Call to Action

March 12, 2019

Have you ever been in bed and had ideas pop into your head? Perhaps it’s the list of what to do that day or a shopping list of activities that need to be done over time. Well, for me, I had an idea – that was almost totally conceptualized creep into my waking moments around the early part of this month and just wouldn’t let go. For days I had the same thoughts that I should create a non-profit community group aimed at making the world a better place using the energy of tango dancers. Ok, so why tango dancers? My two passions are helping to make the world a better place – or more esoterically put, raising the vibration of the planet; the other is dancing tango. The creative idea that hatched in my head used both these thoughts – tango dancing and bringing light to the world. No small task; or what many have told me when I started to talk about it, “good luck with that!”

In terms of creating a community action group, I was totally in unfamiliar territory. I seriously had no clue where to start, so I began where I always do when I don’t know – I decided to ask other people who might know. So just like any other creative project that I’ve tackled over the years, I decided to do information interviews with key influencers, who could eventually become stakeholders in this new venue. I selected friends, tango dance friends, friends of tango dance friends, people that tango dance friends knew, and so on. It wasn’t long before I had lots of people to interview and plenty of, “good luck with that” answers as well as a few good pointers along the way. I knew I would have my hands full with this activity, if it was even really viable.

After about a week of these interviews, I went to a tango dance wherein I realized that just the next week, this particular organizer was holding an anniversary dance. I quickly decided to hold a first fundraising asking permission to use their venue with the caveat that it wouldn’t impact their collected fees.  The organizer owned the space and was all about helping charity especially if it didn’t cost them anything.

The next day I set up a Facebook page for my new group which I named, Tango for Change.  Within hours one of my dance friends put a donate button on my personal page (not the new page), OH MY NOW WHAT?? So I had to figure out what to do. When you’re new at something, often times it doesn’t go smoothly the first time you go at it. Alright, I just went along with it and “SHARED” the fundraiser which had been created on my personal page to the Tango for Change page. This was a bit awkward but it was sufficient to have a few people donate. I had to work at it but by the end of the week, the initial modest goal of $200 was raised.

That night, the actual date of the fundraiser, I simply put out a decorated spaghetti keeper with a ribbon indicating the charity (a homeless shelter in the area) and with my encouragement around the room, another $83 was raised. Wow, it was hard work, but in less than 2 weeks the idea was hatched, created and implemented (with $283 going to my first charity). More on my new group as it progresses, but other than being exhausted from being emotionally trained, I’m pretty happy with the result. Now to keep the momentum going! (Of course, what you give out you get back multiplied!) So PLEASE like my new Tango for Change Facebook page to show support!!!


Every year above ground is good

January 24, 2019

When you remember someone that has passed, are there funny sayings or mannerisms that come to mind? In the case of my father, I always remember what he used to say when I asked him about his getting another year older and his practical response, “every day above ground is a good day”. So each year when I’d ask him, “Daddy, how does it feel to be 85, or 86, etc.?” “He’d reply, every year above ground is a good year”. Even though I knew what the response would be, I continued to ask him every year until there wasn’t a response. He passed the day after his 90th birthday and he wasn’t able to talk on his special day.

What is the alternative? If one is not above ground, then obviously, one is not alive. But to live, really live means to be more than just above ground and room temperature. This is the lesson for this article. Sometimes I feel like life is moving so fast that there isn’t time to do more than just keep up. When I thought about all the things I had to do today and realized that I was tired, I decided to just take a nap. Once I woke up I realized that none of the really important things that I had on my list were important at all. If none of them got done, it was really ok. In the overall scheme of the universe, none of it was important.

So what is important? When we are above ground, during our living years as the song goes, we should aim to make each day count, but for what? What’s really important? Some possible answers are to be a good person, to love, to help others, and to learn our lessons. Now you might ask how one knows what their lessons are? I’ve written many articles about life lessons so it’s not an easy answer here except to say that we have to pay attention to what happens in our lives and do our best to follow the path that’s best for us. Sometimes what’s best is not what we really wish to do. When I think about my father, he was always busy with hobbies and studying things. He valued education and taught us to do the same. He also valued hard work, probably a product of his depression-era younger years; although still a good foundation for him and a good legacy he gave to his children.

We each have to figure out how to use the time we have above ground and make sure that every day above ground is a good day.


