Saturday, March 28, 2009

Soap Cruise

And we're back!

It's true I've been rather neglectful of this blog over the past week. This is mainly due to the wonderful amazing opportunity to ride aboard the Rock The Soap Cruise last week. I had the privilege of interviewing eight actors working on soap operas today, and found them so kind, intelligent, and committed to their craft. The interviews are all running on my "Soap Shrink" column which you can access by pressing here.

I hope you enjoy these pieces, and keep coming back here for more tips on Should-less living.

Monday, March 16, 2009

This is the part where you leave a comment.

Have you been having the Best Recession EVER? Have you found your own ways to find peace in the midst of all the financial chaos? Does this all seem like hooey too you? I'd really like to hear from you, especially if you're that one reader in Mississippi. Don't be shy now!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Review of the Best Recession EVER

I know some of you have busy schedules and short attention spans. This may even be your first time ever seeing this blog (thanks to Alpha Inventions). If any of these apply to you, here is a handy review to the 12 Ways to have your Best Recession EVER! For more details on each tip, just read the posts below.

Remember, comments are always appreciated / welcomed / hoped and prayed for.

Tip #1: Lose the "should" about your least for now.
Tip #2: Make a budget and stick to it!

Tip #3: Talk about money with others.
Tip #4: Recognize that good outcomes come from bad events.

Tip #5: Shut Off the News. Now.
Tip #6: Resist holiday gift-giving "shoulds".
Tip #7: Giving to others feels good.

Tip #8: Take advantage of going out of business sales.
Tip #9: Recognize the Recession in your mind.
Tip #10: Make a gratitude list every day.
Tip #11: Stay in the present.
Tip #12: Have faith it's all going to be okay.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

How to Have Your Best Recession EVER Tip #12

Final Tip: Have Faith It's Going to Be Okay

Usually having faith is the LAST resort. We spend so much time fixing, controlling, manipulating, trying, and frequently crying, before we're willing to finally say, "Okay, universe, I'm giving this one to you." I realize that by making this my 12th and final tip that I'm only reinforcing this notion. However, I saved it for the last because it is such an integral part of the first eleven tips, and will be most useful tip for navigating the times ahead of us.

What is faith? Faith, in my experience, is believing something that hasn't happened yet. It's often used by religious or spiritual people to indicate a belief in a higher power that (usually) will help us humans access more peace and happiness.

However, I believe ALL of us are practicing faith every time we do something to contribute to our future. When I get out of bed in the morning to go to work, I'm practicing faith that I will make it there in one piece. When I go down to the "L" train I have faith it will help me get to work on time. When I get to work I have faith that I will eventually get a paycheck for that day. I can decide to have faith that things are either going to work out well, or have faith that something is going to go horribly wrong. How I feel, then, is going to be a direct result of how I place that faith.

Here's another way to see it:

FAITH: Tomorrow is going to be a wonderful day.
FEELING: Hopeful, inspired, excited.

FAITH: Tomorrow is going to be busy and horrible.
FEELING: Stressed out, tired, anxious.

In either example, how I feel is going to be COMPLETELY determined by my faith, since tomorrow isn't here yet. Given a choice of feeling hopeful or stressed out, I know what I prefer.

Now let's look at the Recession. This has been a challenging time with many people losing money, losing jobs, losing homes. Many people are thinking, "This is NEVER going to get better, I'm never going to recover from this loss, I'll never be okay again." But history shows that we have every reason to believe that things are going to turn around eventually and be okay. Most of us have grandparents that lived through the last major Depression in this country, and they learned to adjust, compromise, and survive. So let's try our little exercise again:

FAITH: The Recession is never going to end and I'm doomed to be miserable
FEELING: Unhappy, stressed, depressed

FAITH: We'll get through these difficult times the way we always have before
FEELING: Relaxed, optimistic, hopeful

Now you understand that the way you handle this Recession will be in large part determined by how you choose to use your faith. I know the choice I'm ready to make. How about you?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Out Of Bounds!

On Thursday, March 12, I am honored to be a judge at the underwear contest for this Out of Bounds event, which will raise funds for The Trevor Project. Those who have read my book are aware that preventing teen suicide is a cause that is very personal to me, and The Trevor Project is doing a beautiful job providing counseling and support to troubled adolescents all over the country. If you're in the New York area, please consider coming by The Stonewall Bar at 7pm (53 Christopher St.) to say hi to me, grab a drink, stare at a model, and support a wonderful cause.

Friday, March 6, 2009

How to Have Your Best Recession EVER Tip #11

Stay in the Present

I don't know about you but I will admit that 96% of my worry comes from thinking about what's going to happen in the future. What if I lose my job, what if I don't have money, what if the market gets even worse, what if my building catches on fire, what if those poor polar bears become extinct, what if Oprah never calls me ... you know the drill.

The Recession could add fuel to the spark in my already worried mind, if I give it that power. Fortunately I have been learning the value of staying present in the here and now. When I stop the mind churning and actually slow down to pay attention to what is happening NOW, TODAY, things look pretty bright. Today I have a job. Today I have a home. Today I have food. Today I have health. Today I have a blog that 13 people will read, and if I'm lucky one or two will even leave a comment! See, I already feel better.

Some tips I have found to help stay present when my scattered mind begins to entertain catastrophic ideas about the future include:

Snapping a rubber band on my wrist
Taking deep deep breaths
Playing music on my (now functioning) iPod,
Running on the treadmill at the gym

Leading a group at work

Mediation / Yoga

Writing in my journal

Studying a spiritual text

And there are many many others. Staying focused on the present can be a very hard thing to do at first. But just like any muscle in your body - the more you work it the stronger it gets. This is an important tool for managing stress even in the best of economic times. I guarantee that if you learn the precious habit of staying focused in the present, then you will absolutely have your Best Recession EVER!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Today's blog post is being brought to you directly from the Apple Store on 14th Street in Manhattan, a place I have become sadly familiar with in the last two days. I have been furious, exhausted, and then annoyed again, all because I forgot one crucial lesson:

When I put my faith in an electronic object that "should" work, I'm bound to be aggravated and miserable.

Every now and then I am humbled and reminded by how destructive and frustrating my "shoulds" can be. Because the fact that I've been dealing with two dysfunctional iPods in the last two days is not the problem. The fact that I still have "shoulds" about iPods are what have been causing annoyance.

Life is full of mechanical gadgets that fail—this is not a choice. My suffering and stress about the failing of my mechanical gadgets is a choice. It may take a few days, but I'm working on making a different choice. How about you?