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Being Kinder Than Necessary April 28, 2014

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Coaching, workplace success.
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I was dusting the top of my TV yesterday (something I do fairly regularly, honest). I moved a wooden decoration that I keep on top of the TV which says “Be kinder than necessary.” And since I was thinking about my next blog post, I put two and two together and thought that sentence would make a great theme for a blog post—hence the words that follow.

People are not always thrilled to be at work.

People get cranky at work. It happens to the best of us. We are often working when we’d rather be playing. Or we’re under a lot of stress to do more with less. Or we just don’t like the people we are forced to work with. Or our boss is a real shit….and the list goes on. So since we do get cranky, work relationships can get strained and stay that way.

Working with a good community of people makes for high job satisfaction.

That said, I recently did a little research on what makes for high work satisfaction and guess what. A good community of people to work with ranks right up there—often number 2 or 3 on the list. This leads me to the startling conclusion that to be happier at work it’s best to get along with those with whom we work. (Notice I refrained from putting ‘with’ at the end of that sentence?)

That’s where the advice, “Be kinder than necessary” comes in. Here are some of my suggestions about bringing it to your work life. I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t use it in your personal life; it’s just that my suggestions pertain to work. Remember I’m a workplace success coach (shameless self-promotion)

So here goes…

· Refuse to engage in negative third party conversations about anyone. There is nothing that destroys trust faster than when someone finds out you’ve been criticizing them behind their back. And while we’re on that subject, how do you think the people you are talking to feel about that? They are maybe thinking that you’ll be bad-mouthing them behind their backs the next time you get the chance. Make it a policy to keep your opinion to yourself unless you are specifically asked to give feedback or unless withholding your assessment would have disastrous results.

· While we’re on the subject of feedback, when you are asked for feedback, try engaging your brain before you speak. What is the most useful feedback you can give? What has precipitated the request for your feedback? How much negative feedback is helpful?

And don’t just pile on the negative stuff, try being encouraging and supportive about something the person has done—even if you have to dig very, very deep. Give feedback about something that the person can hope to change. If their voice is scratchy and annoying on the phone, perhaps you could mention something else. It’s a little hard to change the voice you were born with. And rather than a punch list of a hundred improvements, stick with the most important. Above all, give feedback the way you’d like someone to give it to you—unless you are very thick-skinned and nothing bothers you. In that case, just dial it back until you see how it’s being received.

· When you have to do something that’s ‘not your job’ do it gracefully and without editorializing. Maybe the person you are standing in for is a real screw-up or just maybe he or she is having a bad day because their elderly parent is dying. Before you rush to judgment about someone who is not measuring up to your standards, take a deep breath and be kinder than necessary about the situation.

· And on to standards. One of the things that causes us to criticize others is that they don’t measure up to our set of standards. How could they? Stop yourself for a moment or two when you’re ready to open your mouth to criticize someone. Is your way really the only ‘right’ way or is it just your way? Who made you master of the universe? Leave room for the styles and problem-solving practices of others and you may find a new and even better way of attacking a problem.

There is a whole load of ways that you can be kinder than necessary to others at work. I’ll leave it to you to figure out what they are in your particular workplace. The important thing is not what you actually do but how you do it. If you hold the intention that you are going to be kinder than necessary at work, you may (read ‘should’) find that your workplace becomes a kinder, gentler place for you too.

And after all, you deserve that.

Intention Instead of Resolution January 1, 2013

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Self-Development.
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Well, it’s 2013—another brand spanking new year. If you’ve read my blog in the past you know that I’m not too taken with new year’s resolutions. However I am very big on intention which is a kinder, gentler kissin’ cousin to resolution. And for me intentions have a lot more juice. Resolutions beg to be broken and then you get to feel guilty about having broken them. And if you foolishly made a list of your resolutions in the past don’t, I repeat don’t, be tempted to go back and look at the list to see how you did. It will only make you feel bad because chances are you did not fulfill them. And if you did achieve them–big congratulations—you are a unique person.

There is a saying that I quote each year on this day. It says that what you spend time thinking about or doing on New Year’s Day will be what you will do or think about for the entire year. With that in mind, I am planning on having a conscious day so that I can have the kind of year I intend to have—not the one that just happens to me. (Of course if you choose not to believe that then do whatever today. Me, I’m covering all my bases.)

