Surprise Archive

Menstuff® archives one-time columns that have been featured in this section of our homepage, authored by an expert in that particular field. If you would like to participate in this area of our web site, please submit a copy of what you would like our visitors to read, to feedbackNewMaterial.html.

Abusive Behavior - Wayne L. Misner
Advice to New Managers - Thomas Schmitt and Arnold Perl
American Ingenuity in the Innovation Age
Becoming Whole Men - Steven Kessler
A "Best-Wishing" Hour - WordsCanHeal.org
An Interview with Dan Millman - Dan Millman
The B Word - Ron Suresha
Building a Sweat Lodge - Tom Utterback
Can Gender Science be Trusted?
Can Meditation Transform the World?
The Case for Positive Energy - Jon Gordon
Combination Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis - Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld
Did Phil Hartman Die from Congressionally-Sanctioned Discrimination? - Mark B. Rosenthal
Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2008 -- California Leads the Way
Don't Bite The Hand That Feeds You: Four Somethings to Keep Romance Alive - Leon Lewandowski
Eating Disorders: Just because you’re a man doesn’t mean you’re immune - Barbara Kent Lawrence
"Eight steps to having the relationships you want - and to taking control of every situation in your life!" - Terry Rich Hartley
Everybody Deserves Better - Carl Schutt
Fathers Movement or Family Rights Movement, you decide - Teri Stoddard
Female Sex Offenders, Less Common Than Males But No Less A Reality - James M. Lowrance
Finding the Answers in Managing Your Fears and Anxieties
Finding Your Buffalo - Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche
Five Essential Strategies for Managing Up - Nancy C. Widmann, Elaine J. Eisenman, Amy Dorn Kopelan

Heaven, Hell, and Happiness
Hiring the Right Skill Set And Motivating the Millennials
In Fathering, First Things First - Bob Kamm
Gen Y's Top 5 List for How We Think and Act at Work - Jason Ryan Dorsey Five Guerrilla Marketing Weapons That Helped Increase My Business Without Spending Any Money
Get the Most from Your Health Care Team - FamilyCare America
Getting a Family Member to Ask for Help - FamilyCare America
Good Résumé versus Great Résumé - Colleen A. Sabatino
The Go Pointer’s Guide to Unforced Errors - Michael Useem
Guidelines for Relating to Your Wife During Divorce - Sam Margulies
The Hazards of Leading Us
Hot Flashes for Men? - Robert Tan
I've sent my buck in. I hope you do too - Molly Ivins
I Will Vote - Anna Lappé and Sara Littlecrow Russell
Just as Good Isn't Good Enough
Lessons for Zentrepreneurs - Ron Rubin and Stuart Avery Gold
Let's Talk about STDs - Dr Rob
Losing Perspective: The #1 Mistake Senior Executives Make - Nancy C. Widmann, Elaine J. Eisenman, Amy Dorn Kopelan
Love It or Lose - Passions and the Quest for Meaning - Jerry Porras, Stewart Emery and Mark Thompson
Making Resolutions That Stick - M. J. Ryan
Male Paths to Healing:  Fixing a Hole: Grieving With Other Men - Thomas Golden
Man Blamed for the 'Metrosexual' says 'Sorry' - and outs himself as 'lesbosexual' - Mark Simpson
A Meditation on Love - J. Ruth Gendler
Men at Home: Action and Inaction
Multitasking virus in our Classrooms
Negativity and Health - Redford Williams and Virginia Williams
The New Original Sin: Capitalism
19 Things that it Took Me 50 Years to Learn - Dave Barry
Nobody Does it Alone
The Numbers Tell the Story
The Peeing Tree - The First Masculine Ritual - Kenneth F. Byers
Pillar Strength - Mark Verstegen and Pete Williams
Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity
Prom Tips for Dads of Daughters
Prostate Cancer Awareness Month: Why the debate? Prostate cancer screening saves lives - Carl Frankel
Put Yourself and Your Team On the Road to Real Results - Harry Paul and Ross Reck
Quality time with your kids
Raising a Real Man in a Metro-Sexual World: It's you against the world
The Real Story Behind the Ray Lewis Story - Jon Entine
Relationships: Your Emotional Signature - Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche
Remembering Violence Against Men! - Men's Health Australia
Reversing Antidepressant Weight Gain - Judith J. Wurtman
The Secret Epidemic - The Sexual Abuse of Boys - Karl Tipple
Serotonin: What It is and Why It's Important for Weight Loss
7 Natural Ways to Combat Testosterone Loss
The Seven Words of Well-Being for Men - Daniel G. Amen
The Sexualization of Girls - Claire McCarthy
Sexy, successful…and single?
 6 Steps to Manage Cancer Pain - Toni Bernay
Sleep Sex - Michael Mangan
Sports Culture, Part One: Boys on the Playground - Robert N. Minor
Still About "Manhood"
Tapping Power: A Man’s Guide to Eliminating Pain, Stress, Anger, Depression and Other Ills Using the Revolutionary Tools of Energy Psychology
10 Investing Habits of Rich People
Ten Moves Guaranteed to Alienate HR - Nancy C. Widmann, Elaine J. Eisenman, Amy Dorn Kopelan
Ten Question Often Asked By Children Whose Parents Are In Prison
10 Tips for Keeping the Weight Off - Dr. Stephen Gullo
3 Mini Meditations to Help You Through Your Day (or Night) - Ed and Deb Shapiro
The Three Most Critical Points in a Diet Plan - Dr. Stephen Gullo
3 Ways to Get You Through the Holidays
Tie Up Loose Ends or Find Yourself in Knots - Jason Ryan Dorsey
Timing is Overrated
Tips for Nourishing a Sex-Starved Marriage - Michele Weiner Davis
Today’s Double Standard - Colleen A. Sabatino
True Manhood
Undoing the Damage of Male-Bashing, One Daughter at a Time - Kathleen Parker
Vision Quest - Tom Utterback
Wake Up or Break Up: 8 crucial steps to strengthening your relationship - Felder, Leonad
Warning Signs and Major Risk Factors of Teenage Suicide - Maureen Empfield and Nicholas Bakalar
What Men Need to Know about Women and Menopause - Cathy Taylor
What’s the Best, Cheapest Retirement Investment for Baby Boomers? Exercise! - Ellen Freudenheim
What's Tradition For?
What to do with Your Anger - Wayne L. Misner
What you Really Need to Know Before Tying the Knot - Michele Weiner-Davis
What Were the Affects of the 1991 Initiation to Manhood Weekend for Six Teenage Boys Reported in the Book Boy Into Man? Richard S. Robinson
Why I Got Married - Charles H. Trapolin
Why make a New Year’s resolution when you can make a One Decision? -Judith Wright
Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap - Warren Farrell
Why should you train your brain?
Why Stronger Is Better
Why the debate? Prostate cancer screening saves lives - Carl Frankel
Why Water Is The Key To Detoxifing Your Body - Alex Jamieson
Why Wisdom Council?
Widowers Peak: As Males Live Longer, More Are, Unexpectedly, All Alone - Cindy Rodriguez
Women battering men – the other side of domestic abuse - Roni Weisberg-Ross
A Woman’s Inalienable Right To Murder?

What Were the Affects of the 1991 Initiation to Manhood Weekend for Six Teenage Boys Reported in the Book Boy Into Man?


In 2005 I was running a counseling group for five middle school boys and I learned how much they wanted to be initiated into manhood. One boy returned from winter vacation in Hawaii with a book about Hawaii and Hawaiian culture. He wanted a traditional Hawaiian Initiation to Manhood Ceremony, including the ritual circumcision. I was quite surprised to hear him say he wanted a circumcision. The other boys also wanted an initiation to manhood, and asked for Bar-Mitzvahs. This also surprised me because none of them were Jewish. They all wanted an initiation to manhood so much that they would take anything from any culture, even if they didn’t know what they were talking about. At the end of the school year we created a ceremony (minus the circumcision), however I felt it was insufficient. I’m Jewish and I had a Bar Mitzvah, but I still didn’t know how to give them an initiation to manhood. It launched me on a journey to learn about manhood and being initiated into manhood, for the boys and for myself.

1991 Initiation to Manhood Weekend

I discovered the book Boy Into Man by Dr. Bernard Weiner about the Initiation to Manhood weekend that a group of parents created for their six thirteen-year-old sons twenty years ago. The parents gathered and planned for months beforehand. The weekend was a male only event with fathers, family friends, and sons. It was held in the country. Fathers and sons worked together to prepare the food and care for the site. They had time around the fire to speak honestly and candidly, the men teaching and inspiring the sons. There were rituals to let go of childhood and enter manhood, respect women, and to find inner strength. Parts of it were theatrically done with masks and costumes. Each of the boys slept alone outside, in their chosen spots. The book is an entertaining and inspiring account of making and having the ritual. I wanted to know if it worked. What were the effects of their Initiation to Manhood Weekend, at the time, and long-term? With Dr. Weiner’s help I contacted all the sons (now men 34 and 35 years old) and the four surviving fathers. I asked them how the weekend affected them.

What do the men remember of it, and what did they get out of it?

The men vary in what they recall and what they think the immediate and long-term affects were. Some of them remember the weekend in vivid detail, while others remember it minimally. For the men that do remember it, several experiences and lessons come to mind. First off that it was fun and exciting. Jonny Nesmith reports that he really appreciated the time with fathers and male family friends. Aside from the ritual and intentions he recalls and values the communal time of being around the campfire with the fathers, sitting and telling stories. He found this powerful in itself.

Jonny Nesmith and David Edeli recall starting the weekend nervous and embarrassed when two fathers stood outside their school dressed as big papier-mache hands beckoning the boys. The boys shifted their embarrassment to being proud. David recalls that after the weekend he told a female friend that the weekend was very important and valuable, that he learned three specific lessons toward positive manhood; treat women respectfully, be really careful with drugs and alcohol, and to have a good work ethic. The following fall David was a freshman in a high school where he didn’t know anyone. He wrote an article about the initiation experience in his high school newspaper. In hindsight he sees that as a gutsy thing to do, indicating the importance that the weekend had for him at the time.

For some of them the weekend contained a component of confronting their fears. Josh Magnani remembers that he faced his fears by sleeping outside alone and David Edeli remembers that sleeping alone outside made him feel brave and confident.

What stands out from the interviews with the men is the recollection that the lessons that the men had to teach were secondary to the relationship to the men, and the experience of respect and acceptance that the men extended to the youth. Erik Weiner wrote: I think the effect of the initiation weekend at the time, for me, was a feeling that I was becoming a man, an adult. I was being accepted by elders into "the tribe" and allowed behind the curtain to hear some of the secrets of what it meant to be a man. What those secrets were I can't remember exactly. Probably some revelations about sex, love, and other mysteries of life.

The long-term effects on a person’s growth are difficult to identify and attribute to one weekend experience. Yet, some of the men feel that they carry that weekend with them. The fact that most of them remember the weekend, and some of them remember it in detail indicates that it had a lasting impression, and suggests that for some of them it was a powerful, even formative experience.

Each man has a different experience or lesson that they carry from that weekend. One man said he had an experience in college where he identified that he had strong opinions about respecting women. He thinks he was influenced during the initiation weekend eight years before that. Jonny Nesmith spoke about how it expanded his relationship with the other boys and the fathers, creating a shared masculine experience that has stayed with him. The interviews with the men reveal that for some of them it was one experience that helped them feel confidence in becoming an adult, a man. Erik Weiner wrote: In the long-term, I've always felt grateful to have had that experience. There are many age-bridges to cross in life - 13, 18, 20, 21, 30, 35, 40 - but I'll always remember 13 as the biggest and most revealing bridge. The fact that our fathers and uncles built a ceremony to celebrate this crossing was what gave it that importance. We stepped to the other side and entered our teenage years, childhood now behind us. Just like driving a car for the first time. Getting into the driver's seat - nervous, doubtful, scared - thinking, "I'm not sure I can do this." And your parent is there and they say, "You can." That belief is the fuel that ignites the possibility of accomplishment. And that is what our fathers and uncles gave us that weekend. We weren't sure we were ready to become men. They said, "You are."

The men expressed a range of conclusions about the weekend. No one said anything negative about it. Some men remember the weekend as very positive. David Edeli said it was “unmitigated good,’ that he was always was glad and proud that he did the initiation, and found it “unquestionably worth it.” A few of the men recommend initiation to manhood (or womanhood) for others, and intend to offer something like it to their kids when the time comes.

What do the fathers remember, and what do they think it did?

The fathers are more able to identify the effects of the weekend on their sons, on their relationships with their sons, and as bonding experience with the other fathers. The fathers consistently said it was good for the sons at the time. Terry Edeli recalls observing that the initiation weekend helped the boys grow up. “…it helped him grow up. We were recognizing him as much older than he was. They looked more grown up the next day, standing in line.”

The fathers were acknowledging their sons for who they were, and the transition that they were in. The fathers were individually and collectively saying ‘we see you, and we are with you in this transition’. Being witnessed and acknowledged for who you are, and the challenge of getting there is powerful stuff. It is difficult to deliver these things within the flow of daily life. The weekend retreat provided the opportunity to see and say things that could be overlooked or unsaid.

The fathers were also seeing and accepting that their sons were growing up, maturing, becoming their own people. Jim Thurston recalls “It was powerful for me to realize that he was growing into a man, and I had to trust he’ll be okay, he’ll make it.”. Terri Edeli said he had the most memorable dream of his life during his son’s initiation weekend. In one portion of the dream someone fell into a river and drifted away. He felt that this was obviously connected to what was happening at the moment. The fathers were recognizing that their sons were growing into their own people, and they would have to release their sons to the world.

It was also a bonding experience for the fathers with each other. The process of creating the ritual required collaboration and sharing of views, being honest and candid together. They used a collaborative process to create the weekend, welcoming and integrating their respective gifts and talents.

The fathers reported long-term effects as how it impacted their relationship with their sons. Only one of the fathers said that the initiation weekend did not have a long-term benefit on his relationship with his son. He attributes it to living far away, and not being actively engaged in his son’s life before and after the weekend. The other fathers were clear that the weekend had a very positive impact on their relationships with their sons, through the challenges of the teen years and young adulthood. Terry Edeli explained that the initiation weekend was a ‘proactive marker of our lives together’. There were obvious struggles between the parents and their teen son. He recalls the difficult moments. He said “The initiation rivals all that. It was a huge positive. It’s a presence in the past that is really big”. Bernie Weiner was equally clear “The father/son bond was immeasurably strengthened as a result of the caring ceremony.”

The fathers that felt that the initiation weekend had a positive impact on their relationships with their sons said that the benefits remain in their current, adult relationships with their sons. When asked if they have a good relationship with their sons Terry Edeli answered “Ya, great. Really, really great. I would imagine that the weekend had a role, a significant role”. He continues “It set the standard. It was a proactive statement. What were the really big things that happened between us in the last 34 years? It (the initiation) would probably be the first thing mentioned. It was really big.”

Bernie Wiener writes “The effect on the fathers was profound, and the subject of the initiation has come up regularly over the years.” Another man chose not to talk to me about the weekend because his memories were so precious.

What do they attribute it to? What worked?

A few things led to the success of the weekend. The biggest thing was that it happened within a network of established, trusting, ongoing relationships. They were all part of an intimate community where there was trust, appreciation and respect for each other. The boys attended an independent school called the San Francisco School. They were part of a small class (15 students) that had been together for years. The six boys that participated were almost all the boys in the class. They were also involved in each others’ lives beyond the school: birthday parties, camping trips, basketball team, babysat together, had the same piano teacher, etc. As school culture was very supportive and encouraging they were accustomed to treating each other well. They entered the weekend feeling safe and at ease among each other. They also felt safe among the men. Their school was designed to have high parent and community involvement. Of the fathers on the weekend one was the school principal, another was a basketball coach, one father prepared the lunches, and another was a school administrator. The boys were very familiar and comfortable with these men. The boys had a sense of intimacy and community with each other and with the fathers. They did their initiation to manhood weekend with their close friends and the male elders of their daily lives.

The initiation weekend also succeeded because the boys were accustomed to rituals and could relate to the dramatized, ritualized way they were being taught. It was consistent with what they did at school and within that community. The boys were familiar with rituals to the point of being fed up with them so it helped that the fathers kept it dramatic and interesting to the boys. The boys’ familiarity with ritual and drama enabled them to engage in the archetypes and metaphors used in the weekend.

Another factor that made the initiation weekend successful is that the parents created it for themselves and their sons. They were honest and expressive about themselves, their values, and the lessons they wanted to teach. One man said “we created it in a thoughtful, conscious, and collaborative way”. One man was a baker so they integrated baking bread into the ceremony. The whole weekend was an expression of who they were and there was nothing in it that was foreign or awkward to them. It was about self-expression and connection, rather than playing out a template or script.

Initiation in Community

The weekend did not have any identifiable downsides. How much it impacted each person or each relationship varies, but everyone received positive benefit, at the time, long-term, or both. Most of the men who were initiates when they were thirteen-years-old recommend it for others, and intend to provide an initiation to their sons and daughters when they come of age. The initiation ritual was carefully designed and well executed. What made it work was that they were already in community together. All the fathers and sons came into the weekend in relationship with each other, with established trust, mutual respect, and felt interdependence. This was the common ground upon which they could open up and be genuinely present to each other. An initiation to manhood can take many shapes. These fathers initiated their sons by inviting them to connect to the men of their community. The critical component and catalyst was the relationships: among the boys, and among the fathers, between the fathers and sons, the young men and the elders. As they knew and trusted each other they were all able to be men among men.

© 2012, Richard S. Robinson

*     *     *

Richard S. Robinson. Rich is a licensed psychotherapist in Berkeley California. He used to work at a continuation high school for teenagers with emotional issues and now is in private practice specializing in teenagers and families. Rich works with families to develop behavior contracts and to live with respect and appreciation. Rich has been a mentor and pack leader in the Young Men's Ultimate Weekend, an initiation to manhood program for teenagers, and he volunteers at a YEAH, a shelter for homeless young adults. eMail

Why Wisdom Council?


[Note: This is a revision of a Menletter essay from 2005. You may also want to read "Why Men's Gatherings?" for a broader overview.]

For 20 years, the annual Men's Wisdom Council at Rowe, Massachusetts, has provided men with a week of fellowship, fun, and spiritual growth. I've just signed up for my fourteenth year. We still need gatherings like the Men's Wisdom Council - not because they have been ineffective, but because there is an ongoing need for affirming and celebrating men in a society that is often hostile to us.]

The Council gathering is an event I would not want to miss, and I want to share some thoughts about it with you.

What It Is

The Men's Wisdom Council is a six-day gathering of 25 to 30 men in a rustic setting in Rowe, Massachusetts. Most of the men come from New England and the eastern seaboard, but men have attended from as far away as California and Mexico. This year (2012) the Council runs from dinnertime Sunday evening, June 12, to lunchtime Friday, June 20.

The Men's Wisdom Council got started in the early '90s, in the middle of a surge of interest in a "men's movement." Under the leadership of Robert Bly and others in the 1980s, men had begun attending weekend and week-long gatherings.

The Wisdom Council gives us the chance to explore, through poetry, myths, and ritual, what it means to be a man.

MWC provides a wide range of activities:

We live in a society, at least in the US, that devalues boys and men and then blames us for becoming caricatures of ourselves. Many of us feel lost - or worse, we have no idea of how lost we are but wonder why so many roads we take are dead ends and blind alleys.

The week at Wisdom Council is a journey, sometimes difficult but mostly entertaining, and often inspiring. Each man's story becomes part of a larger, shared story that we take with us as we continue our journey back into the narrow confines of the so-called real world. It seems that getting away from the everyday can help men become more fully themselves, ultimately to the benefit of their families and communities.

This year (2012), the cost for the week ranges from $560 to $645, depending on income. Scholarships and work/study are available. Work/study may involve some help in food preparation and the like, but it is scheduled so that it doesn't interfere with any Council activities. To inquire (in confidence) about a scholarship, call the Rowe Center at 413-339-4954. To my knowledge, no man has ever been turned away for lack of funds.

I don't think any Council has turned a man away because the roster was full, but signing up soon is probably a good idea. For details, see www.rowecenter.org/pages.php?name=MWC. You can sign up on-line.

Donations to the scholarship fund are always welcome. The Council's scholarship money is kept separate from other funds at the Rowe Center. On the donation page, enter an amount under Other and specify Men's Wisdom Council.

I hope to see you there!

©2013, Tim Baehr, Publisher of Menletter

True Manhood


For the past year and a half Dana Jennings has been writing and account of his experience with prostate cancer in the New York Times, from diagnosis, through treatment and recovery.The titles of his pieces always pull me in. After Cancer, the Echo of Desire . My Brief Life as a Woman . They announce that he is going to be talking about things that men don’t usually talk about. Since so much of my own life has been spent trying to make sense of the meaning of masculinity and male gender identity, and because I’ve grown so accustomed to the absence of any real discussion of these issues in the media, whenever any man writes about the meaning of masculinity in his life I feel an immediate sense of gratitude. Thank you for speaking about this.

But every time I venture to read one of Jennings posts, I find myself going through the same, confusing experience. I notice the title and get interested. But a few paragraphs in I find myself glazing over and feeling aggravated. Something puts me of and I stop reading before I’ve bothered to figure out what is bothering me so much. I went through this experience again trying to read his latest column, After Surviving Cancer, a Focus on True Manhood . Except that this time I forced myself to pay attention to what felt so wrong.

Two things that you need to know before I get into this. The first is that Mr. Jennings seems to me to be a very decent man. I truly wish him well. I’m glad that he’s making sense of his experience by writing about it and I appreciate the courage it takes to discuss these subjects publicly. And second…my own history. I myself am a cancer survivor. In my mid-twenties I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. I lost a testicle in surgery, had (over the absurd objections of my doctor) sperm samples frozen, then endured radiation treatment and several years of follow-up testing before I was finally pronounced well. This was in the mid-Eighties, before Lance Armstrong, before anyone was even remotely talking publicly about what it might mean for a man to confront a simultaneous threat to his life and his masculinity. Over two decades later, I’m still alive and I have two beautiful sons. But the emotional impact of the cancer and its implications about my own masculinity still affect me, every day.

So why should I be so irritated reading a man openly discussing his experience with erectile dysfunction in the aftermath of cancer? I keep telling myself I should be grateful. It’s enough that someone is writing about it at all.

But then I read passages like this:

We founder in a mere surface culture of smirk, snark and innuendo. The greedy objectification of the body — in both women and men — accelerates, speeding so fast that the objections can’t even be heard over the roar of the mass media.

We are told to worship washboard abs and Everest biceps, improbably perky breasts and buns of titanium. It sometimes seems that every image spewed forth by the electronic media resonates with just one unsubtle subtext: sex.

The florid, non-sensical prose is bad enough. But the real mystery is how such truisms can be successfully passed of as insight. Decades ago, when feminist writers described these same phenomenon, it was revolutionary.Today it is received wisdom. Except when a man says it. When a man recites a pat description of the objectification of male sexuality, we stand up and (take a look at the comments following the piece) applaud.

Do we really give ourselves so little credit? Honestly, the cultural objectification of male sexuality pales in comparison to the cultural infantilization of men’s emotional capacity. Men are seen (and we tend to see ourselves) as emotional children. We are so pathetic, so emotionally incapacitated, that stating the obvious is the best we can manage.

As men we discount our own capacity when we buy into this narrative. We sacrifice our legitimate need to tell the harder truths about the pain and loss (and the consequent aggression and violence) that is woven into masculinity. And, inevitably, we retreat back into justifying and reinforcing the very stereotypes of masculinity that are the source of the problems in the first place.

Yes, my erectile function is still a work in progress, but I don’t feel diminished; I don’t feel that I’m less of a man. My voice is still as deep as a well, my eyes a steely blue. I still relish a strong stout, and I can hold forth on the arcane points of the safety blitz. (Though sometimes I am tempted to say, “It’s O.K., ladies, I’m harmless.”)

There is the dilemma of masculinity in a single paragraph.The sexualization and objectification of masculinity that Jennings was complaining about a few sentences earlier are in fact embedded within his defense of his own masculinity. He buys into the very concepts he claims he is trying to shuck off. Either we are John Wayne, dangerous behind our steely eyes, or we are Richard Simmons…emasculated…”harmless.” It’s one or the other.

The hard truth is that we have barely begun to do the work of imagining and creating a model of masculinity that transcends these tremendously damaging categories. Whatever “true manhood” may prove to be, it’s not this nicey-nice and spurious version of male emotional experience.

Libido comes and goes at odd hours, like a child home on a college break. But curiously, I feel that the life my wife, Deb, and I lead is more intimate than ever. I was the one who was sick, but we peered into the bleak chasms of cancer together. As I was buffeted by diagnosis, treatment and the aftermath, she was my advocate, my confidante, my unwavering caregiver. And everything she did was suffused by her love for me.

It was an intimacy beyond words. And believe me, I have a lot to live up to if the time comes for me to care for Deb.

True intimacy isn’t about the hydraulics of the flesh. It’s the smell of a certain shampoo in the hair, a passing touch in the kitchen, the taste of cold blueberry soup on a hot summer day, the gentle nostalgia of “Aja” by Steely Dan, and your heart melting at the sight of your wife of 28 years sound asleep after midnight — the murmur of HGTV having lulled her to slumber.

To start with, Jennings badly mis-defines the word intimacy. Intimacy is shared vulnerability, and that can take many forms. But intimacy is not the smell of a shampoo, it is not a passing touch, it is not a taste or a sound. That is called familiarity. He is right about one thing: true intimacy is not entirely about “the hydraulics of the flesh.” But he uses this point to obscure an equally important corollary point: that the hydraulics of the flesh permit a particular sort of intimacy which cannot be achieved in any other way.

That doesn’t mean that other forms of intimacy can’t be as deep as sexual intimacy. They are simply different.

To accept with sadness that other forms of intimacy will have to suffice for a loss of sexual functioning is an act of compassion toward oneself and one’s partner. But it is a lie to pretend that other forms of intimacy are equivalent and can replace sexual intimacy. Jennings wants (as we so often do as men, and as humans) to have it both ways, to receive compassion for the loss of sexual intimacy while simultaneously denying the true significance of sexuality in a man’s life.It doesn’t work that way. Which is why he winds up participating in the very objectification he claims to be opposing. It’s just that it happens on an emotional rather than a physical level. He’s adhering to the deadening code of male social communication: if you’ve been through something horrific, you can still talk about it publicly as long as you let everyone know that everything is fine.

Well, I’m here to say that everything is decidedly not fine. Everything is hugely screwed up when it comes to male sexuality and gender identity. It has been for centuries and we’re only just barely beginning to wake up and realize this. You might argue that this is where we have to start, with unadorned description of our experience. But I would argue that as long as the narrative is participating in the assumptions which caused the damage in the first place, it cannot possibly advance the cause.

We’ll know that we’re making progress when we start talking authentically about the entire spectrum of trauma that is woven into the socialization of boys, from circumcision to hazing rituals and everything in between. We’ll know that we’re making progress when men can speak those simple truths, with a bracing, honest rage.

©2012, Andrew Peterson, Ed D

Andrew Peterson, Ed D, an author, composer and a psychotherapist. As a musician and a composer, his roots are in jazz piano, although these days he works out of his home studio, composing music for a variety of projects including independent films, dance performances, and audiobooks. In his psychotherapy practice he works primarily with men and that work has been significantly shaped by his extensive post-graduate training in attachment theory and attachment-focused psychotherapy. He also specializes in trauma work and he spent several life-transforming weeks as a volunteer mental health worker with the Red Cross South of New Orleans shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit. As a writer, he received an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona in 1989, where he started writing his first novel, Baptism for the Dead, about the dissolution of a Mormon family in Utah. That’s where he was born (raised Mormon, though he's long since parted ways with the church), and where he lived until he left to attend Swarthmore College. Several years ago he realized that after a decade or so of hard-core parenting his middle-aged brain was at serious risk of atrophying if he didn’t start giving it more exercise and stimulation. The impulse to keep his brain active in the face of tedium is a life-long habit, and that habit is the seed from which his forthcoming book grew. The Next Ten Minutes: 51 Absurdly Simple Ways to Seize the Moment (coming this Fall from Beyond Words Publishing) draws on the many disparate threads of my life experience. It contains a set of exercises which use utterly mundane and even absurd activities as vehicles for shifting your state of mind into a fuller awareness of the present moment. Because we all need more of that. He and his wife live in Missoula, Montana, with their two sons.

A Woman’s Inalienable Right To Murder?


On January 7, 2010 the Associated Press released a story titled “Maine woman avoids prison for killing of husband” (hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_ABUSED_SPOUSE_KILLING?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2010-01-07-17-54-16 ).

What is important about this case are not the details -- admittedly unattractive -- but the essential legal principle established by Waldo County Superior Court Justice Jeffrey Hjelm. Judge Hjelm established the legal precedent that any woman based on her own internal and unverifiable thoughts and feelings has the right to murder any man and suffer no legal consequences. In short, women and women alone have the right to be judge, jury, and executioner.

The woman, Amber Cummings, using a Battered-Woman Defense, did not testify which would have subjected her to cross-examination. Rather, testimony in her defense was provided by a Psychologist and various other mental health “experts.” Writing as a Psychologist, I can assure all interested parties that among Psychologists and other mental health “experts” there are a very large number who would welcome the opportunity to construct testimony on behalf of a Battered-Woman Defense based on feminist ideology. To judge for yourself whether or not Amber Cummings is a battered woman incapable of any alternative other than murdering her husband, see her interview following the trial at (www.bangordailynews.com/detail.html?sub_id=134260 ).

What is most critically at issue, however, is whether justice for the crime of murder is to be determined by feminist jurisprudence (the Battered-Woman Defense) or by behavior. In this case the behavior was a woman firing two bullets into the head of a sleeping man.

To fully understand the double standards inherent in feminist jurisprudence one simply has to reverse the genders. Would any judge ruling in a case where a man fired two bullets into the head of a sleeping woman free the man with no criminal penalties?

I don’t know if Judge Hjelm is married but if he is and were his wife to fire two bullets into his head while he slept, it would be ironic justice for his wife to be freed by the subsequent Judge on her case on the basis of her husband’s own ruling.

More importantly, this case establishes a precedent that all men and all women who love men and want a man in their lives should oppose and seek to overturn. Were the core principle established by Judge Hjelm to be retained, we would be a society living under the rule of gender rather than a society living under the rule of law.

©2013, Gordon E. Finley

Gordon E. Finley, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology at Florida International University in Miami.

Ten Question Often Asked By Children Whose Parents Are In Prison


Children need time to adjust to the separation caused by having a parent in prison. But it takes more than time. As we have heard in their voices, children also need to make sense of what has happened to them and to their parent or parents. Because of this, they have many questions.

Some of the questions they ask are straightforward. But sometimes their questions come out indirectly or in their challenging behavior. Incarcerated parents, as well as caregivers of children or other adults in their lives, often have to answer their uncomfortable questions.

Children who are present when a parent is arrested, especially young children, are usually not told where their parents are being taken, when they will be coming home, or why they have to go away. As time goes on, the children have even more questions.

Our childhood experiences shape much of our adult lives. Children who live with these kinds of questions, many of which are not answered to their satisfaction, experience trauma as a result. Frequently that leads to their general mistrust of authority, especially the legal system. Not having their questions answered can also lead children to blame themselves for their parents' absence or to believe that they are destined to follow in their parents' footsteps.

Here are questions that children whose parents are incarcerated often ask, along with suggestions about how to answer them. We will address some of the questions more fully in later sections of the book.

1) Where is my Mom or Dad?

Parents and caregivers often believe it is best to protect children by not telling them where their mothers or fathers really are. Children may be told that their parents are working in another state, going to school, or serving in the military. Sometimes children are told that their parents are ill and had to go away for special treatment.

Sooner or later children will realize the truth and know they have been lied to. This tends to hurt their relationship with the persons who have told them the untrue stories and can lead to feelings of distrust that affect their other relationships as well.

While the adult who hides painful reality does so believing it is in the best interest of the child, such an action (or inaction) creates a family secret that results in children feeling ashamed. Most childhood experts advise that children be told the truth.

2) When is he or she coming home?

The outcome and schedule of a parent's arrest and/or imprisonment is often uncertain. However, it is important to keep children up-to-date about what parents or caregivers do know. Children need to have concrete information they can deal with, even if it is, "We don't know what will happen yet."

3) Why is she or he in jail or prison?

Sometimes an innocent person is arrested. But when a parent has done wrong, it is important that this wrongdoing is acknowledged. Children need to know that there are consequences when people do things that are against the law or harmful to others.

At the same time, they also need to be reassured that even if someone sometimes does something wrong, it doesn't mean that s/he is necessarily a bad person. While a child's parent may be serving the consequences for something wrong s/he did, the parent is still worthy of love and capable of loving.

A child can learn to trust a caregiver who is honest about what a parent has done wrong. This practice of honesty allows the child to believe other things that the caregiver tells her or him as they progress together on this journey.

4) Can I talk to my mom or dad?

Jails and prisons have specific and often constraining rules about prisoners talking on the phone to their loved ones. Phone calls from prison are often quite expensive and restricted in length. Many times a parent does not have enough money to call home because it is so expensive.

When phone calls are difficult, letters can be especially important. Although young children may find it hard to express themselves through words, they may find it more meaningful to make drawings. As Stacy Bouchet, now an adult, suggests in her reflections, children often treasure the notes and letters they receive from their parents, as she did from her father.

5) When can I see my mom or dad?

It is helpful to explain to children that prisons have specific times for visiting, and their caretakers will get that information so that they can see their loved ones. If a parent is incarcerated at a distance, the child should be prepared for seeing his or her mother or father infrequently.

Some children are angry and do not want to see their parents, or at least they're ambivalent about the possibility. In general, though, it seems important for children to visit their parents as regularly as possible.

Before the first visit, they should be prepared for the circumstances of the visit. The caregiver should explain the security around the prison. The children should also know that there will be limits upon where they can visit and what they can do with their parents.

Most children want to know what their parent's life is like in prison. They may imagine frightening scenarios. Giving them a sense of mundane details of everyday life in prison can be helpful. If the child is interested, a caregiver can encourage the parent to describe his or her cell or room and tell what a normal day is like.

6) Who is going to take care of me?

Children in this situation often feel insecure. It is important to let children know who will be caring for them. If there is uncertainty about their living arrangements, children may need to be told that, but they also need to be reassured that plans for their care are being made and that they will not be abandoned. As much as possible, they need stability in their living situations and their relationships.

7) Do my parents still love me? When children are separated from their parents, they often worry about whether their parents love and care for them. Most children need reassurance that they are loved by their parents no matter where the children happen to be living and with whom. They also value other loving relationships in their lives, but they still want to know about their parents' interest and love.

8) Is this my fault? Children often blame themselves for being separated from their parents or even for their parents' misbehavior. They may imagine that if they had behaved better their parents would still be with them. They need reassurance on three fronts: that what happened to their loved one is not their fault, that it happened because that person did something wrong or harmful, and that this does not mean that their parent is a bad person.

9) Why do I feel so sad and angry? Sadness and anger are children's common responses to a parent's incarceration. But most children do not understand their feelings or the origins of them. It is helpful for them to be reassured that their feelings are normal. Ideally, they can be encouraged to talk about their feelings of sadness or anger. If they cannot talk to their immediate caregivers such as their grandparents, they can be invited to talk to school counselors or social workers or even friends. Children often find it helpful to know other children in similar situations because they can understand each other's feelings. Children who find it hard to articulate their feelings can be encouraged to express them through their drawings or other art work.

10) Can I do something to help? Children typically feel helpless and responsible. They need to know that their loved ones usually appreciate letters and pictures. They can be encouraged to send them as often as they want to.

*     *     *

By Howard Zehr and Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz, Authors of "What Will Happen To Me?" Reprinted from What Will Happen to Me?. © by Good Books (www.GoodBooks.com). Used by permission. All rights reserved. The above is an excerpt from the book "What Will Happen To Me?" by Howard Zehr and Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Author Bio

Howard Zehr, author of What Will Happen to Me?, is widely known as the "grandfather of restorative justice.” Since 1996 he has been a Professor of Restorative Justice at the Center of Justice & Peacebuilding at Eastern Menninute University, Harrisonburg, VA, an international graduate program for justice and peacebuilding practitioners.

Howard has published several other portrait/interview books including Doing Life: Reflections of Men and Women Serving Life Sentences and Transcending: Reflections of Crime Victims (both with Good Books.) He has authored numerous other books and publications; best known are The Little Book of Restorative Justice (Good Books) and Changing Lenses: A New Focus for Crime and Justice.

He is a frequent speaker and consultant on justice issues in North America and internationally. Zehr has also worked professionally as a photographer.

Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz, co-author of What Will Happen to Me?, is Co-Director of Mennonite Central Committee's Office on Justice and Peacebuilding. She provides consulting and training for agencies and communities seeking to implement programs of restorative justice.

Lorraine has written numerous articles, co-authored The Little Book of Restorative Disciplines for Schools (with Judy H. Mullet), and written The Little Book of Victim Offender Conferencing: Bringing Victims and Offenders Together in Dialogue (both published by Good Books).

She has served on the international Victim Offender Mediation Association (VOMA) Board.

For more information please visit www.howardzehr.com and follow the author on Facebook

American Ingenuity in the Innovation Age


We are currently in the innovation age as demonstrated by the fact that humankind's knowledge is doubling every ten years, and probably more so in technology. America can thrive in an age like this. Why? Let me give you ten good reasons.

America is a nation of immigrants who came here for a better life for the most part. Therefore they have the genes to initiate changes in business, education, computers, the Internet and practically all the fields of human endeavor that require reason.

America has a wonderful system of secondary education which can hatch ideas of all sorts from biochemistry to ecological science to anthropology. You name it and somewhere in the country there is a secondary school or schools that can make you proud.

Social entrepreneurs are a new area catching on as demonstrated by Nicholas Kristof's wonderful article, "The Age of Ambition." Kristof writes about how the young people who are engaging in start-up enterprises like Teach America are revolutionizing whole industries, not just teaching people to fish. He calls this phenomenon "the 21st-century answer to the student protestors of the 1960s." He writes about colleges who are now offering classes in social entrepreneurship. It is my ambition that Soldiers of Love, which will receive half my royalties from How to Achieve a Heaven on Earth, will become a leading charity within the age of ambition.

While I hesitate to point to our government as a leader in innovation, our democracy does have a resilience and ability to change without violating our basic formula of capitalism tempered with democracy.

We are in tough economic times but we have the ability to innovate, worker by worker, company by company, and ultimately even within local, state and federal government. Thus, I believe we will prosper in this age of new ideas. If times were really good, we would not have to change careers or search for new jobs or endeavors. In my own case, I am much happier and fulfilled as a self-employed author, investor and philanthropist than the later part of my career as a certified public accountant with the government. During my 29-year career as a CPA in public accounting, private accounting and government accounting I lost my job a number of times and had to come up fighting for another job, at times within bad economic surroundings. Now I am in a life fulfilling career that only became my calling a few years ago. I am now 64. Life is a pursuit that requires continual growth, especially in the Innovation Age.

Wisdom is something that can be gained through reacting to negative life experiences in a positive manner. There are two essays in the book related to wisdom, "The Centrality of Wisdom" and "We Urgently Need an Academic Revolution." These explain the nature of wisdom and how it can and should be taught. Wisdom is the combination of knowledge, values, problem solving, imagination and resilience that can make a real difference in how one approaches adversity in times such as this.

While it might not come to mind right away, we are all made up of mind, body and spirit and it is important to change and innovate in all these areas over time as situations evolve slowly or overnight such as a job loss. Healthy diet and exercise are to a great degree within our own control. In almost everything we do, self discipline is a given for the optimum result. That's a tough call when you loose your job, your spouse, anything or anybody that's important to you. But we must cope regardless of the challenge. Story after story in this book tells of successes such as "With Sobriety Anything is Possible" by Todd Crandell who went from a thirteen year struggle with drugs and alcohol to founding a nonprofit foundation to cure or prevent addiction through a lifestyle of fitness and health.

We can even innovate in sex. Stella Resnick writes about how " . . . lack of sex in marriage is a reliable measure of whether or not the relationship will last." She says the lack of desire among both men and women in sex is the most important sexual problem in America. This is where couples can innovate on their own and improve their lives whether they are employed or not. It may be more difficult, or it may provide a diversion from the other difficult circumstances faced.

We can innovate with expanding our horizons in racial attitudes, both emotional and intellectual bias. Just look at Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech abstract dated August 16, 1967 ("Where Do We Go From Here?")and you will be amazed how far America has traveled along the road to racial harmony. We have elected an African American president. But we must continue to innovate, and I'm speaking about racial attitudes in all directions from all sources.

