Responsibility and Our Own Actions

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Be the change you want to see in the world - Ghandi

Be the change

With the risk of making people angry at me, I felt compelled to write this article.  It’s not intended to insult anyone but to make people THINK on their own and to stop casting blame.  Guess what?  WE are part of every situation and the outcome of every situation.  The fault is not just of one person, but all of ours.  Again, my intention here is to plant a seed and to make you think.

I felt especially compelled to write this article today, the day of the funeral of fallen police officer Ramos.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Ghandi

WE are powerful people.  When we are silent, things occur that may not be pleasing to us.  This is evident in EVERY area of our lives.  But, yet we don’t necessarily take responsibility for the outcomes and then we BLAME others when things don’t work out the way we prefer.  What do I mean?  Let’s look at some examples that may occur in our everyday lives.

Relationships:  This can be a love relationship, work relationship, a relative, or a friend.  Sometimes we don’t like the behavior of someone.  What do we do?  Do we sit down and have an intelligent conversation and “lay it all out on the table”?  Let’s be truthful… I would bet that, in the majority of instances, we don’t.  Instead, we complain.  Perhaps we go behind their back and do “stuff” that only exacerbates a situation to “get them”.  Just our own talking about whatever “it” is makes us more angry and frustrated.  A better way would be to talk about it TOGETHER and figure out the next step.

Maybe the person causing your issue isn’t aware of what they are doing?  Think about your boss.  They “make” you do stuff, or give you bad hours, or “take advantage”.  My own children complain about this type of situation.  The key word here is complain.  Complaining does not get you anywhere.  So, what do you do?  Perhaps your supervisor or manager is overwhelmed in their own situation or the pressures of their position.  Bringing them an awareness of what is troubling you or a hardship that is created may alleviate issues for you both.  I’m sure they would appreciate it much more than the hostility, hard feelings and antagonistic behaviors that result when these type of feelings are held inside. My oldest son recently had been completely overwhelmed with his hours at work and his workload at college.  Did he mention it to his manager?  Nope.  Would he have been better off if he had?  Absolutely.

Again, we can apply this to every situation in our lives. A relationship with a relative or a spouse would definitely benefit from sitting down and working things out.  Look at the ramifications of not doing this – the hostility, hurt, and the alienation that result when we don’t.  This is evident in situations with relatives in my own family – who doesn’t like who, who doesn’t talk to who.  And, how many people know someone going through a divorce?  It is an amicable parting or are they trying to “screw” the other?  Or, who knows people in a marriage that is “failing”?  I truly believe there is a way to work things out.  Talking about the feelings being harbored inside is definitely, in my opinion, the first step.  Human beings are not mind readers and there is no way we can assume another party knows that they are troubling us or causing a hardship.  Bullying comes to mind here, as well.  Just “food for thought”, but at what point do we stand up for what is right?  History repeats itself if we let it (I’ll explain this statement in a moment).  We know there are issues, but do we continue to be enablers?

Another important thing to consider is that we have to let the person bringing us a situation the opportunity to speak. Instead, do we get defensive?  I know I have been guilty of this myself… we justify our actions because, after all, we’re right, aren’t we?  It’s important to listen to what the person coming to you is speaking about.  Sometimes it makes sense to see what we don’t consciously see; even when something we did or said was not intended in the way it was perceived.  But, here’s the beauty of this.  We have the ability to work out whatever was the situation in a kind and amicable way.  Perhaps we can even start over with a fresh perspective to make things better for all parties.

Responsibility — In today’s society there is so much thrown at us. So much news, so many opinions, so much stuff telling us how to think and what we should think.

Unfortunately, it is evident that this way is not productive.  We can see the ramifications when people are caught up in the fervor.  It’s the “lynch mobs” of yesteryear, the riots, like the time in our society of the Salem witch hunt.  A few sentences ago I noted the statement of “history will repeat itself if we let it”.  I wrote that in our book, If I Knew then What I Know Now (www.IfIKnewthenBook.com). Unfortunately, we continue to let it.

The Salem witch hunt, to me, was such a sad time in our nation’s history.  We can see situations in our society’s history, again and again, of how fast people just “jump on the bandwagon”.  It perplexes me how this can be.  Perhaps an excuse for the actions of our people in the 1600’s was ignorance and lack of education.  But, in the year 2014 (and almost 2015) it is hard to imagine that this can be an excuse. I believe many of us now run on political agendas and “blame”.

Maybe it’s time to stop and figure out what is the next best step to bring unity to our people.  Look at the hardship and sadness that result from how we’re currently operating.  Look at the negative feelings that are building and building in our society.  Look at the instances where our politicians have forgotten who they work for an their harmful actions that cause irreparable damage.  Again, it’s the year 2014.  When will this madness stop?  Why is it always “us” against “them”?

It’s time for each of us to take responsibility for our own actions, to sit down, to act like intelligent people and to make the best choices for the whole.

That’s really the means to a simple solution.

But, unfortunately, when we are silent – and I’m not talking about the noise being made by the angry mobs roaming the streets of our cities, as I believe these are extremely unproductive – we get nowhere.

What is the next best step?  Where do we go from here?

