The Middle Way to Looking Out for Number One

The Middle Way to Looking Out for Number One

A mother bird has to take care of herself to take care of her babies. Love this photo from a Bed and Breakfast where my husband and I stayed while taking a break.

I just got off the phone with a friend who shared her recent trip to New York City. She went by herself, leaving her 7 year old with her reluctant husband and had the time of her life. She walked the streets of Manhattan, spending 5 hours in the original Macy’s. She talked to people, enjoyed the holiday decorations, and thoroughly enjoyed the city. She visited Soho, the East sides and Chinatown.  I love walking and as I listened to her story I felt the joy of this walking experience. She spent hours, being in another world, away from home enjoying the moment. The weather was cold, but she had a warm coat, great boots and the heat of her own body from walking and going in and out of shops.

It sounded like so much fun! Sound selfish? This person works part time with her husband on a family business, is raising her sister’s daughter and may be gaining custody of her sister’s other children. Selfish? Or was she taking care of herself to replenish her energy to give to others.

Many people were upset with the author of Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert for her “selfish” journey to far away places in order to get in touch with her own soul. Should she have stayed with her husband, lived the life that appeared happy by most standards, and grounded her in a life not fully satisfying, but certainly stable? Or do we sometimes need to take a journey where we have time to get in touch with our inner person, our true selves, and the inner direction to live a life that is not just satisfying, but honest and full of the joy of living and the energy to truly love others. We then can   share lessons and journeys they might not have the luxury or freedom to take.

When Robert Ringer wrote his book, Looking Out for Number One his message was not to take care of your own needs regardless of the needs of those around you, but rather to be aware that by taking care of your needs you will be able to be a more whole person to those around you.

My friend returned from her trip energized and ready to “get back to her real world” with a renewed spirit. Her husband, who had been a little bit anxious about her timing for going away, stated that he had a new appreciation for how she balances her day-to-day life.

We are not helpful to anyone if we are stressed, burned out, or stepping over our feet to take care of people. Most of us appreciate a gift when given with joy and from an open and healthy heart.

The Middle Way to Looking Out for Number One

Today is the National Day of Listening

November 26 is the National Day of Listening. When I heard this I thought, " How wonderful, to have a day that reminds us to listen." The idea for this day originated in 2008 (to read more click here) and was meant to encourage us to listen to and record interviews with people we love. I have often thought of how I wished I had recorded my parents sharing stories from their lives. We never did get those recordings, so I hope some of you do.

If not today, sit down with the people you love, and listen to them tell you their stories or something from their life. It's amazing how much we miss when we continue to rush through our days without listening.

I am so much more relaxed and peaceful when I listen, and I always learn something.

So celebrate this day by listening, and preferably recording conversations that can have meaning for a long long time.

The Middle Way to Looking Out for Number One

I ate, prayed, and loved in Boston

I had to share this photo of me and my granddaughter in Boston. Last weekend, my daughter, granddaughter, and I visited my youngest child, another daughter in Boston. She lives in the Back Bay/South End area in a brownstone minutes away from great restaurants and shopping. Our hotel looked out at the Mary Baker Eddy Library and First Christian Science Church.

It was a great weekend of fabulous food, awakening to the spiritual presence of the Christian Science Church and Museum, and full of love.

As you can see, we did lots of walking. We walked the Boston Gardens, Boston Commons, Newbury Street, and Little Italy.

I hope you all get a chance to visit Boston, at least once in a lifetime.

The Middle Way to Looking Out for Number One

My Mother Like Myself

Here are some ways I am just like my MOM.

  1. I like to laugh and see the humor in things.
  2. I can be scatterbrained.
  3. I have lots of energy.
  4. I like to color coordinate my clothes, shoes and purses.
  5. I lose things.
  6. I keep piles of magazines-piles of lots of things.
  7. I have some pretty messy closets.
  8. When I clean, I like to get down on my hands and knees.
  9. I love babies and love being a grandma. (I also love being an aunt).
  10. I believe in being cheerful even when I sometimes would like to cry
  11. I cry easily so I don’t wear mascara.
  12. I moisturize my skin.
  13. I wear red lipstick
  14. My faith keeps life balanced for me. My mom and I saw our faith differently but bonded in simply knowing God has lots to do with life.
  15. I love flowers and gardening.
  16. I love listening to the rain. Rain is peaceful.
  17. I love shopping for sales.
  18. I love keeping the windows open.
  19. I love my house, deck and yard.
  20. Being a mother is a precious gift.