We can innovate in our own personal fiscal habits. This means such things as knowing what you own and financial literacy in general. I prepare a brief net worth statement practically every day. Perhaps that's obsessive, but my father, who was a superb investor, followed his stock, AFLAC, and a few other much smaller holdings on a daily basis. I find this distressing at times and sometimes I outsmart myself. But investing is a growing, lifelong pursuit which I would encourage in so many people who are not in poverty and have sufficient monetary assets (generally 4 to 6 months of expenses) and have maximized there tax deferred (401(k) or IRA) plans. I must explain that I am an independent investor, not a trader.

Follow your dreams, but don't quit your day job until you can really plan a prudent way to navigate your way to fulfillment of your next niche, a niche that will probably evolve in fits and starts over time.

©2010, John E. Wade II 

John E. Wade II, editor of How to Achieve Heaven on Earth: 101 insightful essays from the world's greatest thinkers, leaders and writers, is an author, investor, philanthropist, and founder of the nonprofit organization Soldiers of Love . An active member of his church and civic organizations in his area, Wade holds an M.A. from the University of Georgia and has worked in a range of fields. His extensive travels, including visits to China, India, Egypt, Israel, Syria, Jordan, and Brazil, inspired him to collect the essays in this work. Wade lives in New Orleans, Louisiana. For more information, please visit www.HeavenOnEarth.org

Timing is Overrated


The best leaders start their organizations at the worst possible times. "You are called when you are needed most -- when it’s really worth it -- not when it’s most convenient," said Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford, beaming with enthusiasm and patting me on the back. Mulally looked out the window at his company. "The honor is to serve!"

This courageous leader didn’t just accept a job at Ford; he leapt at a huge opportunity to make a difference when the company and his country needed him most.

Visionaries have a surprising knack for diving in at the least propitious times. When you actually look at the environment in which they embraced their organizations, they chose the worst. Everyone prefers to think they had it easy and perfectly set. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Oprah Winfrey, Walt Disney, Bill Hewlett and David Packard, Tom Watson at IBM -- and even Thomas Edison when he created his vision for General Electric -- all launched their dreams in miserable markets. FedEx, Sports Illustrated, Hyatt, Wikipedia, MTV, Trader Joe's arrived just in time for awful recessions that defeated many other organizations. Even Google incorporated just in time for the tech bubble to burst at the end of the last century.

Wang Chuanfu started a batterymaker called BYD (Build Your Dream) after the dot-com crash when no one cared about the ex-professor's fantasy of a green, emission-free electric car. Warren Buffett bought 10% of BYD last year, making Chuanfu a billionaire and China's richest person.

Many long-lasting organizations not only were born in bad markets, they also had lackluster products in the beginning. The list of short-lived, false starts for great companies is very, very long.

There are plenty of legendary examples. Sony's first product, a rice cooker, was unreliable. Its first big launch, a tape recorder, also failed. One of Fortune's most admired companies in 2010, Marriott, didn't start as a hotel; it was an A&W root beer stand! Proctor & Gamble began as just one of 18 candle makers in Cincinnati. Hewlett Packard proudly launched a product to make urinals flush automatically and a ‘shock' machine for dieters that were both a bust. Boeing's first planes bombed, literally flunking their Navy trials.

After inheriting his dad's $2 million shortening business in India, with fits and starts in the soap business and even hydraulic cylinders, Azim Premji eventually converted Wipro into a $5 billion technology powerhouse. His personal net worth is $17 billion.

What do these great organizations have in common? Leadership. Even if you have a mediocre start and bad timing, a great leader with a great team will prevail over those who have a mediocre team in any market. In fact, it's in difficult economic environments that your efforts as a leader stand out.

Why? In tough times, your competitors are focused on survival, not your customers. They pay less attention to quality, they slash back service and invest less in innovation, and there are more great people actually available to work for you.

It's usually in a crisis that organizations reconnect with what made them great in the first place. It's a time to re-ignite your spirit and find better ways to delight customers.

Your willingness to lead effectively can have a greater impact on the success of your team or your organization than any other single factor. Everything that you do to become a more effective leader has a multiplication effect on your entire organization.

To be successful as a leader, you need a combination of two things: character and competence. You need to be person who believes in what you're doing.

The above is an excerpt from the book Now . . . Build a Great Business!: 7 Ways to Maximize Your Profits in Any Market by Mark Thompson & Brian Tracy. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Nobody Does It Alone


No one does anything worthwhile entirely by themselves. As a leader, your job is to get results through others. You treasure your team as if they were volunteers -- because they are! Even if you pay them, your best people are free agents who could do anything anywhere else. Your team doesn’t have to work for you. So, the Big Question is, Why should they be working for you? Make it your business to hold yourself accountable to answering that question every day.

Since every person is different in some way, often in many ways, the very best leaders are those who have the greatest flexibility in their styles of working with other people. Your ability to get the very best out of the people who report to you is a key measure of your effectiveness as a leader. "I know it’s politically incorrect to say this, but when it comes to managing people, you actually do have to discriminate," said 49er hall of famer and entrepreneur Steve Young.

"No two people respond the same way to your call to action. You to encourage some people very gently, while others you have to scream at." When you take the time to think about whom you are working with and what it is you need for them to do, you are more likely to use the best tools, techniques and methods to maximize the performance and productivity of the other person.

And as you commit yourself to action, you’re developing the ability to elicit extraordinary performance from ordinary people. You want a team that:

1) Owns the outcomes -- has skin in the game -- a vested interest in thinking, analyzing and delivering better results than ever before;

2) Builds confidence in others -- and isn’t meek accepting or doing the job, but is turned on by the opportunity to prove something or have greater impact;

3) Understands what's in it for them in everything they're asked to do;

4) Demonstrates full engagement, and needs to have a voice and to be heard; and

5) Gets paid more, but is worth more, and has more options open and more untapped potential than ever before.

It's often said that the very best leaders are ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Great leaders elicit extraordinary performance from ordinary people. The purpose of a business or an organization is to maximize strengths and make weaknesses irrelevant. Your ability to bring together a group of people and form them into a high performance team is the most important single quality you can develop for maximum results and continuous personal and professional growth.

But here's an important caveat. "You might have to tell people to suck the egg," said Major General Gale Pollock (ret), the first woman to serve as Surgeon General of the Army. "You don't have to tell them how! If you order people to do something that they don't understand, they won't give it all they've got."

"The greatest performances and courage come when you show them why it matters," she told me shortly after her retirement from the U.S. Army. "I've been amazed at how people will solve problems when you set the general direction but let them use their creativity to get it done -- often much better than I would have ever imagined."

© 2012 Mark Thompson and Brian Tracy

Mark Thompson, co-author of Now, Build a Great Business!: 7 Ways to Maximize Your Profits in Any Market, and coauthor of the bestseller Success Built to Last, is a serial entrepreneur who sold his last company for $100 million and today coaches executives on how to lead growth companies. He is a venture investor who Forbes noted for having the "Midas touch:' He was Chief Customer Experience Officer at

Schwab, reporting directly to founder Charles Schwab, and is a former director of many firms, including Best Buy and Korn Ferry. He is a member of the board of the Leader to Leader Institute, founded by Peter Drucker, and a visiting scholar at Stanford University. He lives in Manhattan and Silicon Valley.

Brian Tracy, co-author of Now, Build a Great Business!: 7 Ways to Maximize Your Profits in Any Market, is one of America's leading authorities on the development of human potential and personal effectiveness. In addition to being a remarkably successful entrepreneur, he is a dynamic and inspiring speaker, addressing thousands of people each year in companies such as IBM, Ford, Federal Express, Hewlett Packard, Pepsi, Northwestern Mutual, and hundreds of others worldwide. He is the author of numerous books, including the bestselling How the Best Leaders Lead and Eat That Frog, and the author/narrator of many popular audiocassette programs. He lives in Solana Beach, California. For more information please visit www.briantracy.com

Relationships: Your Emotional Signature


You would certainly recognize your signature on a piece of paper, but do you know your own emotional signature? We all have one. It's our predictable way of reacting to situations. Your friends probably recognize your emotional signature better than you do. When you get into a fight with your partner, for example, they can predict just how it will go. They know if you're likely to slam a door, storm out of the house, or call your mother. They know if you'll be processing the argument for days or immediately shut down and clam up. How do they know so much? They know because they've seen it all before. Our behavior may seem spontaneous to us, but to those who know us, we're not too surprising.

Why don't we pay more attention to understanding our own patterns? We may have a solid financial plan worked out that will buy us a house, pay for our kids' college and our retirement, but we don't give much thought to getting the most benefit out of one of the most precious resources for happiness -- our emotions. Often, we just leave it to chance.

We may not like to admit it, but we're creatures of habit. We have our daily routines all worked out. It's how we keep our busy lives simple and convenient. We don't have to decide every day whether we'll walk to work, take the bus, or drive. We even fall in love and handle our relationships in predictable ways. Just as we have our daily routines, we have habits of thought and feeling that keep our emotional life simple. We don't have to guess who's going to pay the bills and who's going to spend most of the money (although we may talk about it a lot). We have our own special ways of telling our partner, "I'm annoyed with you, don't talk to me," or "I'm bored, so I'm not really hearing anything you're saying."

When we're hurt, scared, furious, or jealous, we don't have to figure out how to show it. Our emotional triggers are set; they go off in the same ways again and again, carrying us to the same places every time. If we have a habit of blaming, we accuse. If we have a habit of withdrawing, we disappear. If we have a habit of controlling, we threaten. Everyone else we know may be able to predict how our patterns will play out, but we're often blind to the process. Even when we can predict how we'll react, it usually doesn't change the outcome. There's a popular saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. We resist the idea that this anger or this jealousy isn't justified. We may not like it, but we don't see how to avoid pulling the trigger.

In spite of all the challenges they pose, there's nothing wrong with having emotions. Emotions are a fundamental part of who you are -- an expression of your basic intelligence and creative energy. When you can explore and get to know them without reacting immediately to their energy, they can be a source of wisdom and compassion. They can open your mind and your heart. They can lead you beyond your habitual patterns into new emotional territory. They can teach you generosity, patience, and courage. It's only when you don't allow yourself to feel your emotions or when you distort their energy that you can get into trouble with them.

When we operate primarily on the basis of our habitual patterns, we run into problems. At the first flash of emotion, we move so quickly into our habitual ways that we completely miss that first moment. It was so authentic -- it could have told us so much. But we never even saw it or felt it. We've already lost touch with the fresh, creative energy at the core of our being and skipped to our usual way of expressing our anger or jealousy. The regrettable words have been said, the door has been slammed.

We're also very judgmental of our emotions. If we think they're too raw, if we think they're impolite, we try to dress them up with positive thoughts and make them more respectable. When we manipulate our feelings this way, consciously or unconsciously, we're trying to get them to match up with our familiar emotional signature. But that's just another way to lose our connection to their vitality and wisdom.

The Message of our Emotions

If our partner hurts our feelings, offends us or shocks us, we can't even name the intense emotions we feel at first. The feelings haven't yet formed into anger or any other solid emotion. For a moment, we're suspended in a space of pure openness, where anything is possible. If we can just stop and remain in that space for a moment -- without any answers or judgments -- we have a chance to connect with the wakeful qualities of our emotions and hear their message. Especially in crises of the heart, our emotions are the first responders, but if we jump to conclusions too soon, it's like we're ignoring their instructions. They're trying to tell us which pathways are clear, and where the emergency exits are (this way to insight, that way to humor -- and if all else fails, leave before you do something you'll regret). If we don't pause and listen to our emotions, we might just end up running back and forth inside a burning building.

If we're going to understand ourselves, much less another person, we have to look beneath our patterns and face our emotions in their natural, undisguised state. When we're stuck at the level of our habitual dramas, it's like going through the day half awake, barely conscious of the world's brilliance. Some part of us may like this half-asleep state, where nothing is too bright, too energetic, or too unknown. But another part of us can hardly wait to be free, to take a chance, to see what's on the other side of the mountain.

How do we get unstuck from these patterns so we can respond to our experiences spontaneously?

We don't have change everything about who we are and what we do. We just have to bring awareness to our thoughts and emotional reactions. We can take one small step at a time towards waking up in the present moment. That's where we hear a note of music and feel its life force. It's where we enjoy a laugh, soothe our aches and pains, and feel our heart opening.

Everyone's emotional signature is different, but we all share the experience of being alive. We all know the joys and sorrows of love and hate, hope and fear, altruism and self-centeredness. And we all instinctively know that life, despite all its challenges, is precious. So, it just makes sense to look into the life we have and find ways to make it as meaningful and happy as possible After all, we don't throw money away or put artwork in the trash with our junk mail! We take great care of our personal assets, and one of our most valuable and misunderstood resources is our emotions. To become free of the unhappiness they can cause in our relationships, we only have to respect and accept our emotions, moment by moment, and be willing to work with them.

© 2012 Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche is a widely celebrated teacher known for his skill in making the full richness of Buddhist wisdom accessible to modern minds. A lover of urban culture, Rinpoche enjoys writing poetry and creating art of various kinds in his leisure time. Based in the United States for the past 20 years, he devotes much of his energy to his vision of a genuine American, and Western, Buddhism, free from the cultural trappings that sometimes distort the Buddha's essential message of wakefulness. Born in 1965 in northeast India, Rinpoche received comprehensive training in the meditative and intellectual disciplines of Indian and Tibetan Buddhism under the guidance of many of the greatest masters from Tibet's final pre-exile generation. Among the many organizational roles he juggles, he is the founder and principal teacher of Nalandabodhi, an international network of Buddhist practice centers. His latest book is Rebel Buddha: On the road to freedom. Visit Rinpoche on Facebook, Twitter and his Website.

Reversing Antidepressant Weight Gain


Antidepressants have been associated with weight gain since they were first used about 50 years ago. Tricyclic antidepressants (TCA) relieved depression but left patients considerably heavier as a consequence of treatment. One in particular, amitryptyline, was associated with uncontrollable sugar cravings. When Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Blockers (SSRIs) were introduced as the new generation of antidepressants, it was hoped that weight gain would not be a problem. Unfortunately this expectation has not been realized. Clinician were optimistic about Prozac, the first of the SSRIs, as patients lost weight during the early months of treatment. Prozac was viewed not only as an effective mood regulator but a potential weight-loss drug as well. It was tested in a national study and although weight loss did occur early in the study, weight gain followed. By the end of the study, patients on the drug weighed the same as they had before starting the program.

The potential to cause weight gain is not limited to Prozac; at this point there is no effective antidepressant that does not have the potential to cause weight gain. Moreover, drugs used to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia may leave the patient with l00 or more unwanted pounds.

There is still no explanation of how the drugs interfere with appetite and weight regulation. Some animal studies focusing on drugs like Zyprexa that cause substantial weight gain suggest that the drug interferes with other brain chemicals such as histamine or a sub-group of serotonin-containing cells, thereby promoting hunger. But so far no one understands how drugs like Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro or Prozac are able to limit or prevent control over food intake.

Several years ago, I was asked to set up and run a weight management center at McLean Hospital, a psychiatric facility associated with Harvard Medical School. Our clients were drawn from the surrounding communities but what many had in common was weight gain during treatment with psychotropic drugs; some took two or three medications. What was striking about their problem is that almost all had been thin before starting on their medications. Before getting sick, these men and women never had emotional issues with food. They ate healthily, had never been on diet, and tended to enjoy exercise. All were startled by the change in their eating habits and, of course, in their bodies. Weight gain ranged between 15 and 40 pounds for those on antidepressants and between 75 and 125 pounds for those on mood stabilizers and atypical antipsychotic drugs. What they all had in common was the inability to turn off their urge to eat, regardless of how much food they were consuming.

Since then, as now, no one really knew how to deal with this type of weight gain we decided to try an approach that had worked with typical obese clients. We knew from our research and previous clinical experience that increasing serotonin synthesis increased satiety. The SSRIs that theoretically should have activated this serotoninergic function was doing just the opposite, i.e. causing the patients to feel a chronic need to eat.

All carbohydrates with the exception of fructose (fruit sugar) will lead to an increase in serotonin synthesis if the carbohydrate is consumed without protein. The process involves the uptake into the brain of the amino acid tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin. Insulin release after carbohydrate digestion removes from the circulation other amino acids that compete with tryptophan for brain uptake. Tryptophan enters the brain easily and is quickly converted into serotonin. Protein consumption, even if eaten along with carbohydrates, floods the circulation with these competitor amino acids and tryptophan, the scarcest amino acid in protein, does not get into the brain.

Thus the diet we developed to increase serotonin synthesis consisted of scheduled consumption of easily digested carbohydrates during the day and in the evening. Clients were given a carbohydrate-containing beverage previously developed at an MIT research study to drink late in the morning, late in the afternoon and if needed about two hours before bedtime. The drink contained a mixture of fast and slowly digesting carbohydrates and no fat or protein. Clients were also given a list of carbohydrate snack foods that could substitute for the drink. In addition we gave the clients a nutrient-rich, reduced calorie food plan to follow. They were also encouraged to resume the exercise some of them had abandoned after gaining weight.

The satiating effects of the increased serotonin synthesis were felt within an hour or so of consuming the carbohydrate drink. Our clients told us that the nagging need to eat went away. They had no trouble following the reduced-calorie food plan because they were not hungry. And they lost weight, despite continuing on the medications that had caused their weight gain.

This approach to reversing antidepressant weight gain, now detailed in The Serotonin Power Diet, is simple and effective. For maximum efficacy, it should be put in place at the start of treatment so that weight gain can be prevented. However, because consuming carbohydrates is such an integral part of the plan, those whose medications have caused them to develop obesity-associated diabetes cannot use it without supervision by a dietician.

One interesting benefit of this approach to weight loss is that many of our clients reported simply feeling better. They told us they felt calmer, less anxious, slept better and were more relaxed. The opposite was also reported by some of our clients who had been told to avoid eating carbohydrates by their physicians in order to lose weight. Many reported a worsening of their mood and one told us that she contemplated suicide after being taken off carbohydrates.

It is hoped that soon there will be a new class of drugs to regulate mood disorders without causing the distress of weight gain. But in the meanwhile, the best solution to this weight gain is to take advantage of serotonin’s ability to turn off the appetite by simply eating therapeutic amounts of carbohydrates.
©2011, Judith J. Wurtman

Judith J. Wurtman, PhD, co-author of The Serotonin Power Diet: Eat Carbs -- Nature's Own Appetite Suppressant -- to Stop Emotional Overeating and Halt Antidepressant-Associated Weight Gain, has discovered the connection between carbohydrate craving, serotonin, and emotional well-being in her MIT clinical studies. She received her PhD from George Washington University, is the founder of a Harvard University hospital weight-loss facility and counsels private weight management clients. She has written five books, including The Serotonin Solution, and more than 40 peer-reviewed articles for professional publications. She lives in Miami Beach, Florida. Judith is co-author of The Serotonin Power Diet: Eat Carbs -- Nature's Own Appetite Suppressant -- to Stop Emotional Overeating and Halt Antidepressant-Associated Weight Gain www.SerotoninPowerDiet.com

Women battering men – the other side of domestic abuse


Let’s begin by talking about Domestic Abuse – how it is regarded and dealt with in our culture. As a psych intern I was taught that we must report Child Abuse, Elder Abuse, a credible threat by one individual to physically harm another or a credible threat by an individual to physically harm him or herself. So we do protect children, elders and people who are about to be harmed. However, unless a child was present during the time it was occurring, we are not allowed to report domestic abuse – only the parties involved can do that. What that means for me as a clinician is that I can defend an adult individual who is (possibly) about to be physically harmed, but I cannot defend an adult individual who actually was physically harmed. The logic here is that that individual should be able to stand up for him or herself. But a lot of the times that is simply not the case; and the reason it is not the case is that the individual may fear retribution, may be attempting to protect their partner or children, or may be so psychologically enmeshed that they don’t have the wherewithal to stand up for themselves. In the case of men who are abused, there is the additional factor of shame and not believing that anyone else will take their situation seriously.

Domestic Abuse is treated as a personal family issue. While the Women’s’ Movement has publicized it as an issue of female oppression. It may be both but it is also much more. Just as Child Abuse and Elder Abuse are no longer considered just personal family issues but also social and legal issues, so must the abuse of one adult by another. It’s time we reconsider the laws surrounding Domestic Abuse.

Now to the specific topic at hand. When we think of domestic abuse we mostly think of men battering women partners or men battering male partners and to a much lesser extent, women battering their female partners in a Lesbian relationship. But when it comes women battering men, most people would say that they don’t really believe that can happen because men are physically stronger and therefore more capable of defending themselves. However, women do batter their male partners and in much larger numbers than anyone would have imagined.

In 2008, California led the nation in public awareness to this previously hidden Domestic Violence issue. And subsequently, in October of that year, “the California state courts ruled that battered men deserve equal protection under the law”. (mensnewsdaily.com/2008/10/17/domestic-violence-awarenes-month).

The California court ruling was based, in part, on empirical research undertaken by hundreds of social scientists. “This research has demonstrated that both men and women initiate Domestic Violence at roughly equal rates with some recent studies suggesting that the initiation rates for girls and women may be increasing. Furthermore approximately 40% of the physically harmed victims of Domestic Violence are men.”(MND.com) While we have a federal “Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), it may be time to replace it with a “Domestic Violence Act” that doesn’t discriminate against gender.

You wonder, how this is possible? It has taken years of advocacy and support to encourage women to report domestic violence. But virtually nothing has been done to encourage men to do the same. Because there is a widely held assumption that women are victims and men are perpetrators – it is embarrassing, almost unthinkable, for many men to even consider reporting. It makes them look weak, ineffectual almost laughable in other peoples’ eyes. And they don’t believe that much of anything will be done even if they do report. They are right. While it is true that the actual physical harm inflicted by women on men is usually not as severe as the reverse situation, the emotional, psychological damage can be even greater. “Mental and emotional abuse can be an area where women are often more “brutal” than men.” (D.V. Against Men). And when there are children involved, it is equally as negatively impactful as abuse against women.

Why do women abuse? For many of the same reasons that men abuse – alcohol and/or drug abuse, psychological disorders, and unrealistic expectations and assumptions. These women make unreasonable demands on their partners and attribute most of their depression, and frustration on them. They blame their partner rather than admit to their own insecurities, emotional problems, childhood traumas and current substance abuse. They want their partner to make them feel whole rather than take responsibility for their own lives. Making your partner a punching bag for your own insecurities and demons is gender blind. How the violence erupts though can be different between the sexes. With men, they commonly say “She made me do it”. With women it’s, “he doesn’t care, he’s insensitive – I wonder if he has any feelings at all. It is the only way I can get his attention.”

Why do men stay in abusive relationships? Also for many of the same reasons that women stay. They believe that it is their fault or that they deserve the treatment they receive. They are mentally, emotionally or financially dependent on the abusive female partner. Many men are afraid to leave their children alone with such an unstable person. They also be afraid that they won’t be allowed to see their children or that she’ll turn the children against him.

It is not surprise that help for men who are victims of domestic abuse – and come forward – is not as prevalent as it is for women. There are virtually no shelters, programs or advocacy groups for men. For now, most abused men will have to rely on private counseling services.

If you are an abused male and need help, call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1(800) 799-SAFE. Let them know you are out there.

©2010, Roni Weisberg-Ross

Roni Weisberg-Ross. West Los Angeles based psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of sexual abuse, emotional abuse, chronic depression and social anxiety. Roni sees individuals, couples, families and leads a weekly AMAC (Adults Abused as Children) support group at The Family Resource Counseling Center..Article Source: www.articlesbase.com/mental-health-articles/women-battering-men-the-other-side-of-domestic-abuse-2385197.html

The New Original Sin: Capitalism


In my view, during the twentieth century capitalism became the new original sin. Just as original sin expels human beings from Eden, capitalism becomes the new sin that prevents us from returning to Eden. If we could just expunge the drive to compete, and the desire to acquire, we could finally claw our way back to that noble, leafy, and peaceful place we left behind in Genesis, where we never wanted anything, let alone tried to get it. I will call such believersEdenists. (Note that even atheists can adopt an Edenist mind-set).

When happiness gurus get on a roll, they take individual advice and extend it to all of society: Not only should you take a timeout, but the entire economy should be given a timeout, or the economic equivalent of Ambien. Shut down capitalism and replace it with a kibbutz for three hundred million people. Why? To prevent envy and to drain our competitive juices. The happiness gurus believe that competition is cancerous, eating away at our souls and our chances for happiness. If we could just stomp out competition, we could achieve self-realization and bliss. Rather than relying on policy non sequiturs to achieve happiness, we would be better off dressing up like Druids and prancing around the rocks of Stonehenge hoping that it will help us pay our mortgage bills. (Yes, such tours are available.)

In fact, if you would like to visit an ancient economy stuck in Stone Age splendor, plan a trip to Bhutan. This little nation, with a per capita GDP about equal to the summer take-home pay of a kid's lemonade stand in Des Moines ($1,400), is tucked in the Himalayas and has swallowed almost all the happiness potions. The king has forsworn gross national product, and instead requires his country to pursue "gross national happiness." The king banned Coke and Pepsi (so smugglers sneak in the contraband). There is a national uniform for professionals, most buildings look the same, and "tourists are taken to all the same places and served the same food," wrote one visitor, who couldn't find Starbucks or espresso but did discover a valuable cache of Nescafe instant packets. Bhutan also mandates Buddhism as a state religion, so no one can be envious of anyone else's creed. It appears that gross national happiness requires a lot of uniformity and government control in order to beat out the urge to compete.

I admit that now is not a popular time to link happiness with competition. I understand the rage in Western countries against the failings of modern life, especially following the financial market meltdowns of 2008 and 2009. Didn't hypercompetitive bankers lead to the ruin of Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns? Didn't supercompetitive brokers baying for bucks in trading rooms nearly bankrupt the world? Didn't reckless oil drillers lead to a devastating spill in 2010? So why not join the globalization protestors and hurl rocks into plate-glass windows at Starbucks? Maybe that will bring us joy. After all, as the financial markets thrash us and threaten our jobs, we are tempted to give up on modern life. So long to 401(k)s, ski vacations, and bucking for that salary hike that I wasn't going to get anyway. I sometimes wonder if Sarah Palin boasts of her gun skills because she worries that the only industries left in America will be hunting and gathering.

No doubt, amid the financial wreckage, we all felt cheated, by the CEO crooks, the mortgage broker morons, and the short sellers. And we feel a natural yearning to go back to simpler times, to some Eden that exists in our Jungian memory. Maybe throwing rocks will remind us of how jolly we were during the Stone Age.

But "Kumbayah" does not work. Sitting around a metaphoric campfire, holding hands and singing communal songs does not make human beings happy. Sweaty, yes. Sooty, perhaps. But not happy.

More tourists have trampled on Thoreau's Walden Pond snapping photos than have seriously considered giving up their cell phones to pick berries. We are delighted to try pomegranate juice -- in the hope of finding the secret to clear skin and lower blood pressure -- but virtually no American will plant his own bush and give up television. We may embrace symbols of a more homemade life, but these are tokens of wishful thinking, not titanic changes of substance.

Are we just selfish hypocrites who have fallen too deeply in love with a synthetic commercial world, with all its gadgets and traffic? Happiness books typically implore us to surrender our raw capitalistic drives, to levy taxes on high earners, and to derail the rat race before the entire world turns into a human-size Habitrail, plastic and pointless. And speaking of a Habitrail, these Edenists claim we are spinning on what has become known as the hedonic treadmill, so that the more we have the more we want. Typical advice: "Don't worry, be frugal." Or reach for the Prozac.

In my book, Rush: Why You Need and Love the Rat Race, I take on a seemingly preposterous task, employing the latest research in neuroscience and behavioral economics to argue the opposite: It is the race itself -- sloppy, risky, and tense -- that can bring us happiness. It is the very pursuit of love, new knowledge, wealth, and status that literally delivers the rush, lights up our brains, releases dopamine, and ignites our passion. Furthermore, I'm going to argue that the cause and effect between competition and happiness is hardwired into everyone of us. Some of the results will surprise you. Competition makes people more fair, and it also makes them taller.

Neuroscientists report that when a person begins to take a risk, whether it's gambling or ginning up the nerve to ask a pretty girl to the prom, his left prefrontal cortex lights up, signaling a natural high. Alpha waves and oxygenated blood surge to the brain. Sitting alone in a pup tent does not yield the same effects. Likewise, our competitive juices cannot be separated from our desire to learn more. Ironically, those who deride competition are often the first to exalt education. They seem to have images of Plato sitting on a log. I exalt education, too, but it is foolish to pretend that desires do not press us forward to learn more, to gain more knowledge, and therefore to get smarter. The contented do not grow smarter, they grow moss.

© 2013 Todd G. Buchholz

Todd G. Buchholz, author of Rush: Why You Need and Love the Rat Race is a former White House director of economic policy, award-winning teacher at Harvard, managing director of the Tiger hedge fund, and was a fellow at Cambridge University in 2009. He is also a founder of Two Oceans Management, as well as coproducer of the Tony Award-winning Broadway hit Jersey Boys. A regular contributor to NPR's Marketplace, he appears monthly on PBS'sNightly Business Report and his book New Ideas from Dead Economists is used in universities throughout the world. Buchholz has also written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Reader's Digest. He lives with his wife and daughters in Southern California.

Gen Y's Top 5 List for How We Think and Act at Work


Employers always seem to be asking me, "What in the world is Gen Y thinking when they do some of the things they do at work?" As a researcher and member of Gen Y, which I define as being born from 1977 to 1995, I think it's important to shine a spotlight on what my generation is thinking when we show up to work (and then immediately ask for a coffee break). The more employers understand Gen Y's perspective, the easier it is to identify the strategies and actions that can transform us into high-performing, loyal employees.

Gen Y's Top Five List for How We Think and Act at Work

1. No expectation of lifetime employment. Gen Y is the only generation in the modern workforce that has never expected to work for one employer our entire career. In practice this means that Gen Y expects to change employers throughout our lives, because it would be abnormal for us to stay with one company. This doesn't mean Gen Y won't or can't stay with one employer, just that we see nothing wrong with switching employers if a job or company no longer fits us (or our sleep schedule).

Though we may not expect to be with a company for 20 years, we are willing to work extremely long hours for an employer if we feel a genuine connection to the company or its mission. At one online education company I visited, the Gen Y employees were working seven days a week, and some were taking showers in the office building in order to meet deadlines. One of the Gen Y employees told me, "That's just what you do when your company is counting on you."

2. A feeling of entitlement along with big expectations. The biggest complaint I get from employers of all ages -- including Gen Yers who manage other Gen Yers -- is that many in Gen Y feel entitled. We show up to work and act as if our boss owes us something for our presence. I know how off-putting Gen Y's attitude can be, but before we condemn my generation as a bunch of spoiled brats (something that I find personally offensive and plan to tell my mom about) we should consider for a moment that entitlement is 100 percent a learned behavior. You are not born entitled. You have to be raised that way.

This might hit a bit close to home if your twentysomething child is still on your car insurance and carries one of your credit cards for emergency use only, which could mean a sale on cherry-flavored Pop-Tarts® at Target. In fact, many of us in Gen Y were told, "As long as you're in college, we'll help you out." Seven majors and one study abroad semester later, we're graduating with 196 credit hours and an Associate Degree -- and courageously entering adulthood by returning home.

3. A hunger for instant gratification and tangible outcomes. Gen Y has come of age with almost instantaneous access to just about everything and everyone -- from instant meals to instant messages. This constant immediacy has taught us to have little patience, short attention spans, and to seek ongoing progress in every aspect of our life. We hate waiting in lines at the grocery store (Can you say self checkout?) and don't want to show our work on math problems, especially if you already told us our answer is correct. We will even walk into a fast food restaurant, see a line at the counter, and leave to go somewhere else.

However, rather than brand us as the "instant everything" generation, my research shows we are simply outcome-driven. This observation changes the conversation, because it shows we are not about having everything now, we simply don't see -- and therefore we do not appreciate -- the steps involved in creating the outcomes we want. We literally do not connect the dots or consider our plans in terms of policies and procedures -- that's an older generation's way of approaching work. Instead, all we want to know is what you want us to do. Then get out of our way so we can get it done. In the workplace, this makes us extremely project-oriented rather than job-description focused.

4. A new relationship with technology and communication. Since Gen Y grew up during the Internet boom and mobile communication revolution, technology has become an extension of ourselves. However, older generations have a big misconception when it comes to Gen Y and technology. Older generations think that Gen Y is tech savvy. This is 100 percent not true. Gen Y is not tech savvy, we are tech dependent. Important difference. We don't know how technology works. We just know we can't live without it.

5. A need for ongoing feedback. When it comes to employing Gen Y, if your company only gives annual reviews, then you can change the name. Call them exit interviews, because Gen Y won't be there. We need feedback on a much more regular schedule, ideally twice a month, but don't confuse frequency with a major time investment. We don't want an in-depth 360-degree performance review, complete with personality assessment. Just a five-second check-in that says you notice we exist. All we need is for you to pause outside our cubicle and say, "Jordan, I saw how you helped Mrs. Booker solve the billing problem. Good job." That's it. Nothing more.

Turning these Gen Y Characteristics into a Competitive Advantage

As a member of Gen Y, I admit that all five of these characteristics do not initially appear as workplace strengths. However, I have seen time and again how employers have made every one of these Gen Y characteristics into a workplace advantage when Gen Y is managed correctly.

The key is to start with an understanding of our mindset, find a common ground with your company's goals, and build on it. In fact, the breakthrough moment for many of my clients who employ Gen Y is realizing that what their Gen Y employees want in order to put forth their best effort is often less expensive and easier to give than their current employment practices. Now that is something you will want us to text our friends about -- but not until our lunch break.

©2010, Jason Ryan Dorsey

Jason Ryan Dorsey, author of Y-Size Your Business: How Gen Y Employees Can Save You Money and Grow Your Business is an award-winning entrepreneur and an acclaimed keynote speaker often referred to as "The Gen Y Guy"®. He has been featured as a Generation Y expert on 60 Minutes, 20/20, the Today show, and The View, as well as in Fortune magazine. www.JasonDorsey.com

Remembering Violence Against Men!


This Sunday is White Ribbon Day (WRD) and the start of the 16 Days of Activism to Stop Violence Against Women. However the 2005 Personal Safety Australia survey found that in the past 12 months almost twice as many men as women (808,300) were victims of all types of violence; twice as many men as women (485,400) were victims of physical assault; nearly a third of sexual assault victims were men; 864,300 men were harassed and 110,700 men were stalked. The same study found that men were almost as likely as women to experience physical violence within the home (half from females, half from males) and were just as likely as women to experience physical violence from perpetrators who were known to them. Yet the WRD campaign focuses solely on the prevention of violence against women by men.

An international coalition of professionals and academics has come out in unequivocal support of anti-violence initiatives, but is concerned that this annual spotlight on violence against women tends to conceal the fact that males are far more likely than females to be assaulted or killed and make up a significant proportion of victims of domestic violence. They are calling on the media to be aware that crime statistics, based on reports to police, are an inaccurate reflection of the extent of domestic violence within the community, as men who are physically assaulted by women are less likely to report it than are women assaulted by men. However, despite this underreporting, 29% of victims of notified domestic violence and 26% of intimate partner homicide victims are men - all of whom are absent in policy provisions. There is very little recognition of women's violence, yet more than a quarter of physical assaults on women are committed by other women. There is also little acknowledgment that violence is most prevalent amongst young people, and is causally linked to social disadvantage, drug and alcohol abuse and mental health issues.

The White Ribbon Day campaign tells us that "violence against women is the product of learned attitudes and norms." University of Western Sydney academic Micheal Woods explains, "I think many people would disagree that Australian cultural norms support violence against women, but would readily admit that our culture accepts violence against males." He quotes a 2001 national survey of 5,000 young people aged 12-20, in which the authors noted that "males hitting females was seen, virtually by everyone, to be unacceptable, however, it appeared to be quite acceptable for a girl to hit a boy". They also found "there was no spontaneous recognition that verbal abuse or a female hitting her boyfriend could also constitute dating violence... however these were among the prevalent forms of violence occurring".

Researcher Greg Andresen from menshealthaustralia.net suggests "international large population-based research shows women initiate domestic violence as often as men, use weapons more than men, that men suffer one-third of injuries, and that self-defence explains only a small portion of domestic violence by either sex. We're concerned that male victims have been unfairly ignored in these anti-violence campaigns and this contributes to the intergenerational cycle of domestic violence. When male victims are ignored, their kids suffer long-term damage by the exposure and are themselves more likely to commit violence as adults."

The coalition of experts is asking Australians to set aside the next 16 days to consider all victims of violence, no matter what their gender, age, ethnicity or sexuality. They are seeking the involvement of the entire community, including government, NGOs, and men's and women's groups, in the establishment of a new national broad anti-violence campaign.

Eating Disorders: Just because you’re a man doesn’t mean you’re immune


We live in a culture of contradictions: measured by our net worth, yet derided for being rich; surrounded by sexual temptation, yet scolded if we succumb; seduced by sugar and fat that we equate with love, yet humiliated for being overweight. The ideal body image, in a country in which 55% of the population is considered obese, deifies emaciated models, actresses and actors. So, how could we be surprised when some of us, including boys and men, carry the message of the culture to a self-destructive extreme and become eating-disordered?

Eating disorders, as Dr. Richard Gordon suggests, “draw upon the common cultural vocabulary of their time” (Gordon, 1990). They are extensions of the core values and conflicts within the culture - for example, be thin, be in control. Eating disorders including Anorexia nervosa and Bulimia nervosa are symptoms of our times and our culture, a culture that rewards both fierce self-control and wild self-indulgence. When so much else is beyond control, controlling what one eats may be the only strategy a man or boy has to find a sense of security, false as that may be.

It is no coincidence that men are now more susceptible to eating disorders than they used to be, or at least were thought to be. Expectations about what it is to be a man have changed, and changing roles and opportunities for women have meant that women now compete for and in jobs previously reserved for men. How to be a successful and good man is less clear and in many ways more challenging than it was was even twenty years ago.

Best-selling author Dr. Ira Sacker, (Dying to be Thin) a pediatric psychiatrist specializing in eating disorders, says that ten years ago one in twenty patients who were treated for eating disorders in the US was male. Now Sacker and other experts estimate that one in four or five people in the US who are eating disordered are male, and notes that he is treating boys as young as five and six years old for anorexia and bulimia. Unfortunately, most of those boys will drop out of treatment when they reach puberty because they are ashamed to have a”girls’ disease.”

Too many men with eating disorders do not get help, in part because eating disorders are still thought to be “women’s” diseases. There is still too little research into the subject of males and eating disorders and too few treatment centers offering programs for men. Too many men are in denial that they could be eating disordered. In fact, Harrison G. Pope,Jr. at McLean Hospital told me recently that “The single most striking finding, the most stunning finding [in a study of men with ED] was that virtually non of these men had told a professional about his problem. Some of them didn’t even know they had a recognized psychiatric disorder.”

It is time to take this illness out of the closet. Men and boys are vulnerable to eating disorders, and perhaps particularly so in the culture of 2010. We need to acknowledge this reality because eating disordered behavior takes a terrible physical, emotional, and social toll on its victims, and their family members, friends and colleagues. Studies on females show that patients with eating disorders are more likely to die from their illness than patients with any other psychological illness. This may be even more likely for men as they wait longer to seek treatment, and their bodies have a lower percentage of fat so the illness is robbing them of muscle. Starving the brain and the body erodes the ability to think clearly, to resist other illnesses, to interact with other people, and also diminishes physical strength and sexual functioning.

Eating disorders are seductive. Bingeing, for example, brings on an endorphin high, makes people feel more relaxed and powerful, and can, therefore, be addictive. Men and boys are particularly vulnerable to eating disorders in times of transition - from childhood to puberty, elementary school to high school, high school to college, college to work, then marriage and becoming a father. Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair at Harvard University estimates that 40% of people in college who are bulimic are men. We do very little to help men prepare for and make such transitions successfully and some will become eating disordered as a result.

Eating disorders really aren’t about food. Instead they are symptoms of a person’s weak sense of self - or as I call it - the Hungry i. Too many boys and men growing up at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first are not confident and have a weak sense of self, and some of them are taking their pain out on their own bodies.

What can we do?

We can recognize that eating disorders affect boys and men as well as girls and women and that people of all ages, sexes, race and class are vulnerable. We can learn to discourage instead of encourage behavior that can lead to eating disorders. Coaches, for example, can stop imposing rigid tandards for weight. We can be sensitive, we can be kind, and we can be clear about the dangers of disordered eating. We can support research about the affect of eating disorders on boys and young men because there is so little, and learn about the illness and its symptoms. And finally, we can try to change the very culture that promotes eating disordered behavior.

