Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Stop Dreaming!

Do you have dreams? Do you have that image of what life would be like if you had it your way? Have you ever stared at the ceiling in the morning or late at night and just got lost in a world where everything you've ever wanted was a reality? It's a nice place to be in. Often times, it's actually better to continue imagining about that world than to snap back into this world. The transition could sometimes be depressing however, but if you are ever going to have the chance of merging the two worlds, you need to quit dreaming.

The problem with spending too much time in the dream world, meaning too much time thinking about what you want, is that it takes away time you could be using to work on merging the two realities. The reason why I call the dream world a reality is because nothing created in reality would exist if it was not first dreamed up by someone.

Too often people will think about the life they want, do visualizations, say affirmations, and still end up nowhere closer to their desired lifestyle. We tend to get stuck in neutral and actually get used to that feeling of separation from the two realities. When this happens, you may find yourself okay with your desired life only existing in your thoughts because you can always go there if you wanted to.

Of course, the problem with this is a thought not acted upon will remain nothing but a thought. If you want to make your dreams become the reality that you are physically experiencing, then you must quit dreaming and start producing. Visualizing your dreams and goals is fine but you must use it as a way to motivate yourself into taking the necessary actions in order for events and circumstances to move into place to attract what you need to make it happen.

It's easy to dream, anyone can do it. But to turn a dream into something you physically experience 24/7 without having to "make it up", that's power. Not too many people have the willingness to make their life the way they want it. It's not about ability. I believe anyone can accomplish their dreams if they want it badly enough. So really, it comes down to willingness.

Are you willing to do whatever it takes in order to create the life you really want? Are you ready to get yourself to take the actions necessary to achieve your goals even when you don't feel like it? Your willingness is what will set you apart from the ones who will dream the rest of their lives without ever being able to fully experience the life they truly wanted. The message here is simple. It's time to quit dreaming and start doing!

What kind of life have you been dreaming about?
How far apart are your dreams and reality?
What is preventing you from taking action today?

Think. Grow. Live!

Roland N. Gilbert

Roland works one-on-one – via phone and face-to-face – and with MasterMind Groups. Through Couples Coaching Roland helps clients communicate better, find the love they want, and create relationships of significance. Contact Roland at 800-974-3692 or rgilbert@perennialgrowth.com to determine if coaching is right for you.

Monday, August 29, 2011

4 Steps to a Happier Relationship!

Why are some couples happier than others? What is the “secret” for a great relationship? With certain couples it is clear there is something about the way they interact that makes it obvious they have a unique and genuine connection.

Even if you’re in a good relationship, you can’t help but wonder: What do they know that I don’t? And if you’re single, you might look at these couples and attribute it all to chemistry or destiny. But it turns out that people in great relationships live by a few basic rules and they make these rules a priority in their day-to-day lives together. Consider these habits that can help you create a strong, nurturing relationship.

* Happy relationships are based on realistic expectations
* Happy relationships take work and thoughtfulness every day
* Happy relationships need communication know-how
Happy relationships turn negatives into positives

1. Happy relationships are based on realistic expectations

Forget what you see in the movies or on television. In other words, real relationships aren’t anything like what you see in the movies full of non-stop romance, candlelight dinners and whirlwind trips to exotic locations.

Real relationships take effort, time and commitment. Great relationships just don’t happen because two people love each very much, great relationships happen because not only do two people love each other very much, they also value one another and are willing to make an investment of time into the relationship – day after day.

Couples in healthy and positive relationships have a fundamental understanding of the appropriate expectations for a stable and long-lasting relationship. They understand that not all days will be full or passion and romance. Similarly, they understand that rough spots in a relationship may only be temporary if good communication is present to work through these times.

A good way to look at this is to consider not getting too excited with the very high “highs” or too concerned with the very low “lows.” Both are momentary at best, and will not define the true nature and scope of the relationship over a long period of time. By reframing these extremes, you will be left with the right measure of balance and the right set of expectations to build a quality and sustainable relationship for many years to come.

2. Happy relationships take daily work and thoughtfulness

People who are in successful relationships work on these partnerships regularly. They don’t just set their life on cruise control expecting things to be great all of the time. Ask yourself, “What can I do today to make my partner’s life better?” Little bits of effort every day will accumulate over time and make a big difference.

Think of small, specific ways to make your relationship better whether it’s picking up your woman's dry cleaning, telling your man that you’re proud of him, or taking over a task he or she really doesn’t like to do.

