Saturday, 21 November 2009

Free Anissa: Mom Blogger Suffers Massive Stroke

This is a new world.

What am I speaking of?

The one you are viewing now.

Like it or not, more and more every day people are connecting via the power of the internet. Social networks like FaceBook, My Space and Twitter have reunited and connected humans in a way never thought possible.

And the world of blog.

As someone that blogs, I haven't even explored the depths of the community of blogging folks that exists out there and is sustained by this very real but ethereal connection.

I realized that connection more than ever when I was notified by one of the editors of The Voice of Mom-- a website I write for-- that a 35 year old mom-blogger had suffered a massive stroke this past Tuesday and then another after being admitted to the hospital.

As link has led me to link to read about this creative, sarcastic and hilarious mom and you see the massive amount of people this has affected, it is difficult to not be touched and feel a connection to this mother and her family.

This past summer I was witness to how the power of the internet can harness healing energy and prayers from all over the world and brought a 12 year old boy back from the edge of death.

I am a firm believer and practitioner of sending Reiki, prayer or universal healing energy out to those in need. If you believe that too, take a few moments out of your day and send healing intention to Anissa. Whatever it is that you do that works for you in your belief system . . . send it to Anissa now.

Her husband is posting updates HERE, a website Anissa developed to write about her little one's cancer journey.

See her indignant and creative website about embracing shooting for a new low in mommy-expectation HERE . Love it. And you can find her personal website: Free Anissa. Again, hilarious. On one of the websites is a link to her interview on Oprah.

From what I read about Anissa, she knows right now that there are people learning about her and sending her hope every day.

And now there is you . . .

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Build the life you want to live in . . . moment by moment




Life is good.

Even in the midst of chaos Life is good.

Balance continues to be my theme, my mantra and my goal.

This is a time when we all live complicated lives. Technology-- cell phones, pagers, computers-- has ended the days of isolation.

But being "in contact" at a moment's notice and for many of us every moment is not the same as being "in touch." Frequently with all that society brings us right now we are being given more interference . . . more excuses to not connect with ourselves or others.

Personally I have a lot on my plate and wear many, many hats. The days I become most overwhelmed by this are the days I forget to be mindful to take one day- one moment at a time, to breathe easy and regular breaths no matter what pace I am going at, and to take some time to feed my soul.

This is a reminder to you as we change seasons-- school years are up and running again, you may feel your projects piling up, you are having doubts about which direction you should be going with an area in your life.

Just be.

"I am right where I should be in this moment in time."

"I am not my list of things to do or achieve-- I am at peace with my life and those around me."

Remind yourself that you cannot reach your potential with you family, your partner, your children, your work, your art, until you are at peace with yourself and give yourself the nurturing that your spirit requires.

What are your signs that you are running on empty and need a stop at the "spirit shop?"

What are those things you do that rejuvenate your soul and bring you into better balance?

Every day, ask yourself those questions and put those items on your list of things to do.

Your spirit needs a healthy home, somewhere it can reach its full potential and there is only one person that can build it: you.



Thursday, 24 September 2009

Join My Village Video

I am honored to be a Village Leader of Zumani for this project. Please help me and my 14 year old Village Mzata, Agnes, and join team Zumani.

I implore you to spread the word to your friends and also ask them to join our team.

Click right HERE, right now to Join My Village.

"Women are changing the world, village by village. Join Us.”

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Turn around and your a young man heading out the door . . .













This week we are sending another child off to college.

I used to guffaw when my oldest children were little and SO many people would feel compelled to tell me just how fast the time was going to fly by. My inner dialogue at the time was something like, “I know that was your experience, but this seems to be dragging on rather nicely thank-you-very-much.”

This is our fourth of nine children heading off to college and yes, I have to say it boggles the mind to see the man that he has become, and have no clue where the time went that has aged him.

I’ll miss him a lot.

He was one of those babies and toddlers that was freaky-perfect. He was always happy and I remember saying to him when he was around 3 years, “Luke, I just can’t believe how well behaved you are, you’ve never even been in time out.” His precocious response was, “I know, I watched what Rachel (older sister) did and learned what not to do.”

Yes, he was always precocious.

When he was just toddling around, I locked myself out of the house while he was inside; he was too young to manipulate the lock. He grinned a big grin at me, pushed the chair over to the counter, stood on it, got the sugar bowl, went to the silverware drawer and got a spoon and promptly went to the table and began eating sugar straight out of the bowl. This from the child that, literally, had never misbehaved. I knew then he had gifts.

When he had an early childhood screening to make sure he was on track with speech because of some articulation issues he was around 2 and a half, the lady screening him called for her colleagues to come listen to him. “When I asked him what color the sun was (while pointing at a picture) he said golden. Golden! Can you imagine? I’ve never heard golden before.” I am literally thinking what, exactly, is the big deal? He was scored socially at an age equivalent of 7 years and I knew it was, in part, related to her describing how the first thing out of his mouth when he sat down was, “I really like your rings. They’re beautiful.” Again, my thought was, uhm, and what’s so amazing?

That happens when you live with an amazing kid.

You don’t really understand just how amazing they are until people point it out to you . . . or until they are leaving you to start their own life.

This college bound guy hasn’t always been perfect throughout his teen years and thankfully, my professional background kept me sane realizing it wouldn’t be “normal” if his relative perfection continued. He has a mind of his own. He’s taken risks that I’d rather he not take and he’s made some choices that have garnished him some pretty stark consequences.

Tomorrow we take that long drive.

My wish for him is that he uses his talent for the greater good — for himself and society as a whole. The world really is his oyster as long as he understands and respects the commitment and responsibility involved in being giver and not a taker from the world at large.

In the meantime, my peacemaker and most wonderfully supportive man-son is on his way to make his way.

I wish him luck and love and health and safety and success in every step he takes.

I love you, Luke.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

life IS short


A funny thing happened this weekend.

I went back to the the town of my alma mater where my high school class, which graduated 30 years ago, was serving as the "grand marshals" for the local festival parade.

Many of the folks I had not seen for many, many years; some I had not seen in the entire 30 years since I left my parent's home.

The funny thing was that somewhere in my mind I was expecting all of these people to look exactly the way they did 30 years ago; in my mind's eye they had not changed a bit. And funnier still-- most of them did look much like I remembered. I could still see traces of their adolescent selves in each one of them, or their voices, or their mannerisms.

When you come from a small community and a small school there is something that happens that is impossible to replicate in a larger school atmosphere. While you may not have known everyone of your classmates intimately, you DID know everyone's name in our school. And it is very likely that you knew some of the details of their lives as well. This was an extended family.

