Thursday, September 19, 2013

End of Summer Thoughts: 2013

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Before starting this post, I decided to read what I wrote this time last year. I knew that I had made progress in the direction that I want to go, but was curious about my expectations back then. I wanted to compare where I was then, where I expected to be in the future to where I am now. I noticed several things:
  • First, last year this time I was writing in trio; physical, spiritual, and mental.
  • Second, I was ending the cycle of counting pounds, fixating on food and feeling anxious about my size.
  • Third, I was just beginning to become less distracted by people around me and more able to focus on myself. 
  • Fourth, I finally came to terms with the fact that I would never be accepted by organized religion. 
  • Fifth, I was just beginning to see how much energy and time I had wasted trying to change the fourth fact. 
  • Sixth, almost as an aside, I mentioned that I wanted a bigger bank account. 
That was end of summer, 2012 in summary.

Now, fast forward to end of summer 2013 and let’s see what stuck and what didn’t. 
  • First, I still meditate every day, sometimes more. 
  • Second, I am smaller in size than last year and still do not worry about calories. 
  • Third, organized religion is something that very seldom even crosses my mind. 
  • Fourth, I have a strong connection to my God and see the work of the Universe every day of my life. 
  • Fifth, I notice people but find that they no longer distract me from my focus. 
  • Sixth, my bank account is, in fact, larger today than it was this time last year. 
All in all, from this time last year to now, I have made definite progress in the direction that I want to go.

My expectations for moving forward into the fall and the end of this year can be summed up with the word bright. Starting with the fact that my sojourn in the fires of bad break ups hell seems to be over, I expect negativity to continue to become a thing of the past. This means that it is far easier for me to see the positive in a situation and far less of a struggle to keep from traveling down Woe is Me Road when things don’t go as planned. 

I have laid out a detailed plan that includes month to month goals and the means to obtain them. So far this discipline has resulted in me obtaining my MA license to sell health and life insurance. I have identified places to buy business suits and a good tailor to do my alterations. I’m still dating and comfortable with being solo. Oh, while on the subject, I had my first experience of applying the Living PowerLife approach to dating while deciding whether to continue to date a particular person. Far less drama. 

As I continue along my path, I hope to meet more positive people and perhaps find a special person of my own. Until that happens, though, I will follow the Living PowerLife approach to happiness, health and well-being because I'm living proof that it works.

From my PowerLife to yours,


2012. All rights Reserved.

Money or Power

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If I had a dime for every time that I heard someone say money is power, I could sing Rollin’ in the Green. For that matter, if I had a nickel for every time that I did not question the statement, I could have my own island. 

We have been taught by society to connect monetary wealth with power, intelligence, and happiness. We have been groomed by advertisers to connect owning the latest gadgets with living carefree, exciting, and sexy lives. Because of this, we look to the latest high paid celebrity, athlete, or business person for their insight on how to make money, gain possessions, and find happiness. We do this while neglecting the development of our inner stability, which puts us at the mercy of institutions, organizations, and groups. 

In addition, we often do not recognize the choices that we have and this makes us feel helpless without the acceptance of others. Day after day we reject logic and avoid claiming the power that we have in every situation. Year after year we study others and try to recreate what has worked for them in our own lives. Then, we wonder why following this year’s expert did not free us of our financial quagmire or feelings of helplessness yet again. I call this the ‘Money Madness’ cycle. Money and the promise to own more possessions direct our decisions. Madness is doing the same thing, looking exclusively outside ourselves for answers, while expecting different results.

Several years ago when I lost just about every possession that I owned, the experience was both the worst and best in my life. In a matter of a few months the worst happened; I went from living comfortably, surrounded by the things that I had spent my life collecting to being one step away from homelessness. With adversity, though, comes growth which brings me to the best. 

The benefits of losing everything became clear as I accepted what happened and used my power to identify and incorporate the personal lessons my experience contained. In return, I gained insight and freedom which are the foundation for building a better life. My insight begins with the obvious which is money and possessions do not…
• Provide breath
• Bring physical and mental health
• Lead to true love
• Determine the value of a human being
• Give lasting peace
• Produce wisdom
Conversely, the lack of money and possessions will not stop us from living. Losing them will not suddenly make us ignorant, unloved, or unworthy. Understanding this gave me freedom. I was freed from being attached to money and possessions. 

Money is paper and should be a means rather than end. For instance, the more paper we have, the more choices available. These are choices that will impact us in either positive or negative ways. Having more of them will not ensure that we will always make the right choice in every situation. At the same time, having more choices does provide more options for solving problems or reaching goals.

Another example is the more paper we have the more possessions we can accumulate. Possessions are a collection of perishable items to which we can become attached. The more attached we are to these items, the more invested we are in maintaining the status quo. Or, the more things we own, the stronger we fight against change.

