THE OPPOSITE OF ADDICTION

, , ,

Reprinted from: http://upliftconnect.com/opposite-addiction-connection published by Jonathan Davis on Friday July 17th, 2015

The following article supports the Time to Play Foundation’s concept behind the development of the Enjoy Life Community(r) program.  The research proves that connection, community and cooperation – what we at the Time to Play Foundation have been working so hard to achieve with the Enjoy Life Community(r) model – will help people to create and empower entire communities to create a better life.

By following the principles of the Enjoy Life Community® program, the Time to Play Foundation can empower communities to focus on the strengths, positive and possibilities in their communities to develop solutions and bridge communication barriers in communities, decrease social isolation that may affect an individual’s decision to utilize a negative self-destructive behavior, and create opportunities that will benefit the whole community through a unique application of positive psychology.  See a brief overview at: http://www.timetoplay.com/community and call 631-331-2675 to learn more.

Do Stronger Human Connections Immunize Us Against Emotional Distress?

Right now an exciting new perspective on addiction is emerging. Johann Harri, author of Chasing The Scream, recently captured widespread public interest with his Ted talk Everything You Know About Addiction Is Wrong, where he concluded with this powerful statement:

The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection. – Johann Harri

These sentiments are augmented by a growing number of experts, including addiction specialist Dr Gabor Maté, who cites ’emotional loss and trauma’ as the core of addiction. Compare this ’emotional loss’ to Johan Harri’s idea about lack of connection and it is clear they’re talking about a similar emotional condition.

Limbic Resonance

If connection is the opposite of addiction, then an examination of the neuroscience of human connection is in order. Published in 2000, A General Theory Of Love is a collaboration between three professors of psychiatry at the University of California in San Francisco. A General Theory Of Love reveals that humans require social connection for optimal brain development, and that babies cared for in a loving environment are psychological and neurologically ‘immunised’ by love. When things get difficult in adult life, the neural wiring developed from a love-filled childhood leads to increased emotional resilience in adult life. Conversely, those who grow up in an environment where loving care is unstable or absent are less likely to be resilient in the face of emotional distress.

How does this relate to addiction? Gabor Maté observes an extremely high rate of childhood trauma in the addicts he works with and trauma is the extreme opposite of growing up in a consistently safe and loving environment. He asserts that it is extremely common for people with addictions to have a reduced capacity for dealing with emotional distress, hence an increased risk of drug-dependence.

Humans require social connection“Humans require social connection”

How Our Ability To Connect Is Impaired By Trauma

Trauma is well-known to cause interruption to healthy neural wiring, in both the developing and mature brain. A deeper issue here is that people who have suffered trauma, particularly children, can be left with an underlying sense that the world is no longer safe, or that people can no longer be trusted. This erosion (or complete destruction) of a sense of trust, that our family, community and society will keep us safe, results in isolation – leading to the very lack of connection Johann Harri suggests is the opposite of addiction. People who use drugs compulsively do so to avoid the pain of past trauma and to replace the absence of connection in their life.

Social Solutions To Addiction

The solution to the problem of addiction on a societal level is both simple and fairly easy to implement. If a person is born into a life that is lacking in love and support on a family level, or if due to some other trauma they have become isolated and suffer from addiction, there must be a cultural response to make sure that person knows that they are valued by their society (even if they don’t feel valued by their family). Portugal has demonstrated this with a 50% drop in addiction thanks to programs that are specifically designed to re-create connection between the addict and their community.

Human connection is crucial in in the immediate task of clearing trauma“Human connection is crucial in in the immediate task of clearing trauma”

Personal Solutions To Addiction

“Ask not why the addiction, but why the pain.”
– Gabor Maté

Recreating bonds is essential in the long term, but human connection is crucial in in the immediate task of clearing trauma. When a person decides to finally face and feel the pain that they may have been avoiding for years or decades, the first steps cannot be done alone.

“You have to be with that pain, but you have to have support.”
– Gabor Maté

This support is essentially the reintroduction of the care and support which is so important in creating the neural structure of emotional-resilience in early life. By doing so, we begin to replace what was missing, and thanks to the revelations of neuroplasticity we now know that you can in fact teach an old dog new tricks; neural rewiring is possible in adult life. Though it is essential for addicts to feel supported in order to finally face and feel the pain they have been trying to avoid, this is ultimately an inner journey that must be taken by the individual.