©2010 Barbara Kent Lawrence

Barbara Kent Lawrence is not a professional in the field of eating disorders. I was married for 27 years to a man with eating disorders and am a researcher and professor in education. In my first book on this subject, Bitter Ice: a memoir of love, food, and obsession, I explored my former husband’s struggle with this illness, and my growing awareness of my role as an enabler. In my new book, The Hungry i: a Work Book for partners of men with eating disorders, I present the result of extensive research into the causes and complexities of eating disorders in men, drawing from literature of the field, interviews with experts, and my own experience. Men may find chapters about the history, culture, symptoms, and treatment of eating disorders and the Exercises designed to help us think about our culture and place within that culture most helpful. “Time-Outs” are more slanted to activities women may find more appealing, but I hope men will suggest Time-Outs that we can add to future editions of the book.

3 Ways to Get You Through the Holidays


The holidays are a tough time, when demands are constantly being made on our patience, coping capacity, and endurance! When things are not going your way or they look topsy-turvy and you just want to scream; when your day appears chaotic and you are not sure if you are coming or going; or when it feels like it is all piled on your shoulders, then this is the ideal moment to resource yourself by just stopping, being still, and breathing.

You do have what it takes within you to do everything and still be peaceful, but you may need a reminder to just stop and breathe. So here are three moments to regenerate yourself and remember why you are doing all this in the first place. All it takes is a moment to look within and reconnect with your loving heart. You can get it together even when you think it is all falling apart!

Mini-meditations can be done on a train, walking down the street, at an airport, standing at a bus stop, in an elevator, while chopping vegetables, or while sitting in the bathroom -- often the only place you can guarantee you will be left alone! Silently count your out-breath up to ten times, or walk with awareness of each step for up to ten steps. Or relax each part of your body, then silently repeat "soft belly" for five breaths.

If you are at work, then use your lunch hour to find a quiet spot, perhaps in a park, or even in the office if everyone else has gone out. If you are traveling then use that time to consciously breathe, letting your awareness follow your breath from the nose tip to your belly and back out again. If you are driving or operating machinery and feel you are getting tense, then stop for a moment, focus on any part of the body that is feeling tight and breathe into it, until you relax and let go. Silently repeat "soft shoulders" or "soft neck" and so on.

As you walk down the street or ride an elevator practice a mini-loving kindness by silently wishing everyone be well, wishing that everyone be happy. In the office you can spend a few moments repeating the names of everyone you work with and wishing them happiness. On your way home from work reflect on your day and generate loving thoughts to all those you met. When you send out loving thoughts it relaxes the space around you and dissipates any chaotic or disturbing energies. What you put out comes back to you tenfold.

1. Mini Breath Meditation

Sit comfortably with your back straight. Take a deep breath and let it go. Begin to silently count at the end of each out breath: Inhale . . . exhale . . . count one, inhale . . . exhale . . . two, inhale . . . exhale . . . three. Then start at one again. Just three breaths and back to one. Simply following each breath in and silently counting. So simple. Do this as many times as you want, eyes open or closed, breathing normally.

2. Mini Walking Meditation

You can do this walking along a country lane, a city street, in the office or the garden. You can walk slowly, normal or fast, whatever feels right. As you walk become aware of your walking, of the movement of your body and the rise and fall of your feet. Become aware of your breath and see if you can bring both your breathing and your walking together. Just walk and breathe with awareness for a few minutes.

3. Instant Letting Go

Find a quiet place to sit, have a straight back, and take a deep breath and let it go. Then quietly repeat to yourself: "My body is at ease and relaxed . . . my heartbeat is normal . . . my mind is calm and peaceful . . . my heart is open and loving." Keep repeating this until you have let go of the tension and are at peace. Then take a deep breath and have a smile on your face!

Enjoy the holidays!

©2009 Ed and Deb Shapiro 

Ed and Deb Shapiro, authors of Be the Change:  How meditation can transform you and the world, are the award-winning authors of fifteen books on meditation, personal development, and social action. They are featured bloggers for the HuffingtonPost.com and for Care2.com, teach meditation workshops worldwide, work as corporate coaches and consultants, and are the creators and writers of the daily Chill Our inspirational text messages on Sprint cell phones. The Shapiros' books include Your Body Speaks Your Mind, winner of the 2007 Visionary Book Award;Voices From the Heart with contributors such as President Gorbachev, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and Bishop Tutu; and Meditation: The Four-Step Course to Calmness and Clarity. Ed, from New York, trained in India with Paramahamsa Satyananda, with Sri Swami Satchidananda, and with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Deb, from London, trained with Tai Situ Rinpoche. The Shapiros have taught meditation and personal development for more than twenty-five years. They currently reside in Boulder, Colorado. For more information please visit www.EdandDebShapiro.com

Can Gender Science be Trusted?


The Gurian Institute team has been approached by media and others over the last two weeks regarding a new book, Pink Brain, Blue Brain (PBBB), that agrees with our position on brain research on the one hand, but also differs in some ways. The author, Lise Elliot, has also been doing interviews and we’ve been asked by various media to weigh in on her comments. Since many of you on our list have been writing us about this as well, we wanted to make some points that we hope will help keep dialogue moving forward.

We are glad to see that Dr. Eliot recognizes and is concerned about the differences she sees in academic performance between boys and girls. While we agree that nurture generally adds to the differences we see between boys and girls, we believe that current science is very clear in identifying brain-based (nature-based) differences between males and females. There are hundreds of credible studies, including more going on all the time, that are identifying these differences (to learn more about some of these, click www.michaelgurian.com , then click Research). As Kathy Stevens, executive director of the Gurian Institute recently noted, "While some of the biological differences between boys and girls may be subtle, the combination of nature-based differences and nurture can cause difficulties for both boys and girls if we ignore them."

Every year or two a book or article comes out that sets out to discredit brain differences and common sense, even though, once the whole book is read, the author does end up agreeing that there are brain differences between boys and girls, and women and men. It seems that most of the world already senses that boys and girls are inherently different (albeit on a vast spectrum, not stereotypes), but some people still fear this human experience, or aren't sure what to make of it.

Unfortunately, these books/articles select evidence and don’t take into account brain scans and other hard science; and they extrapolate the effect of socialization on formation of gender in the brain. For instance, PBBB provides a study of children who are encouraged to climb a hill a certain way and extrapolates that because there were differences in how parents talked to boys/girls, this could somehow account for the profound differences that show on PET and SPECT scans between girls and boys' brains.

These books/articles also generally study small samples (less than two hundred people); they don't recognize the work of scientists like Camilla Benbow, who has studied over a million children and found marked hard-wiring differences, or Daniel Amen, who has conducted over 50,000 SPECT (brain) scans. These books/articles also try to finesse the fact that our genomes are set up differently. In reality, as genome mapping is showing us, "maleness" and "femaleness" come from 1) X/Y chromosomes and 2) in utero estrogen/testosterone surges in the fetus. These are step one and two of our gender formation. Step 3 is nurture/socialization.

Ultimately, the Gurian Institute team believes that differentiating by gender can help improve academic performance, decrease disciplinary referrals and positively affect children’s attitudes about school and learning. Kelley King, GI’s Associate Director and an educator for more than twenty-five years, recently made this powerful comment: "I’ve been an educator long enough to know what goes on in classrooms and what teachers experience. And it all comes back to this – who is succeeding, who is failing and do we need to do something about it? Whether or not we argue over one brain science study, the work in schools still needs to be done and it hurts kids if we don't do it.” Kelley is referring to work over the last fifteen years, in schools, families, and corporations that have put gender science to work, and thus helped boys and girls close achievement gaps, families stay together, communities fight against gang violence, workplaces promote female talent to higher levels in corporate hierarchies. For more on this work, click www.gurianinstitute.com then click Success.

Brain science and common sense need to continue to trump nature/nurture debates if we are to grapple with the big problems we have in our schools, communities and workplaces. We thank Dr. Elliot and others writing books and articles like hers for keeping a strong light shining on what we need to do to help our children—both boys and girls—succeed in school and life. And we’re always open to discourse about our work and thoughts on this topic.

© 2009, The Gurian Institute

Can Meditation Transform the World?


Meditation is now the IN thing. Cross-legged yogis and Buddhist monks can be seen in advertisements for everything from computers and credit cards to herbal teas, major newspapers and magazines carry stories on the benefits of meditation with tips from famous film stars, and no self-respecting bookshop is without a how-to-meditate section.

It is only in the last few decades that the general population has begun to realize how valuable the practice of meditation really is, regardless of spiritual or religious interests. Yet meditation has been the main focus of spiritual practice for thousands of years. You do not have to be a hippie or on a spiritual quest to meditate: we have taught everyone from housewives to athletes and musicians, and therapists to CEOs, in town halls, high school gymnasiums, corporate boardrooms, and on our own TV series in London.

However, if meditation is so available and as well known as it seems to be, why is it not already an integral part of everyone's lives? If health reports are saying how good it is as a way to cope with stress, why do we ignore it or find excuses not to do it? And why do we think of something as a waste of time when all the research tells us it is of such immense value?

Mahatma Gandhi famously said, "You must be the change you want to see in the world." In other words, change has to start within ourselves; we cannot expect the world to change if we do not. If we want to have more love in our lives, we must become more loving; if we genuinely want to end terrorism and to bring real and peaceful change to the world, then we must start by ending the war within ourselves.

This brings us to the importance of contemplation and meditation. Without such a practice of self-reflection, we are subject to our ego's every whim, and we have no way of putting a brake on its demands. Meditation, on the other hand, gives us the space to see ourselves clearly and objectively, a place from which we can witness our own behavior and reduce the ego's influence. We get to know the madness of our monkey mind and until it loses its hold. Only then do we have a genuine opportunity to change.

Through the practice of meditation we find that the more positive aspects of ourselves are enhanced while the more self-centered aspects begin to naturally fade away. As the need to be constantly engaged in the details of our own story loses its relevance, so the ego releases its grip and becomes less demanding. This does not mean that we become just like a doormat and let people walk all over us. Rather, we become more confident, are able to communicate more openly and honestly, and to love more unconditionally.

In this way meditation enables us to change. From being self-centered, we become other-centered, concerned about the welfare of all equally, rather than being focused on just ourselves. We become more acutely aware of how we affect the planet, how we treat each other and our world, and seek to become a positive presence rather than a passive or negative one. As we find our own peace, we want to actively help others to also be at peace. When we find our peace there is one less person suffering!

We were in India in 1986 when we first met the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and political leader of Tibet, and probably the world's most famous meditator. We were waiting for our meeting in a room that led off a balcony at his residence, beyond which rose the Himalayas resplendent in the morning sunshine. Ed wandered outside to enjoy the view. He saw a monk further along the balcony waving for us to come. We presumed this monk would bring us to our meeting. But as we came closer, we realized that this simple and unpretentious man was the Dalai Lama himself. We immediately began to prostrate, as this is the respected way of greeting such a revered teacher. But the Dalai Lama took our hands and made us stand, saying, "No, no. We are all equal here." It was easy to think, "Oh sure! You are the great Dalai Lama, spiritual leader to millions, and we are just mere mortals. How can we possibly be equal?" But over the following months, we both experienced the true equality he was referring to -- the equality of our shared humanness and, simultaneously, our shared heart.

A Compassionate Revolution

A revolution is a re-evolution, where we take a higher step in the evolution of consciousness; it is also a revolving, a turning around of ourselves in response to an inner calling. To be the change and make a real difference in the world means we need a revolution -- a compassionate revolution. This is the turning of our energy from being focused on self-centeredness, self-survival, and closed-heartedness to concern for others, generosity, and open-heartedness. If we genuinely want to end war, inequality, and abuse, then we have to practice ahimsa and kindness toward all equally, for there will never be peace in the world if we are not at peace within ourselves.

To activate a compassionate revolution is to enter into an exploration of all aspects of our humanness so that we can live sanely in a world that often looks insane, riddled with affliction and conflict. So much hurt and denial, abuse and disrespect, so many atrocities have taken place in the name of religion and politics, or through greed and selfishness, so many misunderstandings between families, races, and countries.

As the Tibetan teacher Mingyur Rinpoche says, "Who makes problems? We humans. And who is the controller of the human? The mind. And how to control the human mind? Through meditation. If you can control the pilot, then the pilot can control the plane."

Meditation can do this because it brings us to a place of clear and caring responsiveness. It is that rare activity that can ease suffering while also giving us the awareness and spiritual intelligence to move beyond the self-centeredness and self-destruction that cause suffering. It removes the obstacles in our mind that prevent us from seeing things as they really are, freeing us to become kinder and more compassionate. In other words, it awakens our full human potential. And, as we are transformed, so the world will also transform.

©2009 Ed and Deb Shapiro 

Ed and Deb Shapiro, authors of Be the Change:  How meditation can transform you and the world, are the award-winning authors of fifteen books on meditation, personal development, and social action. They are featured bloggers for the HuffingtonPost.com and for Care2.com, teach meditation workshops worldwide, work as corporate coaches and consultants, and are the creators and writers of the daily Chill Our inspirational text messages on Sprint cell phones. The Shapiros' books include Your Body Speaks Your Mind, winner of the 2007 Visionary Book Award;Voices From the Heart with contributors such as President Gorbachev, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and Bishop Tutu; and Meditation: The Four-Step Course to Calmness and Clarity. Ed, from New York, trained in India with Paramahamsa Satyananda, with Sri Swami Satchidananda, and with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Deb, from London, trained with Tai Situ Rinpoche. The Shapiros have taught meditation and personal development for more than twenty-five years. They currently reside in Boulder, Colorado. For more information please visit www.EdandDebShapiro.com

7 Natural Ways to Combat Testosterone Loss


Andropause—caused by a decrease in bioavailable testosterone and rising estrogen—is a potentially troublesome time in a man’s life. there are numerous ways in which men can combat many of the deleterious aspects of an imbalance in their hormones, especially testosterone and estrogen. While multiple studies have proven that testosterone supplementation can ease or even reverse many symptoms of andropause, some men still may be leery of using testosterone until it is given mainstream medicine’s “stamp of approval.” For those men and others who wish to optimize their testosterone levels as they age, below are some specific recommendations to help maintain optimal testosterone levels, combat the debilitating effects of andropause, and live life to the fullest whether you are 40 or 90 years of age.

1. Physical exercise increases testosterone levels. Multiple studies have shown that regular, high-intensity exercise keeps a man’s testosterone at optimal levels.1

2. Protein combats Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and helps maintain optimal testosterone levels. While adequate protein consumption is vital to maintaining muscle mass in both men and women, it is also important in maintaining testosterone levels.2

3. Soy and fish oil keep estrogen and SHBG in check. Elderly men often see an increase in unhealthy levels of SHBG and estrogen via activity of the aromatase enzyme, which can lead to a net decrease in testosterone levels. Two recent Japanese studies have shown some natural ways in which men can help tilt the ratio back in favor of testosterone. One study of 97 middle-aged to elderly men found that men with high levels of soy intake had lower levels of estradiol (a form of estrogen) compared to men with lower levels of soy intake. The researchers postulated that this beneficial inverse relationship could be due to inhibition of the aromatase enzyme by soy and soy-based food products. Another Japanese study examined how the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA (found in high concentrations in fish) affected SHBG levels in men 43 to 88 years of age. After controlling for other variables, the researchers concluded that both EPA and DHA decreased levels of SHBG in middle-aged and elderly men. 3, 4

4. Indole-3-carbinol protects against high estrogen levels, prostate cancer. An adequate intake of indole-3-carbinol (I3C), through vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage, or via supplements, may prove to be very helpful for aging men in both keeping estrogen levels in check and decreasing their risk of prostate cancer. 5

5. Zinc is essential for optimal testosterone production. One supplement that should be considered absolutely essential for maintaining a man’s testosterone levels is zinc. This busy mineral is involved in almost every aspect of male reproduction, including testosterone metabolism, sperm formation, and sperm motility. Multiple studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of zinc in treating male infertility due to low testosterone levels. 6, 7, 8

6. Chrysin is a natural aromatase inhibitor A bioflavonoid called chrysin has shown potential as a natural aromatase inhibitor. Bodybuilders have used chrysin as a testosterone-boosting supplement because by inhibiting the aromatase enzyme, less testosterone is converted into estrogen. The problem with chrysin is that because of its poor absorption into the bloodstream, it has not produced the testosterone-enhancing effects users expect. Pilot studies have found that when chrysin is combined with piperine, reductions in serum estrogen (estradiol) and increases in total and free testosterone result in 30 days. 9

7. Nettle root liberates “bound” testosterone Testosterone that becomes bound to serum globulin is not available to cell receptor sites and fails to induce a libido effect. When testosterone binds to sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), it loses its biological activity and becomes bound testosterone, as opposed to the desirable free testosterone. Some studies show that the decline in sexual interest with advancing age is not always due to the amount of testosterone produced, but rather to the increased binding of testosterone to globulin by SHBG. European researchers have identified constituents of nettle root that bind to SHBG in place of testosterone, thus reducing SHBG’s binding of free testosterone. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

While the relationship between youthful levels of testosterone and a healthy cardiovascular system cannot be denied, research has slowly started to uncover many of the hidden benefits of testosterone, such as its effect on bone growth and stability, depression, obesity and libido.

Sources:

1. Izquierdo M, Hakkinen K, Ibanez J, et al. Effects of strength training on muscle power and serum hormones in middle-aged and older men. J App Physiol. 2001 Apr;90(4): 1497-507.

2. Longcope C, Feldman HA, Mc Kinlay JB, Araujo AB. Diet and sex hormone-binding globulin. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2000 Jan; 85(1):293-6.

3. Nagata C, Inaba S, Kawakami N, Kakizoe T, Shimizu H. Inverse association of soy prod- uct intake with seroum androgen and estro- gen concentrations in Japanese men. Nutr Cancer. 2000;36(1):14-8.

4. Nagata C, Takatsuka N, Kawakami N, Shimizu H. Relationships between types of fat consumed and serum estrogen and androgen concentrations in Japanese men. Nutr Cancer. 2000;38(2):163-67.

5. Muti P, Westerlind K, Wu T, et al. Urinary estrogen metabolites and prostate cancer: a case-control study in the United States. Cancer Causes Control. 2002 Dec;13(10): 947-55.

6. Tikkiwal M, Ajmera RL, Mathur NK. Effect of zinc administration on seminal zinc and fertility of oligospermic males. Indian J Physiol Pharmcol. 1987 Jan-Mar;31(1):30-4.

7. Takihara H, Cosentino MJ, Cockett AT. Zinc sulfate therapy for infertile males with or without varicocelectomy. Urology. 1987 Jun; 29(6):638-41.

8. Netter A, Hartoma R, Nahoul K. Effect of zinc administration on plasma testosterone, dihydrotestosterone and sperm count. Arch Androl. 1981 Aug;7(1):69-73.

9. Campbell DR, Kurzer MS. Flavonoid inhibi- tion of aromatase enzyme activity in human preadipocytes. J.Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 1993 Sep;46(3):381-8.

10. Hryb DJ, Khan MS, Romas NA, Rosner W. The effect of extracts of the roots of the stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) on the interac- tion of SHBG with its receptor on human prostatic membranes. Planta Med. 1995 Feb; 61(1):31-2.

11. Hirano T, Homma M, Oka K. Effects of stinging nettle root extracts and their steroidal components on the Na+,K(+)- ATPase of the benign prostatic hyperplasia. Planta Med. 1994 Feb;60(1):30-3.

12. Vahlensieck W Jr, Fabricius PG, Hell U. Drug therapy of benign prostatic hyperpla- sia. Fortschr Med. 1996 Nov 10;114(31):407- 11.

13. Gansser D, Spiteller G. Plant constituents interfering with human sex hormone-binding globulin. Evaluation of a test method and its application to Urtica dioica root extracts. Z Naturforsch. C 1995 Jan-Feb; 50(1-2):98- 104.

14. Sokeland J. Combined sabal and urtica extract compared with finasteride in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia: analysis of prostate volume and therapeutic outcome. BJU Int. 2000 Sep;86(4):439-42.

© 2009, Bill Faloon

Bill Faloon has written for Life Extension’s publications (currently Life Extension magazine, published monthly), since the early 1980s. His articles cover a wide range of topics under the headings of disease prevention, nutrition, longevity, and health freedom. Bill Faloon helped initiate the Life Extension Foundation after realizing the critical need for funding in the field of gerontology research. He has appeared on such television programs as The Phil Donahue Show, The Joan Rivers Show, Tony Brown’s Journal, and ABC News Day One. www.LEF.org

Why should you train your brain?


This book is a follow-up to Train Your Brain: 60 Days to a Better Brain. I've received lots of letters from readers since the first book came out, and I'm delighted to know that people all over the world are now making these drills a regular part of their daily routine. To keep things fresh, we have made one change to the format of the exercises. We have included some simple division problems for you to solve as you work through your daily brain-training exercises. Brain function naturally begins to deteriorate after our twenties, just like our physical and muscular strength gradually weaken as we age. However, just as you can maintain your physical strength if you exercise regularly, you can keep your brain power from deteriorating by providing daily stimulation for your brain.

In my neuroscience lab, I developed the exercises in this book in order to activate the largest regions of the brain. These brain health exercises increase the delivery of oxygen, blood, and various amino acids to the prefrontal cortex. The result is more neurons and neural connections, which are characteristics of a healthy brain.

Who is this book for?

Adults with the following symptoms:

Adults who wish to work on the following:

How can you keep your brain healthy?

In order to maintain your physical health, you have to (1) exercise regularly, (2) eat healthily and (3) sleep well. In like manner, in order to keep your brain healthy, you need to (1) exercise your brain regularly, (2) eat healthily and (3) sleep well. As an adult, you are responsible for your own diet and sleep on a daily basis. This book is exclusively designed to help you get used to also training your brain everyday.

Simple calculations really work!

While browsing through this workbook, you may have noticed it consists only of simple calculations. Some of you may be wondering why an adult, who is intellectually active at work and at home, would need to do such elementary school-level math. Through my research I found that simple calculations activate the brain more effectively than any other activity. I also discovered that the best way to activate the largest regions of the brain was to solve these calculations quickly. That is why I have created the easy-to-solve problems you see in this workbook to help you Train Your Brain!

Calculation and oral reading exercises are the optimal training methods according to the latest brain research

My latest research proved that reading aloud, solving simple calculations, and writing activate the brain most effectively.

Brain training boosted the ability to remember by twenty percent

My research team carried out research with elementary school students. We counted how many words they could memorize within two minutes and found that, on average, they could memorize 8.3 words (the equivalent figure for adults is 12.2). When we conducted the same test after a two minute calculation exercise, the average word count remember increased to 9.8 and after two minutes of reading out loud the average increased to 10.1. Our results show that these exercises boosted the children's ability to remember by more than twenty percent.

The calculation and reading aloud exercises acted as a warm-up for the students, allowing them to perform better on the word memorization tests.

Simple calculation and oral reading exercises alleviated symptoms of dementia

My team also conducted an experiment with twelve dementia Alzheimer type patients. We gave our patients a ten minutes-a-day writing and oral reading exercise and a ten-minutes-a-day calculation exercise to be performed two to five days a week. Cognitive and prefrontal cortex function of non-participant subjects that did not do the calculation and oral reading exercises deteriorated during the six-month follow up. However, with participant subjects that did do the exercises, we succeeded in preventing deterioration of their cognitive function, as well as improving their prefrontal cortex function.

This is an exceptional achievement on a global scale -- rarely has the deterioration of the cognitive function of dementia Alzheimer type patients been slowed or diminished.

© 2009 Dr. Ryuta Kawashima author of Train Your Brain More: 60 Days to a Better Brain: Better Brainpower, Better Memory, Better Creativity 

Dr. Ryuta Kawashima, author of Train Your Brain More: 60 Days to a Better Brain: Better Brainpower, Better Memory, Better Creativity, is Professor of Neuroscience and head of the Functional Brain Imaging Center at Tohuku University. His successful research, especially with Alzheimer's patients, is revolutionizing health care around the world. His first book, Train Your Brain sold 1.2 million copies in Japan and he is the hero of Nintendo's hugely successful game BRAIN AGE.

Heaven, Hell, and Happiness


Sunday School taught us that heaven was a place in the sky where people sat around, floating on clouds, playing harps. Hell was the flaming center of the earth, where the devil (with horns, a long tail, and carrying a pitchfork) lived, waiting for sinners.

As adults, we do not know if there is a heaven or a hell after death. There are heaven and hell here on earth, and one person's heaven can be another person's hell. A secure job with the government would be our father's heaven, but Robert's hell. Being an entrepreneur is Robert's heaven. For our dad, having to become an entrepreneur at the age of fifty was his hell.

Marriage can be either a heaven or a hell. Even though we may deeply love someone, life together can be a living hell.

Money can be the reason for heaven or hell on earth. Many financial advisors recommend, "Live below your means." They say this because many people are barely surviving -- in a living hell -- using borrowed money to live a lifestyle they cannot afford. For others, heaven is having more than enough money to afford their lifestyle.

Since one's heaven can be another person's hell, the question is, what creates a person's heaven or hell? While there are many possible answers, one answer is happiness . . . or the lack of it.

Robert: Selfish and Unselfish Goals

As with so many things in life, for every action there is a reaction. If a person is unhappy, he may do something to make him happy, for example, like drink alcohol. Feeling low, he may go to a bar, drink a lot, and feel happy. The next day, he pays for his happiness with a hangover. Do this on a regular basis and that unhappy person becomes an alcoholic, still in search of happiness.

Others take chemical drugs to escape their pain and unhappiness. According to the Washington Post, today in America, more than one in every one hundred people are in jail, as many as 20 percent, for drug-related issues.

Being in jail is not my idea of heaven. Some people go shopping to relieve the pain. Money is their drug. The more money they have, the more they shop. Rather than finding heaven, they find hell, living under a mountain of credit card debt.

My drug of choice is food. When I am unhappy, I eat. While I'm eating, I feel happy. The problem is, the more I eat, the fatter I become. The fatter I become, the more unhappy I get, so I eat more, become fatter, and become even more unhappy. In my attempt to reach heaven through food, I wind up in hell. Many people seek to solve their unhappiness through religion. Many have so many problems they feel they cannot solve them, and they seek salvation by hoping God will save them from their hell here on earth.

So what is happiness?

I am sure this question will be asked through the ages. And I doubt there is one answer for all people. Like heaven and hell, one person's happiness can be another person's unhappiness, which is why I'm not attempting to tell you what to do to find your happiness. I have enough trouble finding and hanging onto my own true happiness.

One important lesson I learned from Dr. Fuller was the idea of having "unselfish goals." In other words, goals that follow the generalized principle of "the more people I serve, the more effective I become." This idea fit my mother and father's values of being of service to their community. In December of 1984, when Kim and I took our leap of faith, we took the leap with unselfish goals in mind. As I have already said, it was the worst year of our lives.

It was not a happy time.

Today, Kim and I have found happiness by having selfish as well as unselfish goals. Our happiness comes from being of service, feeling that our work makes a difference in people's lives, and that we are contributing to solving some of our world's current problems. We also have selfish goals, goals such as making enough money to create a standard of living that suits us. We would not be happy being poor, working at a job we did not love, working with people we did not like, living below our means in a dangerous neighborhood, not being able to afford health care or the finer things of life.

Work is an important aspect of happiness and unhappiness. Even though our work is often challenging and filled with problems, ultimately our work makes us happy. We realize that, for millions of people, their work makes them unhappy. For millions, work is just about money.

I have a classmate from high school who is very unhappy. Right out of college, she met a rich man, married him, and moved to his large home in Aspen, Colorado. Her husband inherited his wealth and has never really had to work. They have great kids and grandkids. Her days are filled tending to her show horses and doing charity work. Her husband spends his time at his club, putting on events to keep the members happy.

When I asked her why she was unhappy, her answer was simple: "Life seems empty."

When I asked her if her grandkids filled her void she said, "No. I love my kids and grandkids, but I am through with motherhood." When I asked about her charity work, she said frankly, "I do charity work to belong to the right social circles. Charity work is my access to the right charity balls and to be seen with the right people. I know the charities are important, but I am not passionate about the causes."

When I asked her what her soul wanted her to do, she snapped at me and said, "I'm doing enough. I'm good to my kids. I'm a good parent. I'm a good wife. I donate time and money to my charities. What else do you want me to do?"

Our conversation was over. It wasn't the time to get into the differences between selfish and unselfish goals.

One of the most valuable lessons I learned from my mom and dad was the answer to my question, "What is happiness?" The happiest days in their lives were the days they both worked for President Kennedy's Peace Corps. Dad took a break from the education department, and he and Mom spent their days, nights, and weekends working side by side at the Peace Corps training center in Hilo, preparing young people to be of service to the world. As a young man preparing to go to war, I saw the happiness that working together at spiritual work brought my mom and dad. I never forgot that happiness.

When Kim and I took our leap of faith in December of 1984, we were in search of the same happiness. The day we were married, in 1986, we didn't have much money and could not afford a band. Instead we handed out the words to "The Wedding Song" (also known as "There Is Love") by Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul, and Mary. We asked everyone to link arms and sing along with the music. The song conveyed to everyone in the circle the spiritual reason for our marriage, which spread from heart to heart. The following are a few words from this very beautiful song:

Well, a man shall leave his mother
and a woman leave her home
and they shall travel on to where
The two shall be as one.

As it was in the beginning
is now and till the end
woman draws her life from man
and gives it back again.
and there is love, and there is love.

Well then what's to be the reason
for becoming man and wife?
Is it love that brings you here
or love that brings you life?

And if loving is the answer,
then who's the giving for?
Do you believe in something
that you've never seen before?
Oh there is love, there is love.

Kim has been the greatest blessing in my life. We have been together virtually 24/7 since December of 1984. We have been apart only a few days in all those years. Our work nurtures our souls. Our work gives us life. Our work is our life.

Like most couples, we do have our rough spots. It is not always peaches and cream. It's not always wedded bliss or the fairy tale of living happily ever after. Through our work we share our love and our reason for being married. While we receive many blessings from our work, we believe the gift of true happiness is the greatest gift, a blessing that brings magic to life.

There are many people who believe the rich are greedy, and many of them are.Yet, I have met many greedy poor and middle-class people. They are simply greedy people with less money. The rich do not have an exclusive domain over greed.

When we were married, Kim and I co-created selfish and unselfish goals. We set four financial goals, and those goals became the four stepping-stones to guide us through the stream of life:

All four goals required hard work, miles of travel, a lot of study, and often a good bit of disappointment. From the generalized principle of precession, which is the ripple effect, came the gift of true happiness in our lives.

Today, we have more money than we could ever spend. We have more than we need. This is why today we are focusing more and more on giving the money back, just as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are doing. Giving money back can be a full-time job. Just as making and investing money creates unique challenges, giving money back comes with its own set of challenges. There is an art and science to charitable giving. Again, rather than give the money to the needy and the poor, which would deplete the money supply, we are diligent in finding responsible, well-managed organizations that will protect our wealth and will use the money wisely for years, long after we are gone.

Kim and I believe in working to create heaven on earth -- while we are here and after we have left this earth. We find happiness working together in our life's work, just as working together for the Peace Corps brought true happiness for my mom and dad. Finding happiness by doing our spirit's work is the best gift Mom and Dad have given their children.

This is not to say that our work is uniquely significant, special, or that important. Any work that adds value and is of service to life is important and special. For example, the person who drives a school bus has a very important and special task. I am glad there are people who want to do this job, and I would hope they love what they do.

I especially like comedians, because laughter is vital to a world that so often takes itself too seriously. The gift of laughter is a very important gift.

So what is your gift? When I am asked about how to find one's gift, I simply reply, "If you had all the money in the world, what would you do for the rest of your life? What would make your heart sing?" I also say, "One of the reasons a person does not give or use their gift is because they have been trained to go to school and get a job to earn money. So the question is, What would you do if you did not have to worry about money?"

In 1994, Kim and I had the luxury of retiring. She was thirty-seven and I was forty-seven. I thought retirement would be heaven. Instead it turned out to be hell. All I did was play golf, and if you've seen my golf game you would know why, for me, golf is the game from hell. In 1996 Kim and I developed our CASHFLOW® board

game, I wrote Rich Dad Poor Dad, and we got back to work. Our objectives remain the same. We believe that too many people are slaves to money, and one way to financial freedom is via financial education. Our wish is to have you become financially free so you can give more of your God-given gifts and do the work you were born to do.

One of the greatest joys of our work is to have people like you read our work, even if you do not agree with everything we write. I know the world is filled with people with great ideas, great stories to tell, and great gifts to give.

The above is an excerpt from the book Rich Brother Rich Sister: Two Different Paths to God, Money and Happiness, by Author (Published by Vanguard Press; 978-159315-493-6). The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

©2009, Robert Kiyosaki and Barbara Emi Kiyosaki 

Robert Kiyosaki, co-author of Rich Brother, Rich Sister: Two different paths to god, money and happiness is a fourth-generation Japanese American, born and raised in Hawaii. After graduating from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in New York, Robert joined the Marine Corps and served in Vietnam as an officer and helicopter gunship pilot. Following the war, Robert went to work in sales for the Xerox Corporation and, in 1977, started a company that brought the first nylon and Velcro “surfer” wallets to market. He founded an international education company in 1985 that taught business and investing to tens of thousands of students throughout the world. In 1994 Robert sold his business and, through his investments, was able to retire at the age of 47. During his short-lived retirement, he wrote the international best-selling book Rich Dad Poor Dad, and in 2006 coauthored with Donald Trump Why We Want You To Be Rich. An entrepreneur, teacher, and investor, Robert also writes a monthly column, "Why the Rich Are Getting Richer," for Yahoo! Finance, and a monthly column, "Rich Returns," for Entrepreneur magazine.

Barbara Emi Kiyosaki, co-author of Rich Brother Rich Sister: Two Different Paths to God, Money and Happiness, grew up in Hawaii with Robert and the Kiyosaki family. While Robert took the path of war during the Vietnam era, Emi took the path of peace, exploring alternative and spiritual journeys. Emi began her studies at the University of Hawaii and then traveled to Colorado, Alaska, and India to deepen her studies and practice of Buddhism. Emi was ordained by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1985 and today is known by her ordination name, Bhikshuni Tenzin Kacho. For six years, Tenzin was the Buddhist chaplain at the United States Air Force Academy. She has a Master of Arts degree in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan Language from Naropa University. She is the assistant spiritual director and teacher at Thubten Dhargye Ling Buddhist Center in Long Beach, California, and is a visiting teacher at Thubten Shedrup Ling in Colorado Springs. She occasionally resides at Geden Choling Nunnery in northern India. Tenzin also works as a hospice chaplain in Los Angeles, California.

The Numbers Tell the Story


Over 1.5 million angioplasties and coronary bypass surgeries are done annually in the U.S., which makes heart surgery among the most commonly performed surgical procedures for men and women. This would be fine if these procedures worked. Although heart surgery can be lifesaving, truth is that they benefit only a small fraction of the millions who undergo them. For the majority -- an estimated 70%-90%, these procedures are unnecessary. Harsh words, yes, but unfortunately true.

Here are some more telling numbers and facts:

• Americans are seven times more likely to undergo coronary angioplasty and bypass surgery than in Canada and Sweden, but the number of people who die from cardiovascular disease in these countries is nearly identical to this country.

• Bypass surgery and angioplasty have never been shown to prolong life or prevent heart attacks in the majority of patients.

• Lifestyle changes and medical treatment has been proven over and over again in numerous studies to significantly decrease heart attacks and prolong life.

The sad truth is that most heart disease patients are sold a bill of goods by a cardiology industry that has too much of a self-interest in making sure that as many people as possible are treated with expensive surgical procedures, instead of a far less expensive program of lifestyle changes and, if needed, cardiac medication.

It concerns me that countless patients are subjected every day to unnecessary surgery. But what makes it worse is that these procedures can be harmful. Although cardiologists hasten to assure their patients that these procedures are time-tested and safe, all invasive surgery carries risk. In fact, the mortality rate from bypass surgery ranges from 3%-5%. This percentage may sound insignificant, but not when you consider that a half-million people undergo these procedures each years. In addition, an estimated 25%-30% of angioplasties fail and need to be redone; eventually, many of these angioplasty patients will require bypass surgery.

Bypass surgery carries significant risks. Up to 80% of patients may experience cognitive difficulties after surgery, which is especially devastating to many elderly people who already may be experiencing memory problems. People who undergo bypass surgery are nearly four times more likely to suffer a subsequent stroke and are also vulnerable to infection. Angioplasty is also not risk-free; complications include heart attack, stroke, the need for emergency bypass surgery and infections.

How Did The Emphasis on Surgery Come About?

Ironically, the problem that too much heart surgery is being done came about as a consequence of the fact that, in the 1960s and 1970s, there was great progress made in the surgical treatment of coronary heart disease and other life-threatening cardiac ailments.

This brings me to a very important point. Not all heart surgery is a hoax. Not at all! Over the past 30 years, tremendous strides have been made in the surgical treatment of many once-fatal heart problems. Today, heart surgeons perform heroic work, saving babies with once-fatal congenital heart defects. Cardiac surgeons can repair an aorta that ruptures, replace diseased heart valves, and save patients in the throes of massive heart attacks that would previously have killed them. These are just a few examples of the wonderful advancements in cardiac surgery, which has brought with it unparalleled life-saving achievements.

My concern isn't with heart surgery when appropriate, but with the countless procedures performed that are inappropriate. These procedures subject patients to needless risk when they would have been far better off having their condition treated with aggressive lifestyle changes and medical therapy. Yet countless patients daily undergo heart surgery despite the lack of evidence that they will live longer or have fewer heart attacks.

This is the story of how heart surgery developed, mushroomed and became entrenched, despite any evidence that it was effective for the vast majority of patients.

Back in the 1950s, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower had his heart attack, little could be done for people with heart disease and cardiologists could often watch only in frustration as their patients were killed by heart attacks. It was known that heart attacks were caused by blockages in the coronary arteries and also that surgeons were able to successfully use long, thin, artificial pipes to successfully bypass blockages in the legs. So, in the late 1960s, an operation was developed that involved transplanting a vein from one part of the body -- in this case, the leg, and using it to create a route around the blocked coronary artery, allowing blood to flow through it to the heart muscle. This operation became known as coronary artery bypass surgery. The procedure took off and the rate of it quickly soared. In recent years, the number of bypass operations declined, due to the mushrooming popularity of angioplasty, but, still, nearly a half-million of these procedures are performed annually in the U.S.

Around the same time as bypass surgery was taking off, a young German cardiologist named Andreas Gruentzig came up with a way to widen blocked coronary arteries without resorting to bypass surgery, which is major surgery. His procedure, known as angioplasty, involved insert a balloon-tipped catheter, or tube, into the coronary artery. When the balloon was inflated, it flattened the plaque, (the material forming the blockage) against the walls of the artery, widening it, so the blood could flow through it. I was a young cardiologist in training then, and I'll never forget the excitement that rippled through the cardiology community when Dr. Gruentzig first displayed X-ray images, showing before-and-after pictures of blocked, and then unblocked, coronary arteries. The "after" photos looked wonderful. I, like many of my colleagues, was amazed! After I finished my cardiology fellowship, I came to Baptist Hospital in Miami and performed one of the first balloon angioplasties there. I was still high on the procedure, but, before long, I became bothered when I saw patients, who had supposedly undergone successful procedures, coming back again and again. This was happening in hospitals all over the country. It soon became obvious to me that angioplasty was not the cure-all for which I had hoped.

Around that time, as I was growing disenchanted with coronary bypass surgery and angioplasty, I learned about the Seven Countries Study, a landmark 20-year study by Dr. Ancel Keys which found that a diet low in saturated fat and processed food, which was to become known as the Mediterranean-style diet, was associated with a low incidence of heart disease. Then, as the years passed, and more studies demonstrated the flaws of heart surgery, and others showed the benefits of lifestyle treatment, like the Mediterranean- diet and lifestyle, I became convinced that prevention was a superior approach for the majority of patients with coronary artery disease. But, for most of the rest of the cardiology industry, the rush to perform as much bypass operations and angioplasty procedures continued unabated. And it still does.

©2009 Michael Ozner, MD

10 Investing Habits of Rich People


Embody the habits of the rich to enrich your own wallet!

1. Tax-free: Contributing and trading within a tax-qualified brokerage account means that you could be earning up to 30% additional in returns (which you don't give to the IRS for capital gains taxes). Compound that year in and year out and it could be worth millions.

2. Play it Safe: Always keep a percent equal to your age safe, i.e. out of the stock market. Certificates of Deposits, savings accounts, money markets, and bonds are less risky than stocks. (Bond funds should be counted as stocks, not bonds.)

3. Stocks on Steroids: Take a small percentage of your stock portfolio for trading. (Don't trade the whole nest egg.) Subscribe to a great stock newsletter, which is tracked by an independent agency, to achieve superior returns.

4. Great Partners: Interview your financial partner (broker) as if your life depends upon it. Your lifestyle does!

5. Tithe: The first check you write each month should be to your financial freedom fund. 10% for investing, so that your money can make gains while you sleep! With this habit alone, you could be a millionaire in 31 years, even if you only made $14/hour.