Anger, frustration, hate, and fear are all unproductive.

Let’s figure out what is the best way for US to proceed forward at this time.  The key word here is FORWARD, instead of progressively moving backwards.  All we have to do is look at all the options and choose the best one – TOGETHER.  Let’s take responsibility for our actions, alone and together.  The alternative is just not acceptable.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Ghandi

A statement worth repeating again and again; only WE, together, can effectively create that change.

30 Days of Turning Up the Noise on My Life: Challenge to Do More

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Everyone falls into patterns and gets comfortable in their routines. How do you work your way out of a rut?

Right now I feel like I need to do a bit more to enhance my life, move out of my comfort zone, and push – something on mission, something that truly makes me practice what I preach, something challenges me to dig a bit deeper.

I preach this.  If you want to amplify the quality of your life and fire up the chemicals and electrical activity in your brain you must:

  • Be mentally and physically active;
  • Be social and feel the collective energy;
  • Be engaged in your life and your activities;
  • Be purposeful – find meaning and positive approaches that feed you on a deeper level; and
  • Be complicated – add levels of complexity to the every day.

Be more be better

So here goes. Each day this month I commit to turning up the noise on at least one piece of my day. That means, I am making a promise to myself to amplify my life by looking at something through a new lens, adding sensory data, focusing harder, noticing more, consciously activating pathways, taking on a new activity, or engaging in my life at a higher level!

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you took a daily challenge to improve the quality of your life- to actually do, feel, experience, and be more?

I plan to find out.  You in?

The Enjoy Life Community™ Project

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Enjoy Life Community

Enjoy Life Community Announcement at Brookhaven Town Board Meeting

I was privileged this past week to have our Enjoy Life Community™ committee and members of the Time to Play Foundation’s Business Advisory Board attend the Town of Brookhaven’s Board meeting to announce the Enjoy Life Community™ Project.  The first Enjoy Life Community™ is in the process of forming in Port Jefferson Station, New York.  It is an amazing concept, and something that I know people will embrace so we can ALL have a better life and enjoy life.

I cannot describe the feeling I had presenting this to the Town Board.  This project is something I have been working toward for many years.

Thank you to our community coordinator, Christian Dideriksen and our core committee Christina Grimes, Michael Dorn, Dina Simoes, Jacki Kirsch, Charles McAteer and Jeff Kito.  Thank to to our dedicated Business Advisory Board Members of the Time to Play Foundation Dr. Joseph Rella, Nick LaMorte, Kevin McCormack, and to the Business Advisory Board Victoria Molloy whose intelligence and energy never ceases to amaze me.  Thank you to Jennifer and Councilwoman Cartwright – your support is a driving force behind us.

The following is the LONG version of what I did want to say at the Town Board Meeting, but I only had 3 actual minutes to speak, so I had to cut it down significantly.  I figured I would post it here to give readers an overview of what we’re aiming to do.

If you would like to get more information, please email me at doreen@timetoplay.com or call our office at 631-331-2675.  We have a whole protocol which we would love to share with your community – and this is applicable for anywhere in the country (or international if there is interest)!

It’s Time to Enjoy Life!

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Good evening Supervisor Romaine, Town Clerk Lent and members of the Board.  My name is Doreen Guma, and I am the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of enjoying life.

I am here this evening to make you aware of a new community initiative called the Enjoy Life Community™ Program, the first of which is launching in Port Jefferson Station, my own home town.  I am currently in the process of introducing the concept to other communities, as it is believed that every community should be an Enjoy Life Community™ .

We acknowledge that there are many organizations in EVERY community that do wonderful things.  As a matter of fact, our current inaugural committee, our enjoy life ambassadors, are still in the process of contacting and explaining the concept of the Enjoy Life Community to the over 50 organizations in Port Jefferson Station.  Our inaugural group has met a few times, but it is the goal of the Enjoy Life community to include everyone and every organization – for example rotary clubs, civic associations, business improvement districts, volunteer fire departments, schools, PTAs, clubs, religious organizations, law enforcement agencies, girl scouts, boy scouts, healthcare providers, veterans service organizations, and our elected officials… we are all in this together.

The intention of the Enjoy life community is NOT to duplicate what is already being done by a community’s groups, but to provide an opportunity, through the enjoy life community coordinator, committee and enjoy life ambassadors, to prioritize projects and programs needed, collaborate together and achieve.  The enjoy life community will not focus on problems, but the goal is to proactively embrace what our community needs to enjoy life.

The enjoy life community also creates a cohesive way to disseminate the information about what our amazing organizations are doing and to identify ways to support each other and work together to identify ways we can make things better… and, then, to make it happen!

Therefore, the goal of the Enjoy Life Community™ is to bring ALL community organizations, groups and businesses together to focus on the needs of the community as a whole and not the problems; to encourage everyone to get involved, to spread the news of the good works community groups and people are currently doing; to eliminate the hopelessness or powerlessness feeling that people feel, and encourage them to believe that, as a community, we can achieve anything.

Another feature of the enjoy life community will be the welcome to our enjoy life community signs, which we envision installed throughout the community, to remind people of the importance to enjoy life.  It is hoped that the reminder will trigger a sense of pride and a positive momentum in the lives of all who live here.

