Tips, Tools and Perspective for Being More Empowered

Welcome to my self-empowerment blog--as seen in The Huffington Post Guide to Blogging! I used to be a wimp and never got taken seriously. When I became one of the first chicks to start a record label, I learned to navigate the male dominated music industry and earned respect, without raising my voice or getting overtly tough. I transferred those skills into all areas of life and now get what I want from most people. I'll share those lessons here by talking about my observations of situations and habits that hold both men and women back from being as empowered as possible. I'll also give tips for more effective communication, handling yourself with more confidence, and in general, how to come across as more serious--whether it's at work, dealing with an annoying phone company, your mother, a romantic partner and anyone else you want to feel more in control with. Everybody can use more tools for taking control of their lives, like in my latest book, Nice Girls Can Finish First (McGraw-Hill). Please subscribe if you'd like more!

Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year’s Eve Blessings

I’m still immersed in my last minute New Year’s cleaning. But I’m also excited for tonight. I love to start the new year well and I will have a special entrance into 2008.

Confession: I’ll be home solo tonight!
Confession: I’m VERY HAPPY that I’ll be home solo tonight!

Women often feel they need to have a date, no matter what or who. Some feel embarrassed to have no plans. Not me! I love me and enjoy spending solo time. It’s a joy, not a sentence.

Confession: A guy I just began dating asked what I’m doing tonight. I said I have a date with me! ☺ And I do.

Years ago, I was stood up by a guy I was mad for on New Year’s Eve. Long story. I was devastated. The following year, a friend told me her mom always said that the way you enter the new year sets a tone for the rest of your year. She pushed me to go out partying with her and a group of her friends. But I decided if what her mom said was true, I wanted to enter the new year peacefully. So I stayed home with some Chinese food and my favorite cookies. Was peaceful and had a peaceful year. Since then, I only spend that night with a friend I’m very close with or a serious boyfriend.

Otherwise, I’d rather spend it with just me.

Many folks don’t understand it but I’ve been looking forward to tonight. I have some great meditation and motivational CDs. When I finish cleaning, I’ll go out and buy my favorite cookie as a treat. Around 8 I’ll turn off all the lights, light lots of candles and pour a glass of wine. Then I’ll get comfy and listen to the CDs. Some years I write down everything I’m angry about and burn it. This year I don’t feel anger so I can skip that.

After the CDs I’ll say all my blessings out loud—every one I can think of. I’ll say thanks to all the people in my life that I appreciate. Then I’ll affirm out loud how great 2008 is. Then a little more quiet, self time, until I watch the ball fall. I’ll enter the New Year with a bang and a big smile. ☺

I hope that you all have a very wonderful, peaceful and hopeful New Years Eve too.

Many blessings to you all!! I’ll talk to you next year! ☺

If you enjoyed my post, please leave a comment and/or click on the bookmark and write a short review at some of the sites, especially Stumbleupon. Thanks!

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Carnival of Healing #118

Welcome to the Carnival of Healing #118
I’m absolutely delighted to be hosting the last for 2007. The Carnival is a weekly round-up of personal blog posts on the topics of holistic health, wellness, spirituality, and self-empowerment. It’s coordinated by's Guide to Holistic Healing, Phylameana Iila Desy.

Last week's Carnival of Healing was kindly hosted by The Reiki Digest and next week it will be hosted by Intensive Care for the Nurturer's Soul.

It’s my first time hosting a blog Carnival! I consider this one important because it has many wonderful articles with constructive suggestions you can take with you into 2008. People often make New Year’s resolutions but lose their resolve fast when they’re not prepared to make lifestyle changes. Last week I addressed why new year's resolutions can hurt you. There are many articles in this Carnival that can help you make the lifestyle changes that can help make resolutions that stick.

In the spirit of making New Year’s resolutions that can lead to healthy lifestyle changes, I’ll include a resolution I think is valuable with each topic. I find that a more realistic way to get started on a new habit is to declare that “I am willing to try to….” Instead of saying “I’m going to lose weight,” say, “I am willing to try to eat more healthy and do more exercise.” It can make the resoluhtion feel less daunting.

Here goes with all the great advice:

“I am willing to try to become kinder to myself as I make my resolutions.”
Ananga at Ananga Sivyer's Living by Design Blog gives some great tips for being more realistic and fair when you set and carry out resolutions, in her post, On Goals & Resolutions: Progress with Kindness.

“I am willing to try to become more conscious of whether my actions match my intentions.”
David B. Bohl at Slow Down Fast Today! says, “I’m always amazed at what people say about themselves sometimes, and how that really contrasts with what they do.” So am I. Often our actions contradicts the way we want to be. Awareness: How You Live is Who You Are, emphasizes the importance of being aware of making your deeds reflect the person you want to be.

“I am willing to try to CHOOSE to be happy.”
Happiness is a wonderful state to strive for yet it can feel illusive when life seems to be doing you wrong. Lorraine Cohen at Powerfull Living illustrates how to find reasons to be happy, even when circumstance aren’t going your way in Happiness Tip: Mining For The Gold. Lorraine inspires me with her story!

“I am willing to try to do what it takes to feel better.”
Many people suffer from pain but often resign themselves to living with it instead of being proactive to find a solution. Natural Pain Relief lists 19 Common Barriers to Effective Pain Control.

While you want to trust your doctor, sometimes you must be your own health advocate when the treatment you’re given doesn’t feel like enough. Chris Melton at Shoulder Performance & Rehab posted Shoulder Rehab, with suggestions for finding healing alternatives. It’s written by his business partner, Scott Kay. Scott’s desire to accelerate his rehab from a shoulder injury led him to invent the Rotater, a shoulder rehab and stretching device. It helped him recover so he and Chris offered it for sale and it’s getting support from many medical and sport professionals. He shows what a desire to take care of yourself can accomplish!

“I am willing to try to get more exercise.”
A popular New Year’s resolution is to get into better shape. Yet it’s one that gets passed on from year to year when it doesn’t happen. Often it’s because you see exercise as a tedious chore. Mike Remer at My Path To Fitness Blog has tips for reframing how you view exercise so it becomes an activity you happily choose to do in Wish Exercise Wasn’t so Hard?

“Push ups are one of the most simple and effective home exercises. There are many ways to do them. But there is one that stands out from the rest. With its technique and effects, it is the most "exotic" type of push ups,” says Stanimir Sotirov at All About Your Body And Spirit. His post, Hindu Push Ups includes a video demonstration is included. If you try them, be careful, as they look intense.

“I am willing to try to find more ways to relax.”
EVERYONE should make a resolution to practice relaxing more. Stress affects our well being on many levels. John at Where We Relax shares a ritual he’s found helpful for switching out of work mode into a mindset of play in Rumi For Relaxation.

“I am willing to try to be more open minded.”
Chris at Martial Development says, “According to the teachings of traditional spiritual schools, Subjective Reality theories may actually be holding you back! Learn why here at The Nondual Perspective on Subjective Reality.”

“I am willing to try to tap into the Law of Attraction.”
I live by the Law of Attraction and know personally how changing your thoughts can change your life. Akemi at Gratitude Magic explains how energy can flow through you to make the Law of Attraction and Thought Energy more effective.