So what am I going to do today?

1. Cook pork and sauerkraut for my family. I want to cook good food (and before you say it—yes pork and sauerkraut is good comfort food and good luck on New Year’s Day according to the local folklore here in Pennsylvania Dutch Land) and spend good times with my family this year.

2. Going to see my friend Mary who has been having some health challenges this year. I value friendships and want to continue to deepen the relationships I have and develop some new ones.

3. Post this blog entry. I neglected my writing in 2012. My intention is to write more this year.

4. Play tango music. Well, I want to dance the tango all year of course—often and well.

5. Meditate. One can never go wrong in spending time going inward. There’s much to be learned and gained by focusing on Source/Spirit/God. (you pick your favorite term—samey same—another Pennsylvania Dutch saying)

6. Keep my mood in a very good place. 2012 was a year of ups and downs for me mood wise as it was for a lot of people I know and/or coach. So I am intending a year of productive moods—even in the face of things going wrong as they inevitably will.

7. Work on a quilt. That’s obvious—I love doing it and it’s good therapy.

8. Be as kind as I can because just look around…couldn’t the world use a little (lot) more of that?

What are you going to do today or tomorrow to project the kind of year that you dream of? Whatever you decide I hope that you’ll be conscious about it and that all of your dreams come true—or at the very least that you have some dreams…


3 Ways to Be Happy When You Think You’re Not May 14, 2012

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in ontological coaching, Personal Observations, Self-Development.
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 tango shoes by godwin lue Maybe you’ve noticed (and I hope you have) that I haven’t written a post since January—egad—really?  My family has been going through an extended difficult period and it’s caused me to be extremely preoccupied with support activities. I’ve been intending to sit down for weeks now and just write whether I had the energy and  passion for it or not. But alas, the spirit has been willing but the body weak.Or perhaps vice versa.

So today is the day for some reason known only to the gods—or God. I’ve been reflecting on how one goes about being happy in the face of being surrounded by challenges that are crazy-making rather than happy-making. And I have been working that little problem for months now, sistahs and bros.

Here’s what I’ve come up with. Hope it helps you because it seems most everyone I know is in the midst of something. I’m beginning to think that’s what was meant about the world coming to an end in 2012. Old stuff is ending and new stuff is coming in..But I digress.

So here are three strategies I’ve come up with. Not rocket science but they sure have helped me.

#1 Make a declaration

Make the declaration that you are going to be happy and peaceful even in the face of the crazy-making shit that happens. Yeah, so to do that, it’s probably helpful to stop thinking about events as “crazy-making shit.” Rather, start thinking of the events as merely events– ascribing no particular judgment to them. My massage therapist, Annie suggests that you pretend you’re watching a movie.  I like movies. And as far as the declaration goes, I envision stamping my foot at the Universe and saying, “I AM happy, and at peace, period. “

Does this magically fix everything? Of course not, but if you stay stubborn about it, it sure does make the joyful and peaceful moments more plentiful. Something’s better than nothing. Just remember that even if it seems not to be working, the fact that you have declared it paves the way for it to be so.

#2 Be wherever you are

A lot of us get really nutty because we have some kind of assessment that we should be happy all the time. And if we’re not, we judge ourselves not spiritual, grateful, resilient,or (fill in with your favorite guilt –producing adjective.) I believe it’s important to acknowledge that it’s ok to be down in the mouth sometimes. Even Mother Theresa felt that God had turned his back on her at times—and if it’s good enough for Mother Theresa, it’s good enough for me.

So if you’re sad—be sad. If you’re listless, be that really, really well. And if you’re happy then jump for joy and revel in it. Our emotions don’t cease to exist when we ignore them—they simply go underground never to be heard from again until our back starts hurting or we get some kind of disease. Just say no that! The way healing modalities therapies that help to release feelings that have taken up residence in your body. Do a web search—you’ll find a bunch of them.

#3 Find something that totally occupies your mind and do it

I’m the first one to admit that too much navel-gazing does not a fun-gal or guy make. Yes, it’s important to know where you are but you don’t have to make your problems a way of life, carrying them around like your favorite backpack. There are times when it’s helpful to distract yourself so that you can come back and see your life situation anew.

