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Mourning: Hate, Fear, Heat, Need

16 Jul

“White people in this country will have quite enough to do in learning how to accept and love themselves and each other, and when they have achieved this – which will not be tomorrow and may very well be never – the Negro problem will no longer exist, for it will no longer be needed.”

James Baldwin, “The Fire Next Time”

As the country broils in disbelief and outrage of Zimmerman’s acquittal in the Trayvon Martin killing, as Paula Dean is vilified for her racial ‘slur’, I don’t think it’s as black and white as it seems.  Not our fear, hatred, dislike for others.  Or as Baldwin points out – ourselves.

Today is Tisha B’Av, the 9th of Av (month) and the commemoration of the destruction of the Temple(s) in Jerusalem.  A day of mourning for Jews, a day to mourn what was lost, to acknowledge the yearn for what will connect and complete our sense of home, safety, a nation.

Yet Jews who mourn and yearn as a people are engaged in discord (to put it mildly): between Orthodox (particularly Haredi) and the secular/non-religious Jews.  A rift over common beliefs shatters the thread of a shared religion.  Rather a shared religion with different beliefs on how to ‘believe’ in that religion.

Naively, I like to think we don’t all have to believe the same things in the same way.   Especially when it comes to religion (and for me how I practice being Jewish).  But human nature has disproved this fact over the entirety of our existence.

Excavated stones from the Western Wall in Israel from the Roman destruction of the Temple.'Av

Excavated stones from the Western Wall in Israel from the Roman destruction of the Jerusalem Temple.’Av

In Baldwin’s quote:  substitute white and Negro for different groups, different people, and it can apply to any and all people across the world.

the fire next time

The cause for this hate, this distrust, this fear isn’t about the differences in others:  it’s about US learning to accept and like OURSELVES.

As a species we are filled with prejudice.  To kill that prejudice we need to discover what keeps it alive:  fear and insecurity.  

We’re instructed to grab out own oxygen mask before helping even our children in a plane ’emergency’.  It’s always a good reminder to take care of ourselves first.  To care for and about ourselves.

After all, we can’t like or accept anyone else until we like and accept ourselves.

Genocide and bullying are mankind’s perfection of predation. We need to remember: only YOU and I can prevent hate crimes.

FYI:  Tisha B’Av (a few) events over Jewish history from’Av:  and coincidence?  There are no coincidences:

  • The Jews were expelled from Spain on July 31, 1492 (Av 8-9, 5252 AM).[6]
  • On August 2, 1941, (Av 9, 5701 AM) SS commander Heinrich Himmler formally received approval from the Nazi Party for “The Final Solution”. Almost 50% of the Jews on the face of the earth were captured and killed at that time.
  • On the 9th of Av, 5702 (July 23, 1942), the mass deportation began of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto, en route to Treblinka.

Heart, Mind, and Sole: 3 Steps to 3D Luxurious Living

14 May

(this blog originally appeared on

How do you define luxury?

5 star vacation?  Cashmere?  Jimmy Choo’s?  For me it’s flea market jewelry.  Chances are, we all have something.  The question is:

Can you afford your defined luxury?

I know luxury is typically defined as an extravagance or indulgence.   Yet all this ‘stuff’, including a great pair of shoes, doesn’t add to happiness.  The thing is we may want luxury, and we need financial security.  Especially for the long term.

Gold:  fools or real?

Gold: fools or real?

Here’s a fact: 

Luxury is NOT about money.

Here’s another fact:

Size (of your paycheck) does NOT matter.

Hmm.  Maybe we just need to redefine luxury.  Imagine having all your needs met.  How does that feel?  Imagine this life as the ‘new normal’.    Your life filled with what is most important to you focuses on values.  This is luxury you can afford.

What's growing on your money tree these days?

What’s growing on your money tree these days?

Talking about money is personal – and uncomfortable.  But money is important for security and comfort.  It helps you be your best.  You have to believe you deserve that.

Current statistics about single women and finances show we are not at our best.  For starters, only 35% of single women have a retirement account.  And of those who do, 57% have less than $20,000 saved.  The ‘new normal’ means we learn to be financially independent regardless of where we are and our relationship status.

Is your financial relationship where you want it to be?

I’ve come up with 3 ways to view luxury for building a healthy financial relationship:

  • Heart luxury is all about quality relationships, including with money.
  • Mind luxury is using your skills and talents in work and play.
  • ‘Sole’ luxury is having only quality ‘stuff’ you can touch, feel, or walk in.
Luxury should keep your heart pumping!

Luxury should keep your heart pumping!

These 3 types of luxuries are meant to guide you personally, professionally and financially and lead you to action.

Grab a notebook and apply them in these 3 steps for luxurious living:

1.  Take inventory of your assets. 

  • Start with ‘sole’, and take stock of all your ‘stuff’, daunting as that may be.
  • For heart, make a list of the types of interactions you have with others.  Don’t list out names of people.
  • For mind, write out the types of actions and tasks you do regularly in your job and your life.

2.  Evaluate your ROI (Return on Investment)

Everything has a value or cost, not just ‘sole’ luxuries.