“I am willing to try to claim my power to feel better.”
Matthew Spears at Loving Awareness says, “One of the most fundamental aspects of any growth or spiritual path is the trust in one’s own perception. There is no question it is an incomplete perception; so long as you have a body, you will not see even a minuscule fraction of the totality of the universe, or that of your Self. But it is still your perception. It is your link to your soul. It is the basis for all growth, for if you rely on someone else’s eyes and intuition, you are not living your own life, discovering your own Truth, but are being a guinea pig for other’s experiments with Truth.” He gives details in Trusting Perceptions and Higher Communication.

“I am willing to try to change my thoughts to feel better.”
Aparna at Beauty and Personality Grooming addresses how many people convince themselves they have illnesses that their minds create and how the Internet is helping to feed a generation of cyberchondriacs by giving people too much food for thought in Hypochondriacs over the net.

“I am willing to try to pursue ways to help myself be healthier.”
Abdulrasool Sumar at Mesothelioma Cancer says, In 370 B.C., the father of Modern Medicine, Dr. Hippocrates quoted, ‘Let food be your medicine, and let medicine be your food.’ And he said the best types of foods that protect your body from cancer risk are fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. Recent research by scientists has proven that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables through the course of one's life greatly enhances one's ability to avoid developing cancer and many other diseases.” Suggestions are give in Good Nutrition Cancer Risk - Importance of Nutrition in Preventing Cancer

Dr. Steven Dell at Keyboard Culture has an interesting series of articles that provide understanding and alternative medicine treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis. It begins with What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Andrew Michaels at Lifecrafting details his quest to repair his vision in Relearning to See: My Plan to Regain My Waning Eyesight and Hurl My Glasses Off A Cliff I relate to his mission. I’ve used good nutrition and eye exercises and amaze people that at my age (well out of my twenties!) I don’t even need reading glasses.

James Chambers at Hyperhidrosis provides insight about the problem of excessive sweating and has links to resources that can help curb the problem naturally in Hyperhidrosis Causes.

Lucynda Riley at Flower, Field, and Forest discusses Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus), a plant she found helpful for healing her cold.

That’s it for this week’s Carnival of Healing. Remember to check out the one next week at Intensive Care for the Nurturer's Soul. You can submit to this Carnival with the Carnival Submission Form.

If you enjoyed my post, please leave a comment and/or click on the bookmark and write a short review at some of the sites, especially Stumbleupon. Thanks!

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Why New Year Resolutions Can Hurt You

New Year’s eve is a time that many of us make resolutions—often grand ones. I used to do it too. It feels SOOOOOOOO good to make them. Oh yes, THIS is the year of change for the better. Some extra wine on New Year’s eve magnified my intentions for the next year. ☺ I shared them with friends and even wrote them down. Seems everyone around me had high hopes for the new year. We promise to:

* Lose weight/get into better shape. This is the big one. I know of few people who don’t want to lose weight. Even skinny minnies feel they have some bit of fat to lose. Even people in shape want to get into better shape. Gyms LOVE the lose-weight/get into better shape resolutions because in January they get bombarded with people signing up. By February, gyms stop being crowded as the resolve dissipates.

* Stop smoking or drinking. This resolution takes a plan. Just because the calendar reads 2008, nothing will change unless you do something about it. Smoking/drinking takes more than a resolution to accomplish. You usually need outside help and support—a therapist, program, support group or something to help break these habits that are hard to control. But New Year’s eve revelry can make one feel more invincible as the declarations come out and they smoke and drink extra as a last hurrah.

* Find a romantic partner. January can become hunting season. Everyone is determined to find THE ONE. I strongly discourage romantic hunts in my books. That makes the HIM or HER you search for to be more important than YOU. The best way to attract a healthy person is to become one, and trust spiritually that when the time is right, someone good will come into your life. That takes more than a resolution!

* Get a new job. People think that waiting for the new year to get a job works best. But all the others who think that way can create stiffer competition than at other times.

* Make more money. Often this is just wishful thinking. Making money takes an effort. It doesn’t miraculously come because you resolved to get more. You can change your mindset about money and attract more abundance but a resolution alone on one night usually doesn’t carry through.

* Keep your living space cleaner. I resolve this all year long now. My end of the year cleaning is almost done but I know that if I don’t maintain it every week, the benefits are soon lost.

* Become more empowered. There’s no empowerment fairy to wave a magic wand and make you more empowered for 2008. That must come from more than a strong desire. Subscribe to this blog to help you with that one! ☺

* Begin a project you've been wanting to do for ages. Ask yourself, what about a change in year will make a difference?

Resolutions can hurt you if you don’t keep them. Think back to how many have actually materialized for you. I rarely followed through in the days I made them, especially when I was a DoorMat. I’d resolve to say no, or lose weight, or get myself completely out of DoorMatville. But I continued to be agreeable, stay the same weight, and live as a DoorMat. The only thing that changed was that I felt even worse about me.

When you don’t keep your resolutions, it makes you feel worse about yourself, and less empowered.

As the excitement of making declaration on New Year’s eve—possibly under the influence of alcohol—wears off, reality sets in. You’re the same person with the same limitations your were before the new year. If your self-control isn’t stronger and there are no new ways to find THE ONE, you don’t just suffer for what you lack or can’t do. You can feel more of a failure for not making resolutions stick. That can make you give up.

Making and breaking New Year’s resolutions becomes a habit that lowers self-esteem and actually can keep you from getting what you say you want.

Planning to do something good for the new year is just another way to postpone taking action. Sometimes you can do what you say if there’s a specific action you can do on that day. But thinking you’ll have the power to make big changes just because the number of the year changed is often wishful thinking. If you want to accomplish stuff, don’t wait till New Year’s eve to declare it, chill on January 1st, and lose the resolve on the 2nd.

Take action now! Right now! Stop postponing until you can make a resolution. Resolutions don’t work if you’re not serious and ready to follow through.

* You want to lose weight? Put down your fork NOW! Take control of your eating TODAY. Go take a long power walk. That means you’re really serious. Then continue in 2008.

* You want a romantic partner? Start NOW to be more loving to YOU. Put away your hunting gear and get a life. Make yourself happy and resolve to trust that at the right time, when you’re READY to meet someone, he or she will be there. Until you truly love yourself, it’s hard to find someone who’ll give the love you deserve. Do what you love and someone will be there.

* You want to stop drinking or smoking? Go to an AA meeting TODAY! Join a stop smoking program NOW. Enter the new year smoking or drinking less and continue into 2008.

* You want to get a new job or make more money? Get some help with your resume NOW. Make a plan NOW. Network like crazy and begin to create opportunities so you enter the new year having embarked on a new course of action.

* Write down a plan for whatver project you want to embark on. Start organizing it NOW!

And so on. It’s so easy to declare intentions in the heat of New Year’s eve celebrations. And what better excuse to pig out, or drink more, or smoke more, weeks before since you’re going to start dieting or abstaining right after 2008 begins. Be careful not to let resolutions sabotage your self-esteem, and good intentions.