You should make an effort every day to deposit at least one act of thoughtfulness into your relationship’s bank account. Your goal, however, should not be to make a huge withdrawal at the end of the week. Your only goal should be to keep giving the things your partner wants – either his or her expressed and unexpressed wants. If there are actions you can take to make your partner’s day more convenient and less stressful, then do them. But, again, don’t do them for what you could gain by providing them.

3. Happy relationships need communication know-how

It may look as if people in great relationships intuitively know what their partners need. But the truth is, no one is a "Mrs Cleo" (remember her, 'Call me now!') so don’t expect your partner to be able to figure out how you’re feeling.

When things aren’t perfectly in sync, couples in this kind of relationship know how to communicate. They know that instead of giving their partner a laundry list of what he or she is doing wrong, they can be specific about what it is that they want. They also make an effort to discover what their partner’s needs are. The best way for most people to do this is talk about it.

Ask your partner what things are really important to him or her. Does he want to know you’re proud of him? Does she need to be able to express her sadness over a family or work-related situation without hearing how she ought to handle it?

Too often we get into the habit of coaching and not listening. The best way to let your partner know you are listening is to ask how she or he “feels” about the situation. Once they begin sharing, your job is simply to shut-up and listen! Offer acknowledgments and affirmations from time-to-time to demonstrate you are engaged with what is being said. Only give your opinion or advice if asked.

4. Happy relationships turn negatives into positives

You may have heard the expression: “When you are given lemons – make lemonade.” Overtime, relationships are handed several lemons. The sources for negative feelings and unbalance are numerous. Some are directly caused between both people because of poor or missing communication. Indirect sources of anxiety in a relationship can be work- related or financially based.

When the interpersonal aspect of the relationship is creating the negativity, consider this simple exercise. First, you and your partner must be open to honest feedback. Next, ask your partner this question: “On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate our relationship (keep in mind the word “relationship” can be substituted for intimacy; support of one another, etc.)

Allow your partner time to reflect and provide an honest reply. If the answer is “Seven,” ask this follow-up question: “What are three things I can do to get our relationship to a ten (if the answer is “six,” you would ask for four things, etc.)? Again, give your partner time to consider their response. It may be hard to listen, because the answers may sound critical and negative. But really, the answers are solutions to turn the negatives into positives.

There is one more critical part of this exercise. After your partner is finished and you have taken in and acknowledged the areas for improvement, ask this question: “What are three (or whatever the number needs to be) things you can do to get our relationship to a ten?”

By asking this follow-up question, it’s putting the relationship back on equal footing and back into the spirit of a true partnership. Except for certain extreme and unfortunate examples, most relationships are successful, or not successful, because of the contributions and efforts of both. Take an honest look at how you are contributing to any negative circumstances, but also be aware it does take two to make it work and to create a more positive and healthy relationship.

When lemons drop from the trees, but you and your partner were expecting apples, begin to make lemonade by creating an action list of what you both can do to get apples next time.

Think. Grow. Live!

Roland N. Gilbert

Roland works one-on-one – via phone and face-to-face – and with MasterMind Groups. Through Couples Coaching Roland helps clients communicate better, find the love they want, and create relationships of significance. Contact Roland at 800-974-3692 or rgilbert@perennialgrowth.com to determine if coaching is right for you.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Five Relationships You Have Before You Find the One

