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Jul
27

SUMMER ROMANCE SPECIAL

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Block: Happiness – would you recognize it if it hit you in the face?
Buster: Wake up with a happy thought and see how long you can keep it going.

How many times a day do you ask, “Am I happy?” “Are you happy?” Did I please you with the job I did?” “What’s it all about…happiness?”

I, like you, work on being happy and making other’s happy. I will share with you the things I know for sure:

1) Most importantly, you must have a purpose. There can be a main purpose, like the Golden Rule accompanied by constantly achieved purposes – graduate from college, marry my soul mate, buy a beautiful house, use my gifts to enrich others’ lives.

2) You also need to know what you think is blocking you from being happy so that you can Bust the Block. What thought or emotion keeps you in a “poor me,” or “almost there,” state of mind. How can you eliminate or rescript that block by taking a positive action that puts you in the driver’s seat to create and hold on to happiness in your life?

3) Realize that your most precious resources are your time, talent and energy. How do you divide those precious resources between the 12 key life areas: Work, Money, Love/Spousal Relationships, Friendships, Community, Environment (home and office), Family of Origin (birth family), Current family, Parenthood, Play, Health, Spiritual/Religion? Just as we’re learning (the hard way) that we cannot squander the resources nature has to give us, we also cannot squander our own resources. Respected and properly balanced, our personal resources can yield a beautiful lifetime.

4) Constantly build and nurture the cultures in which you live and work. Your family, neighborhood, workplace, church, charities, friends – they all have their culture. What do you want to build into the cultures in which you participate? What do you want to add – to be known for?

5) How do you measure up? I know that through the first 17 years of my adult life, when a new man would enter, so would a new me. However, I was giving away my value and sense of self. I had to learn to make sure my actions were based on personal, motivations, not world, social and peer pressure. We all need to choose the yardstick by which our lives will be measured and judged and learn to follow those values and ideals. Call it morality, ethics, kindness, a sense of right and wrong…What behavior enables you to look back on a day and say, “That was well lived.”

We have many interactions in a lifetime, from small to large, but it’s not the size that determines the happiness, it’s each person’s definition of Health-Esteem. What makes you “worth” being healthy – and happy? Answer that, and your happiness decisions will come much more easily.

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This Memorial Day, I am reminded of Mark Learner, a Viet Nam veteran I met about 15 years ago when I was doing a series of interviews with people living with various stages of Multiple Sclerosis. Mark had just turned 30 when he was diagnosed with progressive MS. Eighty percent blind and numb over most of his body,

Mark says MS put him on the most intense spiritual journey he could imagine. The day of the interview marked 12 years that Mark had not only lived with MS, but also started two corporations, written three books and spent most of his days counseling people with serious illnesses and handicaps. I share a bit of that interview with you today:

Mark’s years fighting in Viet Nam taught him to feel the intensity of living in the moment. He stopped believing in logical thinking and found a way to get past the ego-based reality of most human beings by going beyond thoughts to a place he calls the zero point. He values life — not thought. Mark helps people create habits so they don’t have to think.

Mark then led me through a positive/negative self-image exercise that I still use with my clients today. He asked me to think of the worst thing that ever happened to me and to capture the experience in a word. I thought PANIC. Mark had me imagine the physical sensations of panic and give the self that felt that way a name — I chose “Ditzel.”

Next, Mark led me to do the opposite. I concentrated on the best thing that had happened to me and feelings related to that. I thought of EUPHORIA, imagined feeling a blissful peace, and named the self with those feelings “Darling.”

Mark taught me how to automatically connect to Darling, my positive self, by feeling the pulse on the side of my neck and repeating, “I am darling…” According to Mark, by doing that nightly before going to sleep, while concentrating on images of myself when I felt “darling,” my positive responses would become automatic. Mark’s names for his negative and zero point selves were “Terrible” and “Great.”

Mark explained that a reality of life is that when you’re faced with death, your ego (your thoughts) becomes insignificant

“The Vets know what I mean,” Mark said, “Where life is more important than any thought. It’s the zero point. If you return importance to your zero point, you can trust yourself and connect to your resources.
It’s the wisdom of the body without the film of the mind.
If a combat vet comes from a dysfunctional family, he doesn’t see the family film the instant a shot is fired. He sees the zero point and connects to the best he or she has to give.”

It is with the deepest respect for our Veterans who have given their lives and for those who face the shots and the zero point every day that I say thank you for your bravery and willingness to give the ultimate sacrifice.

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My mother died 8 years ago. I miss her every day. This is a poem that came to me months after she passed. I share it with you– friends, family and BlockBusters.