I’ve the same resolution every year since I wised up. It’s one I can always make happen, and it always feels good to resolve to do it. While I’d like to lose weight I don’t resolve to diet. Instead, I keep it simple, to encompass whatever direction I want to go in:

“I resolve to continue to do my best to live up to my potential in all ways.” Period.

Because I have great self-esteem now, I know I have tremendous potential and I aim to not let it go to waste. But I don’t set dates or put limits on what I go after. I know my potential is tremendous and I want to see it through. So I’ll try my best to use it!

Another part of this resolution is to try your best to become the person you want to be. It begins with your values and how YOU treat YOU. Are you critical of you or loving and kind? The latter is necessary to generate motivation to do the best thing for you. As you finish reading this, think of something you want to make a New Year’s resolution to do, and do something about it right NOW.

Go—get up and do it. Toss the box of cookies. Polish your resume. Find a personal trainer. Have 3 less cigarettes than normal. Go to an AA meeting. Go to the gym! Start the project you say you want to do! NOW! Not after the holiday is over.

Set your resolution to begin NOW, because NOW is when you need it.

If you’re really serious, prove it by taking action NOW so you enter the new year already on at least some part of the track. I just got back on a good eating track after Christmas pigging out. I indulge and enjoy, then run every day and am eliminating more sugar from my diet for a while. I’ll again eat more fun foods to celebrate the new year, and then get back on track New Year’s day.

Even while I celebrate, I remain conscious of not going overboard too much. I won’t let myself glide through the rest of the holiday week with my mouth open on autopilot, eating leftovers and buying one more gingerbread cookie twice a day since they’ll be gone soon till next year. Nope! I’ve begun to taper off, so I’m fully back on a healthy eating track to enter the new year on a positive note.

“I resolve to continue to do my best to live up to my potential in all ways.”

You can do this too! You have the potential to lose weight, get a job you love, start and finish projects, stop smoking or drinking, and anything else you'd make a resolution about! Show yourself enough love by doing your best to reach your full potential and leave the other resolutions for those who break them. This one you can keep IF you CHOOSE to take care of YOU! I highly recommend it. That was my key out of DoorMatville!

Taking control of your bad habits is a loving gift you give to YOU. ☺

This Saturday I'm hosting the Carnival of Healing. It will contain an interesting assortment of articles written by bloggers around the world with suggestions for New Year's resolutions that can result in healthier outcomes.

Stay tuned on Monday when I post about what I do on New Year’s eve so that I enter the new year fully refreshed, spiritually revved with my God-driven engine running on high.

If you enjoyed my post, please leave a comment and/or click on the bookmark and write a short review at some of the sites, especially Stumbleupon. Thanks!

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Manhattan is Da Bomb around Christmas

I’ve spent Christmas in Florida and California. I see it in other places on TV. But nothing—literally NOTHING—can compare to my city at holiday time. When friends from out of town visit during this time of year, I love to take them walking and exclaim, “Look how beautifully my neighborhood dresses up for the holidays!”

Rows of trees with twinkly lights line the streets. Garlands, bells and other pretty decorations are strung above our heads on many avenues.

I’m sure many other neighborhoods are gorgeous too. But mine is the most festive. And then there’s the tree at Rockefeller Center, which I can just walk over to whenever I want. That’s part of my neighborhood too!

Going outside from Thanksgiving to New Years puts me in a particularly grand mood. I included a few pics to show you why I love New York at Christmastime. I took them at night in the rain so they're not as clear as the real view. But I love how the lights twinkle in the dark of night. I posted my Rockefeller Center tree and the side of the Saks Fifth Avenue building. I couldn't get close enough to get their glorious windows.

HAVE A VERY-VERY-VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS SEASON! Let the spirit buoy you into the New Year with a great big smile!

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Spirit!

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, enjoy the season! People are in better moods around this time and more conscious of the spirit of giving. That’s great to experience, no matter what your religious beliefs.

Besides the religious aspects, there are many things to celebrate this week, no matter what your religion, or lack of one. Pay attention to these great perks of the holiday season:

* We’re surrounded by sparkly pretty decorations. I love walking around during Christmas. The shops and some houses are all dressed up. That puts my in a better mood. Just today I heard a TV newscaster say how much he enjoys going to work because of all the gorgeous decorations. New York City truly dresses up in grandeur. It always puts I smile on my face, even in the rain.

* Great sales in most stores. Nowadays, the sales start well before Christmas. Since stores tend to get crowded, I go shopping for the big markdowns right after the holiday. I don’t make a list for Santa. Mine is to take with me to Macy’s, so I can buy all the things I know I need at a fraction of their original price.

* Time off. While some folks have jobs that need to be done on Christmas, a majority of us have more time off, religious or not. Since I’m my boss, I can take off whenever I choose. But I actually love to write during the holidays, since it’s quieter—a time that I get less emails and have fewer obligations. I’m lucky that I find writing FUN! I do feel MUCH MORE relaxed until January 2nd. And I will take more time to have fun. My boss wants me to enjoy! ☺

* People are friendlier. There’s a lovely cheer to this season. Maybe it’s partly because people go to church more and feel more overtly spiritual, which translates into more kindness and good cheer to others. I see more smiles and less rage.

* The eating is yummy! I cut myself more slack on eating this time of year. I also make sure to get in extra running for balance. Plus, there are just things available that you don’t see the rest of the year. I’ll get ONE pack of something made of marshmallow and covered in chocolate. And, I LOVE gingerbread, which is hard to find at any other time of the year. So I get my fill of that now.

Enjoy this holiday season, in whatever way rocks your world! Keep yourself from getting all bah humbug over aspects you don’t like. Allow yourself to get caught up in the joy of this season so you can enter the new year with a great big happy smile. ☺

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Dancing Through the Holiday Season

I was recently interviewed for First Wives World by its founder, Debbie Nigro. The topic was 5 Ways to Stay Positive During the Holidays.

My first suggestion? Why worry about staying positive when the holidays are fun!?! So, dance through them, even if you don’t have a romantic partner.

We often use a romantic partner as a barometer for whether or not we’re happy or having fun. That’s so self-defeating! If you’ve recently divorced or broken up with a partner, you might be feeling down. So start dancing! It’s YOUR life. Why ruin it with what ifs or anger toward your ex? The first New Years eve after my divorce, a friend I was supposed to have dinner with called to say she’d gathered some articles about how rotten men could be so we could spend the night male bashing. She thought that would make me happy!

Why on earth think that a negative discussion could bring joy?? Yet so many folks indulge in stoking anger instead of getting rid of it. I told my friend to leave the articles, or herself, home. : )

I LOVE men! Malebashing is far from my objectives!

Why not enjoy the holidays solo, even if there’s no one special in your life? I sure do! Right now I’m not dating anyone. Not one guy! But that’s MY CHOICE, not my sentence. I’m currently writing several books, doing my end of year cleaning, and many other things. I definitely have room for a man, but only the RIGHT one. If a guy isn’t worth my time, I won’t give up my other activities for him!

I’m open minded about meeting guys. But, if he bores me from the get-go and I feel NO connection, it isn’t worth the free meal some women say they go out for. I can cook well, or take myself to a restaurant! It’s not worth spending an evening with someone when I have so many other things I love to do. My connection needs to be mental. Of course I want to find him attractive, but I’ve passed on hot guys who didn’t do it to me on other levels.