I remember in the old days when I used to balance my bank account using my checkbook. (before I could go on the internet and track my account daily.) I’d try and try to figure out where that missing $10.50 got to. Then I”d pick up and leave it for an hour or two. When I came back, the error jumped right out at me, begging to be corrected. It was there all the time but I just couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

This is a long way of saying—get a little distance from your stuff as often as you need to. And pick something that leaves little room for you to stew. I dance Argentine Tango—an activity that demands my complete attention. If I think about my problems, I suck as a dancer—or I get my foot stepped on. Don’t care for either of those alternatives so I stay present. And lo and behold, when I come back to my ‘problems,’ they look a little different.

So there you have it, boys and girls, the truth as I know it. It’s worked for me and I offer it to you with my very best wishes for peace and joy.


Three Ways to Appreciate Yourself When No One Else Seems To January 15, 2012

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in ontological coaching, Personal Observations.
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I guess we all go though times when can sing the old childhood favorite:

Nobody likes me; everybody hates me. Guess I’ll go eat worms. Big fat juicy ones, (and so on.)

You probably know the feeling. It seems that no one gets how great you are and what you have to offer, or they don’t seem to respect you for the great skills and talents you bring. Notice I have chosen the word ‘seem’ because most of the time when we are feeling that way it’s because of an inner dialogue we are having with ourselves. The more we stew on it, the worse it gets and pretty soon our mood is in the ditch and we are in the land of victimhood—one of my personal favorites.(NOT)

What can you do when you find yourself hanging out in this desolate wasteland? Well, just for you I have come up with some tried and true remedies to get you through the night, the day, or the week. Any longer than a week and you’re in danger of adopting a new way of life…yuk!

So here goes:

#1  Make what others think of you ‘mildly interesting.’

If you base your happiness solely on what others think of you, you’re looking for love in all the wrong places. The person who needs to think highly of you is? (for $1000 and a trip to Belgravia) Yep, that’s right—you. Often we are tempted to take personally what others say and do—making it all about us and our shortcomings or lack of value. Try this interpretation—it is never about you. It’s always about them. People see the world through their set of values and experiences—what I refer to as their background of obviousness or BOO. So if they are judging you as falling short, it’s more about their own world than it is yours. So how about making the assessments of others about you, mildly interesting?

I had a coach who used to tell me that when I would whine about something. Mildly interesting means you don’t discount it since their opinions may contain a nugget for you. However it also means that while their opinions are interesting, they do not rock your world.

#2  Make a list of your accomplishments/talents

We all have a very silly tendency to dwell on what’s not right about us. When you think about that it’s kind of crazy really. We have about a million choices in how we think of ourselves –or at least two. We can either think we are great or we can think we’re lacking. Hmmm, let me see. Which one of those choices makes us feel the best? We’re great or we are the dregs of the earth…let me take a WAG (wild-ass guess) here. I think it feels better to think we’re ok, worthy, good, talented, etc.. Now if it makes you feel good to think you are totally worthless, well, ok. But you don’t need a coach—I’d shoot for a psychologist or psychiatrist or some psych…

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine today about our tango milonga last night. He was commenting on the fact that he was much in demand as a partner. After that remark he said, “I hope I’m not being too big for my britches. (Being raised in Texas, that’s one of my favorite sayings.) My response was, “If you’ve got it, you may as well flaunt it.”

So take 5 or 10 minutes to sit down and write down the things that are good about you. No, not one word about what you need to improve. Bet you $10 you’ll feel better after doing it.

#3 Just Say NO

When I find myself going into the self-pity mode, or the I-am-an-unworthy- human-being place and I don’t feel like having a pity party, I just stomp my foot and say NO! You’d be surprised how much better this can make you feel. Especially the foot stomping part. Just make sure the little children are safely out of your way when you do it.

There’s something very empowering about deciding what mood you’re going to be in. And we all have the power to do that—if we choose.

I wouldn’t kid ya..


Not Seeing Is Believing June 26, 2011

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in My Life as I See It, Self-Development.
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My conscience has been bothering me because I have not been posting on my previous weekly schedule. Well not really my conscience, just that little inner voice that pipes up when I’m not living into my declarations about my life. And this blog relates to the one that in which I declare I am a writer.

