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Have you ever been unfriended on Facebook? You probably have, but did even know it. I have unfriended people myself, and it was because of what I believed to be a good reason. But…when it happens to you, you are devastated.

What happened to communication? We don’t talk to each other anymore. Even baby boomers are subject to this, because we have had to learn to live in the world of technological advances that we did not cut our teeth on. We often hear of young people who walk and text and do not ever look up, or even text to someone right across the room. I have actually witnessed this.

Some years back, I was a charter member of a rotary club that decided they were going to be a charter rotary online club. It was the new way, so I came on board so that I could be a part of the new – the future. It did not take long for me to opt out – every other email was from one of those members writing something and expecting a reply, or at least for you to look at it. There were so many emails it clogged up my email system. OMG! It, to a baby boomer, at least, was overwhelming.

I needed face-to-face contact; interaction of looking into someone’s eyes, especially since the eyes are the windows to the soul. I needed to read their body language – that is one of the ways we baby boomers learned to communicate. We met and socialized. In fact, eating out or going to a coffee house was how we bonded.

Today it is mostly fast food, or eating-on-the-run, thus you do not often meet and use eating out as a social activity. In fact, families are on the go and no longer sit at a table together and eat, let alone communicate. The dinner table was where we found out what each family member was doing. We broke bread together and I think one from my generation could actually say, the family that breaks bread together, stays together…and cares about each other – which leads to caring about others.

People are inside their heads today and do not talk…they text or comment or like on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Experts say we are raising a generation of people who do not know how to communicate.

I learned while working with the drug coalition that we had to have a grant in order to get kids to volunteer – my generation learned from our parents to volunteer – it was never really said to do it, but since children live what they learn, we learned it and did it without thinking – because it was illustrated.

Today kids are taught how to balance a checkbook, learn parenting from classes, etc. We saw our parents do it and just did what we saw them do. Nobody really gave us an in-service or tutorial in a class or one-on-one. It was by watching and listening in person.
We also did our homework and did not have our parents help us…that is why we went to school – so the teachers could teach us. If I asked my Father how to do my homework, he would look at me and say, go back to the front of your book – you obviously missed the basics. So, I did, and he was right. He didn’t do it for me; therefore, I learned.
When I wanted to know how to spell something – no computers, St. Google or spell-check – I went to the dictionary, the encyclopedia or the book of knowledge or book of popular science – which we had at home – or went to the library to get a book on whatever I wanted to know. Making the effort to look it up made me remember it.

There are stats out there today that validate that went we look something up ourselves, or write it down, we remember it better. Many are using neurolinguistic programming without even knowing they are doing it. Today, however, there are classes on that, too.
Oh, we do love nostalgia, looking back and talking about the Good Ole Days, but they sure do seem to have been just that to any of us because we learned – we graduated and have heavily contributed to society as a whole. This does not mean that we did everything right – the younger generation does not seem to want to get married these days – we obviously set a bad example in this category and I am sure others, but we did talk to each other; socialized in person and though rebellion happened in the 60’s, most of us baby boomers learned how to work though the system to get things accomplished.

Communication is listening and talking.

We even have new things added to the dictionary that have been coined by individuals- personal names are no longer standard but made up. I do not know if that is good or bad but I do know that we cannot predict how to spell many of today’s names because the origin of the names are not based on what most of us are familiar with. And, when you mispronounce a name today or misspell it because you have never heard of it, or you spell it like it is pronounced, the person is outraged that you made that faux pas. How could we know? Besides, if you just see their name on the social media sites and never actually talk to them to hear their name pronounced, again, you are connecting only in the current fashion of today.

I always want to learn and to keep up with the times, but some of these things seem that we are regressing rather than moving forward. I do not know the answer, but I do know that like they teach you in law school, there is your side, my side and truth somewhere in the middle. There must be a middle ground here for all of us to benefit from the old and the new. We want the world to get better, not regress.