“Whatever you do, don’t try and escape from your pain, but be with it. Because the attempt to escape from pain creates more pain.”
The Tibetan Book Of Living And Dying

The Roots Of Healing

When we are young, our parents care for us until we are able to do it for ourselves, after all they won’t be there to do it for us forever. Perhaps, on an emotional level this is also true: our parents love us so that we may learn to do it for ourselves. The programs in Portugal have demonstrated that addicts do remarkably well when they feel valued by their community. Whether they realise it or not, the Portuguese are creating positive limbic modelling by valuing the addicts so they can learn to value themselves. When people are there to provide loving support for an addict wishing to face the emotional pain they carry, they are loving them and caring for them until they can learn do love themselves. With this in mind, perhaps the neural-wiring of emotional resilience developed through the loving reflection of another, once fully developed, could simply be called self-love.

 

Johann Hari: Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong

It’s Time for a Solution

, , ,

For close to the past 2 years, I have been trying so hard to get people to listen…. to shift their thinking from the focus on “the problems” to that of the positive and the possibilities. For the past two years I have felt frustration and experienced having doors “slammed” in my face or people telling me I “can’t” make things change or how people wouldn’t participate if they “didn’t have a problem”.

BUT, I’ve persisted because I believe in the power of the idea of the Enjoy Life Community® model and the focus on life enjoyment for our communities and for our people.

Why?

Because I know that EVERY day someone in our community wakes up in despair or experiencing feelings of loneliness or hopelessness or helplessness. I know that EVERY day, in our Country, on average, there are 121 suicides. I know that EVERY day, people wake up with depression. I know that EVERY day, in our Country, 120 people die from overdoses with, I believe, the blame for using drugs being inappropriately directed to drug dealers or physician prescribers.

What we are doing is evidently not working. In 2009 23.5 million (of 306.8 million) persons aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol abuse problem . Through discussions with our elected officials and research, it is shown that alcohol or drug rehabilitation may only be effective 10 – 30% of the time.

We have the power to shift and to create an environment to: Decrease social isolation, share the good works being performed in our communities, encourage participation in our community endeavors, and to shift our current focus and redirect our energies from problems to solutions and the goal to enjoy life.

This is the mission and vision of the Time to Play Foundation – The Foundation offers a positive reminder and reinforcement that every day should feel like “play” and provides resources in a PROACTIVE manner to decrease the development of, or utilization of, self-destructive behaviors; and, to, instead, shift the focus to enjoy life and to spark a progressive and proactive momentum in our communities to do so.

Got Crime in your community? Sure. Got drug issues in your community? Sure. BUT…. How about if we shift our efforts to concentrate on a SOLUTION vs. trying to control a negative situation or outcome. The war on drugs has been waging since Richard Nixon declared drugs as public enemy number one in the United States. Since it was coined as such, more than $1 Trillion has been spent in this “war”.

Guess what – it “ain’t” working, no matter how many billions have been spent. Here’s a thought… what if we shift to focus on getting people to love life – to feel wanted and part of their community? Demand drives supply. I believe that, if people loved their life, they would never use drugs or other self-destructive behaviors in the first place.

Ask yourself: Do you love your life? With the visible and proactive solution provided by the Enjoy Life Community® program of the Time to Play Foundation, you will.

It’s time to encourage participation and provide greater opportunities to our students and our people through partnerships and community collaboration. It’s time to strengthen our businesses. It’s time to change the discussion of feeling sad or lonely or depressed from embarrassing and taboo. It’s time to stop the silent suffering.

It’s time to bridge the communication barriers in our communities in order to showcase opportunities available. It’s time to work together to create solutions so our people can be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance.

It’s time to Enjoy Life. It’s Time to Play.

___________________

1- https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics
2 -published studies report that about 25% of all U.S. adults have a mental illness and that nearly 50% of U.S. adults will develop at least one mental illness during their lifetime costing $300 billion https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealthsurveillance/fact_sheet.html
3 – https://www.overdoseday.com/resources/facts-stats
4 – https://www.drugabuse.gov/publicatio…/…/treatment-statistics
5 – http://jeremyfrankphd.com/drug-and-alcohol-recovery-outcome…
6 – https://web.stanford.edu/…/poverty_preju…/paradox/htele.html
7 – http://www.mintpressnews.com/war-on-drugs/211217

The Time to Play Foundation, Inc. is a not for profit 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

“First” vs. “Best”

, , ,

Best

There has been a lot of talk about “Firsts” lately.  What does “First” really mean?

So, I got to thinking…

As far as achievement, I believe “First” is a milestone.  For example, “first” steps, “first” car, “first” words.

Merriam – Webster dictionary defined the adjective of “First” as: coming before all others in time, order, or importance (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/first)

“Firsts” can, also, perhaps, encourage others and provide examples to others on how they can move forward and achieve, too.  I believe motivating others and encouraging others is truly important.  I believe it’s our personal responsibility to strive and grow and to help others do the same.

“Firsts” are definitely important, but are they the MOST important?  “Firsts” can provide people a vision to build upon and then to achieve beyond what was “first”.