Angels on my Shoulder

December 10, 2018

During my recent trip to Portugal I had several experiences where I felt that synchronicity was at play to the extent that it must be my angels at work helping me. The story I’m going to relate in this article is that of my day trip to the historic town of Sintra, where just when I needed help, it was available to me.

After several attempts to take a group tour on this particular Saturday during my vacation failed, I decided to go it alone. Armed with travel brochures, internet information on the key sights, and information of what not to miss, I left my hotel about 8:30 am with a very positive outlook. I had already mastered the metro system to the point of knowing where the nearest stop was and where to get off, but I didn’t know how to find the connecting train station for the out of town trip to Sintra. Buying the ticket was easy at the ticket booth which was manned with a live person, asking in English is a forte of mine as I don’t speak Portuguese.

angelThe next step was to get off the metro and find the train station. I started to inquire of my fellow metro passengers who either didn’t understand me or didn’t know. This was strange to me since it was with in a short walk of the metro stop. Everything is different when one is in another country and not familiar. On the third try I happened upon a family with an elderly gentleman who seemed to be the local resident and the others, the visitors. In asking this group about the location of the train station, I discovered they were from Poland. I chimed in that my heritage is Polish as my Mother’s father came from Poland in the early 1900s, a town called Silencia. To my surprise, I was told that they came from this same place. I was asking for help from people of my heritage land! As we got off the metro, the elderly gentleman, most likely their father, speaking no English but made to understand my goal from his relatives, pointed the way to the train station. Yes! Mission accomplished!

Having my ticket in hand I quickly found my train on the track already arrived. I barely made it into a seat before the train left so my timing was quite good. As I settled in the seat I had found after searching for one up and down several cars, I noticed French spoken near me.

 In my usual brilliant way, I asked the young woman closest to me “are you from France?” She replied, “yes, we are from Lyon”, referring to the 3 couples in her group. This brief introduction began a conversation about our day in Sintra and planned itineraries. After hearing about the place I wanted to see they changed  their plan and decided to join me. I was thrilled. We all got off the train together and for the next 6 hours became a new unit, wherein I was treated like one of them… something like being an adopted Mom. The young woman had left her 8 month old baby at home for this weekend away with her Mom so perhaps she was in a very nurturing mode.

It turned into a wonderful day for me, where at first I thought I’d be alone I was accompanied by a nice group of friendly people all day while touring interesting sights. We even stopped and had tea together. It was a very warm feeling to chat and interact with these young people for the day. About 3pm we parted company as our desires changed… with me wanting to view the inside of the Pena Palace and their only wanting to see the outside gardens.. We said goodbye with invitations from the young woman to visit Lyon.

About an hour later I walked down the hill, took the bus back to the train station, then the train to the metro and as I was coming up the stairs from the metro station I looked up in amazement… could my eyes be deceiving me? There was the same group of French people looking just as amazed! I knew then that I had been experiencing a divinely inspired day complete with angels on my shoulder to look out for me. How else could I have met the same group back in Lisbon?

Although I had a two week vacation on my own and did some organized tours during that time, some of my best moments were when I just trusted that I’d be ok on my own and went out into the great unknown. It was when I was in the hands of my guides, that I was truly guided.

Comments are always welcome.


Help, Don’t Hurt

October 15, 2018

There are so many times that people are passionate about an issue but their rantings only hurt the situation rather than helping it. We have a word in Jewish, Kvetching! And it is the equivalent of bitching, moaning and complaining consistently. So whenever we open our mouths to state our opinion, I’d like to suggest that we make constructive criticism meant to help rather than hurt all concerned.

In this article, I’d like to commend Queen Latifah for her recent commercial extolling the benefits of a good higher education. Apparently, as she explains, she’s achieved great success in life, but without the added benefit of a college education. From the sound of it, she feels and conveys in this ad, that with such advanced study, she may have had a better life, an easier time moving forward, or made more money earlier on. Now, of course, she’s well known as a prominent acting/singing personality and is making the big money as they say. But inwardly she still feels that a degree would be beneficial. To me, establishing all these benefits for her community and others at large is a great service to her listeners.helpful

I would also like to contrast her approach with the radio announcer typically on at the same morning slot. I listen to a morning radio show that caters to a predominantly black audience. The announcer of this show has a segment that he calls “a Racial Observation” during which time he refers to events of the day that point to the divide between the black vs. the white community. Perhaps a white policeman arrested a black kid and used force or a woman was assaulted and the perpetrator not prosecuted….in any case the situations are always where he is pointing to racial tensions in this country. During other parts of this show, people are making fun of multiple baby mammas and kids going home to empty houses, being raised by single Moms who don’t know where the father of their children are…. The point here is that neither accountability nor responsibility is discussed, rather just how awful things are and how unfair the system is to his group.