The Enjoy Life Community will become a micro hub where we can create a wish list and everyone can pitch in so we can ALL enjoy life and make things happen.  Where we can focus on the positive of what we need to enjoy life, not the problems and negative, for example neighborhood watch communities which say “we have crime here”, or anti drug task force or anti anything which absolutely emphasize the issues and problems.  How amazing would it be to replace those “neighborhood watch” signs with “We are an Enjoy Life Community” signs.  We are not disqualifying the good works being done or discounting the value of these types of committees and functions.  We acknowledge that they may be necessary and that they may be part of the enjoy life community’s objectives… but, just think of the possibilities of turning to the positive and what the concept of the Enjoy Life Community™, can do.

Nothing is impossible when we work together.

The enjoy life community will also provide a centralized location, both online and off, to inform people of all the good work and great resources that are currently in our communities.  With every organization involved, the information about what’s going on and what the Enjoy life Community’s focus is will be easily communicated.

We believe that when people know the needs, goals and objectives of the Enjoy Life community™, we believe so many more will get involved in the initiative and be an active part of the good works being done and the good works that will be done, together.  We hope that people will feel good about and proud about where they live and become enjoy life ambassadors of their community, which is what we here, before you, are today.  I, and those next to me are the first enjoy life ambassadors for Port Jefferson station.

Each enjoy life community™ will have a coordinator and a committee made up of liaisons of all of the community organizations and any interested community members not yet part of an organization.  The enjoy life community will also act as a central repository for existing resources, and, together, the committee will develop a list of priorities where the community can work together to fill in the void where there is a need.

I am pleased to be joined tonight by an amazing and dedicated group – the first enjoy life ambassadors for the Port Jefferson Station community.  The committee coordinator is Christian Dideriksen, a lifelong member of Port Jefferson Station and volunteer firefighter.  Christina Grimes, Michael Dorn, Dina Simoes, Jacki Kirsch, Charles McAteer and Jeff Kito.  Also here tonight are some of our dedicated Business Advisory Board Members of the Time to Play Foundation Dr. Joseph Rella, Nick LaMorte, Kevin McCormack, and Board Chair Victoria Molloy, who fully support this initiative.

Over the last few months I have met with my Councilwoman, Councilwoman Valerie Cartwright, to inform her about the Enjoy Life community™ project.  We are looking forward to her participation at our first event and our first full committee meeting scheduled for 11/6.  It is our hope that the Town board will be supportive of this endeavor and that we will have opportunities to collaborate and partner in the future.

The Time to Play Foundation’s mantra is collaboration = success and people helping people.  We look forward to helping Port Jefferson Station and many more communities to Enjoy Life.

Thank you for your time.

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Enjoy Life Community™ Copyright © 2014 by Doreen Guma for the Time to Play Foundation, Inc., a 501c3 not for profit corporation with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of enjoying life.  All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to:  Time to Play Foundation, Inc., 1075 Route 112, Lower Level, Pt. Jeff Sta.,NY 11776 | 631-331-2675 | www.TimetoPlay.com | info@timetoplay.com

The effects of inconsiderate behavior on others

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Impact on othersLook around.  It’s everywhere. 

I like to learn and observe.  It’s how I understand things and how I grow.  Over and over again I have become more aware of examples of behaviors that completely adversely affect others.  I truly believe, deep down, that we might not actually realize our impact on another person and the effect it might have. 

I recognize the idea of cause and effect and know that something a person may experience may cause a domino affect in their behavior.  That domino affect can cause them to act inappropriately to another.  Again, sometimes we may just get caught up in the situation we are experiencing and might not even realize what our impact on another may be.

I believe this is a very hard topic to discuss without making someone angry.  I started thinking about this topic this morning after receiving a text from my son.  He was at work, and he texted that if he could not transfer stores he was quitting his job.  He is currently having a bad experience with a coworker.  I felt so bad for him because I can feel his pain.  We’ve all most likely been there and can all agree that it’s an experience that is so unnecessary.

That got me to thinking about a news report I saw only a few days ago on TV regarding people’s dissatisfaction at their jobs and the huge statistic that had been reported as part of the story regarding bullying in the workplace.  I did Google to try to find the report and came up with an article published on Forbes.com on 9/18/14: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kathryndill/2014/09/18/one-in-five-workers-has-left-their-job-because-of-bullying.  The article discussed that nearly 1/3 of people have experienced bullying, a statistic that crosses over gender and racial lines; men, women, Caucasian, Asian, African-American – it doesn’t matter.  The article also discussed that people in management positions were also experiencing bullying.  In the article a woman named Rosemary Haefner was quoted in a statement that, “Bullying impacts workers of all backgrounds regardless of race, education, income, and level of authority within an organization.” 

Just imagine how the behavior of one or more in a workplace affects others.  In a work situation, the unfortunate scenario is that many people cannot just quit a job because of family obligations.  The behaviors of others can significantly impact a person where they will be so affected and frustrated and stressed that they will not be able to let the feeling go; hence the domino effect.  How do you think they will interact with others if they have to deal with a situation that is disturbing to them?  A situation they know they cannot change and that is causing significant distress in their lives?  And, how does this effect the atmosphere in the workplace as a whole and, to go further, the lives of their family and friends?