Throughout the development of the concepts behind the Time to Play Foundation, I have come to realize and believe that everyone has something to offer that can help someone else.  I say all the time that we are all not going to be “Oprah” – Oprah is Oprah and we are ourselves — but imagine if we each contributed a tiny bit… if we each used a little of our gifts, expertise and personal power to move things forward, to make our communities better, to reach out and help another.  Imagine the impact this could make.  If all of the “regular” people really worked together…

I believe moving forward and making things happen is incredibly important, and do not believe that we, as a whole, have an ability to stay stagnant.  People have incredible imaginations.  At this point in my life I do not believe that anything anyone can come up with is impossible.  I think that if you dream it, you can do it.  Look at the 3-D printer – who can even believe such a thing is possible?  Look at how far technology and modern conveniences have come in just the recent past.  Our grandparents would not even believe it.

This brings me back towards achievement, motivation and “Firsts”.

Personally, I believe “Bests” are even more important.

Think about it.  If you put an ad in the local newspaper to watch your children or your dog, would you hire the “First” person that answers the ad or the “Best” to be able to take care of your prized possession?

Would you put your money in the “First” bank you drive to or the “Best” and most responsible?

Would you have an operation with the “First” doctor you visited or the “Best” to perform the surgery?

These are a few things just to get you thinking.  We have to be careful and responsible with our personal choices.  We have to research and we have to trust that we make the right decisions for all things that affect our lives and the lives of our children.

“First” or “Best” can make a dramatic difference.  “Firsts” give us a starting point that provides us with the fuel to create “Bests”.

Today, look at what you are and what you have achieved… then look at what is your passion.

We have all accomplished “firsts”.  Let’s continue to strive and grow.  We can have the “BEST” life ever.

Just imagine the possibilities.

After all, it is time to enjoy life. It is Time to Play.

Love, Doreen

# # #

Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive, a certified social and emotional intelligence coach, certified professional life coach, the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life and author of If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.  The concept behind time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation was absolutely created out of LOVE. Please see http://www.timetoplay.com/ for more information.

Image credit a2ua.com/best.html

Listen Up!

,
Chris_Sheila_new smallChris and I recently spent an exciting and information-packed weekend at the amazing New York Times Travel Show.  As veterans of the Show, we are very familiar with exactly how to have succinct conversations with attendees and can quickly ascertain most folks’ travel needs and desires. Many times we get an added bonus and develop a personal relationship and friendship.
As with our regular clients, these relationships are nurtured by meeting face-to-face and listening, so that we can use our expertise to suggest unique and special tour, resort and cruise experiences.  Listening closely to clients, directs our entire planning process each and every day.
Don’t worry, we have plenty of knowledge to share and help to guide you to the perfect travel choices: but first we “have a listen”.
Experience Equals Expectation 
Our enthusiasm for travel is contagious so we love to plan vacations by “sharing” ideas, thoughts and options not by “selling” you a trip.  Planning starts by having a conversation with you (in person or on the phone) to hear and read your expectations.  Meeting and talking helps us to gauge where you are in your life, what you really want from a trip and what components are most important to you.
Are you burnt out at work and just need to recharge the batteries? Are you recently retired and ready to finally see the sites?  Are you about to become empty nesters and want one last memorable, action-packed family vacation? Travel is your chance to dream, a chance to step away from your everyday pressures and think about what type of experience would bring you the most joy.
Planning a trip can be stressful, so let us handle the logistics. You revel in the excitement and expectation of the opportunity. Our first-hand knowledge can help prepare for unforeseen needs and our conversations will help us unearth your hopes for the journey.  Our expertise will enable your experience to equal your expectations.
There is no better time than now, the doldrums of winter, to start a conversation. We’ll go first….Close your eyes…Picture your ideal vacation…what do you see? We’re listening.
Korte Travel (631) 893-4232
CHRIS & SHEILA KORTE, ACC
Winners of Best Travel Agency in the
LI Press 2014 Best of Long Island List!

Programmed for Unhappiness

, ,

Dear Rebecca,

I have some questions for you and would appreciate your insights. How is it possible to just stay present when it feels like unlimited potential presents itself? Potential is futurizing. I get that. But how is it possible to just stay present in an experience when potential feels so real? And when a plan is in place and people are working toward a goal, then one person bails? Is potential the same as having expectations?

I was in a musical collaboration that was the absolute best musical collaboration of my life. We were writing A-list songs together. My music partner was a guitarist/songwriter/singer. We were about to professionally record our first CD. I already had been offered a venue for our first house concert and a beautiful cafe had offered their space for our CD Launch party.