WHEN YOUR MOTHER PASSES
By Judith Parker Harris

You hold her hand impossibly tight,
Listening, listening, with all of your might,
You want to hear, just once more for you,
“I love you, and I’m proud of all that you do.

Instead, she struggles for each last breath,
Her eyes closed tight – her body near death.
You want to hold her, but you’re afraid she’ll break,
How can she leave you? So much of you she’ll take.

You wait for a signal – some kind of sign,
That she’ll be all right for the rest of time.
You know she needs approval from you,
That it’s all right to go away from view.

Her breath grows more labored,
You wonder what to do.
Who will tell you, “I’m so proud of you.”
Who will remember from day one?
Where will your memories go, when her life is done?

The hour is near, she’s grown so tired.
She did her job – she served her time.
She needs to know it’s her last day.
She needs to know that you’ll be okay.

It’s so hard, you take a break.
The day is still, your body does ache.
You sit down next to the open door,
The curtains blow – you’re alone no more.

The angels have come to take her away.
“I know you’re here, talk to me,” you say.
Her breathing changes – soft as a baby.
Is it Daddy or Grandma she sees? Well, maybe.

You grab her hand and know it’s time.
The words must come – the words sublime.
I’ll be okay, Mom, it’s okay to go,
You’ll always be with me – I love you so.

Within seconds your dear mother breathes no more,
Her body is there, but her spirit does soar.
Her soul has moved on and you’re all alone,
“Mom is gone,” you cry, “now she’ll never phone.”

You do the right thing to see her off to eternity,
The proper casket, ceremony and serendipity.
Your body’s empty, you have no heart,
Your mother’s gone – She bore your start.

How can you live without the womb,
That was your first and most loving room?
Where is the meaning when Mom is dead?
Who will you try to make happy instead?

Days and months pass by like sand,
You cry and cry and search the land.
Who will love you unconditionally?
“No one,” you say, “Its up to me.”

Now you can do it because Mom’s moved in,
She lives in your heart where she’s Mother Hen.
You’ll never be lonely – you’re living for two,
Moms never leave, they just become you.

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Bust a Villain and achieve a goal as you learn Judith’s famous 5-step problem-solving process to switch you from Poor Me to BLOCKBUSTER YOU.

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Block: Us vs. Them
Buster: Common Ground and Core Values

A shut down of the Federal Government was barely averted on Friday night, April 8th, and the discourse was painful to watch as it was full of anger, malice, creative use of statistics, untruths, gross exaggerations, bullying and dirty game playing. A recent report by Justin Grimmer of Stanford and Gary King of Harvard found that American senators devote 27% of their press releases to “partisan taunts” rather than substance” In other words, as the New York Times concludes, “we’re being governed by self-absorbed, reckless children.” I, of course, prefer to say we’re being governed by our villains.

Our Saboteur villain threatens worst case scenarios if the other side gets their way. The Saboteur also throws around “inflammatory,” even “explosive words, phrases and threats such as Abortion (pro or con), Government Shut Down, the end of Medicare and Medicaid… all because the “other” side can’t be trusted. Trust is the antidote to this villain.

The Pirate Bandit Villain wants to steal all of the cards. They believe they must win it all, that their side is the only “right” side, that everyone who isn’t on their side is wrong – even evil. Compromise and sharing put the pirate in his place.

The Killer Villain goes for the worst-case scenario, cutting us off from all hope. Fear reigns supreme, for instance, floating the belief that no good can come from President Obama’s Health-Care Program. Kill the Killer by saying “no” to fear and joining the quest to find what will work.

The Mugger/Rapist Villain distorts the truth and attacks you for your core beliefs. Distortion: How could you allow funding for Planned Parenthood when they kill babies? Actuality: The funding for Planned Parenthood was for family planning and NOT abortion at all.

The Lost Love Villain takes away our love of the American Dream as we surely will not be the world leader anymore if (blank) happens. The Terrorists will get us, the wars will be lost, bankruptcy will be just around the corner. Choose love over fear and this villain vaporizes.

The Monster/Force of Nature/Alien Villain is everywhere. The monster is the other party. Refuse to be victimized. Stand up to the other side and observe – they are human beings, too. The only super human power comes in healing our differences.

The Sorceress Villain traps us into inaction behind the word IF. If you add these 34 special interests to the budget then we’ll approve it. If you give me “X” then I’ll give you “Y”. Stay in what is true, what is, and what is present. Don’t wait for “if” or you will miss the ever-evolving solution.