OK—that’s said and now I ‘m over it. The reason for the title of this blog is that it became necessary for me to have a second eye surgery to repair my torn/detached retina. I was unpleasantly surprised because I am used to being able to pray, meditate and visualize my way to good health. Hmmmm, what up?, I wondered. Then I decided that there was some very good lesson I needed to learn through this process and I set about learning it.

The first question I asked myself was “What am I not seeing that I need to see?” There was a lot of great stuff to mine from that one. So what follows is what I have seen without the use of my eyes.

Everything happens for a purpose.

All right, I admit this is not a new learning for me. I have long believed that everything does indeed happen for a purpose but I got some extra practice in remaining steadfast in my belief about that. I think in my case it was just time for me to have time to re-evaluate some important aspects of my life. There were a couple of relationships that I wasn’t sure needed to continue. In one case, I concluded that it should and in the other that it was time to let go of the relationship and what it represents in my life. As I was preparing for the first surgery, my friend sent me a quote (he said I said it but it’s much better than what I said) that I think really speaks to this ‘everything for a purpose’ idea.

Things don’t happen to us, they happen for us.


It’s ok to be vulnerable and in need as long as you don’t make it a way of life.

Man, I don’t know about you, but it is sometimes hard for me to ask for help. I pride myself on being a non-needy person who only makes requests that are appropriate for the size of the relationship. Suddenly I found myself needing to ask people to drive me places, mow my lawn, listen to my fears about losing my eyesight, and so on and so on. And it’s been my great blessing to have people in my life who were more than willing to offer me the help and reassurance I needed. So I now see even more than I did before that it’s necessary to be able to receive as effortlessly as it is to give.

Sometimes we need a Significant Emotional Event (SEE) to see what’s been right in front of us.

It’s the darndest thing but we human beings are silly animals at times. Instead of learning our lessons in laughter and love, we seem to need to be turned upside down and shaken a bit before we pay attention. That’s my metaphor for a SEE—and it’s no coincidence that the letters spell that word. When we are very upset emotionally about something and we feel as though we are backed up against a wall, it is then (and only then) that we change our perspective. I have changed my opinion about what’s important in my life since I’ve had this SEE. Seeing is important in my life—forget about how well I dance the tango, or if I look terrible without eye makeup or whether I’m keeping up with my writing goals. Nope—seeing is important—both physically and metaphorically. The rest of that stuff matters but its relative importance has changed. Additionally I have had plenty of practice in navigating my mood. It’s been challenging but I know I did the very best I could. Another quote that I have been daily holding in my hot little hand helped with that a lot (once again courtesy of my friend Michael):

Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.  Eckhart Tolle

Think about it….






4 Ways to Survive Earthquake, Tsunami and War March 20, 2011

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Personal Observations.
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hang on

Well, I got up bright and early this morning (well, not that early but it was bright). While I waited for the coffee to finish  brewing I logged onto the internet. My homepage announced, “”Gadhafi vows ‘Long War.’ Holy shit! Another war. And this on top of  an two major earthquakes (Japan and New Zealand), a tsunami, an economy that keeps struggling to right itself, melting polar ice caps, and the list goes on. After reading that headline my thoughts went back to Vietnam, the Gulf War, Afghanistan, and a whole bunch of other places that did not make me feel great. All of a sudden a bright day had become dimmer.

Thoughts are things

So even though I had another topic in mind for today, I decided that my world needed this one. Since I believe that we create our reality through our words and thoughts, I know that there needs to be a way of keeping a positive/productive mood in the face of difficult times. Mike Dooley, one of my heroes has a tagline that sums it up. “Thoughts become things… choose the good ones! ®”

Finding the quiet

As I began to write this post I turned my TV to the music channel and the first song that played was called, “Finding the Quiet.” How appropriate—guess I’m meant to write on this topic. How do we ‘find the quiet’ in a noisy, sometimes disturbing world? That quiet place is always present but sometimes it gets preempted by our fearful thoughts.

How to step out of fearful thoughts

Here are some practices that I have found useful.