The information in the article is not new.  Just Google bullying in the workplace – there are many articles available for you to read.  I’m sure there is also a lot of information in studies available, in general, about the impact of making others feel badly about themselves.

History will repeat itself if we let it.  This is something I wrote in my book, If I Knew then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life (www.IfIKnewThenBook.com).  I also discussed the saying “Words Cut Like a Knife” in the book.  Both of these statements are, sadly, true.

I believe it is so important to really think about the impact we have on others – what we say, what we don’t say, and our actions.

Have you promised someone you would do something and then gone back on that promise?  If it’s your child, it could be something so simple like playing ball or going for ice cream – something so simple that can have a negative impact on them for years to come.

How about a spouse?  Have you promised something and not followed through?  How about something you promised a friend, or a co-worker?  Have you kept your promise or obligations? Have you returned that call, email or text???

Our actions, or non-actions, can make impacts others that we may not even consider.  You know how our brains work and how people sometimes dwell on things.  I hate to even go there, but, I believe that sometimes what we say, do, or don’t say to another can even cause a situation so significant that it can have a life or death impact.

I believe we’re here to encourage others, to embrace the dreams of others, to make things happen.  I believe we are people that are supposed to help people. 

I personally live by the mindset of people helping people and collaboration = success.

I believe that when we respect each other and when we work together magic WILL happen.

Stop fighting.  Stop blaming.  Stop finding fault.  Stop not following through.

What have you promised?

What will your actions do to another?  Will they help them or hinder them?

Think before you speak or act . . . something that may seem so simple or not important to you might really cause someone to hurt inside very deeply and impact their lives in a truly negative manner.

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, Inc., a 501c3 corporation with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of enjoying life. – See more at: www.TimetoPlayFoundation.org 

Figuring Out the Details: Looking For Clues in Context

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We often don’t see the whole picture and are expected to figure things out with limited bits of information. Looking for clues in the context can help you orient yourself and figure out how to prioritize information.  Let’s take a closer look at how this works.

First up….

1ZI pc program

There are several clues here. The first line is in bold so that would indicate some kind of listing — in this case a workshop title.  The words “Exhibit Hall” and “affords participation” also point to a conference.  Here is a the conference brochure.

exhibit book

 

 

Entry #2:

1zi bookjacket

 

The purple background and white letters here tell you that this is probably not a newspaper or traditional magazine.  Probably not a the interior of a novel either.  The words “visionary with strong…” and the attribution to  “Miami Herald”  indicate a review. It is a book jacket covered with reviews.

2 seth godin out

 

Bit #3:
1ZI bookmans

The clues in this are found both in the writing and printing styles.  Times New Roman letters on an off white background indicate traditional printing. The language is loose and feels a bit conversational so this is probably not  a news vehicle or a piece of business writing.   It is a page of novel.  One of my recent favorites, The Bookman’s Tale, that I won on one of my favorite blogs, Books Is Wonderful,  with one of my recent favorite lines, “One day when, without prior notice, life changes is a fundamental way.”

bookman out

 

And this delicious bit….

1zi menuThe words were a good indicator that this had something to do with food.  The type style changed as well and the tells you that this was probably not a food review.  The informal use of a + gave further clues and the textured looking paper sealed it that this morsel came from a menu — a menu from an amazing restaurant Bo Beau in Long Beach, CA.

bb menu out

 

And here is one you can hold in your hand….

1ZI pc bc

Phone number? It is the back of my business card!

bc out

This one is something I see all the time….

1ZI pc of research

What are the clues here?  Could this be some kind of reference to the piece?  Article 245 on page 1something? “me 8 indicates volume?  I spend entirely too much time reading journal articles but this is a good one — a study about what happens to the brain when you listen to music every day!

2 res paper out

 

And the final entry….

1ZI pc inside boook

Clues here are in type style and wording.  Times New Roman so maybe a book or newspaper. The phrases “business dinners”, “by spa doyen Deborah” and “first wellness ret(reat)” point to a review of location.  This happens to be in a great book “1,000 Places to See Before You Die” that my friend from Midlife at the Oasis sent me in book box.  This description really makes me want to go to the Golden Door….

1000 out

 

Inspire Someone

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Inspire Someone

Inspire Someone

The articles I have written for the past months have all centered on how to empower yourself and how to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move forward, no matter what the situation.  Usually I base these articles on some type of personal life experience I have had or a thought that comes to my mind due to something in the news or something I have seen.

This article is a little different.  It’s more about looking at things outside yourself and actually seeing what is happening outside of your own daily experience.  That overview statement is not meant to be rude. I just know that we become so busy in our everyday that sometimes we don’t “see”.

How many people have you ever talked to, or met, who you thought had an amazing talent or potential.  Have you ever “taken that person by the hand” to help them aspire to be all they can be? We’ve all heard those sayings and phrases like “diamond in the rough”.  The concept here is seeing that diamond and helping it shine.

