Archive for February, 2012

There is so much out there on the ideas of affirmations, beliefs, thoughts and in general, the things we feed our brain.   Personal motivational geniuses like Jack Canfield, Tony Robbins and Wayne Dyer challenge us to bring forth our most powerful and action-oriented selves in the pursuit of creating the life we want.  It’s all up to us and what we set ourselves up for.  

Are we victims of circumstances, of our past, and play that out throughout our lives?  Do we decide to take responsibility for our lives as they are now and look to create, if need be change, and become active participants in shaping our lives?

What we choose to focus on is what shapes our lives.

 We hone in on negatives, we bring forth negatives. 

We focus on the positives, we bring forth more of the positive. 

Even when we’re not consciously aware of something, be it a belief or thought pattern,  it has taken root  within ourselves and planted its seed from which many more positive, or negative buds will bloom.  Our mind is a fertile ground for growth. 

It is therefore so important to provide it with the care that will help produce the vibrancy, colors and beauty of a June garden in its fullest bloom. 

Because we as humans are ever evolving and by definition growing – otherwise we stagnate and die-  we need not define ourselves by what we used to… like, do, think, feel, believe.   We don’t have to keep ourselves locked into our old habits of behavior, thought patterns and beliefs if they are not serving us well. 

Am I perhaps alluding to Change?  Yes, but actually I want to focus here on a precursor to change – what we tell ourselves about who we are, what we’re capable of doing, what we notice and bring into our sphere of life. 

Certainly when we’re going through a trying time where we have to call upon ourselves and all our inner resources to keep going, some good old positive self-talk can serve us well. 

What are some positive messages we can tell ourselves to keep us functioning?   Even if we don’t necessarily feel it, we can still dig these little positive seedlings into the ground of our mind where they will take root and grow.


10 things to say to yourself to get you through a difficult time: 


  1. I can do what I need to do, one day at a time.
  2. I am strong and capable. 
  3. I can handle this.
  4. I am resourceful and can access information.
  5. I can take care of myself so I have the physical and mental energy to deal with this.
  6. I can find the support and help I need.
  7. I am courageous and brave.
  8. I can tolerate the emotional pain.
  9. I can face the day with gratitude for what I have.
  10. I can carry on another day by putting one foot in front of the other. 

Repetition Required.  Standing in front of a mirror preferable. 

What positive messages do you say to yourself to help you get through tough times?

Thank you for stopping by and reading.  Comments are most welcome.  Also, sharing is appreciated. 





Read Full Post »

I once again realized the importance of some basic human needs we all have.   

This came to me upon reflection of the support group meeting of moms of special needs children that I facilitated a few days ago. 

We were an intimate group sitting comfortably on a soft, thick-pillowed, fall-into circular couch; the kind from which you don’t want to get up.  We were so engaged in conversation that when one of the ladies  decided it might be time to go home and I looked at my watch, it was 3 hours later.  Wow, talk about being in the flow.    

The amount of expression, understanding and support that emerged was well worth the fewer hours of sleep that night. 

It rang so loud and clear that we need:

A chance to tell our story

To be listened to

To be understood

To be acknowledged

To be supported

To be touched, stroked and held

To have our painful feelings held in acceptance and dignity

We need a place to:


Express our innermost thoughts and feelings

Share our vulnerabilities


Chill out

Get away


I felt these needs met by and for each mom.  I felt this place to be a haven for the 3 hours we were  together.    I felt privileged to be a part of this meeting of hearts, minds and souls. 

I’ve heard people talk about support groups in a negative way as a place where misery loves company.  I guess that’s a perspective.  But to me this couldn’t be farther from the truth. 

It’s about people being there for one another in support and understanding. 

Twenty nine years ago, I attended a support group for moms of babies born with disabilities. It was one of my greatest life-savers.   To feel my intense pain acknowledged, validated and completely understood was a feeling like no other.  At a time of tremendous sadness and feelings of isolation with all my negative emotions, to be embraced by a strong connection of understanding was comfort food to my soul.  

We were six women from totally different walks of life who shared a most basic commonality – deep pain and sorrow in finding out our babies had life-long compromising conditions.   The feelings felt and expressed knew no differences.   We were all mothers bleeding the same color blood.  Our wounds were raw and exposed , and we were there for one another to begin the process of dabbing at it, cleaning it and preparing it for healing.  It was a year- long journey of softening our blows.  