The conflict in the world today cannot be resolved if we do not communicate.
So, back to being unfriended on Facebook. I was devastated that the person who unfriended me would do such a thing without at least talking to me first. I know it is uncomfortable to broach certain things with people, but it heals the world.

When people quit talking to one another or feel bad about that person, they must not know that it actually makes a negative ripple in The Universe. It hurts us, not them. For-give is not for them…it is for you, just as understanding is for you. We are all connected. That is not New Age mumbo-jumbo.

In the Five People you Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, there is a quote that depicts that truth, There are no random acts…We are all connected…You can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind…

I BELIEVE that we should do like my Daddy always told me when I asked him to help me with my homework, Go back to the front of the book; you obviously missed the basics if you do not know how to do it.

Okay. Communication 101: Talk, Listen, Comprise if necessary, and resolve.
Now – the world is a better place, because we can live the Golden Rule, which we do not repeat enough: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Now that I KNOW that I have been unfriended on Facebook, and I know how it made me feel, I will think better about how to resolve things with a person than to just unfriend them and say nothing to repair the ripple in the Universe.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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As the season of believing seems to wind down, let me gently remind you that many dreams still wait in the wings. Many authentic sparks must be fanned before passion performs her perfect work in you. Throw another log on the fire. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

2014 ~

Like all new years, we enter it with excitement, hoping it will be our best year yet. The shouts of “HAPPY NEW YEAR!” — with horns and confetti and the kiss at midnight — usher in what we believe is going to be our best year yet. We say it aloud, Happy New Year!  Even if we are not at an event as the new year arrives, many of us stay up to “usher in” this new year, devoid of negative marks on the calendar – a clean fresh page to begin again.

Some of our hopes and dreams were shattered for whatever reason this past year. We started off excited and then, because of different things that occurred, we put them on the back burner. Sometimes, they were pushed so far back that we actually have forgotten them.

When we see someone succeed at the dream or goal we actually had, our first thought is – that was my idea.

All ideas float through the air as if they are on butterfly wings, but it is the one that grabs the idea and acts on it that gets the prize.

We procrastinate, we fail to prioritize; we act as if we have all the time in the world. Dreams and ideas are illusive. You must grab them while they are in your line-of-sight.

Most of us are too busy to sit down and think about what we want.  The New Year is upon us and it is up to us to carve out that window of time for ourselves to plan.

My last two blogs had to do with goals. The first was encouraging ourselves to do anything to finish any one of the things we started out wanting to do at the beginning of the year – at least taking steps towards that, even if we could not finish. The second had to do with priming the pump, if you will, and thinking in terms of what you would do if you knew your time was extremely limited.

I am sure those thoughts were interrupted with the hustle and bustle of the holidays. We now have a reprieve – the next real holiday is Valentine’s Day, so it is now time to lay out what you want to do for 2015.

Many people were not taught to set goals. In fact, as a baby boomer, the only goal I knew anything about was the goal post for football. We didn’t talk about goals in our day. I don’t know if goals were not part of our parents’ lives since they were products of the depression, but none-the-less, most of us did not learn goal setting.

You can teach an old dog new tricks, so if you have never set goals, perhaps this is the year to start.

With St. Google ever at our fingertips these days, we can search how to do anything, but I am going to give you a simple formula that works. We like things simple today and it being simple, we are more apt to follow it or at least try it.

Get you a notebook that appeals to you. One that you gravitate towards when you look at it. That is step one; baby steps work well for those who have not set goals before.

After you get your notebook, the hardest thing to do is to look at the first blank page and see nothing on it. Writing on the page is your beginning.

Step two is writing down on that first page what you really want to do in 2015. Without a lot of thought start writing what you would like to do.  Write as many things as you can in 15 minutes; just write, do not dwell on any one thing you are writing down, or stop and ask yourself if it is really do-able. Just write.

Step three is to now go back and look at your list.This is the time to decide if the things you wrote are dreams or goals.  If they are dreams, they can still go on your 2015 list and you can begin steps to achieve them.