Behind every married man or woman there usually can be found a number of men and women who, at some point, thought they might be the one but were lost along the way. We rarely talk about these relationships, these stepping stones to the altar because ultimately, marriage is the holy grail of relationships; once one hits that pinnacle, everything that came before seems to pale in comparison. But those relationships deserve better because without them there’s a good chance we’d never have been able to recognize the real thing when we found it. Over the years, I’ve noticed that of all the different iterations of romantic relationships five stand out as the ones we have before we settle down. In today’s post I want to identify each and discuss why they’re important.
5. I Know
Have you ever been addicted to another human being? Ever had someone who you could not bring yourself to not be around regardless of how healthy or unhealthy being around that person might be. Sometimes, the chemistry between you and another person mixes in such a way that it just seems impossible to separate yourself from that person. The weird part is that you might not even be particularly attracted to them, you might not be that fond of their personality and they might not even be that great in bed – still though – you can’t seem to get away.  I’ve been in an addictive relationship before. The kind where you keep going back to each other despite your relationship status – I’m glad I experienced it before getting married. The addictive relationship is important because it’s a reminder that you are human. It’s a reminder that you’re capable of inexplicable attraction and that feeling has you trippin, nose wide open… it’s your addiction and the only way to break it is to avoid it.
4. Rolling In The Deep
We all like to say that we have no regrets in life. We pretend that we wouldn’t change anything that’s happened to us because doing so would prevent us from becoming the person we are today. I hear all that and that sounds nice, but I’m pretty sure I would have turned out alright even if I took back a one or two previous relationships.  If there’s not a person in your life that you wish you never fell for there’s a good chance that you’re the person someone wishes they never fell for. I know that for one person on this Earth I’m the person she wishes she never fell for. I’ve promised myself I’ll never write a post about her, but what I will say is that from that relationship I learned that it’s completely possible to love someone who doesn’t love you and will never love you. Loving someone that doesn’t love you is the most impossibly pointless endeavor anyone can ever find themselves sucked into and usually, when you finally pull yourself away you realize that you learned nothing, gained nothing, and lost – for a time – everything.  When the scars of your love remind you of the fact that you could have had it all, and didn’t, you’ll probably wish you’d never had met that person.
3. Freakn’ You
It’s completely possible to marry ‘the best you’ve ever had’ but most likely you won’t. This is something that a lot of people will never admit to, but for most of us there’s one person who will always have the only key to unlocking certain carnal sides of our nature. These are the parts of our bedroom personalities that we never knew existed till we found ourselves letting them loose with that one person. It could be a number of things, I’m not going to get to listing them here, but let your imagination run for a little bit. Think about that thing you did that time that you never thought you’d do, but also know you’ll never do with the person you marry. Some things are just in the DNA of some relationships and other things are not. When the DNA of a particular relationship includes the best sex you’ve ever had and ever will have, it’s hard for you to deny each other when the opportunity presents itself – but you have to I mean, when your wife calls, are you really gonna play it off like she’s your cousin Dawn?
2. Bestfriends
It’s really common for a man and woman to develop a friendship and then have that friendship develop in to a romantic relationship. In my mind, this is actually the ideal way for a relationship to be born. But every so often, the opposite happens. You meet someone and begin dating them with the explicit understanding from jump, that the relationship is romantic in nature; but somewhere along the line you realize you guys make a terrible couple but awesome friends. If most of the time, you argue and fight, learn to make her your best friend. The thing that’s great about this relationship is that you can use that person as the prototype for your future mate. You want someone who has all of the things that make them best friend worthy, but none of the stuff that makes the two of you incompatible. Plus, they know you better than your friends know you because in attempting to date them they saw a side of you your friends never see and can share that with their friends who might be actually be perfect for you. They’ll be your biggest spokesperson consistently championing your awesomeness.
1. I Guess I’ll See You Next Lifetime …
There’s something wonderfully heartbreaking about meeting a person who’s perfect for you at a time in your lives when that perfection can not be explored. In the movies, love is worth moving mountains, uprooting lives, breaking hearts and whatever other sacrifice needs to be made for the guy and girl to end up together. In real life, it ain’t that type of party. Real life is real and sometimes fate just isn’t on your side. You can’t always give up everything for love. The good thing is, these sorts of relationships can end up being beautiful when you end up finding someone who makes you just as happy. When you do, you’re left with no regrets but instead warm memories of these near-love stories that you look forward to sharing with your kids when they’re old enough to understand life’s complexities.
Where do you all stand? Have you had any of the above relationships? If so how have they helped you as you’ve progressed further on down the line toward settling down? Are you in one of these relationships right now? If so, please over share, we’d love to hear what you’re experiencing. 

Think. Grow. Live!

Roland N. Gilbert

Roland works one-on-one – via phone and face-to-face – and with MasterMind Groups. Through Couples Coaching Roland helps clients communicate better, find the love they want, and create relationships of significance. Contact Roland at 800-974-3692 or rgilbert@perennialgrowth.com to determine if coaching is right for you.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Who Controls How You Feel?

“Your failures won’t hurt you until you start blaming them on others.” -Anonymous

