Thursday, December 30, 2010

1/1/11 - A Special Year Ahead

To A Special Year!
1/1/11 - 1/11/11 - 11/11/11
and everyday

Apollo 11:
First manned mission
 to land on the moon

DaVinci's "The Last Supper:
If you look closely, there
are 11 rectangles and 11 hands
on both the right and left side

If you believe in Numerology, Astrology or in my case, mere coincidence, the number 11 has had significant meaning throughout history; including the belief that the number 11 has mystical powers.

It also has been said that the number 11 is: "the life path of illumination, enlightenment and spirituality", "represents balance", "a number that says: Pay Attention". 

2011 also represents "The end of the Mayan Calendar and the beginning of a universal shift". Maybe 2011 is the year we do indeed pay more attention and strive for more clarity and balance by actively seeking greater positive changes in ourselves and our lives. I know I will do my best!

May 2011 be a wonderful year, full of new beginnings, for us all.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Alone Does Not Have To Mean Lonely

As the holidays approach, many people find themselves feeling especially lonely.  This video was sent to me by a friends and I believe, through visuals, music and words, it shows that alone does not need to mean lonely.

Please watch "How To Be Alone" and decide for yourself:

I believe the most lonely anyone ever feels is when they are in a crowd of people and they are uncomfortable with themselves; not when they are alone and in an "okay" place with themselves.

We can be our best company. We can think, feel and do better with this concept and accompanying feelings, starting now.

So, before the actual holiday season is completely upon us, let's contemplate the message in the video above and take some action.

There is much joy and freedom to be found when you care about yourself enough to be alone, without feeling lonely. A big goal for some, sure, but a very obtainable one. In fact, being able to be okay alone usually makes being with others that much more enjoyable.

Please let me know your thoughts on this concept and the video.

Until next time,

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Look at Feelings: Part One

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

1. A subjective response to a person, thing or situation
2. An emotional state or reaction
3. The emotional side of someone's character,
emotional responses or tendencies to respond

There are a number of theories that have been proposed to describe and understand the nature of our feelings or emotions.

I think Richard Plutchick’s definition is one of the easiest to understand. His definition can be understood as more of a description of our emotions rather than an explanation of how our emotions work. Plutchik, an American psychologist, proposed that there is a basic set of emotions that all people experience. These emotions are a part of us and directly relate to our adaptive behavior that is designed to enhance our survival instincts, in the same way as the fight or flight response is designed to help us survive.

Plutchik's model is based on an emotion wheel with eight basic emotions, (see Fig. 1). Positive emotions are seen to have a positive impact on our health while negative emotions can make us feel ill. He suggests that we can experience a blend of emotions. These can be seen on the color wheel, which illustrates that emotions vary in their intensity, (see Fig. 2).

It seems to me, a majority of people experience feelings as black or white. For instance, if you’re not sad, you’re happy. I contend, for example, the opposite of love is not hate. The goal is: indifference. The ‘trick’ is how do I change my thinking to understand the ‘grey’ area between black and white and understand that this middle ground of feelings is both desirable and obtainable!

A drawback I find with Plutchik’s theory is that he provides little room for the cognitive thought process. Other studies, which have focused on the topic of emotions, believe this ‘grey’ area of emotional response to be an important component of the cognitive thought process. I support this type of integrative approach.

Enter, Stanley Schachter. He proposes that our environment, as well as, our thought process contribute to the type of emotional experiences we have in any situation. According to Schachter, we recognize the emotions we experience as coming from a number of interacting events. People must make an appraisal of the situation and then figure out which particular emotion(s) they are feeling. This process helps an individual appraise a situation, which in turn, affects the emotion(s) they experience.

Theories or no theories, the fact is we do have feelings.
I, for one, believe feelings do indeed interact with our thought process and subsequent actions. Therefore, feelings are vital to address in this context of Positive Adaptation.

More to come on feelings; how they serve us, what we can do to learn how to embrace them while at the same time, avoid letting them control us and/or our actions.