This is where you ask yourself a few important questions:  if money or other people’s considerations were not an issue, would you do this NOW?  Do I want to find a certain job; buy a new home or a car; go on a special vacation; go back to school; learn a new language; loose weight; quit smoking; have better health?  The list is endless.

You can have more than one goal, but I believe there is magic in threes and that is what I have found to be achievable. If you have not set goals before, or it has been a long time since you have done it, starting with one, but no more than three, so it will not overwhelm you.

You want to be able to say I DID IT at the end of 2015, and if you have too many, you are less likely to do any of them.

Step four requires a highlighter.  Highlight the three things you most want to do. A burning desire is paramount in moving forward.   If you get carried away and highlight more than three, you then have to decide which three you really want to do.  Desire is the tie-breaker for choosing.

Step five is to make an action plan for each of the three.  Start simple, but start. If hiking the Grand Canyon is on your list and it is a NEW venture for you, you might write something like go shopping for hiking boots; find out when the next TRACKS meeting is, or talk to a friend who goes hiking and arrange a trial run.

Step six is accountability. It is notebook time again, but we add one more thing – a Master Calendar. Depending on the number of goals you chose, get a notebook for each one – this will chronicle your success, and it will serve as a blueprint for setting future goals. Each time you take a step towards fulfilling one of your goals, write it down in detail in your notebook as to what you did and, yes, there is an “and”… also write what you will do next.

Write the date of your next action on the calendar and place your calendar where you will see it every day. All three goals – or less if that is what you have chosen – can go on that master calendar.

After you do the action, mark a line through it on the calendar. It feels so good to do this step.

You are on your way to achieving your goals for 2015.

If you follow the steps, the beautiful quote at the beginning of this post will not be applicable to you. You will be ready to set goals for the next year. You will be surprised how easy this actually was with this simple/do-able plan.

The hard part is just getting started. Commit to giving yourself a day or a half day or just a few hours to begin.

Remember the ancient Chinese proverb: The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

I BELIEVE you will make this part of your future once you do this just one time.

This is your new post-it-note should you decide to embark on setting your goals for 2015:

THE DEGREE TO WHICH YOU KEEP YOUR AGREEMENTS, IS THE DEGREE TO WHICH YOUR LIFE WILL WORK.

I’m LATE!

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It’s Christmas Season
And my blog is late,
but don’t dismay
for it’s worth the wait.
​It’s all about loss
and letting go
it’s a reminder of things
That you already know.
To be reminded
will help you release
What could hang on
And rob you of peace.
So look for my blog
tomorrow online
It’s just what you need
but…could not find.

What I *BELIEVE*

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There are a couple of movies that entice us to do those things we have put off, or did not even try, for whatever reason.

There is Last Holiday with Queen Latifah, where her character lives a pretty mundane life until she is diagnosed with a terminal illness. She is told she only has so many months to live. She quits her job, cashes in all her life’s savings and lives life totally opposite of how she has lived up to that point. She decided to really LIVE.

There is also The Bucket List with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman – two terminally men in a hospital cancer ward who have nothing in common. One is a filthy rich entrepreneur, the other a middle class mechanic. Giving courage to one another, and with Nicholson’s money, they leave the hospital and proceed to do everything they have ever wanted to do. They decided to really LIVE.

There is also a song written by Tim McGraw, Live like you were dying. In the song, he talks about someone (actually Tim’s father) being given a terminal diagnosis. The lyrics ask what did you do when you got the news. The response was not what one expected. The words were, I went sky diving, I went rocky mountain climbing, I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fumanchu…” He decided to really LIVE.

Depending where you are in your life, these things make you stop and think, especially those of us that are baby boomers. When we start to see our parents failing in health or passing; when we see friends and acquaintances leaving this earth or confined to bed, in an assisted living facility or nursing home, we begin to think about our own mortality.

Baby boomers never thought of getting old. We thought we were different. Many did not save for the future. They lived life with reckless abandon, not planning for the future – so statisticians tell us – because we didn’t want to live like our parents who were products of the depression era. We wanted to LIVE.