How do we silence these villains? I say Ladies and Gentleman of the Congress, leave your villains and the horses they rode in on outside the saloon and walk in willing to communicate – not fight, not name call, not bully — communicate.

What would happen if every single senator had to answer the hero’s question?
I would do anything to agree upon a sound Federal Budget that curbs government spending and rescues the economy, just don’t ask me to
___________________________________________.
Because, that’s just not me.

Oh, yes, it needs to be you. We all are going to have to sacrifice what we think we can’t to come together as a healed country. It’s not one side or the other who has to sacrifice, it’s everyone in “our” country looking to find common ground, unity and pride of a citizenry that defines politics not as usual, but as needed.

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Block: “My dog doesn’t need a leash”
Buster: 2 victims and a mission

Saturday, September 4 at 2:30 in the afternoon, my husband Jack and I had just returned from the grocery store. We quickly took in the groceries, then I put the leash on my anxiously awaiting dog, Jasper, to go out for a fluid adjustment walk. We just rounded the corner of the medial strip and walked a few more steps as Jasper tried to find just the right place.

We happened to be directly across from a grassy field, that surrounding owners consider to be their “dog park.” Our full attention was on the task at hand, Jasper was quiet, the birds were singing, all was good until out of nowhere came a black and white pit bull mix, Laila, owned by nearby neighbors.

Laila was heading straight for Jasper as I firmly said, “Go home, go home and then yelled, “dog with no leash!” In a split second Laila was viciously attacking Jasper. I yanked the leash as hard as I could to pull Jasper away, That was not successful, so I reached down to try to pull him away and ended up falling on the ground myself. Now Laila was joined by Ranger, her friend, a Rodesian Ridgeback, also not on leash and owned by different nearby neighbors. I had Jasper to my right and thought I was protecting him only to learn later that the pit bull was attacking him from behind. Ranger was in front of us both and got Jasper’s front leg. Somehow I was bitten during one of my lunges to protect Jasper. I was now screaming for my life and Jasper’s. “Help me please, my dog is being killed,” I screamed over and over again. Jasper was no match for these two attack dogs, now in full pack mode, nor was I, as I realized I was in danger, too.

My wonderful next door neighbors, Michelle and Mark Russo, were the first on the scene. Michelle tried to get Jasper, Mark was successful in pulling Laila off temporarily. Ranger’s owner finally arrived and successfully pulled off Ranger and sent him home. Now Jasper was behind me, but little did I know, Laila was sinking his teeth into Jasper’s hindquarters and was literally shaking him to death. Laila’s owner pulled him off, but he went back. After three attempts, Mark released Jasper for good from Laila’s powerfully clenched jaws at which point Michelle grabbed Jasper straight up in the air and out of the fray and ran with him as fast as she could, unknowingly almost choking Jasper. When she was close enough to our house she put him down and yelled for him to go home. Michelle was hurt with a bad gash and a possible bite on her finger. While Michelle was making sure that Jasper got home, Mark made sure the dogs didn’t go for me while I regained my composure, put my shoes back on (somehow they came off when I fell to the ground to try to save Jasper.) I hobbled across the street, partially in shock. Mark was beside me helping all the way saying, “I’ll take you to the vet. We have to make sure Jasper is OK, Laila was shaking him like a rag doll. I’m surprised he’s still alive.”

I climbed up my back steps to Jasper. He was huddled in the corner, sitting in his own pee, looking terrified and trembling. My neighbor and I took Jasper to the Malibu Vet Clinic and soon found out that Jasper had 3 puncture wounds and needed 6 stitches. He had huge, ugly bruises on his tummy and elsewhere under his thick coat of fur. He was a scared but brave patient. Jasper was given two prescriptions and I was told to watch him carefully for signs of internal injury, particularly bladder and bowel. As we were walking to the car, Mark noticed another injury on Jasper’s leg and back we went.

Once that was all taken care of, we took Jasper home and then Mark took me to the Malibu Emergency Clinic. I had, indeed, been bitten on my elbow. I had a nasty puncture wound. My knees looked like they belonged to a badly bullied 8-year-old. The clinic cleaned me up, gave me a tetanus shot and sent me home. On the way to the car, Mark noticed I was still bleeding and found yet another puncture wound. “Hm-m—m, like doggie, like mommie. Thank goodness for Mark. Back I went for my patching.

