Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Links worth viewing

Break through the fear ... get your right strategy ... what we think is what shapes us, so its time to start thinking differently. The following links, all of which just happen to come to me from Tony Robbins, are worth viewing, and taking in the meaning to apply to your life. They changed my outlook on things ...

Unleash the Power Within - Tony Robbins
- meant to be a marketItalicing video for his upcoming seminar in Chicago, this 12 minute video is packed with inspiration for you to unleash your energy and use your emotion to obtain goals you only dream of.

"Without challenge, adventure is impossible" - The Universe

Strategy - Tony Robbins
- this is a mini movie summing up the strategies session - its meant to awaken you to the fact that life is limitless - success is not only a mindset, its a strategy - find yours!

Need a behavioral assessment? Gain one here - very insightful! (no cheating! ...)
- find your balance, established goals ... and gain solutions!

Interview with the man who made a million in less than a day!
- especially during these economic times, this video is highly inspirational.

News worthy ...

Is it just me, or do you too struggle with the end of summer? I love nothing more than being outdoors, swimming, soaking up the sun. However, we must look at the upcoming season with enthusiasm - for with its coming brings many exciting times for Plan B, and for our lives. (as well as football season: ahhhh, its game time baby!)

- In November I am pleased to announce that plans are in the works for my interview with our former Senator, Jeff Smith - the adjective "excited" does not begin to describe my outlook on this interview. I will be able to tell his story of how he paves the way to give back to the community, to his family, and to himself.
- Plan B has "technically" celebrated its one year anniversary, but we will be celebrating the launch date coming up in December in the form of a cocktail party; details are to be announced, but I hope you can join us.
- My annual charity drive is taking place beginning in October: if you have any ideas of a family or agency in need, please send them my way. Also, I am in need of a co-host if anyone is interested. By giving we are truly able to receive.

Now get out there and enjoy the Autumn upon you! It began yesterday and is waiting for you to make the most out of it!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Broken Dreams

The Author to this poem is unknown ... but I hope he or she knows whaat was written so many years ago still delievers a powerful message to those who are ready to listen, and ready to let go.

As children bring
their broken toys
with tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God
because He was my friend!
But then instead
of leaving Him
in peace to work alone,
I hung around
and tried to help
with ways that were my own.
At last I snatched them back
and cried,"How can you be so slow?"
"My child," He said"What could I do?
You never did let go."
-- Author Unknown

Monday, September 21, 2009

Checkmate: Knight takes the Comfort Zone

One of the hardest transitions we will encounter in this lifetime is the “check mate” move out of our comfort zones. Taking a risk involves bravery and, as one dear friend puts it, “The most uncomfortable position to be in – the unknown area of your life.” As such I interviewed this friend, Mr. John Kirwin. Our days go back to our teenage years when we thought we had the world by the tail… as we grew older, we grew apart, but one thing did, and will always remain: a true friendship. His zest for life, his quest for always wanting more – never ceases to inspire me.

Back in April I had the opportunity to sit down with John and catch up on the many years past since he packed up and left the Lou to settle down in a little ‘ol place … Chicago. His journey to the windy city began in 2001, but his adventure keeps continuing. With exploration in one hand, determination in the other, each day he suites up in his climbing gear determined to reach the peak - stopping along the way to take in the world around him, but determined to continue on, to reach the top, and to achieve his dreams …

CK: What prompted your relocation?
JK: One of the best feelings of finally wanting to rid myself of my comfort zone. I was on this awesome path of excitement and optimism about the possibilities that I could have in life if I bettered myself. Plus one of those magical things happen to you when you are motivated to do something -- everything else at that point immediately is solely geared to make those dreams and aspirations come true….

CK: What made you decide on Chicago?
JK: I would say I was grateful to have the opportunity to go to Chicago to visit my best friend or I call him my bigger brother seeming we have know each other for over 26 years now. He was already completing school there and I wanted to pursue my career in the city of CHICAGO ….so we decided to move in together.

CK: Did you have a job and housing lined up when you arrived?
JK: No actually! And that was the exciting part! It was also the best uncomfortable position to be in (the unknown area of your life) See we had to transition to CHICAGO from St Louis and that sounded easy enough but not having any job or place lined up required an open mind and patience to find the right place to live and work.