  1. Avoid over-exposure to the news. Don’t get hung up on the blow by blow account of every tragedy that’s going on. Yes, we need to know what is going on the world but we don’t need to be a walking encyclopedia of misery and misfortune.Stay tuned in enough to be aware of what’s going on and then turn off the TV, radio, or internet.
  2. Do what you can do to help. One of the first things I do in the face of disasters is to send money to organizations who are helping. It’s my opinion that we should all do that, no matter what our financial circumstances. We are a human community and we must help one another to survive, thrive, and re-group after tragedy and misfortune And if you think about it, you and I are very, very fortunate and wealthy.
  3. Pray.(Remember I have said that if you don’t believe in God you are reading the wrong blog.) Turning over our worries, fears, misfortunes to a higher power is comforting. It’s also been shown that when a concentrated effort on positive outcomes is present it can change a seemingly impossible situation. (read The Intention Experiment by Lynn McTaggert). Since I am an angel therapy practitioner ®, I also request the help of angels and envision them assisting the people who need assistance, comfort and better outcomes. Think miracles!
  4. Avoid awfulizing. Awfulizing is my term for runaway thoughts that may or may not come to fruition but which definitely paralyze us. Instead, expect and envision positive outcomes. When you speak of situations don’t speak of the hopelessness of them but instead focus on signs of hope and progress. And if you just can’t come up with anything in the situation that fits that criteria—simply avoid discussing it until you can. Think and talk about something else. Move your focus to ‘the good ones’ until you can get your mood  in a better place. Or do as I did this week, ask a friend to have a conversation with you to help you see something different. Getting in a better place is not optional—it is essential.

Well, I don’t know about you but I’m feeling better.  I’m going to keep the TV news and the internet at bay and have a peaceful Sunday. I wish you the same. May you find the quiet…..


Working to Deadline October 10, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Self-Development.
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a nod to marye2

For the last week and a half I have been working to fulfill a deadline. And if there is anything I have learned about myself it’s that I make my deadlines. That completion may come at the 11th hour but I do get there because I hate to miss deadlines.

This particular deadline is for a quilt that I am entering in my guild’s big biennial quilt show. Our registration forms had to be turned in at the August meeting but the quilt did not have to be completed at that time. In August I had finished piecing the top so I could take a picture of it to submit with my entry. However, the quilting had yet to be completed. In the past I have hired a longarm quilter to do this for me because I find quilting on a regular sewing machine to be a major pain in the  ****. However, since I purchased a longarm quilting machine in June, I of course elected to do the quilting myself.

Through a confluence of delaying events which include lower back problems, pieces falling out of my longarm machine and utter fear that I would screw it up, I found myself having to complete the quilt in a few days’ time. Last Monday I had a week and a day to get it done. Then my machine began to regurgitate crucial parts. I remained calm but whiny and got the darn thing back together again with the help of a very patient technician in Missouri.(Bless you, Aubrey.) Bottom line: the quilt is now less than one hour from being completed. See the lovely picture above.

Since quilting  and hand sewing are fairly repetitive it gives one time to reflect. So I reflected a little on deadlines. I often think that if I didn’t have them—or set them for myself—I’d never get a darn thing done. I think I’d be a lazy lout if not for deadlines—but then of course I reflect on who is setting the deadlines. That would be the overly ambitious (at times) but definitely not lazy me.

One thing about life on a deadline is that it really helps to sort out one’s priorities. In the last week and a half I have found it quite easy to say no to requests, to schedule the time I needed to finish the quilt, to cut out unnecessary dawdling. That’s been pretty cool. So cool, in fact that I am going to bring that practice forward to my non-deadline life. (Yes, that’s a very public declaration!)

My way-cool coach Jen Louden calls those things time monsters. And monsters they are. Here are some of my time monsters:

  • surfing the internet for no good reason
  • playing with fabric in my sewing studio
  • watching NCIS re-runs that I could recite from memory because I have seen them so often
  • re-writing stuff that is probably just fine
  • shopping

While I may not stop doing the things that I know are time-wasters (I love NCIS), I can at least make more conscious decisions about where I choose to spend my time. Emphasis on choose. We all make choices—that includes you, dear reader. If your choices are not getting you where you want to be then guess what. You can choose again.

Maybe you’ll get a quilt done ahead of deadline. Maybe I will too someday. Anything is possible.


Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This August 6, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Personal Observations.
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DSC_0002 I spent the day yesterday immersed in memories of my childhood—I remembered things that I hadn’t thought about for a long time.  And since I had a happy childhood, it was a good day.

I went to visit the town where I was born, a small town in the panhandle of Texas called Borger. Borger was what was referred to in the old days as an oil boom town. Lots of people moved in to work the oil fields and related industries. My dad was one of those ‘related’ workers—a research chemist working with carbon black. He moved there in the early 40’s ,during the second World War, from Boston because it was the only place where he could find a job in his field. My mother joined him in 1943 and they got married there. I often think of how courageous they were to move to a distant part of the country that was so different in culture,geography and climate from the New England where they were from. I still have the letters that my father wrote to my mother, one of which included a rough map of the apartment they would be living in. In the letter he asked my mother if she wanted him to buy the furniture and outfit the kitchen or wait until she got there. Bet I know what her answer to that question was.

We left our home in Borger in 1961 when I was 14 years old and I had never been back since—until yesterday. The first place I visited was our house which is still there and looking pretty spiffy. Of course it looks nothing like it did when we lived in it but I could see the old bones still there. The picture included in this post is one that I took of the old place. I also went to visit my old elementary school which is now a senior citizens’ center…hmmm think that means anything?  I went in for a look around and was struck by how much it looks the same—very comforting. It was a four-grade school with one classroom for each grade.

That brings me to another observation. As I viewed things through my adult (well, I like to think so anyway) eyes, I saw how small and close things were. As a child I thought that the school was quite a hike from my house but yesterday I noted that it was only a 10-minute walk from the house. Not that I was walking yesterday—it was 111 degrees there . That’s  another thing I don’t remember. Wonder if it got that hot back then..or was I simply oblivious like kids often are?

As I thought about my parents and brother and the life we had, I realized that we were a happy family. Yes, we had our ups and downs but we were happy. And that brings me to a philosophical comment—you knew I’d get there eventually, didn’t you?  Don’t be tempted to write off your present life as not important or good enough or exciting enough. Your  life is on purpose—everything that you experience is part of a growth process that lasts until you take your final breath. And even the challenging parts can often be looked upon as positives.

What part of your life are you disregarding? Or willing to go away? Or trying to ignore? Or completely undervaluing? I guarantee you there is something. Whatever it is—take another look. Wouldn’t it be a lot more fun to know in the present that life is good?


Time to say “Enough” March 21, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in ontological coaching.
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DSC_0138If you read this blog regularly you will know that I post on the average of once a week—on Sundays. And being a regular reader you will also notice that I did not post last week and am later than usual on this post. (probably should have kept this to myself—now I have just raised expectations..oh well.)

The reason for this untimely interruption? I have been sick…not just a little sick but well and truly sick. Sick enough that the last week of my life is but a muzzy blur. (I love the word ‘muzzy.’ It’s almost worth the illness to be able to use it. Almost.)

Is there anything good about being sick?

So what good is being sick? Well, it was great for having to cancel every coaching appointment I had last week because no one would want to listen to my croaking voice or hear me cough continuously. That wasn’t so good.

It was great for getting me to concentrate on extreme self-care. Is it time for that cough medicine yet? Can I take a Tylenol or should I go with the echinacea?

It was also great for digging deep into my taxes. I suddenly realized I made some money last year and when one is self-employed that means Uncle Sam wants a fair portion of it. So I am on a mission to exclude no rightful deduction this year. In the course of my journey this week, I learned that for the past several years I have been overlooking a chunk of deductions that were rightfully mine to take. So I am highly motivated.

But what about mood?

I have also been giving a lot of thought to one of my favorite subjects—mood. How does one maintain a positive mood in the face of feeling like some totally uninvited guest is metaphorically (or perhaps literally) kicking one’s butt?

I have noticed that my mood is directly related to how much I can line up behind decisions that I have made or states of being that are currently in play for me.

So, it’s helpful to immerse myself in doing my taxes even when I feel like crap because I am doing something that brings me value (and a bit of vindictive joy as well.)

Do you spend time second-guessing yourself?

But have you ever noticed how often you fail to really mentally and emotionally get behind (or align) to decisions that you make? Ever notice how often you second-guess yourself or feel regret about what you are doing in the present moment?

