24. June 2012 · Comments Off on The Bible God -Trading Up – We Can Do Better · Categories: Self Improvement · Tags: , ,

For the last 4000 years, our Western concept of God has been based on the God that evolved out of the Old Testament theocracy of ancient Israel. That God came into His own as an evolution from earlier gods, all of whose indivdual traits, the True God Most High was given. It is this God that we have come to “love” in some way, though it seems mostly a one way street in practical human experience. It is this one true God of the OT that we read is a jealous God, never thinking that in that context, He was jealous because there were still other gods a lingering and it was not that He was the only one, but just needed to be the top one. Therefore, “you shall have no other gods, BEFORE ME.” The others are lesser types and don’t forget it. “I am a jealous God.” Even as a kid, I wondered why the only God was jealous of no other gods that existed, until I learned that when the Decalogue was given, they did exist. I guess they have since moved elsewhere.

The Bible God is everything from a consuming fire (hmm, the Sun?), to the Bright and Morning Star, to a loving Father. He created humans, then didn’t realize how nasty they could be, so he wiped them out drowning them all, save 8, like rats and left humanity the unending quest for the orginal ark and a way to explain badly the origins of everything from dinosaurs to the Grand Canyon. That one story has slowed the progress of human critical thinking probably as much as any. A few weeks ago headlines asked “Has Noah’s Ark Been Found,” (again) but it turned out to be a pile of rocks.

This one true Bible God scattered humanity so they couldn’t talk too much to each other in one language and advance the cause of science too quickly. They built a tall mud building which scared the Bible God into thinking man thought he could ascend to heaven. No scientific understanding that mud bricks could only take so much pressure and go so high. They obviously haven’t seen the Sears Tower from the air. Hard to spot down there on the approach to O’Hare. The Bible God lived in an obscure land, in obscure mountains and choose to wander around in the desert with an obscure people for a time in an effort to get them to worship him and Him only. He got the group out of Egypt by an Exodus of hundreds of thousands, which neither history nor archaeology can find, but non-the-less, it happened. If you have ever seen the start of the Boston Marathon, you would get an idea of what that might have been like with those in the back jogging in place for days until the mass of humans moved. In exchange for this, and at the exclusion of everyone else on the planet, He would make them the greatest and their kind as the sand of the sea and the stars of heaven. Oi…if this is the greatest humans can be, we need another plan. So for a couple thousand years, this Bible God threatened, punished, exiled, warned, spanked, abused and gave up a couple times, save for that one guy that was worth saving. Seems the Bible God had flawed plans.

Along the way, this Bible God, the same God who is the loving Father now of Jesus and the Christian Faith, but of whom there is precious little known since Jesus has taken all the attention away from Him for the last 2000 years, this Bible God slew the masses for the benefit of His people. Any nation that ended in “ite”, like Amalekites, Hittites, Jebusites…got slaughtered if they got in the way of the people of the Bible God. I guess if you wore “tites” you were history back then. Ok, the Stone Tablets said “Thou Shalt Not Kill” but that only meant “Each Other.” It was not binding on the “ites” that got in the way, including the born and unborn children of women who just happened to be not born of the true Bible God people. Those poor souls got their heads smashed, bellies ripped , burned and generally routed in various and hideous ways.

The Bible God loved meat during this time and millions of animals ended up on the alters and in the pots of a Priesthood working the Temple shifts day and night for a thousand years. That’s a hell of a lot of precious wildlife going up in smoke to appease the Bible God. Between Roman arenas and the BG’s love of animal flesh, it’s no wonder there are few impressive animals left in the Middle East. The Turtle Doves went to Rumania just to recover their numbers since the Romans, at least, didn’t send Turtle Doves into the arena.

The BG loved blood as well as the smell of burning flesh. The more blood the better and even the Christians figured out that “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.” Always blood…blood, blood, blood. The life might be in the blood as the Bible God tells us, but getting it from the body onto the ground seemed to be more of the goal. From redemption by blood sacrfices we went to redemption by execution of the Lamb and the shedding of human blood once and for all. Whew..at least that stopped all the slaughter…well ok , it didn’t, but we can say it did in Church and feel better. Actually, history has shown us that after Jesus shed his blood once and for all, a whole lot of human blood was going to be spilled over the next couple thousand years by those that love Jesus and want everyone to see and experience the love of Jesus as they do, and come under his once and for all blood sacrifice. Go figure.

So up to this point, we have a Bible God that is pretty scary, vengeful, jealous, bloodthirsty, clannish, has no wife or consort, surrounds himself with male angels by the millions and seems to think and teach that women are just one rung above animals and other household possessions. Ever ask why ALL Bible Angels are MALE and ALL gift shop angels are FEMALE? Oh well, nuther story. This BG has tons of laws about human sexuality and the consequences of not abiding by the rules, but seems to Himself only be a God from the waist up, even though we are told he has hands and feet.

So in time, the BG gives up on a people of his own with those methods and sends His Son, for about a year of human history, to tell us everything we need to be and do or not do. After the Romans, yes it was the Romans and not the Jews, sent him back to heaven, it’s been pretty much a big mess of confusing and conflicting beliefs and “isms” that have brought us to near extinction. Even as a kid I wondered in Sunday school why The BG giving His Son was such a big thing for him to do. He knew he would get him back in three short days, so it’s not like Jesus would never come home. I have buried lots of kids that never got to go home and see mom and dad again. I got to try to encourage parents who had lost them, but had no immediate hope of return. I also wondered why it was such a big sacrifice of Jesus for me, when he also knew his death was just more or less an inconvenience to him personally. He didnt have be afraid because he knew he’d be resurrected. He also only spent, according to the account, about six hours on the cross designed to kill one slowly over days as tens of thousands before him and after found out. So it was pretty quick compared to what others had happen to them who had no hope of a quick turn around time. Maybe I think too much. I know it’s not encouraged in church or some would not say, “You don’t pray in my school, and I won’t think in your church.” I like that one!

At any rate, I think we need a new kind of God. I know that god’s evolve slowly over time, but we don’t have much time at the rate we are going. I’d like to make a few suggestions as to the kind we evolve to next with the hope it really does make us spiritual over religious and more unversally tolerant instead of tribal and cultic.

1. We need a God that teaches all of us are one and same save for a bit more or less melanin and spot on the planet of origin. This way we might not be so freaky about borders, incursions and “the enemy.” I say genetically test all people in the Middle East to prove it’s a family feud and they all the same people. Then test in the Far East and West, put the darn genome thingy on TV and point out what a real human is and how they relate.

2. We need to evolve a God that is non-judgmental so humans can’t get a hold of all His laws and wring the life out of humanity with them to their personal gain. This would stop the proliferation of thousands of sects, denominations, organizations, cults, “isms” and One True Churches that suck the soul out of people by separating them from the world of real people. We gotta stop majoring in the minors…

3. We need to evolve a God that endorses equality across the board for humans. There are no better humans on the planet than others. No better colors, types, sizes, looks or ways of being. We are what we are and since humans seem to divide up into 16 basic temperaments, we need to recongnize that as part of our spirituality and worth. Humans have 16 basic ways of being wired and it’s not a spiritual problem to not be wired like someone else! The wealthy just have more and a responsibility to share and teach while the poor have less for reasons that usally relate directly to their government, opportunities and whether they live in sand or soil.

4. We need to evolve a God that appreciates sensual and sexuality. Whoa…la la la la la, I’m not hearing this. Bible sex usually get’s you killed for it. Couples rammed thru together with a spear. Women stoned to death. Or mostly just not spoken of. Whoever sneaked the Song of Solomon in must have gotten himself put outside the camp. The Church took the obvious intent and turned it into an earthly story with a heavenly meaning about Jesus…but whew. I think not. BG has no sexuality. Jesus may have, but we don’t speak of it and deny it or burn those that suggest it. The disciples were just a group of disconnected men with no women allowed. Original “He Man, Woman Haters Club” I guess. They had the “power to lead around a wife” but that is not very romantic or intimate.