We use our power to attribute psychological and emotional value to money and the things money can buy. We give them importance when we connect them to what we think is crucial for our happiness and stability. This means that we use our power to define for ourselves what success and love mean. Then, we make decisions about when and how to take action towards obtaining what we want. There are two avenues we can take to identify and pursue goals. One keeps us firmly on the ‘Money Madness’ treadmill and the other leads to internal stability.

With ‘Money Madness’ we squander our power in endless efforts to gain more money and things for the sake of having them. The alternative is to use our power to make the best decisions from the choices that we have. How much money we have only determines the number of choices rather than their quality. With this in mind, we can make the conscious choice to follow the avenue that leads us to develop practical applications for living a life where money is the way to increase choice and power is the way to recognize the choice that will bring the most positive outcome.

First, though, we must take the steps to become free of the attachment to money and possessions. Only then will we be able to develop a new relationship with both. Start by looking where you live and taking in the things that are yours. Take each item individually and think about how important it is to you. What do you imagine would happen if you suddenly did not have the item? Then consider the reasons why you imagine what you do. Start with the large things first, such as your home, car, stereo, or television. Include your means of earning a living. Then work down to the smaller things. Go through every room in your home and for each item ask:
• How do I feel when I look at/think about…?
• What memories are connected to…?
• Are any people who are important to me connected to…?
• What would it feel like not to have…?

As you go from room to room, try to determine if you have accumulated items that no longer have importance or relevance in your life. Include your clothes, books, music. The goal is to feel, as much as you can, the emotions that would come if you lost most of your money and possessions. These emotions are important because they will help you become free of the belief that you absolutely must have particular items in your life. Your freedom will be the base from which you start to build a new way of deciding what is important to you and then planning your steps to success.

From my PowerLife to yours,


2012. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

You Are Not Single

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You probably already know that I use social media to reach part of my audience. One day while updating my Face Book profile, I saw the relationship status prompt. Mine was single, as usual and seeing this caused a twinge of discomfort, as usual. This time, I decided to pay attention to my feelings. I did this by exploring my discomfort. This is what I found:
  • Single means alone…a single rose, single word, single person.
  • I was uncomfortable with the label because I did not feel alone.
  • I realized that none of us are single.
Armed with the previous insight, this is what I did:
  • Claimed my power by choosing the label that was mine.
  • Lived my power by changing my status from single to in a relationship.

While we are focused on all of the many external relationships that we have or want to have, how often do we even think about our internal relationship? That is, the relationship we have with self. Following Ready, Set, Date required that we pay some attention to our internal relationship, but my guess would be that this is a neglected area. Humans are by nature externally focused and we build relationships with others from this frame of reference. We diligently search for friends, lovers, communities of people all while we ignore the connection within.

In addition, while we search for our other half, we often wear the scarlet S for single with shame. Only when we think our search has ended do we gladly discard the S for the coveted Y for yoked. Once yoked to the love of our lives, we expect to live happily ever after. We are totally surprised, depressed and lost when our love becomes just another statistic. In case you have been under a rock in the back of a cave on a mile high mountain, more than half of marriages ends in divorce.

Internally focused relationships are not an excuse for us to be selfish, self-involved or self-centered. Having a conscious relationship with self is difficult work and is how we learn to live as adults in the world. This is how we come to understand the ways in which we have been shaped and influenced by the experiences and people from our past. This understanding is how we make decisions in the present about who we want close and who we need to keep at a distance; how we recognize the difference between people and situations that are good for us and those that are not.

Often we focus mainly on having good relationships with our family members, furry friends, community members, neighbors, colleagues, religious communities. These are important but they keep us externally focused. Being externally focused most of the time interferes with the lifetime job of self-knowledge. Internally focused relationships are how we develop and maintain a sense of who we are. Knowing who we are means we understand what we need which gives us the confidence to wait and not settle. 

  • Not settling means that we have the patience to refrain from bouncing from one person to another because we fear being alone. 
  • Not settling means that we have the strength to leave as soon as we realize that a relationship is moving toward being unhealthy. 
  • Not settling means that we do not try to change, rescue or redeem anyone because we want to be yoked. 
  • Not settling means we do not wait around hoping for change until the wrong relationship grows into one that is so damaging that we are left with scars, pain and emotional bandages once we finally walk away.
On the other hand, when we develop and care for our internal relationship, when we progress from childhood and take on the responsibility of adulthood, we find power that we never thought we had; power that belongs only to us.
  • We have the power to share who we are with another without losing the sense of who we are. This means we can imagine life without fill in the name because we know that our life does not begin and end with one person or group of people. The whole process of grieving involves learning how to live your life when the person you loved is gone.
  • We have the power to accept another into our lives without feeling as though we need to change the person into someone who mirrors us. This means that we are able to be with someone, love someone, commit to someone with all of their flaws, beauty, successes and failures; we can truly see the person we love as independent, on her own journey, with his own energy, values, passions and dreams. That kind of love is the biggest gift one can give to another.
You are not single. You have yourself. 

