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.

Categories : Blocks in the News
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“We need to choose and re-choose our intention for our lives every day.”

Sandy Brewer

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Jan
01

RUSH

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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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This is Part 13 of a continuing series by Cindy Baker Gilbert

What’s wrong with me? Months and months of job postings stream into my email inbox, resumes down dark rabbit holes, not living in Los Angeles and trying to get a job in Los Angeles – what am I, a hamster on a wheel? I’m still here plugging away at my temporary job that in four months will hold third place in the longest job I’ve ever held category. My best thinking finally tells me I could step up my article submissions to Judith’s e-zine. Why wait for a new monthly? I could write about the villain surrounding Obamacare. Wait, I don’t understand Obamacare. Or, I could write about our political parties because there is a “for sure” villain jamming up those works. No, that might alienate readers. Maybe write about the villain that holds back the country from consensus on the murder of JFK. But these issues feel too big. Can’t I start with a simple double murder or murder-suicide? I want to think big, write big and be big. And right away it feels like too much trouble and I don’t know enough about any of it and who cares what I think anyway? There, I said it. That’s the block. It keeps me from admitting I’m a writer. It keeps me following job posts and situations I think I need but don’t want. It tells me I’ll never make a living being a writer so I’d better continue with Plan B which we all know turns out to actually be the plan.

It’s easy to see the villains in other people, places and things, but to recognize and name it myself? My ego glasses have slipped off the bridge of my nose before, but this time they are stuck to my face and won’t budge. I want to do what matters to me, not make sure “the boss” has what he needs when he needs it. Are you there, Judith? Help!

Cindy, Coach Judith is here. OK, the villain you are plagued by (get ready to cringe) is the pirate/Bandit — the I’m not good enough villain. Everybody else has more, is more, does more is more worthy. You give your power to others, but feel like it has been stolen from you. You are not rich enough, talented enough, pretty enough, tall enough, bright enough — everybody else is MORE than you… everyone else has more than you — more money, more time, more talent, more fun, more…

To decide to be a write, without a boss to invest your power in, is to decide you are enough. You’ve got the talent. You are worth being a writer. You’ve got things to say.

However, you are robbed blind by thoughts like these:
I could write, but…(excuse goes here).
“These issues feel too big.”
“It feels like too much trouble.”
“I don’t know enough.”
“Who cares what I think anyway.”

Well, in the process of your rant, Cindy, you wrote a funny article.

That’s what I advise for all of you stuck in the excuse-ridden doldrums. Have a rant. Get out all the excuses. Stop letting the pirate villain rob you of your own talent and self-worth.

Decide what you want to do and spend at least 30-minutes every day going after it.

Take back your life and start acting like who you want to be. Pretty soon it won’t be an act, it will be your life.

Pirates be gone!

Categories : Blocks in the News
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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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Nov
26

GRAVITY

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Sandra Bullock’s “Dr. Ryan Stone” was driving in her car when she received devastating news about her little girl. With that news, the LOST LOVE VILLAIN succeeded in alienating Ryan from society. Now, she simply gets in her car and drives and drives to escape the pain of reality. She finds solace in her work as Mission Specialist on her first space shuttle mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. She is stubborn, confident, and comfortable in the control she believes she has over her abilities and life. But random accidents abound starting with her daughter falling in the schoolyard and hitting her head. Her little girl is simply at play and then dead. Now space debris from an accidental hit on a space station sends death her way. Yet, Ryan is so insulated from feelings and reality that she nearly causes her own death by her stubborn refusal to comply with directions from her fellow astronaut “Matt Kowalski”, played by George Clooney.

When George gives his own life to save hers, Ryan cries out for him not to leave her – PLEASE. We imagine that the desperation was the same when she pleaded to hold on to her daughter’s departing spirit. Please don’t leave me. PLEASE. And again she is alone. The LOST LOVE villain freshly pressed in her mind, she can no longer navigate the streets of her life with her consciousness at half-mast as she had back on Earth. Circling, tumbling out of control through most of the film, her panic almost causes her to run out of oxygen…she has to calm herself, delve into her core, conserve, focus and find control in her center. We know the Lost Love villain will kill her unless she breaks from its lifeless claws by pushing through the fear. Focus. Focus. And finally there is George without whom the tension would be unbearable. This is great storytelling. It took every bit of this drama for Sandra to realize she wants to live. Really live, not just go through the automated, subconscious motions. Lucky her. She was in a story that insisted she breakthrough. Ordinary people on earth rarely engage in such dramatic circumstances. We simply navigate on autopilot never realizing what villains hold us back from living. Yes, our villains are very powerful. I invite you to figure out who your villains are and to push through. Now you are free to live the life of your dreams.

Coach Judith’s Question: What pulls you down in life? Can you break through your own fear to find your mission?

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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.

TEST 1

  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.

TEST 2

  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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