6. Don't be the Bank of Mom and Dad: You're not qualified to, nor would you want to, establish the underwriting guidelines for loaning out money to relatives. If someone needs money, consider any gift you give to be a gift or charity. If someone wants you to go into business with him or her, consider whether or not you want to provide that widget or service to the world. In most cases, you'll be better off considering your help to be charity or an investment, and not a loan.

7. Avoid Fair-Weather Friends: Whether it is a new broker, a new person you met by email or just new interest from someone who never cared much about you, if the new relationship is all about the money, make sure you are doing business with a monk! Do your due diligence and don't be seduced by promises of guaranteed riches, guaranteed love or a fabulous lifestyle.

8. Switch-Hit: Do as much of your day trading as possible in a tax-qualified retirement plan, such as an IRA or even possibly a college fund or health savings account. That could help you are reduce the taxes you pay on capital gains.

9. Getty/Guggenheim Your Fab Self: Find out every tax-qualified account that exists and stock up your holdings in as many protected accounts as possible, including IRAs, 401 (k)s, health savings accounts, college funds and foundations!

10. Live the Rich Life: Wealth is not just money. Wealth is enjoying a happy, fulfilling rich life with people you care about, and investing in products and services that make the world a better place. Health is wealth, so get happy & exercise! Breathing is health, so invest in green!

©2009 Natalie Pace

3 Mini Meditations to Help You Through Your Day (or Night)


What stops you from sleeping through the night? Is it when things are not going your way or they look topsy-turvy and you just want to scream; when your life appears chaotic and you are not sure if you are coming or going; or when it feels like everything is piled on your shoulders?

Life should be an exciting and outrageous adventure. Isn't it a wonder how a spider weaves a web or a bee makes a hive? Did you ever notice the small, everyday miracles, like the fact that you can breathe in and out? But how many of us get to experience this miracle? Sometimes life just feels too awful. We want to feel good, we want to be happy, in fact happiness is our birthright. But so often there are just too many difficulties to deal with. And although we may know that meditation chills us out, if we are feeling stressed or irritable then it just doesn't seem so appealing.

So here are three mini-meditations, moments to just stop and breathe and remember why you are here. A moment to check yourself out, to look within, and to find what is really meaningful to you. You can get it together even when you think it is all falling apart.

Mini-meditations can be done on a train, walking down the street, at an airport, standing at a bus stop, in an elevator, while sitting in the bathroom (often the only place you can be alone!). Silently count your out-breath up to ten times, or walk with awareness of each step for up to ten steps. Or relax each part of your body, then silently repeat "soft belly" for five breaths.

If you are at work, then use your lunch hour to find a quiet spot, perhaps in a park, or even in the office if everyone else has gone out. If you are traveling then use that time to consciously breathe, letting your awareness follow your breath from your nose tip to your belly and back out again. If you are driving or operating machinery and feel you are getting tense, then stop for a moment, breathe into your belly and silently repeat "soft belly, soft belly." Focus on any part of the body that is feeling tight and breathe into it, until you relax and let go. Silently repeat "soft shoulders" or "soft neck" and so on.

As you walk down the street or ride in an elevator, practice a mini-loving kindness by silently wishing everyone be well, wishing that everyone be happy. In the office you can spend a few moments repeating the names of everyone you work with and wishing them happiness. On your way home from work reflect on your day and generate loving thoughts to all those you met. When you send out relaxing and loving thoughts it relaxes the space around you and often any chaotic or disturbing energies will dissipate. What you put out comes back to you ten fold

1. Mini Breath Meditation

Sit comfortably with your back straight. Take a deep breath and let it go. Begin to silently count at the end of each out breath: Inhale . . . exhale . . . count one, inhale . . . exhale . . . two, inhale . . . exhale . . . three. Then start at one again. Just three breaths and back to one. Simply following each breath in and silently counting. So simple. Do this as many times as you want, eyes open or closed, breathing normally.

2. Mini Walking Meditation

You can do this walking along a country lane, a city street, in the office or the garden. You can walk slowly, normal or fast, whatever feels right. As you walk become aware of your walking, of the movement of your body and the rise and fall of your feet. Become aware of your breath and see if you can bring both your breathing and your walking together. Just walk and breathe with awareness for a few minutes.

3. Instant Letting Go

Find a quiet place to sit, have a straight back, and take a deep breath and let it go. Then quietly repeat to yourself: "My body is at ease and relaxed . . . my heartbeat is normal . . . my mind is calm and peaceful . . . my heart is open and loving." Keep repeating this until you have let go of the tension and are at peace. Then take a deep breath and have a smile on your face!

©2009 Ed and Deb Shapiro

Combination Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis


The term arthritis is not a specific diagnosis. It simply means that one or more of your joints are inflamed, for which there are more than 100 different possible causes. For example, you may have been injured (traumatic arthritis), or you may have gout (gouty arthritis), or one of your joints may have been infected by any one of a number of agents, including gonorrhea. The two most common forms of arthritis, however, are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the result of long-standing wear and tear on the joints that develops usually as we grow older. It involves a loss of cartilage and a change in bone constitution. Rheumatoid arthritis is totally different and results from inflammation of the joints that have been attacked because of a faulty immune system. It affects more than 2.1 million Americans, of whom 1.5 million are women. It's progressive, chronic, and often crippling. It usually starts in middle age but may occur in children and young adults. Unlike osteoarthritis, which is confined to the joints, rheumatoid arthritis usually also involves internal organs such as the heart and lungs.

There are several ways to treat rheumatoid arthritis, but the first goal is to reduce symptoms -- joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. This can be done with drugs such as aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), and corticosteroids. Exercise, heat, cold, and physiotherapy also play an important role. In addition, a category of medications, referred to as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDS) can affect the underlying disease process in addition to reducing pain. For the past 20 years, the DMARD of choice has been methotrexate (Rheumatrex), originally developed for the treatment of various cancers. Unfortunately, it is effective in only one in three patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

More recently, a new class of drugs -- the prototype of which is Enbrel (etanercept) -- has become available. It targets and neutralizes an inflammation-causing protein called tumor necrosis factor. Patients who don't respond to methotrexate are given Enbrel, but heretofore the drugs were not usually taken together.

Another form of therapy, called Prosorba, filters the blood of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and removes the inflammatory antibodies from the circulation. Older agents such as gold therapy, antimalarial medications, a variety of biologic agents, azathioprine (Azasan), and cyclosporine (Sandimmune) may also help. When joints have been badly damaged and are painful, and the patient is crippled and immobilized, surgery may be necessary.

Here's What's New

According to a report published in the Lancet, treating rheumatoid arthritis with a combination of methotrexate and Enbrel is more than twice as effective as either drug alone. Here are the data: After using both drugs for 1 year, 35 percent of 682 rheumatoid arthritis patients went into remission as compared with 13 percent of those on methotrexate alone and 16 percent taking only Enbrel. The other point to note is that all these patients had been suffering from the disease for years. It may be that starting this combination therapy sooner could slow down the rate of joint destruction and have an even greater effect.

The Bottom Line

There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. However, there are several different ways to reduce the joint pain, swelling, and deformity. Combining methotrexate and Enbrel, both of which affect the disease mechanism in addition to improving its symptoms, is more effective than either one alone. And the earlier this is done, the better.

© 2006 Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld, M.D.

Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld is the best-selling author of nine books, including Live Now, Age Later and Dr. Rosenfeld's Guide to Alternative Medicine. He is a distinguished member of the faculty at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Medical College of Cornell University and attending physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Rosenfeld can be seen every Sunday morning on his popular show Sunday Housecall on Fox News Channel. He is the health editor and a regular columnist for Parade magazine. This article was reprinted from: Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld's 2005 Breakthrough Health, by Isadore Rosenfeld, M.D.

Pillar Strength


Pillar strength is the foundation of all movement. It consists of hip, core, and shoulder stability. (if you're having a hard time getting your head around this concept, it might help to picture your body as a mannequin with no limbs.) Those three areas give us a center axis from which to move. If you think of the body as a wheel, the pillar is the hub, and the limbs are spokes.

We want to have the hub perfectly aligned so we can draw energy from it and effectively transfer energy throughout the body. It's impossible to move the limbs efficiently and forcefully if they're not attached to something solid and stable.

There's a reason why parents are forever telling kids to sit up straight. Without pillar strength, without what, I call "perfect posture," you will significantly increase the potential for injury in a chain that starts with your lower back, descends all the way to the knees and ankles, and rises up to your neck, shoulders, and elbows.

The reason we train body movements instead of parts is because everything about the body's engineering is connected. What happens to the big toe affects the knees, the hips, and ultimately the shoulders. The muscular system is both complex and simple, a series of muscular and fascial bands that work seamlessly to produce efficient movement. Many workout programs do more damage than good by producing muscle imbalances and inefficient movement patterns that sabotage this highly coordinated operating system that we're born with.

Remember the way that movement evolves in infants. They move on their backs until one day this action allows them to roll over, initiating the hip crossover movement. Soon they progress to crawling, standing, and, finally, walking. With each step, they realize how to stabilize their bodies.

Aging reverses that process. Many people lose the ability to squat and maintain their balance, creating poor posture. Eventually, they lose the ability to stand, surrendering the core fundamental movement patterns they developed as toddlers. But instead of conceding that devolution as an unavoidable part of aging, why not look at getting older as a process of taking these movements to new levels? In this program, you're going to take your body to the highest levels of performance and movement capabilities by challenging yourself to increase flexibility and stability. We'll help you do this by adding resistance or increasing the balance demands. This will put you farther and farther away from the regression of aging.

Look, I'm not here to bash bodybuilding and tell you not to lift weights. This program includes resistance training because of its undeniable benefits. The Movement Prep and Prehab routines you'll learn are not a cutesy program to ram the concept of functional exercise down your throat. It's more about reprogramming the body to function properly -- as nature intended -- and to continually become stronger. It's possible to become physically stronger every day of our lives.

Instead of looking at movement as coming out of the arms and legs, remember this perfect posture. If you can master the following three elements of pillar strength -- shoulder stability, core stability, and hip stability -- both while working out and in everyday movement, you will go a long way toward a healthier life.

Shoulder Stability

Anyone who participates in a sport involving hitting or throwing understands the importance of the rotator cuff. It's even more important in everyday life.

We tend to think of the hands and arms as carrying the workload for the upper body, but it's really the shoulder, or at least it should be. After all, we think of someone shouldering a burden.

The shoulder "girdle" consists of the humerus, scapula, and clavicle. It's engineered for a remarkable range of three-dimensional movement. From the shoulder, it's possible to rotate, press, and pull. We can raise our arms to the side or across the body. We can rotate shoulders by holding the elbows in and by moving the hands up and in -- or in a 90-degree angle to the torso.

Our natural instinct is to drop the shoulders forward, especially after long periods of sitting. But you want to do the opposite, bringing the shoulders back and down, which will give you proper posture.

Remember The Karate Kid? Mr. Miyagi, the wise martial arts instructor, made his young student Daniel LaRusso paint his fence and wax his cars. For days this went on and Daniel wondered if he was ever going to learn karate. When he confronted Miyagi, the old man asked him to demonstrate the various motions of painting and waxing and then attacked Daniel from all angles. Using the same motions, Daniel easily defended himself and quickly realized that he had not just been painting and waxing but stabilizing and strengthening his shoulder muscles and mastering these vital, functional movements.

If you're involved in martial arts, this program will help by stabilizing your shoulders -- and I won't make you wax cars and paint houses. Even if you have no desire to become the next Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris, you must strengthen this area to perform everyday activities from cleaning to passing objects to filing to, yes, waxing and painting.

Most of us don't realize how hunched over we are from sitting at computers and traveling in cars and airplanes. People tend to think that this affects only the elderly, but that's not the case. The next time you're people-watching at a mail or airport, pay attention to the position of their thumbs. If they're rotated in, pointing toward the body, that means their heads and shoulders have moved forward.

Unless those people do something, I guarantee that they will soon have rotator cuff and back problems, which will limit their ability to participate in the daily activities of life.

As people age, they tend to flex forward, as if the chest is caving in. We want to do the opposite, almost as if there's a fishhook inserted under the sternum, pulling us up. This will allow the shoulders to fall into place and help give perfect posture.

We're not trying to be military cadets, standing at attention. Instead, think of this as standing or sitting tall in a comfortable position, always elevating the sternum.

The exercises in this program will require you to bring the shoulders back and down, but you'll want to make it a daily habit. To make lasting change, we want to lengthen the chest and strengthen the muscles of the upper back. Think of pulling your shoulders toward your back pockets. This posture is the exact opposite of the shoulder shrug, the same motion that you make when you say, "I don't know." That's what a sitting lifestyle does to you. If you create a habit of bringing your shoulders down, you'll be amazed at the results. People will find you more confident and think you've lost weight because you're no longer slouched over. They might even think you've grown. There have been instances of adults following this program and gaining up to an inch of height from standing tall and bringing their shoulders back, as well as improving hip and core stability.

Core Stability

The middle third of our pillar is the "core," which consists of the muscles of the abdominals, torso, and lower back. It's the vital link between shoulder and hip stability, and it includes such muscle groups as the rectus abdominis, transversus abdominis, internal and external obliques, lats, the erector spinae, and many small stabilizer muscles between the vertebrae of the spine.

These are the tiny muscles that often get shut off because of a back injury and never become reactivated, causing long-term back problems. These small stabilizer muscles cannot function alone; they must be helped by training the muscles of the core to become strong and stable with the right types of recruitment patterns that will enable them to work in tandem with the shoulders and hips.

Core training is not just about the abs -- abs are less than a third of the equation. Countless books and magazine articles promise great abs, and though many of them have terrific exercises that we believe in, they're of little use unless done in conjunction with exercises aimed at integrating your shoulders and hips.

Instead of just focusing on the abs, we want to create the framework for all movement. The aim isn't just a well-sculpted midsection; it's a high-performance core.

In order to maximize the benefit of the exercises in this book, it's important to keep your tummy tight, not just while exercising but all day. Think of your tummy flat against the hip bones. Keep your tummy tight, as if pulling your belly button off the belt buckle. This isn't the same as sucking in your gut and holding your breath. Keep the abdominals in, but still breathe.

The abdominal and lower-back muscles work as a team. The point guard is the transverse abdominis, which is the first muscle that's recruited each time you move. If you can keep that "TA" activated and your tummy tight, you'll be well on your way to optimum movement and preventing long-term deterioration.

Reprinted from: Core Performance Essentials: The Revolutionary Nutrition and Exercise Plan Adapted for Everyday Use by Mark Verstegen and Pete Williams © 2005 Rodale Inc. Permission granted by Rodale, Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098. Available wherever books are sold or directly from the publisher by calling (800) 848-4735 or visit their website at www.rodalestore.com.

Mark Verstegen is the founder and president of Athletes' Performance. He has trained hundreds of elite athletes, both abroad and at the company's facilities in Tempe, Arizona, and Carson, California. A world-renowned performance coach, consultant, and motivational speaker, he lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Pete Williams is a veteran journalist who writes about fitness, business, and sports. He is a contributing writer to Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal and is the author or coauthor of six books, including the Rodale books Core Performance and Fun is Good. He lives in Safety Harbor, Florida.

For more information, please visit www.coreperformance.com

© 2006, Mark Verstegen and Pete Williams

Negativity and Health


Hostility isn't the only negative trait that can have an impact on people's health. Behavioral medicine research has identified a number of other risk factors with a definite link to serious health problems.

Depression. The negative impact of depression also increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease, and people who are depressed after having a heart attack are more likely to die within the following 6 months. Several studies have shown that patients with any disease -- diabetes is one example -- who are depressed end up needing more medical care, accounting for a disproportionate amount of medical costs.

Lack of adequate social support. People who have little support -- whether it's help with chores at home or someone to listen sympathetically -- are also more at risk. Social support acts as a buffer that enables people to cope better with whatever stresses they face, whether they're imposed by personality or life situations. Support is a function of both the person and the environment. Those of us who have a cynical mistrust of others are less likely to reach out for support, and some of us find ourselves in situations that simply don't include people who can be sources of support.

Stressful environments. Jobs that impose high demands for output of services or products but allow workers little control over how those demands are met have been termed high-strain jobs. Psychologists Robert Karasek, PhD, of the University of Massachusetts, and Tores Theorell, MD, PhD, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, have documented that people working in high-strain jobs are more likely to develop high blood pressure, infections, and job-related injuries, as well as heart disease.

Risky behaviors. People who are hostile, depressed, isolated, or in stressful life situations are more likely to overeat, smoke, and abuse alcohol.

Studies show that these different risk factors often cluster in the same individual. For example, in a study of working women, Redford and his colleagues found that those who reported high job strain were also more depressed, hostile, and socially isolated. As in people with high levels of hostility, these other psychosocial risk factors are associated with changes in biological functions, such as increases in adrenaline and cortisol, blood pressure and heart rate surges, higher cholesterol levels, and alterations in the immune system and blood-clotting mechanisms. All of these changes are felt to lead to disease.

Redford's research has continued to build upon the observation that these risk factors, along with the accompanying biological markers of stress and health-damaging behaviors, tend to cluster among certain groups. The people most likely to be affected are those stressed by lower income, education, and/or occupational levels. This clustering may be the result of reduced brain levels of the chemical serotonin, a neurotransmitter that nerves use to relay messages to one another. When serotonin levels are low, we are more likely to be angry, depressed, and anxious; to be less interested in relating to other people; to have greater fight-or-flight responses when stressed; and to smoke, drink, and eat more than is good for us. If true, this theory could point to the brain's serotonin system as a key neurobiological mechanism that regulates our ability to be in control. Two studies have found weaker brain serotonin function in persons with lower income and education levels.

In his most recent research, Redford has begun to study how genes that are involved in regulation of serotonin affect all of these health-damaging psychosocial, biological, and behavioral characteristics. This work is still in an early stage, but we have some likely hypotheses for where it will go. The serotonin "transporter" is a molecule that sits on the surface of serotonin nerve end. It's responsible for the reuptake of serotonin -- squelching the effects of the neurotransmitter after it's been released from the nerve endings. The gene responsible for making this transporter comes in various forms. Certain of these forms seem to make a person more likely to experience negative emotions, such as anger and depression, and to have greater adrenaline, blood pressure, and heart rate surges when angered.

Redford's ongoing work aims to identify the interactions between key genes and the environment and to help account for the clustering of health-damaging characteristics in the same individuals and groups. No doubt, we'll also learn more about how genes affect our ability to be in control in stressful situations.

© 2006 Redford Williams, MD, and Virginia Williams, PhD

Redford Williams, MD, is director of the Behavioral Medicine Research Center, professor of psychology, professor of psychiatry, and professor of medicine at the Duke University Medical Center. He has served as president of the American Psychosomatic Society, Society of Behavioral Medicine, and Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, and he is president-elect of the International Society of Behavioral Medicine.

Virginia Williams, PhD, is the president of William Lifeskills, Inc., in Durham, North Carolina, and has organized and led workshops teaching the In Control process to thousands of individuals, corporations, and government agencies around the world. The Williamses also coauthored Anger Kills, a bestseller, and Lifeskills. They live outside of Durham, North Carolina. For more informaiton, visit: www.williamslifeskills.com or E-Mail

Why make a New Year’s resolution when you can make a One Decision?


If you want to lose weight, pay off your credit card, or get organized, you have a bigger decision to make.

Research shows that the average New Year’s Resolution fails within three weeks. That means that 21 days after the ball drops, the champagne is gone, and the streamers have all been swept away, your grand resolution to lose weight/pay off your debt/quit smoking is going to turn into a big disappointment.

Why do we fail at our New Year’s Resolutions year after year? Sure, there are a lucky (and determined) few who manage to stick to their goals, but most of us find ourselves wondering what went wrong. Many people think they need to set smaller goals, but what I’m about to tell you may contradict everything you’ve heard before.

Your New Year’s Resolutions aren’t big enough. Your goals aren’t big enough.

What I’ve found in working with people for over 20 years is not that their goals need to be scaled back, but that they don’t want enough. They haven’t thought about why they want what they want, why they want to lose weight or quit smoking. They haven’t identified a bigger purpose and meaning within their goals, so they are running on sheer will power and are, at best, only successful in a few areas.

More than just setting goals.

It’s a revolutionary concept: if you identify what you really, truly want from your New Year’s Resolution, you’ll find that reaching smaller goals is very do-able, almost natural. Your resolution has to be more than just setting goals for the next year. It has to be a decision about what matters to you and what you really want from life. I call it the One Decision. A One Decision is a very personal choice about who you are and what you care about. The One Decision gives you a reason to go through what it takes to not only achieve your goals, but also to change your life.

Losing weight by loving yourself.

Carrie had tried every diet imaginable—no sugar, no fat, no salt, no wheat, no “white things;” the blood type and body type diets, high fiber diets, liquid diets, and special food diets. She’s been on cabbage broth diets, egg diets, celery diets, tuna diets, cottage cheese diets, and even grapefruit diets. In the past 40 years, Carrie has gained and lost enough pounds to equal her total body weight (and probably yours too!). Needless to say, simply resolving to lose weight never worked for her.

Then Carrie made her One Decision—she decided to “love herself beyond measure as a unique gift of God’s love.” From making that decision, she is beginning to treat her body very differently. When she gets hungry, Carrie asks herself, “What would you feed someone you really loved?” By default she started getting more exercise, deciding that she’s worth the extra attention it takes to really take care of herself. Carrie has accepted that she won’t be thin overnight—but by making this larger commitment she’s already lost over 20 pounds that won’t be coming back.

This New Year’s, you have the opportunity to not only achieve some goals, but also change your life for the better. Forever.

What will your One Decision be?

©2006, Judith Wright best selling author of The One Decision

What’s the Best, Cheapest Retirement Investment for Baby Boomers? Exercise!


People are always talking about investments for retirement. Financial investments, that is. If you start treating your health as an investment, though, you could find that exercise is a terrific retirement strategy worth its weight in gold.

Physical fitness can be a cash-free retirement investment that pays off handsomely.

Cash-free you ask? While the promise of getting something-for-nothing may sound like a snake oil sales pitch—“Fabulous Investment with No Cash Down!!” -- in this case, it’s for real. Sure, lots of men and women spend big bucks on equipment and sports clothing, spas and fancy gyms and personal trainers. But aside from buying a decent pair of sneakers, you may not need to spend much cash to launch this part of your personal portfolio.

And that’s because what you’re investing is not really money—but your time and energy.

Think of exercise like your piggy bank (OK, a lithe, physically fit, aerobically conditioned piggy bank!). If you regularly invest a modest amount of time, you’ll likely find as the years go by that you’ve racked up savings in three areas:

First, you can save hard cash. You’ll save by not spending on doctors’ visits and medications.

Second, you will likely save yourself from emotional stress. Exercise is to mood and self esteem what yeast is to dough: a leavening agent. That is, it’s a well-known antidepressant. And, to the extent that staying fit keeps you healthy, you also save the aggravation and sheer inconvenience that often accompany sickness.

Third, exercise takes time—but on balance, it may actually save you time. Regular exercisers swear by this seeming contradiction, explaining that because exercise gives them more energy, helps them focus and puts things in perspective, they are more efficient.

Overall, experts say that regular moderate exercise helps rather than hurts most people as they move up in years. Of course, nobody can promise that good health will automatically follow if you exercise religiously. But engaging in regular exercise in general increases an individual’s chances of staying well. According to the National Institute on Aging, people 65 and over become sick or disabled more often from not exercising than from exercising.

There are different ways you can invest your time in physical activity. And, it’s smart to spread your time amongst them, the same way it’s smart to have a balanced portfolio of stocks, bonds and cash. Of the four basic kinds of exercise recommended by the federal government's health experts, it is healthy to include each type in your weekly routines: 1. endurance exercises like walking or jogging which improve the health of your heart, lungs, and circulatory system, 2. strength exercises which build your muscles and make you stronger, 3. balance exercises which help you prevent falls, and 4. flexibility exercises which help keep your body limber by stretching your muscles and the tissues that hold your body's structures in place. There are elegant and enjoyable ways to combine these. Indeed, you might be surprised to learn that the most ancient of all forms of exercise—dancing—actually combines all four of these elements. (See excerpt below). For more on specific routines, you can obtain the free Exercise Guide, which specific exercises of each type from the National Institute on Aging. Call (1-800-222-2225) or go to www.niapublications.org.

As with financial investments, people often aren’t sure how much time to put into physical activity. And (as with money) what the experts say might alarm you. Recent guidelines, issued as part of the nation’s wake-up call to fight the obesity epidemic in the US, suggest that Americans exercise 60 or even 90 minutes on most days. But that’s a goal, not a mandate. You can aspire to it. And this doesn’t have to be done all at once. It’s fine to split that time up—take a few 15-minute walks, or stretch along with your favorite TV exercise program, or climb the stairs rather than use an elevator. Meanwhile, the message for baby boomers is simply: Get moving!

Of course, all investments have risks. A risk of launching into a physical fitness program is undue enthusiasm. Often people overdo it, get injured, and land in weeks of physical therapy. So start slowly and sensibly. Consult your physician before you undertake a new, strenuous regimen of say, pumping iron or running long distances.

The most common risk is dropping out, that is, not sticking with your own program of physical activity. So, try some tricks to overcome your own resistance to this new healthy habit. Try exercising with a friend for moral support. Entertain yourself by listening to music with a good beat. You can make a game of it by charting your progress online and routinize yourself by marking your calendar for exercise sessions. Turn over a new leaf and integrate physical activity into your life: walk instead of drive to the store, post office, or to the local coffee shop for an afternoon break. Some people give themselves exercise "assignments" ahead of time. And it’s great to reward yourself when you achieve your goals—as long as the reward doesn’t involve an ice cream sundae!

Retirement, like life, is about more than money. When Looking Forward to your post-career years, you can’t go wrong investing in your self, too!

Think of physical activity as a first-class investment, and include it in your personal lifestyle portfolio. By spending little as the equivalent of one half-hour TV show’s worth of time—thirty minutes daily exercise—you may eventually save both time and money, feel better, look better and have more energy. Exercise is, after all, the cheapest retirement investment around.

© 2005 Ellen Freudenheim, author of author of Looking Forward: An optimist's guide to retirement

Why Water Is The Key To Detoxifing Your Body


Water is, quite literally, the river on which our good health flows. Water carries nutrients to our cells, aids digestion by forming stomach secretions, flushes our bodies of wastes, and keeps our kidneys healthy. It keeps our moisture-rich organs (our skin, eyes, mouth, and nose) functioning well, it lubricates and cushions our joints, and it regulates our body temperature and our metabolism, just to name a few of its many functions.

Water also plays a crucial role in disease prevention. In a study conducted at the Centre for Human Nutrition at the University of Sheffield, England, researchers concluded that women who stay adequately hydrated reduce their risk of breast cancer by 79 percent. Another study, done at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, found that women who drink more than five glasses of water a day have a 45 percent reduced risk of colon cancer compared with women who drink two or fewer glasses of water a day.

Many doctors believe that proper hydration can help prevent chronic joint diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, because water reduces inflammation and promotes cartilage health.

Adequate water consumption can also slow the signs of aging and improve conditions such as constipation, diabetes, hypoglycemia, obesity, arthritis, kidney stones, dry skin, wrinkles, cataracts, and glaucoma.

H20: The Toxic Avenger

Without enough water flowing through our systems to carry out wastes and toxins, we would literally drown in our own poisonous metabolic wastes. I don't mean to sound alarmist, but this is no exaggeration. Even slight dehydration can wear down our systems in ways that seriously compromise our overall quality of life.

Just as the liver is crucial to the digestive process, the kidneys are necessary for helping the body remove water and waste. The kidneys are a pair of small organs that are located near the spine at the small of the back. They take in about 20 percent of the body's blood each time the heart beats, cleans it of unwanted substances and then produce urine, the fluid by which these wastes are eliminated from the body. Normal-functioning kidneys also control the concentration levels of body fluids. If body fluids are too dilute, the kidneys expel excess water via urine. If body fluids are too concentrated, the kidneys excrete the excess solutes and hang on to the water. In short, the kidneys are all about balancing the fluids and electrolytes in our bodies so that our systems run smoothly.

If the kidneys don't get the water they need to perform these filtering functions, our health deteriorates rapidly.

Electrolyte is the scientific term for a type of salt made up of ions that are positively and negatively charged. These are the "sparks" that transfer electrical messages across cells, and this activity is what makes our bodies function. Our kidneys work to keep our electrolyte concentrations steady, since they must be replaced constantly. If they're not, dehydration can set in, which can lead to organ damage and seizures. How can we be sure that we're getting enough electrolytes? Do we need to buy specially formulated, sugar-enhanced sports drinks? Many sports physiologists actually recommend water -- that's right, plain water -- over the fancy sports drinks that are marketed to us. Experts have found that the difference in electrolyte content between water and sports drinks is important only to elite athletes who are competing professionally in endurance events. Since electrolytes are already plentiful in the American diet, moderate to regular exercisers don't have to worry about running out of these salty ions. Edible sea vegetables, the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, are a great source of electrolytes as well as of minerals and trace elements.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the kidneys and bladder regulate the fluids in our bodies and make up the Water Element. Our kidneys are fantastic waste removers; they get rid of the waste products from protein metabolism -- uric acid, urea, and lactic acid -- but they need lots of water to accomplish this.

Traditional Chinese Medicine reveres the kidneys because they distribute qi, or vital life energy, throughout the body. The kidneys are responsible for removing excess hormones, vitamins, minerals, and foreign toxins such as drugs, chemicals, and food additives.

How To Boost Your Water Intake

Here are the tips I share with my clients on how to get enough water in their diets.

© 2005, Alex Jamieson

Source: Alex Jamieson is a Holistic Health Counselor and Gourmet Natural Foods Chef. She lives in Los Angeles and New York with her fiancé, Morgan, and their cat, Sue. The Great American Detox Diet: 8 Weeks to Weight Loss is her first book. Permission granted by Rodale, Inc. www.healthychefalex.com

Did Phil Hartman Die from Congressionally-Sanctioned Discrimination?


After Saturday Night Live comedian Phil Hartman was shot and killed in his sleep by his wife Brynn, people revealed Brynn's long-standing abusive treatment of Phil. CNN quoted one acquaintance saying that Brynn "got attention by losing her temper."1 Grieving friends recalled how Phil tried to avoid her when she became abusive, and how he made excuses for her abusive behavior.

Sponsors of the Violence Against Women Act, would have you believe that Phil could have sought help from battered women's shelters funded under the Act.

During the 2000 VAWA reauthorization hearings, Senator Orrin Hatch stated that men "are eligible under current law to apply for services and benefits that are funded under the original Act."2

Senator Joseph Biden recently introduced the 2005 VAWA reauthorization bill. When challenged to make the bill gender inclusive, Biden responded, "Nothing in the act denies services, programs, funding or assistance to male victims of violence."3

If these services are so readily available to men abused by their wives, why didn't Phil seek help from one of the numerous battered women's shelters around Los Angeles? Could it be that being "eligible to apply for services" is quite a different thing from being able to receive services when you need them?

Despite the good senators’ reassurances, VAWA-funded organizations routinely discriminate against men seeking help. Ten VAWA-funded women's shelters in Los Angeles were recently sued for refusing a male victim help.4 Rather than offering to stop their blatant discrimination, they went to court to defend their right to continue the discrimination.

Considering the attitudes of many shelter staffers, this is not surprising. Although the U.S. Dept. of Justice reports that 36% of all people physically assaulted by their intimate partner are men (835,000 men annually),5 many battered women's advocates insist that only 5% of victims are male.

In a Boston Globe interview about battered men, a director of the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, dismissively quipped, "Sometimes it snows in Florida … but we don't make public policy around it."6

Columnist Cathy Young notes a case in her files that "speaks volumes about most advocates' view of female violence. Brenda C. was admitted to a shelter after being arrested for assaulting her husband (during a divorce) and ordered out of their home. A letter to her attorney from a shelter counselor gave a fairly accurate account of what happened: In an argument, 'Mrs. C. grabbed Mr. C. by his necktie (and) he pushed her away. Mrs. C. then punched his face and her nail cut his neck.'" The shelter's assessment? "'Physical abuse' of Brenda by her husband."7

Time and time again VAWA-funded women's organizations have demonstrated indifference or outright hostility toward male victims. Meanwhile, federal regulations are routinely cited to justify denying funding to organizations that want to help men.8 The Texas VAWA funding application form is typical. Item number one under "ineligible activities" is "Programs that focus on children and/or men".9

Richard Gelles, Dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work, was one of the first researchers to study family violence. He notes that although there are more than 1,800 shelters for women, there's nowhere for men to turn. Shelters for battered men are occasionally created, but usually fail due to lack of funding.10

Gelles also reports that men who retain their children in order to protect them from abusive mothers, often find themselves arrested for "child kidnapping."11 How many children are harmed by these gender-biased policies? How many children are victimized by a system that removes the father they feel safe with and gives total control to their abusive mother?

Having grown up in such a family myself, I find the prospect horrifying.

Many fathers stay in abusive marriages to protect their children. That's probably why Phil Hartman stayed. Wouldn't his children be better off if VAWA had funded an outreach program for abused men, and Phil had gotten out of the marriage alive and able to protect them?

Even as VAWA helps some people, its discriminatory effects cause immense harm to others. Do we really want to condemn children to lives of misery because their protective parent is the wrong gender?

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on VAWA reauthorization on July 19th. Now is the time to tell committee members that despite Congress’ intentions, the law is actually applied in an unconstitutionally discriminatory fashion.

Unless the law is changed so programs focusing on men are no longer "ineligible activities," more men will lose their lives thanks to VAWA-funded shelter workers who hypocritically preach, "There's no excuse for domestic violence."

1 "Hartman's friends, fans ask: 'What went wrong?', Autopsy shows comedian shot in head several times", CNN.com, www.cnn.com/SHOWBIZ/TV/9805/29/hartman.death.folo

2 U.S. Congressional Record, 10/11/2000, pp. 10191-92

3 "Biden pressed to make abuse bill gender neutral, Senator: Bill already applies to both sexes", Hockessin Community News, June 2, 2005, p. 8, www.communitypub.com/WKLYART/HCN_06.02.05.pdf

4 Eldon Ray Blumhorst v. Jewish Family Services Of Los Angeles, House of Ruth, Inc., Su Casa Family Crisis and Support Center, Domestic Violence Center of the Santa Clarita Valley, Rainbow Services, Ltd, Peace and Joy Care Center, Haven Hills, Inc., Southern California Alcohol and Drug Program, Inc., Young Women’s Christian Association of Glendale, California, and Haven House, Inc., California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, www.menshealthnetwork.org/library/Blumhorstbrief.pdf

5 Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women: Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey, p. 7, National Institute of Justice, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice, www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles/172837.pdf

6 "A Search of Equality - Domestic Abuse Groups Dispute Status of Claims by Men", Boston Globe, October 28, 2002, p. B1, www.janedoe.org/about/about_news_10_28_02.htm

7 "No excuse for domestic violence. Period", Cathy Young, Detroit News, May 6, 1997, www.menweb.org/cyoungdn.htm

8 Rejection letter from Domestic Violence Coordinating Council of the State of Delaware to Forum for Equity and Fairness in Family Issues , October 9, 2002, www.menshealthnetwork.org/library/VAWArejectDel1002.pdf

9 Rejection letter from North Central Texas Council of Governments to Fathers for Equal Rights, December 16, 2002, www.menshealthnetwork.org/library/VAWArejectDallas1202.pdf

10 "The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence: Male Victims", Richard J. Gelles, Ph.D., The Women's Quarterly, 1999, www.ncfmla.org/gelles.html

11 Ibid

©2005, Mark B. Rosenthal

Related Issues: See Violence Against Women Act, Billboard Directed to Senator Joe Biden in Washington, DC

Source: Mark Rosenthal is a firm believer in the principle of equal treatment for all. He believes that the self-evident truth stated in the Declaration of Independence that all people are created equal shouldn't have an Orwellian coda saying "but some are more equal than others." Mr. Rosenthal has a particular interest in the issue of family violence. He advocates for a principled approach to the problem, with the goal of providing services to ALL victims and treatment to ALL perpetrators without regard to gender. He has been a featured speaker at York College (C.U.N.Y.)'s annual Domestic Violence Conference and has served on the board of the Battered Men's Helpline. mbr@arlsoft.com

Fathers Movement or Family Rights Movement, you decide


I'm a 40-something, independent, liberal, California single mother of four and grandmother to one, and I'm working within the Fathers Movement. This surprises some people. They must wonder why I'm championing these men if it's true that, "fathers who seek custody, they're not all great fathers." That was the truth according to Mira Fox, who runs Child Abuse Solutions, Inc. when she testified in May against AB 1307, California's shared parenting bill. Shared parenting, (joint physical custody), and this bill are supported by professionals in the legal, medical, and mental health fields and by family rights organizations, veterans groups and individuals all over California. People across the nation, and around the globe applauded our efforts on behalf of children, and I was proud to be in Sacramento that day. I watched Fox testifying and the picture she painted disturbed me.

Fox said, "Children are often given into the custody of abusive fathers." According to my research, in approximately 70 percent of all California child custody cases mothers receive sole physical custody. Fathers receive it approximately 10 percent of the time. (Nationwide mothers receive sole physical custody 84 percent of the time.) If children are given into the custody of abusive fathers, they're given into the custody of abusive mothers as well. Mothers it turns out are most likely to harm a child. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Children, Youth and Families, approximately two-fifths (40.8 percent) of child victims were neglected or abused by "their mothers acting alone." Just 18.8 percent were maltreated by their fathers acting alone, (and 17 percent of children were abused or neglected by both their mothers and fathers).

Fox testified about the sexual abuse of children. By far most child custody cases do not involve the sexual abuse of children, but the words alone can strike fear. I don't blame her. She wanted to win, and she's good at it. It's what she does for a living. Fox's organization, by her own testimony that day, trains people in the family court system how to litigate and adjudicate child sexual abuse cases. I care about victims of abuse too. I want to make sure that no child is put in harm's way. AB 1307, like most shared parenting bills, had provisions to protect children who are victims of abuse. This was a non-issue. But again, the subject of child abuse was brought up.

It disturbs me greatly that Fox casually painted fathers as perpetrators of incest when in fact fathers are the least likely of all males to commit sexual abuse. According to the January 2005 Male Perpetrators of Child Maltreatment: Findings from NCANDS, fathers are, "less likely than other male perpetrators to be involved in sexual abuse." Keeping fathers in the lives of their children protects them.

This tactic, mentioning sexual abuse, is similar to our opponents bringing up abusive and "controlling men". These men are the minority. The same is true about men in the Men's Movement, (not to be confused with the Father and Family Rights Movement), who want to completely eliminate child support, and the ones who want to revert to patriarchy. Sure, they're out there, but they do not represent the people I work with, the people who are fighting for equality in child custody. We are the real Fathers and Family Rights Movement.

And I do call it fighting sometimes. It feels like that when I have to deal with the politics of it. At one time I had no idea that I would be pitted against people who are fighting equality. This is America. The whole idea astounds me. I find it frustrating that the opponents of joint physical custody use sensationalism to "win" when it is most beneficial to our children when we all just stay honest and above board.

When I first encountered the Fathers Movement it was by accident. My son was having a child outside of marriage and he asked me for help. His father had abandoned him as a baby shortly after he and I divorced. My son later told me that the most important thing in his life was to be a good dad. He wanted to be the best father he could be, in every possible way. When he learned in his 20's that he was going to be a father and that marriage wasn't a possibility, he asked me to find out how to insure he'd be a large part of his child's life. I had been successfully co-parenting with his sister's father, a man I'd never married, for 15 years so we both knew it was possible. I was happy to see him looking into parenting plans and caring for the baby's mother. Unfortunately, shortly after his daughter's birth an attorney was hired, my son was served a summons for family court, and the situation turned adversarial. I went online to see what I could learn, unknowingly stepping into the Fathers Movement.

Shortly after I became involved in the movement, I realized there was a battle going on between a handful of radical patriarchs, called "angry fathers' rights activists" by the radical feminists and a handful of radical feminists, called "feminazis" by the radical patriarchs, with both sides tossing around accusations, insults, and outdated and inaccurate statistics to try to prove their side was right. I decided to do my own research, to see what the truth really is. I'll admit I was put off by the hostility. I can almost understand why the Fathers' Movement has a bad reputation. I saw posts online like, "You might get lucky. The Ex might lose interest or get hit by a truck." Oh, wait, that quote isn't from a Fathers' Movement web site. That's from an anti-Fathers' Movement, anti-equal custody activist's web site. The same woman, who has never met my reformist friends, or me, yet sent a letter from her state to my legislators calling us "angry fathers' rights activists."