There could be over 1000 things on the list of what people do to other people to make them feel bad, change their lives in some way, hurt their feelings, or cause them any kind of upset, anxiety, depression, shock, pain, loss etc.
They can lie to you or about you. They can stab you in the back or betray you. They can leave you or cheat on you. They can demean you or ruin your reputation. They can be nasty and mean or dismissive and arrogant. They can damage your property or steal from you. They can be selfish, uncaring, disrespectful, unloving, vengeful, rude and on and on.
They can do all of these things to you from the outside, but you are the only one who can control what goes on from the inside. Whatever anyone does to you doesn’t matter as much as how you choose to react to it.
They can’t take away your character, your peace of mind, your integrity or your beliefs. They can’t take away what you think!
If you’ve ever read Victor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, you will find the truth of one of the greatest gifts you have. After surviving the concentration camps of the Holocaust he said, “Everything can be taken from a man but the last of the human freedoms; to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Many people waste their life blaming other people for their circumstances. They believe if this person didn’t do this or that to me I would have a great life. They wallow in their misery by what they think and say to themselves about the other person and what happened and they keep themselves bound and tied to the past.
The sad thing is that some people don’t realize that other people can and will do things that hurt them but ultimately it’s you that hurts yourselves more by holding onto what happened, why, when and how.
As soon as you realize that no one can hurt you without your permission and that it’s you that either chooses to continue to let the wounds fester or you choose the kinds of thoughts that will heal you from the inside out, is the time you can move on to live the life you want and leave the past behind.
People will come and go in your life doing things to you that you wish they hadn’t but in the end it’s you that does it to yourself by what you choose to believe, think and say about anything.
Do you want to find out more about how to stop wasting your time and begin living your best life now. Roland’s work has inspired people from all over the world to take back their power! You have the power to take your life in any direction you choose. So what is your choice? 

Think. Grow. Live!

Roland N. Gilbert

Roland works one-on-one – via phone and face-to-face – and with MasterMind Groups. Through Couples Coaching Roland helps clients communicate better, find the love they want, and create relationships of significance. Contact Roland at 800-974-3692 or rgilbert@perennialgrowth.com to determine if coaching is right for you.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

4 Steps to Cultivating and Maintaining True Friendships

True friends happen to be one of the greatest joys and blessings in life. Friends there may be; but a true friend is indeed a jewel that has to be cultivated, treasured and maintained to ensure that its luster lasts forever. When you were young you had many friends with whom you laughed joked exchanged secrets and all in all had a great time with. During this period in life, it was so easy to say I have hundreds of friends and we love each other very much. As you grow older however, values change, ideas differ and circumstances make it impossible to maintain hundreds of friends. Not that you forget them, but everyone drifts away to lives of their own and you find that only a few are left with whom you can really talk and pour your heart out to.

No matter what anyone says, true friendship has to be cultivated and maintained. You just cannot say so and so is my friend for life and just forget about them until you need them again. Never ever take advantage of a friend. Be there for each other, be strong and supportive but never bossy. True friendship is a two way game. You cannot expect to have your friend come running every time you are in trouble or need them desperately, but make excuses when you have to go and see them when they need your help. Even if you live far away from each other, keep in touch by calling them whenever you can. In these days of high technology, communication is not a problem at all, phoning, e-mailing or even an ‘sms’ to find out how they are could make a big difference to a friend who is going through it.

1. Trust
Trust is very important in a relationship and one of the most important ingredients in true friendship is Trust. Trust has to be earned and once it has been established, maintain it. Don’t let out your friend’s secrets to anyone else the same way you would not want your secrets to be known by anyone other than your friend. If anyone should “bad mouth” your friends in your presence it’s up to you as a true friend to defend them as best as possible. Never gossip about them behind their back and try not to be judgmental even if you feel they've done something you don’t approve of. Remember that they have to live their life the way they want to. You can be supportive and helpful and tell them no matter what, you are always there for them.

2. Important Events
Always remember important events in their life such as their birthday, graduation, Christmas and later on their wedding and the birth of their first born. Be there to share their joy as well as their grief in times of sadness. This is what true friendship is all about. If you can’t be present, make sure you send them a card and a small gift so that they know you are thinking of them.

3. Listening
True friendship also means listening to your friend when they want to talk. You might be the only one they feels they can talk to. Listen to them without interrupting and lend your shoulder for them to cry on. Don’t interrupt them with frivolous talk but let them unburden themselves completely.

4. Finally, never, ever take your friend for granted.
You may think they are there for you always and there’s no necessity to call or visit them. Friends are also human and they have to know you’re there for them the same way they there for you whenever you need a true friend. If you value true friendship, go that extra mile and be the type of friend who is more worthy than any jewel in the world!

Do you cultivate your friendships?
Are you the type of friend YOU'D like to have?

Think. Grow. Live!

Roland N. Gilbert

Roland works one-on-one – via phone and face-to-face – and with MasterMind Groups. Through Couples Coaching Roland helps clients communicate better, find the love they want, and create relationships of significance. Contact Roland at 800-974-3692 or rgilbert@perennialgrowth.com to determine if coaching is right for you.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Monkey and The Butterfly: Are You Holding to Tightly to Something You Shouldn't?

When you really want something, the advice to ‘let go’ seems crazy. Yet when you look more closely, it becomes clear that holding on can destroy the very things you want.