We’d been playing consistently every week to work up the material for the CD and for concerts. It was truly the most joyous experience of my entire musical career. I had never felt so matched in a collaboration as I did with this guy. And I had never felt so much unlimited potential for our music as I did in this experience.
He told me how unbelievable it was that we created two A-list songs entirely in one sitting each.

There were so many things that were positive and moving forward. This past week was my birthday. At my birthday dinner, he gave me a card with a pictures of an umbrella – a possible name for our group. The inside of the umbrella was a beautiful sky with puffy clouds. He told me he had ordered this umbrella for me for my birthday but it hadn’t arrived yet.

Three days later, he told me he changed his mind and does not want to be in a musical partnership. Done. Gone. He just wants to do his own thing. Emotional whiplash. Wow. I’m sitting with a major disappointment. It’s shocking to me.

Disappointment comes from having expectations. What does this mean in life? To go through life with not caring about outcomes? To never be attached to anything or anyone? Is this humanly possible, or only for a select few who spend their lives on mountains but never have to interact with people.

I appreciate any insights you can share with me. Thank you!

Signed, Major Disappointment

ANSWER:

Dear Ms. Major Disappointment,

Thank you for sharing so much of your heart and soul. As always, my intention is to answer your questions with clarity and truth. Many times people don’t want to hear or accept the truth about themselves and the choices they make, but without acknowledging and accepting the truth, you will never be free or happy.

The truth is, your reaction to what has “happened” to you is a programmed response. It’s not your fault. You were taught at an early age to have expectations of people – especially people you really like. Look around. You can see human programming everywhere. The majority of the world’s population has expectations of the people they love.

The problem is whenever you have expectations of anyone, the feeling of disappointment and heartbreak is right around the corner waiting to appear. Your email contains key statements that are clues to how you’ve been programmed for unhappiness. I will attempt to dissect each one.

“How is it possible to just stay present when it feels like unlimited potential presents itself? Potential is in the future. I get that. But how is it possible to just stay present in an experience when potential feels so real?”

Living in the present moment is our only reality. When you live in the past or the future, you are literally wasting your time and subtracting from your happiness. You were not born knowing how to live in the future or dwell in the past; you were literally programmed to live that way.

You arrived here living in the present moment, but then your parents unknowingly, ruined your life and brainwashed you into practicing the same habits their parents taught them. From birth until probably one or two years old, the future and/or past did not exist in your head. When you passed the age of three, you were already programmed to “look forward to” something other than the present moment. It all started innocently enough with looking forward to your birthday, Christmas, holidays, summer or even the first day of school. The program was locked in. The value of the living in the present moment was lost forever.

I don’t know about you, but no one taught me to appreciate each moment of every day. In fact, I was programmed to “look forward” to just about everything except the present moment. The practice of living in the moment is just that–a daily practice. It was only later in life, when I began to prioritize happiness, that I realized I needed to live in the moment.

“And when a plan is in place and people are working toward a goal, then one person bails?”

You used three words in your email four times. The three words are, “he told me.” He told me is interchangeable with (fill in the blank) told me. Just because someone tells you, or promises you that doesn’t mean that what they promise you they’re going to do is going to happen. It’s a hard reality to accept, but the bright side is when you don’t expect people to keep their word, you can experience the emotion of gratitude more often when what they promise actually happens.

“Is potential the same as having expectations?”

Yes. Potential, by definition, is the future. All expectations happen in the future. In fact, a synonym for expectation is potential. Having expectations is part of the human programming that creates unhappiness.

“Is this humanly possible, or only for a select few who spend their lives on mountains but never have to interact with people?”

Just because a person spends their life living in a monastery or on top of a mountain doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re happy people. The measure of how happy a person depends on how they process and handle life’s challenges on a routine basis. I mean I’ve heard plenty of stories about monks having no patience. It’s impossible to be impatience and happy at the same time. What would happen if the Dalai Lama is served soup when he ordered a salad? What would happen if the Dalai Lama’s alarm clock wasn’t set and he missed his morning meditation? How about the washing machine broke at the monastery and His Holiness had to wear yesterday’s underwear?

Unless you witness how a person navigates through their challenges, you are not able to conclude their internal state aka their happiness. Just because you have muscles, doesn’t mean that you’re strong. Your internal state of happiness or contentment is measured when you’re challenged regardless of where you’re living.

My dear Major Disappointment, let me share a similar story when I practiced the religion of the having expectations about people and future potential.

On October 3, 2014, I underwent arthroscopic hip surgery. A couple of weeks after surgery I began physical therapy. There was an older gentleman who was also recovering from surgery, and, coincidentally we shared the same doctor/surgeon. An excellent doctor by the way; so if you ever need arthroscopic hip surgery, hit me up for a recommendation. I digress.

