Tuesday, December 26, 2017

It's In The Journey

It's the Journey.....not the destination.

You probably have heard this one a million times.

But do you really believe it?  Do you live your life this way?

It is the journey that matters most because the destination may always be changing.  Life is really just one big journey with many crossroads along the way.

Many of us feel these are 'some scary times' we live in. We often find ourselves full of fear, anger and doubt.

Today, we can choose a different path. A path which will help us move forward on our journey successfully and one where we will find ourselves looking back, only to realize we came through it all, feeling, thinking and doing, 'better' than ever before.

At this crossroad, let us take a moment to be still, take a deep breath and  look around at the all the beauty in our lives, feel gratitude for all we do have and know in our hearts, WE will be okay.  

Enjoy this quiet, peaceful, resting place. We all deserve a break once in a while.

So go ahead.... allow yourself this one.

Happy New Year!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving - Gratitude Is Both An Attitude And Action

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."  
      ~ John F. Kennedy

No matter what has happened this year, I am certain, if you really think about it, you can find much to be grateful for.

May we show our gratitude, in word and deed, all year long.

And then maybe, just maybe, there will be even more to feel grateful for.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, from me and mine.


Thursday, November 2, 2017

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 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!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Slow Down - Feelin Groovy

"Slow down, you're movin' too fast, you got to make the morning last.
Just kickn' down the cobblestones, looking for fun and feelin' groovy"
 ~ Simon & Garfunkel

As the pace of life has sped up so fast, for most of us, let us try, (each day), to remember the words above.

Many people expect their actions to have immediate and positive results. Unfortunately, that is not how it generally works, especially with emotions, (yours or those of others).

Time, alone, does not change much. However, time, with more positive, consistent behaviors and attitudes, does!

I am not suggesting that we stop positively changing and growing, only that we slow down and enjoy the process a bit more.  

It is in this time of reflection and celebration that I find I enjoy and celebrate myself, others, and life in general, much more.

This is when I feel most "groovy"!

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.


Friday, September 8, 2017

Learning To Dance In The Rain

Considering Hurricane Irma is at my doorstep, I thought this appropriate to post again!

"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass...  
it is about learning to dance in the rain."
~ Vivanne Grenne

As the weather outside is stormy and pouring down rain, (here in Florida),  I asked myself: "Do I dance in the rain or just sit around inside waiting for it to pass." The honest answer is both, but I find dancing to be the better of the two options.

Many people believe they can only enjoy life to the fullest when they have a lot of money, are in a wonderfully romantic relationship, have a successful career, etc.  Not so! Consider this: money does not buy happiness, it only makes misery more comfortable.  

We do not have to wait for something or someone to 'happen to us' for us to feel worthy and capable of feeling happiness. In fact, until now, that way of thinking has allowed countless opportunities for happiness and positive personal growth to pass us by.

True happiness is not found in the 'whens' of life, it is found within us and is within our reach, here, now, today. If we learn to value and have a good relationship with ourselves, feel competent, (and be there for others), then we have what we need to enjoy life right now. Having the willingness to be open to new and different ways of viewing ourselves and embracing our ability to adapt to changes, (which are bound to occur), are vital to the process of finding and sustaining happiness.  

Will we feel happy all of the time? No.  However, next time you see clouds on the horizon, you can choose not to grumble about the impending storm. Instead, you can choose to enjoy it and view this as an opportunity to think, feel and do something differently.

Think about this: When we are young, dancing in the rain is fun and a perfectly acceptable form of behavior.  I say it still is; both literally and metaphorically.

I am going out to dance in the rain myself now!
But come in when the winds pick up!! :)
Stay safe.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Positive, Healthy Personal Boundaries (Part Two)

Positive, healthy personal boundaries are like fences. They are there to protect us from harm while at the same time, allow us to feel free to be our best selves, find the peace and happiness we seek. 

However, they are not walls, which are built with the purpose of allowing nothing, (nor anyone), to get in or out. The 'right' boundaries will not serve to isolate us from others, rather, they allow us to fully enjoy positive relationships and situations.