When I can have a great intelligent conversation with a guy, it’s a bigger turn-on on than looking at a hot airhead.

So I’m dancing through the holiday season. Enjoying friends and family. And enjoying time with my favorite person—ME! : ) When I was a DoorMat, being alone for even a day gave me chills of fear. Now I look forward to it. My biggest advice on Debbie’s show was what I give in all my books—If you want to be happy, get a life! My life extends into the holiday season. I’ve stopped hanging with negative folks too, which leaves me much more energy. If I get negative solo, I’m the one responsible. Since I love me, I try not to do that.

So for this week and beyond, I’ll be celebrating me and my acceptance of the life I love, with or without a romantic partner. I wish you all a fun-filled dance through the holidays!

If you’d like to see my interview with Debbie Nigro of First Wives World, check out
5 Ways to Stay Positive During the Holidays

If you enjoyed my post, please leave a comment and/or click on the bookmark and write a short review at some of the sites, especially Stumbleupon. Thanks!

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

The 5 Myths of Positive Mental Attitude

People sometimes tease me for my super positive attitude. I get bah-humbugs when I try to encourage certain folks and find it soooooooooo sad, since they are choosing to be unhappy. I truly don’t get it but I guess some folks have had bad times and can’t get past them to wrap their heads around a more positive expectation. Or they may be afraid to feel hopeful, and get let down again. Many have negative notions about having a positive attitude.

I’m delighted to have Tina Su, who writes the blog, Think Simple Now, back as my guest blogger. She posted The 5 Myths of Positive Mental Attitude and I found her response to them to be very enlightening. So I asked if I could excerpt some of it. You can read the whole thing on her site. She certainly has some great arguments for why calling positive people cheesy is full of holes!

The 5 Myths of Positive Mental Attitude
I frequently get asked about positive thinking, and I wanted to first clear up some points of confusion.

With so many myths about positive mental attitude (PMA), it’s important to separate the truth from the fiction. Let’s explore some of these myths and dive into the truths behind them.

Myth #1: Negative thinking is more realistic.
Have you ever heard a negative person say that they aren’t negative; they’re just being ‘realistic’? This myth keeps people locked in a negative reality of their own creation.

A person’s thoughts, whether positive or negative, do have an effect on their environment. If you think negatively, your mind will automatically seek out confirmation that the world is a terrible place. Seeing is believing, and your mind reinforces your belief that reality is negative. See how it’s a downward spiral of negativity? If you expect negative results, you are less likely to take risks and try new things. Negative thinking masks your impressions in fear.

Myth #2: People with a PMA expect moneybags to fall out of the sky if they wish for them.
Those who don’t believe in positive thinking imagine that positive thinkers expect that their desire will manifest itself if they simply think positively about it. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Everyone who accomplishes anything - whether it’s earning a million dollars or becoming an award-winning actor - accomplish it the same way: by taking action. Positive people have an edge because they believe the object of their desire is attainable. They come from a ‘can-do’ mindset.

Myth #3: Positive thinking doesn’t change reality
People who believe this myth see a problem and believe that positive thinking will only ignore the ugliness of their reality. The truth is positive thinking doesn’t ignore the problem; it helps you see the problem in a new light. In fact, you don’t even see ‘problems’ as problems. Think about it; regardless of how you react to an external situation, the situation will still be the same. If being upset doesn’t change the outcome of a past situation, wouldn’t it serve you, and your health, to see the positives?

Myth #4: Positive thinkers have no clue about the real world.
It’s easy to believe that people with a positive mental attitude have perfect lives and never dealt with real world hardships. Maybe people wouldn’t be so positive if they’d endured a few difficult times in their lives. But the truth is that this is really just a justification for negative thinking.

I don’t know a positive person who hasn’t had real and serious trials in their lives. They’ve faced disappointment, death of loved ones, physical handicap, and pretty much the range of human experiences we all deal with. The difference is that these people didn’t let those experiences change their outlook. A positive mental attitude means that you are in control of your own thoughts and feelings.

Myth #5: People with a PMA are annoying and cheesy.
Okay, let’s admit it, some types of positive people are a little cheesy. We’re talking about the kind who spout platitudes and expect everything to be perfect no matter what. But truly positive people aren’t Tony Robbins infomercials. Positive people have real thoughts and have setbacks and discouragement just like everyone else, but they are also resilient and look for ways to stay positive. And that’s not cheesy, it’s just healthy thinking! And smart living!

Thanks to Tina Su at Think Simple Nowfor allowing me to share an abridged version of her post. You can read the whole article at The 5 Myths of Positive Mental Attitude

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Clean Your Way to an Abundant New Year!

Cleaning is my favorite tool because it’s do-able! Eliminating clutter gives you more room for new stuff. Cleaning is an easy, therapeutic way to improve life. I used to be a terrible clutter-holic. When I didn’t respect myself, I didn’t respect my possessions or living space. Now that I do, I enjoy cleaning and clearing things out. It brings great rewards!

I’m in the middle of my yearly purge. It’s amazing how great it feels after so many years of hording every possession I ever owned. For the last many years, I have a ritual in December. I make time each day to go through at least one drawer, cabinet, section of a closet, etc. By New Years eve I’ve covered every inch of everything I live with.

When I first began, there were many things I never noticed and continued allowing them to reside with me. I call them fixtures—the things that we’re so used to seeing that they become part of the landscape. It’s harder to get rid of those, since we’ve accepted their presence and often don’t really see them as disposable. I learned that many things are.

A friend visited for a few days and offered to help me get rid of stuff. I got defensive. No need to help me go through my things. I knew best! But I didn’t. He showed me what my habits overlooked. I’ll never forget when he asked why I had dozens and dozens of plastic bags from stores crammed in my hall closet and other places. “I recycle,” I indignantly informed him. Yet I could never use them all if I tried hard. I thought I was doing something good by shoving them into my closet.

But I was just creating a possible fire hazard by increasing my clutter. I was a different kind of bag lady!

He gently had me think of a use for them. I couldn’t! So he offered to help me clear them out. I winced as he pulled bag after dusty bag out of my closet and other places I stuck them. He filled several bags with my bags. It had seemed so rational all those years as I saved them to use “someday” in order to do my part for the environment. But it hurt my living environment. He took me by the hand and together, we put bags full of bags down the garbage chute.

I felt lighter walking back to my apartment, bag free. Well, I still had a bunch to use for garbage. But my closets looked so much nicer without them. I learned how clearing unnecessary stuff out can make a big difference in your self-image. Before that, every time I opened the closet and saw the bags I’d wince. Now I felt pride to see a neater view.

Cleaning truly is a tonic for your self-esteem.

Now I purge at the end of every year, to enter the New Year with lots of room for more goodies. Nothing is sacred anymore. I keep plastic bags on the inside and outside doorknobs in each room. One side is for things to be thrown out. The other side is for giveaways. A woman who works in my building lives in a poor neighborhood and finds homes for all the stuff I no longer need.

Right after Thanksgiving I begin to pay attention to my things. I WANT to fill the bags because it feels so good!