What usually happens when I meet someone new is I ask a lot of questions. This gentleman, I’ll call him Tim, told me he used to manage several very famous rock bands in the 70s and 80s. I will not be specific as to exactly who he managed, but trust me, the bands were world-renowned.

I asked him what was he currently doing and he told me that he waiting for his boss to retire. His boss was David Letterman, the famous nighttime TV talk show host. My mouth dropped open because here I was sitting next to someone who was obviously very connected in the “business” I wanted to be apart of. I began to make a pitch for my own television show. I started off by saying, “I’m the next Oprah!” I shared the idea I’d had for my own show—–starring me, of course. Well my new BFF loved my idea and told me he knew a few producers looking for fresh shows with unique content. That’s me, fresh and unique.

As you can imagine, I was so excited that I literally began planning my first show. Did I mention my new best friend managed world famous rock bands, knew producers that were looking for new shows and most importantly worked with David Letterman? I gave him my business card and promised to follow up with my resume, social media links, website, media contacts, photos, references, and the kitchen sink. Hollywood, network TV, here I come! But before I went to Hollywood, I needed to make a few phone calls. I called my mother, my son, a close family friend, I think I remember telling one of my next-door neighbors who, unfortunately for him, was outside mowing his lawn.

I sent “Tim” a friend request on Facebook and my request was confirmed. I privately messaged every link on the web I was featured on, including links to my own online radio show. I will admit, I was very impressed with myself and what I had accomplished during the many years of preparation for my big break. I was ready for network TV. I was going to Hollywood, and I could smell success.

Let me go back to Ms. Major Disappointment’s email for a minute here.

“I was in a musical collaboration that was the absolute best musical collaboration of my life. We were writing A-list songs together. We were about to professionally record our first CD…I already had been offered a venue for our first house concert and a beautiful cafe had offered their space for our CD Launch party. We’d been playing consistently every week to work up the material for the CD and for concerts. It was truly the most joyous experience of my entire musical career. I had never felt so matched in a collaboration … and I had never felt so much unlimited potential for our music as I did in this experience.
There were so many things that were positive and moving forward.”

What she describes above is exactly what I felt at the time.

  • Excited about the future
  • Planning the future
  • Attached to “possibilities” in the future
  • Hopeful about the future (hope is for dopes)
  • Emotionally attached to an outcome
  • Expectations galore

Back to my story. On December 16, 2014, I sent a private Facebook message to my new best friend.
From me: 12/16/2014 8:42 am

Greetings Tim. (not his real name) Wishing you and your family a memorable holiday season. Did you ever receive my email? Let me know! smile emoticon

From “Tim”: 12/20/2014 6:48 am

Hi Rebecca, yes I receive everything. I was just thinking of you when I got your message. I met with ________ yesterday and discussed you with both WorldWide Pants and Oprah’s contact. I’m sorry it took so long, but I was away and, believe it or not, ________ was in Florida and Cuba for weeks. Nonetheless, Oprah combined her company with Discovery, and no longer works on new projects and all energy go to her network. Dave’s last show is in May, and Dave is moving in a totally different direction. ________ is also retiring in May. Also we discussed the importance of the numbers game, and it seems your numbers have a long way to go. By numbers I mean followers on FB, followers etc. On a personal note, although I get what you’re thinking, I wouldn’t call yourself, the next Oprah. Oprah already exists, and you really don’t want to open that comparison. Anyway sorry for the delay, but I hadn’t forgotten you or our conversation. I hope you have a perfect Christmas and great new year. “Tim”

Thank you sooooo much Tim! And I “get it” about saying I’m the next Oprah…great point! smile emoticon

Love to you AND your family!

One day … sooner than later …you will hear my name mentioned ….heart emoticon
Chat Conversation End

Side bar: While I was copying the Facebook message from Tim, I noticed the small print at the top of the chat box. “You and ‘Tim’ aren’t connected on Facebook.” What? Are you kidding me? Tim de-friended me! Without so much as a good-bye, so long, adiós, arrivederci, au revoir, bon voyage, sayonara or even a see-you-later-alligator? I was de-friended by the only person I knew that knew David Letterman. The crazy thing was this newsflash didn’t even register on my emotional Richter scale. Not one bit. Why? Because from October 3, 2014, until December 16, 2015, I made it a daily practice to eliminate expectations of people and attachments to outcomes from my life. It was easy for me to experience probably the most connected person I knew in showbiz disconnect from me.

Let me get back to Ms. Major Disappointment’s email again because there’s another lesson to be learned from this type of experience.

When you find yourself in a moment or moments of joy, happiness, elation, excitement, enjoy it and soak it all in while it lasts. Enjoy the moment(s) without attaching an expectation to future moments. Enjoy the moment(s) without attaching to an outcome of a future moment. To be happier, enjoy the moment without expecting the moment to last into the future.