As stated in "Part One", a vital key to keeping balance in your life is found through the process of developing and maintaing healthy personal boundaries in all areas.

Positive Adaptation proposes we become our best selves and enjoy life to the fullest, both personally and professionally. Therefore, making changes to pre-existing, developing and maintaing new, healthier boundaries is one way in which we can achieve this goal.

How to set the best boundaries for yourself:

1. Acknowledge to yourself you have the right to want and need your own set of positive, healthy personal boundaries.
- Remind yourself this is part of any healthy self-care program and enables you to be the best you can be. You are your own person, as defined by you, (not others).

2. Examine where you feel yours are being crossed.
- We usually can feel it. We can get angry, resentful, sometimes sad; we know when something isn't right. The cause is often allowing others to cross our boundaries without our invitation or consent to do so.

3. Trust and believe in you and the boundaries you set.
- Trust and believe in yourself enough to know what you need and want, (or don't), and settle for nothing less.

4. Effectively communicate these boundaries honestly and clearly, to all to whom they apply.
- "Say what you mean and mean what you say." Our boundaries can be expressed without hostility. State them when needed and stand by them. (Remember to  allow others the same right.)

5. Learn to say, "No", without guilt.
- This is the most difficult one for many of us, I believe. We need to recognize that, (generally, non emergencies), other people's needs and wants are NOT more important than our own.
We cannot take care of anyone else, unless we are taking care of ourselves, first. (For more, read my post titled "Put Your Mask On".)

The most important person who needs to respect your boundaries is You! If you don't take responsibility for them, protect and enforce them, no one else will either. 

Remember, others have their own boundaries which need to be respected as well.

You are seeking progress not perfection. When we reexamine and reset our boundaries we are taking care of, protecting and improving our relationships, with ourselves and others.

Whether it be personal, family or professional relationships or any other situations, positive; healthy personal boundaries help keep our joy safe and sound.

To your boundaries and joy....

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Positive, Healthy Personal Boundaries (Part One)

Learning to set and maintain positive, healthy, personal boundaries is one of the most important steps in promoting a better sense of ones' self and thus, ultimately becoming capable of effectively communicating your self worth to others.

Changing our relationship with ourselves, first, is a critical component to making any long term changes in our relationships with others. 

Positive, healthy personal boundaries are a set of physical, emotional and mental limits we establish in order to 1) best protect ourselves from any type of harm 2) Allow healthy people and relationships into our lives, while keeping out those that are not and 3) help us express ourselves as the unique individuals that we are, while simultaneously acknowledging and respecting the same in others.

We must learn to recognize that we are all individuals with our own thoughts, feelings, attitudes and values. This means we must also acknowledge the same is true for our spouses, children, friends, coworkers and others.

We are all entitled to have our boundaries respected and honored. This is the only way to have healthy relationships, of any sort, in our lives. This is a one important way to achieve the long term improvement you seek.

It is not possible to have a healthy relationship, of any kind, with someone who has no boundaries nor someone who cannot communicate their needs and wants, effectively and honestly. Therefore, learning to set your own personal boundaries is a vital step in learning to be a good friend to ourselves, as well, as others.

We change and grow as we experience life's transitions. You may have grown up and out of your past and current boundaries, even those which had once 'worked' or were unknown to us.

It may be time to reevaluate who we are, (now), who we want to become, and in what ways we would like to improve all the relationships in our  lives, beginning with ourselves!

Promoting new, positive, healthier boundaries is a wonderful place to begin. Remember, it is never to late to establish, reestablish and/or maintain positive, healthy boundaries for yourself.

Please consider where your boundaries are and where you would like them to be.

I will discuss this topic in more depth, (i.e,: 'How'),  in: Positive, Healthy Personal Boundaries - Part Two, coming soon.

Until then, please consider the fact that you have the 'right and a need' for healthy boundaries and so do others. The truth, however, is ours and theirs, do not always 'mesh' well, (at least not anymore).

Take the first step: Actually review your current personal boundaries and see which ones still apply, which no lone work well for you and therefore, must change!


Photo by: Victoria Baum, (Sidewalk Cafe in Quebec City)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Let's Play Ball!

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

Everyday offers its own, new opportunity. You can build on yesterday's success or put it behind you and start again today.

"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, (the field),  and they did come! He fulfilled his dream and shared it with others. 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 terminally ill, kept a positive attitude. He told the entire world he might have had "a tough break" but still considered himself "to be the luckiest man on earth".  

You cannot win unless you play, right? So today, make the decision not to sit in the stands, just watching, rather, choose to get in the game of life!

Remember, it is not whether you win or loose, it is how you play the game. All any of us can ever do is be and do our best.

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


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Remembering on Father's Day, (and everyday)!

Dad, Opa, Professor, General, (Ret.)
Bernard H. Baum

It has been 9 years since my father died, yet it feels like yesterday. Every Father's Day, I remember this saying: "Death ends a life, not a relationship." How true!

We are blessed to know, love and be loved by such special people. We do not need forget or get over them, rather, we ought to remember and embrace all that we shared. After all, is not this the way to truly honor them and the relationship we share?

My Oma, (his mother, my grandmother), as a small child, once told me, in attempt to explain death, "The people you love and who love you, never really die because you carry them in your heart.  In fact, every time you speak kindly of them, share a memory or story about them, you spread their spirit to others and that is what keeps them alive in yours, and others, hearts."

There are so many stories, things he used to say, (we call them "Bernie or Opa isms"), and ways in which he is still with all he knew and loved. He said, "Anyone can be a "parent", but a "Dad" is built, one experience after another."

Today, I will celebrate my father and the wonderful relationship WE LEARNED to have by honoring and cherishing the good memories and make a point to share them with others. 

Tell that someone special in your life today that you love them!  Give them a big hug.  Remember someone special today that is gone.  I promise, you will both feel better for it.

He used to say, "I am blessed".  No Dad, we were all blessed.

(Proud and loving daughter)

Sunday, June 4, 2017

What Matters Is What Happens In You!

"Things may happen around you
and things may happen to you,
but the only thing that really matters
is what happens in you."
~Elise Robinson

Whether we are in the midst of chaos, just getting by or doing well, we can always do better! We need to fill our minds with positivity to seek out opportunities and solutions, which until now, we had yet to consider. To achieve this, we must change how we view ourselves and our world around us.

We all need a plan, a road map if you will. Positive Adaptation is just that: 'Think, Feel and Do' your best and then you will live and enjoy life to the fullest.

When faced with a 'problem' or you are baffled as to what to do next, instead of being fearful or angry, try looking at it for what it really is: an opportunity for positive personal growth.

'Think, Feel and Do' differently than you have in the past. Open your heart and mind to all the of possibilities. With this type of positive view, (and actions), your results are much more likely to be positive, as well.

In our ongoing search for our best selves, a life filled with love, health and happiness, let us remember what matters most is what happens inside of ourselves.


Friday, May 26, 2017

"You Can and WIll"

Do your best; take it as it comes. 
You can handle anything if you think you can. 
Just keep your cool and your sense of humor.
    ~Smiley Blanton, M.D. (1882-1966) American Psychiatrist

One of my father's sayings was: "You can and you will". 
This taught me that to make changes and obtain ones' goals: Attitude is Everything!

The best teaching tool of this concept can be found by reading, (again), Oh, The Places You Will Go,  by Dr. Seuss.  

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

My First Mother's Day - 1994

My 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!

I have to say, being Jordan's mother has, (and continues to be), the greatest joy of my life!

I invite all of you to joyfully celebrate the day. Whether you are a mother, a father, an adult child...please, celebrate yourselves and those who have helped you along your journey!

May you find joy in this day and all the days that follow.

aka: Mom

Monday, April 24, 2017

Continue Changing, Maturing and Creating Yourself, Endlessly!

"To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly."
~ Henri Bergson (French Philosopher)

It might be said that life, at every moment, is creating something.

It is not always true that just because 'That is the way it HAS always been' means that is the way it Will always be.

This way of thinking of, or viewing ourselves, is especially untrue when applied to our ability to change, from the inside out.

Utilizing Positive Adaptation we can 'Think, Feel and Do', better; become the best we can be, thus able to live and enjoy life to the fullest!

Everyday offers us all the opportunity to become more true to ourselves and therefore, others. We must be willing to mature, gain wisdom and allow ourselves to develop into the best possible 'us' we can be.

Everyday, every moment, we have the ability to positively change, mature and create ourselves! The results of theses changes will be our feeling better about ourselves, our decisions and life, in general.

Please re-read some of the previous posts, think about how you would like you and your life to change and then work on you to achieve the change you seek.

Life is a cycle and everyday offers us a new opportunity for change. Today, let us all be willing to choose to take advantage of it!


Photos by: Renee Rendler-Kaplan

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Celebrate, 3 Good Things! Spring Has Sprung Early!

Beautiful Mother Nature

"An optimist is the
 human personification of Spring"
~Susan J. Bissonette

Life does not need to be perfect to experience the feeling of "happiness", at least, some of the time. It is possible to make a conscious decision to look beyond many of life's imperfections and try to enjoy life to it's fullest, (at least for moments at a time).

I am not suggesting practicing a version of denial. Rather, I am suggesting we find ways to embrace it all; who we are and better still, who we are becoming. 

We ought not be so easily prone to dwell in/on merely the negatives. Just think, Spring is upon us; a noted time of change and renewal.

Today, why not ask ourselves: What positives do I have in my life and consider of all the wonderful possibilities they hold?

I find writing out my "3 Good Things List" daily quite helpful.  Whether I am witnessing the trees finally bud with new leaves, listening to someone recount a positive experience or I am feeling the warm sunshine on my face; all of these are "Good Things" in my book.  All good things ought to be noted and appreciated by us too. After all, if we are being honest with ourselves, we often take note of the not so good things.

If flowers were to get 'stuck' in winter, they would never attempt to bloom in spring.  Indeed, they will blossom and so shall we. However, first, we must "weed our gardens to make room for the flowers to grow."

Please, take a good look around today. I am certain you too will see and/or feel, at least, "3 Good Things". They may be outside of your self or inside of you. Either way, note them and celebrate them!  Try this exercise for one week and I am confident you will feel better about your life.

Today is a new day.

Let us celebrate life today, I will be right there with you doing the same!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Gonna Fly Now and Be Our Best

"If I can change, and you can change, everyone can change."~ Rocky Balboa, (Rocky IV)

"It ain't how hard you hit, it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.  That's how winning is done. Now, if you know what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain't you. You're better than that!"
 ~ Rocky Balboa   Speaking to his son (2006)

All anyone has to do is listen to the beginning of the theme song, (Gonna Fly Now, by Bill Conti, on the right side of this text), and instantly one begins to feel 'pumped up'.  I know it always works for my husband and I.

Who better to learn about becoming the best you can be than from Rocky Balboa! A regular guy, an underdog, who gets a one in a million chance to fight for the title of World Heavyweight Champion of the world, 

However,  let us not forget....Rocky had to earn the title. He did so, (unknowingly), by practicing 'Positive Adaptation: 'Think, Feel and Do', to become your best self. When you do, then you, too can live and enjoy life to the fullest!

Rocky trained and trained hard, to become stronger, faster, more agile, lighter on his feet and as become as good a puncher with his left hand as he was with his right. A tall order, indeed.

But most importantly, Rocky had to gain the sense of self worth, and belief in himself, that he was worth it. He learned he could keep trying when he didn't intially succeed and survive taking set backs, (the punches). Eventually, Rocky found he could go the distance and come out a winner!

We are all champs when we Think, Feel and Do our best.

Keep your eye on the prize, becoming your best self

You're gonna fly now because you are worth it!


Friday, January 20, 2017

Coping With Disappointment, Better!

"Things are simply what they are. We cannot always choose our external circumstance, but we can choose how we respond to them."
~ Epictetus - The Art of Living

I understand dealing with disappointment can feel overwhelming sometimes. It is hard enough to cope with the emotions and outcomes that are caused by our own actions, however, in most incidences, we make a concerted effort not to disappoint ourselves again, at least not in the same way.

But when someone or something outside of ourselves, (i.e. a spouse, friend, child, finances and/or job related issue), disappoints us, what can we really do about it? I say, the same thing! We can make valiant efforts to cope better and do all we can to avoid "it" from happening again.

First, avoid simply dismissing your feelings about it. Your feelings are important. Instead, try to 'Think, Feel and Do' something different about it. More specifically: 1) Identifying and learn to understand what, exactly, you are disappointed about, 2) How and why did you become so disappointed and 3) Discover what are you really feeling and how you can come to a state of peace and resolution with what has occurred.

These steps, although difficult and often painful at times, can transform the actual event(s) from being negatives into vital and wonderful learning experiences.

"Even the most confusing and hurtful aspects of life can be made more tolerable by clear seeing and by choice." If we can figure out the how's, why's and what's, we may be able to prevent the same from occurring again, thus increasing our likelihood of experiencing even greater success and happiness in the future.

Disappointment is merely a part of "normal" life and the process of becoming the best we can be. Therefore, do not give in to disappointments. Rather, allow them to strengthen your resolve to continue in the pursuit of achieving your dreams and aspirations.

Maintain hope for the future, but live in the present. We can make today an "okay" day and work on tomorrow being even better. With a more positive attitude, (admittedly, not easy all the time), there is much less room in our lives for the negative effects of our disappointments to dominate us, leaving us much more room for experiencing joyfulness.

Do not allow your spirit to be broken, by yourself or anyone else.

You will see, through time, more will be revealed. Believe....the best you is yet to come.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Carpe Diem - Seize The Day!

"Congratulations! Today is your day! You're off to Great Places! You're off on your way! You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose." ~ Dr. Seuss 

Let us begin each day with the inspirational words of Dr. Seuss and the creed, 'Carpe Diem'. Today we will really seize this day. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow has yet to arrive so it is now, this moment, when we must devote our energy to positive change.  We can achieve the change we need and want, begin 'becoming' our best selves and live and enjoy life to the fullest, right now.

The core philosophy of Positive Adaptation addresses the questions "Now what?" and "Is this all there is?" PA proposes we ask ourselves a different question, "How I am I going to emerge from this day, a healthier, happier person, one more ready and able to truly enjoy all that life has to offer?

Positive Adaptation is not a theory, rather it is a choice, a decision, a way of life. When PA becomes integrated into our daily lives we will experience positive feelings about ourselves and others, a brighter outlook on life and as a result, greater positive outcomes. Believing this, why wouldn't we set out to seize each day?

Positive Adaptation is: one part Thinking, one part Feeling and one part Doing.  The same set of perplexing patterns many of us learned early on in life and we have been repeating throughout our lives, will no longer do. They are usually the same negative ones which until today have prevented us from living with a "Carpe Diem" attitude. The time is now to break free of the them and begin anew. We can all Think, Feel and Do 'better'.

The key to happiness is balance. Different situations demand different solutions, however, all three parts: Thinking, Feeling and Doing must be implemented to achieve your desired optimal positive results!

Living this way of life is simple but not always easy. It requires willingness, courage and commitment to identify and break old patterns, replace them with healthier more positive ones and practice, practice, practice. I believe the effort needed is an insignificant price to pay to know, deep to your core: Life is to lived and enjoyed, not merely survived. 

I have discovered living Positive Adaptation as a way of life has not only significantly improved my sense of self esteem and increased the joy I find out of life, it has also positively impacted all areas of my life. I am a better mother, wife, friend,  professional and volunteer. You don't have to just imagine what PA can do for you, there is no time like the present to begin.

Consider the great words of Horace: "Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant."

Carpe Diem; Seize your day!