Sunday, January 29, 2017


Like anyone with a computer or smart phone, I am overwhelmed with the amount of information flooding my brain.  The new Realm we have all been forced to enter can be overwhelming, even if you are a supporter.  It is hard to decipher what is true, what is false and what is exaggerated for benefit.  It’s easy to get sucked into the rabbit hole of negativity or add volume to exploitation or outrage.  We all feel helpless so we jump on any tidbit of “fact” so we can feel part of some action or response.  We all want to feel more in control of a country that is turning into a dictatorship.  It’s totally understandable, but maybe we should think about slowing down.  Why are we so quick to respond, when we haven’t taken time to process?  I think anyone using social media needs a Time Out and space to recognize that not everything we see online is true or needs a response. 

We all know the media and/or the government hand-picks what “truths” the public is privy to.  Let’s take the audience for the Inauguration, for example.  Camera A shows giant crowds and Camera B shows a quarter of the amount.  We believe what we want to believe – what proof do we really have unless we were there?  With the new-age of smart phones, we have instant proof of life. But do we?  We live in an age of computer master-minds…elementary-aged coders and middle-school meme creators.  We live amongst high-school hackers and college-aged website masters.  Anyone, nowadays, has the ability to manipulate the truth.  So how do we stay true to our beliefs when it is almost impossible to know what is true and what is not?   I’m “simply positive” that for me, it’s instinct.  I trust my gut.  I read something and then I pause.  I take a moment before deciding whether or not to share it or respond to it.  I evaluate the source. I scour the content. I use my head first and heart second.

Most of my friends are not supporters of our new regime.  A lot of them are sharing negative memes, cartoons and sarcastic comments about He Who Shall Not Be Named.  I am just as outraged as my fellow Americans, but I just don’t see the point of the nastiness…exactly how is that going to effect change?  If the people creating those jokes could spend the same amount of time calling their Senators, that could actually move us forward.  I can’t help but go back to my preschool days.  Remember THINK?  Is it T-rue? Is it H-elpful? Is it I-nspiring?  Is it N-ecessary?  Is it K-ind? If it doesn’t fall into one of these categories – and hopefully it falls into more than one – than it doesn’t get repeated by me on social media.  Our leader doesn’t think before he acts or speaks… we need to.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Changing What I Cannot Accept

Like millions of people around the world, I’ve been feeling uneasy about the America I’ll live in for the next four years.  I’ve been feeling helpless, like I’m finding my way in the dark, or living in an anticyclone of uncertainty and fear.  It seems fitting, as here in Michigan we’ve been blanketing by a deep, depressing fog for many days. 

For weeks leading up to the inauguration, my anxiousness grew daily and I began to have nightmares.  Night after night I dreamt I was trapped on a boat or a bus and couldn’t find space to breathe or a way to get out.  No matter how much I wanted to slow the clock, January 20th was fast approaching like a train I couldn’t stop. The day of the Inauguration I avoided the media, did not turn on the television and didn’t engage in political conversation.  I took myself to yoga and thought a deep practice might help me realign on a higher level.  Yoga always brings me strength and peace.  That day our practice focused on our fifth chakra, which addresses the throat, and symbolizes our personal truth.  I asked myself what my truth was and was dismayed to find my instinct was “helplessness.”  The further I moved through my practice the more I thought about my truth and realized that I had the power to change it right then and there. Did I want to spend the next four years feeling this way?  A new mantra formed and rang over and over in my mind…“I am in control of myself.”  I did not have control over the outcome of the election; nor do I have control over the people filled with antisemetic, xenophobic, racist, sexist thoughts;  but I have a voice.  I do have control over that.  My first amendment rights are still intact and I am still in control of myself and my actions. 

Yesterday was the Sister March in Lansing, which I was proud to be one of thousands  I saw a great sign that was so fitting for me:  “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” It was uplifting to stand with my brothers and sisters of every race, color and ethnicity who all stand for the same principals.  For me, this March had little to do with partisanship, and everything to do with human decency.  It gave me hope that together we can move forward.  Never in my life have I felt such a real opportunity for change.  Our friends from all over the world marched with us.  Friends in Sydney, London, Cape Town and Nairobi all want the same thing.  This is like no other peaceful protest on earth – together we have made history.  Now is the time to use our voices.  Get involved.  Find a cause you believe in and get behind it.  Fight for it – because we don’t have a leader fighting for us.  Make yourself heard.  Write your politicians and let them know how you feel.  Do you research, talk to your neighbors; stand for something, because as we know, if you don’t stand for something, you stand for nothing.  With this said, I refuse to lower my standards of humanity.   I refuse to engage in negativity, Facebook wars or pointless banter.   I’m “simply positive” that I can join this movement with my morals intact and without hurting others.  Kindness and positivity will join my voice and I will be heard.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

What's the Word?

“What is the meaning of life?”  This is an age-old question we still don’ t have the answer to, but maybe it’s because we are asking the wrong question.  Maybe the question is, “How do make this vast, existential inquiry a personal one?"  For me, I’ve come to realize that the meaning of my own life is my intent.  I’ve spent lots of time pursuing my purpose on this earth but until last week, hadn’t given much thought as to my intent.  Are they one and the same?   My interpretation is that they are slightly different.  Purpose and Intention involve an aim or plan, but Intent also means: “the healing process of a wound”.  Purpose is an intention for you set for yourself, and Intent is an aim set to help others.