I noticed that about my food choices this week. Since I was sick I was trying to do the best for my body and eating good food was on my list of concerns. But what is good food? Should I eat no dairy or wheat because they are mucous producing? Should I cut out sugar (because it’s the villain)? What about artificial sweeteners? And then there’s fat content and the whole grain issue to consider….arrgh!!

I suddenly realized that there was not one food that I had access to that did not come with some negative message about its healthfulness attached. Then I got to thinking about the effect on my ‘self’ all these negative messages are probably having.

Just stop!

And I said ENOUGH! In my typical whimsical fashion I decided that if every food was bad for me, I could just as easily decide that every food is good for me. And that’s what I’ve been doing. I am consciously avoiding any dialogue about a food being ‘bad for me.’ Instead I focus on saying yes to each food I elect to eat. Yes, Mr.  Popsicle, you are so good for me.

Some advice I hope you’ll use

And here’s my advice to you….Focus on your own set of nasty little gremlins. Maybe it’s something about how you spend your spare time or what kind of a parent you are or your lack of commitment to housework or how much you are willing to stretch your personal boundaries for others or, or, or….You get the idea. Whatever your poison is, just say no— actually just say yes! Yes to affirming that you are doing the right thing, making the right decision, being the right person. Refuse to stop polluting your thoughts— and your mood with the idea that something is wrong.

It’s revolutionary, I know. But I can tell you —it feels pretty damn good…


Flowing… February 7, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Personal Observations, Uncategorized.
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Travel has all kinds of wonderful benefits. I find that changing my physical location gives me a chance to see my life and its various joys and irritations from a different perspective. I also enjoy having different experiences and observing how other people live their lives.

Travel also gives me a chance to be flexible. It’s seldom that everything goes according to plan when one is traveling. And if you get upset about your world being out of your control, well, then you’d be better off  staying at home where you can at least entertain the illusion that things are under your control.

There is a knack to traveling like a citizen of the world rather than a misplaced victim. The Course in Miracles says that there are only two emotions: love and fear. And when you’re not seeing love, then fear is in play. Some of the worst displays of fear I have encountered have been from people who want every single element of their environment under their control as they travel. Imagine… talk about setting oneself up for disappointment.

That said, I believe I too need to work on being flexible and going with the flow. And the universe and her ally Mother Nature have provided me with just such an opportunity.

In the wake of a ginormous (what a cool made-up word) snow storm that hit Baltimore and Washington, I am finding myself stuck in Paradise (better known as Florida)—along with a lot of other people. Yesterday’s airport closures caused everything to back up and the reservation phone lines are no exception. I’ve managed to change my flight to go back one day later, however, the airline charged me over $400 when it was supposed to be free. Ok, I’ll just call them back and get it straightened out. What’s that? The wait time for my call to be answered is 127 minutes? Hmmmm…. Opportunity is knocking.

So instead of hanging on the phone for a couple of hours, I am writing this blog post. Think of it as therapy for me and pithy, insightful advice for you.

So here are some of my thoughts about flexibility:

  • Would you rather be right or happy? Me, I’d rather be happy. I like being happy a bit more than I like being right—though I do like to be right too. In this case, rather than railing about the incompetent customer service rep who made the mistake, I can choose to expect that I will ultimately get through and the charge will be rectified.
  • Being flexible makes you more fun to be around.
  • We are here to learn lessons. And how do these lessons come to us? It’d be great if we learned our best lessons from all the wonderful experiences we have in life, however, my best learnings have come from the times when things went to hell in a handbag. So when I’m presented with a challenge, whether I like it or not, I always ask myself and the universe, “What lesson do I need to learn here?” (Ok, first I bitch and moan a bit and then I ask myself about the lesson.) Sometimes I get an answer and sometimes I don’t, but it moves me out of victimhood.
  • Letting go of the need to control everything opens up new possibilities. If you’ve got ‘the truth of it,’ then you shut out any other possibility that may be even more desirable.

In short, being flexible, or going with the flow is a good thing. I know there are some who would argue with that statement but I will not be dissuaded from my view. 😉

Well, I feel much better now. I’ve got my perspective back. Think I’ll go call the airline again.