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Are you truly open to changing the things you are not happy with in your life? Sometimes we think we are completely open, yet bad things keep happening and we roll over in submission, unable to see any possibilities.

Robin Roberts says,

“If you are Depressed – 
You are living in the past
If you are Anxious
You are living in the future –
If you are at Peace – 
You are living in the Present”

So, where are you living?

The beginning of the New Year is a good time to take an inventory of attitudes you would like to leave behind – then stop looking back!

Here’s an exercise to help you let go that I call the “Well Ya’ Never Know” Experiment.

Think of the biggest disappointment you have suffered in your life and describe it. Then chart out three major changes in your life that occurred in the three subsequent years. Can you find some ups and downs and twists and turns that are surprising to you now?

Perhaps you now see that some solutions were there, ready to reveal themselves when you stopped looking in the rear view mirror. Often we don’t see what’s right in front of us – even when it’s the truth. For instance:

I was diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis in 1985: BIG DISAPPOINTMENT.

CONSEQUENCE 1: My fiancé not only left me, he left the country.
HIDDEN TRUTH: He was bad for me.

CONEQUENCE 2: I had to start working less: 
HIDDEN TRUTH – My business was killing me.

CONSEQUENCE 3; I had to learn to balance my life.
HIDDEN TRUTH: I had no life – just work, balance could save me.

CONSEQUENCE 4; There were no medicines to heal me.
HIDDEN TRUTH; I needed to learn about holistic medicine and learn to help myself.

Well ya’ never know. Do you see how that big disappointment led to a lot of Hidden truths? And, when revealed those truths healed my life. One year later, I met and married my soul mate. 2 years later I sold my advertising agency and wrote a book which led to 3 books, home study courses and a speaking and coaching career. 3 years later my symptoms were gone and I was a healthier person in all 12 areas of my newly balanced life.

The truth is, when we come to a crossroads, there is always a point where we must make a leap of faith. We must look for what we are meant to learn, how we are expected to change, what we are guided to do. Sometimes a bad thing happens, but it brings a greater good. Sometimes a crisis occurs that guides us to a new path. Sometimes there is not an answer available for us to immediately discern. If we give up to the crisis before endeavoring to find the good, the message, the purpose, the healing, the direction in which healing will lead us – then, from my experience I have only one thing to say, “You may miss the potential of your life by shutting yourself off to the possibilities.”

So, let’s look back at 2013 one more time to find what we are meant to learn and take forward with us. Then say good-bye to the old as you step forward into 2014 with new possibilities.

I’ll share to get you started: In 2013 I worried too much about my husband’s health and lots of things I cannot control. As a result I got a few little MS symptoms returning. I found myself in a spiral of worry and symptoms. I had one foot in the past and one in my fear-based future, and in my awkward straddle, I could not live in or enjoy my present.

Near the end of the year, I began to practice what I preach.

Jack is doing much better and is about to receive his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. My symptoms are almost gone again. I am grabbing on to today and enjoying it for all it’s worth, because that truly is what we have.

Good-bye 2013 and to the worry monster that consumed my life. Hello 2014, I embrace you with peace in my heart and promise to wake up each morning to the possibilities that day will bring.

I invite you to share your Well Ya’ Never Know experiment as well as your 2013 Good-bye and your 2014 Possibilities.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! May love push out all the fear in your life.

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At some point I want proof that things are changing within me and not just my advancing skills of identifying what I did wrong and why. That time has arrived.

Our 15-year old Corgi was at my feet gasping for air. Me, who in 1993, was in the World Trade Center South Tower the first time they tried to bring it down. Me, who ran down the stairwell and did an OJ Simpson jump over a guy pulling a slow-moving freight cart, leaving tracks across his back in my panic to flee. Me, still embarrassed by this reaction to what I thought was simply a blown generator, still doubting my ability to be of any help in a crisis. Thus the basis of my strong reaction to the film GRAVITY. Dr. Ryan Stone’s focus and determination to not flip out and willingness to keep her wits in the middle of such an ordeal made my hands sweat. I sat in my theater seat and knew for a fact I could never do what she did, never dig deep enough to find that calm center within needed to survive.