We were going to change the world – and we have in many ways – but we never thought we were going to get old. We subconsciously believed that we were going to find that fountain of youth that Ponce DeLeon was searching for.

With technology we did find it, in a way. Today we live longer. We work longer. We can have a blocked artery, go in the hospital and have a stent put in and go back to work the next week. We have pharmaceuticals that allow us to continue with our everyday existence with many of the illnesses that would normally be life debilitating.

All this said, as we lose loved ones, we begin to contemplate our lives. Since we are the sum total of the choices that we make, we ask ourselves, did we choose wisely? There is also the “I wish I had, or I should have, or I could have” – yes, those “should-a, would-a, could-a” thoughts sometimes leave us feeling depressed or less than, but sometimes are the catalyst we need to change direction.

Like the movie characters in Last Holiday, The Bucket List and the song Live like you are dying, we can make or re-do that What I want to do before I go list, before it is too late.

I am not talking about reckless abandon, but about truly searching our souls and making a list of what we would like to do before we get sick or pass on.

I have heard it said that no one says on their death bed that they wished they had worked more. They usually say they wish they had spent more time with their loved ones or accomplished a dream they once had. Whatever it is for you, while there is still time, DO IT NOW, like Nike says.

We do not know what is going to happen to us. If we wait, it could be too late. None of us is promised the next minute.

Last year, I was hit head-on by a pickup truck; had I not stopped before being hit, I was told that I would be dead. I never expected to have an accident. My mother passed away in March, one of my sisters passed away in June, and many people I know have left this earth plane. Life can be over in an instant.

We are nearly at the end of another year; my last blog was centered around accomplishing whatever you could from your 2014 resolutions list before the end of of 2014. It was also to encourage you/me to write down our goals – psychologists say we are much more likely to accomplish what we write down, even with only one month left.

Having done an interview with an individual last week who, like myself, traveled a lot in his youth, lived life as an adventure and is now living the opposite of most people our age, it brought to mind the movies I mentioned and the song by Tim McGraw.

Thus, this blog goes one step further – while you still can, think about making that list of what you would like to do before it is too late. You may not be able to accomplish all of those things now, but there is surely something you can do on that list.

If you could only pick ONE thing, it should be the thing that burns deep within you that gets you excited – something you were either afraid to do, thought you did not have the skills or money to do, or someone said you could not do.

Last year, I read a book called Younger Next Year. It was written by a doctor of internal medicine and an athlete. It said there are three things you must do if you want to live optimally well into your eighties and beyond: 1) have passion – you must have something that gets you up each day – that excites you from within; 2) Exercise – it is more important that what you eat because it can counter-balance some of your food choices; and last, but certainly NOT least, 3) An intimate relationship – a spouse, a significant other or a sacred circle of friends that you can bare your soul to – someone you can trust with your deepest secrets or desires. These three things go along with doing NOW what you may have put off in your life.

I can still hear my mother’s voice saying what many of your mothers also said, Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today, or if we said, I can’t, she would say, Can’t never could do nothing!

I am not putting off making my list of things I have long since forgotten or put on a shelf for later. TODAY. I am not even waiting for 2015. I a going to do it NOW.

What I BELIEVE is that as long as we are breathing, we still have an opportunity to do what is important to us.

My post-it note this week comes from Sushan Sharma:

In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make.

WHAT I BELIEVE – Did you meet your 2014 goals?

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We have turned the calendar over to a new month – December, the last month of the year, the 12th month. The next turn will move us into 2015.

If there is anything we wanted to accomplish in 2014, we still have this month left to accomplish it.   Do you even remember where you put your goals, your things-to-do in 2014, or your vision board?

Most of us are too busy in December to look at what is left, what is undone or what can be done in this last month. Our focus now is on the holiday season. If we did not check ourselves quarterly, or more often, to see if we were on task, we probably are not.