Until then...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Don't Settle, Only Compromise

"The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for."
~ Maureen Dowd, N.Y. Times

I define settling as: accepting the unacceptable.  Oddly enough, many of us seem to continually rationalize, (especially in our relationships), lowering our standards of what is acceptable to us, (having our needs and most of our wants met), until at some point, we are so miserable and find out what we have settled for.  And we wonder how we got here.

I am completely in favor of compromise.  Compromise is defined: as the result of a process of communication and give and take, we mutually agree to make concessions so that all parties feel it is fair and equitable.
Sure, we may have to give something up, but we are doing so in an effort to get our needs and wants met and help others do the same.

We generally do not find ourselves wondering how we got here or miserable when the art of compromise is used. No, that misery is left for those who settle for less than having their needs and most of their wants met.

We can all do better.  Once you believe in yourself and understand that you are worth more, you too can learn the art and benefits of compromise.  Will we always get what we need and want, (especially from other people), probably not. This is when acceptance and Positive Adaptation are very helpful.

Life is too short to "settle".  Today find where you may be settling for less than you need, want or deserve and apply compromise to the situation.  You will "Think, Feel and Do" better for it.

Make it a great one!

Photo by: Renee Rendler-Kaplan

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Father's - DAD's Day!

Today is Father's Day. I choose to call it "Dad's Day", as I believe there is a distinction. Becoming a father is not all that difficult, however, Being a great Dad is!  So in honor of the day; a heartfelt thank you to all Dads!

Some of us have lost our Dad's, but please remember: Death ends a life, not a relationship. Today, let us remember all the love, support and pride they so freely showed us, the knowledge they imparted on us and the wonderful example they set for us.

Moms and dads: may you both celebrate the wonderful Dad you are becoming. You have the ability to follow a good example or choose to start a new tradition in great parenting!

To all of you who have become Dads to kids with different "biological fathers, I salute you!  You are a blessing to the kids and us, their mothers.  You are a great source of love, pride and worldly knowledege that might not otherwise be present in their lives.  Please know, especially today, you are greatly needed and appreciated!

Today is a great day to say, (and hear), Thank You, Dad. I love you!

So today, I say thank you both to my own Father and Dad, (I am sure you can hear me), and a special thank you to my son's "Dad", David.  We are both grateful that you are in our lives. WE love you!


Sunday, May 16, 2010


"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."
~ Maya Angelou

If we are capable and willing to be honest with ourselves, we know when we are not feeling the best we could, being the best we can be and doing the best we can. We know when we are not living and enjoying our lives to the fullest. If so, we know we are not living in 'Positive Adaptation'.

When we know this to our core and have a developed a pretty clear sense as to why, the next questions must then become: Now what? What am I going to do about it? Exactly how will I make the changes I must to think, feel and especially, do better in the future.

No matter what the source of our sense of unhappiness, please remember, we always have the power to change our attitude toward whatever or whom ever is causing us this unhappiness and just how much we let it/them negatively effect us. This is especially true if the real culprit is us.

I often say to my clients and friends, "Yes, this is a simple concept, yet in reality, it is not so easy to do in everyday life." Admittedly, it is not always easy for me, but indeed, eventually, it is always doable!

Our attitude can and will, alter how we think, feel and do. Negativity begets negativity, whereas positivity offers us a much greater chance at achieving positive results and thus, gratitude and happiness.

We must make the necessary changes, break old patterns of thought, feeling and actions.

Take the next exit, "Changes", off the old road. This is the one which will lead us to living and enjoying a happier life - one filled with happiness and joy. Ask the best of yourself and you will see and feel positive results.

You can be assured I am with you.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Celebrate With Me

Today is Mother's Day and tomorrow is my birthday. I am proud to announce that I am 51 years young today! I have stopped fretting over the number, after all, age is only a matter of the mind and if you don't mind, it doesn't matter. I don't mind a bit because I am feeling better, enjoying life and love, more today than ever.  