Recognize your relationship. 
Claim your relationship. 
Be in your relationship.

From my PowerLife to yours,


2012. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

PowerLife Love III: Ready. Set. Date!

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Those of you who have read past Living PowerLife blog posts know that toward the end of 2012, I decided to date again after several years. When I made this decision, I also made the commitment to use my Living PowerLife approach as a guide to deciding when and who to date. At the same time, I started the process of identifying some of the attributes that make me attractive. Consequently, this post covers more things to consider while making conscious choices about dating.

Once I took the time to heal and reclaim myself, recognizing that I was ready to reach out to new people was the logical next step. At first, my goal was to meet people, have fun and possibly start a few friendships. This is when I started taking tango lessons, singing with a chorus, and attending social events that looked interesting. 

Moving from meeting a few potential friends and deciding who to date, however, was more complicated. Even further, identifying some of my attributes that someone would find attractive was a new challenge that I took on with trepidation. I was challenged in new ways because of several reasons. Perhaps you will identify with some or all of the following.

  1. I had never really taken the time to think about the kind of person—beyond the superficial— I wanted in my life as a lover/partner/spouse.
  2. Because I had no concrete idea of who would be a good match for me, most of my adult life was spent recovering from break-ups rather than building a life with someone based on love, passion, compatibility, respect and trust.
  3. I had little awareness of what made me a good lover/partner/spouse for another.
  4. Because I had little understanding of what made me a good match for someone, my ability to make informed choices regarding dating was limited even more.

Start the way you want to end. Not wanting to simply recreate another version of my past with someone new meant that preparing to date again included following my mother’s advice. Growing up as a kid in Detroit, I have many memories of my mother advising me on how to have good relationships with people. She often told me that the best way to start a friendship is to begin the relationship the way I wanted to continue. 

I understood her to mean that I should start my relationships the way I wanted them to continue once the freshness was gone. With her words in mind, I began my search for more insight on dating by starting where I wanted to be. In other words, I began by defining the type of person and life I ultimately wanted. I did this in three layers:

First layer: I claimed my non-negotiable, unalterable terms (NUTs). During my daily reading, I ran across this acronym. NUTs are made up of the things that I either absolutely need to have, or absolutely cannot have in life to be happy. They are my personal code of ethics, creature comfort needs, culture, attitudes and basic beliefs. An example of one small creature comfort that I included here is that I need live plants in my home.

Second layer: informed by my NUTs, I completed this statement—the person I find attractive will… Here, I included concerns about type of lifestyle, day to day responsibilities, personal attitudes/beliefs, expectations, level of intimacy, etc. Here’s one way that I completed the statement. The person I find attractive will value honesty as much as I do.

Third layer: along with identifying my NUTs and the attributes of my ideal mate, I made a list of the things about me that I think are attractive to others. In other words, what makes me a compatible companion? One example from my list is that I strive to be honest with myself so that I can be honest with others.

You may wonder why it is important to consciously list the attributes that make you a good match for someone. There are several but the main reason is to gain useful information. With a basic understanding of what another would find charming about you, the information you have can be used while deciding when to date or keep dating a particular person.

For instance, while I do not have anything against one night stands or casual sex between consenting adults, this is not something that I want. Consequently, I would not consider myself attractive or a good date match for someone who wants to hook up. At the same time, I would be a good match for a person who wants a long-term, monogamous relationship ultimately.

In time, your lists will become more and more important as you make decisions about whether to date, start a friendship, or continue to date a particular person. Indeed, using your lists may even save you from heartache in the future. Just keep in mind to:

  1. Remember who you are.
  2. Accept who you are not.
  3. Be authentic.
  4. Have patience (with self and others).
  5. Keep it classy.
  6. Understand that a single life does not have to be a cursed life.
  7. Do not rush yourself or another.
  8. Never settle.

If while completing your lists you find that your ex or someone you once loved keeps coming to mind, this is a sign to go back and take more time to heal from old heartaches. Also, if you realize that you keep comparing potential dates to someone from your past, you are still carrying a torch for that person. Take more time to extinguish that flame before you try to ignite another. This may include finding a good therapist. If so, you may be discouraged, but respect your process. In the long run, you will be glad because potential lovers will not be hurt by your rebound and future relationships will be stronger. 

Always remember that just a confidential email separates us. I am here for you.

From my PowerLife to yours,



2012. All rights reserved.