I look at everything that I haven’t used or worn recently and ask myself, “Do I really need this?” Many things can be purged by consciously assessing if they’re necessary to your life.

* Go though ALL your clothing: I’ve become more honest over the years. Last year I finally got rid of the dress I loved in college and hoped to wear again someday. I couldn’t think of why I’d ever wear it. I tried it on once and gave it to someone who’ll appreciate it more, with the shoes I love but have no opportunity to wear. Some were cracked from laying in my closet. Yet I kept them still for years, thinking that when the occasion came, I’d have them fixed. Now they’re gone!

* Photos of scenery and people you know. A few years ago I began looking at the hundreds of photos I’ve collected over many years—the ones in albums and all the ones in boxes or drawers. I threw out over half of them! Why keep photos of people who have no meaning to me, or even a good memory? And I only need one of each, instead of the same scene taken 3 times. I love the outdoors and had many photos of pretty scenes that began to look alike. So I kept one or two of the best from each location and chucked the rest.

OUCH! You might say at the idea of tossing photos. People have looked at me like I was nuts to suggest it. But if you think about it clearly, why keep them if you don’t do anything with them? Make room for new memories!

* Photos you don’t like of YOU: I tossed ALL photos of me that I hated. Do you keep those that you don’t want to show anyone because you don’t like how you look in them? Why on earth do we keep those I asked myself? It’s more fun to look through old photos now that there are much less of them and I like them all now. They all have meaning. When I tell someone I did this, I often get looks of horror at the idea of chucking pics. Try it sometime! It’s lovely to take control of your need to save them all, even when many mean nothing.

* Partially used products that you put aside because you don’t care for them or have something you like better: Throw out the shampoo sample you never use! Toss the almost empty lipstick tube or shaving cream if you haven’t used it in a while. I’m the type that can have many lotions or shampoos or other products that I try new brands and the old ones sit. Now I try to use up one before I use the newer one. While I use a lot of cosmetics, I’m downsizing the number of bottles. Having more space feels great!

* Old programs, sport memorabilia, and other souvenirs or memories that have grown less meaningful. Ask yourself, “How often do I look at this?” If they just sit and collect dust, are they really worth keeping? My cabinets get emptier as I’m honest about it.

* Chachkies: This is all the little decorative things around many living spaces—the rock from a vacation, candles that you never light but collect dust, gifts from friends' vacations that are sort of meaningless to you. These are things that can be the fixtures I mentioned earlier—stuff that’s always been on your shelf and it feels like part of the furniture. Does each thing have a purpose or bring you joy to look at it? No? Give it to someone less fortunate!

I once read one of Suze Orman’s books about clearing out to make room for more. She had 2 exercises:

* Find 50 things that are in good shape to give to someone else.
* Find 50 things to throw away.

I’d just done a lot of cleaning and purging. But I challenged myself to do it anyway. Surprisingly it wasn’t that hard. Kind of scared me a little that I was able to find 100 more things to get rid of. It pushed me to new limits and I enjoyed convincing myself to give away the very cute velvet jacket I bought in London 10 years ago but had never found an occasion to wear it.

Glasses, dishes, books, t-shirts, all found new homes. And old lipsticks, socks with holes (that I still loved!), a poster, and many other things took a dive down the garbage chute. 100 less things in my life! It was actually fun to search for and find things to get rid of.

Cleaning and purging can instill a tremendous feeling of pride and strong sense of being in control. I love entering the new year feeling more empowered than ever!

A few days before New Years I clean my place from top to bottom. Usually in the afternoon on New Years eve I finish dusting and vacuuming every room. The new year never feels better than when I enter it with a clean and less cluttered living space. Cleaning makes you feel good to have a neat place to live. I highly recommend you join me in this habit.

The more you get rid of clutter, the more you make room for new and better things! Yeah!

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Finding Blessings Amidst Unhappiness

Often we look at a negative situation as a whole, instead of paying attention to its parts and trying to find the blessings they can become. Nowadays my strong spirituality helps me to know that everything happens for a reason. Since I left DoorMatville, I try to look for the blessings in all circumstances.

Life isn’t just in extremes—black or white—happy or unhappy—good or bad. It consists of many hues.

When you let bad circumstances cloud stuff that could be good, you lose out on potential joy. You also can forget to be grateful for what’s good and develop a general sense of bitterness. That sells your joy short! And, it keeps you from recognizing all your blessings. Remember, feeling gratitude is a large component of attracting goodies. Why deprive yourself of all you could enjoy?

Becoming conscious of all the little things that are still blessings allows you to open yourself up for a lot more! Plus, it feels better to be happy about something than being an overall grump!

I’ve talked about how I taught school for years in my DoorMat days because I was pushed into it. It wasn’t what I wanted to do but I didn’t think for myself back then. I hated all the rules and structure of the NYC public schools. It works for most teachers and I guess it can benefit the kids when they have teachers who need it. But I found it cumbersome. Even as a DoorMat, my nature was to be a free spirit.

It’s lovely to have freed myself from the shackles that kept me from being the nonconformist and independent person that always lived in me.

But even in my darkest days, I’ve always tried to make the best of things, a quality that oddly enough, probably kept me in DoorMat mode for so long. To survive back then, I tried to create some fun in whatever I did. My creative side felt stagnant when I taught in the sterile school environment, so I did the artwork on other teachers’ hallway bulletin boards and wrote plays for some classes. And tried to help the kids when I could.

At the beginning of my teaching career, I was a permanent substitute in my ex-hubby’s school. I had a full time teaching license but subbing made me feel less stuck. While I didn’t like the system, I loved the kids. Subbing allowed me to get to know most of the students in the school. My ex had a very special fifth grade class and I wrote a play called Peter Punk, a modern day version of Peter Pan, for them. I spent all my free time working with these delightful students. I truly loved them! I made them costumes and designed sets. It was a fun time for me, even though I didn’t get paid for it.

Time passes and one expects to be forgotten over the years. But I just had lunch with Lu, who played Tiger Silly in Peter Punk.

Lu was always a delight—bright, sweet, good-natured, always smiling. She found me on the Internet and wrote a few weeks ago. I remembered her immediately. She told me how many kids from back then she still keeps in touch with, although they’re certainly not kids anymore! And, most remember me as someone who inspired them, as Lu says she does. I heard from a boy she gave my info to, who I also remembered fondly. He wrote to say that he never forgot me and how much I cared about the kids.

Lu invited me to lunch and we spent 4 hours yakking about the old and new. She kept saying how much I’d inspired her. Her mom even called during our lunch and asked to talk to me, going on and on about how she remembered me as someone who made an impact. She blessed me over and over and over. Wow! I wasn’t even her regular teacher yet I made a difference! Lu went on about how many other kids had very wonderful memories of me.

It’s a true blessing to know that in the midst of my own unhappiness, I made a difference to these kids that hasn’t been forgotten. I wasn’t happy but tried to make the best of what I was doing and to find pleasure in an unhappy situation. When you’re a DoorMat, you kind of think that’s what you deserve, and accept the small bits of sunshine in your life. These kids were my sunshine.

As I look back, I feel truly blessed to have been able to give these kids the caring I did. Knowing that I made a difference to them is a surprising blessing.