Well I’m a senior and there are a lot of things that are unfair to me too, but rather than kvetch, I’d rather give charity to help others and send positive energy to law makers to make it better for all concerned. In the end, I believe I will be taken care of by the powers to be because I live a heart centered life guided by my faith.

So back to Queen Latifah:. I salute her effort to extol the virtues of a higher education because it is the pathway to getting a good job and making something of one’s self. I had to work hard for my degree and in the end it has served me well throughout my career. So doing what it takes to go to school at night or by day if possible is a great way to be accountable and take responsibility for one’s life. So the next time you have something to say, keep it helpful and not hurtful. Comments are always welcome.

 


Time to Detox? – Part I The Physical

August 18, 2018

Detoxing may not be a fun topic but sometimes it’s necessary to focus in and get rid of negatives in the body which can take different forms. We can hold negative elements in our gut – the traditional place to consider a detox to get rid of toxins that overload our digestive system and cause a myriad of physical issues. Perhaps we don’t think as much about the negative junk that seeps into our thoughts and the need to clean out the closets of our minds. In this article I will address the first of these two types of detoxing and why it’s are important to our physical  wellbeing. Stay tuned for  the second type of detoxing and why it’s important to our mental wellbeing.

detoxFirst, let’s address the gut. There is a plethora of information on how our digestive track is like a second brain. From my recent reading on the internet about all the little critters that reside in our gut, it’s important to keep a healthy balance of what’s referred to as “good and bad bacteria”. Normally, if we eat a balanced diet, there shouldn’t be any problems with maintaining a healthy gut bacterial environment. That said, many of us, me included, don’t always eat enough fresh veggies and thus I have to admit to subscribing to lots of nutritional supplements. In addition, I’m guilty of taking over the counter anti-inflammatories, ingesting antibiotics when I’m sick or possibly from non-organic meats, and using artificial sweeteners, all of which can disturb this delicate balance.

Over the last year I found myself becoming increasingly uncomfortable through weight gain and digestive issues. I eventually pinpointed Splenda use as one culprit. In an effort to drink more water I was using lots of Splenda every day. And then my gut locked up on me. I finally realized that too many supplements and the use of Splenda had to get under control. So in comes the DETOX. Wow, what a difference. If you do decide to go this route, I recommend that you get a medical grade 2 week version, which I did through a local specialized pharmacy. I’m not here to advertise any specific product, but I basically had to get off all gluten, dairy, supplements except for those provided in the kit and only use their protein powder. The detox consisted of 2 protein shakes daily with a non-dairy beverage and one regular meal combined with lots of veggies and some low glycemic fruit. The first few days were difficult but I stuck with it and now I feel a lot better.

Ok, this is the physical component of the detox. I can’t believe the difference in the way I feel. I’m back to my normal weight, gaining energy every day and can more readily do my activities. My brain fog is clearing also. There is a huge difference… now detoxing the mind and getting rid of negatives there is a bit more complicated. My next article will address this aspect of detoxing… Meanwhile, comments are always  welcome.

 


Trusting Guidance

July 26, 2018

Ever get a funny feeling in your stomach and realize that a little voice residing there is telling you something?  It’s becoming well known how the stomach has a second brain with lots of emotional intelligence. But the point of my story is that I get my own inner guidance in many ways, one of which may be discomfort in the stomach.

Over the weekend, I had dinner with a dance friend. Our plan was to enjoy dinner and the jazz group that was playing at the Vietnamese-French restaurant nearby, then we would drive to a local dance venue. It would take about 30 minutes to drive over. Normally, this would be a routine trip, nothing to be concerned about except on this evening there had been reports that heavy rain was due to fall. I tried to tell myself that a bit of rain was nothing to fear; that said, I kept remembering the terrible rain that I drove through back in January when a truck tire exploded and like a missile sent the remains crashing into my car causing me whiplash and $2,000 damage to my almost new car. Needless to say, it was upsetting and traumatizing. I had come out of it alive when such a crash could have killed me. Hence, there was trepidation over driving in heavy rain.