What I found as I dug deeper through the maze of "bad facts" was that both sides were describing the same thing. Both sides exposed the same broken court system. These quotes, "it really depends upon the Judge, which GAL, (Guardian ad Litem), or Evaluator is used and all the biases he or they might hold" and "it's not simply a matter of attorney v. attorney (or facts or laws or even evaluators, all of which are key players) as much as it is the strategy of knowing which cases to bring before which judges", came from the same anti-Fathers' Movement online forum. I've read similar statements many times in the Fathers' Movement forums.

I naively assumed that since my son had been a great father during the entire pregnancy, and since joint physical custody had been law in our state for over 20 years, that he would be treated as an equal to his child's mother. I was shocked by what happened as he went through the family court system. He was prevented from having equal physical custody of his daughter by what could only be called gender bias. Lies were accepted as truth, physical evidence was ignored, the "best interest of the child" and justice were not served. I will never forget his anguish or the trauma my granddaughter went through. I knew that I could not turn my back on this kind of blatant bias and injustice.

It's now been three years and I've learned that the injustice and heartbreak my son went through is happening to fathers, and some mothers, not only all over California, but also all over America, and even all over the world. I've learned that what used to be the Fathers' Movement has become more of a Family Rights Movement with the inclusion of noncustodial mothers, grandparents trying to get their grandchildren out of foster care, and families dealing with Child Protection Services, (CPS). And I've learned that gender bias isn't the only problem in the family courts.

I'm honored to be associated with advocates, activists and reformists in more than a dozen countries including the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, Scotland, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Italy. I've heard hundreds of personal accounts from parents. Everywhere, all around the world parents are saying the system is broken, that it doesn't serve the needs of today's families. Part of the problem is that the adversarial winner-take-all atmosphere of the current family court system is causing unnecessary conflict and hostility, financial devastation, and worst of all, the tragic separation of decent, fit, loving parents from their children.

Many fathers have told me that they want both equal physical and legal custody, but they only got joint legal custody. Instead of having significant quality time to truly parent their children, instead of getting the respect they deserve and access to programs that are now exclusively for custodial parents, noncustodial parents simply have 'the parental right to make major decisions regarding the child's health, education and welfare' and have 'visitation' with their children.

Jeffery Shipman, 44, a New York father to 21-month-old Deonna, can only see his daughter every other weekend and one weekday evening. He told me, "People often say to me now, 'It must be getting easier now, huh Jeff?' I always reply, 'It never gets easier' ...and you know, a part of me never wants this minuscule amount of time to ever become 'easier' for me. For if one day per week becomes 'easier' to cope with and I would be considered 'adjusted,' that would tell me I'm not doing my job as a father. It's totally unnatural as a dad not to see my own child for a week straight."

Approximately one-third of the participants in the Fathers' Movement, or Family Rights Movement as some call it, are women. Some are grandmothers like me, some are second wives or girlfriends. Others are professionals or concerned citizens, and some are noncustodial moms like Beverly Morris. Beverly, 39, lives in Florida with her husband and their child, and is a noncustodial parent to two children in Pennsylvania. She told me, "It's been over seven years and I still feel raped, angry, and severely robbed of my parental rights to raise (my) children." Beverly is now founder and President of The National Association of Non Custodial Moms, Inc., an online emotional support forum for noncustodial parents of both genders. She said, "It makes me feel like the court system doesn't care at all what is in the best interest of children; they only care that they continue to make money through hearing after hearing; a trap which I refuse to fall into, and I refuse to put my children through."

I've heard supporters of sole custody say that liberal visitation is adequate for maintaining a close parent-child relationship, yet they aren't considering the families who are forced to deal with move-aways and estrangement. According to Rebecca Mackey, a remarried 27-year-old noncustodial mother to one, "I lost a part of my heart that has never repaired itself. The phases I feel are similar to the ones that people go through after someone dies. The only difference is that you don't get to go on with life and remember them. You get to go on with life knowing that they miss you and need you and you are helpless to do anything about it. There is no closure, just a constant searing pain in your soul that some big part of yourself is missing."

The fathers I know in the movement are regular dads; average, responsible, fit, loving fathers, just everyday dads like you meet in your neighborhood. Yet, they are prevented from fully parenting their children. Unmarried fathers, fathers to one-third of all the babies born in our country, are almost universally denied physical custody of their children. They're told, "It's against policy" by mediators, attorneys and judges. Bill Sharp, 51, a never-married Illinois father to 14-year-old Tasha and 15-year-old Willy lost his joint physical custody after his former partner refused to cooperate with the courts. Instead of giving custody to the parent who was most willing to facilitate a relationship between the children and the other parent, the judge awarded sole custody to the mother. Bill told me he still remembers the judge in his case saying, "The father should not be upset because this is how it ends up in 90 per cent of the cases."

Bill's son Willy said, "I'm angry and confused. I went to court and told the judge I wanted week-week. I don't have bad parents. That's what's fair. It's the best thing I can think of. The judge said he'd give me week-week. But then it was taken away from me before it even started and no one told me why. They ought to give a reason if they're going to take away time with a parent. No one gave me a reason". He went on, "Mom gave me a reason – she said she was the better parent. Mom tells me that 50/50 is bad but doesn't tell me why. She was always trying to convince me that 50/50 was a bad idea." Willy then said the same thing I was thinking, "I don't understand why the one who is compromising is punished."

Warren Farrell, Ph.D., author of Father and Child Reunion told me, "Fighting to be the primary parent is not a mothering instinct - or a fathering instinct - it is an instinct of territoriality. Any mother with a mothering instinct senses that children need both their mom and their dad because children are both their mom and their dad. When they are missing either, they are missing that half of themselves. The children who need most the stability of both halves of themselves are the children of divorce, especially those children whose parents are the most in conflict."

Bill added, "Ask any kid what they want in a custody solution and they'll tell you they want both their mom and their dad; and they'll tell you that they want them equally. Why? Well, primarily because it's really what they want. But most kids have had fairness drilled into them as part of their parent's, and school's, and church's, and their role models' instruction as to the proper way to go through life."

Jamil Jabr, who has been divorced for 2 years and has one child, has been involved in organizing Fathers-4-Justice in the United States. He has been working to build the group as a recognized non-profit, charitable organization. His intention is to support the gender-neutral civil rights movement in America that is fighting for equality in child custody. Jamil, who lives in Minnesota told me, "Replacing the presumption of sole physical custody with joint physical custody will remove the need to have a winner and a loser. It won't take much to change the presumption so that everyone can be a winner, particularly children, families and society, once the voice of the people stands up to the entrenched special interests and profiteers which, fortunately, are in the minority but, unfortunately, extremely powerful and loathe to change."

One falsehood that is repeated about joint custody is that it is forced 50/50. This is not true. Most parents, including people in the movement, realize it isn't realistic to split timeshare exactly down the middle. The age of the child, relationship with parents prior to the custody hearing, the work schedule of each parent, these are all things that need to be taken into account by both parents. When you hear "equal custody" it means the parents are equal, not necessarily the time. From the moment they sit down at the negotiating table to the day the judge makes his order, they should be equals, and in today's family court system they are not.

Adryenn Ashley, a motion picture producer with 21st Century Pictures Group is one of the women in the movement. She lives in California with her husband and their 2-year-old son. Adryenn experienced the injustice of the family court system firsthand while helping her husband with his case from a previous marriage. Since then she has been filming a documentary about the family courts and how they impact families in the United States. The Family Alliance Council, a not-for-profit company that promotes positive images of families and responsible role models, funds the documentary. Adryenn observed, "We can make the future better for our children, but we have to put aside our own personal prejudices and work toward the real best interests of the children. And I think we can all agree, that a profit machine that sucks billions of dollars out of the pockets of taxpayers, thus reducing the amount available to fund the future generations, is not in anyone's best interest."

According to Ronald Rohner and Robert Veneziano, authors of "The Importance of Father Love: History and Contemporary Evidence," (Review of General Psychology 5.4, 2001), "Having a loving and nurturing father was as important for a child's happiness, well-being, and social and academic success as having a loving and nurturing mother." I'm happy to report that today my son and his daughter's mother co-parent successfully. They communicate often and in positive terms about their daughter, they both remain flexible with drop-off and pick-up times and days, and my granddaughter shows the benefit of knowing that both of her parents love her always, and that neither are ever far away, or away for long.

Wendy Sheppard, 34, a licensed social worker and life coach who has shared custody of her 8-year-old son told me, "We have a week on/week off custody arrangement in which we both see our son every day no matter where he sleeps. My clients and friends often remark at how 'lucky' I am to have such a mutual arrangement with my ex. I don't consider myself 'lucky'. I'm doing what's best for my son because it's about HIM, not ME. It's not luck - it's about putting my personal feelings aside and doing what's best for my son."

When asked, the general public has shown overwhelming support for shared parenting and equal custody. As reported by Fathers & Families, (www.fathersandfamilies.org), in November 2004, 37 districts in Massachusetts had a non-binding ballot question asking if voters supported shared parenting. With over 600,000 votes cast, 86 percent of the voting public said "Yes." In Michigan recently the Detroit News carried out an on-line survey asking the following question, "For divorcing parents, should Michigan courts make equally shared custodial responsibility of children the standard?" Again, 86 percent of respondents voted "Yes".

The Michigan Families and Fathers Conference, Healing our Families, a Time for Change is being held at the Metro Detroit Airport on June 17th and 18th. For information write to the Family Rights Coalition at info@fathers05.org, call 734.322.2974 vox or visit the web site www.fathers05.org.

What I've learned in the last three years in the movement is that children want equal access to both of their parents and that parents of both genders want equal access to their children. I've learned that studies show children adjust to divorce best when they maintain the same level of contact with their parents as they had before the divorce and that in some cases shared parenting can actually reduce conflict between parents. I learned that other unmarried parents could successfully co-parent, even if they didn't think they could. And I learned that society supports shared parenting and equal custody. To answer the question of why I'm working within the Fathers' Movement, I'm here to tell the truth.

For more information on shared parenting please visit these web sites:

Sources:

©2005, Teri Stoddard

See also Is he "the loser" or is he "Dad"?

Source: Teri Stoddard, aka the Queen of Equality, is a California grandmother who advocates for children and their parents. Teri co-founded and ran The Respite Center for Women and Children and The Respite Center for Parent and Child and has spent many years working with families. She has successfully co-parented for 18 years and is currently organizing Women for Shared Parenting. You can find information on co-parenting on her web site Shared Parenting Works, www.sharedparentingworks.org, and you can keep up-to-date on family law reform on her blog EgalitarianFeminist4fathers at feminist4fathers.blogspot.com/ Email her at teri@sharedparentingworks.org 6/13/05

Five Guerrilla Marketing Weapons That Helped Increase My Business Without Spending Any Money


The end of 2009 and into 2010 was proving to be a very difficult year for my company, Taz Solutions, Inc. a web marketing, strategy, PR, and design firm. I discovered that the old ways of doing business were just not working in the "new economy. " I was used to charging $5000 or more a month on retainer without anyone batting an eye as they saw the massive value we provided. This, however, seemed to turn overnight. $5000 a month turned into $3000 which turned into $2000.

Rather than simply lowering the prices, I knew I needed to think outside the box. I decided to turn to the most well known marketing brand in history; Guerrilla Marketing. I've been familiar with Guerrilla Marketing for years, but I had never really fully utilized its power. The whole essence behind Guerrilla Marketing is using time, energy and imagination rather then money, which was simply perfect as I was strapped for cash! Instead of just reading some more of the materials, I decided to take some massive action -- I fly out to Orlando and spent several days with Jay Conrad Levinson to become a Guerrilla Marketing Master Trainer. They were so impressed with my style and commitment, they made me the Chief Marketing Officer for their whole company! Check them out at www.gmarketing.com

When I started delving deeper into the concepts of Guerrilla Marketing, I found that there were over 200 Guerrilla Marketing weapons that I could put into action. Rather then test out all 200, I tested about 30 of them. The following are my top five favorites that produced the best return.

1) Designated Guerrilla

To keep our strategies organized and streamlined, I decided to make one person at my company the designated guerrilla. This person was responsible for the marketing calendar, and making sure that the Guerrilla Marketing weapons we were putting into place were being done correctly and tracked to the nth degree.

2) Extra Value

I've never been a fan of dropping prices, especially since I never compete on price. Therefore, in order to make sure we started winning more deals, we began increasing the amount of value provided for clients. Here are some examples of what our clients now receive: a client-only event once a year (educational in nature), access to our training portal, and even a virtual assistant for ten hours a week at no cost.

3) Testimonials

I had testimonials all over the place, but I wasn't leveraging them. I also discovered that using video testimonials, as opposed to just text, worked much better. Rather then just letting the testimonials sit dormant on the web site; I integrated them into the marketing materials as well as the sales process. This took the social proof factor up to a whole new level.

4) Authoring a Book

A book is the best possible business card you can ever have. It took a lot more work than I expected, but the results have proven to be invaluable.

5) Free Public Talks

My favorite Guerrilla Marketing weapon is free public talks. I contacted various chamber of commerce organizations as well as some local business groups and offered to come and speak on various topics relating to web marketing, monetizing social media, and web 3.0 marketing. They were thrilled because they were used to paying speakers, and I was happy because I was able to practice education-based marketing and contribute to the local business community. I did not even have to "pitch" my business to the crowd, which would have been a little tacky. People simply came up to me afterwards asking for my business card.

If you're looking to generate some business without spending a lot of money, Guerrilla Marketing has worked wonders for me and my businesses.

© 2012 Michael Tasner 

Michael Tasner is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, and charity proponent who specializes in helping people achieve their dreams in life and goals in business. He founded Taz Solutions, Inc., in 2000 and has built it into a leading Web marketing firm with more than 1000 contractors involved in all areas of online/Internet strategy, marketing, and web site design. Michael is the author of Marketing in the Moment: The Practical Guide to Using Web 3.0 Marketing to Reach Your Customers First. For more information, visit michaeltasner.com, follow the author on Twitter and connect with him on Facebook.

Undoing the Damage of Male-Bashing, One Daughter at a Time


While most American women obsess about the laments of frazzled mothers, a handful of their daughters at Wake Forest University are turning their attention to the study of that mysterious and often-demonized species — fathers. Yep, you read it right. Fathers. Dear ol’ Dad. Remember him?

Each week, these young women (and one young man, who signed up because he hopes to be a good father someday) arrange their desks in a circle with Dr. Linda Nielsen, psychologist, professor and author, to learn about fathers and fatherhood in the only such college course in the country.

The class is not a therapy session or support group, but a tough college course like any other, involving research, reading, field projects, papers, tests and grades. It’s just harder than most because it also involves introspection, self-analysis and the search for insight into one of life’s most important relationships. I attended a class recently, both as an observer and quasi-lecturer, at Nielsen’s invitation. Nielsen’s and my discovery of one another was like that scene in “The Count of Monte Cristo” where Edmond Dantes suddenly hears the tapping of another inmate through the dungeon floor and realizes, joyously, that he’s not alone. Together they labored to tunnel their way out of captivity and darkness into freedom and light. Similarly, these young people dig deeply to liberate themselves from the dark male stereotypes that pervade our culture, enlightening themselves in order to embrace their fathers. The title of Nielsen’s book and the course textbook is Embracing Your Father: How to Build the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted With Your Dad.

Despite the popularity of Nielsen’s class, now in its 15th year, and rave reviews from alumni, Nielsen has received scant attention from our nation’s literary and cultural gatekeepers. She understands the problem.

It is, after all, her job to understand the psychology of groupthink and the unconscious motivations of human beings. Thus, the joke around Nielsen’s kitchen table is that her book might have been a best seller if she’d titled it, “Ten Reasons to Hate Your Father … While Losing 20 Pounds and Having Great Sex!” Nielsen prefers to deal in reality, however, and is fearlessly steadfast in her conviction that most young women have been brainwashed by the culture into believing that men are inferior to women and that everything lacking in the father-daughter relationship is Dad’s fault.

An avowed feminist, Nielsen tries to show her students that sometimes girls and women are not victims, but are arrangers of their own unhappiness and misfortune.

At the same time, Nielsen is careful not to demonize mothers, which she says would be counterproductive and unfair. Daughters need to respect the mother as well as the father part of themselves, which evolves from a deeper understanding of both parents.

Her approach is short on warm and fuzzy. She’s a teacher, not a baby sitter, and instructs the old-fashioned way, using hard facts, statistics and research that bear out what women who’ve had good relationships with their fathers have always known — that most fathers are lovely creatures who teach their daughters, among other things, self-respect.

How peculiar that so many girls today learn a different story, often from mothers who, sometimes hurt or embittered by divorce, communicate negative messages to their daughters. Movies, books, television and other media are equally culpable.

By contrast, Nielsen’s book is full of documented facts that invariably take students by surprise. By learning, for example, that 2 million single dads are raising 3 million kids on their own, or that 80 percent of married fathers in this country earn most of the money for their families, students begin to see their fathers as hard-working, responsible men rather than as objectified wallets who routinely disappoint families by working too much.

They also learn that they share the responsibility for having a better relationship with Dad, and that fathers sometimes need permission to be more involved with their daughters. Such lessons offer dividends beyond grades, as expressed by grateful students who write to thank Nielsen for helping them discover their fathers as fellow travelers in life’s journey rather than as obstacles to gratification.

All students learn that most invaluable of lessons, that Dad is also “just” a human being, perhaps flawed and even struggling, and that he, too, could use a little understanding. Just like his little girl.

© 2005, Kathleen Parker


Source: Kathleen Parker, a syndicated columnist for the Orlando Sentinel, welcomes comments via e-mail at kparker@kparker.com, although she cannot respond to all mail individually. Also, Linda Nielsen's column appears monthly on our home page. See her most recent column here.)

10 Tips for Keeping the Weight Off


Here are 9 critical behaviors and 1 additional shift in thinking that make up the 10 most important things to do on maintenance. The first 4 behaviors characterize all my winners. The 6 additional behaviors describe most of my clients. And while I believe that all 10 are important, the first 4 are critical for success.

SPECIAL ALERT: The single most important thing you can do to keep weight off for a lifetime is so important I've changed the format of the text to indelibly etch it into your psyche.

1. Wear form-fitting or tight clothes! When you reach maintenance, you should have one size, and one size only, of clothing. I've found that nothing sounds the warning siren faster or motivates people to act with greater haste than when their clothing gets too tight!

Think about what motivated you to start your diet. If you're like many of my clients, you were uncomfortable with your clothing (or you couldn't fit into it) and appearance. When you have a little extra trouble buttoning a pair of jeans or find it necessary to add an extra notch to your belt, it reawakens the original motivation. When you have only one size, you have no choice but to stay trim. If you save larger sizes, you are making it easy -- too easy -- to just switch to a larger size instead of acting to correct any errors.

Also, if you don't plan to be heavy again, why save the larger sizes? When you reach maintenance, throw out the larger sizes -- immediately!

Knowing that you have only one size of clothing adds another powerful incentive to maintain your weight: economics! How many of us can afford to buy a whole new wardrobe especially one in a larger size? Your wallet gives you extra incentive to guard your weight loss.

Before people ever respond to the clarion call to health, they listen to the cry of their clothing getting too tight. I'd have a nearly empty office if I tried to motivate people to stay on maintenance on the basis of health alone.

Your wardrobe is the most powerful deterrent I know of against sliding once more into out-of-control eating. It signals your commitment never to be heavy again. That's why I insist that all maintenance clients discard all clothes that no longer fit, with one exception: I ask them to save the outfit that's their largest size (preferably one they disliked ever having to wear) as an eternal reminder.

2. Keep problem foods you have a history of abusing out of your home. Almost all the women and a very large percentage of the men I have worked with who regained weight started the slide in their own homes. The slide often began with a food they had a history of abusing but had avoided while they were losing weight.

Remember the study by researchers at the National Weight Control Registry that found that two out of three people who lose weight and keep it off keep problem foods out of their house? Although that food might not tempt you at this moment, I can't urge you strongly enough to remove it from your home or at least keep it permanently out of your sight. Remember, you're always vulnerable to the foods that have tripped you up in the past -- even on maintenance. Eventually, people tend to return to their old favorites if they are continually available. On maintenance, even more than weight loss, availability stimulates craving -- even if it doesn't happen immediately. Along with keeping only one size of clothes in your house, it's critically important to keep problem foods out of your home.

3. Set a weight ceiling, and defend it. Pick a number -- typically about 3 pounds for women, 5 pounds for men -- and don't let your weight go above it -- ever. No matter what happens, don't let yourself off the hook. Draw a line in the sand. If you see your weight going up, return to my A list eating plan for several days, and as the weight starts to move down, you can add selections from my B list. When the weight is back down, you can return to maintenance eating (my C list). Most of my clients expect increases in weight on weekends because of higher-calorie maintenance meals at home and out. Monday is typically the "high number" day of the week, but by Friday, they bring the weight back down to their goal weight, via Phase A and B eating.

4. Weigh yourself every day. Your bathroom scale can't weigh your behavior. However, it will tell you when you gain a pound or two. If you step on the scale the morning after a big meal at a restaurant or special event, your weight could be up. Don't be alarmed. If it's water weight, it will dissipate in 24 to 48 hours. You should expect slight variations during the week, especially after maintenance meals.

If it's real weight (3 or more pounds that remain over a period of several weeks), that should be a warning to you to take immediate action.

If you find it a bit maddening to follow the daily fluctuations of the scale even though you are eating properly, pick three days of the week on which you will always weigh yourself (for example, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday).

5. Weigh yourself on the Maintenance New Scale, a nearly foolproof way to predict the scale of tomorrow (Explanation contained in The Thin Commandments Diet).

6. Exercise. It gives you structure and control. It gets you thinking about calorie burn and health consciousness and directs you away from obsessing about food. It's been shown that dieters who exercise regularly succeed the longest at keeping weight off. A study of more than 32,000 dieters by Consumer Reports magazine found that "regular exercise was the number one successful weight-loss maintenance strategy" of more than 81 percent of the long-term maintainers. In second place, at 74 percent, was the related strategy of increasing activity in daily routines. Also, as your body becomes lighter, it burns fewer calories. Exercise helps expand your calorie budget by burning the higher-caloric foods of maintenance.

And remember: Exercise generates endorphins, increases energy, and elevates mood.

Exercise provides you with a healthy outlet for stress. These effects help you follow through on your commitments, especially to control your weight. And as an outlet for stress, exercise shortcuts mood eating. It's the perfect alternative to keep your moods out of your foods.

7. Keep a photo of yourself at your heaviest weight. For added emphasis, place it next to a picture at your lightest weight. Many of my clients put the photo in a place where they feel most vulnerable -- the refrigerator door or kitchen counter, for example. Others elect to carry the photo in their wallet or purse.

Some of you may find it upsetting to stare constantly at a picture of yourself at your heaviest weight. Instead, carry a picture of what you look like at your lightest weight. You may find it motivates you even more to protect your accomplishments.

When it comes to weight control, a picture is truly worth a thousand words.

8. Keep a food diary. I'd like you to keep a diary for at least the first 90 days on maintenance. I ask my own clients to keep a diary for a full year. I want them to be certain they can manage the entire cycle of the year, with its holidays, vacations, special events, birthdays, summer versus winter eating, and so on. Since the same events and seasons come up year after year, once you get through the first year, you should be well prepared for the coming ones. After the first year, I frequently ask some clients to continue to keep a food diary or to keep a record of any "error" such as eating problem foods or excessive quantities of caloric foods.

A diary will serve as a daily reminder of the extras and/or negative eating habits. Writing out your meals and snacks a day in advance will help structure your thinking and help you steer clear of potential trip-ups.

9. Give yourself clear boundaries. Boundaries are a strong structure for your eating behavior. A major study of the winners found that 88 percent limited some type or classes of food. Another 45 percent limited the quantities of the foods they ate. Remember, if you don't have a good history of limiting a particular food, avoid it.

I help my clients establish clear boundaries and control their calorie budget with the lighter menus of Phases A and B of my eating plan from Monday through Friday, saving their maintenance meals or higher-calorie foods for weekends and special events. This clear boundary helps build an infrastructure of positive behaviors and smart eating habits that becomes automatic after a few weeks.

Most of my winners reinforce their boundaries with the techniques of Box It In and Box It Out. Many decide to Box Out a certain category or type of food. For some, it's baked goods, especially breadbaskets. Others avoid sweet baked goods (but may indulge in another type of sweet, such as a chocolate mousse). I want to emphasize again: They don't do this to make their lives difficult or to deprive themselves of something they want. They do it to make it easier to succeed at weight control -- which is something they want more.

10. Go beyond the food reward system. My winners enjoy the pleasure of fine food. Many of them dine regularly at fine restaurants. However, they've evolved beyond the childhood programming that views food as a reward or a treat.

They understand that no matter how beautiful a food looks or how enticing its aroma, if it's a food they have a history of abusing, it's no reward at all.

Some of my clients reward themselves with new clothes. Others enjoy a trip to a spa, a new necklace, or a weekend getaway with friends.

These are material rewards. A far more meaningful reward occurs each morning when they look in the mirror and see a trim body. There's no greater reward you can give yourself than to live the vision you have for your own life.

© 2005 by Dietech Co

Source: Reprinted from: The Thin Commandments Diet: The 10 No-Fail Strategies for Permanent Weight Loss by Stephen Gullo, Ph.D. . Permission granted by Rodale, Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098. or www.rodalestore.com

 The B Word


Recently, it seems as if there’s some sort of heated competition in the media for the category of Outstanding Performance of Misidentified Sexuality.

Our first nominee, predictably, is New Jersey governor James McGreevey, accompanied by his gorgeous, adoring wife, stands at a podium and announces his resignation, due to a doomed affair with an Israeli man whom he says is blackmailing him. While holds his wife’s hand and affirming their love for each other, he declares, “As a child I always felt ambivalent. ... My truth is that I am a gay American.” Weird, but the story and misnomers get more ridiculous: the accused blackmailer’s lawyer describes his client as “heterosexual.” The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart calls him a “flaming extortionist.”

Our next nominee, George “Father Figure” Michael, says in an interview for the U.K. magazine, GQ, “When I walk into a restaurant I check out the women before the men, they’re more glamorous. If it wasn’t for [my boyfriend] Kenny [Goss], I’d have sex with a woman, no problem.” Not that having a boyfriend kept him out of public restrooms soliciting sex with men. Anyways, so he still digs women. No big deal. But why does he call himself, and why does everybody else call him gay?

Finally, on The Graham Norton Effect, Sandra Bernhard makes her entrance holding two male hunks on leashes. When Graham suggestively holds out a bunch of grapes to her and to Marlon Wayans, Sandra quips to Marlon, “You can always lick a man’s balls.” Minutes later, checking an online “hot teeth-brushing” site, Graham notes that Sandra’s mouth picture is on top of Catherine Zeta-Jones’. Sandra shoots back, “That’s just where I like to be.” The audience roars and Sandra shouts, “That’s right — the L Word, people!” Is Sandra plugging the new Showtime cable series, or actually calling herself a lesbian these days?

The envelope, please. Whoops, it’s empty: no winners, I guess. We’re looking for a word here, people, and it’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue, but it just seems to catch in the throats of gay men, lesbians, and straight folks. Wayne Bryant, author of From Anais to Zee: Bisexual Characters in Film, has the answer: “Indeed, while many of the bisexual male stereotypes we have lived with for the past several decades are still with us, the most prevalent trend as we enter the new century is the inability of bi men to utter the word ‘bisexual.’ … In Hollywood, as well as independent and foreign films, it has become the sexuality that dares not speak its name.”

Indeed, Michael Cunningham’s deeply moving novel and new movie, A Home at the End of the World, depicts two boys who develop a deeply emotional and sexual friendship. After a sudden break of several decades, the two reunite in Manhattan with an older female friend. Their friendship triad becomes what many reviews politely describe as a “love triangle.” With only their hearts to guide them, the three characters struggle to create a form of family and love for which they have no model — and apparently no word: the words “gay” and “bisexual” are never used.

I thought that there was actually a word for people who love both men and women: bisexual. But apparently I’m mistaken. While preparing two anthologies on bi men, it becomes quickly apparent that, although bi communities exist in a few urban areas, a substantial, viable bisexual culture seems conspicuously absent. Why, for example, is there no national magazine of any distinction that markets itself to bisexuals? (Details, I’m assured, is for metrosexual guys.)

I ask a famous gay doctor whom I know if he can help me arrange an interview with a male bisexual celebrity, such as Allan Cumming or Michael Stipe. He replies dismissively: “In Italy almost every man marries. I know lots of gay, and I mean very gay men, who are married and have sex with women. Bi-sexuality to me is not a reality.” It’s odd, coming from a doctor: how are “very gay men, who are married and have sex with women,” not bisexual?

An old pal, Blackwolf, writes me, “Some women are deep down sexy and fascinating and indescribable in their complexity to me. Most are not to me. Most men are, to me, a sexual blank. ... I don’t know if I would still call myself bisexual, merely open to sensations. My partner is the only person to whom I’m constantly attracted.” Granted, but I wonder why he would stop considering himself bi.

I visit the Webpage “LGBT for Kerry,” which affirms that “John Kerry and John Edwards believe that every American should have the opportunity to succeed and to live the American dream. ... The LGBT community contributes to our nation in so many ways, in every corner of this country. Gay and lesbian Americans only asks for equal treatment.” I appreciate these words of promise and hope for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people, but cannot understand the obvious omission of bisexuals and transpeople, nor why my requests to the Website to add those terms are ignored.

Queer people of all stripes often deny a basic aspect of human (and animal) sexual nature: If you’re sexually attracted to both men and women, that makes you bisexually oriented. Bisexual. Not straight. Not gay. Not lesbian. It’s bisexual — and, for some, like noted author Patrick Califia, it may be transsexual as well. Whatever you call yourself, bisexuality is real.

The complexity of the concept is understandably difficult to grasp by gays and straights alike. As The Joy of Gay Sex (3rd rev. ed.) describes in its excellent entry on bisexuality, “Perhaps no other word in the area of human behavior is used with such imprecision. ... Truly bisexual men and women belong to one of the most persecuted groups in society. Both gays and straights find them confusing, and their very existence threatens widely held preconceptions.”

Far beyond the “bisexual chic” of the “sexual revolution” three decades ago, in present-day post-sodomy USA, a bisexual revolution is silently but steadily unfolding. Accelerating numbers of previously hetero- and gay-identified men and women, and younger bicurious people, are coming out as bisexual, into an increasingly tolerant culture where eventually bisexuality may very well become the norm.

Studies indicate that almost half of Kinsey’s “one in ten” homosexual men may actually participate in sex with both men and women. Although many may call themselves bisexual, far more identify as straight or nongay and live in the straight community, even though bisexually active. In smaller numbers, bisexually active men call themselves “gay men who sleep with women” and live in the GLBTIQA community.

Although we may conjecture upon the commonness, and repression, of male bisexuality, bi men clearly are an underserved population among GLBTIQA studies, men’s studies, gender studies, fiction, and other literature in general. Notable exceptions such as bestselling writers E. Lynn Harris and J. L. King also tend to misidentify “straight” men on the Down Low as being in actuality “gay.”

Bi men are made further invisible by the medical community, who no longer even look at them as bisexual – whether self-identified as gay, bi, or straight – but as “MSMs” or Men who have Sex with Men. Strong cultural influences deeply affect many of these bisexually active men, such as married African-American men on the Down Low, and Hispanic/Latino men whose machismo prohibits submissiveness.

The apparent dearth of out, bisexual-identified men is understandable, considering the huge personal risk involved for many straight-identified MSMs afraid of being perceived as fags or “girlie men.” Straight culture illogically lumps bisexuals in with gays and other queers from sexual ignorance, common bigotry, and misogyny.

Inclusion is the guiding force of bisexuals, diversity its key. One friend asks, “Why can’t you people decide on one name to call yourselves?” Not only does everyone seem to have a nasty word or joke for bis, they themselves seem strangely unable to agree on the term. Bi folks call themselves, or are called, omnisexual, polyamorous, asexual, trisexual (“He’ll try anything!”), ambisexual, fence-sitters, transgendered, metasexual, and multisexual – often occurring in surprising new combinations. Anything but monosexual.

Bisexuality itself has limitless flavors. A local drag queen snipped at me recently, “I just don’t get bisexuals.” I explained, “If you like both Vanilla and Moose Tracks flavors of ice cream, why not eat them both? Drag is even a way of bisexuality.” To which she replied, “Drag is far more glamorous than bisexuality.” Perhaps, but while drag queens may be bisexual, bisexuals are never a drag.

There are as many sexualities as there are individual bodies and souls: to paraphrase author Susie Bright, every person has a sexual story. Because of its ambivalence, bisexuality and transgendered folks understand what it means to shift one’s sexual vocabulary. Some gay and lesbian folks truly get that bisexuality is as valid a way of loving as any other, and don’t try to marginalize others in service of whitewashing everything “not straight” as gay. On Michael Signorile’s radio talk show recently, one guest described a married man he met who has sex with men as “hard bi.” to which another guest dismissed him, “Oh, that’s just gay.” Somehow they needed to qualify or deny bisexuality; they couldn’t simply state, “Oh, that’s just bi,” as if it weren’t abnormal.

Every day, in ways large and small, we all encounter evidence of bisexual invisibility. As we seek to describe ourselves honestly and positively, bisexuals try to live with conscious sexuality loving all. Show your compassion for bisexuals and acceptance of bisexuality by calling us as we are, rather than as you might want us to be. Especially if you’re gay or lesbian, please: say bisexual exactly the same way you want others to say homosexual, lesbian, or gay.

I don’t buy the idea that using the word enforces a binary gender system. “Bisexuality” is a word that encompasses a vast, if not unlimited, range of affectional preferences and sexual activities. Yet its simplicity is apparent: whether you’re male or female or trans, if you’re attracted to both men and women, whether simultaneously or sequentially — why yes, you, friend, are bisexual. It’s a perfectly good, perfectly usable word.

Go ahead and say it: bisexual. It just might fit.

© 2005 by Ron Suresha. All rights reserved.

Source: Ron Suresha is author of the gay men’s studies book, Bears on Bears: Interviews & Discussions, and editor of several fiction anthologies, most recently Bear Lust: Hot, Hairy, Heavy Fiction, from Alyson Publications. He is completing editorial work on two new nonfiction and fiction anthologies of bisexual men’s writing, forthcoming from Haworth Press / Journal of Bisexuality, 2005. He lives in Providence, RI, and his Website homepage is http://www.suresha.com.

Note: A longer version of this essay was published previously in FAB Magazine, Oct. 2004, and Options RI, Nov. 2004. Ron Jackson Suresha, POB 3355, Providence, RI 02909-0355 www.suresha.com or mail@suresha.com or 401.383.4174

What Men Need to Know about Women and Menopause


Couples going through menopause often have unique struggles when coping with the new changes and challenges it brings to them both as individuals, and as partners. It is an inner battle – mentally and physically – for not just women, but men as well. For women, it may be hard to get a male partner to understand and be able to empathize with her challenges. But both sexes go through a form of menopause, and this transition is disruptive and even scary, and a certain level of understanding and communication is required for any one to have a quality relationship at this stage of life.

Nancy Cetel talks about many of the changes couples experience in her book Double Menopause, and what often happens is that emotions, including past hurts, hopes, dreams, etc., that may have been buried or unexpressed in the past, can no longer hidden. It can’t be helped – the truth will not be held back any longer. For some women, that shows up in pent up aggression that is taken out on a male partner by pushing him away and/or making him unable to relate to you on a physical level. Men need to know that the loss of desire for sex may be caused from the hormonal changes, but there might also be an emotional element that needs to be dealt with.

It is advisable that men in menopause couples acquaint themselves with the effects of menopause, in themselves and their partners, in order to better understand the changes their relationship is going through. Men soon realize that hormonal imbalances are causing unwanted emotional symptoms in women that could lead to verbal spats every now and then. Men need to be aware that emotional changes are likely to occur and that they are not to blame for them but that their partner may require extra attention, love and outward expressions of caring more now than ever before.

Men need to understand that their sexual drives could also have changed as they experience a slower loss of testosterone. To keep sexual interest, partners may need to put more time and attention into the quality of their sex lives and ‘update’ themselves on what things turn them on at this stag of the game.

Men need to know that a decrease in estrogen in their lover’s bodies – can significantly alter how she thinks and feels about sex. In addition, vaginal discomfort and thinning of the lining of the vagina can make sex painful so it will not be enjoyable for either of them until they find a solution for this.

More than ever this is a critical time for couples to communicate more about the changes they are both experiencing. Christian Northrup talks about ‘reversing roles’ as couples go through this transition in her book the Wisdom of Menopause. Men often lose a lot of the aggression that once fueled their younger years and they are happier to stay home and engage in more nurturing activities, that they never paid attention to before, such as cooking. Women, on the other hand, may want to venture out into the world and pursue a long-thought about career. They become more aggressive and passionate about accomplishing things. In this way, the couple almost switch roles in the relationship.

Talking a lot, expressing ideas, and bonding with one another again becomes critical during this transition. Men need to know what is happening to their women on a day-to-day basis, and visa versa. Women want men to cheer them on as they undergo significant changes including dealing with physical discomfort, hormonal imbalances, and possibly venturing out into the career world for the first time!

Men need to know that sex isn’t going away totally. Explore sexual alternatives and realize that having less sex is not the end of the world! Experiment with vibrators, and oral sex, if you haven’t already as these are fine alternatives and to maintain a healthy sex life. Women love toys as much as guys do. Menopause might mean taking more time for foreplay for some women. Get into a habit of communicating your needs to each other and learn to enjoy the changes instead of fighting against them.

The most important thing is that husbands provide a social network for their menopausal wives to rely on. Realize that menopause is only a phase, albeit the end of the old and the beginning of a new one, and it’s possible to adjust to the changes by remaining aware. By staying informed of each other’s thoughts and feelings and becoming tolerant and understanding to the emotional pains women can go through, menopause couples can overcome most difficulties. And, who knows, you might like the new person you wake up to better! Think of it as another adventure.

©2005, Cathy Taylor

Source: Cathy Taylor is a marketing consultant with over 25 years experience. She specializes in internet marketing, strategy and plan development, as well as management of communications and public relations programs for small business sectors. She can be reached at Creative Communications: creative--com@cox.net or by visiting www.menopauseinfo.org

Undoing the Damage of Male-Bashing, One Daughter at a Time


While most American women obsess about the laments of frazzled mothers, a handful of their daughters at Wake Forest University are turning their attention to the study of that mysterious and often-demonized species — fathers. Yep, you read it right. Fathers. Dear ol’ Dad. Remember him?

Each week, these young women (and one young man, who signed up because he hopes to be a good father someday) arrange their desks in a circle with Dr. Linda Nielsen, psychologist, professor and author, to learn about fathers and fatherhood in the only such college course in the country.

The class is not a therapy session or support group, but a tough college course like any other, involving research, reading, field projects, papers, tests and grades. It’s just harder than most because it also involves introspection, self-analysis and the search for insight into one of life’s most important relationships. I attended a class recently, both as an observer and quasi-lecturer, at Nielsen’s invitation. Nielsen’s and my discovery of one another was like that scene in “The Count of Monte Cristo” where Edmond Dantes suddenly hears the tapping of another inmate through the dungeon floor and realizes, joyously, that he’s not alone. Together they labored to tunnel their way out of captivity and darkness into freedom and light. Similarly, these young people dig deeply to liberate themselves from the dark male stereotypes that pervade our culture, enlightening themselves in order to embrace their fathers. The title of Nielsen’s book and the course textbook is Embracing Your Father: How to Build the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted With Your Dad.

Despite the popularity of Nielsen’s class, now in its 15th year, and rave reviews from alumni, Nielsen has received scant attention from our nation’s literary and cultural gatekeepers. She understands the problem.

It is, after all, her job to understand the psychology of groupthink and the unconscious motivations of human beings. Thus, the joke around Nielsen’s kitchen table is that her book might have been a best seller if she’d titled it, “Ten Reasons to Hate Your Father … While Losing 20 Pounds and Having Great Sex!” Nielsen prefers to deal in reality, however, and is fearlessly steadfast in her conviction that most young women have been brainwashed by the culture into believing that men are inferior to women and that everything lacking in the father-daughter relationship is Dad’s fault.

An avowed feminist, Nielsen tries to show her students that sometimes girls and women are not victims, but are arrangers of their own unhappiness and misfortune.

At the same time, Nielsen is careful not to demonize mothers, which she says would be counterproductive and unfair. Daughters need to respect the mother as well as the father part of themselves, which evolves from a deeper understanding of both parents.

Her approach is short on warm and fuzzy. She’s a teacher, not a baby sitter, and instructs the old-fashioned way, using hard facts, statistics and research that bear out what women who’ve had good relationships with their fathers have always known — that most fathers are lovely creatures who teach their daughters, among other things, self-respect.

How peculiar that so many girls today learn a different story, often from mothers who, sometimes hurt or embittered by divorce, communicate negative messages to their daughters. Movies, books, television and other media are equally culpable.