My mother’s favorite poem:

It’s easy enough to be pleasant when life goes by like a song.

But the one who’s worthwhile

Is the one who can smile.

When everything goes dead wrong.

Mom’s birthday is June 5 and she died of pancreatic cancer in July of 2005. She smiled throughout her illness and throughout her life. Thanks MOM

EQ-Emotional Intelligence for Peak Performance Shaheen’s example

EQ-Emotional Intelligence for Peak Performance Shaheen’s example

I love the concept of EQ. When Daniel Goleman wrote his book Emotional Intelligence in 1995, his premise that 90% of our success has little do with our IQ made sense and caught on in personal and organizational development circles. What counts is your self awareness, self regulation, and empathy as well as your ability to be motivated and motivate others. Another key component is your ability to communicate and relate in social and business settings.

As I am writing this I am watching Oprah interviewing the young Welsh singer Shaheen Jafargholi, who won the approval of Simon Cowell on Britain's talent show.  If you watched the segment on You Tube everyone's heart dropped when Simon interrupted him on his first song, giving him a chance to improve on his second song. What happened is everyone in the audience seemed to empathize with this moment of criticism and then within the first verse as Shaheen belted out the Michael Jackson song, his success was written all over the stage. He was cool, confident, and resilient as he simply did what he does best-sing.

Oprah asked what he felt in those moments when he was stopped by Simon. Shaheen said he remained calm, telling himself something good would happen and he kept his cool. When he sang for his second chance he just let his voice sing uninhibited in his best tone. His mother said she was scared, anxious, and worried for her son. What was articulated were emotions and feelings. What Shaheen demonstrated was the ability to regulate his feelings for greatest effectiveness. The audience demonstrated empathy, that ability to feel your own heart sink when another person's heart is threatened. The audience was so there for Shaheem at that moment. And Simon stood up and applauded-Simon-the ultimate critic and the ultimate support if he likes you.

We can all learn from this example of emotional intelligence and integrity. The components of EQ are:

Self-Awareness, the ability to perceive what you are feeling inside physically, emotionally and spiritually. You can accurately identify anger, frustration, excitement, sadness, joy, irritation or and then you are aware of how you are going to respond in specific situations with other people. You stop, look inside, identify your feelings, and listen to what you are to learn from the situation.

Self-Regulation or Self Management-the ability to stay positive and flexible in your response and behavior with other people while staying very aware of your emotions and feelings. 

Empathy-You are able to pick up on the feelings and emotions of other people and how they are reacting to you and your reactions to them. You are able to put your feet in another's shoes or at least be willing to see that even if you disagree or have different feelings you still have a relationship. 

Most important is the relationship. Regardless of your feelings and emotions you are able to be with others without attacking, defending, or taking things personally. Instead this emotional awareness promotes clear communication even when there is conflict. 

Shaheen was very aware that his first song was not his best. In that moment of what we could perceive as failure, he was able to relate to Simon, the audience and his own feelings without falling apart. Instead he was able to effectively move forward and upon Simon's suggestion sing another song. He did so with grace and talent. The entire audience felt the release of momentary tension that turned into a moment of joy. 


All I Really Need to Know-Thanksgiving in Kindergarten and Second Grade

All I Really Need to Know-Thanksgiving in Kindergarten and Second Grade


Last week I went to my niece’s school. We made pine cone turkeys in kindergarten and wrote a poem in second grade. I never attended kindergarten so if all we really need to know was learned there, I had to learn it on my own. They are valuable lessons. Here is a copy of Robert Fulghum’s things he learned in kindergarten.


guide for Global Leadership)

I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned
in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but
there in the sand pile at school.

These are
the things I learned:

  • Share everything.
  • Play fair.
  • Don’t hit people.
  • Put things back where you found
  • Clean up your own mess.
  • Don’t take things that aren’t
  • Say you’re sorry when you hurt
  • Wash your hands before you eat.
  • Flush.
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are
    good for you.
  • Live a balanced life – learn
    some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and
    work every day some.
  • Take a nap every afternoon.
  • When you go out in the world,
    watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
  • Be aware of wonder. Remember
    the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes
    up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
  • Goldfish and hamsters and white
    mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do
  • And then remember the
    Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of
    all – LOOK.

you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic
sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and
apply it to your family life or your work or government or your world and it
holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all
– the whole world – had cookies and milk at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon
and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a
basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up
their own mess.

it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it
is best to hold hands and stick together.

KINDERGARTEN” by Robert Fulghum.  See his web site at

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