Fear is not a stop sign in life ever!   You have to keep going and through the successes and failures along the way you will start discovering who you are inside and learn strength and persistence.

By allowing yourself to be vulnerable about being imperfect to others, then you allow the real person within you to be the same one you are projecting to the world.  Remember this, not one of us is perfect.  The perfect person doesn't exist and never will! We find our authentic self by doing, thinking, reading and learning daily.  It's an ongoing process and we need to accept that in this world of instant gratification. You can attain that serenity you may have seen in others who have found their inner self and have allowed that self to be the one that embraces daily life outwardly.  

Friday, November 4, 2016

Never forget the love and the laughter

I've learned over the years that out of great struggle and grief comes great good. Please stay with me while I explain that statement better.  Grab some coffee, sit down and let's talk about life, love, laughter and loss. Yes, I would love to hear your thoughts too! Privately or in the comment section below, your choice.

Two years ago today I lost my oldest child, my amazing son David who was also my friend.  He was a Godsend to our family. At age 5 David was originally diagnosed with a non-malignant brain tumor. Being an amazingly brilliant child who spoke in clear sentences at 6 months, and so brave at such a tender age to deal with devastating illness.  He lived with courage and grace with things adults have a difficult time handling.

David lost the 28 year battle with a brain tumor that had recently turned cancerous. Don't get me wrong, that was a wonderful 28 years of life and love for our family.  There isn't a day that goes by that you don't miss people you have lost, but life moves on. There is no greater pain than losing a child.  We expect to bury our parents but not our children.

David was always smiling

Getting that brain tumor diagnosis was devastating. My son had been losing weight for no apparent reason while eating a lot of food, and the muscles in his eyes had gone "lazy". Both these conditions should not have happened if he was in fact perfectly healthy.

As parents, we were more than upset with these changes in David especially the body atrophy.  It made no sense unless something else was going wrong inside and we didn't know. Instead of his pediatrician listening to us, the parents. and our concerns about David's health and looking for the real reason for the weight loss, the doctor decided we must be bad parents.

Three things happened to us as a family: 1- we were sent to a family therapist to see if we were starving him, 2 - we went to an eye doctor for the lazy eye, and 3 - we were mortified that someone would even consider we could ever mistreat our child in any way. The stress was totally consuming us.  We had always worked on children's issues and charities plus we were on Boards that dealt with family and child issues because we loved children so much.

The family therapist knew we were not starving David and went back after that highly regarded pediatrician on our behalf. This was the same pediatrician who thought we were doing a remarkable job of parenting up until this point.  We had used that pediatrician for 5 years and even though it is routine to measure head circumference he didn't take notice of the increasingly larger head and hydrocephalus developing? Still, the doctor didn't start looking into the reality of the medical situation.  A child at age 5 doesn't scream from headaches if there isn't a problem. We were later informed that where the tumor was he wouldn't gain weight since it affected his endocrine system.

We did go to the eye doctor and took care of the "lazy" eye with patches. At one point, I even asked the eye doctor could there be some underlying cause but he didn't think so.  He chose not to pursue beyond just weak eye muscles. This eye doctor was rated in the top 10 nationwide in pediatric ophthalmology. But the fact is he did make a mistake. The eye doctor was in tears when he found out his mistake and stated from then on he would always start looking further for any undiagnosed other issues.  This mistake led to David becoming legally blind from the severe pressure on the optic nerve.

We knew something was wrong. We tried to get the doctor to look for the answers but he chose to not listen to us "the parents".  The reason I decided to write about this was in hopes that other parents and families might learn and have faith in themselves and their parenting.  You never fully understand worry until you have a child and it takes courage and fortitude to raise children.

Remember these points:
  • Trust your instincts! 
  • You know your child best
  • If you are uncomfortable with a doctor, get another one
  • Stand up for your child you are the child's advocate

Parents need to listen to doctors but think for themselves and ask the tough questions.   Just like all the rest of us, doctors can make mistakes too. An infallible person has never been born nor will they be born.

Now, to get back to my initial statement, "I've learned through living that out of great struggle and grief comes great good."  There is no rainbow without the storm first.

Most spectacular rainbow on the day of David's service
There is no rainbow without the storm first.