“Power” and “Lead” are not words most women respond to these days in the world of the open hearted and enlightened…few as they relatively be. The Apostles were womanless save for getting their feet washed and supper cooked for them by women. Some women gave them money, so it’s not a bad set up. But no sex. Uh uh….no no no. And of Paul..well forget it. He thought all should be like him, which was celebate. I think this hides the fact that he was a troll of some kind, or just not the kind of guy any woman would want to live with romantically. One could suspect other orientation for Paul, which is what he wrestled with in that Hellenistic/Hebraic world, but who knows. I just know a man that “beats himself and keeps himself in subjection” sounds like a troubled guy. We need a God that would help him relax and not be so difficult on this topic. For better or worse, Paul’s ideas have made millions think they were the same as God’s ideas. They weren’t. Jesus said to marry and Paul said, better not to. Someone is wrong.

5. We need to evolve a God that doesn’t need to be adored, worshipped, tithed to, sacrificed for and feared. We’ve had enough of that and all it does is grow abusive organizations and churches that use that to fear, shame and guilt the gullible into submission. We need a God that doesn’t need money to build temples and houses to Himself. Like the denomination I came from. They taught that “God liveth not in houses made of stone….” and then set out to make, and dedicate one to Him, made of marble from some godawful expensive place, where He could live if He wanted to, which He didn’t. They later evicted Him and sold the House for God to another Church that invited Him back, but He’d already left town by then.

6. We need to evolve a God that we now lies in each one of us and expresses Itself/Himself/Herself, the real Holy Trinity, in the individual who is appreciated for that… different but equal and ok. We don’t have all be little yellow pencils for God, Jesus or The Trinity Broadcasting Network. We need a God where truly there is neither male or female, bond or free, black or white, from Yale or the Tech College down the street. Each human is who they are, where they are, being what they are and it’s ok. He certainly doesn’t require the one true folks to slay the untrue or non-compliant ones.

7. We need to evolve a God that respects the truth of Science and inquiry. No more repressing scientific reality by some church, organization or mind set that is bogus and based on myth and deceit. You keep your God out of my stem cells and I’ll keep my God out of your face…we might say. We need a God and spirituality that allows for humans to appreciate their long journey from Africa to Consciousness and understanding the nature of reality is not what we might think it is based on our limited five senses.

In short, we need to grow up and become these things ourselves and a new God will emerge in our souls and we can do better than what we see going on today with the misery one people brings upon another, day in and day out…world without end.

19. June 2012 · Comments Off on Inculcation of Human Values Through Education With the Help of Science and Technology · Categories: College & University · Tags: , ,

Inculcation of Human Values through Education with the Help of Science and Technology

 

 

INTRODUCTION

“If human values take root in the educational system, the emerging individuals will have the following attributes:

 They will want peace & justice in a world that acknowledges the rule of law and in which no nation or individual need live in fear;

Freedom and self reliance to be available to all;

 The dignity & work of every person to be recognized & safeguarded;

 All people to be given an opportunity to achieve their best in life; and

 They will seek equality before the law and the equality of opportunity for all”. 

Sathya Sai

 

           Now we are living in the Modern, Scientific and Technological world. Science and Technology have brought enormous changes in the society. The attitudes of the people are also changes in the day to day life of human beings.

             Man is a unique creation in this universe that under certain parameters is free to make his own destiny. Now, if man has to make his destiny, the question of values in life comes up. He has to think naturally as to what should be the guiding norms of life process. It is therefore clear that the guiding factors for man, which provide the prime motivating force behind his thought, emotion and action, have to be moral and spiritual. The socio-cultural and spiritual life of man has to bring peace, progress and welfare for both the individual and the society. This is precisely the reason why the modern society is worried about the deterioration of values.

            Having diagnosed the present problem, we have to find the remedy for this situation before there is further deterioration of values in the wider interest of the mankind. With the help of Science (Exhibitions) and Technology (Print & Electronic Media and Mass Media) including social awareness programmes we can inculcate the values in the people.

IMPORTANCE OF VALUES

            In today’s multi-cultural and multi-racial society, with its changing social norms and expectations, it can be difficult for a young person to know what is right. To enable young people to appreciate themselves and others, and to take greater responsibility for their actions and for the world around them. Sri Sugunendra Tirtha Swamiji of Puthige Math has said that it is necessary to give importance to human values in the present era of globalization.

 

 

CLASSIFICATION OF VALUES

In generally, values may be classified as;

Ø      Personal Values

Ø      Social Values

Ø      Moral Values

Ø      Spiritual Values and

Ø      Behavioural values.

All these values are necessary for all types of persons in the society.

INCULCATION OF VALUES THROUGH EDUCATION          

Thinking with love is truth

Feeling with love is peace

Acting with love is right conduct

Understanding with love is non-violence

-Sathya Sai

            According the Sathya Sai Baba the following five values are necessary for students.

v     Right Conduct

v     Peace

v     Truth

v     Love

v     Non-Violence

            These values are specific because they are in line with a human being’s make up. They are also heavily interrelated (e.g. right conduct is action with love and according to conscience).These five values are inter-related and inherent in human beings, raising them above the level of the animal kingdom.

Right Conduct

            Information is received through the five senses i.e. smell, taste sight, touch and hearing. When this information is referred to the conscience, the resulting action will be beneficial. Every action is preceded by thought. If the thought is consciously seen and noted, aims to help and is unselfish, the action will be good for oneself and others. If our mind is busy, or we are daydreaming, the action may be useless, clumsy or harmful to ourselves or others.

            Right conduct is also concerned with how we look after and use our bodies. The body needs to careful maintenance to be strong, healthy and well co-coordinated to serve us in performing the tasks of life. Students need to understand the importance of exercise, such as gymnastics, yoga and sports combined with good rest. Good thoughts and good company (which includes everything imbibed by the five senses) are essential for healthy and well balanced development. Right conduct is taught through: Silent Sitting, Story telling and Group Activities.

Values Relate to Right Conduct

Self-help Skills

·        Care of Possessions

·        Diet

·        Hygiene

·        Modesty

·        Posture

·        Self-reliance

·        Tidy appearance

 

 

 

 

Social Skills

 

·        Good behaviour

·        Good manners

·        Good relationships

·        Helpfulness

·        Not wasting

 

Ethical Skills

 

·        Code of conduct

·        Courage

·        Dependability

·        Duty

·        Efficiency

·        Ingenuity

·        Initiative

·        Perseverance

·        Punctuality

·        Resourcefulness

·        Respect for all

·        Responsibility

Peace

            We smile when we are happy and contented. Contentment is gained when we cease to want for us all the apparent ‘good’ things conveyed to us through our five senses. When our willpower is sufficiently strong to enable us to discern the difference between real needs and superfluous desires, we cease to be driven by the urge to own more and more things.

            Inner agitation stops and we are left feeling peaceful. When there is peace in the individual, there will be peace in the family. When there is peace in the family, there will be peace in the community. In order to learn, self-esteem, calmness and freedom from anxiety are necessary.

            These qualities are fostered by two of the Programmes components, namely silent sitting and the self-reflective exercises in some of the group activity sessions.

Values Related to Peace

Ø      Attention

Ø      Calm

Ø      Concentration

Ø      Contentment

Ø      Dignity

Ø      Discipline

Ø      Equality

Ø      Equanimity

Ø      Faithfulness

Ø      Focus

Ø      Gratitude

Ø      Happiness

Ø      Harmony

Ø      Humility

Ø      Inner silence

Ø      Optimism

Ø      Reflection

Ø      Satisfaction

Ø      self-acceptance

Ø      Self-confidence

Ø      Self-control

Ø      Self-discipline

Ø      Self-esteem

Ø      Self-respect

Ø      Sense control

Ø      Surrender

Ø      Understanding

Ø      Virtue

Truth

            The desire to know truth has prompted mankind to ask some of the great questions such as: Who am I? What is the purpose of life? How can I know my inner self/ God/ the Creator of the universe? How can I live fully in the present moment?