CK: At any point, did you second guess yourself? Relocating?
JK: YES! Tons of times!! Especially when things were so scary and unpredictable. There was no comfort of having a clear answer on how to fix the situation.
For Example: I moved to Chicago with career expectations on being successful (during that time in my life I did not know what “being successful” was). I was living with my best friend, which is something I learned is not always a great idea. One thing led to another and he was going to move back to Saint Louis for someone in his life…..I was for the first time terrified about this move: I thought I was losing my best friend. Looking back on it, I now know I felt terrified because I was losing my mini comfort zone in Chicago … a city that at the time I was still not used to and was not exactly welcomed in.
After my roommate moved out I began to panic and question why I was still in this city! I had no friends…I had work acquaintances but no true friendships.
Then one day I just got up, and made a decision - I decided to take this as an opportunity to bring back the spontaneous behavior I had when I was with my friends and just starting the adventure around the city. I attended movies and shows and block parties and such just to feel active ….And after awhile I started to realize I love being on my own. Being truly independent and loving the experience even if it is harder than expected and usual.

CK: With this new found zest to conquer the city, did you encounter further “setbacks”? or should I say, “second thoughts”?
JK: I had many setbacks (trying to take care of an expensive apartment dealing with a crazy roommate. Landlord troubles, Loss of jobs or contracts.) But I really wanted this chance in my life. I just remained thankful for what I had and accepted it. And the funny thing is I learned the lesson that when doing this you can truly move forward in life.

CK: What were some of the resources you tapped into while reaching for your dream?
JK: I don’t know if it’s a resource per say, but I took every opportunity I had to talk about my passions with people I met and people I worked for. I wanted to get to a place of comfort on my own, and in turn, “take care of myself”. So I started to research things I did not know, try different things I never tried in the past, just to form my own personal opinion.

CK: What was your dream when you moved to Chicago? What is your dream now? How do they relate?
JK: I totally dreamed I would be successful and wealthy in the city. I still focus on that in the back of my mind but my dominate thought in my life is to work on myself by learning what I can and can’t do. I believe the original dream was too blurry on how I would get to that point. In fact, I never stopped to think of how lofty it was to dream like that. See I totally realized that everything can be dreamed about but its hard work you put into your life that will help that dream come true ….and here’s a secret… sometimes to achieve those dreams you need to start your life over from the point of where you start from scratch and look at another possible path to achieve it.

CK: How have you grown from this experience, besides starting over and achieving past and current dreams?
JK: You tell me! I see I can see myself different in the mirror or how I look and act but the true way of telling how I grew as a person is to hear it from the people I surround myself with all my life.

CK: How has this experience enriched your life?
JK: I have been able to become closer to the friends I already have. I have successfully grew the friendships people thought would not last and I have been feeling more confident about the choices I make with new people I meet.

CK: Would you go again if you knew now what you did not know then?
JK: Undoubtedly, yes! I feel like the true reason I was allowed to move to Chicago is that GOD had wanted me to learn valuable lessons and to grow into the person I am and the people around me would be proud of.

CK: We talked about not stepping outside our comfort zone, and combating our fears – what advice can you offer those who have reservations about taking chances?
JK: Chances are just that …Chances to change…to grow…to cry….to fail …..To hurt …to live ….to remember ….to be different…. And in the end you will look back from a different point of view and see how far you traveled….
Have you ever seen something in your life, like a postcard of a mountain for instance …and you thought it was just breath-taking from a distance ….how could you really say that unless you experience it for yourself??
Now ask a mountain climber to describe that same mountain….he talks about how dangerous some of the areas are in climbing it and how if you reach a certain point on the mountain you can see this beautiful valley, or you can see the border of Canada, or at the very top of the mountain you can see beautiful stars so bright that you could never have imagined from the ground.
So too, as this mountain, you can see your dreams – laid out before you is this breath taking picture of your dream, and it gives you a awesome feeling but unless you experience the real thing… you’re missing out on all the rest and you’re not allowing yourself to form the greatest thing you can do as a person….the gift of achievement, attainment, creating memories and gaining knowledge from the experience.
My advice? Go out there and make an attempt to climb the damn mountain already! So what if you fall and skin your knee … pick yourself up and keep climbing! The journey to the top delivers an adventure you would never experience by sitting at the bottom, scared to try. And the view from the top you can never see, never truly engulf you, from just a snapshot at a local gift shop turnstile. Don’t think … climb. The adventure is worth the view, I can assure you.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tangled Up With the Past

You never really know just how intertwined you are with the precedent, until the echo whispers to you. These echoes can take the form of one conduit or a combination. Echoes, such as a song, a photograph, or perhaps that scent that floats in the air of a distant memory. Sights, smells, sounds, trigger memories that can stop you dead in your tracks, drain the color from your skin, and cause you to loose your breath. And yet the same sensory system can trigger memories that instantly cause you to smile, give a sensation of warmth and comfort, and reminisce to a memory that causes you to reflect…

Face and Embrace

… Your memories and your experiences. Deal with “mistakes” and reflect on “attainment”. This is not in any way saying analyze your past. Instead it’s dealing with what is lost and taking a page of wisdom from what has come and gone. On the reverse end of the spectrum, it’s reflecting on your joyous moments and taking that joy and using it as fuel to attain further victory of bliss.