I hope and pray that I give over even a fraction of the warmth, comfort and hope that was given to me in my life-affirming support group 29 years ago.      

Thank you for reading.  If any of you have ever been part of a support group, I’d love for you to share your thoughts on it.

Read Full Post »

Dancing Beyond Dis-Ability

It’s about emotion.  It’s about how you feel when you move and how that movement makes you feel.”

I’m still feeling the warm and uplifting feelings of last week’s event.   What was that, you ask. 

A film followed by a dance.  Not just any film and not just any dance. 

Musical Chairs”- a film about going beyond what we think is feasible; about rising above a disability towards ability, albeit in a unique form. 

People in wheelchairs doing ballroom dancing.  And then after the film, dancing with oh so many people (in wheelchairs) who came out to partake in the dance at the JCC in Manhattan for the ReelAbilities Film Festival program. 

Wow, this was an eye-opener.   Watching  some of the people move their wheelchairs to the beat, spin their ‘walking’ dancing partners, move their upper bodies  with such finesse, was an incredible tribute to  their strength of spirit and soul;  to express themselves in ways most of us would think is impossible.  

As we know, music has the ability of going deep down into our ‘kishkes’ (gut and soul) and bringing up the most beautiful and heartfelt form of expression.   It was freely expressed that night.

‘Farklempt’ I was as I watched the film and then watched the real abilities on that live dance floor.  What a gift I gave myself that night.  Even hubby Alan thanked me for finding this treasure of an event.

Once again I am reminded of how much life there is out there to experience, to learn, to witness, to be inspired by, to partake in.  Life is to be lived to the fullest in oh so many ways. 

(Movie opening in select theaters in March)  Producer Janet Carrus

Awesome – http://youtu.be/cJ9NqyChCA0

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you’ll share this.   

Read Full Post »

I am very pleased to share with you my guest post featured yesterday on Lori Deschene’s  fabulous site, Tiny Buddha.


When my daughter, Nava, was critically ill, on a ventilator in a drug-induced coma for three months, one of the ICU doctors called me in after a couple of weeks to tell me that if she survives, it will be a long road.

He started writing out a prescription for an anti-anxiety medication to ‘help’ me through this horrific ordeal.  I certainly don’t fault him here as this was an extreme acute situation and he didn’t know if I could manage without falling apart.

His offering of ‘the pill’ was an awakening.


Please click here to continue reading this post over at Tiny Buddha.


Thanks for stopping by.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

Read Full Post »

Growth From Loss

How do we grow beyond our loss?

As I wrote in my previous post, loss demands change.   We are not the same after a loss.  It’s not so much what happens to us, as it is how we respond to what happens to us.

Some of us respond with bitterness  (as I did initially after getting my daughter’s diagnosis), and we may continue playing  out this negativity throughout our lives. 

Some of us will be able to move beyond the pain with renewed ‘positiveness’ and strength; with renewed purpose and meaning, creating a new way of living. 

Viktor Frankl states, “The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity –even under the most difficult circumstances—to add a deeper meaning to his life.”

Along the same line:  “Man’s inner strength may raise him above his outward fate.”

When we allow ourselves to go through the pain-  feel the painful feelings, stay with them, express them-  we eventually come through it.  It is then that we can begin to connect with our new reality and start attaching new dreams and goals to what is. 

We loosen our grip to the loss, detach from the heavy weight of grief so that we can become free to connect to our new reality.    The sadness, although still present but perhaps to a less piercing degree, moves to the background and the presence of our current life moves to the forefront.  We’re in a position to begin to reorganize our life and reinvest in the new. 

It means becoming more comfortable with the way things are rather than staying with the way things were supposed to be or the way they were. 

Creating new dreams, finding new meaning, perhaps differently than before, represents growth.   Prior concentration on our loss shifts to the building of the new present and future.  This shift can be seen as growth.  And the changes in our life can be seen as challenges ready to be met with our new-found hope and resilience.  We are then ready to work with our response to our situation- what will we make of it; is there something positive I can do with my loss/misfortune?  Can I rebuild my life with new meaning and find new joy? 