            Learning to speak the truth is a first and vital step in the formation of a strong character. Voicing an untruth is an anti-social act and causes confusion in the mind of both the speaker and listener and leads to anti-social behaviour. Telling lies hurts us as well as others in a subtle, but very real way.

            One great distinction between humankind and the rest of the animal kingdom is the ability to choose how to behave, rather than just to follow the lower instincts (the law of the jungle). A human being is also able to recognize past, present and future and to take note of changes occurring over time.

            A quotation used in the lesson to stimulate thought and questions may later come to mind to provide guidance and choice in a life situation. Short Term Pain for Long Term Gain: Choosing to refer to this higher level of awareness and to consciously exercise moderation in our behaviour leads to better health and greater contentment. The value of truth can also be taught through story telling which promotes curiosity, optimism, fairness to all and noble ideals. It also aids the understanding of the value of honest speech and self-analysis.

Values Related to Truth

o       Accuracy

o       Curiosity

o       Discernment

o       Fairness

o       Fearlessness

o       Honesty

o       Integrity

o       Intuition

o       Justice

o       Optimism

o       Purity

o       Quest for knowledge

o       Reason

o       Self Analysis

o       Self Awareness

o       Sincerity

o       Spirit of enquiry

o       Synthesis

o       Trust

o       Truthfulness

o       Determination

o       Unity of thought

o       Word and deed

 

Love

            Love is not an emotion, affected by the sub-conscious mind, but is a spontaneous, pure reaction from the heart.

            It is the power of love which causes one person to wish happiness for another and take pleasure in their well-being. A beneficial energy (love) is directed towards the other person. As this energy flows through our own body first, it also enhances our own health.

It is the power of love which causes one person to wish happiness for another and take pleasure in their well-being. A beneficial energy (love) is directed towards the other person. As this energy flows through our own body first, it also enhances our own health. Love is unconditional, positive regard for the good of another. It is giving and unselfish. Love is essential if children are to grow up healthy in mind and body. Love is the unseen undercurrent binding all the four values.

            When the mind is turned away from selfishness, the ‘heart’ opens, and love flows. Love is energy, not an emotion, and is inherent in every breath. It is the motive force of the physical body and is enhanced through breathing exercises. The component of group singing in the Programme promotes harmony, co-operation and joyfulness. In singing a child may experience the sweetness of love. Love may also be fostered through story telling and activities which provide young people with the opportunity to care for other people, animals, plants and objects.

Values Related to Love

§         Acceptance

§         Affection

§         Care

§         Compassions

§         Consideration

§         Dedication

§         Devotion

§         Empathy

§         Forgiveness

§         Friendship

§         Generosity

§         Gentleness

§         Humanness

§         Interdependence

§         Kindness

§         Patience

§         Patriotism

§         Reverence

§         Sacrifice

§         Selflessness

§         Service sharing

§         Sympathy

§         Thoughtfulness

§         Tolerance

§         Trust

 

 

Non-Violence

            For the non-violent person, the whole world is his family When the former four values are practiced (i.e. the conscious mind is keenly aware, love is flowing, there is peace and actions are right) life is lived without harming or violating anything else. It is the highest achievement of human living encompassing respect for all life -living in harmony with nature, not hurting by thought, word or deed.

            Non-violence can be described as universal love. When truth is glimpsed through intuition, love is activated. Love is giving, rather than grasping and in allowing our stream of desires to subside, inner peace develops and right conduct is practiced. This results in nonviolence i.e. the non-violation of the natural laws which create harmony with the environment.

            Non-violence is taught through quotations, story telling and group activities. True knowledge is that which establishes harmony and synthesis between science on the one hand and spirituality and ethics on the other.

Values Related to Non-Violence

Psychological:

v     Benevolence

v     Compassion

v     Concern for others

v     Consideration

v     Forbearance

v     Forgiveness

v     Good Manners

v     Happiness

v     Loyalty

v     Morality

v     Universal Love

 

Social:

 

v     Appreciation of other cultures & religions

v     Bother/Sisterhood

v     Care of Environment

v     Citizenship

v     Equality

v     Harmlessness

v     National Awareness

v     Perseverance

v     Respect for Property

v     Social Justice

 

            Spiritual knowledge is also very importance for students and people in the society. Living in a way which causes as little harm as possible to oneself, other people, animals, plants and the planet, is a sign of a well-integrated, well-balanced personality. Such a person is well tuned to the spiritual aspect of humanity and is in touch with an inner happiness which is permanent and part of one’s real nature.

It is through our universal or spiritual aspect that we may experience:

Ø      A feeling of awe and wonder for the universe

Ø      A feeling of the unity of all

Ø      The desire to improve the quality of life for everyone

Ø      A sense of being part of a larger whole

Ø      A feeling of oneness of the planet and love for everything on it

Ø      An awareness of an underlying order to Creation

Ø      Love and respect for the diversity of the human family

            Learning takes place through lesson plans based on practical, meaningful and fun activities using the five components of:

Stories – about life, identity & relationships;

Quotations, poems and prayers;

Songs and music;

Silent sitting – exercises leading to inner calm and peace;

Activities e.g. drama, discussion, games, role play, community service, etc.

 

            In working through the lessons that comprise these components, the importance of the triple partnership (Student, Teacher and Parents) for education becomes apparent:

·         Teachers will inspire children in their schools, if they are value conscious adults

·         Parents’ example affects the conduct of their children, and

·         Children when reaching a certain age need self-discipline to balance their generally natural exuberance.

CONCLUSIONS

            According to our Indian tradition and culture teacher is the third God. He has a pivotal role in the process of teaching and learning. He is a guide, philosopher, mother, father, god, architecture and model. Education is the solution for all types of problems. With the help of education we can solve any types of problems in the society. Through education it is easy to inculcate values in the students and in the people. Without human values we can’t survive in the world in the peaceful manner and we can’t enjoy life. So give importance for human values.

Reference:

1.      Value Education, Dr. Venkataiah, Editor, APH Publishing Corporation, 5, Ansari Road, Daryaganji, New Delhi – 110 002, First Edition, 1998.

2.      Value Education in India, Usha Rai Negi, Editor, Published by association of Indian Universities, AIU House, 16 Kotla Mark, New Delhi – 110 002, 2000.

3.      National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2000). The National Reading Panel: Reports of the Subgroups.

4.      www.sathyasaiehv.org.uk/

 

*****

17. June 2012 · Comments Off on Slumdog Wins the Day · Categories: Arts And Entertainment · Tags: , ,

So the party is over, the tears are all dried and the Kodak Theatre can call in the cleaners and restore its composure in time for next year.

“Slumdog Millionaire” was the rightful winner of the night’s big kahuna, scoring 8 awards out of ten nominations, including ‘Best Picture’ – which it was – and a well-deserved ‘Best Director’ for Danny Boyle. Which is not bad for a film every studio in Hollywood rejected unseen.

Slumdog is an original idea, made into an intelligent film that requires that same trait in its viewers, the Actors are hard-working people with remarkable talent, there’s no CGI or flashy effects and every dime of its minuscule budget is right up there on the screen.

…So you can see why they hated it. People always fear what they can’t understand.

Sean Penn deservedly won for his bravura performance in Milk, and his denouncement of Prop. 8 and the intolerant bigots who helped it succeed was both well deserved and well said. I applaud every word.

But one part of the evening fell way short of the mark; I said on Friday that Kate Winslet’s elevation to Oscar’s golden sisterhood was overdue and could be the highlight of the evening? Well, that was before the colo-rectal tonguing exam that Sophia Loren and her friends were forced to provide. It was nauseating, gushy and way, waaaaayy too long. And so was Kate’s speech.