When to Let Go

In dealing you must stop trying to figure out specifically how you feel, stop scheduling the “I’ll never make that same mistake” in the future, stop deciding on a plan your mind is forcing you to make. Instead, learn and move on. Easier said than done, I recognize that more than I care to give merit to; but life is a series of events that lead you to a place where you are exactly suppose to be. It may not seem like that, and you may be fighting those facts. Truth is whatever happens, happens. We make choices, good and bad, that lead us to the today, to the right now. Living with regret in the tomorrows of our past is not a road map to the future; if anything, it’s a hindrance of preventing “living” the today and looking onward to the tomorrow. Keep in mind that your past cannot be fix or replace or redone – if you try to it will hold you back from the tomorrows yet to be.

Facing failures, letting go, saying goodbye, moving on … its like torture to the mind. Even if the memories are painful, you may still struggle with how to let them find their place in the past. Believe me; I fight the knowledge that there is no easy way of letting go of the past. Reaching forward requires effort and energy that we seem drained of most days. The key to remember is that you must place confidence in yourself that your own strength and courage, manifesting deep inside you, is what can stimulate the necessary mechanics to utter goodbye to the before and hello to what is yet to come. No longer can you be consumed with worry, fear, regret – anxiety and doubt must take their rightful place in the past. You will survive; you can overcome the memories that at times haunt you. Even better, you will face what is yet to come with more wisdom, a sense of pence, and a more grounded and centered positions in your thoughts, goals, and wants.

When to Welcome In

In reflecting, you must take it all in. As I sit out on the deck and type, I feel the winds of change. As one season ends, another begins; and each bring with it memories of the past that lighten the day. More lately than usual, I have been flooded with memories that seem to magically be equipped with a time machine, stimulating flashbacks of the past that are hard to deal with … but in that photographic memory box there is also glimpses into those moments that today instantly shine a smile on my face.
….. Like that Monday evening, after 18 hours of labor, I was able to hold my darling son for the first time and be shocked at how instantly and how much you could love someone.
…. Or the weekends my grand-grandmother and I worked diligently in her living room so that she could pass her talent of quilting on to me – I can still remember the smell of her house – it takes me to a place of comfort and familiarity.
….. Or to the only place I felt safe as a child, the only place of solidarity – my grandparents’ back yard – where we would frolic in the woods, put pennies on the train tracks, and drink ice tea sitting on a porch with two of the most influential people in my life.
… Or that weekend away one summer night in June, nestled in the arms of my first love, gazing at the stars, where I heard for the first time … I love you …
…. Or the feeling of sand beneath my toes as I ran to the beach in California to dive into the ocean for the first time … I felt alive, carefree … and at peace.

Now each one of those moments in my history has its downside … my great grandmother past away that very winter she was teaching me … my grandparents sold their home a few years back … motherhood also came with the words single parent … and my first love didn’t last. Yet I don’t associate the yin with the yang of the memories … it’s like each has its separate compartment in my brain and comes to surface when its time.

You remember the times that lighten your heart by having the knowledge those moments in your life are collected and stored to reflect upon. We can love what is ahead, but loving what has come before. In our cortex is the home of amygdale: the portion of the mind that is related to emotion. This is an important factor in acclimatize memories according to meaning, based on the intensity of the emotion. Same is with memories – we place them into categories, in order of importance, and they seem to surface when we need to feel them the most. When I feel trapped, I remember how it felt to be in that vast ocean – no space can confine me and it’s up to me to overrule the negative emotions and implement the constructive, life altering mind-sets. Reflecting on those, feeling the moments gone by, gives us hope and a light into the tomorrows yet to come. And with their coming, you can be assured, more memories will be created that one day can too bring a glimpse of the past to reminisce upon … and to give a smile to what is yet to come.