By contrast, Nielsen’s book is full of documented facts that invariably take students by surprise. By learning, for example, that 2 million single dads are raising 3 million kids on their own, or that 80 percent of married fathers in this country earn most of the money for their families, students begin to see their fathers as hard-working, responsible men rather than as objectified wallets who routinely disappoint families by working too much.

They also learn that they share the responsibility for having a better relationship with Dad, and that fathers sometimes need permission to be more involved with their daughters. Such lessons offer dividends beyond grades, as expressed by grateful students who write to thank Nielsen for helping them discover their fathers as fellow travelers in life’s journey rather than as obstacles to gratification.

All students learn that most invaluable of lessons, that Dad is also “just” a human being, perhaps flawed and even struggling, and that he, too, could use a little understanding. Just like his little girl.

Source: Kathleen Parker, a syndicated columnist for the Orlando Sentinel, welcomes comments via e-mail at kparker@kparker.com, although she cannot respond to all mail individually. Also, Linda Nielsen's column appears monthly on our home page. See her most recent column here.)

Everybody Deserves Better


Hurray! Because you are reading this, you now know that we are in the smack-dad middle of Genital Integrity Awareness Week (GIAW). What happens during GIAW you wonder? There are no presents given (unless parents choose to not slice the foreskin of their newborn son’s penis), nor are there magnetic ribbons distributed to plaster our SUVs. (That idea’s a total freebee. I say we make the ribbons red.)

There is a march on America’s. People hold huge signs proclaiming our rage and need to change the concept of cutting off part of a person’s body without their consent. These people are hardcore, and deserve all our respect and support.

If this is the first time you’re educating yourself about controversy against circumcision, then buckle in. There’s a ton of information on the Internet, right at your fingertips. I suggest going to the following site, then clicking on any of the organization’s links to read about why circumcision (aka infantile genital mutilation) is really wrong and should be stopped today. www.mgmbill.org/resources.htm  

I’m assuming you went, and visited several of the sites that state the horrors and implications that circumcision creates. You are now informed about why it is wrong and the benefits of being intact, and if you are circumcised (like I am) you’re steaming with anger and want to know what you can do to end the insanity.

Of course, all of the organizations proactively striving to end this heinous surgical ritual are nonprofit, so we know what that means. Along with kicking some fundage their way (and I mean any, I sent three dollars to NORM and NOCIRC), it is important to actively participate in the support. It won’t take you long. Trust me. It took less than ten minutes for me to join the revolution.

Here are four easy steps to actively do your part to help end infantile genital mutilation. Go to www.mgmbill.org Click on the Take Action link on the left sidebar.

There you will find several petitions to electronically sign, as well as the bills in their entirety that our vanguards are pushing to be made into law.

For the The Ashley Montagu Resolution whose mission is to end genital mutilation world wide, you only need to submit your first and last name, and a valid e-mail address (you can select whether you want your info public or private). It took me less than a minute, no lie, I just did it. 

Then there are steps two, three, and four. I imagine most of us will make it past step two at least. For it requires us to follow through with what we believe in, and all you need to do is follow some links. I found it helped to open another window of the MGMbill web site, for some cutting and pasting text comes into play.

Click on the House or Senate link (the format for either is similar). When it prompts you to the next page, type in your five digit zip code, and you’re House or Senate representative’s name will be produced. Click their name and you will be transferred to their web site or an e-mail form. If you’re transferred to their web site, find the Contact Us link, and just fill out your info. In the subject I chose Civil Rights, and in the body of the e-mail I wrote please support this bill, before pasting the MGMbill text (copied from the MGMbill web site I kept open in the other window).

This all took less than six minutes (three minutes for each, honestly, I just filled out both forms). Saying you’ll do it later because you’re at work is crap. If you can take the time to goof off and read this article, you can take another ten minutes and utilize your freedom to state your opinions to the officials whom matter.

Be proud for completing step two. You officially have used your voice. Give yourself a pat on the back or a cookie. 

If you don’t live in California, then you don’t even have to complete step three and step four doesn’t even need to be done until you receive a response from your representatives. You can forward their responses to comments@mgmbill.org (no need to remember this address, there is a link in step four that when clicked, opens up an already addressed e-mail, complete with subject heading.)

See, easy as one, two, three---literally. The best way to be an activist without exasperating yourself is to just be aware of the people you know giving birth to males. Guide them toward the information on the Internet (there are videos of the circumcision being done if you can stomach it) and let them know that if they do decide to go against their son’s rights and disregard all the logical reasons why they shouldn’t, then all they need to do is wait 18 years until their son is old enough to tell them they’ve done irreversible damage to his body and he will never forgive them.

There’s still half a week left of Genital Integrity Awareness Week! Get those ribbons made!!!

©2005, Carl Schutt

Finding the Answers in Managing Your Fears and Anxieties


Looking for all of the answers in how to manage your most persistent fears and anxieties? I deal with fear on a personal level and I found it difficult to find all of the answers in managing my anxieties. I read some anxiety books and talked to various professionals, however I still had trouble dealing with certain fears and anxieties. Eventually, I wrote a book that presents all of the ways to help manage those hard to manage fears.

Let me explain the process of how I found those answers.

I first went to my local bookstore to find those books that dealt with fear and anxiety. I looked for those books that reviewed the techniques in how to manage certain fears and anxieties. As I read these books, I wrote down some notes on those techniques that I found most useful in managing my fears. I noticed that each book said something different and there wasn’t always a complete review of all the techniques to manage fear and anxiety. As a result, I started a notebook and every time I found a technique that was useful in managing my fears, I would write it down in my small notebook.

Secondly, I talked to various professionals in the psychology and religious fields and they provided me with additional information. Again, I would write down in my notebook the information that the professionals gave me that I felt was most useful in managing my fears. Some of the techniques that I was told to use was learning how to use positive self talk, using thought stopping techniques, and breaking a overwhelming problem into its smallest parts.

For instance, I was told that I should visualize a red stop sign in my mind when I encounter a fear provoking thought. The stop sign would remind me to stop focusing on that thought and to think of something else. Another example, is when I conducted my job search. Instead of looking at the job search as a whole, I broke down the job search into many different tasks. I first developed my resume. When I completed my resume, I began to look for companies that would hire me and I submitted my resume. After sending out my resume, I then focused on the job interviewing process. During my job search, I performed each of these tasks one at a time which prevented me from getting overwhelmed.

I made it a point that every time I would experience a fearful or anxiety related situation, I would use the information in my notebook to help me. After the anxiety would go away I figure out what techniques worked and which ones didn't work. In every anxiety related situation I experienced, I began to learn what worked, what didn't work, and what I needed to improve on in managing my fears and anxieties

At the same time, I would continue to talk to various professionals to learn and to become better at managing the many types of fears and anxieties. I would review what I have learned with these professionals and they would provide me with additional information so that I would be better able to deal with my fears in the future. I did this research for around fourteen years and during this time, I gained a lot of valuable information on how to manage fear and anxiety.

The main point is that no matter how difficult it is to manage your fear and anxieties, the answers are out there if you look hard enough. It might take some hard work and persistence, but it is possible to find those techniques that work for you.

Tapping Power: A Man’s Guide to Eliminating Pain, Stress, Anger, Depression and Other Ills Using the Revolutionary Tools of Energy Psychology


When I began training as a psychotherapist in 1965, I wanted to save the world. Well, if I were telling the whole truth, I’d say that I really wanted to save myself. I wanted to understand why I did the things I did and felt the things I felt. And if I were being completely honest I would tell you I became a psychotherapist because I wanted to understand why my father tried to commit suicide when I was five years old and what I, or anyone, could have done to help him.

Although I still work with men, women, and children, I specialize in treating men. O.K., another bit of self-disclosure. I really became focused on helping men when my first wife and I divorced in 1976 after 10 years of marriage. She got custody of our two children and I was left with a lot of rage, doubts, and blame.

“How come the courts assume that she would be a better parent for my boy and girl, just because she’s a woman?”

“How come most of our friends are now her friends?”

“Why do I have to be the one to leave our home and live in a raggedy-assed apartment?”

“How am I going to live without her?”

“Will my kids ever forgive me?”

It took me a long time to forgive her, forgive our friends, forgive “the system,” and most of all forgive myself for my raggedy-assed behavior and uncontrolled rage. It took even longer to heal myself.

How I Found Energy Psychology

Shortly after my wife and I were married we moved to the country. We couldn’t afford our own house, so we rented a cottage in the back of a country estate. The owners had a number of horses which they rode through the hills when they weren’t working.

The horses were easy-going, but when our friends visited with their two year old son, disaster struck. While we were talking and drinking wine, the little boy wandered into the corral and was kicked by one of the horses before we could catch him. He was unconscious when we rushed to him and we called an ambulance.

While we were waiting, the boys mother held him in her lap, and with tears running down her cheeks she held her open hand over his head and run it back and forth about 3 inches from his body. I asked her what she was doing and she just said, “energy healing.”

Quite frankly I thought she was nuts and trying to save her child with some kind of Voodoo magic when he really needed real medical care, but there really wasn’t anything else we could do. By the time the ambulance arrived, the boy was conscious again and seemed to be fine.

Never-the-less, we all went to the hospital to get him x-rayed and checked out by “real doctors.” The Mom felt confident that he was fine, that her “energy healing” had done the job. The doctors confirmed that the boy was OK and I forgot all about the experience until years later when I heard about the work of David Feinstein, Gary Craig, and David Gruder.

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) with Gary Craig

I learned about EFT from an acupuncturist I had gone to for shoulder pain. I wanted help in the worst way, but I couldn’t tolerate the needles. Even though she assured me that they wouldn’t hurt (and in fact they didn’t hurt), I still got light-headed and nearly passed out. You now can fully understand why I dropped out of medical school. I faint at the sight of blood and needles.

I was immediately drawn to EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) because the founder, Gary Craig, was a hands on kind of guy. He says, “I am neither a psychologist nor a licensed therapist. Rather, I am a Stanford engineering graduate.”

Craig describes EFT this way:

EFT is a powerful new discovery that combines two well established sciences so you can benefit from both at the same time:

In essence, EFT is an emotional version of acupuncture wherein we stimulate certain meridian points by tapping on them with our fingertips. This addresses a new cause for emotional issues (unbalanced energy meridians).

Properly done, this frequently reduces the therapeutic process from months or years down to hours or minutes. And, since emotional stress can contribute to pain, disease and physical ailments, we often find that EFT provides astonishing physical relief.

Here are some of the important features of EFT:

This was my kind of medicine--men’s medicine--no needles, no drugs, no long talks about the past, and its quick. Of course, these are aspects that make it attractive to women as well.

Energy Psychology with David Feinstein

Candace Pert, the neuroscientist who was one of the discoverers of the brain’s opiate receptors, remembers David Feinstein when she was working at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in the 1970s. “Dr. Feinstein was there conducting research on psychotherapeutic innovations.”

Thirty years later Feinstein has turned to the intersection of psychotherapy and energy medicine. Recently he led a team of twenty-seven health and mental-health professionals to bring the new tools of energy psychology to psychotherapists.

His research demonstrated that energy psychology builds upon conventional psychotherapies. It works within the context of established psychological principles such as the key role of early experiences in shaping our current emotional and behavioral patterns.

“But energy psychology,” he says, “also has a special card in its deck.” Stimulating energy points on the skin, paired with specified mental activities, can instantly shift your brain’s electrochemistry to:

What Is Energy Psychology?

According to David Gruder, Ph.D., Founding President of the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology, “Some truly exciting new upgrades in the field of psychology have been unfolding over the last several years, which are beginning to align psychology with the stunning discoveries that have been made over the past 75 years in the field of quantum physics.”

Energy Psychology is at the forefront of the innovations leading the way into twenty-first century psychotherapy and self-help processes. Energy Psychology is also helping align psychology with parallel developments in the field of Energy Medicine.

Energy Psychology is the name of an emerging family of interventions newly-emerging methods that show promise in providing rapid, reliable and lasting treatment of a broadening range of psychological and spiritual issues. Areas of effectiveness appear to range from phobias, trauma and limiting beliefs, to peak performance and creativity.

Most Energy Psychology methods are adaptations of some of the standard-of-care practices used by nurses (Healing Touch), chiropractors and physiotherapists (kinesiology), and Traditional Chinese Medicine (acupressure).

Energy Psychology methods are believed by many in the field to work through directly intervening with and rebalancing aspects of our personal energy system, known as the "Human Vibrational Matrix." Just as we have a circulatory system, a nervous system, an endocrine system and a lymphatic system, we also appear to have an additional system that helps regulate all of these.

This system seems to be of a more electromagnetic nature. It has been well-known to practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years and has been becoming known in the western medical community through the emerging field of Energy Medicine.

The Human Vibrational Matrix may include over a half dozen inter-related systems. The best-known aspects of the Human Vibrational Matrix include the multi-layered electromagnetic envelope surrounding and permeating the body (the Biofield), centers of bioenergy concentration (the Chakras) and electromagnetic energy-information pathways (the Meridians and their associated acupoints).

Energy Psychology methods use these systems to help people rebalance themselves with psychologically distressing issues, and to upgrade themselves to peak performance and peak states of being. A somewhat oversimplified way to think about Energy Psychology procedures is to view them as acupuncture for the emotions, but without the needles.

Some of the highest profile Energy Psychology methods include Emotional Freedom Techniques (TFT), Thought Field Therapy (TFT), Healing Touch (HT) and Brain Gym™, among many others.

Methods such as HeartMath™, Donna Eden's Energy Medicine, and Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR), among others, are close relatives of Energy Psychology methods. These methods are but a small list of the much larger family of Energy Psychology methods.

These methods and innovations have already been applauded by the likes of self-help gurus Wayne Dyer & Tony Robbins, self-esteem expert Nathaniel Brandon, renowned physicists such as William Tiller, best-selling microbiologist Candace Pert and epigenetics biology pioneer Bruce Lipton.

For more information on Energy Psychology and my new book, sent a note to Jed@MenAlive.com and put “energy psychology” in the subject line.

© 2012 Jed Diamond 

Jed Diamond, Ph.D. has been a health-care professional for the last 45 years. He is the author of 9 books, including Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places, Male Menopause, The Irritable Male Syndrome, and Mr. Mean: Saving Your Relationship from the Irritable Male Syndrome. His upcoming book, Tapping Power: A Man’s Guide to Eliminating Pain, Stress, Anger, Depression and Other Ills Using the Revolutionary Tools of Energy Psychology will be available next year. He offers counseling to men, women, and couples in his office in California or by phone with people throughout the U.S. and around the world. To receive a Free E-book on Men’s Health and a free subscription to Jed’s e-newsletter go to www.MenAlive.com . If you enjoy my articles, please subscribe. I write to everyone who joins my Scribd team.

The Three Most Critical Points in a Diet Plan


In working with my clients, I've found three stages 'in the process of weight control that pose the greatest risk of derailing a weight program and undermining a new eating lifestyle. Navigating through these challenges is the path to truly mastering your control with food.

At the beginning

The motivation to start dieting often begins with a desire to look better, to fit into your clothes, to feel better about yourself, and to improve your health -- and it often means experiencing strong, very negative feelings. You may feel disgusted with yourself for your lack of control, or hate to look at yourself in the mirror, or dread opening your closet in the morning because you have nothing to wear that will make you feel good about yourself. Although this is the stage that propels many overweight people into treatment, it can also become a black hole, in which motivation to change is overwhelmed by a sense of futility and self-loathing. This is why it's so important to get started with a belief in yourself and your own ability to succeed again. I frequently remind my clients that it's just a piece of food against them. Food has no life smarts or strategy -- It has no I.Q. You have every advantage when you know yourself, your history, and how to approach food situations.

At the midpoint.

There's a natural tendency to become less careful when you've started to succeed. Most people on a weight program start to see significant changes in 10 to 30 days. You don't even need to get to the end, to your ideal weight, to see the reward. Your clothes are looser, you're getting compliments, you're happier with yourself, your pain has gone away, and suddenly, you're sliding into old patterns, sabotaging yourself. You may believe that because you've lost a few pounds, you've lost your control problems with certain foods. You may forget that just because the pounds come off, it doesn't mean your history, your taste buds, or your vulnerability to your trigger or problematic foods has changed. Perhaps you're telling yourself that you can handle "just a little." You're feeling a lot less urgency to watch yourself with quantities, to plan ahead, to shop carefully. You become complacent -- and complacency is the enemy of thin. Fortunately, there are strategies to save you.

At the end.

Success is yours! You've reached your personal best. Every time you look in the mirror, you feel a thrill of pleasure and a sense of pride. The intense satisfaction of achieving your treasured goal convinces you that you'll never go back to your old ways again. Your motivation and commitment are high -- for a while. But soon, the honeymoon is over, and you've got to get down to the business of living trim. Maintenance is the most high-risk period of any weight-control effort. Lots of people succeed with dieting -- they get an A for dieting every time they stay the course -- and then they flunk maintenance. The cause, of course, is usually a lapse in the strategies that are designed not only to carry you through but to help you realize that just because you've lost the weight, you haven't lost the problem.

Many people think about achieving their weight goal in the same way they think about achieving a high school diploma -- you get it once and then you can take it for granted for the rest of your life. But food control is an ongoing, dynamic process. And to make the transition from dieting to lifestyle mode requires changing your thinking and staying with the strategies, which will give you the tools for life, to maintain a lifetime of trim.

Source: Dr. Stephen Gullo received his doctorate in psychology from Columbia University, and for more than a decade, he was a professor and researcher at Columbia University Medical Center. He is the former chair of the National Obesity and Weight Control Education Program of the American Institute for Life-Threatening Illness at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. His first book, Thin Tastes Better, was a national bestseller. He has been interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, Larry King, and Barbara Walters and has also made numerous appearances on Today, Good Morning America, and Hard Copy. Dr. Gullo is currently president of the Institute for Health and Weight Sciences' Center for Healthful Living in New York City. He resides in New York City and the U.S. Virgin Islands. When additional products and services become available, Dr. Gullos hotline, 888-DIET-911, will become activated. Reprinted from: The Thin Commandments Diet: The 10 No-Fail Strategies for Permanent Weight Loss by Stephen Gullo, Ph.D. © 2005 by Dietech Co. Permission granted by Rodale, Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098. Available wherever books are sold or directly from the publisher by calling (800) 848-4735 or visit their website at www.rodalestore.com. For more information on this book, please visit www.writtenvoices.com

Quality time with your kids


There's a phrase that's become popular over the past few years that fills me with wonder. That phrase is "quality time." We've all heard it, and we all seem to accept it as a real concept. But to the average country person, that phrase is difficult to comprehend.

Here's what I mean. Last summer, my 10-year-old son Cody and I spent an entire day walking the fields, checking fences. When we saw a post that needed straightening or a strand of wire that needed to be tightened, we set right to work. Sweat poured across our faces, our shirts grew soaked from the hard work we were engaged in. But as we strained against the task at hand, we talked about his little league baseball team and how he could improve his hitting to the opposite field. Then, as we walked a little farther down the fence line, we laughed till we cried when a covey of quail nearly gave us a heart attack as they exploded out of the grass in front of us. We heard the amazingly varied call of a cardinal in the woods off to our right. We saw two red-tailed hawks circling lazily over our heads, and marveled at how they could see field mice at such a height.

It was a typical day for us, father and son. We weren't doing anything "special." We were working. And yet, I know from similar experiences with my own dad when I was Cody's age that days like these would be the ones that came to mind once he'd grown up and had children of his own.

So I ask again: was that "quality time?"

Think back to your own childhood. What things do you remember most about your parents? Was it the fact that your dad worked 16 hours a day at the office, and fell asleep on the couch on the weekends because he was too exhausted to move? No, I'm willing to wager that's not what you remember. More likely, you remember the time you went for a long walk along the country road in the rain and came home looking like not only something the cat had dragged in, but something he'd dragged in and forgotten under the refrigerator for a month.

It's been said that kids spell "love" ... t-i-m-e, and I couldn't agree more.

So the next time you hear yourself thinking that you'll make it up to your daughter when she asks you to play "Chutes and Ladders" for the seven millionth time, remember: your kids are watching you, and it doesn't matter how young they are; they know how to spell the word "quality," too.

Strangely enough, to our kids, the word "quality" is spelled exactly the same as the word "love."

They're both spelled T-I-M-E.

Men at Home: Action and Inaction


“The extravagant gesture is the very stuff of creation. After the one extravagant gesture of creation in the first place, the universe has continued to deal exclusively in extravagances, flinging intricacies and colossi down aeons of emptiness, heaping profusions on profligacies with ever fresh vigor. The whole show has been on fire since the word go!” -- Annie Dillard

“There is a mystical rite under the material act of cleaning and tidying, for what is done with love is always more than itself and partakes of the celestial orders.” --May Sarton

This evening after dinner, Shilly-Shally and I have come to play at a pocket-park a few miles from our house, a small cluster of trees and playground equipment tucked next to a Little League field. Shilly-Shally loves it. Going to the park is, for her, what rum is for me; each brings an automatic fiery response we’re quite fond of. After monkeying over the balance beam and wooden playscape, my darling acrobat runs up to me with her predictable breathless request: Swing me, Daddy!

So I begin to push, feeling the weight of her little body against my palms as the backward swoops return her to me again and again, listening to her singsong commentary and squeals of delight. But it’s been another chore-heavy/ stimulus-light kind of day, and the repetition of swinging makes me even more bored and tired than I already am. I love to play with my kids, but I’m a grown-up--I have limits. Sometimes the dragging uneventfulness of this life gets me down.

Next to us, swinging one of her kids and watching the other play in the dust, is a woman I can only describe as the Absolute Mother. Most of us know this kind of person. Soft-spoken, endlessly patient, constantly solicitous, smiling without fail, she never raises her voice. She’s the kind of woman you always see bending over to help her kids, or someone else’s, in an almost peasant posture, one that reveals what seems to be her basic orientation to life. And you can see in her face how she takes every step with them, watches every move, shares utterly in every small triumph and defeat. This is a mother who never spanks a child, but not so much because she thinks it’s wrong as because she couldn’t bear to do it.

After finally tiring of the swings, Shilly-Shally manages to scratch her leg while climbing the slide, then punctuates the quiet twilight with unholy shrieks. The Absolute Mother hurries over, anxiety in her eyes, looks at me with the deepest, most kind-hearted concern and asks, “Is she okay?”

This is not a slyly over-bearing woman, as can sometimes be the case. Shilly-Shally suddenly realizes she isn’t dying, snaps her mouth shut in mid-cry, and runs for the monkey bars--and the relieved smile the Mother gives me is every bit as beatific as it seems. She’s not trying to one-up me, or show off her dedication to parenting; she’s not trying to teach a male how it’s done; she’s not even trying to strike up an adult conversation, the way bored parents at playgrounds often do.

As the two of us stand there watching our kids, a group of young adults has gathered in the parking lot. These are people in their twenties. They drove here in convertible jeeps or small cars with rock-band stickers on the back windows. Now they’re all putting on roller-blades, joking with each other and skating around to warm up.

I’m more than envious--I’m dying. Lack of time and money has prevented me from learning to roller-blade (among many other things), which I know will be ecstasy. So of course I have to witness this, stand here feeling bleary and overweight, tantalized by this free-wheeling group whose independence is so complete they hardly see it themselves. They move through life with a fluidity of schedule and an ease of responsibility I haven’t known for decades, can give themselves fully to school or job and still have plenty of time for serious recreation and socializing. Desire for that kind of freedom—especially the freedom to do my chosen work in life—never leaves me, seems always boiling just under my skin. After a while they take off as a group, gathering speed on the neighborhood street like a pack of wolves starting a thirty-mile run.

It comes to me then that this is where I am in life: somewhere between the Young Wolves and the Absolute Mother. The Young Wolves answer to themselves, are out doing things, satisfying their own desires; the Absolute Mother leads a restricted life, her central dedication to domestic harmony taking the place of adult work or play.

And I want both, which puts me smack in the middle, suspended over my own life. Which, for most guys, is, yes—a big deal.

The Mother’s little boy is now swinging again; so is my mercurial Shilly-Shally. I’m back to push pause push pause push pause push. “Look, Daddy!” my girl suddenly calls from the height of her arc above me. “A great blue heron!” I lift my head just in time to see the heron gliding on its strong wings over the houses across the street. A pang of envy cuts through me—where I should behold beauty and be grateful for it, I can only rue an elusive freedom. Then I see my daughter smiling with contagious delight as she swoops toward me and away. “Isn’t this perfect weather?” the Absolute Mother murmurs.

I’m right in the middle. And right in the middle, it seems, is where a lot of parents are today, women as well as men. Society often seems to give adults with children two choices: Either give yourself completely to parenting and drop out of the world of action and career, or pursue a career and hardly parent at all. These two choices have nothing inherently to do with being female or male, of course, but for a number of reasons they tend to split along those lines.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that the Absolute Mother is a typical female. She is, instead, a particular kind of person, most of whom, at this point in time, may happen to be women. And there’s plenty about her parenting style that should be praised to the skies. She weaves a sweet cocoon of love and tenderness, and, perhaps, servitude, around her children. She’s deeply good, and loving, and empathetic, and she gives unselfishly, continuously. Her version of parental love should be a model for all of us, particularly in a culture that hasn’t always, it seems to me, made the full commitment to its children that it should.

But what happens to her when her kids are grown and gone? Will she be left empty too? Those who live the other life, the life of action, develop themselves as they do so, become independent and self-sustaining. Is she doing that, or has she let her self be eaten up by this role? Will there be anything left when the role comes to an end?

I’m only glimpsing a fraction of this woman’s life, and I could be dead wrong about her. She may be a soft-spoken welder taking the kids out after work, or a concert pianist postponing her career, or a hard-driving executive who knows how to shift gears for her family. But I don’t think so. She seems to have given up the life of action and self-fulfillment for the sake of her children, or to have found all her natural inclinations satisfied by life at home.

And this, of course, is exactly the ideal we’ve imposed on generations of women in our culture, raising its image over our heads, praising it and praying to it, “M is for the many things she gave me...”, etc. I still remember the painting of the Virgin Mary that hung in our house when I was a boy; she wore exactly that same expression of unquestioning devotion to others, and, looking down in rapture, to the Child on her lap. The Absolute Mother here at the park may not be as saintly as she seems, but I sense that such devotion comes very naturally to her. And what she has to give is precious; I remember as a child how my whole self warmed to that tender, utterly loving gaze from the Mother of God on our living-room wall.

The roller-bladers, of course, embody the other extreme, and I deeply value that way of living too. The totally active adult, the do-er and shaker, the person out there eating up the world whether at work or play--this excites me, won’t leave me alone. Of course there are millions of women who feel exactly the same about this, and as human culture slowly swings toward true equality of the genders there’ll be even more. I’m married to one of those “other” women, a person of such dynamic energy and passionate skills that she works a sixty-hour week, is the finest mother I’ve ever known, stays in impeccable physical condition, and would, if you asked her, be ready to leave for Paris in fifteen minutes. And I’ve never in my life met a woman more feminine than my wife.

She and I react to Annie Dillard’s words, quoted at the opening of this chapter, as if they were scripture. Dillard’s fiery sentences remind us that the universe is above all a place of Action, that creation continues, life is constantly amazing, constantly moving forward--and my wife and I long for as much of this action and experience as our own lives will allow. And yet, raising children, for all its “activity” and hard work, is often the opposite of the active life we seek. Because of the nature of family, it’s more often, in contrast to the pop song, what you didn’t do for love.

One night last week we snuck off to see a movie, a welcome break and a long-overdue chance to be together. But by the time we left the theater we both felt frustrated and defeated. Why? For one thing, the movie was set in Kenya; we watched the landscapes with breathless awe and deep yearning. We’ve been to Kenya, and we want to go back; we can’t accept the notion that the active life we knew as younger adults is gone forever. It was painful to see those green hills and yellow-grass savannas only on celluloid, when we can still remember, as if in our own bodies, the smells, the heat, the overwhelming beauty of elephants, lions, giraffes, the white sun, the scatterings of dry acacias.

And as if that wasn’t enough, we happened to see the name of one of my wife’s high-school boyfriends in the credits, a guy who’s having great success creating special effects for films and TV. The contrast between his active, artistic life and our workaday, domestic one was tough to take. We felt sluggish and stuck, as if helplessly watching the world go by.

So women can feel it just as keenly as men do. At this moment in history, though, the orientation to action seems more generally characteristic of men. There are plenty of lazy or unambitious men, of course, and the only “career” some guys have is putting up with the dead-end job they let themselves stay stuck in. But since the male in our culture is expected to be active, physical, and adventurous, men often pursue the active role (and are often selfish about it). This reality, of course, can certainly complicate their dedication to parenting.

A lot of guys are ambivalent about being fathers, it seems, precisely because they don’t think they can handle the inactivity and house-bound nature of the job--and because they haven’t been taught all along that they should be able to.

In fact, men have often been told the opposite, and this has taken, I think, some pretty ugly forms. “Curiosity,” a poem by Alastair Reid, contrasts the vital curiosity of “cats” with the stodgy predictability of “dogs,” praising the cats’ restless yearning to know and experience. But this is presented as applying only to males, as the following lines reveal:

Dogs say cats love too much, are irresponsible,
are changeable, marry too many wives,
desert their children, chill all dinner tables
with tales of their nine lives.
Well, they are lucky. Let them be
nine-lived and contradictory...
A cat minority of one
is all that can be counted on
to tell the truth...

Is this the “truth” an active, curious, passionate male should learn--that it’s fine for him to abandon wife and children in the pursuit of adventure and self-fulfillment, including the sexual?

Even men who understand family loyalty, though, are sometimes reluctant to become domestic, fearful they’ll have to choose between being committed fathers and being themselves. But this just isn’t true! If parenting required me to be anything like the Absolute Mother, I’d have hit the road long ago. It makes its demands, of course, but it doesn’t require that.

Imagining the roller-bladers off swarming down the streets somewhere, I remind myself where life is taking these free and active world-eaters. In the excited smiles some of the young men and women were exchanging, I saw my own young-adult years and remembered how my ferocious desire to live and experience things also expressed itself, predictably, in sexual-romantic desire. In time it led me to the woman I’m spending my life with, then led the two of us to having children.

Although lots of movies and TV shows build a great false wall between romance and pregnancy, the two are inexorably linked in human desire. For most of us, the passion for experience and the passion for children, though they may seem diametrically opposed, are just different forms of the same thing. The life of action and the quiet, patient life of parenting are actually the same force in different phases, at different seasons.

So it doesn’t really make sense to split adults between the two extremes. This has already happened, to some extent, for women; I’ve witnessed firsthand the largely unspoken tension that sometimes exists, for example, between “career women” and “housewives.” And now, with so many women leading lives of action, we’ve created an army of nannies, baby-sitters, and day-care workers as substitutes for what all women were once expected to be. I don’t mean to imply that this is automatically unhealthy; many people need that kind of support, and many are happy to provide it. But specialization can easily turn into over-specialization, our lives can become fragmented and compartmentalized, and we can lose touch with the roots of who we are--and this is bad for us. All of us.

Human beings, most would agree, are meant to live broad and varied lives, to take care of the basics even as they reach for higher achievement and excitement. But this goes both ways. We can learn as much about ourselves among dirty pots and pans as we can in factories or boardrooms or lecture halls, or on hiking trails or kayak runs. For all its drudgery, domestic life keeps us grounded and balanced. Adults with children, it seems to me, should take care of those children themselves, even while they pursue careers and personal fulfillment, at least as much as possible.

The last thing we need is for our most active and ambitious adults to opt out of real parenting. Then we have to leave some of our kids to those care-givers whose love and devotion and hard work are preciously important, but who can’t always model for children what it means to lead a fruitful homelife and still be energetically engaged in the wider world.

Achieving this balance, of course, is difficult. And it’s a hell of a lot of work. But for most of us it’s the only healthy option; most people don’t really want to be Absolute Mothers or lonely single adrenalin-junkies living for action--or workaholics consumed by career. The main point, guys, to repeat: You don’t have to be one or the other. You can be both.

But first you have to believe it’s possible to be both, and value that possibility, or it won’t happen—since it’s not going to be any walk in the park. (Figuratively, I mean; you’ll be at the park plenty).

And if men in general became truly committed fathers, their unique approach to parenting would help unsettle some of the old notions, lending precious energy and impatience to the whole mix. I love my children, and I’ll give up a lot in order to care for them, and for however long it takes. But I can’t stop chomping at the bit, and that imperious desire is helping me work out the balance in my life, both for my family and myself. I’m inventing my own tricks of the trade, and some of them are great, if I do say so myself.

Still pushing Shilly-Shally as the sun begins to set, I find myself remembering a book I once read. It featured a prominent writer’s arduous search for the snow leopard of the Himalayas, an elusive creature who also became symbolic of the writer’s search for himself and for spiritual fulfillment. I read these chapters with the deepest interest and excitement; his treks through the mountains, his contacts with Tibetan Buddhist monks, his experiences with local people--all this was breathless adventure, the kind that made my mouth water. But he also wrote--with admirable honesty, I must say--about leaving his young son behind in the States so he could make this journey of many months, and about the pain this brought to his child.

The whole thing has haunted me ever since. Such separations for professional reasons aren’t automatically traumatic for a child, but this one seemed to be. Why, I cried out silently again and again, why would you leave your son in order to find yourself? Can’t you see that your child’s desperate need for you is part of who you are? That your relationship with him is who you are? That what the two of you are together is part of your essential self, your deep spiritual being? Why go to the Himalayas when the first place to look is into that boy’s eyes?

Besides, being a parent doesn’t mean giving up the life of action--just postponing it. The Himalayas aren’t going anywhere; they’ll still be there when your son’s old enough to look after himself. But that’s not true of his childhood.

The writer never saw a snow leopard. I can’t help but admire the love of action that drove him to look, and the titanic effort he put into his search. And I know that my own envy sharpened my criticism of him, since I’m often impatient with my fathering role these days, and have to remind myself forcefully why I’ve postponed my own career for my kids. But I still think his search was backwards.

Darkness has begun to gather under the close-standing trees of the park. It’s time to take Shilly-Shally home. She throws the obligatory fit, of course, swears she could stay forever in this pleasant little chain-link cage. I work her through it. The Absolute Mother, kneeling before a child as she ties his shoe, smiles sweetly up at us, says goodbye, maybe they’ll see us here again. I drive home very slowly. With Shilly-Shally’s mom at work till nine or ten tonight, I’ve had a little too much one-on-one with this angel of mine (and not nearly enough with the other). I’m fatigued, but not with the good fatigue of strenuous effort; this is the grogginess of standing around, counting the hours.

I give Shilly-Shally a bath, a snack, read her some picture books, tell her a story, tuck her in. As we lie there together, me on the floor with a couple of old pillows under my head, she suddenly asks, “Daddy, you’re not mad at me, are you?”

I look up. She’s leaning over the side of her bed, peering down into my eyes with that heart-wrenching expression of sadness and fear--and this is my reminder that I’ve momentarily lost sight of what I mean to her, of why I take care of her, of how important every minute I spend with her really is--a reminder that I’ve temporarily lost track of myself.

It’s not that I’ve done anything wrong. I don’t expect myself to be a perfect parent. And fatigue, after all, is fatigue. But being a parent will always mean giving some things up, paying a certain price. And in life we get what we pay for. (They know about that in Tibet—they call it karma).

Besides, what’s the alternative--letting my child languish and wither while I’m off chasing my dreams? Or teaching her a daily and heart-chilling unease as I stew or fantasize about my own postponed adventures?

I’ve learned as a father that fatigue doesn’t so much lead me to regret--as to forgetfulness. On a long day like today, I often lose sight of my deeper realities. So what have I forgotten this time? It comes to me as I look into my daughter’s beautiful blue eyes: that right here before me is one of the extravagant gestures of creation Annie Dillard speaks of--that this little girl in fish pajamas clutching a stuffed armadillo is a complex and astounding creature--is, in fact, one of the intricate bedazzlements of the universe.

So I shake myself, put all the crap behind me, smile at her from the bottom of my heart. It’s time to be Dad. I sit up. And as I give our family’s standard reply to her question, her face lights up with relief and shining happiness:

“I’m not mad at you,” I say, “--but I’m mad about you!...”

©2012, Tim Myers from Glad to Be Dad: A Call to Fatherhood

Tim Myers is a writer, songwriter, storyteller and university lecturer. He won a poetry contest judged by John Updike and and has published much other poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. His Glad to Be Dad: A Call to Fatherhood is out from Familius.com He's also published 11 children's books. Find him at www.TimMyersStorySong.com

Man Blamed for the 'Metrosexual' says 'Sorry' - and outs himself as 'lesbosexual'


British writer Mark Simpson, credited by the New York Times for fathering the 'metrosexual' – the moisturized, image-conscious male the global media has gone ga-ga for in recent months – has apologized.

"I had no idea what I was starting," he said, speaking exclusively from his home in London, England. "If I'd known that metrosexuals would take over the world and make everyone wear fake tan and use glutinous hair care products I would have written about baseball instead."

In the last year, literally hundreds of newspaper, magazine and TV items on 'metrosexuals' have appeared around the globe. Several well-known men have 'outed' themselves as metrosexual, including Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean (though he seems to have gone back in the 'metrocloset' shortly afterwards). This Summer's biggest hit TV series was Bravo's metrosexual makeover program Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

Metrosexuality has even conquered Middle America – in a recent hilarious episode of South Park, all the town's males turn metrosexual after watching an episode of Queer Eye.

Although Simpson first wrote about metrosexuals in UK national newspaper the Independent back in 1994, the current wave of what he dubs 'metrosexmania' began after he formally introduced the term to the US with his famous article 'Meet the metrosexual' on Salon.com in July of last year, in which he cited British soccer star David Beckham as the poster-boy of metrosexuality.

Here is Simpson's pithy definition from that article: "The typical metrosexual is a young man with money to spend, living in or within easy reach of a metropolis — because that's where all the best shops, clubs, gyms and hairdressers are. He might be officially gay, straight or bisexual, but this is utterly immaterial because he has clearly taken himself as his own love object and pleasure as his sexual preference. Particular professions, such as modeling, waiting tables, media, pop music and, nowadays, sport, seem to attract them but, truth be told, like male vanity products and herpes, they're pretty much everywhere."

"After 'Meet the metrosexual' aired on Salon," says Simpson, "metrosexuality went from being a visually to a textually transmitted disease – the word seems to have become even more popular than the phenomenon it describes." There are now over 24,000 Google hits for the term.

'Meet the metrosexual' was adapted from Simpson's 2002 collection of sharply satirical essays Sex Terror: Erotic misadventures in pop culture, which has just been rush-reprinted. Revised and updated, it now includes Simpson's bemused response to the extraordinary fame of what he calls his 'Frankenstein monster with perfect skin terrorizing and sashaying the globe", his thoughts on the way that his satire has turned into seriously hard sell – and why the mainstream, marketing version of the metrosexual is always sold as being 'straight'.

The gay daddy of the metrosexual also makes a startling confession in Sex Terror: "Clearly I display some of the symptoms of male vanity, but I'm a rather bad metrosexual. As my penchant for man-made fiber-rich sportswear and white socks would suggest, I'm more of a 'lesbosexual'. I may not be straight, but the gay 'Fab Five' would nevertheless have a hissy fit over my wardrobe, if I was stupid enough to let them into my house. Yes, I go to the gym – but only because it's the only club that will let me in, in my lesbianwear."

Other Simpsonisms from Sex Terror to mention at dinner parties:

Also in Sex Terror: Simpson is cruised by 'Galen' from Planet of the Apes, goes on a disastrous date with a Hollywood divorcee who isn't Liza Minelli, gets worked up with Alexis Arquette over Stephen Baldwin's bubble butt, 'outs' Brad Pitt as a one-night stand that won't leave and – very gingerly – confronts Henry Rollins with those 'gay' rumors.

For more information, visit:

About Mark Simpson: www.marksimpson.com

Sex Terror: Erotic Misadventures in Pop Culture www.haworthpress.com/store/product.asp?sku=4644

It's a Queer World: Deviant Adventures in Pop Culture www.haworthpress.com/store/product.asp?sku=1780

About Mark Simpson: Simpson is the author of several critically-acclaimed books, including Male Impersonators, It's a Queer World, Anti-Gay, the Queen is Dead (with Steven Zeeland) and Saint Morrissey. He also appears to have been an inspiration for Quentin Tarantino's manic cameo appearance in the movie Sleep with Me as a party guest obsessed with the homoerotics of the classic Eighties blockbuster Top Gun.