I am a huge football fan. I love watching the professional games every Sunday. I also watch the “A Football Life” documentaries. I’ve listened to many interviews from athletes that have won multiple Super Bowls. I can only imagine the emotions after years of playing, preparation, training, injuries, the highs and lows all climaxing on a Sunday in February. The Super Bowl is broadcasted all over the world. After you win the Super Bowl, they say there’s a glow that lingers. But that glow does not last. You can never go back in time to get that exact feeling back. But in the moment, the feeling is beyond description; a natural high.

If you talk to an athlete who’s won the Super Bowl more than once, they describe their emotions for each Super Bowl win with a different adjective. Why? Because each win feels different. I’ve heard an athlete from the Dallas Cowboys say that his third Super Bowl win wasn’t a feeling of happiness or excitement but of relief. Why? There was so much pressure to win the Super Bowl for the third time that he couldn’t enjoy the win until months later.

My point is this. The programming for unhappiness runs deep. It takes a conscious effort, and most importantly, daily practice in every moment, to let go of your past and future moments. Remember, the present moment is your only reality.

Warning: Choosing happiness as opposed to the programming that is offered by most of the world, is road not traveled by the masses. When you make the decision to rewire the programming that keeps you unhappy, you will feel like you’re going through emotional withdrawals. Trust me; I know first hand. It’s possibly the hardest and loneliest journey you will make in this lifetime, because you will have to look in the mirror for solutions to all of your problems. That alone doesn’t feel too good.

Good news: When you recognize that your current program is hindering your happiness, you may want to prioritize rewiring that program.

We Know It, We Love It And We Live It

,
Is Travel Part of Your “Second Act?”59891_aux_image_1
Chris and I are entering our sixth year as professional travel planners, and we couldn’t be happier.  We really enjoy helping people plan spectacular vacations and being able to travel ourselves.  We often say that we are into our “second act” because we came to be professional travel planners after raising a family and pursuing other careers. Chris and I actually met when we were both air traffic controllers for the U.S. Army.
Explore the Possibilities
Chris went on to become a broker on Wall Street for 31 years and I was involved in a serious car accident and had to leave my air traffic controller position.  The insurance company offered a re-training program, which directed me to ask myself, “What would you like to do next?”  Since Chris and I had started traveling after the kids had grown and we enjoyed it so much, I chose to pursue a degree in travel and tourism.  I graduated in 1999 with a B.S. degree from Dowling College on Long Island.  I then wondered, “What should I do now?”
Fate Steps In
Ironically, I was at a local Jiffy Lube when fate seem to intervene and showed me the way.  As in most waiting areas, they had a selection of magazines on a rack.  I reached for a ladies’ magazine and Entrepreneur magazine dropped out onto the floor.  It lay open at an Cruise Planners American Express ad. The lime green ad immediately caught my eye and intrigued me.  I phoned Cruise Planners the very next day and within the week we purchased a franchise.  Once Chris retired he joined me in the business full time and we were on our way to our “second act”. We are looking forward to a long and exciting run!
We love what we do and we are realizing our dream to helping our clients make their dream vacations a reality.
As a seminar leader once told me, “Do what lights you up … what lights you up from the inside.”
If travel “lights you up” and is your dream, let us help you because we know it, we love it and we live it.

Give us a call at 631.893.4232 and Chris & I will help to make 2016 the year that your travel dreams come true! www.travelagentlongisland.com

Happy Holidays from your Cruise Planners agents: Chris & Sheila Korte

Visiting Unspoiled Lands Takes Time: Cruise to Galapagos and Antarctica

,

galapagosMaybe you’ve done the “grand tour” or Europe, cruised the coast of Alaska, and soaked up the sun on beaches from the Caribbean to Hawaii.  Now what?

For a few discerning travelers, nothing beats the allure and mystery of the untouched islands of Galapagos and the frozen-continent of Antarctica.  Two “must sees” for any adventure seeker that wants to check off the ultimate bucket list destinations.

The Galapagos Islands are a province of Ecuador, lying about 600 miles off its coast, and are considered one of the world’s foremost destinations for wildlife-viewing.  Their isolated terrain shelter a diversity of plant and animal species, many found nowhere else.

antarcticaAntarctica is Earth’s southernmost continent, containing the geographic South Pole. With an area of over 5.4 million square miles, it is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle.

We have sent quite a few clients on these adventures, but they are not for everyone.  First off, you have to do a lot of planning, at least two or three years in advance, and because these trips sell out fast they are already sold out for 2016!

Secondly, you need to work with travel professionals like us who can tailor your trip to your specifications.  Luxury or rustic?  Are you a full-bore offshore explorer? These destinations are both physically challenging and can take 10+ days to complete. It would be very difficult to book these trips successfully without a knowledgeable professional.