Like it or not.

There were some family members that you may have felt closer to than others or that you avoided getting into certain conversations with or that you never really had too much in common with, but the many years spent together makes them family just the same.

That was the overwhelming sense I had in talking to these folks. All social barriers were down. There are no cliques to wade through. Just the feeling of family, of "I know these people." The feeling of wanting these people to all be just fine and never have any suffering in their lives.

While I'm close to many folks by choice now as I'm plowing down my forties, there is a difference when you can look at a childhood friend or classmate and you can immediately see them as the five year old, or the awkward 12 year old or the gorgeous 16 year old they were.

That, my friends, is family.

And that is also when you feel the breeze from time flying by you.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

The Perfect Date


I just got back from the perfect date.

It was with my 86 year old mother.

Last year Amazon practically gave me some books and 2 arrived, inadvertent to my order, on tape. Therefore, Julie and Julia: 365 days, 524 recipes and One Tiny Apartment was my first-ever book on tape.

I loved it. The author's voice reminded me of Tina Fey and her hilarious rendition had me laughing while I was power-washing the house and made me look forward to my summertime chores last year.

Julia Child is a fairly forthright memory from my childhood so with the today's release of the movie based on the book: Julie & Julia we seemed to have the recipe for the perfect mother-daughter outing.

On the way to the movie I explained the world of "blog" to my mother, who has never owned a computer, but fully understands how integral one is to my writing, my work and my life.

The theatre was packed at a 12:30 matinee in the midwest; no small feat. I turned to my mother and observed, "There are a lot of folks here with the same color hair as yours," at which she giggled.

The movie vacillated between scenes of Meryl Streep playing a right-on Julia Child from the time she discovered French food, to cooking school, to the publishing of her book and Julie blogging and cooking and blogging and cooking.

I found the movie a delightful translation of the book- and was intrigued with learning more about Julia Child's life.

The best part of the entire experience though was the company. I'm sure we were not the only mother-daughter dates in attendance.

We are at a time in our lives when this mother and daughter give each other knowing looks and enjoy every bit of quality time we have together, while frequently commiserating about "how time flies."

Today we made another memory.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Step Away From Your Rag Mag

(this post was initially written for a blog I write for: The Voice of Mom)

Becky and Stephen +10 are on day 9 of a Florida beach vacation with 2 days to go.

Our HMF (self described high maintenance friends) were an absolute joy to be with and departed 2 days ago. With their departure we were left with their vacation rags that follow the “stars.” We do not have cable television, therefore much of the hyperbole in these publications is lost on us. However while travelling and staying in hotels, we had caught Jon and Kate +8 a couple of times and perused the rag-mags — enough to comment on the dynamics between the couple and how bizarre it must be to live your life under scrutiny — especially if you have a modicum of anxiety in your system (and don’t we all?).

Frankly, I’m sick to death of publications that obviously sell and sell and sell, pushing their unsubstantiated fodder; especially when it comes to folks that have it hard enough trying to keep some semblance of an emotionally healthy life while raising children (Brad and Angelina, Jon and Kate, Tom and Katie, and yes, Michael Jackson to name a few). But to have every move that you make with your children speculated about and made into a “when are they going to break up game” — geez, it’s no wonder other countries have questions about our values and priorities when we show that, as a nation, we are more interested in how a “star” looks in a bikini this year than how to help our fellow man or what is going on around the world.

On late night cable we saw a replay of an extensive interview of Michael Jackson being third-degreed about every angle of his life — plastic surgery, how he was parented, his own parenting . . . Which of us would want to sit in front of a camera and have every word we say and every move we make scrutinized? And yes, I would probably be shaking like I was high on crack too (recalling the leg-shaking Michael trying to feed his baby on camera to prove he could do it).

Earth to tabloid and star gossip show lovers: there’s a 4 letter word in the biz responsible for the hype that the networks and publication companies know sells: EDIT.

Yes, the flattering pictures of the star with their children, or the star’s figure, or their eloquent answers to the nosy questions frequently end up on the cutting room floor. Why? Because showing competence doesn’t sell dirt TV and rag mags.

After all the stares and comments we have gotten going through the airport and hanging at the beach and going into restaurants with our large brood, I have but an inkling of what it must be like for these parents that are constantly under the microscope and are, after all, just parents — like you and I: imperfect, learning, less than patient all the time, blown away by how much work parenting is and needing a break from scrutiny.

I wish the media would give them one.

Put your gossip rag down and repeat after me: “I will not be a part of the destruction of the lives of other human beings by supporting this unconscionable industry.”

If only the media could live up to the simple truths in one of my favorite vacation reads, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel– Be impeccable with your word, Don’t make assumptions, Always do your best– the “stars” wouldn’t have to practice the fourth agreement quite as much “Don’t take anything personally.”

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Safe Landings in Kenya

If you read my earlier post about sending my daughter off to Kenya, here is an update.

Rachel is safe and sound in Thika, Kenya at a guest home with "sweet" hosts and a "boy" from Kansas City who is also a volunteer staying at the same home.  I've talked to her twice now and she sounded absolutely mahvelous both times.  

The first time she called was yesterday to give me her cell phone number and an update of where she landed.  It's a crap shoot where you will be placed.  They loaded up a bunch of volunteers and dropped them various places before her stop, some very remote, so she was thrilled to be near a town and have running water and electricity.

The second time was this morning when I wanted to test my awesome phone card that will give me 212 minutes of talk time for $20-- to which my husband states, "hmmm, you are going to talk to her more in the next month she is in Africa than you would at home."  Uhm.  Of course.

I could hear her plodding away and huffing and puffing.  "Yeh mom, it's not a great time to talk. We're sludging a way in a rural area." At which time, apparently on cue there is a inordinately loud baaaaaah!.

"And that was a goat."

Sounds like calling her early afternoons will be best as it will be late there and her day of goat safaris or orphanage work will have come to an end.

And peace goes out to my Rachel.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Letting go . . .




I am being tested.

My first born is in the air somewhere on her way to Kenya to volunteer in an orphanage for a month.  

We had a great cookout the night before she was heading to her Grandparents in Chicago to fly out and we had a really enjoyable time.

The next morning I woke up sick.  Strep from one of our younger ones.  I called Rachel in Chicago and offered to try and get her a prescription that would cover strep if she would get it on the trip since I had handled her food and because she, as a little one, was a strep magnet.  

No.  

She thought that sounded like overkill.