It reminds me of a story of catching monkeys. When I checked, some say the story comes from Asia, other sources claim South America – maybe it’s both. The way the monkey trap works is this. The monkey hunter uses a container that has a narrow opening at the top just large enough for a monkey’s hand. This container is tethered firmly to the jungle floor and inside the hunter puts all sorts of food that monkeys love.
As the sun warms the container, it spreads a delicious aroma. When a monkey picks up the scent, it’s drawn to the container and reaches inside for the food. But when it tries to withdraw, its clenched hand is too big to come out.
Now, rather than drop the food and regain its freedom, the monkey hangs on. Even as the hunter approaches with a net, the monkey struggles to keep the food. It’s bad for the monkey which ends up in a zoo, or worse.
The parallel is obvious – what do we hold on to so tightly, refusing to let go, that causes us to lose our freedom? What appears to be worth so much that it costs your liberty?
Holding too tightly has another danger – it can destroy the very thing we are holding. As children we learn that if we grasp a butterfly too hard we will crush it. The dancing creature that delights us is put in jeopardy by an overbearing grip.
Instead, if we want to hold a butterfly, we can cup it gently, creating a space with both hands that respects its delicate nature. This way we stop it flying away but the downside is that we cannot see it – our hands hide its beauty.
Better still is to wait quietly near nectar bearing flowers and watch closely as the butterflies come and go. They are free in their natural element as they dance in the sunshine. Sometimes they will rest, wings open, and you can enjoy their full magnificence. You may even find that they touch down on your outstretched hand.
You may be thinking that although this seems desirable, it is rather dreamy and a little bit too passive. So let’s get practical:
1. What are you holding onto that is taking your freedom?
2. What are you holding so tightly that you are crushing the life out?
3. What could you do to attract the ‘butterfly’ you wish for?
Depending on your answers, choose one step to take and notice the difference!

Think. Grow. Live!

Roland N. Gilbert

Roland works one-on-one – via phone and face-to-face – and with MasterMind Groups. Through Couples Coaching Roland helps clients communicate better, find the love they want, and create relationships of significance. Contact Roland at 800-974-3692 or rgilbert@perennialgrowth.com to determine if coaching is right for you.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

When Life Blows Up on Every Level

Guest Post By Tamara Kerner
I make it a rule to never take advice from someone who hasn’t “been there”. So I’ll tell you what happened for me, and then I’ll tell you what I did to bounce back while navigating through my own tunnel of hell.
Have you ever gone through a complete life overhaul? How do you deal with it? If you know what I mean, you’d agree that such events are far and few in between—but yet, the most impactful ones seem to happen when your life has hit rock bottom.
I urge you to think about it: What if you lost everything you have today? What would keep you going on? Would you give up? Would you hold on to that tiny light at the end of the tunnel, which perhaps you can’t even see?
It sounds harsh but I don’t mean to be so. Often times, we take our lives and the little moments of happiness for granted. It is only when we are snatched of those things that we realize the value of everything while at the same time learning to live without them.

My Story

During a 30-day period, 4 years ago, I lost everything: money, love, health, a baby, pets, security and self-pride.
My boyfriend at the time broke up with me while I stood holding the still dripping, positive pregnancy pee stick.  His response to having a baby with me was to end our relationship and to share with me that he hoped to tile his kitchen that summer and travel.
I lost the baby after 8.5 weeks and suffered from an extreme crash in hormones.  Being in my early 40?s, I knew this was probably the last chance to have a child.  My body was a mess and my head was scrambled with hormones.
To make matters worse, two days after losing the baby I understood that my bank accounts had been emptied.
I stood there blinking at the ATM screen on that early July morning: Balance: $0.
I was left with 40 cents in my pocket.
Someone with revenge in their heart sued me out-of-state and due to a loop-hole in the serving process, I never received notice and didn’t show up to defend myself.
When you don’t show up it’s as though you’re admitting guilt and a judgment is issued.   Being lax in checking my mail because I had no real bills coming in, other than utilities; these notices of judgment mixed in with “We’re garnishing your accounts” sat unread in my lock box for four weeks.
In those four weeks, every dime I had from every account was emptied.
A week later, I was faced with putting my 16 year old pet down, only to be followed by the rapid decline of my other 15 year old pet 10 days later.  If you’re like me, pets are family. This was a loss beyond words.
With no money, a huge judgment and $700 in credit card debt, I had to declare bankruptcy. An attorney said I could fight it; but I had no money to even try.
For the first time, I was face to face with shame and embarrassment.  Now, I was one of “those” irresponsible people I had previously judged who declared bankruptcy.
My health was shot, my mind was a mess, my heart was broken and I had 40 cents to my name.  My father died years ago and I had been the one helping my mother financially.  I was, in my own words, “someone lost and without backup”.
In ancient cultures, The Dark Night of the Soul (book) was understood as a time of transformation.  A time when your personal strength was tested and the knowledge you’ve gained over the first half of your life is called out and hopefully utilized.
In our culture, it’s considered a mid-life crisis.  We get face-lifts and sports cars. Couples run away from other couples divorcing, neighbors turn their head as houses go into foreclosure, and fair-weather friends back away quickly. Rather than an opportunity to be the phoenix in rising, we’re viewed as contagious drama.
Instead of showing a support and wise elders lending their ears, people in this culture back away and we are left to suffer alone with shame.
In my case, only a small handful of people knew, while most thought I have suddenly gone nuts.  In the past I had been the person whom others leaned on for advice and even financial help.  Now I was left with nothing.  I was an empty vessel without a financially secure family to lean on for support. I looked like hell and felt worse.
When I woke in the morning, I wasn’t sure what to mourn. The relationship or the baby?  My pets or my financial security? My health or the fact I could be homeless in a week?  FYI: My biggest fear in life had been ending up on the streets without support—irrational but at this time, a reality.
I can tell you that the grip of your biggest fear in the face of utter despair is a cold sharp knife that cuts deeply. But it is only then that you come to grips with . . . life. And eventually you bounce back to a place of happiness and peace, even in the face of adversity and setbacks.