I want my dog to survive. There is no one else at home. No one to take over and fix it. I grab my old dog struggling to breath and run to the neighbor’s home. By now he’s unconscious and his tongue grey. He’s so limp I could have wrapped him around my neck. I bang on the front door thinking she is never home, never in the front of the house, never hears me knocking because the doorbell is broken. She answers. Help me, my dog is dying.

I kneel in the snow, secure his mouth closed with my fingers and begin breathing fresh oxygen into his lungs through his nose. That’s right. Mouth to mouth resuscitation on my dog. I recall seeing a smiling young couple holding hands as they pass by on the sidewalk not 15 feet away and thinking how happy they seem, how different their reality than mine in that moment.

On the way to the animal emergency clinic I am calm and focused on my little man, breathing for him. Talking to him. Encouraging him to come back to me. We’ll eat little oatmeal balls to chase away the fear during thunder storms. I’ll tickle so deep inside his ears, we’ll both be surprised. And please, please wait until your human papa gets home. We are almost there and this time as I blow oxygen into his lungs it’s not okay. I liken it to an alcoholic who wakes up from a blackout and finds himself sitting in an AA meeting. Wait, what? What’s going on here and why is my nose in your mouth? He’s back. I swear the next thing he did was lick my nose. I’m not saying I now wear a bracelet from the film GRAVITY with the letters WWRD (What Would Ryan Do). I am saying my reactions are changing and this bust through your blocks process is working in ways I never imagined.

JPH note: Yes! My point exactly. Cindy was moved to save her dog’s life and give him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. In that moment everything changed and lessons came through. Nothing in the past mattered – only the present. And, her movie role model, Gravity’s, Dr. Ryan Stone, had to let go of everything she’d been holding onto in life. She had to spin out in order to find the focus and determination to survive and thrive.

They both had to push out depression, anxiety and fear in order to do what they had to do in the present.

A hero’s moment comes in many shapes and sizes, but they all share one thing: To do what they must do, they all must find their own truth and strength at the deepest center of themselves.

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Choice is a powerful tool!

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“We need to choose and re-choose our intention for our lives every day.”

Sandy Brewer

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Austrian driver Niki Lauda and British driver James Hunt dramatize the glamour, courage, and some might say, insanity of the 1970’s Formula One race circuit. Each of them successful at living his blockbuster life – fame and fortune via their one true passion-racing cars. Two rivals involved in a deadly sport known to pluck a percentage of other rivals off the face of the planet each season.

Can two guys at the top of their game suffer from villainous blocks? Isn’t being the best at what we do the goal in removing and busting through our villains toward our own blockbuster life?

There are many areas of life in which to succeed. For Niki, the PIRATE villain has him feeling less than in terms of his personal life. Awkward about his place in the social arena he seems accepting of his deficits. Never wavering in his passion and determination for being the best at racing, the tight, self-contained, strict-living Niki pales in comparison to the British driver, James Hunt. But then everyone has a Pirate villain telling them they are “less than,” when compared to James. Equally passionate and determined towards racing, his passion for fast women and faster living carries over far after the race is done.

One could also argue the MONSTER villain is a deadly Siren calling to them, holding them hopelessly and helplessly in her death grip through their love of danger, their love of fear itself. When the fear of living just a normal life becomes stronger than the fear of dying, individuals excel to heights of greatness, or death. It’s a villain they both don’t necessarily want to be rid of. As a result, James has fleeting, romantic adventures and Niki is decidedly unromantic when he mutters to his fiancé, “If I am going to marry anyone, it might as well be you.” Jeez, thanks sweetie. James himself said it best, “How can you expect something normal from a guy who races in circles at 170 mph?” Maybe it was the decade when sex wasn’t deadly, drinking and drugging to excess wouldn’t get you 12-stepped into rehab, and it was cool to be living large with no one in charge during off hours. James Hunt had it down. He knew how to enjoy the life he so willingly put on the back shelf every time he stepped into his racecar. To a man of extremes, this could be a pact with the devil and well worth it. Niki says at the end of the film that James was the only person of whom he was ever envious. There you are, Mugger villain — keeping Niki from living that balls out life off the racetrack as well as on.

JPH NOTE: Of these two daredevil drivers it can be said that they had to numb themselves to both their blocks and their truth in order to keep risking their lives each and every race. Monsters, and Pirates and villains of all sorts kept them tied to their ultimate high – winning the race. The question is, if the monsters were slain, would they lose their need for speed?