I guess if she's old enough to basically arrange this trip from front to back, work, go to college, maintain an apartment and all that good stuff she was right in making that decision for herself.

And I'm hoping there are MD's with antibiotics available to the volunteers if they need it.  

This acute concern largely comes from the fact that I had an absolutely miserable night with my whole body aching along with my head and throat and could NOT imagine traveling feeling like this.

So good vibes for healthy and safe travel to my baby errr, adult-child.


Thursday, 28 May 2009

Confessions of a two-timer errr, uhm, three-timer



Dear Blog,

I have a confession.  I've been spending time with someone else.  Her name is MOMSthatROCK! and she's a really professional website and a really exciting blog. 

I want you to know I haven't forgotten about you.

In fact, I've thought about you almost every day.  

Remember how, right here, I committed to exercising at least 15 minutes a day for the New Year and then within the month I broke a rib and learned how everyone was right about how excruciating that pain could be?

Yes, I told you all about it (press) HERE.  

I did get through that injury and was more motivated than ever when Anna and I decided: YES! How perfect it would be for MOMSthatROCK! to do the 1st Chicago Rock n Roll Half Marathon.  

My sweet hubby and I travelled abroad in April to visit his family and planned our half marathon training program as we stuffed ourself with rich English and French food . . .  and then upon our return home, remember how within the first week of training I HORRENDOUSLY sprained my ankle and have been rehabilitating for the past 5 weeks?

No?

You don't remember that Dear Blog?

Oh Yeah!  

That's because I was more than a little embarrassed about such debilitating back to back injuries and didn't really want to share it with you!

I am willing however, now, to come clean because as of tonight I actually tolerated 30 seconds on the elliptical. 

Oh yes, Dear Blog-- one other thing?  

I think I've decided to accept an offer to start writing for ANOTHER website.  

I'm sorry.

But yes, it is one that is more widely read than you are and YES, I will have to commit to writing on it at least once a week.  

Do you think we can compromise?  

Come visit me at www.thevoiceofmom.com and it will still be like old times.  I'll have a weekly deadline THERE, but I promise to come back and visit you here and report on the other areas of my life.  

And yes,  THAT.  That boat in the picture?  THAT is the boat that was "won" by the Broken Rib as referenced in the blog post mentioned (click HERE) to read.  My hubby plans on renaming it Becky's Broken Rib and we plan on having it in the water by the end of the week!

I'm NOT one for 2-timing Dear Blog, but I think we can make this 3-timing thing happen. 

Really.

Stop by www.momsthatrock.com and www.thevoiceofmom.com and SUBSCRIBE to those blogs just to test me on this.  

I think we can all get along perfectly.

See you here AND there! (and there)

Signed with love and devotion to my dearest blog,

Becky of Beckoning Balance



Monday, 27 April 2009

Karma-baby

My new partnership with fellow mom and Chicago rocker Anna Fermin (press on her name and you'll hear our theme song)  has taken off in leaps and bounds.

If you love to listen to music, come to our shows and know that you are giving back to our global community while having a ROCKIN time.

Click HERE to see details about our two debut shows in June.  To read about how MOMSthatROCK! Productions came to fruition, read from the bottom up.

Follow MOMSthatROCK! on Twitter by pressing HERE.

Follow me on Twitter by pressing HERE.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

What is too young for young love . . .



Sweet Son and Proud Mama


Mamapedia is an online resource for parents and a recent question was asked:

1st crush in first grade??? Isn't this a little young?

I chuckled. 

My first crush was in Kindergarten.  He was the tallest boy in the class and I followed him around like Tinkerbell following Peter Pan.  I remember staring at him adoringly.

In later years it became apparent to me that my initial attraction may have had something to do with the fact that I had three older brothers and an additional 10 male cousins, with nary a female in sight.  I'm sure his height reminded me of the "older" men in my life.

Then in first grade my first love letter was confiscated by the teacher.  It was written in sky blue which was the most awesome color in my box of 64 crayons.  I sat by my crush and wrote a note: Do you like me?  I like you.  Circle yes or no.  

The moment the note was passed, Mrs. Campbell asked for me to walk it up to her.  

Oh, the shame.   

I can still feel the heat that rushed to my cheeks.  I returned to my teacher at the end of the day to ask if she would release my note  from the home she had given it: inside THE gradebook.  

No, I was told.  It belonged to her now.  That was the same answer I got the next 53 times I asked. 

Later in my school career Mrs. Campbell had the opportunity to share with me that she STILL had my first love letter written in sky blue crayon and that, actually, she had been very pleased with my navigation of the writing of said letter at such a young age.  I was happy and relieved to see her smiling while she was discussing my offense.

So what is my personal and professional opinion about a first grade crush?  

Don't sweat the small stuff.

Crushes are a natural developmental milestone and are nothing new to our society.  

If you feel your child is being exposed to TV or real life situations that encourage precocious behavior, those are the issues that you may easily address and it would be appropriate to do so. 

And of course if you see inappropriate or suggestive acting out or language-- this should be explored and addressed: these behaviors do not come naturally to a young child and they are being exposed to it somewhere.

It's not so easy to "change" what is already going on in our children's minds, but sometimes it can be a wake-up call to make changes that affect what is happening in your environment that spawns your child's thoughts and ideas and interests.

Over-focusing on an issue such as this can give the issue much more power and almost guarantee it to be a concern again in the future.  Remember the golden rule of parenting: the best way to extinguish unwanted behavior--whenever possible IGNORE IT.

This issue came up with some of my children and since I had a frame of reference of having had those feelings at the same age I saw it as totally normal behavior and treated it as such.  

It is important to remember that children can have very strong feelings of admiration for someone.  

My son and a little girl "liked" each other from first to third grade.  There were no outings, or pronouncements, but they saw each other at school.  

After she decided to "like" someone else, I stumbled upon the most eloquent letter my son had written to a friend that expressed how "adults do not think we can feel actual love at our age, but we can. . . I know because I did. . . "  as he went on to express the lessons he'd learned for an entire page and a half of the neatest penmanship I'd ever seen from him.

Honestly, my son's letter brought tears to my eyes and not because of any fear or disappointment or concern, but because I saw that the seed of an emotionally articulate, loving and caring man had been planted.  

He continues to be an extremely loving and caring young man who did not have flings, has always treated girls with respect-- including his sisters and mother-- and at age 18 is in an extremely respectful committed relationship after not seriously dating for most of high school. This WAS a choice.  He was asked and attended the Jr. Sr. Prom when he was a Freshman, and has had many who adore him; I'm sure because he is such a sweetheart.  But he has been very thoughtful about where his time, effort and, yes, feelings would be going.