My Bounce Back to Life: 7 Lessons

What I know for sure is that if you’ve always been the strong one, there is a lot of growth that comes from asking for help.  I got to know who my real friends were and that I was loveable even when I wasn’t perfect.  Had it gotten to the point of my moving in with family or friends, I know there would have been growth from that time too.
Perhaps healing with family happens when someone has to move home, as humbling as that may look in the moment.

Lesson 1: Materialistic Goals Aren't All that Matter

The thought of selling everything and starting over was, in a tiny way, liberating.  I hear of people that after losing their homes and selling most everything feel free in a way they had never known. My biggest fear was losing my remaining two pets if I had to couch surf for a while.
I was so embarrassed that I held my secrets and pain inside for the most part.  I would meet friends for dinner and pretend that I wasn’t hungry, since I had no money to spend.  When the hormonal imbalance would kick in and I would tear up, I would pretend that my contacts were bothering me and run to the bathroom.
Finally, I realized that nothing material mattered.

Lesson 2: Angels Exist in Human Form

While passing through the tunnel of hell during my recovery to bounce back, I figured which people truly cared and were in tune with my subtle changes.  Luckily for me, a friend handed me some cash—unsolicited– to help me get by while I got my head on straight. The generosity of this person rocked my world in a way that left me forever changed.
I realized the phrase “While you may only be one person in this world, you may be the world to one person” personally. In other words, I revived my belief in humanity.

Lesson 3: Miracles Are All Around

On a business level, I’m required to be clear and strong as I coach high-leveled executives on the next step in their career and life—ironic eh?
You can’t be broken and effective at the same time; yet I did take the phrase “fake it till you make it” by heart. By faking my strength, even my smile, I slowly felt both again.
I witnessed the miracle of the universe all around me.  Suddenly those cereal boxes that came free in my Sunday paper were valuable.  Toothpaste samples at the grocery store were cherished and I learned to turn the shampoo bottle upside down to get every last drop. I would go to the pet food store just to “look around” and grab a few of the free samples for my dog.

Lesson 4: Learned Minimalism

With that cash in hand from my friend, I was able to cover my rent long enough to start billing in my business again; but extras weren’t available.  Gone were the monthly hair salon trips, out with the extras like cable, Internet, and dog treats.
I slowly learned how wasteful I had been in my life with food, clothing, and coffee shop stops.  There was no money for anything other than college-grade food.
I rode my bike a lot that summer not having the money for gas. I reasoned with the bank’s car loan and my insurance agent for reduced monthly payments.
I taught myself to negotiate payments for utilities and witnessed the kindness of customer service agents when you admit your defeat.  Most of all, I gathered that if you’re willing to work with them in some way, people will help you get by on your payments and your life.

Lesson 5: Learned Positivity

Each morning I forced myself to think of three things I was grateful for before letting my feet hit the carpet next to my bed.  If I didn’t do this, I would begin my day in the depressed way I had ended the day before.
Soon I started doing this before bed and found that my days got easier.  When the magnitude of my situation would hit midday and I would start to crash; I would force myself to get outside, go for a walk and notice something beautiful.  When life is bleak, even the smallest things like the song of a bird or the color of the sky can jar you up a notch.
Every morning before starting my work day, I would force myself to listen to or read something inspirational.  I couldn’t control the world around me, but I could direct my emotions.
Yes I cried a lot, but I would balance those moments with what I was grateful for and kept moving towards what I wanted—to bounce back to some stability again.