Keep your eyes open for your own blessings. I’ve gotten cut from the thorns of a bouquet of roses, but still appreciated their beauty and fragrance. Often we wait for something big to happen before feeling blessed, or can’t see the rose among the thorns. Look for blessings in everything you do. They’re there, if you watch for them.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Attracting Money With a “Where” Instead of IF

I’m a freelancer. No salary or benefits. According to people who see how I live, no security. But, I feel very secure because my spiritual mindset is strong. The Law of Attractions supports my thoughts and brings me whatever I need, because I expect it to come!
I hear people concerned about money:

* “I’ll get a new car IF I can come up with the money.”
* “IF I don’t get a raise, I’ll have to move.”
* “Daylle, what will you do IF you don’t get enough work this month?”

The common denominator in the above is IF. Because I expect to always have enough for what I need, I wonder where my money will come from, not IF I’ll get it. This makes a profound difference in what I attract. Fear and tentative expectations show a lack of faith. And a lack of faith doesn’t support you in getting what you want!

I’ve been talking about changing habits. Break the habit of thinking in terms of “IF I have the money.” Think with expectation about where it can come from. I’ve had moments where my checking account was on empty. Rent was due in 2 weeks and I had no income. Was I worried? Nope! Did I call around to borrow money? Nope again. I continued to put it out that I expected a source of income. And I always get enough for what I need. ALWAYS!

Since I also help others write their books, a guy offered me a big chunk of money to help him write his a while back. What good luck you might be thinking. It would have been had I accepted the guy’s offer. But I didn’t. I wasn’t interested in his topic and he seemed a bit weird. Since I only do projects I’m interested in, I turned him down, even though I wanted the money. Okay, I needed the money! But instead of agreeing to write the book for lots of money, I said out loud, “Close one door and another two open.” A few days later I got a great project and my checking account got healthier. And then something else materialized.

Worry doesn’t attract money and it can keep it from coming to you the way you’d like it!

A friend who knows me well teases that she doesn’t wonder IF I’ll get my rent. Instead, she loves to see where it will come from. She’s seen over and over that somehow, some way, from somewhere, I always get the money I need at the right time. The next time you express concern about IF you’ll have enough money or IF you can increase what you have by a lot, get rid of the IF and replace it with faith. Write down what you want and why you deserve to get it.

We get back what we put out. So get into better habits of expecting money to flow to you with ease if you want to increase your abundance.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

You Are What You Eat

Carol Ekarius is a freelance writer who lives in the mountains of Colorado with her husband, Ken. They live off the grid, raise animals, and have a large, organic garden. Carol has become an advocate for spreading awarenes about how chemicals are impacting our health. She writes on a variety of topics related to her lifestyle and helping the environment, including her blog, Toxic Burden. I’m delighted to have her as a guest blogger today to share how she makes an effort to avoid toxins in her food.

You Are What You Eat
By Carol Ekarius
If health is like a three-legged stool, with environmental exposures, lifestyle, and genes representing the legs, then food is the seat, overlapping all three legs. So, food seems like an important topic to cover here. Ken and I prioritize the food choices we make in this order:

Our first choice is to grow a fair amount ourselves, organically. Due to where-and-how we live, this isn’t as abundant a portion of our food supply as it once was: when we farmed we grew about 85% of what we consumed! But we still manage to grow several bushels of potatoes and all the garlic we consume (which is saying something since I love cooking with garlic). During the summer the garden supplies us with a wide mixture of goodies and we even grow greens and herbs in the house to help us through the long winter months. Last year we added a banana tree to our indoor plants, and though it won't produce fruit for at least five years, I'm hopeful it will someday. In the meantime, it's a cool looking plant! Our own little flock of laying hens supplies most of our eggs.

Our second choice is purchase from local growers. We can buy local grassfed meat from several nearby ranchers. We try to hit farmer’s markets or farm stands when the hitting is good, and give preference to farmers who are seriously employing sustainable practices. With seasonal purchases, we often buy a larger quantity and store it or use it in recipes that can be frozen for later use (think tomato season=spaghetti sauce or salsa). This week, for example, Ken brought home a bushel of Golden Delicious apples from CaƱon City.

When we need items that aren’t available by method one or two, our third choice is to shop at the small natural food store in a town about 30 miles away when we go there for errands, or if I am in the city, I hit Whole Foods or Wild Oats on my way home. I stock up on canned goods, some produce during periods when its low or unavailable, dry goods, coffee and tea, and the like.

Once in a while I go to a major grocery store, like City Market or Safeway, but its actually kind of rare. When I do, I still give preference to organic and natural products.

I can just about hear some people saying, ah, you are a yuppie. I can't afford to eat that way. To which I say, poppy cock! We are not rich. We drive old vehicles, we don't take expensive trips, and we live very frugally in most ways. But, food is just too important to our health, and our pleasure of life, to eat badly. Everyone can grow some food, even if it's in pots on a deck or in a window, and the food you grow yourself is wonderful and very economical. Buying directly from area farmers and ranchers is often far less expensive than the grocery store. For example, the bushel of apples cost just $15.00, and will last for a long time.

Buying real food, and doing some food prep, even at Whole-Foods prices, is less expensive than eating out or buying highly processed foods. However to make eating organically and naturally economical does require a return to the kitchen, but food prep doesn't have to be hard, or take a huge amount of time. I don't have a large, fancy kitchen with all kinds of gadgets; hell, I don't even have a dishwasher. Yet I cook dinner from scratch almost every night of the week. I'm big for searching out easy recipes that taste good and don't take too much time, nor too much cleanup!

So here's a recipe that I found in the latest issue of The Joy of Cooking cookbook (if you can only afford one cookbook, then Joy is what you want!) that epitomizes my cooking attitude, and was decadently delicious: Baked apples with sausage.

Wash the apples and cut the top half-inch off so the top is flat. Core the apples, then scoop out some additional pulp so the apple is about 1/2 inch thick all the way around. Chop the pulp fine, place in bowl, and mix the pulp well with some sausage. Sprinkle brown sugar or drizzle maple syrup into the apples and over the apples, then stuff with the sausage/pulp mix. Bake 45 to 50 minutes at 350 degrees.

I used five apples and two large links of hot Italian sausage, stripped from the casing. You can use just about any kind of sausage. It was perfect for two of us, beyond delicious, and the prep time was only about 15 minutes. How can you possibly beat that?

Carol Ekarius’ blog, Toxic Burden, focuses on how chemicals affect our environment and your health.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Jennifer Love Hewitt CHOOSES to NOT Be Fat!

You may have heard that Jennifer Love Hewitt was vacationing with her boyfriend and the paparazzi nailed her in a swimsuit. It was all over the news, much like the pics of Tyra Banks in a swimsuit a while back. They took unflattering close-ups of body parts that weren’t perfect. Bloggers had a field day calling Jennifer fat. Yet she’s a size 4! HELLO!

For you guys who question why women are so insecure about their bodies, listen up! There are good reasons why many of us are self-conscious about our imperfections.