BACK STORY: Three years ago, my husband, Jack and I rescued Jasper. He was a 20-lb beauty with his thick golden coat highlighted by blonde streaks. His body was solid and his muscles were strong, but his huge, auburn eyes though loving, held a haunting tinge of fear. He had endured a tough, first year, during which he had 3 adoptive owners and 3 different names – he was severely beaten, kicked, mistreated and even deserted. Two weeks before we adopted him, he was hit by a car. For weeks, Jack and I worked to put some zip into the severely withdrawn, Jasper. Slowly, with the help of three different trainers, he came to life and was able to leave some of the trauma behind as we poured on the love. We’ve worked hard with Jasper to get him to the point of being a happy, carefree little doggie, and we follow the rules.

I understand that dogs are supposed to be on a leash at all times when out and about in the Pt. Dume Club where we live. That rule is broken constantly and yesterday it almost cost my dog’s life, and endangered mine. I constantly see people riding bicycles with their dogs running behind – not on leash. Then there are the dogs that walk independently while their owners triumphantly carry their leashes. The gang dogs across the street play regularly – romping around the grassy field without their leashes. But, in a split second, when little, unsuspecting dogs go by, they become bait to the “free” dogs who can cause damage.
There are rules for dog owners living in high density communities and I think those rules should be followed for everyone’s safety.
I want for there to be penalties put on owners that allow their dogs to run freely without leashes putting little dogs and children at risk

My dog is afraid again. He spent Labor Day weekend under things. He didn’t want me to pick him up. He didn’t want to go outside. I woke up the day after the attack wondering how to get Jasper through our own area so I could walk him safely.

Final Note: While out in front of our homes Sunday afternoon talking with Michelle and Mark the day after the attack, the owners of both Laila and Ranger came up and apologized profusely — again. They have offered assistance and I know they feel sincerely terrible about what happened. Then to our great surprise, we looked across the street and Laila was walking along without an owner and without a leash. Soon, both of her owners were running in opposite directions trying to coral Laila. If Jasper had been out at that moment…(I’ll leave the details to your imagination.

What have I done? I filed a formal complaint with Animal Control. I walk my dog early in the morning (in the dark) so as to avoid other dogs.
I distributed this article to all the owners in our community. I guess the question remains: Why do so many people feel they are above rules and even above the law? There is an attitude today that “rules apply for everyone but me.” I’m longing for a more polite society where we look out for each other and where a woman walking her little dog on leash do not both have to be bitten by a dog having a bad day owned by people “above the rules.”

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Block: Lack of Listening.
Buster: Shut-up, get over yourself, pay attention.

The fourth BlockBuster Achievment Killer is “Poor Listening Skills.” In the baseball game of conversations, negotiations, and all forms of communications, we have a nation full of pitchers, but very few catchers. That means we have a lot of balls that were in the air, rolling aimlessly on the ground because no body bothered to pay attention. Listening is truly akin to catching. We must remain silent, focus on the person speaking and try to catch the meaning, the intent and the agenda, if there is one. Where is the speaker coming from? Literally, is there a cultural component to the message? What emotions are clouding the message or hidden within the content?

Our baseball game of communication is very lop-sided. We have lots of people winding up and throwing a message, but few people are bothering to catch it, because they’d rather throw instead. Why? Frankly, their attention is somewhere else, most often it’s on themselves and what they are going to say next. Then there are all of those perceptions that men and women are from different planets so they can’t possibly “get” each other. And, we know that kid-speak is a code, teenagers speak in gibberish, young adults are way ahead of us, middle-agers are totally out of it and seniors simply can’t hear. Middle management can’t get through to executives, Assistants have no voice, departments have their own languages. And what about “those people” from the new company you just merged with? “Why they are truly from another planet.” Managers, leaders, politicians, clients, worker-bees, suppliers, vendors, creatives, number crunchers, government workers, freelancers – each category, and there are hundreds of them, has its own language.

So, you think you want to listen better? Here’s the plan.
1) Before you say anything, take a deep breath and focus on the other person. Look into their eyes. Tap into their energy. What is their body language saying to you?
2) Take another deep breath and prepare to listen.
3) Listen so intently you could repeat what they are saying. In fact, do that. Repeat it to yourself and then talk for the first time by saying, “This is what I heard you say…is that right?
4) If something said triggers an emotion, take a few seconds of silence to ask yourself why, and when you have an answer make sure it is valid in the context of this situation. If there is anger, distrust, misperceptions, prejudice, jealousy or any of those conversation stoppers involved, they must be disarmed. Shouting is the antithesis of communication.
5) Weigh your responses and throw out the first 3 to 5 of them as they are probably old programming belonging to someone else.
6) Ask questions that show your interest and bring out more of the other person rather than being stuck in misunderstandings.
7) Keep judgment, criticism and blame out of the conversation. Focus on whomever you are talking to with the goal of understanding, not winning, pontificating or disagreeing and you will be a sought after conversationalist.