Have you ever been so stressed that you thought your face would crack the first time you laughed and smiled again?   We know what that's like.

When you're on a hospital floor and you're thankful that your child just has a brain tumor (hard as that may seem) you need hope, love, friendship and laughter.  We were very fortunate to have been recipients of bedside laughter and love through a pilot program funded by the Altman foundation. This program later became the Big Apple Circus Clown Care unit conceived by Michael Christensen who is the brilliant Dr. Stubbs and who's associate is Disorderly Gordoon (Jeff Gordon). After the hospitalization, I knew that this program needed to become permanent. This program has now spread to other facilities in the US and inspired clowns around the world to become doctors of love and laughter to children and families in heart-wrenching situations and often life changing situations.

As an example, Dr. Stubbs came into the hospital room and decided we as parents needed the "chicken prescription" perhaps based on the theory that chicken soup heals? He instructed us to put our hands under our armpits, to flap our arms like wings while clucking like chickens....what kid doesn't like their parents acting silly? We all laughed and it broke so much of the tension for us. Surprisingly our faces didn't crack....but the smile muscles finally got a workout.  David has left us for now but because of David other children will have that same gift of love and laughter in many hospitals here and in other countries.

Disorderly Gordoon, David and Dr. Stubbs

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Are you a Morning person?

Are you making the most of your mornings?  Does getting out of bed the hardest part of your day? Most people aren’t naturally what you’d call a “morning person”including myself. Do you long to be the type who is bright eyed and bushy tailed upon rising at the sound of their alarm clock?  Just because it doesn’t come naturally doesn’t mean it can’t happen, however. 

By following a few simple tips, you can train your body and up your A.M. productivity – and, in doing so, increase your health by sleeping more and starting your day without the stress of running

  1. Create a sleep routine – Don’t underestimate the importance of your circadian rhythm. This regulates how your body runs, and it craves routine. Ideally, you should wake up from a light phase of sleep, not a deeper stage. It’s that deeper stage that leads to a foggy head and lower functioning. If you set a bedtime and stick to it (within 30 minutes) and get up around the same time each morning, your body will reset to the routine. The hope is that eventually you will be able to wake yourself up without an alarm.
  2. Relax - Don't work, text, or stay online too close to your set bedtime.   Let your mind and body start winding down naturally.  Make this a part of your night time ritual.  Bathe or shower before bed to further relax you.  Love yourself enough to get enough rest.
  3. Get active – Working out first thing in the morning may not sound tempting, but the effects pay off. Even if it’s as simple as taking a half-hour stroll, kickstarting your morning with cardio will boost your energy levels throughout the day AND help you wind down at night, leading to a deeper night’s sleep.
  4. Fuel your body – While a donut and a cup of coffee may be an easy way to get your blood sugar rising, it can also lead to a sugar crash a few hours into your day. Reach instead for some quality fuel – oatmeal, fresh fruit, or a veggie omelet. Always on the go? Make hard-boiled eggs that you can grab on the run for a protein-packed breakfast.
  5. Light Sensitivity – Light has a huge effect on the body’s triggers to sleep or wake up. Switch on a bright light or open your blinds right when you wake up. Conversely, avoid bright lights – yes, including electronics – for that last hour before you plan to hit the bed. This will help your body begin to wind down from the busy day and slip into that deep sleep you need for rejuvenation.

Ciao for now!

Create a relaxing sleeping environment

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

There is nothing as beautiful as a trained human voice singing.   The depth and range of emotions provoked for the listener.     This video was taken at Museum of Fine Art (Boston) Shapiro Family Courtyard on Saturday, December 14th, 2013. The performers were from the illustrious Berklee College of Music in Boston.  The soloist Mark Joseph is flawless, the full choir and string section heaven in your ears!

Please, enjoy and by all means share!!   You do not have to be Christian to appreciate the beauty of this singing, human spirit and video.

Merry Christmas!  A very joyous Happy Holidays to my non Christian readers!

Let 2016 be a year of celebrating the human spirit across denominations and religions.   Let's celebrate 2016 as the year of the Human Kind.   There is one race.....the Human Race.   Pass the love on and make 2016 the best year for all of us!!

Ciao for now!!!

The Lady J-Style