What your intent?  If you had to sum up your life into just one word, what would that word be?  What’s the first word that comes to mind? Don’t give it too much thought! Just trust your gut and see what happens.  I did this last week with a company called and it threw me for a loop.

I found by accident while Internet surfing and it caught my attention. 
It was an advertisement for a very basic-looking bracelet.  The simple round grommet with colorful string was definitely not a fashion statement so what was all the fuss about?  Why was Kanye West wearing it on the cover of Time magazine?  I read it’s mission statement, “Our mission is to be a catalyst for meaningful conversation and positive energy in the world.”  Hmmmmm – all that from a bracelet?  Okay, I’ll play.

After choosing a color, I was asked to choose a word.  I instinctively chose the word “Give.”  This really surprised me, as I would have thought I would have chosen mother or smile or positivity or kindness.  Why would I choose Give?  Maybe that was part of the exercise – to dive deep into myself to figure out my intent.  Upon checkout, I was asked to complete my “Story”….they wanted to know why I chose the word “Give” so that while they were making my bracelet they could keep it in mind.  How sweet!  Without thinking, I wrote:  “My intent is to give.  Give my time. My love. My smile. My positivity.  It has taken me a long time to figure out what my passion in life is and I’ve realized it doesn’t take much to fill me. Giving of myself is my life’s passion.”  Just writing that down on paper fulfilled me and solidified my intent – something I had never given thought to before. It made me realize that I do have something valuable to share. What I have to give is enough.  I am not going to change the world by inventing a cure for cancer, nor am I going to be the first female president, but I am going to give as much as I can to as many people as I can.  I am “simply positive” that is my intent in this lifetime.

I received my bracelet this week with a handwritten note from Rachel, the girl who packaged or possibly produced it.  She wrote, “When you do something from your soul, a river moves in you. A joy.” –Rumi.  “Keep shining.”   While I do like my new bracelet, it is not something I need to wear every day to remind me to fulfill my intent.   The happiness I feel every day from living my positive life comes from the river moving inside of me that spills from the ocean of my intent.  The happy little dots are all connected and it all makes sense now. 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Life is a Battlefield

Life is like a field filled with land mines of battles waiting to erupt.  You can either tip toe around the battle or pick the ones worth fighting for.  Running through them all is just exhausting, makes no sense and causes one to be disillusioned and angry.  I have a strategy for dealing with life’s battles….it’s called breathing.  All day long we are bombarded with little and big possibilities for battle.  Stop.  Take a breath or two, and then decide if it’s worth it.  I’m “simply positive” that most of the time it’s not.

When I was younger, I avoided as many battles as I could, not because I was protecting my sanity, but because I wasn’t brave enough to fight them.  I was surrounded by some strong personalities that didn’t fight fair, so my role model for argument was one I chose not to emulate.  As I grew older, I decided I needed more control, so I would fight explosive battles, then run away from the consequence or the solution.  That, also, was not healthy. Now that I’ve been on the planet for a few more decades, and have seen a thing or two, I have settled into how I want and need to navigate life’s battles.  I do not avoid them, yet I do not seek them out.  I deal with the ones I’m supposed to with grace and dignity.

Why do we argue and fight and get irritated with one another so easily?  Why are we so impatient in our daily lives?  We let every little, single thing climb under our skin until it becomes ammunition for a battle that doesn’t need to be fought.  I just don’t live my life that way.  I choose to lead with my positive foot each morning.  I don’t let the car cutting me off in traffic rouse me.  I don’t let the snarky grocery clerk irritate me.  I don’t let the kids’ wet towel on the bathroom floor cause concern.  These are things I just don’t need clouding my judgment for the battles I may need to choose later.  I choose my own battles very wisely, and it takes quite a lot for me to jump into the fire, so if I do it, it means only one thing…that behind it all, there is love.  Nobody has an argument if there is apathy behind it.   A loud battlefield means there is passion behind it.  There is feeling.  If there is a battle requiring my attention, and I am not engaging, however, do not take that omission as weakness.  A quiet battlefield is the loudest of all. 

It is important to learn which battles to fight, and which to walk away from.  Some, I move away from because in the end, they just aren’t important, and some I move away from because the person or issue isn’t rational or I know without a doubt that my involvement will make no impact.  When my kids are upset about something and have to make a determination to have a confrontation, I always ask them, “In five years, will this still be on your mind?  Will this still matter?”  If the answer is no, it is not a battle worth fighting for. If the answer is “yes,” give it all you’ve got.

Another thing I’ve learned through the years is that battles can be diffused if you take your ego out of the equation.  People just want to be heard.  Sometimes it is more important to empathize with someone’s feelings, than to argue a point, or command affirmation of your own point of view.  Take yourself out of the equation and put yourself in the other’s shoes.  Without clouding the canvas with your own feelings, can you see their side? 

When a battle comes your way, is it the same one you had yesterday and the day before that?  Sometimes the pattern of insanity needs to be recognized and you need to walk away.  There is strength in accepting what you cannot change. Not all battles should be fought and not all that are, can be won, but one thing I’m sure of is that they all leave scars.  Only you can decide if the scar is worth the battle.