As predicted, ‘Dark Knight’ garnered some gold and gave Heath Ledger the due validation his talent deserved. But that film only achieved its success because we lost Heath too soon and Warners re-released it to cash in on the fact. And they don’t give Oscars for exploitational avarice…Yet.

Overall, the show was all that we’ve come to expect, and what happens now is easy to guess: Everyone on that stage will double their fees, Angelina Jolie will deflate her lips and every movie released in the next ten-months will feature Indian kids and a game show.

For what’s supposed to be a creative business, sometimes prediction’s too easy.
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10. June 2012 · Comments Off on Preparing for your Hawaiian Honeymoon · Categories: Marriage · Tags: , ,

For quite a few wedding couples, the wedding becomes such a costly production that the honeymoon is almost an afterthought. If you live in Hawaii and can’t pay for a “real” honeymoon because your wedding has you penniless, look into a neighbor island vacation or think about heading out to Ihilani or Turtle Bay. The honeymoon is firstly about the quality time you spend as husband and wife than any destination you go to.

If you’re from out of town and have flown to Hawaii to get married, this probably is your honeymoon. In any event, here are some tips and things to think about when planning your honeymoon. This advice is also useful if you’re helping with out-of-town guest accommodations.

Set a budget specifically for your honeymoon. Consider everything from airfare, ground transportation, meals, spending money, entertainment and shopping. Write it down and stay with it!

Ask your travel agent about the best time of day and week to travel for the best value.

Whether you’re flying to a neighbor island or Paris, talk with a good travel agent, ask lots of questions. Get on the internet or peruse through a few bookstores and research your destination, places of interests, language barriers, culture, money exchange rates, travel insurance, etc.

Book your flight at a decent time. If you’re able, don’t fly out the same day as your ceremony and don’t depart at the crack of dawn the following morning, particularly if you have a later reception. You will require time to relax after the wedding and sleep in the next day.

Notify the resort, hotel or bed and breakfast about your honeymoon. They could surprise you with special benefits – a better room, wine on the house or something special to help you celebrate.

Be certain all your travel documents are up to date. Security is extra tight nowadays and you need to be certain you have a current driver’s license or photo ID. If you’re flying from overseas, be certain your passport is current.

You will need to buy your plane ticket using your maiden name because your photo ID should match the name on the ticket.

06. June 2012 · Comments Off on Backward America – The Plight of the American People · Categories: News And Society · Tags: , ,

You may not know what kind of difficulty you are in due to the political and social circumstances that affect your life in this country.

Let me get real personal … Our infant mortality rate ranks 37th in the world. It used to be 15th in the world. That’s a disgrace for a nation that seems so pumped up by its egotistical nature.

Many of the so-called lesser nations of the world have as their populations, people who live longer than you and your American neighbors. That’s a disgrace!

We have no universal healthcare and we pay exorbitant amounts of money for healthcare, while many of our citizens can’t get treated properly.

Insurance companies are in business to deny you the funds when you need to get adequate medical treatment. That’s a disgrace and a ripoff.

The fat cats get richer and you get exploited.

Your politicians scream about the evils of socialism. Your education system is socialism up and through high school.Yet your children will be up to their necks in debt from borrowing money to get a higher education.

That’s a ripoff and it’s a disgrace. Higher education should be free and could be free like it is in other countries.

Working mothers are being ripped off by exorbitant day care costs, while they bust their chops trying to support themselves and their children. We need a free day care system, where the working mother can feel safe and secure that her children are being taken care of properly and that she’s not going to go into the crapper because of lack of money. Let’s end this disgrace and start to love our neighbor as ourselves as it says in the good old book.

There is a huge discrimination in the workforce towards senior citizens. They can’t get jobs because employers don’t want to have to pay health insurance for their high risk older seniors. Let’s put the cream of our crop back to work if that’s what they want to do and give them the support and health care that they need.

When Jesus was asked by a rich man how he could find the kingdom of heaven, Jesus told him to “sell all of your goods and give the money to the poor and then follow me”.

If we are to be a true nation of people caring for and loving one another, then those of us who are richer and more fortunate have a duty and obligation to help the less fortunate. Our system needs to learn how to share the burden for taking care of the least of us.

The nursing home situation in this country is an absolute disgrace. Caretaking aging children are over burdened with enormous costs for finding proper care for their aging parents who need a lot of help. We need an entire reformulation and reshaping of our healthcare system for people who are on the final edge of their journey. There is no need for them to suffer because of lack of money and services. This is an absolute disgrace and our country should be ashamed of itself for the way it treats its extreme elderly people.

Did you know that emergency rooms and hospitals can’t afford to provide services due to a lack of money? Drug companies get richer and many treatments are denied to people who need those treatments. The patient needs the money, not the executive who gets bonuses for increasing profits.

Your political dictators try to convince you that they care. But, that’s bullshit! You’ll notice that their pensions and health care is fully provided to them through your tax dollars. But you don’t get the same benefits and privileges.

Your police and fire departments are socialistic institutions and because of government institutionalization, these needed departments have not let us down the hoary path of socialism. So, why are 2 million Americans in jail with excessive sentences and for behavior that may be sinful but not deserving of long term incarceration? Do you know that local governments harass ordinary citizens with exorbitant fines, where warnings would have been just as effective? You wonder why Americans don’t fully trust politcians and law enforcement.

If we are to be a true democracy, we need to take care of our people and not have all of the wealth go to the fat cats, while a majority of citizens are struggling just to stay one step ahead of total fiscal collapse. Everybody is concerned about the so-called myth of the welfare state. Is anybody complaining about the warfare state? Do we need another super carrier? We are being practically defeated by homemade bombs and poor people. Why spend billions on the latest military tank and the most sophisticated airplanes, while our senior citizens and their caretakers are sweating their tails off trying to provide proper care.

It’s a disgrace! Charity is not going to cover all of our basic needs. What we need is a total revamping of our political and social ideology. The Europeans are way ahead of us when it comes to taking care of their citizens. No wonder they live longer and happier and are free of many of the anxieties that plague Americans. It’s time to come out of the haze that our political pundits have saturated us with. We need to start revamping our system, modern-izing it and spreading our wealth equitably and beneficially to those who need it the most.

You may think this newsletter is a little unusual coming from a psychotherapist. But my mental health training also includes social psychology and group dynamics. We are on the verge of seeing the collapse of our system. Our way of life must include an equitable sharing of the wealth and resources of this country and distributing it for the benefit of all of our citizens. This can only be done by learning from other countries who are way ahead of us.

We don’t have to worry about a foreign enemy. The enemy is here at home and it is us and our blindness to our fellow citizens. Please don’t send me any of your rants telling me if I don’t like this country, I should go to one of those other countries that cares more for its citizens. There is nothing new on the face of the earth and we owe it to ourselves to improve our system and become the Golden City on the hill. We can do it …

There has been a flood of information coming in from the media about the green movement. Meanwhile, a very expensive trash truck is picking up my garbage in the back alley. It makes sense to me that if you want to conserve energy, we can invent a way to turn our waste materials into recyclable energy right in our own homes.

In the meantime, I’m going to watch some homeless person dive into the trash dumpster in the back of McDonald’s. Somewhere along the line, that person lost his dignity and he had to resort to trash picking just to eat. Why not have a section at a restaurant for indigent and homeless people to come and sit down and eat properly from the excesses that America is so fond of producing and throwing away. That’s a great start!

In my own personal psychotherapy practice, if I don’t keep up with inflation, I can’t afford to support my family. Many potential clients come to me and want my services but they can’t afford it. In some European countries, the government pays you to provide more (not less) treatment for those who need it. So if I treat more people who can’t afford American prices, the government would reimburse me and I can help alleviate much of the suffering of our population. Oh … So why can’t these people go to a public mental health facility for low-cost treatment. I won’t get into that. It makes sense that every American should have access and free choice as to who they wish to be their physician.