It was only when I went through my intense grieving process upon finding out Nava (my middle daughter) had  disabilities, that I was able to meet the daily challenges head-on  and do what I needed to do to help her in a productive and positive way.  I certainly needed to get rid of some of those most toxic and harmful feelings of bitterness, anger and sinking sadness.   I had to detach and let go of the dream of having that ‘normal’ child in order to be able to work well with what I had; and eventually be able to create new hopes and expectations.

It was then that I was able to get ‘nachas’  (translated from Yiddish to mean joy and pride) from all she was slowly able to learn to do.   Having some of my dark clouds shift allowed for some sunlight to seep through. And I could start to feel the good feelings.

Painful feelings are certainly re-felt at various times and milestones throughout life, but they don’t take on a life of their own and I am able to move through them fairly easily.       

My ultimate goal became that she be well adjusted with good feelings about herself, and be as independent and productive as possible; with continuous growth and progression on the top rung of the ladder of life.  

My monthly interviews exemplify this theme of growing beyond our losses, of transcending and transforming, of rebuilding and recreating new dreams , of choosing to respond to life’s adversities with ‘positiveness’ and a renewed sense of purpose; of sometimes taking our lemons and making lemonade by creating and engaging in something bigger and beyond ourselves.   Do check out some of them.  They are quite uplifting and give us some wonderful lessons on how to live well despite…. (each person’s difficulty)

What does growth mean to you?  How have your losses or difficulties shaped you?

Thank you for stopping by and reading. 

Read Full Post »

I am pleased to share with you my guest post featured today on Alex Blackwell’s wonderful blog, The Bridgemaker.

While we’re advancing in our technological abilities and skills, we are regressing in our real, authentic and meaningful connections with one another.  We’ve gained in technology and lost in humanism.

Can we embrace both or must one be at the expense of the other?

Click here to continue reading this post over at The Brigemaker.


Thanks for stopping by.  How are you balancing your life with your hook-ups?

Read Full Post »

Positive Losses

Loss is a theme that runs throughout our lives.  Death is the most obvious and recognized type of loss.  However, loss goes way beyond death. 

Look at some common everyday events that {surprisingly} connote a loss.

Weaning – where the baby loses the breast and moves on to the cup.

Toilet training – where the baby loses the security of the diaper and moves on to the toilet. 

Both involve growth to a next phase.  These are what I call positive developmental losses.  This may sound like an oxymoron – can a loss be positive.  But yes, they are necessary to the growth and development of the child.  They certainly cause discomfort for the baby and require getting used to.  But they are predictable and natural progressions of life.    

The empty nest syndrome can be seen as a loss; a loss of a family structure that has now changed and dwindled down to it’s original one or two person household.   The Gypsy Nesters don’t see it that way.  They  think it’s the greatest thing to have no kids at home anymore – no loss there for them;  only excitement for a new phase of life and pride in a job well done.  (Do check out their blog; it is very entertaining.)

Many transitions in life can be seen as losses.  It’s the loss of the old and familiar.  It’s hard to let go of what was.  And that’s why many times we remain stuck.   But when we can connect to our feelings and to what’s really going on, we can begin to adjust and carve out new ways of living. 

However, we need to look at loss in terms of the meaning attached to it.  We have to understand what the event means to someone else. And we can’t assume because we might feel something as a loss that someone else might also.

Unemployment may be seen as a terrible loss.  Aside from the financial loss, our whole identity may be wrapped up in our job and once that’s gone, a part of us feels gone.   Whereas to somebody else it may represent free time while collecting unemployment checks and an opportunity to explore new areas of interest.

When I got divorced, people said to me, “Oh, I’m so sorry” to which I often answered, “don’t be sorry, I’m not.”    Now of course it was a loss of a marriage and the break- up of a family which is sad and unfortunate, especially where children are involved.  But I personally felt no loss, no grief, only relief.

In general, loss of any nature demands change.  This is where growth and transformation comes in.

The losses that shake our very foundation, that hit at the core level of our existence, will naturally require more work to get to that point of change and growth.  But it’s certainly doable.  We’re all ‘growable’. 

Watch for my next post on growing beyond.

What have been some of your positive losses?

Thanks for stopping by.  Comment, share, subscribe – anything goes.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »