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Family, you can’t live without them, and sometimes you can’t live with them. The Norman Rockwell family portrait is just one vision of what most of us wishes our family looked like. However, the reality of life and our ever-growing global society often separates us from each other. It is not just the distance in miles; it also includes perceptual thinking. We no longer are living in small communities where we are governed by our family, following in the footsteps of dad, and maintaining the same traditions for decades. The baby boomer generation has been the catalyst in making some significant changes in the family, and some are for the good and others, well personally I am not sure.
I am the youngest of three children and growing up the distance in age as well as sexual orientation separated us. Being the female girl in a Jewish home, my mother had certain beliefs for me that did not pertain to my brothers. Although we were not a religious Jewish family there was still the underlying belief that the males (my brothers) were more important than I. Do not feel sorry for me because in no way was I abused or misused, but there were different expectations for each of us and even more so by birth order.
My older brother Gary was expected to be a shining example for his younger siblings, Joel and me, and when he chose to ruffle feathers, finding himself in the scheme of the things he took the brunt of may have felt like verbal abuse. Growing up in the 50s and 60s is nothing like it is growing up today. On the other hand my brother Joel, the middle child was encouraged to be the life of the party and shine his talent and brilliance where Gary and I may have lacked. As I look back now, this must have been a burden for him, as none of us are perfect. I, on the other hand, the baby and the girl was expected to be the princess (my Grandmother Jen labeled me that). When dressing up in pinafores and fancy girlie dresses I may have given the appearance of one, but I too was not the fairest in the land.
My brothers and I grew up as close as we could with the age gaps of 4 – 8 years. As young adults, we all lived in different states which meant that holiday time or Sunday dinners were not the traditional Rockwell Painting. When we did get together, we united as families do and occasionally had some rip-roaring conversations that certainly did not resemble the harmonious family. Yet, we created our own music despite some off-key tones, even my brother Joel couldn’t always engineer our voices melodically.
I love my brothers, and I cherish the times we have had, and hopefully, the future will provide us additional opportunities to break bread and celebrate like the one in the above painting. Today I celebrate my love and concern for my brother Joel. Despite the fact he says his eye surgery is fairly routine and only sounds disgusting, I pray for a full recovery. As families go, he had not shared this venture in life and only through a mutual friend did I learn of this event, happening as I write this out. Mother, father, brothers, and sisters too often assume that those of us who care need not be told about these minor (or major) situations. However, I believe when you are family by blood or adapted to be part of the circle, there is no need for secrets or protection. It is time to put any differences aside and come together even if it is not sitting at the family table together!
I am beginning today’s post to thank one of my newest friends. Candace Pollock has been podcasting with newclevelandradio.net for a little over a year. Candace is a certified personal coach, and mentor, as well as a practicing attorney. I have been producing her show, The Intentionality Gurus, since March 2018, https://www.spreaker.com/show/the-intentionality-gurus-candace-2018-19. Working with Candace has opened my eyes to intentionally investigate myself and assertively help me resolve some of the issues that have held me back in life. Candace does not judge or even advise me on what I may need to change, enhance or leave untouched. What this podcast does is provide a window for not only me, but others to take whatever steps they may need to a more satisfying experience.
I shared with Candy yesterday that I have spent a majority of my life wanting to be you, or someone else, well still being me but in a “better package.” However, wishing and hoping, as well as wanting, is not the same as making the attempt to change. Candace will repeatedly ask me in these podcasts why, and how will that make you feel, and what does that feel like. This is the intentionality piece where I am the only one who can answer, and my answers are important for me, they are based on my past, present, and what I perceive of the future. Tomorrow is a new day, and the responses to those same questions may change. Life continues to evolve and therefore go our thoughts and any needs associated with them.
For me sitting back is no longer an option. If I want to lose weight, I must adjust my diet. The loss of weight should be for me, although it may bring benefits to others. (i.e., maybe I won’t feel so unattractive and therefore increase more endorphins. The endorphins are the Happy Hormones.) Maybe the changes I would like are less obvious but will provide me more energy and engagement in opportunities that please me. We have all heard, “When momma is happy, everyone is happy,” well whether you are a momma, poppa, are just you, your smile and happiness is contagious!
For the last five years, I have been on a journey of change and exploration that is providing me with a brighter outlook on life. However, these podcasts are what I need to be the best I can be even as I stumble and fall along the way. I no longer look at mistakes as embarrassing and stupid. They are learning tools that only open more doors and windows that allow me to expand my wings and be me.
The empowerment of B-U, B-Me is real!