Visit the GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

The creatures that inhabit this famous archipelago are as engaging as they are unique because they don’t fear humans.  Here’s your once in a lifetime opportunity to experience this living museum of natural history.

One option is aboard the Celebrity Xpedition.  This 98-guest mega-yacht sails to the islands seven days a week, 365 days a year.  The knowledgeable crew and Galapagos National Park-certified on-board naturalists all help to preserve this delicate archipelago, while enlightening you to its natural and evolutionary significance. You can also travel to one of the last uninhabited places on Earth in style aboard Silversea Cruises.  You can snorkel with sea lions, hike along lava tunnels, and experience this living museum of natural history while indulging in the unrivaled all-suite comfort and elegant sophistication of these small luxury ships.  All accommodations are spacious, ocean-view suites and most include butler service and private verandas.

Cruise to ANTARCTICA

On board Silversea’s luxury cruise ship the Silver Explorer you can revel in the beauty and overwhelming power of nature as you pass giant prisms of ice riding in an ink-blue sea.  You can take a Zodiac boat to get up close and personal with whales, and walk among elephant seals and penguins, all unafraid of your presence. Hurtigruten Explorer ships also visit Antarctica, and they offer numerous planned and unplanned field landings ashore designed to challenge you mentally and physically, including everything from long hikes, kayaking, and glacier traversing to camping onshore and even multi-day ski expeditions. Quark Expeditions is more affordable and somewhat “rustic,” but not inexpensive.  For over two decades they have been leading polar adventures, including many first-ever passenger voyages to Antarctica, including the circumnavigation of the Antarctic continent.  In February 2014 we planned a fabulous Antarctic cruise for two of our clients aboard a Quark Expedition cruise.  If you would like to see what their trip looked like, click here: Norton and Herb’s Excellent Antarctic Adventure.

So you have many options that include using the Cruise Planners’ layaway plan, which will help you save for these once-in-a-lifetime trips. We will help you pick what’s best for your situation and budget. And our computerized rate alerts advise us in the event prices drop and we always pass those savings on to you.

Sound exciting?  Give us a call now at 631-893-4232 and we will start planning your adventure holiday to the Galapagos Islands or Antarctica for 2017!

CHRIS & SHEILA KORTE, ACC
skorte@cruiseplanners.com
Winners of Best of Long Island Travel Agency 2014

www.kortetravel.com

Toll Free: (631) 893-4232 ~ 866-81-KORTE (56783)
Local: 631-893-4232

Babylon, NY 11702

Korte Travel Long Island Travel Agent located in Babylon, NY

Can You Picture Yourself On A British Open Golf Cruise? Brilliant!

,

golf cruisesRecently, we were treated to one of the most exciting British Opens in history at St. Andrews in Scotland.  Jordan Spieth battled to the end in his quest to win his third major and Zach Johnson fought off two other contenders to take home the coveted Claret Jug trophy.

If you wish you had been there, I’m happy to tell you about a unique opportunity to take a luxury cruise, AND attend the final round at the 2016 British Open at Royal Troon in Scotland (or the 2017 British Open in England), AND play famous courses such as Turnberry, Gleneagles and Royal Birkdale.

If golf is your thing, this is the ultimate way to travel the world – and bring your clubs.  For this cruise, world famous Perry Golf is partnering with luxury cruise line Azamara Club Cruises to offer this once-in-a-lifetime golf adventure.  On this trip you’re not schlepping your clubs from place to place.  Everything is done for you, including transporting you and your clubs, tee time reservations, the caddies, meals, final round tickets – you just show up and enjoy.

There’s also plenty to do for non-golfers: fabulous onboard facilities, a wide selection of shore excursions offered at each port, and simply enjoying the beautiful amenities on this luxury liner including 24-hour room service, many options for evening entertainment, first-rate spa services, and daily classes including fitness instruction. With one staff member for every two guests, you’ll love the attentive, personal service.

To make this trip more budget friendly, you can hold your spot with a $500 deposit and then make payments every month, or every other month. Not all travel planners offer that, but we do!  You can also use American Express reward points to bring down the cost.

We can also offer you golf packages on other voyages to Australia and New Zealand, the Mediterranean, and the Baltic Sea, with an outstanding collection of courses including Barnbougle Dunes, Cape Kidnappers, Valderrama, and many others.

The British Open packages sell out quickly, so if this trip is on your bucket list you must act soon.  Give us a call at 631-893-4232 and we’ll reserve your cabin for this luxury cruise! Fore!!

Chris and I are cruising Azamara in November and are looking forward to experience the Azamara Journey. I will be blogging about our experience as we cruise Madeira & the fascinating Canary Islands.

Coming Next Month: Galapagos & Antarctica- 2 “Must Sees” that must be planned ahead.