  • Go through your lists, and highlight each item, interaction, or task that feels good and adds indulgence to your life.
  • Put a red line through all items or interactions that drain you or makes you feel bad.

3.  Cut your losses, Bolster your gains

  • ‘Stuff’ that weighs you down makes you feel poor.  This is not the ‘new normal’.  Starting with your ‘sole’ items, get rid of things that don’t feel extravagant or luxurious – regardless of the cost.  Take a picture of things you get rid of.  It will remind you of what you don’t need.
  • Now look at your heart and mind lists.   The plusses are true luxuries.   These add value to your life.  These are what you want more of.

Over the next month, keep track of what adds to your heart, mind and ‘sole’ through these 3 steps.  Take note of what makes you smile.  These are the things that will keep you on track financially.

Keep track of heart, mind, and sole luxuries for success and focus.

Keep track of heart, mind, and sole luxuries for success and focus.

In months to come I’ll share specific strategies to balance your heart, mind, and ‘sole’ with your money.   You’ll identify your values and communication style and learn how these can help you decrease debt, save money for retirement and other goals.  They will also help you talk with partners about money.

What is your greatest money concern?


How does your finances affect your personal and professional life?


What would you like to learn to be financially independent?


Share specific questions or concerns about your finances and I’ll address them here.

Lessons from a Comedian: 4 Beliefs to keep you on stage and in the spotlight

11 Apr

Last night I went to a one-man show – an off-off-Broadway deal.  And it was…. a bit ‘off’.

For about 90 minutes our ‘host’ huffed and smiled and sweated as he told his story, attempting to pull laughs, guffaws, or at least smiles from the audience.

I’ve done stand-up, I know how nerve-racking it is.

Now this guy wasn’t particularly funny or noticeably talented – which he admitted as part of his ‘shtick’.

I almost felt sorry for him.  To me, it felt painful.  But that had more to do with my beliefs than his. Obviously.  Notice I was sitting at his feet while he had the spotlight.   He had his own show.  ON STAGE with people paying to come see him.

Hmmm… who should feel sorry for whom here?

I realized:  he may have lost last night’s laughter’ battle’, but it was obvious he was winning the ‘war’. The war of life.

He reminded me:  “You can convince anyone of what you’re doing as long as you’re also completely convinced.”

For all of us who think we aren’t ‘enough’ and don’t have what it takes to put ourselves out there, this guy BELIEVED – in himself.

Humor has power.  Remember Romney and Obama's night of comedy?

Humor has power. Remember Romney and Obama’s night of comedy?

Here are 4 lessons on belief I learned (without laughing) last night:

1. (Someone Else’s) Unconditional Belief:

This guy’s mother believed in him 1000% percent.  She took him to acting and dancing lessons as a child after he expressed interest, told him how wonderful he was (even when he wasn’t), and always repeated how much she believed in him.   We all need someone who believes in us this strongly – no edits, no ‘yes, buts…’.  (Parents:  take note!)

2.  ‘It’s not personal’ Belief:

You know the saying:  it’s not you, it’s THEM?  (Or something like it?)  This guy learned early on that not everyone needs to laugh.  His ‘mentor’ was a comedian who never got laughs on stage, but got huge, great acclaim on the big screen.

Failure happens:  people love his stuff, people hate his stuff (like last night) – oh well….  He believes he’ll find the audience who loves him.  He believes he’ll be successful.

I have a feeling he’ll be talking about this ‘bad’ show in future shows – and then get great laughs.

I know I can learn if something isn’t clicking one place, I just need to change my environment and it WILL work someplace else – or another place, or….

3.  There’s always another stage or ‘location, location, location’ Belief

No matter how many failures this guy seemed to have, he picked himself up and found another stage to get on.  Perhaps there were years of despair and depression – we didn’t hear of that.  Bottom line, this guy always found a place to recreate himself, always believed there was a place for him to shine.

And you know, he’s right.

Go get yourself a

Go get yourself a little…

4.  Fear gets you nowhere Belief

I wish I could remember his exact words because they were brilliant, but the idea was fear is failure.  I may fail if I get up on stage.  Oh well.  I can also take action on my belief I can just get up on a whole new stage and do it all over again – and become the ‘next great thing.’  I like the sound of that…   But if I’m afraid of even getting up there,  failure is guaranteed.

My mantra to get past the fear.  Thank you Nike!

My mantra to get past the fear. Thank you Nike!

Thinking about this:  I worked with a woman YEARS ago who had major conflict with her boss.  And I mean MAJOR, great dislike, etc.  She found another stage- in another department – and they LOVED her and she loved them.   It wasn’t personal – she was in front of the wrong audience.

I can accept the fact that every time I get out there I have a chance of ‘bombing’.  What I like – what I have to – no – WANT to believe – is:

  • that someone believes in me,
  • that I believe in myself – 
  • that there is an audience who wants what I have, and,
  • if  something isn’t clicking, I should go find myself a new stage to ‘perform’.

I’m starting to think this show will turn out to be one of the best performances I’ve ever seen!

What keeps you laughing?

Which of your beliefs help you get back out there and ‘perform’ again (especially after you’ve crashed)?