The Seven Words of Well-Being for Men


Fire

Something inside a man sizzles. Red-hot coals lie aglow in his belly, waiting for the breath of inspiration that will set them aflame. This is the fire that lives in a man. These are the roots of his passion, his fervor, his fuel to create a well-tempered existence. Herein lies his tinderbox, awaiting to arouse a man to a luminous life. When his fire is tended and nourished and fed, a man can kindle a revolt of his spirit, and awaken a brilliance as bright as the sun. He need only build the proper hearth to channel this white-hot intensity into the energy of action. To build and to dance; to begin and to be. To radiate a light that shines from within and enlightens all in his orbit -- and nobody needs to get burned. A man has the power to be a firebug for his very soul, but first he must find his own matches. And then, he must play with his fire.

Fertility

This is not about sperm counts. This is about the potent fruitfulness that lives in a man. It lives in his fertile imagination, in his prolific mind, in the seeds of innovation and initiation that he gently scatters like milkweed on the wind. A man¹s heart is fertile when it gives rise to acts of perfect love and radical forgiveness. When it sows the seeds of peace and justice. When it flowers and drops its petals in receptive soil strengthened by the sun and nourished by the rain. A man walks upon fertile ground when his every thought and his every action favor compassion over contempt, and amity over animosity. This is more about productivity than it is about reproduction. This is about begetting a future void of old, obsolete ideas, and bringing forth new ways invigorated by new truths. This is about creating; this is about life.

Work

It doesn¹t matter how many jobs a man may have, unless he¹s found his work. Not just the work that pays the bills, but the work that feeds his soul. The real work of a man goes on twenty-four hours every day, seven days a week. The work to define his place in the world, and to help create that world. The vocation that fits him like a glove and that no one else can do exactly like him. If he listens, work will call to a man. But until he¹s found right livelihood, everything else may feel wrong. He can work for money or love or sheer satisfaction. He may wear a white collar or a blue collar or a pink collar or no collar at all. He can work for wages or work for himself, or work for the company store. A man can work with his hands or his head, but to work at what he loves, a man must work from his heart. He must give freely of the gifts that only he can give. Until he steps into his one true calling, a man¹s work will never be done.

Truth

There¹s a lot more to the truth than just facts. Or consequences. Truth be told, it matters little whether a man tells the truth, unless he also lives it. Unless he lives the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth of his life. The genuine article; the very life he was born to live. It is one thing to stand in a court of law and swear to be truthful; it is something else altogether to stand in front of the mirror and commit to live a life without lies. When a man creates a life in tune with his deepest knowings, he lives in his truth. When a man forsakes the agendas of others and lives according to his highest values, he can truthfully say he is living an authentic life. The truth is sometimes bitter, and often strange.

To get to the naked truth of his own existence, a man may have to peel away lifetimes of layers of lies. When he does, he will find his truth, his way, and his life.

Voice

Listen to the voice of a man. Hear it cry out for freedom and call out in triumph. Hear it keen and bellow and moan and wail. His is the voice that exploded in battle; his is the howl that ignited the flame. Beneath all the babble, he spoke sotto voce; his basso profundo enveloped the hall. You can hear the entire world in the voice of a man. The bit of brogue, the touch of twang, the patois of the plain, and the elocution of the noble. The changing voice of a boy becomes the unwavering voice of a man. A full-throated man voices his fears and his deepest yearnings. He voices his anger as he voices his joy. If called upon and ready, he voices the conscience of the people. The strongest men¹s voices still strain to be heard, while somehow, the lesser are heard over all. Listen to the sound of a man¹s voice in all of its glory. It just might be an angel, with the voice of a man.

Eros

Cupid pulled back his bow and hit a bull¹s eye, and now the man is real, real gone. He¹s leaking love all over the place and sucking the deliciousness out of life. He¹s stopping to smell the roses and sticking around to taste the dripping flesh of a ripe and juicy mango. He sees lovers cavorting in the clouds and alongside the road and he¹s trembling with runaway lust. Suddenly, all is sensational! Birdsong sweeter than he¹s ever heard lilts across meadows more lush than he¹s ever seen. A light rain sprinkles his face and he rises up into rapture. He trades in flannel for silk, and cotton for satin, and finally chucks it all to run naked beneath the moon. Love songs spill out of his lips without the slightest provocation, and he stays home from work on account of desire. He craves deep chocolate ice cream with hot raspberry syrup, passionfruit nectar with a twist, and Pavarotti twenty-four hours a day. He¹s washing in rosewater and soaking in ylang-ylang. He¹s been struck by an arrow, and he¹s taken it to heart.

Sanctuary

In the woods, beside the creek. High on the mesa, beneath the ruins. Down in the cellar, behind the furnace. At his desk, late on Sunday. Back at the woodpile, chopping, chopping. Out on the range, running the horses and racing the wind. Over at the levee, skipping stones. Hangin¹ at the garage, tinkering with tools. Men without women. Men deep within. On the floor of the library, flipping through picture books. Up on the roof, watching the sunset. At the tip of the island, building castles in the sand. Down on his knees, surrounded by Spirit. Underwater. Alone in his den, gathered at the lodge. Lost in his music, seeking the silence. Finding his song, quelling the voices. Behind the wheel. At the controls. On the road. Off the grid. Below the surface. Beyond the din. Far away, men go within.
© 2006 Daniel G. Amen

Daniel G. Amen, M.D., is a clinical neuroscientist, psychiatrist, and brain-imaging expert who heads up the world-renowned Amen Clinics. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and has won numerous writing and research awards. He writes a monthly column in Men’s Health called “Head Check” and has published nineteen books, numerous professional and popular articles, and a number of audio and video programs. His books include Making a Good Brain Great (Harmony Books; October 2005;$24.00US/$34.00CAN; 1-4000-8208-0), Preventing Alzheimer’s, Healing Anxiety and Depression, Healing the Hardware of the Soul, Healing ADD, and the New York Times bestseller Change Your Brain, Change Your Life. He is an internationally renowned keynote speaker and a popular guest expert for the media, with appearances on CNN, the Today show, The View, and other venues. For more information please visit www.amenclinic.com.

Guidelines for Relating to Your Wife During Divorce


Between the decision to divorce and the physical separation, you and your wife are stranded between two worlds: your past life together and your future lives apart. It is only natural during this period of limbo that emotions run high. Even the slightest miscue can lead to an explosion that could irrevocably damage your chances at a good divorce. The problem is that, because the relationship has changed, it is hard to know how to act.

Managing Day-to-Day Interactions

So how do you relate to each other? Even though you and your wife are divorcing, you are still together and still have many of the expectations of a married couple. She may still be your primary confidant, so you may be inclined to turn to her when something is troubling you. However, she is also the person you are divorcing and the feelings of rejection are still palpable. She is both friend and stranger at the same time, as are you to her.

While you are in this stage, it's likely that you and your wife may get into discussions that begin as pleasant recollections from the past, only to see them deteriorate into two conflicting versions of history. You may each ruminate about the future, only to find yourselves in a fight over how much support she seeks or whether she will agree to sell the house. Your situation is volatile, and what begins as a simple discussion soon becomes a battle with hurt feelings.

This is all part of the process of parting, and the sooner you acquire new expectations of each other, the better off you will be. Many couples come to me for mediation and express hope that they can come out of the divorce still being friends. It is very difficult to ratchet a relationship down from an intimate one to a friendship. Friends expect to be able to turn to each other for emotional sustenance, encouragement, and approval. Calling on each other for help or emotional reinforcement is tricky because intimate conversation between you triggers so many old and unresolved issues. You are the source of so much pain to each other that the pain is simply inconsistent with a friendship. So talk of friendship, more often than not, can just lead to further disillusionment with each other.

So, instead of aiming for friendship, the model that I return to repeatedly in this book is the appropriate dialogue with a business colleague. We expect business colleagues to be friendly rather than to be friends. When you talk to a colleague, you are careful to maintain a cordial and respectful tone. You do not engage in bursts of anger and you do not attack each other's character. You can agree to disagree, and you can negotiate amicable resolutions.

Because your relationship with a business colleague is limited to your common purpose, your communication is also limited. This helps ensure the relationship is long term; you do not stress it by demanding interaction outside of what is necessary to achieve a common goal.

This is especially important if you have children, as you and your wife will have to cooperate around child-related issues for a long time. You will have to be able to share relevant information, cooperate with each other to achieve common but limited goals, and resolve conflicts related to those goals on the occasions when such conflicts arise.

Although it is quite difficult to shift gears suddenly and move from an intimate relationship with complex expectations to that of business colleagues, you need to begin consciously moving toward the transition. As mentioned before, during the very difficult period after you have decided to divorce but before you have separated, it is easy to do great damage. Each of you may still be testing old agendas with each other. Each may look for approval and then feel angry when it is not forthcoming.

That's why now is the time to learn how to steer clear of trouble. You must be polite and cordial. Let your wife know when you are coming and going. Do your share of work in the house and have no expectations of personal service from her. Do your own laundry and shopping. Think of yourself as housemates, not spouses; you need to exercise the independence of a housemate. Do not burden your wife with your fears and do not expect to have intimate discussions. That is what you have friends for. That is what you use a therapist for. The sooner you and your wife achieve a respectful and cordial distance, the better off you both will be.

I also urge that you suggest divorce counseling for the two of you. Divorce counseling is not marital therapy and is not intended to achieve reconciliation. Divorce counseling uses a skilled therapist to help the two of you have any unfinished discussions about emotional issues that will help you both accept that the marriage is over. Ideally, divorce counseling provides a safe place where each of you can say things that you feel the need to say and ask questions that are still unanswered. Frequently in such counseling, the noninitiator of the divorce seeks answers about why you want a divorce and sometimes tries one last time to get you to agree to try again. It is a useful forum, because the therapist can interrupt to ensure that each of you are heard, can intervene to help you frame statements to minimize injury, and can provide the opinion of an independent third party that the marriage indeed seems to be over. It is also a safe place to try and obtain your wife's agreement to join you in managing a decent and gentle divorce. It gives you an opportunity to assure her that your intentions are to be fair and gentle and to meet your responsibilities to her and the children. A competent counselor should be able to help you do this in a few sessions. As in the choice of any professional, check out the counselor's credentials and experience carefully because an incompetent counselor can do more harm than good.

Managing Your Finances

Needless battles over money derail more divorces in the early stages than any other issue. Money is a source of power, so to be without money makes us feel powerless. At this point in your divorce, you want to avoid any behavior that will frighten your wife about money. Here are some simple rules.

1. Make no unilateral change in any bank or securities account. Well-meaning but ignorant advisers and some overzealous lawyers may counsel you to raid the accounts and move the money to new accounts in your name only. The usual rationale is that if you don't strike first, your wife will, and then she will have a huge advantage. And it is true that were she to sequester the money she would enjoy a slight bargaining advantage in the war that would follow. But it would also not be difficult to obtain a court order freezing the money so that neither of you could get at it without the consent of the other. But that is irrelevant because your objective here is trust, and trust cannot be achieved without some vulnerability and risk.

2. If there is some compelling reason that you have to make a withdrawal, such as payment of taxes, tell your wife first and secure her consent. Do not assume that she trusts you, and control your indignation if she asks for safeguards that she had not sought in the past.

3. Do not cancel your wife's credit cards or in any way take unilateral measures to control her spending. If you think that her spending is a problem, take the question up with your counselor or mediator. It is often necessary to negotiate temporary support or money management arrangements. By insisting on a bilateral agreement, you establish the premise that you and your wife can work out the details in negotiation and that power struggles through lawyers are unnecessary.

Managing Parenting Issues

At this stage of your divorce, it's critical to maintain the parenting status quo. If your wife has been the parent in charge of the children, now is not the time to assert your equality as a parent. Your relative parenting roles will be negotiated soon, and in your anxiety to maintain your role as father, do not precipitate threatening struggles over the children.

One of the most painful aspects of divorce is informing the children. I have seen many couples mess up this sensitive task by handling it unilaterally or precipitously. So develop a plan with your wife for you to together tell the children about the divorce. This is absolutely a joint task, and you may want some joint counseling about how and what to tell them.

Managing the News of Your Breakup

This is the time to develop a plan with your wife to break the news to relatives and friends. You can assume that she has discussed this already with intimate confidants, so don't be surprised to discover that some people already know. Nevertheless, offering to consult with your wife on the timing of the public dissemination of the news is an essential courtesy to extend.

Managing Your New Social Lives

Be very discreet in dating at this time. Even when your wife is the initiator, she will not be ready to receive information that she has been replaced without your even breaking stride. Do not assume that because she is leaving you she is done with you emotionally. She may even continue to harbor strong feelings toward you and may fantasize that you will make some dramatic gesture to win her back. If your wife gets a report that you were at the movies with some other woman just 2 weeks after she told you that she wanted a divorce, her resentment may sizzle even though you think she has no right to such feelings.

Ideally, dating should wait until you are living separately, and even then there is no reason to put new relationships in your wife's face. You have nothing to prove to her, and there is no issue here of who is right or wrong. It is only an issue of maintaining civility and moving the relationship along to a businesslike collaboration. But if you are dating while you are still living in the family home, it is worth taking pains to keep that activity thoroughly segregated from your continuing life at home.

© 2004, Sam Margulies

Source: Sam Margulies, Ph.D., J.D., has been one of the leaders in the field of mediation for 25 years. An early pioneer in mediation, Margulies was instrumental in helping to define the field. He has taught mediation for 20 years, has made innumerable presentations throughout the country, and has published extensively. His first book, Getting Divorced Without Ruining Your Life, was one of the earliest texts that taught that divorce can be done decently and without the traditional adversarial process. Margulies lives and practices mediation in both Greensboro, North Carolina, and Montclair, New Jersey. When not mediating, teaching, or writing, he can often be found driving his tractor on his North Carolina farm. For more information, please visit www.sammargulies.com, or www.writtenvoices.com

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
Why the debate? Prostate cancer screening saves lives


Retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf said it best when diagnosed with prostate cancer -- "You cannot sit back and do nothing because you'll never have perfect intelligence on the enemy...Get on with it."

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy in American men. It is curable if diagnosed early. Early detection is the key.

About 30,000 men will die from it this year alone and one out of every 18 of those deaths will be of a Pennsylvania resident, ranking the state fifth in both of prostate cancer incidence and deaths. That's why Pittsburghers over 45 don't need another excuse to avoid taking care of their health.

But the argument against the use of the prostate specific antigen blood test for detecting prostate cancer has provided that excuse -- pitting public health officials and primary care physicians, who claim there is no evidence of PSA success beyond a reasonable doubt, against many urologists who ask why a 27 percent decline in prostate cancer mortalities in the past five years isn't evidence enough.

Despite American Cancer Society and American Urological Association guidelines that encourage doctors to offer a PSA test and a digital rectal exam while discussing the risks of the disease, too many doctors lean toward discouraging the test, focusing on misplaced convictions that the test discovers insignificant tumors and that it doesn't save lives.

Physicians who have deferred or waffled on PSA testing are losing their licenses and seeing their malpractice insurance carriers pay out millions of dollars to bereaved families.

In a November 2001 wrongful death suit, a widow was awarded $3 million in a case in which the doctor in question "did not tell the patient about [the high PSA level] or recommend further testing or follow up visits."

A study at Long Beach Community Cancer Center of 48 such prostate cancer malpractice cases determined that, of the 22 awards totaling over $8.4 million, roughly $7.5 million "could have been avoided if PSA screening and diagnostic guidelines . . . had been followed."

These cases have become legal benchmarks as the PSA debate has moved from the doctor's office into the courthouse. They should come as a warning to science and public health policy officials across the country: If you continue to delay a decision on PSA, lawyers and lawmakers will make it for you.

Urologists will tell you that, despite imperfections, the PSA test has changed the prostate cancer diagnostic landscape. Before it, nearly three out of four men diagnosed with the disease were in the late stages -- when prostate cancer is neither readily treatable nor curable. The advent of screening has inverted that statistic, giving men a fighting chance. Regional studies support that early detection reduces mortality. One study in Austria shows that prostate cancer mortalities were markedly reduced with widespread PSA screening.

Even though newer blood tests help clarify the likelihood of cancer when PSA is abnormal, we still need more research to determine better models for early detection. But should we doom the thousands of men who could die waiting up to 14 years for the results of a randomized trial to determine "perfect intelligence" on the PSA? With so many lives in the balance, how much evidence do we need to convince us that prostate cancer is our enemy, not the test that so often detects it in time to permit a cure?

Men over the age of 50 -- and even younger if they are at higher risk of prostate cancer (African Americans and men with family histories of the disease) should "get on with it." Set aside the excuses and resolve to be tested every year.

Source: Carl Frankel, an advocate for the National Prostate Cancer Coalition, is retired general counsel for the United Steel Workers of America and a prostate cancer survivor. He lives in Point Breeze. www.post-gazette.com/healthscience/20020611hprostate4.asp

Good Résumé versus Great Résumé


There are clear differences between a good résumé and a great résumé.

A good résumé is a glorified application. This type of résumé explains to the hiring manager the following information in this order: dates of employment, companies, titles held, and job functions. It concludes with when and where you received your education. It is good because the hiring manager can get a clear summation of your past experience and education.

A great résumé is a marketing brochure. This résumé highlights the scope and depth of your experience. It describes the expertise you have developed throughout your career that relates to your future employer's needs. A great résumé communicates a compelling reason for the prospective employer to need and want your services.

Good résumés identify where you went to school, the jobs you have had, and your responsibility in those jobs. Great résumés extract the relevant accomplishments from your past experiences and highlight them. This prompts the interviewer to ask about them with the future in mind.

Great résumés also pave the way for great interviews. A well-crafted résumé will prompt the interviewer to target specific areas that are most relevant to the open position. A résumé that lists everything you have ever done requires you to be prepared to talk about all these things in an interview. It is difficult to prepare for such an extensive interview and can lead the interview astray.

Create a Great Résumé

Once you have adopted a future-focused orientation, you are ready to create your résumé. The presentation of your information, the layout, and the language you use to communicate value are extremely important. There are only two things you can be sure a hiring manager will do when reviewing your résumé: (1) Hiring managers will begin reviewing a résumé by starting at the top, and they will read the lines from left to right. (2) Their first impression will have the greatest impact and will influence how they perceive you. It creates the lens through which all other information is filtered.

Based on these principles, it is essential that the most relevant, important information be presented at the top and along the left side of your résumé. The least important information should be at the bottom and along the right side.

Résumé Format

In order to transform your résumé from a good résumé to a great résumé, concentrate on using your layout and language most effectively. Here's how.

Headings

The main heading is where you provide contact information for the hiring managers. Your main heading lets them know who you are and where you can be reached. This section should be designed like a professional letterhead. Résumés are formal documents, so you should not use abbreviations here.

Example:

Fran C. Smith
1153 Terry Avenue
Atlanta, Georgia 30306
francsmith@aol.com
404-555-1234

The main heading highlights your name and provides the contact information on one line, followed by a divider line. This format saves space that can be dedicated to communicating more of your strengths. Notice that it is not necessary to label the phone number or e-mail address; these items are understood. Be as concise as possible.

Use the same heading on your references page, cover letters, and thank-you letters. By creating a professional-looking letterhead, you offer a consistent image to the hiring manager. It also allows the hiring manager to quickly access your contact information on every document.

Section headings are titles you assign to different areas of your résumé. For example, your employment section will have one heading. Your education and community activities sections will have their own headings.

Section headings are extremely important. A section name influences how the hiring manager perceives the information within the heading. If you use an objective statement as your first section heading, you communicate your needs to the hiring manager. You are saying to the hiring manager, "My objective is to get a job."

If your first section is a summary of qualifications, your section heading communicates the value you offer the hiring manager. You focus the reader on the ways you will meet the company's needs. This heading also tells the hiring manager you are indeed "qualified" for the position. You summarize the qualifications that will be explained in detail in the remainder of the résumé.

A summary of qualifications should be confined to three high-impact statements.

The first statement should highlight your years of experience in the profession and industry.

The second statement should identify the areas of expertise you want to emphasize.

The third statement should identify personal attributes that are important to the role and company.

Example:

Summary of Qualifications

Offers more than 10 years of progressive advancement in the manufacturing industry, serving as an operations executive. Demonstrates a proven record of success in leading as many as 250 associates, streamlining business processes, and managing multiple projects delivered on time and within budget. Possesses exceptional communication skills and the ability to develop high-performance teams.

While "Summary of Qualifications" is the best section heading to begin your résumé, there are several exceptions to the rule. If you fall into one of these exceptions, then you need to consider beginning your résumé with an objective statement.

Exception 1: Clarity. If you are making a transition by applying for a position that diverges from your past experience, an objective statement is needed, since your skills are not an obvious or solid match for the position. Use the objective statement to clarify your interest in the position and show that your skills are transferable.

Exception 2: Intent. If you do not use a cover letter to introduce your purpose in sending the résumé, an objective statement is appropriate. The objective statement communicates the purpose of your résumé. In this circumstance, the objective should be very direct and specific to the prospective company and position.

Additional section headings that are useful in constructing a résumé that communicates value to a hiring manager include:

These sections follow your summary of qualifications. They emphasize specific strengths you have developed throughout your career. These sections provide an opportunity to bring special attention to experiences that are most relevant to the hiring manager, regardless of when and where they occurred.

For example, if you want to convey that your experience as a leader is a key asset even though your leadership experience has been in a different industry, you can emphasize this in a leadership experience section. This way, the hiring manager focuses on your leadership qualifications first before reading about it later in the context of the industry.

Be careful not to give too much information in this section. For example, if you create an areas of expertise section, ideally confine your expertise to four areas and not more than six areas. Listing too many areas dilutes the depth of expertise. The same holds true for accomplishments and achievements. Focus the hiring manager's attention on your most important accomplishments by creating three strong statements.

Select a high-impact section heading for your employment section. Do not use "Employment History" or "Work Experience." These headings are vague and generic. The terms employment and work define virtually every type of job available, from soda jerk or paperboy to corporate CEO or marketing director.

Instead, create a compelling section heading that optimizes your experience. The following section headings are appropriate for professional résumés. They communicate a career path, versus a series of jobs.

Now you are ready to arrange the most important information at the top left of the page and least important information at the bottom right. Start with what is most compelling to the hiring manager. Begin with your professional title or your industry and company name. Then list the location and your dates of employment to the right.

Example:

Marketing Director

XYZ Industries, Atlanta, Georgia June 1992-June 2002

Résumé Length

There are differing opinions regarding the appropriate length of a résumé. The general rule regarding résumé length is:

However, this rule can vary depending on your circumstances. For example, say you have more than 20 years of professional experience. If the last 5 to 10 years are the most relevant and substantial, then a one-page résumé that highlights this experience may be more appropriate.

This conversation between an author and his editor illustrates why you should pay attention to your résumé length.

Editor: I like your book except for the ending.

Author: What's wrong with the ending?

Editor: It should be closer to the beginning.

More is not better in résumé writing. Your objective is to keep the hiring manager's attention focused on your skills that add immediate value to the company. If you describe every experience and function of your entire career, you risk diverting the focus away from the parts of your résumé that are most important.

Additionally, if you put every single experience on your résumé, you have to be prepared to discuss every single experience in the interview. As a result, your interview will be more difficult to prepare for and you run the risk of being asked about experiences that are not relevant to the position. You may be perceived as "not a good fit" because, based on your résumé, the hiring manager asked about the wrong skill, rather than what was needed for that particular position.

Résumé Content

Transform your résumé from a description of job functions to a series of accomplishment statements that are of interest to the hiring manager. To do this, read your job function statements and ask yourself:

The answers to these questions are typically the most important elements of the résumé to the hiring manager and need to be communicated clearly.

Reprinted from: The Play of Your Life: Your Program for Finding the Career of Your Dreams -- And a Step-by-Step Guide to Making It a Reality by Colleen A. Sabatino © 2004 Rodale Inc. Permission granted by Rodale, Inc. visit www.writtenvoices.com

Becoming Whole Men


One of my favorite fairy tales starts with an orphaned boy wandering alone in the forest at night. Far off through the trees he sees a glimmer of light. Following it, he finds a huge bonfire in a clearing and a giant man asleep by the fire. He lays down against the giant man's legs and falls asleep. In the morning, the man asks, "Who are you, and where do you come from?" The boy answers, "I am your son, born in the night." The giant man accepts this, and they begin to live together as father and son.

Over time the boy observes that the man does not laugh or smile and has no desires or joy in life. He asks about it, and eventually learns that the man was attacked by some evil elves who stole his soul, and that is why he is unable to feel any joy or move from this spot.

The story tells how the boy fights a musical duel with the elves and eventually outwits them. He wins back his father's soul, which the elves have imprisoned in a bottle, and brings it home to him. The father and son celebrate the recovery of the father's soul by dancing for joy all night, and at the breaking of dawn the father asks "How can I ever repay you?" And the boy answers, "By letting me remain your son for ever."

I tell you this story because I think it illustrates the situation with men today. No matter what our outward accomplishments, in many ways we feel like orphaned boys, wandering alone in the woods at night. 'Orphaned' means that we do not feel nourished and supported by our ancestors. 'Alone' means cut off from our families and community and other men. 'Wandering in the woods at night' means that we are trying to find our way through life without a map or a path, without a sense of where we are or where we are going. And 'boy' means without initiation into manhood and connection to something larger than ourselves.

The story also tells us the source of the problem: our fathers have lost their souls, their ability to feel the joy and desire that moves them towards what they love. We're even told one place to look for our father's soul: in a bottle. (As the son of an alcoholic father, I almost fell off my chair when I read that one.) And finally the story tells us what we must do: we must find and bring back the male soul so we can reconnect with our fathers and become complete men ourselves.

It would be easy to dismiss this as 'just a story' if the same pattern of male isolation were not showing up in national studies. One study found that while 87% of women have a female best friend, only 7% of men have a male best friend. Another study found that 2/3 of men have no best friend at all, and that of the 1/3 that do, most of those best friends are women. Both studies defined a 'best friend' as some one you can talk to about personal problems. Other studies revealed that only about 1% of men had a close relationship with their fathers.

As someone who has led men's groups for over 10 years, I would say that this sense of isolation is the biggest problem men face today. And underneath the disconnection from others -- and causing it -- is an inner disconnection, a disconnection from our own inner experience, from our own souls.

Causes

How did this situation arise? There are many interlocking causes, but we can explore a few.

Before the Industrial Revolution, most work was done in or near the home and it was done by everyone -- men, women, and children. Various tasks were the province of one or the other gender, but since all work was done by hand and no one was paid, it was all seen as about equally valuable. Children worked alongside adults and had time to absorb not only how to do the job, but how to be an adult man or woman in their community.

The Industrial Revolution changed all that. Much of the work of men was moved out of the home and into factories. This separated men from their families for most of the day, and changed the basic divisions of labor in the home. Whereas child-rearing had previously been shared by all the adults in the home, it now became the domain of women. Women ruled the home and child-rearing, and men ruled the outside world.

It also turned labor into a commodity, in that its value was now determined by the amount paid for it. Since men's work in the factory earned a wage, it came to be seen as more valuable than women's work in the home, which didn't. Men's status went up; women's and children's status went down. Women and children became even more closely connected emotionally, while men became more emotionally isolated. And it derailed the process by which boys develop their feeling life and mature into men. To understand this, we'll have to look at how children become adults and at the effects on that process of being mother-reared.

Being mother-reared. First, remember that children need help learning about their feelings. They need adults to name for them what they're feeling ("you seem angry", "you look scared"), and they need to see adults having a feeling life so they can see how it works. The fact that each of us modeled our own feeling life on that of our parents becomes obvious every time we find ourselves reacting just like they did, despite having promised ourselves that we wouldn't.

Now consider the possibility that there might be two different forms of adult feeling life -- a male form and a female form -- and that these forms are passed down from father to son and mother to daughter. What happens when the men are no longer involved in child-rearing and it is all done by the women? Quite simply, the girls are taught by their mothers how to have a female feeling life, but the boys are not taught by their fathers how to have a male feeling life. A boy may learn the female form from his mother, but it will never quite fit for him or seem indigenous to his masculinity. Over the generations, the male feeling life gradually dies out until we arrive at the situation today, in which most of the men are undeveloped emotionally or even numb, and society believes that feeling itself is inherently feminine.

As infants, we form our sense of identity through our relationships with the adults around us. A little girl says to herself, "I know who I am, I'm just like Mom." Both her personal security and her gender identity are reinforced by being close to Mom. Dependency on Mom is okay because she and Mom are similar. All she has to do is wait and someday she'll be a Mom, too.

For a little boy, the story is quite different. As an infant, he needs his mother just as much as a girl does, but to establish himself in a masculine identity, he needs to shift his attachment to his father. If his father is physically close and available, all goes well. But if there is no man to attach to, the boy has a problem. He has to identify himself by differentness instead of by sameness. He has to look for security in separateness and distance instead of in closeness. Dependency on Mom becomes a threat to his maleness, and he is constantly torn between his personal need for closeness and his gender-identity need for separateness and independence. This creates an unresolvable anxiety in him and to cope with it he begins to shut down his feelings and go numb inside.

Effects on Men

Shame. The boy doesn't know that the whole child-rearing process is flawed. He only knows that his Dad is distant. He wonders, "Why doesn't Dad love me?" If he decides it's because "I'm bad," he will conclude "I hate myself." If he decides that "Dad is bad," he will progress to "I hate Dad," thence to "I hate men," and again arrive at "I hate myself."

And underneath it all he will long for his father and for his father's love. This longing will probably be denied and hidden under anger or indifference, but the size of the anger or indifference testifies to the size of the longing. He will decide that his father or masculinity itself is flawed in some way, that it is not lovable or trustworthy. He will feel shame around his maleness and may need to attack it in others or defend it in himself. He will feel anxious about whether he is a 'real man'.

Isolation. In order to keep these feelings repressed, he will have to isolate himself emotionally. He will develop 'The Wall.'

If he lets a woman close, it throws him back into the fear that closeness with Mom will erode his masculinity. To cope with this fear, he has to control the woman and/or his feelings. Much of men's violence towards women arises from this dilemma.

If he lets a man close, it re-stimulates his longing for Dad and all the shame, despair, fear, and anger associated with it. These feelings are generally even stronger than men's fear of being close to women, and are a main source of men's enormous fear of love between men (homophobia), and of the violence used to suppress it.

Sex becomes the only way to feel close to someone, so his desires for intimacy become sexualized. Since his heart is blocked, the energy of the heart gets shunted into the sexual channel. When he wants to be held or loved, he thinks he wants sex. This makes sex seem very important, but it also makes it unsatisfying to the extent that it is being used as a substitute for something else. So he keeps thinking that he needs more: more sex, more variety, more partners . . . It also makes him fear intimacy with other men, because he thinks feeling close means he wants to have sex with them.

Stunted feeling life. Since much of his feeling life has been shut down, it has not had a chance to develop and mature. No one ever showed him what a mature male feeling life looks like, so he has no model to help him figure it out. He tends to distrust and devalue his own inner experience and substitute thinking for feeling. This causes his behavior to be overly rational and controlled, but punctuated by eruptions of raw, undigested emotion.

The energy of the prohibited emotions (usually fear, hurt, shame, need, love, and joy) gets shunted into the allowed emotions (usually anger, competitiveness, and sexual arousal). For instance, he may not recognize that he feels hurt when his lover disappoints him ("Big boys don't cry"), but only feel the anger that covers the hurt. Or his fear of approaching someone he finds attractive may be expressed as sexual bravado.

Sex and conflict become the main avenues to feel alive and engaged with others. He may engage in them passionately, but he will try to keep them from becoming too personal. He will more easily commit himself to an abstraction, such as a team or an idea, than to a personal relationship.

Solutions

So we see that the main root of all this trouble is the separation of fathers from their children, especially their sons. From that comes the disappearance of the male feeling life and generations of men who are increasingly shut down and isolated. What can we do to heal these wounds and resurrect male feeling life? The main thing we can do is to help men re-connect with their own inner experience and with other men.

Any situation that puts a man in the company of other men and supports his emotional openness can be helpful. But, for most men, the internal walls are high and hard to breach. Often the unconscious prohibitions on vulnerability will sabotage his attempts to open up. To overcome this, he needs the support of a sustained, conscious attention from outside. For many men, the most effective approach is to join a men's group or work one-on-one with a male therapist. Here, there is an explicit intention to tell yourself the truth, and the support required to do so.

In a men's group, a man gets to watch as other men work with their own feeling life. He gets to see how they do it, what works and what doesn't. He can try on new behaviors and see what fits. He can ask for feedback on how he comes across or on how to handle a particular situation. He can discover that he is not bad or broken.

In the context of a male community, he can discover that closeness and connection actually reinforce his masculinity, rather than diminish it. He can explore his feelings and learn to work with them skillfully. But most of all, he can experience being held and supported by a masculine love. This is the blessing that boys need as they develop into men.

I have seen again and again in my groups that as a man receives this blessing and his wounds heal, his feeling life blossoms. He experiences himself as more full and alive. He becomes generous and begins to nurture those around him, both inside and outside of the group. He becomes a more active and involved father and often a coach, mentor, scoutmaster, or the like. His intimate relationships become deeper and stronger as he begins to relish intimacy rather than retreat from it.

As more and more men develop this way, we will see fathering come back into vogue. Indeed, we have already seen good-father images reappearing in movies and advertising, and recently also in social and political debate.

The women's movement has made great strides in reclaiming power as a feminine attribute. I applaud them for it. Now it is time for the men to reclaim feeling as a masculine attribute. We will know we have succeeded when sons everywhere see their fathers dancing for joy.

© 1996 Steven Kessler. The fairy tale mentioned is called "Mogarzea and his Son" and can be found in Andrew Lang's Violet Fairy Book. Steven Kessler is a psychotherapist in Albany, CA who has been leading men's groups since 1984. EFTTherapyCenter.com or eMail

Today’s Double Standard


We justify devoting vastly disproportionate amounts of our tax dollars to African-Americans because of their deficits: low achievement, low income, high rates of crime, drug abuse, and AIDS,

We similarly justify disproportionate spending on women. If women are not proportionately represented in the boardroom and only earn 80 cents on the dollar—even if it’s because, of their own choice, they don’t want to work long hours--advocacy groups, through their mouthpieces in the media, decry the situation and promulgate an endless series of efforts to help women, usually at the expense of men.

So, it would only seem fair that when men have a deficit, they get disproportionate attention. What’s that deficit? A crucial one: how long they live. Men die six years sooner than women. There are more than four widows for every widower!

So, it would only seem fair that more health research and health education dollars be spent on men than on women. Yet in the budget of every federal health agency, more money is spent on women’s health than on men’s. There are seven federal health agencies specifically for women. Not one for men. 39 of the 50 states have an office of women’s health, only six have one for men. A search of more than 3,000 medical journals listed in Index Medicus found that 23 articles were written on women’s health for each one written on men’s. Although a woman is only 14 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than a man is from prostate cancer, funding for breast cancer research is 660 percent greater than funding for prostate cancer research. Even the post office has gotten into the act: there is only one disease for which you can buy a postage stamp and the profits will go to research to cure the disease: breast cancer, even though heart disease kills millions more men prematurely. !

Before the age of 65, men die of heart attacks at three times the rate of women.

The bias against men is not limited to government-funded efforts. Even though men die younger, and men’s last decade is spent in worse health than women’s, most media and private sector attention goes to women’s health: features on menopause on CNN, articles on osteoporosis in the Kaiser Permanente newsletter, and nonstop corporate-sponsored fundraisers for breast cancer: runs for breast cancer, walks for breast cancer, even go to an A’s game for breast cancer. Baseball, a game played by and watched primarily by men, has a Breast Cancer Day, but not a Heart Attack Day, even though millions more people—primarily men—die prematurely of heart disease. Yet when the media pays attention to heart disease, most of it is focused on women, even though women get heart disease long after the average man is dead.

Feminists and other liberals offer excuses such as, “Men got most of the research money in the past. Let’s even the score.” The implication is that researchers were only interested in making men healthy. The real reason men were overrepresented among medical research subjects was because few women would volunteer for the often dangerous trials. As a result, most research was done on volunteers from prison or the military, the vast majority of whom were men. And did men inadvertently benefit? Men still live six years shorter than women, a gap that, over the past four decades, has decreased by just one year.

Another feminist excuse for the underspending on men’s health is, “Men just need to organize like we women do.” I don’t hear women making that argument to other groups. Could you imagine feminists responding to African-Americans’ concerns about lack of funding with, “Blacks just need to organize like we women do?”

Most often, feminists and other liberals justify underspending on men’s health by blaming men themselves for their early demise: “If they only saw their doctor more often.” Fact is, far more potent than doctor visits in staving off the major killers (cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes) are avoiding overweight and not smoking. Yet women, not men, have higher rates of obesity and smoking. Despite that, I don’t hear feminists or liberals saying, “It’s women’s own fault. Let’s not fund research on women and heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.” They want ever more money spent on women’s health. Nor do liberals say, “AIDS is caused by careless behavior so we shouldn’t spend money on AIDS.”

Only when straight men are involved, do the liberals sound like conservatives, telling men to pull themselves up by the bootstraps. With women, gays and minorities, the message is, “It takes a village.”

A fair society cannot have it both ways. It either needs to decide to allocate resources based on deficits or spend in proportion to the population: men 49% and women 51%, minorities 25% and whites 75%, heterosexuals 98% and homosexuals 2%. A double standard that hurts straight men is grossly unfair.

Source: Marty Nemko holds a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and subsequently taught in Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education. He is the worklife columnist in the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle and is the producer and host of Work With Marty Nemko, heard Sundays at 11 on 91.7 FM in San Francisco, and worldwide on www.martynemko.com Good Résumé versus Great Résumé


There are clear differences between a good résumé and a great résumé.

A good résumé is a glorified application. This type of résumé explains to the hiring manager the following information in this order: dates of employment, companies, titles held, and job functions. It concludes with when and where you received your education. It is good because the hiring manager can get a clear summation of your past experience and education.

A great résumé is a marketing brochure. This résumé highlights the scope and depth of your experience. It describes the expertise you have developed throughout your career that relates to your future employer's needs. A great résumé communicates a compelling reason for the prospective employer to need and want your services.

Good résumés identify where you went to school, the jobs you have had, and your responsibility in those jobs. Great résumés extract the relevant accomplishments from your past experiences and highlight them. This prompts the interviewer to ask about them with the future in mind.

Great résumés also pave the way for great interviews. A well-crafted résumé will prompt the interviewer to target specific areas that are most relevant to the open position. A résumé that lists everything you have ever done requires you to be prepared to talk about all these things in an interview. It is difficult to prepare for such an extensive interview and can lead the interview astray.

Create a Great Résumé

Once you have adopted a future-focused orientation, you are ready to create your résumé. The presentation of your information, the layout, and the language you use to communicate value are extremely important. There are only two things you can be sure a hiring manager will do when reviewing your résumé: (1) Hiring managers will begin reviewing a résumé by starting at the top, and they will read the lines from left to right. (2) Their first impression will have the greatest impact and will influence how they perceive you. It creates the lens through which all other information is filtered.

Based on these principles, it is essential that the most relevant, important information be presented at the top and along the left side of your résumé. The least important information should be at the bottom and along the right side.

Résumé Format

In order to transform your résumé from a good résumé to a great résumé, concentrate on using your layout and language most effectively. Here's how.

Headings

The main heading is where you provide contact information for the hiring managers. Your main heading lets them know who you are and where you can be reached. This section should be designed like a professional letterhead. Résumés are formal documents, so you should not use abbreviations here.

Example:

Fran C. Smith
1153 Terry Avenue
Atlanta, Georgia 30306
francsmith@aol.com
404-555-1234

The main heading highlights your name and provides the contact information on one line, followed by a divider line. This format saves space that can be dedicated to communicating more of your strengths. Notice that it is not necessary to label the phone number or e-mail address; these items are understood. Be as concise as possible.

Use the same heading on your references page, cover letters, and thank-you letters. By creating a professional-looking letterhead, you offer a consistent image to the hiring manager. It also allows the hiring manager to quickly access your contact information on every document.

Section headings are titles you assign to different areas of your résumé. For example, your employment section will have one heading. Your education and community activities sections will have their own headings.

Section headings are extremely important. A section name influences how the hiring manager perceives the information within the heading. If you use an objective statement as your first section heading, you communicate your needs to the hiring manager. You are saying to the hiring manager, "My objective is to get a job."

If your first section is a summary of qualifications, your section heading communicates the value you offer the hiring manager. You focus the reader on the ways you will meet the company's needs. This heading also tells the hiring manager you are indeed "qualified" for the position. You summarize the qualifications that will be explained in detail in the remainder of the résumé.

A summary of qualifications should be confined to three high-impact statements.

The first statement should highlight your years of experience in the profession and industry.

The second statement should identify the areas of expertise you want to emphasize.

The third statement should identify personal attributes that are important to the role and company.

Example:

Summary of Qualifications

Offers more than 10 years of progressive advancement in the manufacturing industry, serving as an operations executive. Demonstrates a proven record of success in leading as many as 250 associates, streamlining business processes, and managing multiple projects delivered on time and within budget. Possesses exceptional communication skills and the ability to develop high-performance teams.