I know his early "crush" had an impact on his choices he made regarding relationships and I would not change one thing about it. 

But the bottom line?  If I wanted to STOP his crush, I couldn't if I had tried and in trying to stop it, it would have only intensified those feelings.  

Use discussions of crushes as teachable moments-- especially when you can use those lessons to bring home your family's value system-- and then sit back and relax and enjoy the ride.   

Remember to embrace the angst; there is a lot more to come.



Saturday, 18 April 2009

Just do it.

Don't ask what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive and then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
Howard Thurman

I find it interesting that as a person that has had a 29 year career in altruistic positions that I would love such a self-serving quote as much as I love this one.  I have found this a wonderfully inspiring quote that has meant different things to me at different stages of my life.

Currently what this quote automatically brings to my mind is our four eldest children.  We have two daughters in their 3rd year of college, a son in his first year and a son heading off to college in the fall. As a group they are unique because they all have one thing in common: they have not decided on an ideal career.

I think this generation of college attendees has been told "the world is your oyster" and "reach for the stars"  in contrast to the message given to previous generations: "go for job security" and "make sure you can provide for your family."  That presents a lot of choice and a lot of pressure.

We have talks with our kids about finding something that "makes them come alive" and I'm certain those conversations may only compound their dilemma.  At least that's what their perplexity tells me; initially you see their full alignment with those words followed by a a puzzled look, "hmmm, how do I know what makes me come alive in a 40+ hour/week work setting at this stage of my life . . ."  

I have frequently encouraged clients by asking them to reflect-- if so many hours of our living must go into a career, wouldn't  it be wonderful if we could choose something we enjoy so much that we "lose time" while doing it?  In other words, time flies while we work because we enjoy it so much it doesn't feel like work.  Another term that describes this is "being in the flow." 

Fortunately, I landed in a career where I have found myself "in the flow" much of the time, but that was after many years of struggling during the hours I was living making my living (and paying for my education).  It was the assumption that when I reached my final educational goal "the flow" would be waiting that made the mundane bearable.  

I encourage you to ponder today's quote for yourself and your own situation.  

Is there something more you could be doing that would make you come alive?  

What can you let go of that stands in your way of coming alive?  

Are there passions or pastimes, or creative endeavors you continue to put off that you know would feed your spirit?  

No matter what your career or stage of life: choose to come alive.

Be the change you want to see . . .  

Just do it.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Our Dizzy-ny Adventure



My husband had a conference in Orlando and is a vehement "will never do Disney" kind of guy.

I seized the opportunity to take our 4 .75 year old and we begged his sister out of school since it was such a quick trip and she had JUST turned 9 two days before we left.

This would be a quick 2 day, mark-Disney-off-the-list-so-Dad-never-has-to-go kind of visit.

Yes, I try to stay "zen" and "go with the flow" WHILE "staying in the moment" and practicing "positive discipline" and all that jazz, but after our first hour in the Magic Kingdom I started to have a recurrent mantra to my Disney adventure, "End. This. Misery. NOW."

At the beginning of our journey, for the first time in our lives, we arrived to an airport EARLIER than the 2 hour suggested time.

And guess what our reward was?

A two hour delay.

By the time we were tucking the kids into bed it was 1:30 a.m. DT (disney time). Then with an emergency run for cough syrup for the oldest's incessant hacking cough that (I'm not kidding) Disney-magickly quit the moment her father went into the night to forage for meds and the 4 year old waking every 90 minutes declaring, "MY FEET HURT," (and I'm sure they did, the little trooper had dragged his new carry on all over 2 entire airports) NO one had much sleep.

The next morning the kids woke with excitement. Dad had snuck out at 6:30 am to get to a breakfast meeting.

As you can see from the very first Disney picture and the four year old's face-- he didn't start off on the right Disney-foot and I am sorry to report that it didn't get any better after that.

It was a day full of whining and misunder-disney-standings. For instance-- shrieking at the end of each ride: I want to go again!!!!

Can you blame him? It's what we all want to say after waiting in line close to an hour and going on a ride for 2-3 blissful minutes.

I thought people would be cringing at his end-of -the-ride outbursts, but I actually think I was seeing some upward thrusts of fists and the words, "right on," being mouthed.

I felt so sorry for my husband's colleague's wife who thought it would be "fun" to join us for a day at Disney. Let's just say that I think we solidified the deal and she is perfectly fine to forego the miracle of a child (thank-you-very-much).

So my dear all-things-Disney friends and my contemplating-Disney friends: I Just Do NOT Get It.

The bumping into people at every turn-- in fact that was one of the four year old's major whines, "THAT LADY JUST HIT ME IN THE HEAD WITH HER CAMERA (or her bag, or her butt, or her arm . . . probably a 20 time event) and after all his head was just even with ALL of those things.

NO one was watching where they might stand or walk or push a wheelchair or stroller and I think it is an absolute Disney-miracle that we did not witness a broken hip or some actual flowing of blood-- beyond our little guys skinned up knee.

And the lines . . . That is what our Disney experience was really about. Lines. Frustration. Crying. Whining. And more Lines.

And did I mention, Lines?

Did the fun-- and sure there was SOME fun-- outweigh the misery?

Absolutely.

NOT.

We did it, we crossed it off the list and it is done.

The second, and final, day at Magic Kingdom proved a bit less traumatic than the first. And, now, a mere day later, the little stinker really thinks he had a good time.

And I made sure to take plenty of pictures to solidify the "happy" memories in his Disney-memory-bank.

And may it never happen again until our children get to feel the Disney-magic with their own precious little darlings. (chanted, of course, with our magic Tinkerbell wand waving . . . )

P.S. Our nine year old was a little angel, albeit an exhausted one.

And Dad was actually the one that got to witness the Magic of the night parade and fireworks with the kids. The four year old was in awe and perfectly behaved and Dad got some wonder-full time with both children.

And that, truly, does thrill me.


video
press the arrow and make YOUR wish . . .



Saturday, 28 March 2009

Free help for your sleepless nights AND stress in this crazy times


HeartMath is offering a free webinar:  Solutions for Sleeplessness Caused by Today’s Stress, with Deborah Rozman, Ph.D.

Click HERE for registration information.

And don't forget about HeartMath's free "De-stress kit for changing times."   Click HERE to obtain that.

Great tools, great company, great price (free) . . .

Friday, 27 March 2009

Find the field-



"Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing there is a field.  I will meet you there."
Rumi

Woke up to this quote this morning (thank you HeartMath for my lovely daily quotes with their beautiful photographs).

