Sunday, November 27, 2016

Mirror, Mirror...

Thanksgiving was a few days ago but I am still in the holiday frame of mind today.  Like most people, I am so thankful to live in a free country; for having equal rights as a woman; for a growing economy; and the obvious things like my family and friends. This year, I added something new to my list.  It wasn’t anything I gave much thought to, until recently.  In fact, I am not one who takes compliments well or leads with ego. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m thankful for me, myself, and I. 

I have lived with myself for a pretty long time and I’m very thankful for the person I am.  I am thankful for decisions I’ve made, the lessons I’ve been open to learning, the people I’ve allowed to make an impact in my life, and the openness to change that helps me grow every day.  I’m thankful for the support and love I was shown growing up that has given me confidence and a strong moral compass.  I’m thankful for my best friend who would encourage me and point out my positive qualities, even before he put a ring on my finger.  I am grateful to nurture and show unconditional love to two incredible young men.  Seeing their best qualities, and knowing I made an impact, is what I’m most thankful for.  Slowing down long enough to reflect on what gives me purpose and what’s important to me has been a very meaningful exercise.  Taking time to inventory the qualities I like about myself, and the ones I need improvement on is a gift I give myself.  I am thankful for self-awareness.

I am thankful for the impact I make on others.  I know that every day I make at least one person smile.  Everyone has special qualities that impact the world around them in positive ways.  Just thinking of the people I see or talk to most days makes me smile for so many different reasons.  I have those who make me laugh, those who are reliable, those who are encouraging, those who are supportive, and those who just bring a welcome smile.  Every person I surround myself with adds color to who I am. It’s such a gift!

What are your special qualities that you like about yourself?  What gifts are you sharing with the world around you?  It’s okay to give yourself permission to be proud of yourself and to like yourself.  When is the last time you spent time alone?  I’m “simply positive” everyone needs time to take a good look at yourself in the mirror.  Chances are, if you look deep in your heart, you will love what you see.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chrismukkah

So my thoughts this week could, potentially, offend my Jewish friends.  My initial instinct was to apologize in advance but to be honest, this blog is supposed to be my diary so I guess I will just say what I want to say and hope for the best.
I love Christmas.  There – it’s out there and I make no apologies.

Growing up in a Jewish house, Christmas was always the time of year I felt like the odd man out.  We couldn’t decorate the house with festive lights, I couldn’t wear goofy Christmas sweaters, and I felt like I was cheating at school if I colored my holiday projects in green and red instead of blue and well…more blue.  Most of my life, Christmas was off limits.  My father was an observant, conservative Jew and my mother remarried a man who was also Jewish. As much as I tried to persuade them that a Hanukkah bush was a “thing” and most certainly not a symbol of Jesus Christ, they weren’t buying it.  I think the reason I wanted Christmas so badly is because, unlike my fellow Jewish friends, I knew what I was missing.  As a young child, my at-the-time single mother brought Christmas into our lives.  We hung stockings, trimmed our fake Christmas tree and watched Rudolph on TV while nibbling on holiday treats.  Things were merry and bright.  Until they weren’t.  Growing up I yearned for Christmas.   The closest thing I got to it during most of my childhood was working at the mall as a Santa’s Elf.  It wasn’t the material part of the holiday that was appealing, nor was it the eggnog or fruitcake.  It was the family time.  The holiday commercials showing loving, nuclear families gathering to share time and make Christmas memories represented the childhood and family I always wanted.  Christmas is always a day that time stands still.  Nothing is more important than being together.  Who wouldn’t want that? 

This past weekend, the Honey and I went to Nashville for a little weekend away.  I thought it would be fun to do something a little kitschy and touristy so I booked a dinner cruise on the General Jackson riverboat.  Walking up the plank to board, I was immediately in love with the holiday lights, the red bows and pine tree accents.  My Honey?  Not so much.  He also grew up in the “We don’t do Christmas” household.  Once we sat down at our seats and the Emcee opened the entertainment portion of the show, I was in for a treat and the Honey was in for an evening of eye rolling.  What they didn’t tell me when I bought the tickets were that it was the Christmas show.  Two hours of Christmas on the river.  He couldn’t escape and I couldn’t be happier.  I relished every holiday song.  At the end of the night, they closed the show with “O Holy Night” and I was a little embarrassed by how much it moved me.  I was reminded of how spiritual this time of year is – it’s a time of togetherness, kindness, peace, hope, joy, family, generosity and faith.  No matter what religion we are, I think we can all get on board with that.  In this very trying time in our country, where many of us feel scared and insecure, Christmas this year – more than ever – is something to be treasured.  I may not have a tree, or and Ugly Christmas sweater, but I am “simply positive” there is still so much good in this world to celebrate.

Your homework this week is to get in the Holiday Spirit!  Here is a handy tool --

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Where Do We Go From Here?

Every night for the last five nights I have had horrible, violent dreams.  I am clearly anxious about what is happening in our country.  He Who Shall Not Be Named is the silent leader of a growing army of the ignorant.  His blind followers - the angry, violent, bigoted, hateful, and racist people who now feel free to wear it proudly, are coming out of the woodwork.  Our leaders’ silence is giving them permission. I feel we are more divided than ever before.  We are not a nation of Haves and Have-Nots.  We are now a nation of The Bullies and The Bullied.