If someone who wears a size 4 gets ridiculed for being fat, how does that make the rest of us women feel!!? Pretty lousy to a woman who isn’t secure to begin with. Me, my self-love is too strong now to let it rattle my over size 4 butt. But too many women suffer the residuals of these absurd digs at imperfect, AKA normal bodies! I trust that the karma these folks give out will come back to hit them in their big fat sorry butts.

Perfection is impossible. Some, and these days many, folks run to plastic surgeons to remake themselves. Women in particular are treating themselves like a car that needs bodywork. Suck out some cellulite; remove excess skin; pick someone’s chin, nose, cheekbones, etc. and order it from the doc; have cosmetic surgery. The numbers of bulimic and anorexic women keeps rising. Redoing who you are makes you forget how to be true to you, and to love who you are—all in the name of “looking good.”

And at what cost? While a majority of surgeries and procedures go well, those that fail have serious repercussions, including making you look much worse, distorted, ill, and even DEATH!

Kanye West’s mother, Donda, God rest her soul, didn’t listen to one surgeon’s warnings about her potential for heart problems during surgery and sadly, his concerns proved true. So she died, for a tummy tuck and breast reduction! Olivia Goldsmith, author of the book, First Wives Club, passed away almost five years ago after complications from anesthesia for a simple chin tuck, considered minor surgery. The surgery itself wasn’t the problem, but anesthesia can be dangerous. Yet she risked having it just to improve her chin!

Chasing that elusive perfect body can make you do things that aren’t in your best interest.

Men ask me what would make a woman so concerned about her looks that she’d risk her health, or life. Watch the media. We look at airbrushed women in magazines and strive to be like them. Even the women who get airbrushed feel insecure about it, knowing their bodies aren’t good enough to be seen the way they are!

FACT: Cellulite is hereditary. Even thin women have it. Starving doesn’t get rid of it. Only airbrushing does. Or the perfect lighting, wardrobe and makeup used on TV sets and in movies.

FACT: Our bodies change as we get older. We can do what we can to offset it with exercise and healthy nutrition. But ya probably won’t look like a nubile 20-year old when you’re 50, 40 or even 30. Get over the need to look perfect or risk your health making unnatural changes.

Most people who aren’t happy without alterations, don’t stay happy when they get them. You may temporarily smile over the new you. But soon you’ll find other things to bring you down. Cellulite returns. Skin gets stretched to the max after too many facelifts. I see many women with a line-free but typical pulled face look. Their faces have a mutant look to me. It’s obvious and not real.

Body bashing becomes contagious as women accept the phony standards for what they should look like.

We’ve become a society obsessed with having a perfect body. While a woman’s body is much more in the spotlight, men feel the pressure of body image too, in different ways. There are comparisons at the gym; a need to take control of how they look. I had a boyfriend who was a gym rat. While relaxing on a Sunday morning, a week of getting intimate, he asked why someone like me, who teaches how to develop good self-esteem, didn’t work out more to make her body better. He acknowledged that he loved my body, but I should work harder to make it perfect.

I pointed to the door and said if he wasn’t happy with me right now, he should leave and not come back. He stayed, but I knew it wouldn’t last.

He strived for perfection in himself too. To me his body was perfect. Yet he ran to the gym every day. One day he called, sounding very upset. “I have water in my stomach and I’m worried.” As I imagined him having some disease, he went on the explain that after his shower, a little water rested in a fold of his belly skin, which meant he wasn’t flat enough! It didn’t matter that I LOVED his body. Without perfection, he was always down. He said that good self-esteem meant striving for perfection.

Wrong! Good self-esteem means accepting yourself as you are, imperfections and all! I lost 170 pounds when I cut him loose!

Body perception can change if you CHOOSE to allow it! When women say no more to unrealistic standards, they won’t have the impact they have now. When women begin to love their bodies, imperfections and cellulite, there will be many more secure and happy women. When the media stops pushing perfection down our throats as what we should look like, we’ll be happier with our typical, less perfect bodies.

Look around you in a gym locker room and see how many perfect bodies you see. Most of us have more flab than shows with clothing on. I do! ☺

Several years ago Jamie Lee Curtis pioneered awareness of the unnatural images in magazines when she posed for More magazine in her underwear, with no makeup or airbrushing. She wanted other women to see how she looks without the help of computers. She was still beautiful, but looked more like a real woman than a perfect picture. I applauded her then and continue to see her as an amazing role model.

Nobody makes you insecure. You make yourself that way when you allow what others say to become your TRUTH.

Just because someone says you’re fat, doesn’t mean you are, unless you see yourself as fat because of it. Jamie Lee, Tyra and now Jennifer refuse to accept the media perception. I stood up and applauded Jennifer Love Hewitt’s response to the bloggers and others who made a big fuss over close-ups of her upper thighs and butt. As they slung crap, she flung it right back! No matter what was said, she CHOSE to not accept it. She’s NOT fat, no matter what they say. She’s a woman who knows who she is and accepts herself in her own skin.

Tyra Banks kicked back hard too. This beautiful, shapely modeled was “outed” by cameras with a close-up of her upper thigh. PU-LEASE! Any man who can’t accept the beauty of these women needs a brain transplant!

Aren’t there much more important things to publicize than a bit of cellulite captured at a bad angle by a camera?

Change your body perception and learn to laugh at the messages in the media. I confess. I’m not perfectly thin and never have been. When I was a DoorMat, I always saw myself as fat because many girls were thinner than me. It fueled my insecurity. I excessively pleased everyone to make up for my fat body. Yes, I thought I needed to try harder or no one would want to be around a fat girl. Yet I wasn’t fat. Thinking I was held me back with meeting guys. Now that I LOVE me, I know that my curves are sexy, not fat. And, I meet a lot more guys who openly appreciate my body too.

When my abovementioned ex-boyfriend criticized my bod, I saw it as HIS problem, not mine.

MEN—start accepting that most women have cellulite and that sometimes it’s hard to lose weight no matter what we do. Are you perfect? Women accept so much more, or less, in men than is accepted in us. Appreciate women for who they are, not just what they look like.

WOMEN—show your body love! It’s yours. Walk around naked and get more comfortable with it. Feel your soft lovely curves. Look at paintings by Rubens and see how badly we’ve skewed off course from appreciating a true womanly body. Changing yours with starving, surgery or unhealthy procedures won’t bring true happiness if you don’t love yourself.

Women like Jamie Lee Curtis, Tyra Banks and Jennifer Love Hewitt are truly pioneers for a new women’s movement, one that’s slowly guiding us to be more realistic about what a normal body looks like. Get on board! Focus on being healthy, not thin or perfect.

Instead of fighting fat, fight the stereotypes that make almost every woman’s body unacceptable. Put your energy into loving yourself more and self-acceptance will follow! This former DoorMat can attest to that!

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Friday, December 7, 2007

Making Christmas Brighter for Our Troops

‘Tis the season to be jolly! Yet many of our military personnel are living in awful conditions on behalf of our country. I talked about the importance of gratitude last month. I’ve experienced the blessings of giving back, many times over. Here’s an opportunity to support the men and women who far from home during the holidays.

It doesn’t matter whether you support the war. The people in our military are following orders to support our country and should be honored and appreciated! To that end, I wanted to let you know about an organization that’s doing great things to make things a bit brighter for those that might not have a happy holiday. YOU can help! There are many organizations sending car packages overseas to people in the military. One that I like is called Operation Gratitude.