There is a part of me that says let the fat cats and their institutions fall apart and let’s send our tax dollar bailout money where it is really needed … to our healthcare system, day care system, medical facilities, infrastructure, and senior citizens.

Let’s put love back to work and shove self-interest and greed into the pit where it belongs. I see a new day and a new age dawning. We have to come out of our own dark ages and see a new enlightenment coming over the horizon.

As a people, we need to go beyond the beyond that is beyond all beyondness!

If you can read between the lines of this article, you can see that I am trying to deal with the struggles that most people on this planet confront on a daily basis. Collectively, if we use our common sense, creativity and intuition we can effectively solve these problems and diminish many of these struggles. Let’s take the burden of struggle out of individual hands and spread the burden further out collectively. That way, we can diminish anxiety and reduce suffering and pain.

I know many of you may feel powerless …

But a change in one person’s consciousness can start a flow that may reach a critical mass, at that point we may come to the realization of the messianic age, where true brother/sisterhood/mother/fatherhood sings from the mountaintops of Sinai to the rivers of Jordan to the oceans of Hawaii, the plains of Texas and the skyscrapers of Philadelphia.

05. June 2012 · Comments Off on The Fable Of Big-Chest (Chapter #8: Babies & Babies) And The Three Headed Dog-Beasts · Categories: Arts And Entertainment · Tags: , ,

Chapter Eight

Babies and Babies

As they all disembarked for this new world of sorts, this land of lands, they could see a wooded area, an embankment, and way beyond there were glaciers and mountains. It looked to Big-chest, as if this could be home for a while, but his face showed it was not the permanent home he was looking for, as if he had a vision; or one of those premonitions; that is to say, when it appeared, the perhaps Promised Land, in his mind, he’d know. What Big-chest didn’t know though was that the glaciers led into the Hudson Bay, the North Pole area

(Notes on the Geology of the times): the group had noticed (once they had entered the Arctic area that is), noticed as they went onward to the Atlantic, and even across the Atlantic, as did the Eskimos notice, and as time would prove to be even more so in the near future, noticed what was very noticeable, that the earth was changing. A displacement was taking place. Not all at once, for nothing normally happens that way, but it was or had been taking place for over 5,000-years up to this point, and it was possibly on its last decade before it would completely (beyond doubt) involve its simultaneous effects of the displacement. That is, the system of fractures was taking place within the earth. The general process was at its end, let us say, the dragging apart of the lithosphere, thus causing sporadically earthquakes, fracturing with volcanic effects, but there were also interruptions of periods of quite. What was actually taking place, and Big-chest didn’t know, other than things were changing in the world (in essence, the earth was changing and the weather), was that across the equator, the surface was moving towards the pole, compression being the results, –consequently bringing on a displacement, pushing the pole backwards.)

Within a matter of days, the Eskimos [Inuit’s] had their babies as did the Europeans, for the most part, they were no longer of any race, or creed, but rather, the Assemblage, and the mixed blood would create a new-fangled race. Almost immediately, the men started picking up on huge bones, whale bones, as Big-chest found huge monolithic stones, and the women started digging into a few embankments, creating mound like dugouts, and into the center of the four dugouts, they used the huge whale bones for the foundations support—likened to beams, and small bones of animals for the floor. The entrances were that of the gigantic stones, and were cut slim so only the bodies of the fourteen-residents, plus the babies could fit through them, no big beast were allowed, even Big-chest had a hard time entering a few of the new dugout abodes. Hence, within a thirty-day period, there were six-new babies, now totaling twenty-inhabitants, to include Single-tooth.

Dugout in a Mound-type Embankment
[With Whale Bone supports, as beams]

As the shelters were now built, they decided, the group that is, to remain in this campsite [settlement if you will] until the children could walk, all of them that is, in consequence making their stay eighteen-months (which was to be forty-four months away from the old site, meaning, the Valley of the Caves.)

Stern-toes had his memories, and so did Big-chest, but they did not bring them to surface, just at times they seemed to be off in no-where’s land, and therefore, disassociating with all humankind for a few memories of their homeland.

This land was not all that bad thought the Eskimos, as they tried to display to their friends, newly found companions, now lovers and parents: it was much warmer than where they had come from. They also tried to explain that at one time it was much colder here, in their great, great [about twenty-five greats] grandfathers’ day, whereas the lands at that time were considered unlivable, for its cold spells; and of course many died due to this, they implied. In addition, the said: that year after year, it got warmer, and they could tell by reviewing the old trees that had fallen just about when it took place, the icy-freezing-cold spells could be counted within the rings of the trees. So it would seem they were content for the most part.

Birdseye View of the interior of the Dugout
[And a giant whale bone]

Within this thirty-day period the Hamlet, [or kind of settlement they created], was now operating in full motion. Big-chest was the king of the environment, or Hamlet, and watched over his daughter now, whom was running about, similar to a hawk. Life to him, back with the Branch-People was simple: sex, food and a place to sleep. Now it seemed to dawn on him, there was more to it, more to life: family, friends and spirituality crept in.

For the four-dugouts in the settlement he did most of the lifting of the huge stones putting those in place, as the women dug out the interiors of the caves to be, while Toma and Tundra along with Jaguar-eyes did the hunting; and Fish-girl went fishing, bringing back an enormous load of fish eachday. It was a hardy time for the Assemblage; and all were getting their strength back from the hardships they left behind.

Wolf dogs of the North

The Three-headed Wolf dogs

No one seen any wolf-dogs about, but Tundra seemed to be quite worried about them, however, after evening dinner by the great fire one evening—a fire Jaguar-eyes made—the women, as usual, cleaned the area, and collected branches for the continuation of the fire, for the morning fire also: at this time, all tired, they—each and every one—went into their hollow-abodes, leaving no one to guard the premises: as did the men, women and children alike, all doing the same thing, all feeling for some odd reason, safety was not an issue It was the third month into their stay at this location, and in the still of the night when as all were asleep: a terror took place.

—In the sleepiest hour of the evening came the wolf-dogs, a three-headed beast, out of his lair and into the campsite: the little hamlet of the Assemblage. Through the mist of the cold frosted air that seemed to travel with the beast, under his under belly, over his grayish eyes, above his dark-pitted gray eye-lids, where the grayish light moon over head resided, he prowled the site. He carried a death-shadow with him. He came to the forefront: the dried out area by the fire: snuffed about, smelled one of the women, then a child’s smell, found an opening in one of the shelters—as everything was unguarded—thus, snarling in hunger and rage and calm, he sat his paw against a stone that lay to the side of the entrance of the shelter: dark was his eyes, and monstrous was his shadow—blackblood filled his muscles, cramped with hunger and daring. His hot breath was seeping over the entrance stones, it seemed for a moment, just a split second, his shadow stood still in the evenings frozen stillness, looking with his deep rooted eyes at the shapes that laid in front of him, two shapes, a mother and her child. His hungry eyes were filled with the hot blood inside of these two beings he was watching. His eyes, eyes read, inflamed with the craving of flesh and blood, read: fill my belly, and the bellies of my family.

Who was the victim to be, there was not time to cry, to alarm the settlement: the three headed wolf-dog looked in all directions, in the cove, back by the fire, at the huger shelter where Big-chest lived, for even the beast didn’t want to alert him. The child laid nearest to the beast’s breath, and now paw: obsessed with the kill, the meat, the warm blood, the beast tore a limb off the child, dragging the child out of the entrance with a jerk, as the child hung from the teeth of one for the three heads of the beast, while the other digested the limb it tore off the child, then the beast ran out of the campsite—quicker than a flicker from the fire.

Big-chest leaped from his resting place in full force, but by the time he stood over Half-bird, the mother, the beast had fled: completely gone, un- seeable in the misty chill of the night.