Last night I had the pleasure of being part of a great event, “Don’t Forget to Laugh” organized by Melinda Smith of Heart Mojo, https://www.spreaker.com/show/heart-mojo-with-melinda-smith. The entertainment consisted of four amazing comics all with heart and soul; Bill Benden, Tim Folger (no relation to the coffee), Mike Conley, and Michael Gershe. This talented group of individuals donated their time, energy and passion for an evening to support the Alzheimer’s Association.
Melinda Smith has a walk team to support the important message that only money for continued research will help eliminate, cure, or reduce the incidents of this mind altering disease. It is not just the individual that experiences the loss of memories that suffers but all that engage with them. Although this disease is not life-threatening, it destroys the nerves that connect in the brain that makes it difficult or impossible to do common every day things like, dressing, eating, and worst of all living in a fog of confusion. Like many of us, Linda had the experience of watching her grandmother live out her life with this disease. In fact, not only did her mother become a caregiver but Linda did as well, out of love and need for a family member.
Last night’s event is just one of several Melinda Smith will be coordinating to raise awareness and financial support for Alzheimer’s and Dementia which is kin to this disease. “Don’t forget to Laugh,” was held at the Funny Stop in Cuyahoga Falls. Owner Pete Barakat of the club graciously provided the space for this comedy event. Watch for more information on “Don’t forget to Laugh” coming to Cleveland, and other areas where we can come together to support ourselves and others to help in finding a cure.
On a side note, I want to share that studies show that laughter and music help heal parts of the brain. So keep laughing, do not lock it away.
Laugh to Keep From Crying Madonna
I can’t lock my door
Oh, I don’t have no privacy
The only thing that’s mine
Is what’s inside of me
When I’ve had enough
A little voice inside
It says you’ve got to be tough
You’ve got to take it in stride
Sometimes I am foolish
I let it get the best of me
At least I know that my mistakes
Are my responsibility
I just have to laugh to keep from crying
I just have to laugh to keep from crying
I don’t have a dime
Oh, to buy those pretty things
But I hear all the evidence
You know it all sounds the same
But I’m still waiting
I’ve got my hands open wide
You know my dream isn’t fading
I keep it hidden inside
I just have to laugh to keep from crying
I keep on trying
My friends don’t understand
Oh, they think I’ve lost my mind
And I’m choking back the tears
I’ve got to swallow my pride
I just have to laugh, ah
Songwriters: CICCONE MADONNA L / BRAY STEPHEN PATE
Laugh to Keep From Crying lyrics © WB Music Corp., Webo Girl Publishing Inc., Momma Hattie’S Muse, COPYRIGHT CONTROL (NON-HFA), WEBO GIRL PUBLISHING, INC., WB MUSIC CORP. O/B/O WEBO GIRL PUBLISHING, INC.
I have just begun reading, American Stories, by one of my newest favorite authors, Charlie Weiner, aka, K. Adrain Zonnerville. It always takes me a chapter plus to get mesmerized by his storytelling and descriptions of life as seen and approached by his characters. This morning, waking early, as usual, I picked up the book and began my day reading. I stopped at the point when the main character identifies that she is a collector of sorts. She collects stories! I realized at that moment in time why this book as well as the sequel that I read first, speak to me. I too am a collector, not of stories, but of people.
Don’t get nervous; I am not collecting people and keeping them bound up. I am collecting people, like you, and me and encouraging them to live free, sing, dance, and express themselves in the medium that provides them joy. I am not a Pollyanna and do not expect that happiness means never feeling sad, angry, unappreciated, or any negativity. What I do expect at least from myself is to face each obstacle with as much positive energy to move around it or through it when the Wonder Woman in me pushes onward.
I have spent the better part of my almost 69 years trying to be like you, and I now know, I want to be me. I once believed in the lyrics sung by Frank Sinatra, “All of me Come on get all of me Can’t you see I’m just a mess without you…” Spending one’s life trying to fit in when you feel like the square peg in the round hole, is not living. However, lessons can be learned, and one day you may wake up and become a collector of sorts. As I gather new friends and revive relationships with old friends, I appreciate how precious life is. It is a gift to follow our journey and share our experiences. We are all guides in this amazing universe.
Although Carrie, the main character in American Stories may be dying, in reality, she is alive. She teaches us that death does not have to destroy; it can be a lesson that teaches us how to fulfill dreams and appreciate each other. By taking one step in front of another, we can create a path that provides us joy as we journey forward.
Join me here at newclevelandradio.net as we continue to podcast and provide you with opportunities. Let us become empowered to appreciate our strengths!
Limits are the boundaries we create to keep ourselves safe but they also keep us secluded from living a full enriched life. We are creating opportunities to enrich the lives of many and to experience the belief in ourselves.