My son Gregory (he’s a psychology major in NYC) and I speak about people who have dreams and desires and wind up in “dead end” jobs instead of pursuing their passion.  I know that we all get stuck sometimes and have to take a job to feed the kids and pay the bills; however, from personal experience, (it took me 20 years to get my Master’s degree) and seeing others achieve that “life-long” dream, there is possibility for each and every one of us to do what’s in our hearts.

Sometimes, I’ve learned, we just have to chip away at “it” until “it” becomes reality – even taking those 20 years to accomplish.  I read something many years ago by Ann Landers – many of you may never have heard of her.  She passed away years ago and was an advice columnist that had a daily column in the newspaper.  Someone had written to “Dear Ann Landers” and said they were considering going back to school but that it would take them 8 years to complete.  She answered by writing back something like, “The 8 years will pass whether you go to school or not, so why not go?”  Truly, I’ve lived by those words.  I know you can make anything happen that you want to, and I do know the years will pass whether you do it or not.  But, when you choose NOT to do it, there may be regrets.  I choose to live life so I will have NO REGRETS.  What do you choose?

Inspire others is the hope to create awareness to look at the positives, to see the potential, and to stop labeling people as sick, sad, depressed, “no good”…  Perhaps it is time to look at the “diamond” and to see what they can be, to take them “by the hand” and encourage them to go for it.  In my experience this has been the absolute opposite of what actually happens.  I have experienced more people saying why they can’t or telling others why they can’t than actually making it happen.  Maybe it’s easier.  Maybe, deep down, they don’t want others to achieve what is in their hearts.  Maybe that’s tough to say or tough to hear.  Maybe we need to stop believing things can’t be done.

I believe the awareness, or a reminder that WE CAN, is all anyone needs.  Sometimes all someone may need is to take a moment to stop, take a step back, and look at the possibilities.  Sometimes, I’ve realized and I’ve seen, all it takes is the time to objectively look at and evaluate a situation, objective, or goal in order to find paths that will take us to where we want to be or to what we want to achieve.

That’s one of the driving forces behind Time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation.  To encourage people to not have regrets.  We only get one shot at this life, and there may not be an opportunity for “do-overs”. 

Today, when you go to work, the store, school, or anywhere else, don’t disqualify the people who do even the smallest tasks.  Take a moment to stop and talk to them.  What do they love, what is their passion, what do they dream about.

Over the past weeks I have been working to coordinate the I CAN BExtraordinary® Fashion Show to benefit Special Olympics at the Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, NY that will be held this Saturday, 9/13.

Why did I choose Special Olympics Athletes to be models?  These athletes inspire me.  They are amazing examples of not seeing an obstacle, of making something happen, of “going for the gold”.

These Atletes don’t let anything stop them from achieving their goals.

They are absolutely extraordinary, and absolutely a learning example to those who think they can’t do something.

They Can.  YOU Can.  Others Can.

Look around today.  Who is that diamond in the rough that just needs a little encouragement? 

Inspire someone.  Go for the gold.

Love, Doreen

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Doreen Guma is a person who has believed in “people helping people” her whole life, leading to the founding of Time to Play (www.TimetoPlay.com) and the Time to Play Foundation, a not for profit organization with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of enjoying life.  See more at www.TimetoPlayFoundation.org

You can run but you can’t hide

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you can run but you can't hideThis quote, “You can run but you can’t hide”, attributed to Joe Lewis, American Heavyweight Boxer, popped into my mind the other day.  It can’t be more true.

As I sit here writing this, I think about the dentist appointment I’ve been putting off and the other things on my “to do” list that I prefer to ignore.  I absolutely know that there is no room in our lives to put things off.  They will always come back to haunt you; sometimes with a vengeance.

This quote perfectly pertains to the Time to Play Philosophy, which identifies that you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to have quality of life.  In my experience, and my belief, you cannot ignore any of these areas in achieving balance. 

As a person who has worked in healthcare for the majority of my life, I absolutely can attest that if you don’t have your health you don’t have anything… Grandma used to say that all the time, and, trust me; I have seen people living in nursing homes with health issues that may have been preventable. This is a subject discussed in our book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life (www.IfIKnewThenBook.com).  I recognize that if you ignore a health concern, it just won’t go away. 

What to do?  We all, deep down, know what’s right and what’s wrong.  You know if you’re eating the incorrect things.  It’s all definitely a choice, and I’m certainly far from perfect.  As a person with a gluten sensitivity, many times I’ll default to a food item that I know is “safe” as far as gluten is concerned but that is a non-preferred food choice as far as “health”; for example, potato chips – something that has become a “go to” when I’m at a party and there is nothing else available.  Being too busy to eat the way I know is best is also a great excuse I make, even now at 48 years old. 

I know that planning ahead in most every area of life is key, but I am old enough to recognize that planning ahead can sometimes be overwhelming. 

I also know now that each moment of each day enables a new choice, which is a very reassuring thought to me.  This enables practical behavior and an opportunity to change whatever I’m doing, at any time, to accommodate whatever my needs are at that given moment.

However, with age, it becomes even more apparent to me.  I now know you can’t hide.