Now I can't get the old soul song out of my head, "I know a place . . . I'll take you there . . ."

That field.

Where is it?

If you build it, will they come?


Thursday, 26 March 2009

MOMSthatROCK! Productions: Concerts for a Cause-- video diary #!

Check out the progress of MOMSthatROCK! Productions with our first installment of our video diary!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

It's always something . . .


Have you ever found yourself going through life and saying: "when (fill in the blank) happens, life is going to be so much easier (or I'll feel complete or I'll have achieved nirvana).

Of course you have.  

We all have.  

I'm convinced that it is a inherent homosapien survival mechanism and a developmental task that we all experience to a greater or lesser extent.  

There are some positives that can come of this mindset.  After all, it does motivate one to achieve a goal if one feels that they will find a perpetual state of bliss by meeting said goal.  

Many folks have felt: when I find the "perfect" partner or when I have a baby or when we have the "perfect" house . . . THEN I will have "arrived" to my life and it will be smooth sailing from here on out.

The problem with this mindset is that we are not living our current life if we continually have an eye on what we think it is that will mean perfection to us in the future. 

Many of us that have reached a certain age have accepted the realization that there is NO external event in our life that will bring us inner peace.  And we've found that out by achieving goals  and accomplishments  only to realize that although these achievements can feel absolutely wonderful-- there will ALWAYS be something else that comes up that we consider a MUST do to continue to achieve optimal living.

So when you are getting bogged down with external expectations that you have for yourself-- a perfect yard, a promotion at work, the perfect partner-- let that be your reminder to look within and explore the only thing you are ultimately in control of YOU.

Do you live your life with a sense of peace and calm?  

Do you choose love to be the force that steers your way?  

Do you refrain from judging others and practice kindness with yourself as well?  

Do you live each day-- One Day At A Time or even one minute at a time-- in an effort to make the most of every day you are given?

While it is perfectly admirable to have goals and aspirations, we must remember ACHIEVING and truly LIVING are two different things. 

You can have a WONDER-FULL life without accomplishing everything on your (or someone else's) list of proposed achievements; but you will have much greater success with your achievements if you are truly living your life.

And if you find yourself stressing about that goal you feel like you are long overdue, gently remind yourself that even when/if you achieve that goal: there will always be something else that comes up on your list of things to do.  

It is simply the way we are wired.   

Kindly recognize and embrace your tendency to "want,"  recall that your worth comes from within-- not your outward achievements-- appreciate yourself, live with love and keep moving in a positive direction: ONE DAY AT A TIME.

Friday, 20 March 2009

the word of the week: Dissonance

These are confusing days for the good ole USA.  

The word that comes to mind is dissonance: a tension or clash resulting from the combination of disharmonious or unsuitable elements.

On your way out to go shopping and eat you are listening to news reports about the devastating collapse of the economy.  You get to the restaurant and there is a long wait for a seat.  You look around wondering, is everyone hurting as bad as the reports make it sound???

You hear that the there are even more economic woes to come, but you notice that flights are cheap and you still have the money you saved for vacation and feel fairly secure at the moment: to book or not to book.  Is it okay to enjoy myself in the midst of others' devastation?
 
You have taken a huge hit with the economic collapse, maybe losing your job or your investment portfolio but you are surrounded by folks that appear relatively unscathed and are going about business as usual.  Why are there such extremes, you wonder.

Americans are walking around in a state of cognitive dissonance which is a perfect environment for anxiety and depression to take root.

Click HERE to read a poignant interview with Deepak Chopra on the current times and some realistic and helpful perspective.  

I hope you find it as meaningful as I did.





Sunday, 15 March 2009

To sleep or not to sleep . . .

As I am typing at 6:14 a.m., I would like to give you some pointers on one of my favorite subjects: sleep.

When assessing how folks that I am seeing are doing one of the first things I thoroughly question about is their sleep because inadequate sleep is a huge stressor to our body and mind.

If I get that occasional response of-- oh, I only get 4 hours a night and I'm good, my first question is: do you feel rested during the day?  If the answer is yes, I'm absolutely refreshed and can be active all day and do not doze off when sitting still and have great sleep quality for that time I'm less inclined to push the panic button.

More often than not, however, the answer is a resounding NO!  Occasionally there will be a qualified yes-- I'm fine unless I sit down, then I'm out like a light.  Then the answer gets changed to NO, they are not rested during the day.

So here are some pointers for the typical sleep issues and reestablishing sleep cycles that have been wacked out and some good sleep hygiene reminders for all of us:  

o No napping! Engage in some sort of activity if the desire to nap becomes overwhelming. If daytime sleepiness becomes impossible to ignore, limit naptime to a single nap of less than 1 hour, arising from the nap no later than 3 p.m.

o Set the alarm and get up at the same time every morning (before 9:00 a.m.) no matter how much, or little, sleep you had the previous night.

o Do not go to bed until tired or before 9:00 p.m.

o To fall asleep do the slow, deep, regular breathing counting backwards to yourself from 100 with each breath. This allows your body to relax, and blocks out stressful thoughts. Do not rush this process.

Here is a little secret:  practice that technique whether you have trouble falling asleep or not. Your mind-body will learn that when I do this, I go to sleep.   Then, IF you ever run into a period of insomnia later you will be able to call on this later.  It works!

o If you go to bed and are unable to sleep after 30 minutes, go to another room and engage in a relaxing activity, such as reading, until tired. Do not fall asleep in another room. Return to bed only when you are sleepy.

o Keep bedroom as dark and quiet as possible.  You want your bedroom to be a sleep haven that gives your mind and body the message: when I am in here and lying down for sleep: I Sleep.

Therefore:  The bed and bedroom are for sleeping and intimacy only.

o Clear bedroom of all distractions: no TV, computer, stereo, etc.  You make think "I HAVE to have the TV or radio on to sleep."  What you do not realize is that every time there is a change in a song or a commercial or a laugh track your body is brought out of the restorative sleep stage-- even if you do not fully awaken.

o Use background noise such as a fan or white noise maker if you have a history of awakening easily.  Many folks have what I call "mommy ear." You sleep with one ear open to protect the household and when you hear a creak or snap or crackle or pop it arouses you.

o No caffeine after 12 noon; consider totally eliminating caffeine from diet.

o Get your exercise in before 5:00 p.m. It would be best to do your regular exercise routine in the mornings.

o Keep a note pad and pen by your bed. If a thought occurs to you that you feel is important and you must remember, write it down.  This technique has been like medicine for folks and eliminates the waking up to tell yourself, "oh I have to remember to do  . . . tomorrow."

o And, sorry to say, but alcohol may feel like it lulls you to sleep but it is horrible for sleep and keeps you from reaching the level of restorative sleep you need.