The Wolfs Cove

The Arctic winds from the Hudson Bay area, the North Pole area that is, continued seeping down into the laps of the hamlet, and into the cave of the wolf-family, whom had four babies—and now nourishment.

The large three-headed male wolf, crept down by its children, still walking about, to see if all was safe, if indeed he (or they) had been tracked back to its shelter; thus, he continued walking about, sniffing, and blowing out of its nostrils, its icy and hungry insides, and subsequently he laid on his belly, low, very low looking sniffing, more: the child was dead, its blood still warm—by the reflection of the moon’s light, a balled head was visible: the child’s head, that is what could be seen, Half-birds child, it was a female the wolves all crept on their stomachs to get a better look at their dinner, they reached their heads over a bit, rolled the child over onto its face, the mother moving her children closer: pushing them closer to the animal protein: after that, quicker than an eye blink, the wolves all grabbed the child—after smelling it—and had their feast.

Half-bird Remembers

Half-bird standing by the fire in shock (going over her mind what just happened, what just took place): she recalled: feeling someone, or something jerking, and/or pulling her arm—after a slight hesitation, not at first smelling the scent of the animal, after a moment Half-bird woke up, looked for her child, startled: she started bellowing, then racing outside, found the tracks of the wolf and just went hysterical, she now looked at Big-chest who was but a few feet away.

Tundra and Big-chest came running; Big-chest had fought wolves before, he knew what they wanted, and why: yet it was to his belief, part of the cycle of life. They had to eat, just like him: which was his practical, if not logical way of thinking. And he knew he could go hunt them down, even kill them, but he ordered the mother and Tundra to return to their shelters, to grieve if she needed to, and to leave the animals, the wolves alone: ‘let them do what is natural,’ he mumbled, and he sat all night guarding the hamlet

in the morning the Assemblage had a gathering, and decided to have one person each night feed the fire, and stay up with a long spear in hand, and should an enemy, or any sort of danger come near, then he or she was to wake the whole group up, and to come armed to kill the invading forces. Half-bird was miserable of course, as expected, but nothing could be done about it, death was a natural course, expected, even predicted at times, there was no use in getting revenge: even the wolfs knew their stay on earth was but a moment in the calendar of time. And hunger is hunger, no matter what source of life you are.

[Sub-chapter to eight and nine]

Big-chest

?
Browbeating

Most of the females, not all, like Little Bird-turtle, had physical masculinity features—in that they seemed straight, firm and confident for the most part; some with narrow hips even, some with straight shoulders; a similarity to mannishness one might conclude—; yet they were not what one might call upside-down humans, where they felt ‘congenial sexual inversion,’ crept into their lives, wanting same-sex partners, to the contrary, it didn’t even occur to them, it was basically the load of life that demanded their bodies to be the way they were.

On another issue, Big-chest loved making love—the high of sex, that is, he had a great sexual need, desire, and lust: he would intentionally force himself, his big body on his lovers, even his wife, pinning them to the ground. There was no sex war between, or within the group, or couples; for the most part, their relationships were fine. Yet as a couple (Big-chest and his wife), it could be sour with his wife’s moods at times, she was unsatisfied with his sexual hunting at night for an empty bed. And possibly—even thought she didn’t come out and murmur it—thought I say thought, or I think she was resentful of his domineering, inconsiderate, selfish and seemingly insensitivity, his behavior, in short towards her: she didn’t like being tucked away into an igloo, or hut, or any kind of abode as he fulfilled other sexual needs. This was getting to her.

Aging &
Sexuality

Nothing came out straightforward within the group or the Assemblage if you will. It was the age of communication, the beginning of it, not the end, it had actually just arrived for Big-chest, and was not all that new for the others—other than the Stone-builders. I suppose you could say, many things were misunderstood, especially between the youthful wife of Big-chest, and himself for often he’d simply end up scratching his head trying to figure out where she was with this and that. I think everyone picked up on that head-scratching body language. But he lived by one philosophy now, promising, it was new for him: to create as good life, as good as possible for one and all in his group. I suppose you could say, he was learning how to accept responsibility with leadership.

Big-chest had been, and still was, as incapable of harnessing his sexual appetite mentally as if he was back in his youthful days; save for the fact, his body did not always soar through the air like his mind wanted it to. He was now [on occasions] finding his body being left behind. This bothered him, yet his youthful wife understood it, and did not make him think he was unsuitable.

To Big-chest his youthful wife was very soft and smooth, and he’d often try not to break her sleep, some kind gesture he picked up somewhere, perhaps the woman in the cave whom he’d visit (off and on), and if she was asleep, he’d just sit and wait until she opened her eyes, and try not to scare her (folks remembered she was the only one he was really kind to); he even put a smile on his face for her. She was always so happy to see him, as his wife was.

Pekingg-girl had long girlish legs he thought, thick calves, and paleness lately in her face; an unobtrusive girl she was. Yet she had what he considered good protective coloring to her person, she might be invisible at times he thought, in the thick of the woods.

[Stern-toes contemplate]:

Possibly Big-chest accumulated guilt from all the harm he did way back when, thus, a reserve inside of him has, changed him, yes, he contemplated, Big-chest had changed; [Stern-toes] he tried to hypnotize himself as he pictured Big-chest in the ‘Valley of the Caves,’ in his younger days, as dusk befell the valley abodes, he’d take at will—wife’s, daughters, whomever he wised, and now he was kind to one and all. What a remarkable change, could it last was his pondering thoughts?

[Pekingg-girl]:

Pekingg-girl at times felt a tinge inferior and inadequate around the group, if not Big-chest. Reflecting on this, and her husband she remembered him also as being heartless in his younger days, even though he got revenge for her mother’s death by the People of the Fire, for shooting an arrow through her heart. But it really was her own fixation, as she’d conclude at the end of the day, for Big-chest in his old age was different.

As she stepped outside the abode watching Big-chest make his rounds to check on his people, as he’d refer to them, she was proud yet, a bit fearful of him yet. The sky was faded, the sea winds felt a little warm, the sun gone, dampness was filling the air, and a sluggish blowing in from the sea said it might be a windy night.

04. June 2012 · Comments Off on Animals Affected by Global Warming · Categories: News And Society · Tags: , ,

Today, natural phenomena seem to get intensified, as manifested on the physical and chemical conditions of the earth’s atmosphere. Several disturbances are not just evident to humans but to all living things and among the most significant problems ever occurred is global warming. The blame for this natural problem should only be given to people, who ruthlessly destroy the environment. The cruelty of people reaches every living thing from pole to pole as recent reports say that polar bears got stranded on small islands of ice, and most of these poor animals are dying and drowning. The animals affected by global warming are apparently innocent; ironically, they are always the first ones who suffer.

Global warming can cause habitat displacement, which is a great problem in the ecosystem. Imagine how animals affected by global warming get through such situation. These animals have spent millions of years in their respective ecosystems and then abruptly, their adaptation will shift. This is more illustrated by how ice gives way to water in the polar bear habitat. Beyond habitat displacement, experts agree that global warming results a shift in timing of many natural cyclical events in any animal’s life. For example are the birds that have altered timing of long-held migratory and reproductive routines, bettering syncing up under warm climate. Some hibernating animals too are ending their slumbers earlier because of warmer spring temperatures.

Animals affected by global warming can sometimes move into new places and continue to thrive. However, parallel human population growth may mean that many land areas that are suitable for such “refugee wildlife” are already cluttered with industrial and residential developments. According to researches, when different species share the same habitat, they will respond in dissimilar ways while tearing apart the future ecological communities’ millennia.