You can’t hide from troubling issues that impact your happiness, whether it is a work relationship, a personal relationship or a family relationship.  If you ignore something, it’s still there.  Not only is it still there, but it’s in your mind all the time.  Sometimes it is hidden, but it always, somehow, makes it back into your thought pattern.  Sometimes the thoughts become haunting and can take you from having a great day to bringing you down.  Thoughts may be triggers that can, if you listen, make you aware that it is time to address something, change something, or do something.  If you are in a situation that affects your happiness, it may be time to reevaluate that, too. What is in your current experience that will enable you to make a change? 

Change is hard and people resist change.  We’d rather just deal with the situation that is known vs. trying something new.  However, there definitely becomes a time when what we’re dealing with, if it’s not working for us, has to change.  My husband and I ask our kids all the time who the most important person in the world is. Do you know?  It’s YOU.  Sometimes I think we forget that.  In reference to happiness, perhaps it is time to look at your options and move forward.  It’s better to address a situation than to let it linger and affect your every day living.

You can’t hide from financial concerns.  This is a big one that, in my experience, gets pushed to the back burner.  There is a lot of help out there for people if they are overburdened.  Just Google debt counseling in your area.  There are always options.  A quick story in reference to this topic. My oldest son was very big on complaining that there were no jobs available.  He stayed in a job that he hated and that paid him less than he needed to make his rent and other bills. We encouraged him to apply to others, but he stayed in that job that created financial hardship for him and that also made him feel stressed and frustrated every day for almost an entire year. Throughout my life I’ve seen people stay in situations like this for many years. I now believe that, where there’s a will, there’s a way.  If you cannot find a job that accommodates your needs, make one!  That’s in our book, too.  No one ever said you have to work for another person.  We are all powerful and have amazing talents.  You can be what you want to be.  I know we sometimes forget the enormous power we have within.  I know that, sometimes, we lose our power and that, sometimes, we feel helpless.  Especially in this time where there is so much fear of losing jobs in our current society.  I acknowledge that, yes, “things” have changed.  However, I also realize that we all have to change with the times. 

What are you good at?  What do you love to do?  Figure out where and how you can “work” in what you love.  This ties in with the work life balance, the remaining part of the Time to Play Philosophy.  It’s been said many times that if you love what you do you will never work a day in your life.  I believe that 1,000%. 

Is making a change easy?  Not necessarily.  Does it take work and does it take persistence?  Absolutely.

However, I truly believe we all have the power within to make it happen. I know you know you can do it.  All of it. 

It’s up to YOU to make it possible. 

Perhaps today is the time to stop hiding.  Perhaps it’s time to take that first step to enjoy life. I guess I’d better get on the phone with that dentist.

Oh, and if you need guidance or support, we do have an amazing team of professionals who are available to help.  Just reach out and we’ll guide you to the right one.

Love, Doreen

Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive with 28 years in healthcare and a certified professional life coach.  Contact her at doreen@timetoplay.com or 631-331-2675

I Can't Do It

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Suzuki Boulevard

Doreen’s Motorcycle

How many times have you said “I CAN’T”.  How many times have you heard others say “I CAN’T”.

I believe that these two words used together should be banished from our vocabulary, as well as from our minds.

As a student of everyday learning, I will use a recent experience as an example.  I know we’re not alone in what happens to us, and so many have experiences where they learned something that could be shared that can help another (see our book, www.IfIKnewthenbook.com). 

My recent experience is a great illustration of the power of “CAN’T”.

I had wanted a motorcycle for the past 28 years.  After a friend recently pass away at 48 years old (my age), I decided today was “someday”.  Sometimes it takes something to occur to motivate us into action today instead of waiting for the someday.  This was the tipping point. 

I enrolled in a class, never before sitting in the driver’s seat of a motorcycle but on the back of my husband’s for all these years.  I did pretty good driving, I thought, only falling over once due to operator error making a very small u-turn at a speed a turtle couldn’t even turn at.  I actually did that a total of three times in three different instances – kind of just falling over, not really “dropping the bike”, at the slowest speed ever trying to make a u-turn.  No big deal, I just picked it up, got back on, and continued to go cautiously slow and putt along.

On with the story…

So, now I have my permit, some skills education and a motorcycle that my husband and son drove 10 hours to pick up for me.  It’s a cute little Suzuki Boulevard, 650cc, 352 pounds, small enough so I can put my feet comfortably on the ground when I stop, and powerful enough that I can drive on a main road.  As a driver with a permit, a licensed motorcyclist has to be with you at all times and no more than ¼ mile away on the roads.  Jim, my husband, who has been riding for 30 years, and my son Nick who has had his own motorcycle for the past two years, took me out that very night after returning home.  I drove around a little in the local school’s parking lot, doing “o.k.”  After practicing two other evenings, I decided I sucked driving the motorcycle because I couldn’t turn well.  It seemed the more I drove around the parking lot, the worse I was doing.  Straight was no problem, but the ability to turn just seemed to perplex me.  I even watched YouTube Videos on how to ride a motorcycle and considered taking more classes.  I felt more overwhelmed and unsure of my skill level than I had the first day that I had sat on one.