I was taught that most people do not have clear and measurable goals. In fact, a lot of us were not taught to set goals. Many of the baby boomers had parents that who had grown up during the depression and they were grateful for their jobs and everything that they had; many, however, possessed the fear factor that never left them. They remember going through hard times, and they lived life differently. They took a job and stayed with it for life. They worked hard and took care of their families. They did not take chances or waste their lives “dreaming.”

Children live what they learn, thus, we normally find ourselves doing what our parents have done. Some of us, though not taught to set goals, learned how to set goals by osmosis. I recall groups I have been involved in when we started having action plans. We wrote down what we wanted to do, the steps to accomplish it and a timeline. Our teachers taught us this in a roundabout way in school when we had to choose our subject for our term paper and were given the date it was due.

I feel I was hard-wired to be a Type A personality, because as far back as I remember, I waited until the 11th hour to get my projects done. The adrenaline would flow and the creative ideas would come and working non-stop till the deadline. I would energize. That has been my M.O. all my life.

I have always made lists of things to do – daily things or weekly, maybe. In the 80’s, I was exposed to the Franklin Planner, took the class, bought the book with daily pages. I was given the choice of labeling my things to do on a daily basis with A, B, C or what they called “Rocks that Roll!” I do not recall the meaning of those rocks, but I do know that I was labeling everything as A’s and having to roll them over to the next day or the next, or the next. Nonetheless, it was a way of setting goals, because even rolling things over, they eventually got done. I did learn they cannot all be “A’s.”

Then there was the Vision Board. I learned about those in the 80’s or 90’s; some called it treasure mapping. You saved or collected magazines, bought a poster board and some glue, got out your scissors and cut out the things that spoke to you.   You then pasted those things on your board – things you would like to see materialize in your life.

I have done this several times in my life, I discovered that by daily or weekly viewing my board that many of those things actually came in to my life.

I did a radio show in 2007 or ’08 on this very thing. People gathered for the workshop and the day was like child’s play – but we were actually working – goal setting. Ken and Lauren Hosie of Open Spaces Yoga were at that workshop. Ken asked a poignant question, since many of us were fascinated with Feng Shui, the ancient art of oriental placement. That question was, “Did you mean for us to Feng Shui our vision boards?” Oh my goodness! Of course! What a novel approach. Thus, we divided our boards into nine sections, just like the Feng Shui Bagua.

We all got excited; it seemed like we had a real plan.   The Bagua seemed the perfect answer to make sure every area of our lives would be planned. It encompassed prosperity, fame and character, relationships, family and community, health and wellness, children and creativity, self-cultivation and knowledge, career and helpful people and travel.

Everyone seemed clear; we had a map and we got to choose what went into each of those nine quadrants.   We had a mound of magazines and we passed them around; we even cut out for each other and when the day was over, most had completed their boards.

Later in the year, I followed up with the participants and the majority of them had things come in to their lives that they had put on their board. Of course, I discovered that those that looked at their boards daily or at least frequently, seemed to have the best results. My own board was testimony of whether that process had worked or not…and it had! Six out of none areas on my board had actually materialized. I became a real believer in this way of setting goals.

Now, back to one month left to complete your goals for 2014. I did the board in 2013, but got lax in 2014. What a year I have had! It is not a year I would have planned for myself.

I will not fail to plan for 2015. I have been invited to a Thankmas; we will be doing vision boards this month. I am so excited! I will not leave 2015 to chance. I am goal setting!

Lewis Carroll said, “Any road will get you there, if you don’t know where you are going.”

It has been scientifically proven that those that write down their goals have a higher percentage of achievement. Pictures work, too!

The clock is ticking for 2014… December is here. I still can accomplish one or two of the things I wanted in my life for 2014, but it is not the same as giving yourself a whole year and timelines to “get-r-done!” Being specific about what you want changes things.

I hope this inspires you either get at least one last thing in for 2014, or to jump-start your 2015 goal setting, so you will not be in December next year watching the clock or calendar… and feeling remorseful that you did not do it.

I BELIEVE that seeing is “believing,” and I am putting my desires for 2015 on – not just any poster board – but a “colored” poster board. My December 2015 blog will address the results!