Most researches will testify the intensity of changes happening in the lives of animals affected by global warming. Thousands of struggling species suffer from extinction, in fact, as of 2003, 80% some 1,500 wildlife species sampled show signs of stress to climate change. Hence, we can possibly determine the situation of the innocent animals in 10 years or so. If the big polar bears undergo great sufferings from today’s problem in global warming, what more will other smaller species feel then? The Defenders of Wildlife, an environmental movement, gathered statistics about some of the wildlife species that are hardest hit by global warming. Along with the polar bears on the list are the toads, penguins, arctic foxes, tree swallows, gray wolves, salmon, and painted turtles. Nonetheless, there is still hope if we still want to save the lives of these animals and other future victims. That is, if we will take decisive steps to reverse global warming. Let us stop razing the environment and fear God, for He will punish the destroyers at the end of time.

03. June 2012 · Comments Off on 7 Critical Steps to Formulating Your Annual Strategic Business Plan · Categories: Management · Tags: , ,

Businesses tend to avoid doing their annual business plan thinking that it is an arduous task that does not accomplish much. Formulating your annual plan is, however, critical to your business success and if done correctly should be quick, easy and generate bottom line results.

Rather than creating a business plan that achieves no results, other than to gather dust, you should be writing a strategic and operational plan. The words ‘strategic’ and ‘operational’ are important as they give purpose and results to the plan. Your annual plan needs to be strategic so that you know where you are going and what you would like to achieve from your business or division. The plan needs to be operational so that it will tell you how to get there. It will determine the strategies and goals that need to be achieved to reach your end point.

Strategic business planning is about deciding on the future you want for your business or division and then deciding how you intend to obtain that future. If you have been in business for a number of years and your results each year are much the same as the year before then obviously something will have to change if you would like to see an improvement. It comes down to the saying: If you keep on doing what you have always done you will get what you have always got.

The steps we outline below are perhaps unconventional to people familiar with business planning, but then most business plans don’t deliver results. All too often business plans are created out of a corporate requirement rather than a focused result. This system of business planning has been proved to deliver results for over 20 years. Try something new and you may be surprised by the outcome.

To achieve results it is important that each step is well thought out and no step is omitted. Equally important is that the steps are completed in an open and collaborative environment that encourages learning and new ideas.

Step 1 – Vision and Mission Statements Businesses and divisions tend to ignore the importance of their vision and mission statements. These statements should tell you where you are going and why you are in business. If you don’t know why you are in business and why someone would buy from you, then your clients and customers will not know either and will go to your competition.

A vision statement should paint a picture of the business you would like. It should get you thinking about your business and dreaming about what is possible. You can’t exaggerate your vision so go wild and have large dreams. You won’t know where it will take you unless you give free reign to those ideas and get excited.

A vision statement can contain what you would like to see in revenue in a number of years. You could want to become a “world leader” in something, or become a “specialist” in something else. What would you like out of your company? Let it be more specific than flowery language that sits in your entrance foyer.

A mission statement should answer the question as to why your business or division exists. Why would someone buy your product or service? What makes you different from your competition? Who are you selling too? What problem are you solving? Keep your mission statement short but answer why you are in business. Nike is a good example – ‘Do it” Who needs more?

Ensure that your mission statement supports your vision. Ensure that it is concise and unique to your business. Try and capture your competitive edge and unique selling proposition in a statement that motivates.

Step 2 – Celebrate Successes We tend to be quick to criticize, slow to praise. But by recognizing your successes, you increase your confidence to move on to make new things happen. What we have failed to accomplish always stands out in our minds, but our successes are where the opportunities lie.

Take some time to think about what you achieved in the last year. Whether it was reaching a goal you had set or handling a crisis that arose. A thank you from a client indicates a success as does appreciation from your staff. Make a list of all the successes you achieved and find ways that you can expand on those achievements.

Step 3 – Learn from Failures It is also important to examine where we missed the mark and then identify what didn’t work. If you do not analyze your failures they will probably occur again as you do not give yourself the opportunity to learn from them. You are your own best teacher, the best source of your own wisdom. We never really need advice and hate it when we get it because we hate being told what we know already.

Make a list of your failures and mistakes and for each examine why it failed and how you can prevent the failure in the future. What needs to be changed? What needs to be put in place? What is missing?

By examining both what worked and what didn’t work, you can find the lessons that you need to learn. You can then identify opportunities and the way forward.

Step 4 – A New Paradigm Using steps 2 and 3 to analyze where you succeeded and where you failed you will then be able to discover if there are any common factors that cause you to succeed or fail. You might find that your failures are all in a specific situation or there is some other common factor. This will tell you how you limit yourself by what you assume to be true. Everyone has assumptions about their truth and these assumptions are usually not true but only serve to limit your true potential.

Complete the following sentence … “I’d love to ____, but I can’t because I’m/we’re _____. What are the words in the second blank? This is an example of a limiting assumption. The second blank need not be about you but could be about your market, your clients, your competitors etc. To move forward and achieve your vision these limiting assumptions need to be changed, you need to take responsibility for where you are.

Change your limiting assumptions to empowering perceptions. Find a way around the external factors you feel are limiting your business or division. There are no “cant’s”, only new alternatives and new possibilities. Create a new paradigm.

If you really are not able to get around a “can’t” then you need to examine how important this factor is to your business and therefore whether you are in the right business.

Step 5 – Values By understanding your values you will understand what motivates you. Your company and business goals need to reflect personal goals as well. If not this misalignment will cause discontent and poor performance as staff will not align with the goals. You will only be able to achieve your goals successfully if they are supported by your values. Think about what motivates you, what gets you out of bed in the morning. Make a list of the values you cherish or wish to abide by. Prioritize them. Be clear about what makes you feel good about yourself. What value does that represent?

If your business supports your values, such as honesty and integrity, it has a greater chance of success than one that requires you be dishonest on a daily basis.

Step 6 – Strategies to Success Strategies define how you plan to grow your business and achieve your vision over time. They are critical to setting direction and keeping your business on track. Strategies are often industry specific and if you follow the core strategies of your industry your business will have a greater chance of success.

Create your strategies based on opportunities and threats that your business faces. Think about what is critical to growing and operating your business and achieving your vision.

Remember that you can’t be all things to all people and you should therefore specialize in what you do. Strategies can include topics such as technical knowledge, reputation, visibility, quality, employees and service.

Select up to 5 topics that are critical to building your business and achieving your vision. Formulate a strategy statement for each topic and ensure that it is easy to understand and results in growth and profitability.

Step 7 – Specific Goals Allow each of the first 6 steps to shape your goals. Write a short list of what you want to achieve in the different areas of your business. Keep your vision in mind so that you shape your goals to achieve that vision.

Goals differ to strategies in that goals should always be SMART goals:

Specific/Simple Measurable Attainable Relevant Time-focused

Strategies are big picture items that work towards your vision. Goals should have number and dates in them to serve their purpose. If goals are not SMART goals they are not specific enough and will not provide focus on the tasks to be achieved.

Goals can be formulated for each area of your business such as financial, marketing and sales, human resources, operations etc. Ensure that meeting these goals will achieve your vision and mission.

As goals are measurable they can be graphed and also broken down in to weekly or monthly goals. If you are trying to increase sales over a one year period take the amount that you trying to increase it by and make smaller goals to achieve on a weekly or monthly basis. The good thing about graphing them is watching them go up!

Conclusion For an annual strategic business plan to deliver results it needs to be used on a weekly basis. Nothing new will happen if you put it on your shelf and forget about it until next year. Every week or month (depending on your business) you should evaluate the goals you set for yourself and your business:

• Did you achieve them?

• If not, what was the problem? Can you recover and move forward?

• If yes, congratulations are in order

• Do you need to change any goals? Have you shifted your focus since your plan?

Living by your plan will keep you focused. It also ensures accountability in a team setting and therefore improves performance and productivity.

One word of caution however, using these 7 steps in a team environment requires open communication and contribution from all members. If you are unable to generate open communication in your team, then facilitation by an outside person can be invaluable.

There are a number of excellent systems on the market that can facilitate this business planning process. They have been proved to be affective in delivering results to companies of all sizes and in all industries. They differ in certain aspects of the 7 steps listed above but they achieve the same purpose.