It is worth the effort to regulate your sleep and get it in the healthiest shape possible for optimal health and optimal cognitive and emotional functioning.

Yawn . . .

Thursday, 12 March 2009

The Mind: Poison or Medicine?


Frequently when I talk with individuals that have had a heart attack or a sudden onset of a cardiac illness, I am speaking with someone who is having some recurring fear-based thoughts: "I have only one heart-- what if something happens in my sleep,"  "is that sensation I am feeling another heart attack," "is it going to happen again," "I'm doomed for a premature death," etc.

It is important that we all remember some basic tips that I give these folks to improve their health and their day to day functioning.  I teach them about thought substitution, also known as cognitive restructuring.  

When you are having a fear-based or negative thought, notice it and ask yourself how you can restructure it in a more positive way such as: "my heart is strong and healthy," "I experience energy and health,"  even if you are not 100% sold on the belief.  

Today I talked to one of the cardiac rehab nurses and encouraged their staff to instruct their patients to repeat positive "heart healthy" messages while exercising because many get highly anxious as they start to feel their heart speed up or become sweaty with exercise.  

I've always begged my kids to do what I thought would be a phenomenal Science Project in school.  Go to the track team and time runners running the same distance while repeating to themselves, "I am slow and heavy," then time them while saying "I am quick and light."  

Hmmmm.  What do you think the results would be?

Our minds are amazing tools for optimal health.  When you catch yourself worrying about your health, your weight, your stress level, or your loved one's well being, etc., note it and put another more realistic or positive thought in your brain so that it becomes trained to keep those negative thoughts out.  

The negative and fearful thoughts will drain your body of healing resources it needs for optimal health.  

Replacing those thoughts with your vision of optimal health or performance or coping will encourage your body to accept and adapt more healthy functioning.

The mind: poison or medicine--  it's your decision.


Monday, 9 March 2009

I DARE YOU to join our ROCKiNG effort~



In celebration of International Women's Day, singer/songwriter/musician Anna Fermin and I are announcing the birth of a bouncing baby-- MOMSthatROCK! Concerts for Cause.

Please click here to read the birth announcement for MOMSthatROCK!  

You can join this effort and participate in meaningful activism and while enjoying some righteous rocking out!

Email us at momsthatrock@me.com  to say- Hey I'm interested, keep me informed! and for a limited time you will receive an free Mp3 of MOMSthatROCK!'s phenomenal theme song: AWAKEN TO A NEW EARTH, written by Aaron Barber and Anna Fermin and performed by Anna Fermin (available on iTunes and CDBaby).

Hurry and get your free Mp3 for emailing us, turn up your volume, listen to Awaken to a New Earth (you will be moved), tell your friends to sign up at momsthatrock@me.com and be kept up to date of our news and concert schedule!


Sunday, 8 March 2009

I Dare You

I dare you . . .

A birth announcement is forthcoming tomorrow: International Women's Day.

I dare you to look back here and find read that announcement. . .

I dare you to enjoy the excitement of participating in global change . . .

I dare you to join the cause . . .

Acting locally for change globally . . .

til tomorrow . . .









The Girl Effect

Watch This Now. (please)

more to come . . .

Saturday, 7 March 2009

do you see what i see?



“Whether we name divine presence synchronicity, serendipity, or graced moment matters little. What matters is the reality that our hearts have been understood. Nothing is as real as a healthy dose of magic which restores our spirits."
~Nancy Long

Serendipity. . . intuition . . . vibes . . . coincidence . . . magic . . . miracles . . . synchronicity . . . grace . . .

These are all part of our everyday life if we only allow ourselves to be open to the experiences.   Many of us grew up programming ourselves to ignore our ability to see these magical messages we were receiving.

How many times have you been thinking of someone and the phone rings and it is them?  

Have you ever had the overwhelming knowledge that you would not be safe if you chose a certain path and then, in fact, found your "feeling" had kept you safe?

Do you pass moments of serendipity and synchronicity off as coincidence?

Sonia Choquette, a renowned author and articulate speaker with many years of studying people's natural psychic ability insists that being "psychic" isn't as woo-woo as many people have historically thought it was.  

Having abilities that label you gifted in this area come largely from your very heightened ability of acute observation.  A person that has great ability to observe everything going on in their surroundings and the nuances others bring to discussions or relationships are able to see and interpret observations on a different level than the casual observer.  

Sonia insists these skills can be nurtured in ourselves and in our children and we will be rewarded with a heightened ability to follow the path to our own greater good if we accept that we have these innate abilities rather than ignore them.

I heard Sonia speak and she recommended keeping a journal of all the coincidences and moments of intuition and serendipity that you experience.  Don't just pass it off when you press the elevator button and go stand in front of the elevator that just happens to open twenty seconds later.  Acknowledge that as your intuition being accurate.  

When the phone rings and you "know"who it is and you are right, take note of that instead of passing it off as coincidence.  

Notice those small moments of coincidence and certainly start giving more attention to those more momentous times your intuition steers the you in a meaningful direction.

As you collect these experiences, you will begin to recognize and believe that we all have a capability to see and sense much, much more than meets the eye.

Teach your children and yourself to trust their "uh-oh" feeling; nine times out of ten that feeling will keep you safe.  An excellent book: The Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker does a great job articulating this concept.  TRUST YOUR GUT.  

Let yourself be open to the messages you get by having people and opportunities put before you that come seemingly out of nowhere.  They are there for a reason.

Trust in yourself to follow that dream that your heart has been telling you to pursue.  

Stop the negative self-talk and LISTEN.  

Your inner voice is made of a universal voice (i.e. chi, spirit, God, love, those gone before us . . .) and the culmination of the collective knowledge you have gathered that is unique to you; the more we fight that voice, the more conflicted we feel.

Trust yourself, follow your heart and be open when opportunity presents itself.  

The gifts are there for the taking~ not to be ignored.

Friday, 20 February 2009

the end is near. . .

People are dropping like flies.

Every person I talk to that has any symptoms of anxiety or depression prefaces it with, "It's because I am so sick of the winter . . "  "I'll be better when I can start getting outside." "Who doesn't feel like this with this weather?"

Then today at Starbucks I heard someone bawling their eyes out (no, I really have no clue what was going on), and I've just witnessed from afar another out-of-the-blue-crying spell from someone who otherwise is a non-crier.