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“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”

Eleanor Roosevelt quoted in Time

“We all know deep down, that most of what we have is a product of good fortune. No matter how hard we work, we did not earn our functioning brains or the families into which we were born. We live in cities others created for us, organized by a government and protected by a military shaped by our predecessors. Yet we still point to our accomplishments and proudly proclaim, “I did this!” The well-off salve their consciences by assuring themselves that it is hard work and merit that brought them success, which also leads them to conclude that it is a lack of merit that keeps others from succeeding.”

Rabbi David Wolpe in the Los Angeles Times

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As seen in the Huffington Post

As the holidays approach, let me ask you a question – I’ll even make it multiple choice to put you at ease:

What do you think your life is about?

A) Being successful, getting married, having a family.
B) You being happy
C) Doing good so you’ll be remembered
D) Everyone in the world

The answer, surprisingly, is not “you” or your happiness or your success. It’s everyone in the world, according to Neale Donald Walsch, author of Conversations with God. I learned this lesson the hard way over 20 years ago. I was in an intensive course for Children of Alcoholics taught by Jael Greenleaf. She gave us the following homework which was practically impossible for me to do.

Exercise 1: Stand on a BUSY street corner and every 30 seconds or so, loudly proclaim the time. I had to stay on the same corner for at least 5 minutes. I was horrified! I thought I’d be apprehended for mental care or be laughed at, for sure.

But, no. Surprise, surprise… no one noticed or cared. They were too busy living their own lives. I was slightly offended, but I got over it with one important lesson learned. Everyone is the center of their own lives; I am not the center of theirs.

Exercise 2: Go to a full service gas station and buy only $1.00 worth of gas. Again, I was shamed by the exercise.

Remember, this was at time when $1.00 could actually buy a gallon of gas. Again, the service attendant didn’t care. He took my dollar, washed my windows and checked the oil. I couldn’t wait to leave, but the lesson was the same. I was just a bit player in this young man’s life. He had a job to do and didn’t care about my silly shame.

It’s amazing how the struggle in your life will decrease when you realize life is not about you; it’s about everyone in the world. Prejudice and bigotry will decline when sharing space becomes more important than “my” space. Being right, or the winner, or the star will fade when teams and groups and partnerships preside. Isolation, loneliness and fear will subside when everyone stops taking “selfies” and starts pointing the camera outward. The “Me” versus “them” thinking will soon decrease and take the gridlock in government with it.

I love to achieve, but there’s a big difference in doing it for me or doing it for the greater good.

Last night on TV’s 60 Minutes, my husband and I watched a segment about the billionaires of the world forming an organization. The only requirement is to make a pledge that they will give away half of their acquired fortunes (with a minimum buy in of ½ billion dollars) to solve problems of poverty in the world. I first thought, “How wonderful.” Then I thought, “I’d like to have a billion dollars so I can do that.” Uh-oh, I slipped back to the “me” focus on my world. Ah, but there are other ways.

So, on this Thanksgiving, I’ll be asking: How can I give of my heart to share the healing force of love? How can I give of my brain to share the lessons I’ve learned with those who have not had the opportunities I have. How can I be in touch with the world of all possibilities so that solutions are always abundant and scarcity is no more?

I will be thankful for the answers that I receive and I will be thankful to everyone with whom I share this world – everyone. And since nobody’s perfect, I’ll take a picture of myself being thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone. (Snap!)

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At what age do we start asking the legacy questions: Why am I here? What will I be remembered for? Have I made a difference in the world? Did I do what I was supposed to do?

I sat in my living room tonight after watching the news and looked over at a beautiful, fawn colored suede chair. A departed friend of mine sat in that chair at a business meeting, and accidentally stained it with his black ink pen. He was horrified – so embarrassed, he wouldn’t come back to my house for another meeting. Now I look at the ink stain and I remember him with love – his humility, his talent, his big heart, his willingness to help others. That little ink stain keeps him alive for me.

I’m quite sure that he wouldn’t want to be remembered by that stain. But, we don’t always get to choose do we? And, that’s exactly why we have to live our lives like we want to be remembered.

I want to be remembered for the great kids I raised, for the best sellers I wrote and for the movies I made that changed the world. Alas, I didn’t have children of my own, and my best selling books and movies have yet to be made.