The sadness I initially felt, turned to anger, and while I am still anxious, it is working it’s way toward empowerment.  If any of my readers follow Carin Rockind (, she shared a story recently of how this election was a call to action for her.  Instead of just believing in specific causes or ideals, she now feels empowered to act on them.  She calls it Fierce Action.  I love that.  I took some time to think about what this really means and what really matters to ME.  There are a lot of causes and ideals important to me that I will become more involved in, but the overall theme has always been the same.  Kindness and Positivity are things I will not compromise, not matter how nasty the climate.  I will not compromise myself.  I will lead by example and band together with like-minded people.  Maybe we need an Army of Kindness. I will urge my children, as angry as they are, to continue to lead their lives with compassion and integrity.  We will not let this election change who we are.  That is our power.

It is in my nature to give people the benefit of the doubt.  I have an open mind.  I am a hopeless optimist.  I may not have faith in our new president, but ultimately, I would like to see him succeed. I am rooting for the success of America.  I have many friends who are irate and angry, some who cannot crawl out of their grief.  I empathize with them, but I do not want to join the “He is Not My President” movement.  I am part of the “I am Disappointed and Scared” group, but the protests we are witnessing are often matching hate for hate.  We need to band together in positivity. We need to love each other more. We need to be hopeful.  We need to fight for the causes we believe in, instead of nodding our head in agreement.  We need to get through the next four years without causing irreparable harm to our morals. I am “simply positive” that I am committed to maintaining my sense of positivity. The bottle of champagne I chilled for a Clinton-victory will remain in my fridge, as I’m optimistic it will one day be opened.

Your homework this week is to take Action and not Reaction.  What matters to you?  How can you make a difference?  Are you walking the walk? How can you show your support?  How can you maintain your values?

Monday, November 7, 2016

Silence is Golden

Music is a powerful tool.  It emotes everything from happiness to sadness; can awaken sweet memories from our youth; and can move us to tears.  With thousands of radio stations to choose from nowadays, we tend to flip from channel to channel, catching bits and pieces of our favorite songs.  When was the last time you listened to a song from beginning to end?  It is the pattern of our millennial life.  Today I was psycho flipping the button on my car radio on my way to run an errand and caught the very beginning of a song I loved.  I stopped flipping and let the music consume me.  I listened to the sound of Adele’s voice – her tone – her emotion – her passion. Each note strung into melody and the music it formed resonated with me. I paid attention to every lyric.  I embraced the entire song and felt it’s meaning in my core. I was listening. 

Hearing is the act of perceiving sound in the ear, but listening is a choice. We so often think we are listening, but we are only hearing.  We don’t listen to our hearts and act on impulse; we don’t listen to our needs and rush to care for everyone else above ourselves; and we don’t listen well enough in our every day conversations.  We are missing out on so much because of our busy lives, and in all honesty, our narcissism.  This one is tricky for me, not because I’m a narcissist, but because my mind is always going a million miles a minute.  I’d like you to reflect on your last few encounters with people.  What do you remember about your conversation?  Most likely you remember your side of the conversation and what information you shared.  How many times did you interrupt?  How many times did you let your ego take over and half listen because you were busy forming your next thought or gathering information you felt was pertinent to the conversation? In doing so, we aren’t hearing.  What are we missing by doing this?  Are we missing an opportunity for empathy?  Are we missing an opportunity to learn something?  Are we missing the ability to form deeper connections with people?  If you rearrange the letters of "Listen," you find "Silent."  I am working on this skill daily and it’s definitely a challenge for me…but I’m “simply positive” that if we listen more, and talk less, everyone will benefit.

You homework this week is to slow down your need to respond in conversations.  Truly listen and gather information.  Determine if it actually needs your response?  Do you need to share the information in your head because you feel it adds value, or are you serving your own needs?  Let’s all learn to “hear” a little better.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

It's Time for a Commercial Break

I KNOW I am not alone when I say that I cannot take one more second of this election.   No matter what party you side with, the mud slinging is like none I can remember.  While Hillary has shown some ethical deficiency and is polarizing to some, Trump’s blatant sexist, racist, narcissistic, immoral, and hateful behavior truly frightens me.  It saddens me that half of our country is eager to blindly follow empty rhetoric.  I am disappointed that so many people are as ignorant, selfish, greedy, and as hateful as he is.  I am deeply concerned that our children are seeing this display and that it is possibly their future.  Trump says we are the laughing stock of the world? He may be right, and we only have ourselves to blame.  We are a culture lead by materialism and money is idolized above humanity.  We are a country obsessed with reality TV meltdowns, brainless sound bites, and sexual misdeeds.   The worst part of these ugly, spiteful displays is that it has somehow become our entertainment.

I long to live on a planet where there are no Housewives or Kardashians.  I know I’m in the minority and I’m okay with that. Many people watch the Real A-holes of Insert City because they find it hilarious.  It’s silly, it’s pretty to look at, and it’s over the top.  It's escapism.  I know we need that in our stressful lives, but I know there is a healthier option.  Watching ignorant people treat each other horribly is not entertainment to me.  It makes me physically uncomfortable.  The saddest part of this is that these “reality” situations are manufactured for our entertainment.  We are entertained by terrible, mean, hurtful behavior. I am “simply positive” it is time to recalibrate what entertains you.

Don’t get me wrong – I love pop culture and enjoy television and movies.  I have nothing against people who are famous – especially if they have earned the status for a special talent or invention or impact on the world.  Nowadays it doesn’t take much to be famous and you certainly do not need talent.  Swap your face on Snapchat and dubsmash a pop song, throw it on YouTube and a million “likes” later and you are famous.  Our nations’ obsession with celebrity could quite possibly determine our next president.

Your homework this week is to assess what entertains you.  How much time are you spending with things that are not adding value to your life?  Has ugly, hateful behavior become entertainment for you? What can you replace that time with?