As Each Day Passes, More Memories are Made

We have friends of ours who live about an hour outside of St. Louis. I drive there often, spending time at their lake, on the beach, disconnecting from the pressures of reality and reconnecting with my soul. In my bedroom there I keep one of my prize possessions – my memory box. Inside you will find photographs, ticket stubs, champagne corks, Outkast's Atliens CD, keys to my first car, a ring my grandma gave me, my son’s hospital bracelet and so much more. Some times I am oblivious to the desperate need my mind has to reconnect. I ignore the warning signs and when that happens, the memories of the past take my breath away. I race to it, pull it out, and just hold “memories” … for when they are near, either in hand, or in mind, comfort sets in that they can never be taken away … only remembered, and built upon.

Cherish your memories – the good the bad and the in between – for they have made you into what you are today. They have given you more blessings than you notice more opportunism that you take. Besides, if you had turned left inside of right, would you be in a position of the vast that is still in store? You remember as a way to add to your life, and as a way to learn from it. These ways are avenues to creation that give you insight from your past that carries forward in lessons and memories yet to come … turn the page in this chapter, and begin the memoir to the next.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Time to Make a Wish

Dear Chrissy,

I feel like I am fading away – each day slipping by, as mundane as the day that preceded it. I feel trapped by the habitual undertakings; a rare trip to the dry cleaners has given me more of an opportunity to go outside my daily routine than any other spontaneous acts (that seem to lack in my life). Most days I register under the radar of the corporate ladder. I feel the support I give as the family provider still falls short of my expectations. And to be noticed by someone who shows interest, to be pursued, has failed to make an appearance in my life. I feel my life slipping out of my hands, and I am scared that my opportunity for my epiphany moment that engulfs me with realization and understanding, has somehow already come and gone. When will I unlock the mystery and discover life? When does the quest for more end and living actually begin?

Yours truly,

Wishing for answers

Dear Wishing for Answers,

Keep wishing.



I know my simplistic response sounds harsh, but it’s the truth! We all should keep wishing. Not saying that you are the author of the letter above, but perhaps you have some of the similar feelings which gives you the common denominator -- at some point we stopped making wishes and believing in the depth of our dreams.

Remember when you used to look up at the stars, catch a glimpse of the first one of the evening, say a little poem, and wish with all of your might for what you are hoping for to come true? You honestly believed it work. Did not matter the wish, night after night you would still hold as much faith and optimism that everything you dreamed of would be a matter of reality. Most nights I wished for a pony – or for a different family – or to be transported away. It never happened, but I still kept hope alive.

I created dreams, and desires, anticipation for the future – and not once did I question their existence or if they would be actual moments in my life. I believed in what was yet to come, and believed that it was supposed to be everything I wished for. Somewhere along the way I stopped wishing on stars. I used to have all of these dreams and now I cannot recite a single new one besides wishing to let go of the past and find my place in the present…

Create new dreams, wishes, and the todays of tomorrow.

As we grow older we loose that creative, imaginative, life-embracing sense that puts more weight on the bliss side of life. Placed on a scale, heartache vs. harmony – one does not outweigh the other; we make a choice as to which one tips the scale. Regrettably we give far too much merit to the disappointments in life. I find it interesting how days turn into weeks, weeks into months, months into, well you get the idea – and as the time passes by, we neglect to use it wisely by fulfilling our wishes, chasing our dreams. Instead, we live out these habitual routines lacking spontaneity, inventiveness. It’s like the voices of our youth, who used to have the world by the tail, now are content with just getting by and through another day. And worse yet, that contentment involves living in the past moments of life, and neglecting the new ones of today. What ever happened to wanting more? Striving for more? Seeking more? When did we loose that inner calling to achieve our dreams?

… May this wish I have …

About a month ago we traveled out to a friend’s home, sat on the beach by their lake, and watched the Perseid Meteor Shower. Despite my reference to shooting stars, these streaming gems are not stars at all. They are, instead, little pieces of material ejected from comets. Materials expelled from the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 135 years!! Despite the astronomy facts, let’s just call a spade a spade here, they are shooting stars …

As our eyes drifted around the night sky, we were hypnotized by the experience; amazed as the atmosphere was ablaze with streaking lights … shooting stars or not, to us they were hope and belief streaming down the night sky. Burning brightly and intensely, each stream existed for a fleeting moment, and was gone – taking with it a wish I found myself whispering into the night air. That night, these striking awe-inspiring moments created a hope and optimism in me that rekindled a spark …

Birthday candles, eyelash on the cheek, a fluttering star (or pieces of material ejected from comets)… the power of making a wish can change your life if you give it merit. The quest ends and living begins when you are ready to place that merit into your life by chasing your dreams… Granted I have big dreams, big wishes – some are from the past that I cannot seem to part with, others are fluttering around trying to conform – despite not knowing how or if or when these wishes will be granted, I do believe in some form they will. After all … dreams really can come true, if you wish upon a star light star bright, with all of your might, that this wish you make, comes true … just might taken a little longer than happening tonight.