Growing up, I shared my birthday many times celebrating Mother's Day as well. As my dear father used to say; "May every day be Mother's Day, may roses grow along your way".  Yes, Dad, (and Mom), roses do grow along my way. Now I even stop to smell them!

Thank you, Mom, Dad and all the rest of you, (I hope you know, through my words and actions, who your are), for believing in me before I believed in myself! My gift to myself this year is to continue to attempt to help others be stronger, believe in their best selves, love and enjoy life to the fullest, just as I have learned to do!

I invite all of you to joyfully celebrate May 10, 2010, with me! Whether you are a mother or not, have a birthday today or not, please, celebrate yourselves and those who have helped you along your journey!

The best is yet to come. May you find joy in this day and all the days that follow. I will be right there with you!

P.S.- Please take the time to watch 'Mom and baby squirrels' video. If squirrels can, so can we!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Let's Play Ball!

"It's hard to beat
 a guy who never
 gives up."
~ Babe Ruth

"Everyday is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday's success or put it's failures behind and start over again.  That is the way life is; a new game every day and that's the way baseball is." ~Bob Feller

We cannot be 'happier' if we do not at least try!  Positive Adaptation offers a way to Think, Feel and Do your way into being the best you can be and enjoying life to the fullest.  Life is too short not to at least take a swing at it!

Consider the movie "Field of Dreams".  You know, "If you build it, they will come". Kevin Kostner's character thought about it, felt deeply and then did what most thought was the impossible, he built it and they did come! He fulfilled his dream, shared it with others and so can you.

"There are three types of baseball players: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happens." ~Tommy Lasorda.  Which one do you want to be?  

Lou Gehrig, even after discovering he was ill, kept a positive attitude. He told the entire world he might have had a tough break but still considered himself the luckiest man on earth.  

You cannot win unless you play, right? So today, make the decision not to sit in the grandstands just watching, choose to get in the game of life! Remember, it is not whether you win or loose, it is how you play. All we ever need to do is be and do our best.

There is no such thing as three strikes and you are out in life! Keep at it, you are bound to hit one out of the park!


Photo: Julie Crawford

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Time of Renewal and Change

It is Spring time.... a time of renewal and change.
"It is not the strongest of species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."  
~ Charles Darwin

Change is inevitable! We know this to be true, intellectually. However, most of us are resistant to change, first and responsive to it second.  

Fair enough; change can be frightening.  We do not generally embrace change naturally and without some resistance.  No, first we need to think about why we must change, work through our feelings about it and then take the necessary actions to make change.  

The term 'adaptation' literally means something, such as a behavior, that is changed so as to become more suitable to a new or special situation. Utilizing Positive Adaptation as a method we can become more responsive and less resistant to all types of changes. One way to accomplish this is to view change with a more positive attitude, not as the enemy, but rather, as an opportunity for positive growth and a chance at a form of renewal.

Whether or not we thought about changing,  invited the circumstance or the need arose that required us to do so, we must learn to become more accepting of and responsive to change.  This is yet another way to become the best we can be - allowing us to live 'happier', 'better' lives.  We can go through the process of change with less fear and gain greater confidence in our ability to adapt.

If flowers can change naturally, we, too, can learn to adapt and change with greater ease, grace and comfort.

To becoming more responsive to your time of renewal and change...
Photo by: Renee Rendler-Kaplan

Friday, March 19, 2010

Break on Through To The Other Side

"The doors we open and close each day
decide the lives we live."
~Flora Whittemore

How many times have your heard the saying, "When one door closes, another one opens"? It seems no matter how many, we often forget this in times of crisis, disappointment and unrequested change.

We need not fully understand why a change is occurring to ask ourselves: Am I going to let this door hit me in the rear or am I going to 'break on through to the other side'?

Very often the doors that close are positive for us!  Let's be honest, whether it be fear or insecurities, we often wait too long to make the necessary changes on our own . There are times when we ought to be grateful for the closure and consider what new and more positive paths await us.

The choice is always ours. Are you a survivor or a victim of change?
I always advocate for survivor and therefore, thriver!