This year's particular brand of the winter blues is almost as pervasive as the nasty hanger-on-cold-bug that is flying around.

February is notoriously the worst month for those of us that dislike winter.  I'll refrain from going on and on about seasonal affective disorder (SAD), you can google it and find out all you want to know, but like I've inferred before-- most "mental health diagnosis" run on a bit of a continuum and you can certainly have a little of the winter blahs or cabin fever without it being full-blown SAD.

I just saw one online poll the other day asking people if their moods were negatively affected negatively by winter and 74% of the responders affirmed.

We've been struck with a couple of brutal winters in succession.  Here are a few tips that have helped me get through this winter relatively unscathed:

Now don't laugh-- but when it is grey and nasty out and even when mounds of snow have that dingy film on them, I put on my best inner mary-sunshine voice and say to myself, "I love days where you never see the sun . . . the colder the better . . . nasty sludge is just as pretty as new fallen snow . . ." and idiotic things of a similar nature.  All I know is that playing Pollyanna is better for my mood than the alternative (when is this ever going to end . . . I HATE winter . . . I am miserable and frozen . . .)

I do much better if I can get out in the sun or even just outdoors every day.  I can dread hauling myself out in freezing weather with a vengeance, but after I'm out there I am always thankful.

I always handle winters better the years I exercise more consistently during the frigid cold. 

Mainly, my purpose here today day was that I wanted you to know that if you are quite ready for this winter to move into spring you are absolutely not alone.

Just tell yourself the age-old parenting mantra for difficult times, "this too shall pass . . ."


Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Head 'em up ~ Move 'em out (southern twain implied)



The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.

- Albert Ellis

I woke up to these words being in my inbox today.  

I cannot tell you how poignant I believe they are for mental health and optimal functioning.

There was a day that psychotherapy was about regurgitating past traumas and wrongs ad nauseam . . . then exploring your subconscious manifestations of these wrongs and traumas . . . and the person having to return for further therapy about these wrongs and traumas . . .   (or NEVER leave therapy).

You get the picture; it was a vicious cycle.

Then a trend started.  What if we help the client acknowledge that there were in fact wrongs and traumas (real or perceived-- it doesn't really matter if a person is obsessing on them and it is ruining their lives) and taught people that they could move on and have a more pleasant life if they actually let the wound heal and didn't keep ripping the scab off?

Solution-focused therapy, brief therapy, and an increased use of cognitive behavioral approaches (from which Ellis' work spawned) were some of the methodologies born of this concept.  

A person could be taught symptom control techniques and then be encouraged to stay in the here and now and deal with their life in the here and now:  i.e. take responsibility for their present moment and stop putting the blame on the power they let someone or something have over them , in many cases, for many years. 

Many times revisiting the past wrongs and blaming the past wrongs becomes a convenient diversion and/or excuse for people to not accept responsibility for the here and now and move on with their lives.  

The power, then, given to those previous "wrong-doers" in their lives is enormous which is why the person's anger towards these entities grows more and more out of control, in turn wreaking more havoc in the persons life sometimes than the initial trauma.

I'm reminded of a Saturday Night Live skit where Bob Newhart reprised his long time role as a psychiatrist.  It showed clients coming in and spilling their guts to him about their misery, as he appeared to listen intently.  Then his response to each and every issue for each patient was leaning over his desk and yelling, "THEN STOP IT!!!"  

In essence, that is what Albert Ellis' (who developed Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy) quote is insinuating:

  • stop blaming the parent that called you fat for being fat or thinking you are fat and figure out what you need to do to feel better about yourself; then do it.

  • stop blaming previous relationships for your inability to trust or control anger and set a goal to master those traits FOR YOURSELF.

  • stop blaming the fact you were never taught how to manage money on your parents or educators and seek education now so you can accept responsibility for your financial future.

  • stop blaming that you were never picked for any sports teams growing up or made fun of in P.E. for your aversion to exercise and MOVE for your health.

You understand where I'm going with this and if you've read this far, a great exercise would be to actually pull out a piece of paper and pen now and list those issues that are a struggle for you and that you've blamed on someone other than yourself.  

Acknowledge that it is a disappointment that you feel you were wronged.  

Then take the only self-loving and self-caring step you can:  write down a couple of actions for each one of those issues that could help you learn more mastery, put them in motion and end the pattern of being a victim of your past.

And catch yourself when your anger flares or memories return and you have a tendency to blame the past.  Remind yourself that if you are constantly going back to the past (or jumping to the future) you are missing out on living your life, which is the present moment.  

Don't let past disappointments rob you of today.

It is time to move on.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

be kind, unwind . . .


Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.
~Albert Einstein

Do you run and hide from your mistakes out of embarrassment?  Do you avoid situations or challenges out of the fear of being less than perfect or making a blatant error?

While striving to do the best job we possibly can is an admirable endeavor, not accepting less than what we perceive as perfection sets you up for a life of stress and anxiety.

Why are perfectionistic people always so stressed out?  Because they are consistently proving themselves a failure when they fall short of their goal.  Perfect is not possible, therefore a person striving for perfection ALWAYS feels like a failure at some level.

Look at the successful people around you.  Look at Albert Einstein's legacy.  Look at President Obama and from whence he came as well as the challenges he has before him.  Amazing people from our history would be just another person had they let themselves be limited by their ideals of perfection; paralyzed to risk and move forward.

This is an excellent reminder when you look holistically at your life:

  • maintaining your health by exercising isn't an all or nothing deal; there will be stumbles but your health will only improve if you get up and keep moving . . .
  • eating a healthy diet is a challenge; choosing something less than healthy doesn't mean you need to abort your goal of an overall average of healthy choices . . . 
  • positive communications in our relationships is a worthy goal; if your anger gets the best of you at some point does that mean your a failure in relationships?  no, you are human.  how do you learn from your interaction?   make amends and move forward . . .
  • doing the best job you possibly can in your work, be it President of the United States or parenting your children is a great goal to set; life and work and the unknown will throw you curve balls in the future.  accept that challenges arise and each time you face one you can use the knowledge gained to help you be a bit more effective in similar circumstances in the future.
  • practicing your faith or your practice of centering  yourself in the face of chaos is sometimes touch and go; don't puncture your life boat just because you can't always reach it-- it will be there for you when you can make time for it.

Be kind to those around you that show their less than perfect selves.  We are all on this journey together and supporting each other does much more for the greater good than constantly pointing out perceived mistakes.

And most of all, if you find yourself frequently stressed due to striving for perfection~ be kind to yourself.  