Where does that leave me on the memory scale?

Well, I’ve been helping young people in their careers since I became successful in TV production at the age of 23. I’ve been the best- I-could-be-step grandma and great grandma to my husband’s family. I’ve written books that change lives – one at a time and I’ve devoted myself to being the best wife possible to my husband of 25 years and counting. Is that my legacy?

Maybe part of it; maybe not.

So, what is it? What really stays behind when we pass over to the great beyond?

I’m beginning to think it can be summed up in just one word – CONNECTION.

The irony is that the things you’ll be remembered for are the ones that happened while you were so focused on your passion and probably on someone else that you had no time to think about yourself or your legacy.

And, the things you think are insignificant or unimportant about yourself, well, those will probably trigger people’s memories of you: The time your dress was hiked up in the back when you were giving a fantastic speech and the audience pretended not to notice; the crinkle on the side of your nose, the snort you make when you laugh hard, the tears that come when someone else cries or during hokey Hallmark commercials, the fanaticism that takes over when you’re looking for just the right gift for someone.

We connect in the reality of our lives, not the fantasy. We connect when a little, homeless child raises her arms up in the air for you to pick her up and hugs you so hard you can feel her heart beat. We connect when we teach something to someone and see the light go on behind their eyes. We connect with touches and hugs and smiles and tears that non-verbally say, “I get it.”

We connect when we share our stories and moments in life that are therefore not quite so scary, sorrowful or sad when another has been there, too. We connect when our hearts touch another’s. We connect when we stretch to better ourselves, to help others, to make someone’s day and find someone stretching to meet us.

Here’s a way to explore the proof that you were here.


  1. List your 5 closest friends/family and ask them what they find most memorable about you.
  2. Then write down what you find memorable about them.
  3. Get together and compare lists. Write down the surprises.


  1. Make a list of all the people, places, things, ideas and activities to which you feel connected.
  2. Make a list of all the connections you would like to make.
  3. Choose one new connection a week and take action to make it happen.

A few years ago I was having dinner with several speaking friends of mine. We were going around the table telling stories and laughing our hearts out. Walking back to the hotel, one of my buddies asked me, “Are the stories you just told in your speech?”

I answered, “Of course not, they are too personal.”

He smiled knowingly and said, “That’s just what your audiences want – a glimpse of the “real” you because everything you have to teach is based upon who you are.”

Needless to say, the stories are in my speech now.

I encourage you to gather your stories. Share them generously. Study them to get a glimpse of the proof that you were here.

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Recently I sat in my car watching the light countdown to green, when I noticed a little, old lady half way across the intersection, clearly unable to make it to the other side before the light changed. She was also loaded down with several packages in a roller basket.

I thought, I have got to do something, or she could be hurt. At that moment a man in a truck on the other side of the street, pulled up to block the intersection and ran to help the lady. He picked up her bag and held on to her arm to guide her to safety.

OK, this didn’t happen to me. It’s a TV commercial for DIGNITY HEALTH, and their tag line is “Hello Human Kindness.”

I am giving them a shout out for an advertising message that makes us think about slowing down and incorporating kindness into our lives. Imagine if our healthcare system was based on Human kindness delivered with Dignity.

Today, on Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills, a dainty woman was struggling to turn her mother’s wheelchair around and get across the intersection. She never would have made it, so I ran over, helped her get the chair turned and pushed with her at a gentle run so we could make it in time. Ah-h-h, I felt better.

Years ago, when my mother first started needing a wheelchair, I was not too good of a pilot. One time walking up to the doors of a department store, I got behind a young man, thinking I could sneak in behind him. He rushed in the store and as the door slammed in our faces, he shrugged sheepishly and kept on going.

As Dignity Health demonstrates, let’s all get off the fast track for a moment and extend an act of human kindness every day. It sure beats sheepish shrugs, angry screams, harassed honking and high blood pressure anxiety.

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JPH Intro: So often we perceive that our Dads just didn’t give us enough love, weren’t proud of us, didn’t support us and were instead, tough, unloving, critical and impossible to please, thus leaving room for the saboteur villain to move into our minds and fill them with self-sabotaging behavior. The saboteur plants doubts and questions in your mind. The saboteur is the ultimate terrorist, putting into question all that you stand for. Saboteurs are particularly successful when their victim has not learned whom or how to trust. Ultimately, to defeat the Saboteur, we must learn to trust ourselves. That allows other relationships to be viewed from a new perspective. The Saboteur runs rampant between Dads and their kids in A Good Day to Die Hard.