This is one way to utilize Positive Adaptation and 'Think, Feel and Do'  your way into becoming the best you can be.  Remember, life is to be enjoyed, not survived!

Go ahead, look back and ponder for a bit, always remembering, "The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live." 

Now, please spend the rest of your time and energies finding and going through the new, more positive door. It is through this door you will discover your best self and gain the ability to enjoy all the wonderful life experiences that await you.  

Believe: You too can "break on through to the other side".


Photo by: Renee Rendler-Kaplan

Monday, January 25, 2010

Reason versus Truth

"I have one request: may I never use
my reason against truth."
~ Elie Wiesel

Most of us grew up hearing "Honesty is the best policy". However, somewhere along the way, many of us figured out there are loopholes to be found in this statement and we became quite proficient at finding and using them.

We seem to develop other, less positive, coping mechanisms: rationalizing, making excuses, omitting certain details, "sugar coating" and other ways in which to "spin the truth". We generally are prone to engage in these when we do not want, (or others), to have to face something unpleasant and/or when negative consequences appear imminent.

Let us not kid ourselves, there are many ways to be dishonest. A major problem with utilizing these negative techniques is it is a fundamental betrayal to ourselves and others. In fact, if we learn to use them too well, we are at risk of actually believing our own lies.

Honesty, (truthfulness), especially with ourselves, is actually a great asset and no matter what the situation, can provide a sense of inner peace and freedom.

The courage to look reality squarely in the face is a huge first step in best coping with it in a productive, positive and healthy manner.

Yes, the truth can hurt, however, not dealing with it can be much worse. I have found that being honest hurts much less in the long run.

To truly become our best selves, we must learn to believe and trust in the fact that we are strong enough to handle the truth, whatever it is, and not use "reason" to avoid it. When we do, this is when our best coping and healing skills are found.

'Truth is the best policy", if we want to 'Think, Feel and Do' and be our best.

We must only remember how we deliver the truth is equally as important as telling it. There is generally no need to be brutal. We need only be considerate of our own and others feelings and we will do just fine.

We can handle the truth. In doing so, we are being our best. It is in standing and living in our truth that we will find greater personal freedom and the inner peace we seek.


Photo by: Renee Rendler-Kaplan

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Triumph of the Human Spirit

Rocky was an underdog who achieved
Triumph of the human spirit.

This post is dedicated to all who did and did not survive the horrific earthquake in Haiti this week, their families and friends and to all the wonderful people from around the world who are helping, in one way or another.

We can help others, (and ourselves), to triumph over adversity!

Please, use Positive Adaptation and 'Think, Feel and Do' something this week to be part of the healing process.


Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year: Positive Changes

(image is Chimp - Gorilla)

"If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change." ~ Michael Jackson from "Man in the Mirror"

It is that time of year again, the beginning of a new year. So what are you going to do to make it your best year ever?

My suggestion is to practice 'Positive Adaptation - Think, Feel and Do' your best. In doing so, you can begin making the positive changes needed to insure you are your best self, thus enjoy living life to the fullest, right now! What better New Year's resolution can there be?

The first step is to be willing to take a good, long, honest look at yourself. Begin with examining your attitude,(think and feel). Do you have a positive view of yourself and the world around you? Do you take good care of yourself, emotionally and physically? Are you where you want to be? Are your relationships the best they can be? Are you on a career path which you believe will lead you where you want to go? Can you see opportunities for positive, personal and professional growth?

The real question is: Are you doing all you can to so that by this time next year, you are able to answer 'yes'? If not, what positive changes or actions are required?

We cannot rely on others to make this happen or do this for us! We must participate in the process. After all, it is our happiness, (and others, of course), at stake here. We must own what is ours and be willing do the work necessary to achieve our goals.

In upcoming posts this January, I will be taking a look at many of the wonderful possibilities so we may all achieve the positive changes we seek.

Let us all be able to say, this time next year, "Wow! What a great year that was. I cannot wait to see what next year holds for me and mine."

To making positive changes!