Remembering 9/11

There is nothing I can write today that can have a greater impact than your memory, your feeling from that day; where you were when the clock stopped, your breath was taken away, and the tears were shed. The race home that evening to hug your loved one tighter than you ever could remember, and yet it was still not enough ...
I have no words today to summarize - to say I find myself lacking words, speechless, is a phrase I don't utter often; but what I was able to say, and more importantly, what is felt in my heart, is dedicated to those who lives were lost, affected, forever changed. Take a moment of silence to remember that day that forever changed, and continues to impact.

Remembering 9/11 - Important for All Americans

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Giving Thanks in Advance

A few Monday evenings ago, my son and I went to look at a house. A house, which from what the realtor had sent to me, I was completely in love with. Picture an over sized townhouse, straight from New York – 3 bedrooms, a master suite with sitting area, even a water fountain on the back patio (which is a bonus background noise for those evenings out doors that I love to have). The place had everything I wanted minus the deck and fireplace – but I was so thrilled with every other detail that I was willing to overlook my other requests.

What I am not willing to compromise on is safety. As we drove through the neighborhood, I did not get that “cozy welcome home” feeling if you know what I am referring to. In fact, I did not even make it out of the car. House number 4,273 officially eliminated … time 6:13pm ….

As we were sitting at the traffic light to the highway, there was a homeless man holding a sign asking for help in any way, and giving appreciation in advance. I asked him if he would like the water and snacks we had in the car – he graciously accepted and thanked us.

Wait for it … wait for it …

“Momma ... why is that man holding a sign? What’s it say? Well, what’s wrong with him? What do you mean he doesn’t have a home? Are we homeless? Well we don’t have a home either … And why did you give him my snacks? …”

And there it is – the inquisitiveness of a child. Answering his questions was not an easy task. How do you explain to a four year old that we get to drive to an abode of warmth and salvation? And inside its quarters we are able to have food, water, and the comforts of a home? Maybe not “our home” but a place we can call home for now … And yet there are others, such as this man, whose lack of a home resorts them to the streets, asking for help from strangers, and not knowing where their next meal or night of warmth will come from. I tried explaining the best way that I could of how some people have misgivings in life; misfortune. And those of us who are blessed with more, in turn, must give back in order to help them – we do not know their circumstance, and as empathetic human beings, we have an compulsion to help where we can – in the capacity we can – of our fellow man. And that of course brought on more questions …

However, this piece is not meant to express my views on the part we should play in the helping of others; this piece is not intended for any other purpose besides getting you to think. Think of your blessings. Think of your abundance. Think of your home, your family, and the love and laughter that should be in place. Think of when the last time it was that you needed help, and how you were received. Think of when the last time you yourself offered a helping hand, a saving grace. Think of where you are going; and those on your journey with you – do you face hardships, yet keep your faith? Do you cherish the moments? Do you give thanks well in advance of what you receive?

An anonymous quote says: “To cure sometimes, to relieve often, to comfort always.”

That man on the side of the road gave thanks well in advance of anything he received; but it is I that thank him, for the impression he left on my son, as well as on me. He played an intricate role in keeping the balance in our cycle to always be giving more than we receive – not out of pity, but out of gratitude. Cure, relieve, comfort – I have those luxuries, and choose to pay it forward in hopes to make a difference, and provide the same feeling of relief that I have had when someone takes my hand when I desperately need it the most.

I still face hardships that force me to question; but I am quickly reassured that the presence of salvation surrounds me. I trust that sometimes we must go through hardships in order to get to the next chapter in our lives; and I trust there is a lesson, a reason, and purpose as to "why". Remember your blessings, the true gifts in life; your lessons to be had, the purposes to be revealed, and the reasons to be determined; remember and give appreciation well before they are delivered to you. Life may feel like sometimes we are not protected from the elements, sheltered from the storm by nothing besides a highway overpass; but I am certain that storms end, rebuilding begins, and there will always be a hand along the way to help ... and for that I give thanks well in advance.