Lesson 6: Clarity from Self-Observation

I learned to watch my emotional state like a hawk.
If I felt desperate and scared, I would imagine my worst-case scenario…worst case I would loan my dog and my cat to people I trusted and couch surf.  Worst case I would go on meds.  Worst case I would ask a friend if I could share dinner with them.
Once I knew my worst-case scenario, I was able to relax a tiny bit and then I would focus on what I was grateful for… When life blows up there is a crystal clarity that occurs.
All of the issues that you’ve been hiding behind with your job or your money or your relationship are out there in the open.  I have clients who lose their jobs and realize that their marriage has been broken for years; knowledge that was just hidden behind frequent business trips.

Lesson 7: Focus on the Now

I also learned that once the blow-up occurs and you share it with those close to you, it’s important to not keep telling your sad story.
If you do, that’s what you end up focusing on and it’s easy to feel like a victim.  Much better to focus on where you’re going and put your energy into moving forward.  This is the biggest mistake I see clients make—telling the same sad story, over and over.
For me the hardest part was laying in bed, alone, during the middle of the night, drenched in fear.  As I laid awake in terror, I learned to pray for help and learned to meditate so I could hear the answer. I tried to be as much in the now as possible.
Most of all, I learned that when we’re broken, we’re really just broken open.  We are a seed that sits in the dark, damp earth waiting for spring. We alone decide in which direction to send our sprout once the season has turned.
* What do you think? What are some thoughts crossing your mind at this moment? What are some things you realized while reading this? Share your thoughts and stories with us in the comment section.
Think. Grow. Live!

Roland N. Gilbert

Roland works one-on-one – via phone and face-to-face – and with MasterMind Groups. Through Couples Coaching Roland helps clients communicate better, find the love they want, and create relationships of significance. Contact Roland at 800-974-3692 or rgilbert@perennialgrowth.com to determine if coaching is right for you.

Are Men Really Ok with Lesbian Cheating?

The topic of cheating is intriguing to me and it has not been resolved or examine closely in the scholarly world. I would like to continue the discussion and examine the “taboo” of lesbian cheating. It is where a woman is in a relationship with a man and cheats on him with a woman. Some men may view cheating as a problem no matter who is sleeping with whom. Other men would be happy with their significant other having a sexual relationship with another woman. If my man had a sexual relationship with another man, I might leave the relationship very quickly. I am not one to judge people’s decisions when it comes to cheating but YourTango.com found a intriguing study on the topic.

A new study from the University of Texas at Austin discovered that men are more twice as likely to stay with their girlfriend or wife after they cheated on them with another woman. While women are less likely to continue a relationship if a man cheated on them with another man. The study surveyed 700 college students, asking them to imagine a committed relationship with someone they have been dating for three months. Then, they were asked to respond to different scenarios of their partner cheating on them. (Some of the scenarios included woman with man, woman with woman, man with woman, man with man and woman with multiple men, woman with multiple women, and men with multiple men and men with multiple women).

Men were 50 percent likely to stay with a woman after she cheated with another woman. Only 22 percent were likely to stay with a partner who cheated with a man. On the other hand, 28 percent of ladies would continue the relationship if a man cheated on them with a woman. Only 21 percent of women would stay with their man if he had sexual relations with another man. The study suggested that men are threatened by indiscretions that come in the way of their paternity of offspring. The lead author of the study, Jamie C. Confer stated, “A robust jealousy mechanism is activated in men and women by different types of cues, those that threaten paternity in men and those that threaten abandonment in women.”

While many people may not agree with the findings in this study, the authors claim that men view a homosexual affair as an “opportunity to mate with more than one woman at the same time. “ The lesbian cheating helps to satisfy the man’s desire to be with many partners including their girlfriend or wife. No matter what side you are on in this discussion, men like a lot of women and some women like to be with both men and women. Maybe people should try open marriages and relationships especially since the divorce rate is high and everyone has a naughty fantasy that they are afraid to try in the real world.

I understand how women feel about their man cheating on them with another man. I would like to know how men feel about lesbian cheating. Cheating is a dangerous game but is it really ok for women to cheat on their man with another woman. So tell me how you feel about your partner cheating on you with another woman. Does your woman cheating on you with another man really threaten your feelings about paternity and masculinity?