I woke up yesterday morning deciding “I CAN’T” turn well enough and that I was not sure I wanted to continue in this endeavor.  Key words: I decided I CAN’T.  Nevertheless, Jim decided we would go out driving again last night.  I suited up (all the gear, all the time!), got on the bike and we drove to the junior high school parking lot 1/4 mile away from our home.  We drove around the parking lot a few moments, and I stopped in the middle of the space stating that I had quit.  I told Jim that I felt I just didn’t have the skills, that I didn’t feel the effort was worth it, that I was done with the endeavor and wanted to sell the motorcycle. He looked at me, said fine, and proceeded to drive out of the school driveway to what I believed was towards our home and our garage.

Instead, he made a right turn out of the parking lot.  Remember the rules – I had to be within ¼ mile of him… I cursed a bit and was absolutely in disbelief that he did not turn towards our home, but I figured he would just be going to the one side street that also looped to our home.  Nope.  He kept going straight.  I cursed a little bit more… but followed.  He went around the very quiet back streets in our neighborhood, and I followed.  He stopped and I pulled up along his side.  “Feel better?” he asked, and, surprisingly, I did.  He started driving again, and I followed.  We crossed at a few stop signs where there were actual cars waiting for their turn, and I had to cross.  After a little bit further, when he pulled over to check in again, he said we were going on the MAIN ROAD.  I asked if he thought I was ready.  He said he had life insurance if I was not – funny right?

He went.  I followed.  I made it.

I CAN.  But I had let my mind believe I could not. 

Allowing our minds to take over with a “CAN’T” can, and will, steal our confidence.  For example, thoughts or verbalizing to others statements like, “I can’t get that job”, “I can’t do that task”, “I can’t pass that test”, “I can’t go to school”, “I can’t ___________” (fill in the blank).

Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”  His words ring true to many people every day.

Aside from this public testimonial that Jim is amazing and that I’m really glad I have been his partner for the past 31 years, it never ceases to amaze me what we can learn every day about ourselves and what we can achieve. 

Later that night we talked about the experience and I thanked him again for what he did, his patience, and his belief that I could ride my motorcycle.  I told him that I was in disbelief that he made that right turn; that I truly was heading home to our garage never to sit on that motorcycle again.  He said it was a split decision, that at the school’s traffic light he realized what would happen and decided to make that right turn. 

What a difference one little decision can make in our lives.

What decisions have you made?  What can you do to break down a task or a goal or an objective that seems too large, or not possible, to make it possible?  To achieve it?  To conquer it?

Henry Ford is right… it is our mind and our “can’t” that we have to combat sometimes to turn around a situation where we feel defeated. 

I CAN. 

Can you?

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It is Time to Play.  www.TimetoPlay.com = It’s time to Enjoy Life.  The Time to Play Foundation, Inc. is a not for profit corporation with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of enjoying life.

Attitude

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AttitudeEvery once in awhile (actually more than once in awhile ever since I’ve worked on becoming more present in “the moment” I am in), I find I learn things just by watching or listening to others — whether it is something a person will say in conversation or in passing, or while observing the actions of another.

Recently I learned something very important from my daughter.  We can learn from our children, and, perhaps, they can provide us with the best lessons and guidance…

A few days ago I drove my daughter Jackie to the oral surgeon’s office to have all four of her wisdom teeth surgically removed.  It was her decision to have the procedure, as she was experiencing pain from her teeth.  I was prepared to take care of whatever she needed for the procedure and recovery. 

We arrived at the oral surgeon’s office and a paperwork issue caused a delay in starting the procedure.  I should mention that Jackie was absolutely mentally and physically prepared for the surgery.  She had NO fear or reservations about it in any way.  Actually, she was even excited about it.  I’ve spoken to others who also were excited to have procedures done expecting the pain following the surgeries to be less than what they were experiencing currently.  She was in that frame of mind.  When the dentist’s office noted that they may have to reschedule, she matter-of-factly stated that that was not even an option and that she was there to have her teeth removed.  At that, they proceeded to do the extraction.

She came through with flying colors, like she just went in for a regular cleaning — totally fine, ready to go home.  She tackled her recovery in the same manner – like it was “no big deal”.  She took her antibiotic, ate mushy food that she chose and, for the most part, cooked herself.  She got her own ice packs when she needed them… She absolutely took care of her own business.  There was no pity party here, no attitude of “woe is me”.

Attitude.

I was amazed at her positive, strong, no issue Attitude.

In retrospect, I believe that if she had been fearful about the procedure or had a different expectation about her recovery she would not have had the same experience.  As a matter of fact, that same evening she even took a shower and went to a wake of a friend who had passed away.  She had been totally determined to go, and she did.

Watching her and observing her Attitude and actions brought me to writing this article. 

I believe Attitude and a positive outlook are probably the most important mindsets we need to be aware off within our day… every day.

Hey, I’m certainly not perfect.  We’re all human.  I get tired or overwhelmed at times. I also tend to over-think things and create scenarios and “what ifs”.  Jackie had no “what ifs” in her experience.  She just went with the flow. 

My current daily goals include striving to be positive and to have the best Attitude possible. My goal, and the goal of my family who constantly remind me if my behavior shifts otherwise, is to become aware of an Attitude shift as soon as possible.  Becoming aware of an undesirable behavior allows me to stop, reevaluate the situation or experience I am facing, and make a change in my behavior; a change for the better so I can enjoy my day and my life.