Ultimately, you are the only person that will stand by you and support you throughout your entire life.  Any wasted energy spent on beating yourself up could have gone to many, many more positive endeavors.

be kind, unwind . . .

Thursday, 5 February 2009

No. More. Lies.


"Integrity is telling myself the truth.  And honesty is telling the truth to other people."
~Spencer Johnson

People lie.

Some people are so caught up in the habit of lying, they do not even realize they are doing it and haven't a clue that their lies are so transparent and the truth is so, uhm, true, that people around them usually pick up on the lie in the moment.

Lies aren't pretty and the people that have the habit build a big, huge, ugly alienating wall around themselves.  In fact, how can you relax and enjoy life when you are constantly deluded by the world you have created around yourself.

This can take on very pathological proportions.  The person with the habit of lying can be confronted with the real issues, real evidence in front of them and yet continue to lie as if saying their deluded belief or writing long enough about it will suddenly turn it into truth.

This is a horribly sad and anxiety provoking life.  Many people that pathologically lie have narcissistic traits as discussed in last week's post.  After all, how can you perpetuate so much twisting and inventing of facts unless you dwell in a belief system that has you existing on a higher plain than the mere peons you are habitually lying to?

If you habitually lie, even little lies: Stop It.  

It will eventually destroy you and your life and your relationships.  If you can't break the habit, then seek help.  Hopefully if you lie you are not so wrapped up in that component of your functioning that you have deluded even yourself into believing the untruths and you have an ability to see the need for change.

M. Scott Peck the renowned author of The Road Less Travelled wrote an excellent follow up book: People of the Lie.  He adeptly describes the inherent evil that is perpetuated by lies and the people that refuse to acknowledge their aberrant behavior. 

His premises are:

1. The evil hide their motives with lies.
2. Evil people want to appear to be good.
3. When confronted by evil, the wisest and most secure adult will usually experience confusion.
4. Evil seeks to discourage others to think for themselves (fosters dependency).
5. To oppose evil we must have an ongoing dedication to reality at all cost.

Note number 3.  That is why you feel that way if you have a pathological liar in your life.  

Do Good ~ Avoid Evil = strive for honestly in action, word and deed.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

NARCISSISTIC: The Word of the Week



The Springfield State Journal Register had a recent article that was exploring the state of our current Illinois Governor's mental health. Several local mental health professionals were consulted and all agreed that the gov surely fit, at least some, of the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Of course, any professional would hesitate to make any sort of definitive diagnosis without a diagnostic interview.

Below is the list of diagnostic criteria, 5 of which must be present to qualify a candidate for winning THE diagnosis. Most people with NPD won't be asking for your vote because they'll know you've voted for them and if you didn't they wouldn't want your ignorance backing them anyway. Nothing personal there, just trying to help you climb inside and take a ride in the gas/energy guzzling ride of a narcissistic personality.

1. has a grandiose sense of self-importance
2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. believes that he or she is "special" and unique
4. requires excessive admiration
5. has a sense of entitlement i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
6. is interpersonally exploitative i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
7. lacks empathy; is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
8. is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

I don't know the actual number of individuals having been diagnosed but I can say with certainty that we have many people with narcissistic traits walking among us. I have known people with these characteristics in my personal and professional life.

It isn't pretty.

The sense of self-entitlement-- getting what they want or think they deserve with no concern about anyone but themselves, "you owe me," is pathological and destroys foundations of relationships (personal and professional) left and right.

One of the quoted professionals on the SJ-R article mentioned that individuals with NPD do not frequently get therapy because they do not think they are the problem. I would add that a narcissistic person will drag others to therapy (when it sometimes more disruptive than helpful) to try and prove that others have a problem and they do not; and they may also attend alone giving the professional their one-sided view of their life and their relationships without confirmation of their stories/experiences, and use that as an opportunity to grab some validation, "see, I got help and they think I'm fine (or right, or best . . .)."  In other words, they haven't gone to get help but to stage a scenario where, once again, they can be told they are right.

The children of the person with NPD suffer most. They are so confused about what is true and what isn't, what is right and what is wrong, what is an appropriate emotional response and what is emotional drama and overreaction-- their foundation for successful emotional and social development is at great risk.

Children will likely either fall into the parent's footsteps and have similar narcissistic qualities or be at risk for severe self esteem issues; after all, they were never important enough for the parent to put their own issues and agendas aside and parent appropriately. These children have been brought up seeing such inconsistencies in the words, actions and values their frame of reference is skewed.

Imagine that you are a child and your parent would lie and put the blame about an issue on you instead of accepting responsibility for something that the parent did and the child KNOWS the parent did. And imagine the parent does it with a big smile on their face, all the while insisting that they are reporting the truth. There stands the child, knowing they can't question their parent (who is ALWAYS right), unable to stand up and defend their own integrity; there is no foundational breeding ground for core values of honesty, integrity, loyalty. Unless, you hope and pray, they have other adult role models that model positive values and can give the child a reality check when needed.

I am not a proponent of putting individuals into a diagnostic box, which our insurance system forces us to do in this day and age, because many of the emotional and behavioral health issues, I believe, fall into a spectrum of severity as well as overlap with other diagnosis. Many people with the narcissistic traits will also have characteristics of borderline personality disorder-- in both cases people learn they must walk on eggshells around these folks so as not to catch their wrath; of course that rarely works because the people thrive on the drama they create and manipulate.

So when you hear our infamous current governor, as I did on NPR today, sounding so nonchalant about his predicament and comparing himself to situations in movies and the movie characters and people that have historically been done wrong and then hear the list of television talk shows he is going on later in the day and all the while you are thinking, if that was me I would be so embarrassed I'd want to hole up somewhere they would never look for me-- like the Springfield Governors Mansion . . . Don't worry, you haven't lost your mind.

But also understand, you don't have to be in government or Hollywood to be brushing shoulders with people with narcissistic traits. And when you brush up to someone with similar characteristics, what the best thing to do? Take care of yourself. Helping others is not on their list of things to do.

Many professionals have the opinion that folks with personality disorders typically will not get or accept treatment, for one reason because PD's aren't something that can be cured with medicine and it takes a true willingness to change.

But I've seen people decide to get better and do so.

Just like with addictions, the person has to hit their own personal rock-bottom and decide, "ENOUGH, I cannot live like this anymore." 

Unfortunately it isn't usually the piles of those they have wounded that announces that their "bottom" is near, but an assault to their own person. For some people, being indicted could be that bottom. 

For others, it never happens.