Let me know your thoughts below


Sedinam "Seddi" Kakrada is a Broadcast Journalism grad student at UNLV with a B.A. in Communication. Seddi has combined her two favorite topics, sex & communication and is striving to become the first African-American "Dr. Ruth".Seddi hails from Annapolis, MD, and looks forward to answering your questions and helping you succeed!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How To Be Happy When You’re So Sick Of Life

Contributed by John Kirby

You know sometimes life is just plain tough. I was talking my friend Robert today who was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer about 11 months ago.
We pretty much lost touch through the years due to life. High school, different colleges, meaningless arguments, and ultimately time continuing to roll on like a freight train running full-bore. He explained that he drove straight home after the doctors news. The 45 minute drive took over 3 hours, and before he knew it 3 days had gone by like a cold dark morning. He remembered it, but not by choice.
He emerged 3 days later with a list of everyone he needed to contact prior to passing on. He tells me he did just fine going through the list until he showed up at my door. A 3 hour conversation on his life, regrets, and hopes that would never be conquered led me to wonder how we were going to get these dreams accomplished if his life indeed was to be cut short. It’s the half empty/half full conversation but with so much more meaning.
As he cried, full of pain and sadness, I was mentally planning out the steps we would have to follow if we were going to fulfill his lifelong dreams. We discussed the options of him spending the remainder of his time hurting or ignoring the pain. I was there to help, but ultimately I felt he had to make a conscious choice so that his end days were spent feeling proud of either decision. He needed to make a choice. Climbing a mountain, flying a plane, driving a dragster, and a list of 28 items. Some were rather different, but none broke the law, they were all morally sound and really… aren’t we all just a little different? Well, 3 hours later we were off on the first adventure. Para-sailing behind a jet boat on lake Michigan.
Some of the missions were rather easy, and some took me doing major ‘selling’ the deal to friends of friends… all the while keeping the disease a secret. We did the Nascar experience, my buddy Bob let him fly his plane (won’t do that again), 9 second dragster, fishing all night long sober, ate the finest cheesecake, flew in snow crab, I hate mountain climbing, the bull in Wyoming, the Big Foot truck ride… and all of these other events that he just wanted to do before he died.
Have you ever noticed how people spend their lives ignoring the ones they love? How can sports, jobs, and television take precedence over love? It seems to devour lives until the final moment when those who matter most are needed. Robert was unfortunate enough to see the exact opposite. Most of those he has loved for years turned on him the past few months. Call it fear of loss, not knowing how to deal with death, or just plain pitiful.
Anyway, in the past 11 months I must say that he had some real good moments, and some rather sad times. How can laughter accompany sadness so well, and vice versa.
So as Robert is talking today I can sense that he is rather down compared to recent days. The treatments have certainly taken their toll on this great guy but I have to tell you, what a wonderful holy spirit he carries. I have seen many losses in my life, and here again I see another fortunate soul who is drawing near the time to depart this world. I noticed at a young age how those who pass knowing God are full of peace and contentment, while others seem to really struggle with the issue of death over dying.
After a 15 minute sales job, I finally get Robert to share. He explains that his buddy Terry committed suicide last night leaving 5 children, a wife, mother and father, and numerous people who thought he was just a happy guy. The lost job, foreclosure, credit card bills, and all of these completely meaningless ‘things’ proved too much.
I ask Robert, “can you even imagine what goes through someones mind… I mean how low can life possibly get to even consider such a meaningless act?” I’m speaking to a person who has lost 140 pounds in the past year, most of those he felt were his closest friends, a wife, and the security of believing tomorrow will give him another day on this earth. The doctors made their money, and now he has been written off. We’re speaking numerous times per day, and the conversations seem to revolve around how happy he is to be going home to his father.
I have to ask. “Robert, How Can People Be Happy When They’re So Completely Sick Of Life?” He calmly says, “Do You Know How To Be Happy When You’re Completely Sick of Life?” I said “fill me in brother”. And he very positively and proudly states, “You Choose To”. Wow.
3 words that explain the first step in the process to being happy. You must choose to be. Once you’ve established your direction, the rest is just small steps needed to support the walk. Inspiration comes in many ways, but ultimately we need to recognize it.

Think. Grow. Live!

Roland N. Gilbert

Roland works one-on-one – via phone and face-to-face – and with MasterMind Groups. Through Couples Coaching Roland helps clients communicate better, find the love they want, and create relationships of significance. Contact Roland at 800-974-3692 or rgilbert@perennialgrowth.com to determine if coaching is right for you.