CHRIS & SHEILA KORTE, ACC
skorte@cruiseplanners.com
Winners of Best of Long Island Travel Agency 2014

www.kortetravel.com

Toll Free: (631) 893-4232 ~ 866-81-KORTE (56783)
Local: 631-893-4232

Babylon, NY 11702

Korte Travel Long Island Travel Agent located in Babylon, NY

5 QUESTIONS YOU MAY BE ASKING ABOUT MEDIATION

,

1. How long is it going to take?

On average, the mediation process will take anywhere from 2 to 6 sessions. From start to finish, it will take anywhere from 3 to 9 months, which includes the filing of all papers with the court and final Judgment of Divorce. Both timelines could be more or less, depending on the couple and the issues that have to be resolved.

By comparison, the litigation process takes years. If it goes to trial, you will be lucky to get there within 2 years. Again, depending on the couple and the issues, it could take 3-5-10+ years and a lot of $$$.

2. What will this cost me?

This is probably the most commonly asked question. If you go through the litigation process in New York, you are each going to spend a minimum $15,000-$20,000 retainer. That’s not going to be all inclusive if your case proceeds much past a month or two. In total, you will easily spend $40,000-$50,000+ each.

The average cost of mediation, on the other hand, is less than $6,000 and that includes filing everything in court. It could be as high as $10,000 if there is a need for experts to evaluate a business, pension or financial evaluation.

Would you rather have that extra money to send your children to college, or help your attorney’s children through college?

3. What if my ex doesn’t comply with the agreement?

Whether you choose mediation or litigation, the question remains the same. The answer is, you take them back to court.

The benefit of mediation, however, is that both parties have input into what the final agreement says and are more likely to comply with the agreement they crafted.

In the litigation process, a judge tells you what to do based on the law and does not take into account the realities of your financial and/or custodial situation. In this case, one party may be disinclined to adhere to the agreement because they simply can’t afford what they have been ordered to provide as child support and/or spousal maintenance.

4. What if the other party isn’t truthful regarding assets and financials?

Again, this is a very common question and concern whether mediating or litigating. The expectation is full disclosure, but nothing can really prevent one of the parties from hiding something.

If there is a suspicion that one of the parties is not telling the truth, then your mediator or lawyer would suggest you go to a forensic accountant or a financial planner.

5. Does a mediator have to be a lawyer?

This is a very, very common question and people are misled by answers they receive, especially from lawyers. The simple answer is no, a mediator does not have to be a lawyer. That doesn’t mean that a lawyer cannot be a mediator, but a lawyer who is in the role as a mediator must be acting in that role of a neutral third-party. Therefore, an attorney cannot give legal advice or represent the best interests of any one party during the mediation process.

If you are thinking about mediation and have any other questions, please feel free to give us a call. We will be happy to help.

Jeffrey Bloom
Jeffrey Bloom
Creative Resolution Services
jbloom@mymediationservices.com
516-308-7808

How to Eliminate Disappointment and Heartbreak

, ,

mendingheart“He cheated on me. I’ve been through anger and grief. Now I am feeling intense pain, like a knife being twisted in my heart.” ~Anonymous Facebook Post

A broken heart is probably one of the most painful experiences this life has to offer. Think about it. How many times have you experienced a broken heart? How many times has someone disappointed you? I know if I had a dollar for every heartbreak and disappointment I’ve felt, I’d be able to finance a cruise around the world…well, maybe a cruise halfway around the world.

Yes, we’ve all experienced countless disappointments and heartbreaks throughout our lives, and if you keep living, it’s guaranteed you’ll experience even more—unless…

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to eliminate all heartbreak and disappointment. The secret is not well-known and hardly ever practiced…unless you choose to prioritize happiness.

Before a heart can be broken or a person can be disappointed, there is a learned behavior we all engage in that needs to be unlearned and eliminated. I’m sorry to say this behavior is considered “normal” but in reality it’s not. It is the reason for all disappointment and heartbreak.

Are you ready for the answer? Are you ready to eliminate heartbreak and disappointment in your life forever? I know I was.

People with broken hearts and disappoints have one thing in common: They have expectations of other people. Expectations of how someone else is supposed to act, feel, think, speak, and behave. If you never want to experience a broken heart, eliminate all expectations from your relationships…and, quite frankly, from your daily life as well.

Now, I’m not pretending that this is an easy practice. In fact, it’s taken me years to eliminate expectations from my own life. What I can promise you is that once you begin eliminating expectations, you will be happier. Think about it. Unless you have expectations, there is no reason to be disappointed. It took years, but today I don’t expect anyone to do or be anything other than themselves.

An added bonus: Make it a daily practice to eliminate all expectations from your life and you will be happier. I promise.