One more thing regarding meetings, lectures, workshops, presentations, and the many forums in which people come together to learn and grow. Devote the first 25% of the meeting to listening. Leave all of your perceptions outside the meeting room and see what your open mind, free of its constant chatter can wrap itself around. If after 25 to 30% of the meeting, the content is truly bad, then tune out and save your focus for something that matters. If you forget to check your watch, welcome to some new ideas that found enough open space in your brain to come in and stay for a while.

Watch for my next blog and number 5 on the Top 10 List of Achievement Killers – Status Quo – Following #1Risk Aversion, #2 Unclear Intention, #3 Lack of Time and #4, Poor Listening Skills.

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Block: Begging
BlockBuster: Ask for a Hand not a Handout

A Friend and client of mine just sent me this email which caused me to think my way into this article for you. She wrote, “I was just on the subway and as it was approaching my stop a woman came on my car and announced to the train that she is struggling financially and is trying to raise her 12 year old son and that she has just recently been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She said she has been trying to get a job but as of yet no one has accepted her application. The train was pulling up to my stop as she finished her speech so I was able to hand her a $5 bill as I exited the train with tears in my eyes.”

The story is made even more poignant when you know that my friend also has Mulitple Sclerosis, as do I – and like all people with chronic or life-threatening illnesses, we wonder what will happen to us if our money or insurance runs out.

How many of us now look at others forced to beg, borrow, and hopefully not steal, and feel panic wondering if “There but for the grace of God go I?”

So many people who are used to and proud of always taking care of themselves and never needing a handout now find themselves in precarious, embarrassing, humiliating, demoralizing situations. One couple both seriously ill and relying on one partner’s paycheck have found themselves unemployed for almost 2 years. They are one month away from losing their apartment and their health insurance. They have not yet asked me for money.

Another friend who was the primary caregiver for 3 young children suddenly found himself kicked out of the relationship and fighting to have custody of his children with a terrible decision to make – work and not see the kids or see the kids and not be able to support them. He has asked me for money.

I could relate story after story, but I’m sure you all have stories of your own.

I wrote the following back to my friend: “You are not and will never be a VICTIM.
This woman, God bless her, is a victim. How could her speech have been different? What could she have said to possibly generate a job? How could she have left that subway with people wanting to give her a hand, not a handout?
Just some questions and food for thought.”

I’m all for gratitude and reminders and giving love, support and even loans — but just remember, it’s just a few steps from Victim to Hero. What we need to do as a country is make more paths available to take those forced to flounder in victimhood and put them on the pathway to their own heroic journeys.

I would love your thoughts and comments on how this can be done.

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Block: Lack of Time.
Buster: Make it, Steal it, Demand Time for Yourself.

I have always wanted an eighth day to my week. This would be a day that no one else knows about. I would sit at my desk in complete silence. The phones would not ring, the computer wouldn’t ding, there would be no chaos outside my door. I would sit at my desk and I would write, create, ponder, think, breathe, review, strategize, research, in short, I WOULD ACHIEVE.

I never got the eighth day so I had to create it myself. I start my day at 4:30 AM or 5:00 AM when everyone I know is sleeping. I use that special time to achieve the connection with my brain, my creativity, my strategic plan.

If you’re not an early morning person, where can you create your “special time”? There’s late night, the middle of the night, a stolen lunch hour to walk in the park, weekend alone time that you declare and stake out for yourself, no questions asked.

You get the idea, “special time” is a time when everybody in your life is doing something else so they cannot intrude upon your time. It’s that time when you get the download from your own brain free from the noise the rest of the world is trying to download into your brain.

Time is a precious resource – perhaps one of the most precious. Only you can decide how much time you need for sleep, love, career, fun, community, spiritual, family, friendships, health, parenthood, and environment – most of the life areas in which we must apportion our time. Achieving balance in these areas takes conscious effort and a bit of magic. It can be done, however, even though I’m hearing a chorus of naysayers.

Time: We want to ration it, store it, protect it, steal it, hoard it, create it and hold on to it so time will never run out. We want to wrap our minds around using time well, around taking an early hour in the morning and focusing our intent so expertly that it seems like one hour morphs into our very own 8th day of the week.

To connect to your genius, which will align you with the achievements you desire, you simply must remember to make, steal and demand time for yourself. That is where you will find the “magic” to run your life according to your own plan. Time most certainly will run out for us all, but at the very least we can say, it was time well spent.

Watch for my next blog and #4 on the BlockBuster List of Achievement Killers – Not Listening.

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