Operation Gratitude is a California- based 501 (c) (3) non-profit, all-volunteer organization that sends care packages of snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed in hostile regions such as Iraq and Afghanistan, and on military ships at sea. Its mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member's face and express to our troops that they have the appreciation and support of the American people.

Operation Gratitude receives the names of troops from commanders in the field who see the positive impact of care packages on their troops' morale; the organization sends more than 100,000 care packages every year. For safety and security, all assembling of packages is done at the Army National Guard armory in Van Nuys, California. Beginning in March, 2003, Operation Gratitude will have shipped over 300,000 packages to American troops deployed overseas any day now.

There’s not much time if you want to help for this holiday season. All items and letters must be shipped or delivered for the holidays by December 15 and they do another drive from April 15 to June 15. I know people who did drives in their schools and churches. I led one 2 years ago. It’s very rewarding! The most needed items are:

DVDs * CDs, Batteries (all sizes) * Computer Flash Drives * Beanie Babies * Small Novelty Items * 
Disposable Cameras
 * Prepaid Phone Cards * Travel-Size Board Games * Handheld electronic games * Bandana Coolers/Cool-Ties * Mini-Battery-operated Fans * Hand and Foot Warmers
 * Commercially wrapped individual packets of Trail Mix * Beef Jerky * Nuts * Energy Bars * Sunflower Seeds * Candy * Ready To Eat Tuna or Chicken Salad kits
 * Boxes of Girl Scout Cookies * Small tins of Danish Cookies * Packets of Powdered Cold Beverages * Commercially sealed Lip Balm * roll-on deodorant * toothpaste * toothbrushes * Individual packets of moist towelettes * Travel Size containers of Foot Powder * Screen Printed T-Shirts, Socks
Baseball Style Caps, Knit Hats and Gloves; Neck Gators * Tobacco Products
Used Cell Phones * Video Games and Systems * IPODs * PDAs

If you want to send a care package for our overseas troops, send them to:

Operation Gratitude/California Army National Guard

17330 Victory Boulevard 

Van Nuys, California 91406 

ATTN: Charlie Othold: 818.437.6201

They also appreciate any contributions toward the cost of shipping the packages overseas. Mail checks separately from packages so it gets to the right hands. All financial donations will be acknowledged. If you would like to receive an acknowledgment for donated items, include your name and address inside the shipment or send an email to Acknowledgments will be sent within three months.

For more information about Operation Gratitude and how it works, please visit their site or call 818.909.0039. You will be blessed for sharing!

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Creating Better Habits Challenge

I consider most of what keeps us from being as self-empowered as possible—bad habits. Many develop while growing up but can happen any time you do something over and over until it becomes automatic. When I decided to stop being a DoorMat, I worked on breaking the habits that hurt my self-image. Breaking habits feels more manageable than a psychological makeover. It can be applied to ANY area of your life, work or play.
Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” You CAN create better habits in ALL arenas of your life! And use them to achieve excellence!

Break one habit at a time. I broke those that reinforced seeing myself in a poor light and treating myself worse than I did others. Once you begin to break habits that aren’t for your good, you can then create new, healthier ones. I used to think being a DoorMat was my destiny. It felt hopeless. Striving to become someone I wasn’t seemed too daunting—until I began to identify my DoorMat habits, one at a time. That allowed me to break them!

Seeing what I did to reinforce my DoorMat lifestyle—saying “yes” automatically, attacking myself with nasty words for my faults, expecting people to dump on me, ignoring my needs—as bad habits gave me hope that I could do something about it. And I did!

When I saw my behavior as bad habits, instead of faults or an indelible part of me, I slowly paid more attention to my actions and thoughts. Patience was tough but I tried hard, since I was tired of feeling lousy about myself. At first, I just observed my habits. Eventually I stopped myself before doing or thinking things that always seemed automatic. I continue to maintain a heightened awareness of how I treat myself. But my good habits have now solidly replaced those that were harmful to my sense of self and well-being.

I even created habits of doing specific things to keep my apartment neater, which made me feel more in control. That broke my slob-a-holic ones!

I catch myself fast when I think negatively or allow poor treatment. It feels great to let go of old habits. Now I’m in the habit of being good to myself and other helpful routine activities. For example, after reminding myself over and over to hit save after every few sentences when I’m writing, I don’t even think about doing it anymore. It’s become a habit that protects my writing!

John Dryden said, "We first make our habits, and then our habits make us." Navigate your habits so they make you a better person.

Begin by raising your self-awareness. You don’t have to change behavior yet. Pay attention for now. Don’t rush to break lifetime habits. It took me years to get where I am. Start by becoming aware of how you’re in the habit of thinking of yourself in various situations and what behavior you’re so used to doing that it’s become a habit. Identifying habits helps you develop better ones, which increases your self-empowerment!

The Creating Better Habits Challenge is to identify behavior that can be replaced by a better habit. Since I consider almost all behavior a habit, it can be related to anything that can make a positive difference in your life—a new habit for thinking about specific situations, responding to things that bother you, how to say “no,” letting go of clutter, improving health or fitness, losing weight, dealing with a parent, coping with loss, having better relationships, becoming better at a skill, having a better blog. The topics can be about anything.

The Creating Better Habits Challenge is open to anyone who wants to participate. I posted mine--“I’m Not an Idiot, I’m Silly”—if you want to see an example. Here are some guidelines.

1. Write a blog post about how to break a habit and replace it with one—big or small—that can lead to improvement in some aspect of life.

2. Please include that the post is a part of the Creating Better Habits Challenge and include a link and/or trackback to this post so readers know more about it.

3. At the end of your post, tag fellow bloggers and email to let them know they’ve been tagged.

4. Include a link and/or trackback to the blogger who tagged you.

5. Please send me the title and link to your post when it’s up and I’ll list them below.

6. Check out other people’s posts and comment, Stumble, Digg, etc. any that you enjoy. It’s a great habit to support others and brings back many rewards!

I TAG these bloggers:

Carol at Toxic Burden
Lorraine at Powerfull Living
Chris at
Rebecca at Modite
Gamy at Mind Think Success
Priscilla at Personal Development Demands Success
Peter at I will change your life . com
Tina at Think Simple Now
Bob at every every minute
Joy at Mamapalooza

Thanks to those who’ve participated:

Gamy at Mind Think Success posted Loving Yourself Is A Good Habit To Start
Carol at Toxic Burden posted Creating Better Habits
Chris at posted The potential of creating better habits
Tristan at Synergy Institute posted Step Away From the Whopper!!
Lorraine at Powerfull Living posted Turning Negative Habits Into Empowering Actions
Brad at posted The missing link to success!
Stephen at Adversity University Blog posted Unleash Pure, Raw Spiritual Power by Changing a Habit
Ellen at Positive Communication posted Trying To Be More Compassionate
Lola Fayemi at Real World Spiritual and Personal Development posted Overhauling old limiting habits to transformational success-attracting habits

If you enjoyed my post, please leave a comment and/or click on the bookmark and write a short review at some of the sites, especially Stumbleupon. Thanks!

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