Cindy Baker Gilbert

How difficult is it to be the only son of Bruce Willis’ John McClane? Any issues with measuring up might be at the forefront of every thought, word and deed, or as we see in A Good Day To Die Hard, Jai Courtney’s Jack McCLane has dealt with his daddy issues by disappearing to the other side of the world as a CIA operative in Russia and seems to be doing very well. But wait, an unexpected visit from his estranged father throws CIA agent Jack into emotional turmoil to the extent he blows an important mission. Now that’s the power of the SABOTEUR VILLAIN. Amidst the mayhem of recovering from the botched mission he manages to remind his father that as a father he was never there for him.

The daughter of the assumed political prisoner that Jack is sent to free is pressed by this very villain to double cross her own father as she helps capture and deliver him to his enemy. She punches it right on the nose when she chides him for his absence while in prison all those years. These fathers seem to get a bad rap, but when John and Jack McCLane witness the betrayal of their political prisoner by his daughter, they are able to salvage the shred of relationship that still exists between them. By joining forces the son saves dad yet relinquishes his stubborn autonomy by announcing at one point he’s all out of ideas. Of course, John gets to return the favor and save his son and the mission. The SABOTEUR VILLAIN gone, father and son return home as a family they never were.

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How much of your power are you giving away by the way you talk? Is your language self-defeating or self-empowering? Are you spending more time beating yourself up or respecting what you do and who you are? Does your speech leave you burdened or enlightened? Are you a victim or a leader of your own life?

Sometimes, the very best thing you can do to change your life is give yourself an Attitude Make-over and that starts with every word that comes out of your mouth. Watch for sentences that use these words, I’m stuck, I’m afraid, I can’t, It’s too much, They have all the power, it’s their fault. With these words, you give away your power by simply handing it over to “them.”

Then there are the Burden words, like should, have to, need to, I’ll try – that can simply be replaced by I could, I choose to, I want to, and I’m completely responsible.

Let’s not forget how many times we beat ourselves up in a day with words like, I’m stupid, I have no luck, everybody else has what I want, I’m cursed, I’m too late, I’m not enough. Do I hear VICTIM in all of these words? You bet I do. When my clients get into this territory I have them write a rant. Go ahead, try it yourself. Think of a situation in your life right now that is making you unhappy. Then come up with every reason, excuse, complaint and whine regarding why you’re a victim and you just can’t make the situation any better because the world’s against you and you don’t have any luck because everyone else does but you. Blah, blah, blah.

When you’re done whining, ranting and crying, take each sniveling sentence and turn it into a positive declaration. I can’t becomes I won’t, Nobody appreciates me becomes I am loved. I’m afraid to do it becomes I embrace the challenge. You get the idea. Write your own success script.

A shortcut to get your attitude makeover started is to promise yourself that you will eliminate all judgment, criticism and blame from your speech. That means no judgment, criticism or blame of yourself as well! I have my clients do this for a week. Most can’t last more than an hour, as they get better and better at it, however, a habitual frown is often replaced by an easy smile.

In parting, I’ll give you 2 more attitude makeover gifts. One is to look in the mirror at the way you present yourself when you talk. Are you animated or bored, enthusiastic or filled with doubt? How’s your eye contact? Do you lean into he person you are talking to or take a defensive distance? Are your words clearly enunciated or mumbled as you slump into yourself?

And, finally, how about that posture of yours? I caught a look at myself in a department store window the other day and I was SHOCKED. My normally erect posture was slouched. My usually perky smile was overtaken by a furrowed brow and my brisk walk was slowed to a tired shuffle. Who was that, a voice screamed in my head? I looked more like my dear, departed mother than me. I now work on my posture daily, because believe me it’s like a trumpet heralding your mood and your attitude for the world to see as you enter a room.

If you’d like a jumpstart for every day, make sure your first thought when you open your eyes is a good one. Perhaps, “Hello world, let’s make it a good day.” Then roll over and sit up on your bed as you take a few deep breaths followed by a smile. Get up, stretch and connect with the energy around you as you seize your day in control of what your spoken words and body language have to say abo

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