Happy Planning!

03. June 2012 · Comments Off on Making a Mother’s Day Memory · Categories: Home And Family · Tags: , ,

“Of all the rights of women, the greatest is to be a mother.” Lin Yutang

When Anna Jarvis stood at her mother’s gravesite nearly one hundred years ago, she vowed to establish a day to honor not only the mother in her own life—but to honor mothers everywhere. The activism she observed firsthand in her mother’s fight to improve the living conditions of those battling poverty motivated her to carry on an activist project of her own: celebrating mothers who had come before her, mothers in her own lifetime, and mothers whose times had not yet come.

The tradition of giving white carnations to mothers was started just a couple years later, and within nine years—with the U.S. Congress passing a joint resolution—Mother’s Day was officially established to celebrate a woman’s role in the family.

The holiday was never to have been made into a commercial brouhaha. Indeed, Anna Jarvis would be rolling over in her grave with the success of Hallmark’s Mother’s Day revenues alone. For she desired that the day be celebrated with sentiment rather than with profit; that flowers and hand-written notes of appreciation be given away.

So just how can we celebrate Mother’s Day as a holiday with those we love—and yet honor the wishes of its founder? How can we encourage others to express loving sentiments to us—rather than encourage them to purchase loving sentiments? And where does chocolate fit into the Mother’s Day equation for crying out loud?!?

Get started:

Encourage handmade. I have saved every one of the handmade cards my children have ever made me. Cute as they are upon presentation, they are downright priceless a decade later. Call me a sentimental schmuck: the same hand that wrote my first Mother’s Day card is now filling out college applications. Don’t ever let your kids buy commercial Mother’s Day cards. Make sure they know where the stamps, ink pads, stickers, glitter (I know I know), glue, colored markers, art pencils, and blank stationery are stored in your home. And encourage their creativity.

Encourage home baked. There is, after all, nothing quite like breakfast in bed. Especially on Mother’s Day. It reads: “I adore you, my love. Stay in bed awhile. Relax. You’ve worked so hard.” Or something like that. You get the idea. Encourage your entourage to treat you with home baked coffeecake, cinnamon rolls, biscuits, or buttered toast; they’ll be special because your hubby and children made them just for you. Even if they whacked the can against the kitchen counter to produce those little tasties, go with it and relish the moment.

Encourage home cooked. But only if he can do it. I mean, seriously, if the guy can’t boil water, don’t expect him to produce a gourmet six-course dinner. Much better to go to your local diner. But if he becomes inspired to cook for you—as mine did only once in twenty-two years—then go for it. Relax on your favorite upholstered chair and let him go crazy in your kitchen, if just for a day.

Encourage hand picked. Ok. It’s a stretch. But expensive roses are not for everybody, you know. While a bouquet of hand-picked wild flowers may or may not cut it for me, a bunch of daffodils would. As would a single lovely hyacinth. If the scent of spring flowers wafting through your home arouses your aesthetic sensibilities, then tell hubby that this year, you’d prefer sprouted bulbs.

Get brilliant:

For those of us too addicted to our society’s conceived notions of the proper care and feeding of mother on Mother’s Day, here are a few more options.

Go fancy. Leave the kids at home and let hubby treat his queen to the most exquisite restaurant he can afford. Mother’s Day comes but once a year, after all. Get gussied up, dressed up, and psyched up for a night out on the town. Splurge big-time. No holds barred. It’ll fill your tank for months.

Go custom. Encourage hubby to treat you to something that you really really want. Granted, the elm wood Venetian easel with a lovely oil finish that I’ve asked for might not turn you on, but it is what I really really want for Mother’s Day this year. My oil paintings have taken over our major living areas and I need another easel. But the survey would say: you could probably care less for that. What do you dearly desire? Put a bug in hubby’s ear and encourage him to surprise you on Mother’s Day. A spring outfit? Cute handbag? New perfume? Pedicure? It’s easy. Just let your kids figure it out and they’ll pass it on to the wallet-holder in no time.

Go chocolate. It’s always the answer. I don’t care what the question is. The predilection for chocolate is nearly universally human—as proven by at least seventeen university studies—and carries back, by some estimates, to more than 75,000 years. Early explorers in South America used it as currency and sold it in solid bars. My favorite is as bitter and dark as you’ll ever find, with 85% cocoa. Yours might be sweet milk chocolate. Indulge. But be careful. You don’t want to die from chocolate-induced coma on Mother’s Day.

Go easy. Most of all, you need a break on Mother’s Day. Put your feet up. Get comfortable. Relax with a book. Or a magazine. Allow yourself the dizzying liberation of being downright lazy for just one day.

Most importantly, love the ones you’re with. My guess is they are the very ones who made you a mommy in the first place.

Happy, happy Mother’s Day!
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02. June 2012 · Comments Off on Gossip Girl Actors · Categories: Arts And Entertainment · Tags: , ,

Gossip Girl is a television series based on a book written by Cecil von Ziegesar. It talks about a bunch of youngsters from the elite society who attend private school at the Upper East Side of New York. These teenagers experience almost everything right from teenage problems, dangerous situations, drug addiction, to dealing with friends and family members. Each episode of Gossip Girl is narrated by an anonymous person voiced by Kristen Bell. The story revolves around twelve main characters out of which most popular are Serena van der Woodsen, Blair Waldrof, Dan Humphrey, Nate Archibald, Jenny Humphrey, Chuck Bass, and Vanessa Abrams.

The above mentioned characters of the series are played by young talented actors. Blake Lively plays Serena van der Woodsen who is a successful socialite and the most popular girl in the school. During the casting process Blake Lively was the first to be chosen to play the character of Serena van der Woodsen. Blake Lively has successfully risen to stardom in a short span of time. Before gracing the small screen she made a sensational debut on the big screen in her first movie “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”. She was nominated for the 2005 Teen Choice awards.

Leighton Meester plays the onscreen character Blair Waldrof, best friend to Serena van der Woodsen. Leighton Meester is perfect for this role and plays it with great panache. She has had a successful television career and has appeared in several other television series including “Entourage”, “8 Simple Rules”, “Numbers” and “CSI Miami”. Her most recurring roles were in “24”, “Veronica Mars”, “House” and “Shark”. Before starting her acting career she dabbled in modeling before sweeping the small screen.

Penn Badgley enacts the part of Dan Humphrey, a romantic character, who attends the private schools but does not fit into the elite circle financially. He starred in a television series called “The Mountain”. After relocating to Los Angeles he was offered a guest role in “Will and Grace”. There was no looking back and he soon played recurring roles on famous television series “The Young and the Restless”, “The Brothers Garcia” followed by “Daddio”. Penn was involved in Children’s Theater in Seattle. The character of Nate Archibald is played by Chace Crawford. He has acted in the top box office opener movie of 2006 “The Covenant”. Chace shuttles his time between Los Angeles where he is based and New York where Gossip Girl is being filmed.

Taylor Momsen plays the young Jenny Humphrey sister to Dan Humphrey and a budding fashion designer. Taylor Momsen is the youngest cast member of Gossip Girl. At only seventeen she has grabbed the limelight and become a successful actor. She acted in successful box office movies like “Spy Kids 2” and “We Were Soldiers”. Ed Westwick is a British actor and plays the part of Chuck Bass in Gossip Girl. Chuck Bass is from a wealthy and sophisticated family. He loves all luxuries of life and makes no compromise. Ed Westwick plays this part to perfection. He has worked in Children of Men opposite Clive Owen and Julianne Moore. Westwick has movies lined up for release. When not filming for Gossip Girl, Ed lives at his house outside London. The character of Vanessa Abrams is played by Jessica Szhor. She has an ethnic background of both African-American and Caucasian. Jessica worked as a model before she was discovered and chosen to play the onscreen role of Vanessa Abrams.