Having a good Attitude is work on my part!  But I’ve definitely acknowledged that my life is so much better without the old “doom and gloom” going on.  And, I believe that having a positive Attitude sure beats the alternative, which may include feeling poorly, down, sad and/or depressed.

Going one step further, I decided to Google the definition of “Attitude”.  Here’s what I found: “a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior; example: ‘she took a tough attitude toward other people’s indulgences’”.  There was also a second definition of, “a position of the body proper to or implying an action or mental state.”

Let’s just review the definition for a moment:  “A settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior” – it’s all right there.  What we think may directly affect our behavior. What we feel may directly affect our behavior. I don’t know about you, but the main goal I have every day is just to have a nice day.  At the end of the day, I want to get into bed each night with a smile and knowing that I had a great day — every day.  If what we think or what we feel is not positive and proactive, if what we think or what we feel makes us feel sad or bad, then, hopefully, we have an ability to make some sort of a change in our day or in our lives in order to feel differently, and, hopefully, better. 

Think about the second part of the definition of Attitude for a moment.  “A position of the body proper to or implying an action or mental state.”  This part of the definition really tells me how what we think or what we feel not only comes out in our mental state and behavior, but in our body mechanics.  How do you feel when you have a bad Attitude — when something is bothering you?  I believe it does come out in our bodies – in our posture and/or in pain like a headache or backache.  Our Attitude affects more than just our behavior.  Our attitude also affects our health – positively or negatively.

Life is not always a bowl of cherries.  Last night I had an opportunity to see someone I hadn’t seen in years.  He was working two full time jobs and was so exhausted.  He had the hopes to move out of State in a few years to retire.  I asked him what would make him keep going in a displeasing situation and wait for “someday”.  Certainly I have realized, over and over, that we stop objectively seeing what is going on around us and to us.  Sometimes we become almost like robots in our actions and our lives.  Many people live “on the hamster wheel” not enjoying life, but dealing with life and not really living.

What is your daily Attitude?  Is it one of positivity, or one of frustration and stress?

Do you wake each day ready to conquer the world, knowing it’s going to be a great day, with a smile on your face?  Or do you start each day dreading the situation where you are in life and just “existing”?

Even if things aren’t perfect in our lives, our Attitude can make things so much better.  We’ve heard the stories of the people who have survived less than ideal situations in their lives because of their Attitude and how they knew they were going to make it through.  Their positive outlook got them there.

Today, perhaps, do an Attitude check, and don’t forget to take a moment to smile.  It’s time to Enjoy YOUR Life.  It’s Time to Play.

Can Food Intolerance Cause Behavior Issues in Children?

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food intoleranceYou may not believe it, but that seemingly innocent glass of organic milk in your refrigerator may have been part of the culprit leading to your child’s meltdown this morning before school.  But how can a food like dairy cause this to happen?  And are there other foods which can cause this?

According to many researchers and nutrition experts the top common food intolerances include:

 

1-      Dairy

2-      Eggs

3-      Gluten (protein in wheat, rye, oats and barley)

4-      Sugar (particularly if your child has Candida, a yeast overgrowth which can effect behavior which is common in children with compromised digestion and/or disorders on the spectrum, like Autism and ADHD, etc.) 

5-      Shellfish

6-      Soy

7-      Foods high in Salicylates

8-      Food Dyes, preservatives, pesticides, GMO’s (genetically modified foods)

The reason for the behavioral problem and its association with food is interesting.   If you are intolerant to a particular food, what occurs is called an IgG reaction.  This reaction stems from the immune system and causes the body to product an inflammatory chemical, called cytokines.  These inflammatory chemicals can inflame the gut, brain or respiratory tract.   Think about how that:

A:  Effects how we feel physically and

B: How that effects us emotionally

Food intolerance differs from a food allergy, because it causes an immediate reaction which signals the body to produce histamine.  A food allergy or an IgE reaction, requires prompt medical attention in some cases.  While neither reaction is fun, the tricky thing with an IgG reaction or food intolerance is that, unlike a food allergy, in which symptoms occur rapidly, it can take 1-3 days for a reaction to a food to occur.   Therefore, if you are not tracking your foods or working with a professional, you may not notice the reaction in which is occurring and/or which foods are potentially affecting behavior.

Behavior challenges come into play when a child consumes a food in which he/she is intolerant to.  If your child has a glass of milk and the body begins to product cytokines, we can see inflammation in the brain which can cause meltdowns, irritability, anxiety, depression, brain fog and more.  If your child already has compromised digestion, eating a food in which one is intolerant to can also cause further damage as it can cause leaky gut syndrome, a phenomenon which promotes malabosportion of nutrients.

My advice:  If you suspect you or your child have food intolerance, you should seek out the advice of a professional or try to keep a food diary for at least 7 days and log all symptoms and behavior.  Sometimes there is a clear pattern, but sometimes testing is required to ensure which foods are the true offenders.  Remember, you are what you eat.  Many people are shocked to learn how much a food was affecting them and how it made a huge difference to remove the food from the diet.