My friend was insistent that I go out with him and to help alleviate my concerns he offered to drive me and then take me home later since we’d met up for the dinner as dance friends often do. I reluctantly agreed. So off we went under an umbrella with me thinking, “Well, it’s not raining hard now. Perhaps we’ll get there before the downpour”. We were only about a mile from my home, and the local plaza where we’d eaten, when I felt a really strange feeling in my chest and stomach. I don’t normally have such pains. I told myself that it was only a 30 minute drive and that I would be ok. I assumed it was just a bit of fear after having had the accident back in January; leftover trauma, so to speak.

alarmAs we approached the highway entrance, an alarm on my cell phone caused me to say, “Stop and pull over”. I knew the sound of that siren type of alarm. It was used to indicate an emergency situation. In this case it was the NWS warning people to get off the road due to the impending dangerous weather, heavy rain and possible flooding. My reaction was immediate. I said, “No! I’m not going.” And we turned around and my friend drove the short distance back to my house.

Now one might ask,”Was it a coincidence that the alarm came in just before we got on the highway when it would be more difficult to turn around and go home?” We were only one mile away, so returning was easy. And my friend certainly understood at this point so no harm done in any case. I got inside the house and was totally grateful to be safe, then settled into the rest of the evening in front of the TV with my cat Skylar. I was never so happy to be in my PJs!

I do believe that my angels were watching over me. That when I needed them, guidance helped me with an outward signal that staying in was the right thing to do. The next day I saw on the local internet about all the down trees, accidents, cars that got stuck in water, people that had to be rescued from their cars, etc. it wasn’t a joke, nor a figment of my imagination. There had been real danger and I had been warned. I am truly blessed. Comments and observations are welcome.


Letting Go:Moving Through Life Phases

July 9, 2018

We’ve all heard about the mental benefits of cleaning out closets. The old adage goes something like this: cleaning out drawers, closets or the garage is symbolic for letting go of junk in our minds as well as the literal letting go of physical junk in the process. Well, the other day, I went through lots of papers in a large filing cabinet that contained my work history. In going through these files, I threw out lots of papers related to my work history including performance duties and reviews; which, was essentially let go of my working career as I move into retirement.

lifephasesAs I went through each file, I spent a moment thinking about that particular job, what my accomplishments were, and how it went overall in that particular environment. So in those few moments, I relieved a number of working years. I’ve working for the federal government, for the telecommunications industry and later, back for the government as a contractor. So, one could say that I’ve done it all, figuratively of course; at least from the viewpoint of the Washington, DC corporate working world. I’ve had all different types of managers that ran the gamut from pretty good to pretty awful! Some of my work involved teams that went well with just a few that didn’t. For the most part, my work history was a continuum that spanned forty years and went from lower level secretarial to mid-level management. Overall, I feel good about what I’ve done over all these years and I’m really ready to let someone else stand in the limelight. I’ve had my day as they say.

I officially ended my working career with the end of 2017, but there is always leftover stuff to do. I began to discontinue my websites recently and decided rather than shutting them down completely to downsize one and just keep the domain name of the other. Letting go entirely is difficult. There is so much history in setting up a business (which I did once I left corporate America in 2008). For the past 10 years, I’ve operated an intuitive life coaching business that interacted and hopefully helped my hundreds of clients (300+). But as I let go of these papers, I was really letting go of all of this.

There is more to it than merely saying one will stop working. The ego has a hold on who we are. Is it ok for me to not be the title that I held whether it is project manager, minister, Reiki master, life coach, etc.? In some respects, I will never stop coaching since anyone that gets near me and has a problem gets the benefit of my advice… albeit for free; or my Reiki energy if they have a hurt/pain; or my ear if they have a problem. Thus, even though I’m no longer in the paid category of the workforce, I’m still at it, just as a volunteer. For me now, I feel that the best title is Starteacher Joanne, a title given to me by my spiritual adviser many years ago because I’m an old soul with much innate wisdom which I love to share.

Although I’ve let go of my papers and my working career, I will continue to be Starteacher Joanne, a Lightworker. Please follow me at Joanne’s Starteacher Blog


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