While "Summary of Qualifications" is the best section heading to begin your résumé, there are several exceptions to the rule. If you fall into one of these exceptions, then you need to consider beginning your résumé with an objective statement.

Exception 1: Clarity. If you are making a transition by applying for a position that diverges from your past experience, an objective statement is needed, since your skills are not an obvious or solid match for the position. Use the objective statement to clarify your interest in the position and show that your skills are transferable.

Exception 2: Intent. If you do not use a cover letter to introduce your purpose in sending the résumé, an objective statement is appropriate. The objective statement communicates the purpose of your résumé. In this circumstance, the objective should be very direct and specific to the prospective company and position.

Additional section headings that are useful in constructing a résumé that communicates value to a hiring manager include:

These sections follow your summary of qualifications. They emphasize specific strengths you have developed throughout your career. These sections provide an opportunity to bring special attention to experiences that are most relevant to the hiring manager, regardless of when and where they occurred.

For example, if you want to convey that your experience as a leader is a key asset even though your leadership experience has been in a different industry, you can emphasize this in a leadership experience section. This way, the hiring manager focuses on your leadership qualifications first before reading about it later in the context of the industry.

Be careful not to give too much information in this section. For example, if you create an areas of expertise section, ideally confine your expertise to four areas and not more than six areas. Listing too many areas dilutes the depth of expertise. The same holds true for accomplishments and achievements. Focus the hiring manager's attention on your most important accomplishments by creating three strong statements.

Select a high-impact section heading for your employment section. Do not use "Employment History" or "Work Experience." These headings are vague and generic. The terms employment and work define virtually every type of job available, from soda jerk or paperboy to corporate CEO or marketing director.

Instead, create a compelling section heading that optimizes your experience. The following section headings are appropriate for professional résumés. They communicate a career path, versus a series of jobs.

Now you are ready to arrange the most important information at the top left of the page and least important information at the bottom right. Start with what is most compelling to the hiring manager. Begin with your professional title or your industry and company name. Then list the location and your dates of employment to the right.

Example:

Marketing Director

XYZ Industries, Atlanta, Georgia June 1992-June 2002

Résumé Length

There are differing opinions regarding the appropriate length of a résumé. The general rule regarding résumé length is:

However, this rule can vary depending on your circumstances. For example, say you have more than 20 years of professional experience. If the last 5 to 10 years are the most relevant and substantial, then a one-page résumé that highlights this experience may be more appropriate.

This conversation between an author and his editor illustrates why you should pay attention to your résumé length.

Editor: I like your book except for the ending.

Author: What's wrong with the ending?

Editor: It should be closer to the beginning.

More is not better in résumé writing. Your objective is to keep the hiring manager's attention focused on your skills that add immediate value to the company. If you describe every experience and function of your entire career, you risk diverting the focus away from the parts of your résumé that are most important.

Additionally, if you put every single experience on your résumé, you have to be prepared to discuss every single experience in the interview. As a result, your interview will be more difficult to prepare for and you run the risk of being asked about experiences that are not relevant to the position. You may be perceived as "not a good fit" because, based on your résumé, the hiring manager asked about the wrong skill, rather than what was needed for that particular position.

Résumé Content

Transform your résumé from a description of job functions to a series of accomplishment statements that are of interest to the hiring manager. To do this, read your job function statements and ask yourself:

The answers to these questions are typically the most important elements of the résumé to the hiring manager and need to be communicated clearly.

Reprinted from: The Play of Your Life: Your Program for Finding the Career of Your Dreams -- And a Step-by-Step Guide to Making It a Reality by Colleen A. Sabatino © 2004 Rodale Inc. Permission granted by Rodale, Inc. visit www.writtenvoices.com 400+ of his published writings are available free on that website. mnemko@earthlink.net

Don't Bite The Hand That Feeds You: Four Somethings to Keep Romance Alive


Romance... what’s the big deal? Chocolates and flowers, dinner and a show. Why do women flip for this stuff? Is “romance” even in a man’s dictionary? I ask this because we men are dogs. And, what do dogs find romantic? Beer, power tools, and rawhide.

What? You claim you’re not a dog? If you’re a man, you’re a dog. You can either accept it or shave your fur, walk on your hind legs, and hide your tail in the waistband of your BVD’s. But, eventually you’ll fall back to all fours, the tail pops out, and you get five o’clock shadow all over your body. If you’ve got an Adam’s Apple, pump testosterone, and can grow facial hair, you’re either a dog or a female guest on “Jerry Springer”.

Okay, let’s be honest. Dogs are not completely oblivious to romance. We’ve all fallen victim to the “R” word. Although we hate to admit it, we dogs have all attempted romance at some point. But, there’s really only two reasons a dog is ever romantic: sex and points.

See, back in the day, when you were courting your woman, you tried to win her with what she wanted... romance. Be it candlelight, a bottle of perfume, or lingerie, you attempted romance for her sake. Why? You did it to land her in bed. Don’t be ashamed. You’re a man, a dog. We’re born this way. It’s out of our control. And, women know this. It’s a trade off, romance for sex.

The other reason we dogs ever take a dip in the pool of romance is to accumulate points that will keep us out of the proverbial doghouse when we inevitably mess up. Example; you do something romantic (buy her a bouquet of flowers) so that you can store those romance points for later. Then, when you pull a “dog maneuver” (forget her birthday or something else a woman finds incredibly important), she hits your behind with a rolled up newspaper and yells, “No, bad dog!” But you smooth things over by reminding her of the bouquet. This keeps you dog-house-free for another day, which means you’ve got your place back in bed for another night. And, that, of course, means there’s the possibility of finding yourself in the throes of hanky-panky, and we’re right back to where we started... sex.

Assuming you’ve been with your woman awhile, the courting stage has probably passed. Romance is long gone, honeymoon’s over. I don’t care if you’ve been with her six months, six years, or six decades, sex is still a priority, isn’t it? Keep this in mind, though... romance is still a priority for her. And, as we know, her romance is the catalyst to our sex. Therefore, if you want more “romping”, you gotta get with the romance program.

There are quite literally thousands of ways to display your romantic prowess with a woman, but they can all be categorized into four simple “somethings”: Remember Something, Write Something, Play Something, and Do Something.


Remember Something

God, it’s incredible, but women actually expect us to remember the most ludicrous and trivial bits of their lives, like their birthdays or anniversaries. Give me a break! What do they think we are, calendars with beards? We’ve got other things occupying our precious gray matter (the time of the game next weekend and whether to mow the front or back lawn next). But, if it will make them happy, if giving them the impression that we’ve remembered a couple of things about them counts as romance, might as well toss them this bone.

There are hundreds (maybe thousands) of things women would love for us to know, but they’ll be satisfied if we can pull off these few.

You need to remember her favorite:

Also remember:

Get this information. Write it down. And, make four copies. Keep the copies in your wallet, your car’s glove box, your night stand, and a safe deposit box.


Write Something

Instead of just saying something warm and eloquent to your woman, write it down and give it to her. Spoken words are gone the moment they’re blurted out, but if they’re written, they can last forever, and women are pack-rats when it comes to saving romantic stuff. This works to our benefit, because once the words are on paper, they can always be referred to, keeping us from visiting Fido.

What you write doesn’t have to be an Elizabethan sonnet. She probably doesn’t expect much from you. Just write her a love letter telling her you’re thinking of her and how lucky you are that she’s in your life yadda, yadda, yadda. If you’re feeling daring, attempt a simple poem (avoid “roses are red...”, over-done). Four or six rhyming lines is fine.

Can’t write to save your life? Borrow some poetry. Here are a couple you can rewrite and sign your name to:

Guess who At least there’s one good thing
Love you To look forward to when it comes
It’s true to growing old.
I do! We’re gonna do it together.

I know, not of the highest caliber, but if you’re a beginner use these or check out a poetry book from the library and utilize the words of another poet. What? You wouldn’t be caught dead with a poetry book? You don’t even own a library card? Then, just pop in some CD’s and write down the lyrics of some appropriate songs. Which leads us to...


Play Something

The right music at the right moment will give your woman tingles in places she had no idea could tingle. Women love romantic music. Watch them during an intimate time. Their entire demeanor changes as the music develops. Appropriate tunes add new levels to a romantic atmosphere, which, in turn, add loads of points for you. Romance = Points = Sex!

There are songs for every occasion. I’ve listed some here, but please do not corner yourself with this limited list. Go through your CD, tape, 8-track, or album collection. Listen to the radio. Keep your ears poised listening to lyrics. If a song works for you, use it.

Some General Romantic Songs

Anniversary Songs

Songs For When You Can’t Be With Her

Songs To Get You Out Of The Doghouse

Songs For The Bedroom


Do Something

Yes, do something. Everybody needs to do something. And, when you do something for her, that something becomes a romantic something. To “do” takes effort, and to women effort is often even more romantic than the end result. And, that something doesn’t even need to be complicated or extravagant.

You plan on wishing her a happy birthday? Call the radio station she listens to and announce your wish on air. Want to give her a gift on Valentine’s Day? Hide it and make a treasure hunt of it.

A birthday wish becomes a public display of affection. A Valentine’s gift becomes a romantic event. Just putting out some creative effort will definitely pay off between the sheets later. You can come up with dozens of these ideas, but I’m leaving you with a couple to get you started:

On her birthday send her folks a thank-you card for what they brought into this world (however many) years ago. Don’t tell your woman you’re doing this. Trust me, word will get to her. Tell her folks she’s the greatest thing since screw-off beer bottle tops and you need to thank them for her.

Simple, yet incredibly affective.

Give your woman a sealed envelope that reads: Don’t open until you get to (put an address here). Arrive between (put the hours here).

The address is that of some store you’re sending her to. Don’t mention the store’s name! This adds a bit of curiosity to the adventure. The hours you’ll list are the times the store doors will be open. Inside the envelope put a gift certificate or enough cash for something you know your woman wants at that particular store.

Inside the envelope stick a note along these lines:

Welcome to (store name),

I know they carry (the item she wants) that you really want. Along with this note you should find (amount of cash or gift certificate) sufficient enough to pay for (the item). I hope you have fun shopping.

Women love to shop. Dogs don’t. This is perfect. You give her what she wants and you’re not being dragged around a store with her.

Take these four “somethings” and expand upon them. Be creative, be original, but most of all be romantic. If you want more guidance, there are scores of sites on the internet. A few I recommend are

These sites offer more poem, love letter, gift and getaway ideas, as well as advice on romance, relationships and sex. Also, check out books written by Laura Corn. They’ll satisfy both you and your woman. Corn teaches romance through sexual relations.

Give your woman what she wants. You’ll get what you need. It’s been said that “Dog is man’s best friend.” Be sure that Dog is your woman’s best friend, too. Don’t bite. Don’t shed. Pee on the newspaper. And, always stay out of the doghouse. Ruff!

About the Author: Leon Lewandowski is the author of Out of the Doghouse: A Man’s Secret Survival Guide to Romance. He and his wife of over ten years are planning romance workshops for men, women, and couples. Feel free to respond to this article, request last minute romance advice, or ask about upcoming events at info@doghousefree.com or DogHousefree.com

19 Things that it Took Me 50 Years to Learn


1. Never under any circumstances take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

2. If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be "meetings."

3. There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."

4. People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.

5. And when God, who created the entire universe with all of its glories, decides to deliver a message to humanity, He WILL NOT use, as His messenger, a person on cable TV with a bad hairstyle.

6. You should not confuse your career with your life.

7. No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously.

8. When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy.

9. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

10. Never lick a steak knife.

11. Take out the fortune before you eat the cookie.

12. The most powerful force in the universe is gossip.

13. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings time.

14. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.

15. There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age eleven.

16. "The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers.

17. The main accomplishment of almost all organized protests is to annoy people who are not in them.

18. A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.

19. Your friends love you anyway.

Source: Dave Barry

A "Best-Wishing" Hour


Parties can be a field day of back-biting gossip. Conversely, parties can also be a wonderful opportunity for using words to heal. A relaxed social setting, surrounded by friends or family, is a perfect time to express positive, strengthening feelings about the host(s) or guest(s) of honor. Taking a half hour in the middle of the party for guests to share appreciative and encouraging sentiments can turn a superficial good time into a profoundly meaningful event.

Here is an example of how a “best wishing hour” works:

Joan recently bought a condominium and is throwing a house-warming party. A mid-level corporate executive, Joan has invited co-workers, friends, and relatives. There is a bittersweet quality to the celebration. Twice divorced, Joan would prefer to live with a husband and children in a house in the suburbs.

- Half way through the party, when almost all the guests are present, Joan’s co-worker Larry clinks on his glass to get everyone’s attention. He says: “I just want to take this opportunity to express to you, Joan, how much I enjoy working with you. I admire your whole-hearted dedication to the company, and your perseverance in getting the job done, even when that requires extra hours that nobody else wants to put in. Even when we don’t agree, you have the truly wonderful quality of putting the good of the company ahead of your own ideas, and admitting that I’m right! (laughter) Seriously, in terms of putting the company first you are truly a role model for me. I hope that your new home will be the setting for many happy times for you. May you enjoy only good health and much personal fulfillment in this lovely apartment.”

- Mary takes the next turn. “If I may add my two cents. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Joan’s sister. I happen to know that this house-warming is the fulfillment of a dream Joan has cherished for years - to own her own house. Joan is someone who not only dreams, but who actualizes her dreams, with hard work and energy and an optimistic outlook. Joan has always inspired me with her ability keep moving forward, even when it hasn’t been easy. And it hasn’t always been easy. Whenever she falls down, Joan manages to pick herself up, brush herself off, and keep trekking, and that’s an amazing quality.(applause) My wish for you, Joan, may sound strange, but here it is: I wish that within the year you’ll meet your true life’s partner, get married, sell this condo at a big profit, and buy a house in the suburbs, which you’ll fill with rowdy kids, like you and I were!”

- Olivia, a friend, speaks next: “I want to mention how beautifully you’ve decorated this apartment with so many of your hand-made touches. Most of you may not realize it, but Joan made the silk flower arrangements on the dining room table and on the shelf in the kitchen. (exclamations of “beautiful” and “wow”) Something else you may not know is that Joan bought all her tablecloths and curtains at the local institute for the handicapped. She is such a devoted advocate of that place that she got me to buy $200 worth of stuff there that I didn’t even need! (laughter) My wish for you, Joan, is that this condo may be a quiet place where you can regenerate and regroup after your very exhausting work day. And may it often be filled with people who love you, as it is tonight.

Things to Keep In Mind When Toasting Your Host

Notice the essential elements of each set of remarks:

1. Express appreciation for the person’s unique qualities. Be specific. “You’re a great guy,” is a meaningless compliment. Focus in on the person’s own positive attributes, even if it takes a few minutes of thought to realize what they are. Words heal only if they come from the heart. Forget generic compliments.

2. Wish the person well in the specific way that applies to him or her. Again, forget generic wishes that you could have copied off a Hallmark card. For elderly parents celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary, wishes for health and long life together are most appropriate. For a 30th birthday party, wishes for the birthday boy to actualize his potential according to his own specific interests and talents is a much better wish than a vague, “Many happy returns of the day!”

3. Let the person know how much you love and admire him or her. We all need to hear words of encouragement. Such words are the greatest gift you can bring to the party.
Source: WordsCanHeal.org

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
Why the debate? Prostate cancer screening saves lives


Retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf said it best when diagnosed with prostate cancer -- "You cannot sit back and do nothing because you'll never have perfect intelligence on the enemy...Get on with it."

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy in American men. It is curable if diagnosed early. Early detection is the key.

About 30,000 men will die from it this year alone and one out of every 18 of those deaths will be of a Pennsylvania resident, ranking the state fifth in both of prostate cancer incidence and deaths. That's why Pittsburghers over 45 don't need another excuse to avoid taking care of their health.

But the argument against the use of the prostate specific antigen blood test for detecting prostate cancer has provided that excuse -- pitting public health officials and primary care physicians, who claim there is no evidence of PSA success beyond a reasonable doubt, against many urologists who ask why a 27 percent decline in prostate cancer mortalities in the past five years isn't evidence enough.

Despite American Cancer Society and American Urological Association guidelines that encourage doctors to offer a PSA test and a digital rectal exam while discussing the risks of the disease, too many doctors lean toward discouraging the test, focusing on misplaced convictions that the test discovers insignificant tumors and that it doesn't save lives.

Physicians who have deferred or waffled on PSA testing are losing their licenses and seeing their malpractice insurance carriers pay out millions of dollars to bereaved families.

In a November 2001 wrongful death suit, a widow was awarded $3 million in a case in which the doctor in question "did not tell the patient about [the high PSA level] or recommend further testing or follow up visits."

A study at Long Beach Community Cancer Center of 48 such prostate cancer malpractice cases determined that, of the 22 awards totaling over $8.4 million, roughly $7.5 million "could have been avoided if PSA screening and diagnostic guidelines . . . had been followed."

These cases have become legal benchmarks as the PSA debate has moved from the doctor's office into the courthouse. They should come as a warning to science and public health policy officials across the country: If you continue to delay a decision on PSA, lawyers and lawmakers will make it for you.

Urologists will tell you that, despite imperfections, the PSA test has changed the prostate cancer diagnostic landscape. Before it, nearly three out of four men diagnosed with the disease were in the late stages -- when prostate cancer is neither readily treatable nor curable. The advent of screening has inverted that statistic, giving men a fighting chance. Regional studies support that early detection reduces mortality. One study in Austria shows that prostate cancer mortalities were markedly reduced with widespread PSA screening.

Even though newer blood tests help clarify the likelihood of cancer when PSA is abnormal, we still need more research to determine better models for early detection. But should we doom the thousands of men who could die waiting up to 14 years for the results of a randomized trial to determine "perfect intelligence" on the PSA? With so many lives in the balance, how much evidence do we need to convince us that prostate cancer is our enemy, not the test that so often detects it in time to permit a cure?

Men over the age of 50 -- and even younger if they are at higher risk of prostate cancer (African Americans and men with family histories of the disease) should "get on with it." Set aside the excuses and resolve to be tested every year.

Source: Carl Frankel, an advocate for the National Prostate Cancer Coalition, is retired general counsel for the United Steel Workers of America and a prostate cancer survivor. He lives in Point Breeze. www.post-gazette.com/healthscience/20020611hprostate4.asp

Lessons for Zentrepreneurs


Slow down. Be grateful. Bow to the distinctiveness that is you: your mind, your body, your spirit and your splendor. In the words of Lao-Tzu who said, "Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment."

A Zentrepreneur is someone who risks letting go of preconceived notions in order to deepen their knowledge of self - and beyond.. But more than that, a Zentrepreneur is someone who has made his or her own life noble and rich beyond counting by simply living a dream defined. While an entrepreneur creates a business, a Zentrepreneur creates a business and a life.

Once you find a passionate interest, it hits you, permeates your mind. It creates a continuous array of bright spots, an elation and excitement that can absolutely, positively, one hundred percent, provide you with the most important tool you will need to achieve success. Passion provides you with the best possible odds to successfully catch and live your dream.

The importance of risk-taking is not what you may get from taking a risk, but rather what you become because of taking it.Embrace risk-taking as an opportunity to see and appreciate possibilities.

It is more important to know what you should not be doing in life than to know what you should be doing.

Focus on who you are and what you are capable of, resisting the strong pressure from family and friends and the self-imposed limits that may prevent you from opportunities for personal fulfillment and achievement. Eliminate the things you are tolerating and that are draining your energy. Stop putting up with what's dragging you down.

Putting your goals in writing makes them real. By clearly identifying what you want, both your conscious and subconscious mind will adjust your thinking process, regarding the written message as a focus and not merely a daydream..By writing down your goals you create a contract with yourself, documenting and increasing your personal commitment to shaping and defining them.

Failure is the lubricant of success.it is an essential building block needed to succeed. And how you handle failure is the single hardest battle you must face in accomplishing your dream.

A Zentrepreneur knows that to move on, sometimes the best light for the journey can be the result of a burning bridge.

Zentrepreneurs value their humanity and strive to be spirits of compassion, giving of themselves freely and without hesitation. .Giving of your wisdom, value and service to others is like casting a pebble into the water. After the brevity of its drop, the ripples of energy continue to extend endlessly outward and in due course return to the Zentrepreneur's heart and soul manyfold.

Source: by Ron Rubin and Stuart Avery Gold authors of Wowisms:  Words of wisdom for dreamers and doers. Excerpted from SUCCESS AT LIFE: How To Catch and Live Your Dream-A Zentrepreneur's Guide. Copyright (c) 2001 by Ron Rubin and Stuart Avery Gold. Reprinted by permission of Newmarket Press, 18 East 48 Street, New York, NY 10017, www.newmarketpress.com Ron Rubin, the "Minister of Tea," is Chairman of the Board of The Republic of Tea. He keeps a permanent residence in Clayton, Missouri. Stuart Avery Gold, the "Minister of Travel," is COO and the lauded "editorial voice" for the company's Tea Revolution. He resides in Boca Raton, Florida. For more information, please visit www.Zentrepreneurs.com

Tips for Nourishing a Sex-Starved Marriage


1] Don't ignore the problem

Too often people just stick their heads in the sand, hoping the problems between them will just disappear. If you do this, the only thing that will disappear is your intimacy and friendship. You need to face the issue and do something about it.

Many people avoid taking action because they're embarrassed about low sexual desire. This is especially true for men. Low sexual desire in men is America's best kept secret. Millions of men, just like millions of women, aren't always in the mood for sex. And it's not always a matter of sexual performance problems. Men avoid sex for many of the same reasons women do. Frequently, relationship issues are major libido busters. But since men aren't talking, they're also not seeking help. There's another problem with the lack of openness about male low desire. Since no one is talking, the women in these marriages wonder, "What's wrong with me,?" "I'm the only woman in the world whose husband isn't chasing her around the living. I must be unattractive or unlovable." Get help

2] Quit playing the Blame Game

You need to stop blaming each other for being different. It's not a matter of who is right and who is wrong. Unlike vitamins, there are no daily minimum requirements to insure a healthy sex life. The only way you can really screw up is to tell your more sexual spouse, "It's your problem, deal with it." A sexual desire gap is a couple's problem and both spouses need to change.

For the more sexual spouse:

a) Tune into your spouse's turn-on's

Too often more sexual spouses do what turns them on, not their spouses. They buy sex toys, sex movies, and lingerie. This frequently backfires because what often turns on the less sexual person are the things that happen outside the bedroom- an offer to get up early with the kids so that the other spouse can sleep in, encouragement to have a guy's weekend away to relieve stress. Do what turns your spouse on, not you.

b) Use the "F-word"

Talk about feelings. Because the more sexual spouse feels angry and resentful, they often don't share their true underlying feelings of hurt, despair and loneliness. But doing so often prompts more compassion and empathy.and sexuality.

For the less sexual spouse

a) Use the "Nike Solution"- Just do it.

If you're not in the mood, do it anyway. Millions of people discover that even if they're not in the mood for sex when they start making love, once they get into it, they really and truly enjoy themselves. New research suggests that for half the population, sexual desire doesn't just happen, you have to make it happen. And being receptive to your spouse's advances is often the best way to jumpstart desire.

b) Take the great American sex challenge.

If you haven't been desiring sex because your spouse is irritable or unkind, it may be because s/he is feeling rejected. Do an experiment. For two weeks, make a commitment to making sex a bigger priority. Initiate sex more often, get out of your sweat suits and into something revealing, leave sexy notes around the house, tell your spouse how great s/he looks..and watch what happens. You can transform a marriage through touch and sensuality. I guarantee you will see remarkable changes in your spouse. Send the results of your "research" to www.sexstarvedmarriage.com

Source: Michele Weiner Davis is the author of The Sex-Starved Marriage: A Couple's Guide to Boosting Their Marriage Libido, The Divorce Remedy, Divorce Busting, A Woman's Guide to Changing Her Man, Change Your Life and Everyone in It, and In Search of Solutions. A regular guest on Oprah, 48 Hours, the Today show, and CBS This Morning, she created Keeping Love Alive, a PBS broadcast seminar. An internationally renowned seminar leader and marriage therapist in private practice, she lives with her family in Illinois. For more information, please visit www.sexstarvedmarriage.com

"Eight steps to having the relationships you want - and to taking control of every situation in your life!"


Like it or not, we are all gladiators. We go to sleep and wake up in a social arena from which there is no escape. Challenge upon challenge confronts us, walls restrain us, and a mob of spectators mocks, sneers, or cheers us. Each and every day brings new battles whether we want them or not and whether we're up to them or not. Life forces us to face one skirmish after another - no choice in the matter.

What we can choose, though, is which kind of gladiator to be, victor or victim.

Being a victim in this social arena translates into having bad relationships.

Most people are victims - victims of their own perceptions.

That's because people don't develop and listen to their own unique, authentic self. Rather they allow their mental spectators - those little tyrants rattling around in their heads - to tell them second by second how to fight their battles, what they can and cannot do. These tyrants applaud and they hiss, they encourage and they discourage.

These mental spectators are the memories of the judgments of real-life people. For example, it's the memory of your aunt saying, "I hope you marry someone rich, because you're not going far on brains." It's the echo of your father growling, "You've got a back problem - no spine."

And their influence over your relationships can't be overestimated.

Millions of people accept the judgments of their mental spectators as the truth and, therefore, the mediocre results that come from believing those judgments.

With so many people living this way, the question becomes, is this the way I have to live? Fortunately, the answer is not unless you want to.

Once you identify your mental spectators - and your interactions with them - you can move beyond victim and assume the role of victor.

What it takes are eight steps for getting command, eight steps you can apply to most any situation you want altered. You can positively influence your relationships, your employment options, any aspect of your life.

Let's look at the steps.

1. Define What Ails You. Ask, what's my problem? Am I a jealous weasel, troubled that others have what I want? Am I ticked off most of the time? Am I sad and whiney? Anxiety ridden? Moody? All of the above? Without this step, you're doomed. It will take personal courage, but you won't get results without identifying what ails you.

2. Discover the Effects. Ask, how are my problems affecting my life? Am I a lousy parent, a friendless dork, a backstabber, a slut, a drunk, a junkie? Am I none of the above, but someone who is less than I could be? This step requires absolute self-honesty, but the truth will help set you free.

3. Seek the Source. Ask, from where are my problems coming? Who are my real and my mental spectators? What do my mental spectators look like, say, and do? Exactly who or what is keeping me from taking command of my life? This could be one of the most incredible experiences of your life. You will look into the abyss and see who is looking back.

4. Identify Your Role. Ask, how am I contributing to my problems? What is my responsibility in all this? Did I decide to be a garbage disposal? Do I beat myself to death trying to please others? Do I expect things of myself that are unfair? Do I treat myself as a friend or an enemy? Do I allow my mental spectators to drive me to distraction, depression, anger, anxiety? Recognizing your role in your own problems is a positive - but scary - step toward knowing yourself and gaining personal command.

5. State Your Desires. Ask, what do I specifically want to do about my problems? Do I want to be a doormat, a slut, a drunk, a friendless geek? Or do I want to rule my mental spectators? Do I want to stand up to a spectator, real or imagined, who puts me down? Do I want to take command of my education, my bank account, my relationships? Until you can actually list your desires in the order of their importance, you will be a victim. However, once you do this, you are on your way to being a victor.

6. Seek Options. Ask, what are my options, and in what order should I place them? What is the first option I should concentrate on? The second one? The third? If you have a soul-sucking hangover most mornings, you might opt to give up your booze buddies for some real friends. Secondly, take the money you normally spend at bars and deposit it in a college fund for yourself or your kids. If, instead, you're a workaholic and you want to spend more time with your kids, then DO IT. Very few people on their deathbed have said, "If I could live life all over again, I'd spend more of it at work and less with people I love." Choices are involved here, but by weighing options and alternatives, and then making personal choices, you are taking command. Do this and you'll begin to gain real power.

7. Learn Winning Techniques. Ask, how do I rule my real and my mental spectators? Must I collapse in a heap when they point thumbs down? How can I learn to take charge on every level and get a grip on my life? There is no "magic" involved, but you might feel as if there is. Unlike a vanquished gladiator falling at the whim of spectators, you decide your own course.

8. Master Your Relationships. Ask, what more can I do to master my relationships by strengthening myself and my perceptions? How do I take command right now in developing my own identification and self-worth? Congratulations! You're working on the one person in the entire world you can work on - YOU! And any improvements in yourself can't help but enrich your relationships with other people and the world around you.

Although this is only a brief overview of each of the eight steps for jump-starting your relationships and taking control of your life, you'd be amazed at how significant the effects of a few minor adjustments in perception can be.

Source: Terry Rich Hartley, Ph.D. is a social psychologist, a scientist, and the author of Tyrants of Self-Concept: Ruling the Rulers, a 125-page ebook that thoroughly describes the eight steps for improving your relationships, taking control of your life, and living the life you want to live. It includes easy-to-relate-to stories, examples, humor, and concrete, practical worksheets and exercises that get results fast. To learn more about how you can apply the steps, click here: www.rulingtherulers.com

An Interview with Dan Millman


Q: Let me start by asking how did you get from training yourself for Competitions to not just training others but also writing a number of books to help other people?

A: Even as a college gymnast I enoyed teaching. No matter what I learned, only one person benefitted; when I taught, many could benefit. I was later appointed Director of Gymnastics at Stanford University, then served as a professor at Oberlin College, where I studied the fundamental qualities that developed a talent for sport, such as strength, suppleness, stamina, and sensitivity (coordination, rhythm, timing, balance, reflex speed). Later, my curiosity took me to the larger "arena" of daily life. I began an inquiry into the fundamental qualities that develop a talent not for sport, but for life.

Q: You write in "Way of the Peaceful Warrior" that you had an injury once and healed quickly on a vegetarian diet.What does your diet consist of before high intensity competitive events?

A: As it happened, after my right thigh bone was shattered into about 40 fragments in a motorcycle collision, and shifted to a vegetarian diet, my physician and coach were equally concerned. Yet I trained hard to recover, felt extremely healthy, and became one of the strongest gymnasts in the nation. The fuller account I describe in "Way of the Peaceful Warrior" is essentially accurate. Today, thirty years later, my old coach now tells me he's eating less meat! Still, no one diet is right for all people. We each need to experiment, pay attention, and trust my instincts.

Q: Who is your strongest inspiration in sports? In spirituality? And what activity do you find intellectually most stimulating?

I do not have a single strongest inspiration either in sports or spirituality; rather, I find moments of inspiration in many people. But I would have to say that my primary teacher of sports, of spirituality, of life, has always been God, revealing all necessary lessons in the world of nature and in the school of daily life. I believe I convey these lessons most clearly in a little book called "The Laws of Spirit" a parable in which a woman sage teaches me twelve laws for living up in the wilderness.

Being a teacher, lecturer, workshop leader and having worked with many people. And having been asked many questions about life. What do you see as the hardest thing for people to do or to understand?

A: We know much, but bringing what we know is highest and best into everyday life - acting in line with our inner wisdom, is always a great challenge. It may take ten years to embody what we have learned. I emphasize, however, that even small actions can make a big difference. A little bit of something seems better than a lot of nothing. Also, I believe we need to trust the divine spirit within each of us, in our hearts, and to trust the process of our life unfolding.

Q: You write often about the non-competitive principal in sports promoting healthier competitive events. How can one who is used to "beating" his opponent throughout many years of competitions achieve this feeling of higher winning other then just the satisfaction of being better then the opponent?

A: In my new book, "Body Mind Mastery: Creating Success in Sport and Life," I address the issues of competition and cooperation. On the basis of many solid studies as well as my own experience, I have come to believe that cooperation accomplishes more than competition. But rather than do away with competitive sports, I believe we need to examine and transcend the competitive state of mind (which even "non-competitive" artists, dancers, and musicians fall prey to). We can do this by viewing our "opponent" as our student and our teacher (intentional or not). In a tennis match, I may play my very best-not to "beat" someone or "make them fail," but to serve as their teacher, show them their weaknesses, even as they do the same for me.

Q: How do you cope with exhaustion in training when the body just doesn't feel like exercising but you have a competition coming up in a few weeks that you need to prepare for?

A: Tough question. A Zen master was once asked, "What is Zen?" He answered, "When I am hungry I eat, when I am thirsty I drink, when I am tired I sleep." In other words, a natural, ordinary, human approach to life. Yet in the pressures of competition (or, say, deadlines at work) we lose this natural sense. As a general rule, if one is exhausted one should rest; this is only natural. But at times of need, we can also test and temper ourselves, transcend our everyday capacities and reach deep inside to find inner strength. Doing this on occasion may not be best for the body, but it can be good for the spirit. If it becomes habitual or chronic, (as when doctors go through internship) we may a price as we go against our own body's wisdom.

Q: You seem like a very positive person, have you ever been seriously depressed? Did things look at some point in time really grey for you?

If yes, how did you "get yourself going again"?

A: Of course I feel depressed at times; any sensitive person ought to feel depressed at times by man's inhumanity to man. It is important for all of us to realize that writers, teachers, gurus - even "enlightenment masters" - can get depressed. We should not speak in the past tense (as in "did you used to feel such-and-such) as if someone's life is complete. We are all human, all dealing with much the same challenges. Life is a series of moments; sometimes I feel happy, and sometimes I feel sad. The important thing is to focus on constructive action despite whatever we are, or are not feeling. I do my best to live on the basis of three principles: (1) Accept your feelings; (2) Know your purpose (in this moment); and (3) Do what needs to be done.

Q: I think that every athlete, as withactors and other performers, have from time to time fears, be it stage fear or fear of failure etc. How do you deal with such fears?

A: As you say, fear, self-doubt, anxiety, and insecurity pass through us all in different situations. As I clarify in my book "Everyday Enlightenment" under the chapter titled "Face Your Fears," the only way to deal with fear is to accept the feeling (whether or not we happen to like it); then do what needs to be done. Fear is a wonderful servant but a terrible master. If the fear is objective-involves danger to the physical body, let fear guide you and prepare well, take precautions, etc. If the fear is subjective -fear of failure, embarrassment, shame, rejection-then cut through it and do what you fear.

Q: What advice can you give to people who just started to participate in competition or acting careers to deal with their fears?

A: Use the fear. The only difference between fear and excitement is whether you are breathing.

Q: Every person has from time to time "blue" days, especially sportsmen and women who have to exercise or perform on a regular schedule and have most of the time, especially in the morning some pain here or there. How do you make yourself get up and do those things? How did you develop your own discipline?

A: I cover this in detail in "Everyday Enlightenment" in the Second chapter: "Reclaim Your Will." I believe I've already given some clues in my responses to previous questions. Here I'll just add: Start small. If you find it difficult to begin a workout, then just put on your workout clothes. In other words, do a little. Tell yourself you'll just work out for three minutes. The "blue" days are the most important ones of all to reclaim our will and "just do it."

Q: Would you like to close with any final words or reminders?

A: I'll close by sharing with you a brief excerpt from the epilogue of my book, THE LAWS OF SPIRIT. The woman sage bids me farewell after an adventure together, with the following words:

"These are my wishes and prayers for you, all the days of your life. May you find grace as you surrender to life. May you find happiness, as you stop seeking it. May you come to trust these laws and inherit the wisdom of the Earth. May you reconnect with the heart of nature and feel the blessings of Spirit.

"The challenges of daily life will remain, and you will tend to forget what I have shown you," she said. "But a deeper part of you will remember, and when you do, life's problems will seem no more substantial than soap bubbles. The path will open before you where before there grew only weeds of confusion. Your future, and the future of all humanity, is a path into the Light, into a growing realization of the Unity with the Creator and all creation. And what lies beyond is beyond description.

"Even when the sky appears at its darkest, know that the sun shines upon you, that love surrounds you, and that the pure Light within you will guide your way home. So trust the process of your life unfolding, and know with certainty, through the peaks and valleys of your journey, that your soul rests safe and secure in the arms of Spirit."

© 2003 Dan Millman

Dan is a former world trampoline champion, Stanford gymnastics coach, and Oberlin College professor. Dan has written eleven books - two novels, seven non-fiction guides, and two children's books. Each book provides a new and different facet of a peaceful warrior's approach to living wisely and well. In a sense, each book is another piece of the puzzle of personal and spiritual growth. Way of the Peaceful Warrior, Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior, No Ordinary Moments, Secret of the Peaceful Warrior (for children) and Quest for the Crystal Castle (for children), The Life You Were Born to Live, The Laws of Spirit, Everyday Enlightenment, Body Mind Mystery, Divine Interventions, Living on Purpose, Warrior Athlete (out-of-print), The Peaceful Warrior's Path to Everyday Enlightenment: 12 gateways to your spiritual growth, and The Journeys of Socrates due out this fall or early spring. His books have inspired millions of readers in 22 languages. His talks and seminars have influenced people from all walks of life and all ages, including leaders in the fields of health, psychology, education, business, politics, sports, entertainment, and the arts. www.danmillman.com

I've sent my buck in. I hope you do too


As all the Miss Witherspoons of our lives used to call in those clear, flutey tones, "Attention, girls!" Heads up, women, we've got problems.

The latest in a long line of anti-woman decisions by the Bush administration is, for once, getting some attention, in part because of the sheer cheapness of the move.

President Bush has decided not to send the $34 million approved by both houses of Congress for the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA). The fund provides contraception, family planning and safe births, and works against the spread of HIV and against female genital mutilation in the poorest countries of the world. Thirty-four million dollars goes a long way in the parts of the world where over 600,000 women die every year from pregnancy and childbirth, many of them children themselves.

Of course, our poor government is so broke it can't afford to waste $34 million on women in poor countries. It has more important things to do, like spending $100 million on "promoting marriage." (I'm in favor of recycling old Nike ads for this one: "Marriage. Just do it.")

Two women -- Jane Roberts, a retired teacher in California, and Lois Abraham, a lawyer in New Mexico -- have started a splendid symbolic protest, and it is spreading by email, fax, newsletters and all kinds of women's groups. The organizers are looking for "34 million Friends of UNFPA" to send $1 each to the United Nations (FPA) at 220 East 42nd St., New York, N.Y. 10017.

Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, director of the UNFPA, said the $34 million U.S. contribution would have helped prevent 2 million unwanted pregnancies, 800,000 induced abortions, 4,700 maternal deaths, and 77,000 infant and child deaths. We don't have $34 million to save the lives of poor women, but President Bush wants to spend $135 million on abstinence education, which doesn't work worth a damn.

According to that fountain of misinformation, the Rev. Jerry Falwell: "This announcement angered school sex educators, who concentrate on teaching our nation's students that they should explore their sexuality and ignore the consequences. But Mr. Bush said government can teach children how to exhibit sexual control."

Actually, sex education is entirely about the consequences of "exploring sexuality," and it works. The Guttmacher Institute published a report last week showing that the abortion rate is down by 11 percent in this country precisely because young people are now getting more education about sex. One would think the anti-abortion forces would be grateful.

Instead, there is every indication that in addition to taking away a woman's right to choose whether to have an abortion, the Bush administration is going after contraception, as well. Bush's first action on his first day as president was to re institute the global "gag rule" that no foreign aid can go to any women's clinic abroad that that mentions the word abortion, even when the life of the mother is at stake. Now he wants to make W. David Hager chairman of the Food and Drug Administration's panel on women's health policy. Hager is an ob-gyn from Kentucky who wants the FDA to reverse its approval of RU-486, the so-called "abortion pill."

Although Hager is the editor of a book that includes the essay "Using the Birth Control Pill is Ethically Unacceptable," he told Maureen Dowd of The New York Times he does not agree with the essay. Then why include it? He does not prescribe contraceptives for single women, does not do abortions, will not prescribe RU-486 and will not insert IUDs. Hager also believes headaches, PMS and eating disorders can be cured by reading Scripture. I do not want this man in charge of my health policy.

It took almost all of human history for the population of the globe to reach 1 billion in people in 1800. It took only from 1987 to 1999 for world population to grow from 5 billion to 6 billion. At current rates, we will reach 13 billion by the middle of the 21st century. Ninety-five percent of this growth will be in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Studies estimate that by 2025, two out of every three people on Earth will live in water-stressed conditions. The stress on global resources is already apparent. The National Wildlife Federation points to severe deforestation, habitat fragmentation, species extinction, water scarcity, climate change, loss of bio diversity and pollution. Eighty percent of the original forest is gone or degraded. The grim toll on the Earth's resources goes on and on.

While we spend trillions of dollars on weapons, the military and homeland security, the real threats -- water scarcity, climate change and population growth -- advance unchecked. Of course, you would know more about all this if the media weren't so busy wasting hours of time on rank speculation about the Maryland sniper. Crime doesn't pay, but it sells.

Bottom line: Please send $1 to UN FPA (Fund for Population Activities), 220 E. 42nd St, New yYork, NY 10017. And here's a link to the UNFPA web site: www.unfpa.org
Source: Molly Ivins 

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There is no hope of joy except in human relations. - Antoine de Saint-Exupery



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