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Expert Series: Nothing In Your Life Is Wasted
By Noelle Sterne

Do you find yourself too often shaking your fist at God and asking, “When, oh when? . . . When will I finally get published or called back? . . . When will I be able to quit my day job? . . . When will I have enough money to write or paint or design or dance full-time? . . . When will I meet someone who will support me in the creating I must do?” The answer to all such questions may seem illogical at best and outrageous and barely palatable at worst. But it’s simple.

The Squirming Truth

The truth is this: Each of us, no matter how dire or sad or frustrating our circumstances, is where we want to be. No, I’ll be more accurate: each of us is where we need to be.

We are where we are because we need to learn certain things. And we can’t get to the next place without learning them. This principle applies to everything in life, including your chosen mode of creativity. Read more

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COMMENTS (4) | empowerment, inspiration, learning, self growth, self worth
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I Want To Breathe
By Elida Vinesett

 “Leda, do you want to drown?” Mom yelled.  “Come here, now!”

I was terrified whenever the water rose above my waist, her screams warning us to stay near the water’s edge.   It happened every time we went to Lynnhaven Beach in Virginia.

Mom, herself, had never learned to swim, although she grew up in a small town near the Atlantic Ocean in Puerto Rico.  Born in 1923, she experienced natural tragedies, like the hurricane in which the family lost all their possessions.   Decades afterwards, apprehension of the ocean passed on to her offspring. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | anxiety, empowerment, healing, parenting, self growth
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Expert Series: Too Late For Your Dream?
By Noelle Sterne

Do you feel stuck in your job, your activities, your life?
Do you condemn yourself about what you could have, should have done differently?
Do you yearn for more, even if you don’t know what it is?
Do you suspect you’ve got something to give, even if you can’t identify it?
Or do you know what it is but haven’t been able to let it out?
Have you pushed your secret yearnings into the back of your life, like old photos in the sock drawer?

Like many people, maybe you live for the weekends or retirement. Maybe you promise yourself that then—finally—you’ll do what you really want to. Too often, these envisioned golden times never materialize. Why? Read more

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COMMENTS (4) | empowerment, renewal, self realization, thriving
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Expert Series: Ten Steps To Personal Transformation
By Amara Rose

The quest to discover and live our truth is the Hero’s Journey, a sacred pilgrimage home to ourselves. It’s the high road — and a rigorous one. We may try to camouflage our fear of the unknown with bravado, workaholism, or apathy. There’s another way: following the path of the heart. How do we find it? With a transformational road map. I invite you to join me on a mission to remember and reclaim your life purpose.

Step One: Give Yourself Permission to be Passionate 

Our resistance is the Refusal of the Call. Change whispers in our ear, and we attempt a high-tech tune-out: call waiting, call forwarding, on hold, voicemail…

We fight change because acceding to it feels like stepping off a cliff into an abyss. Out of touch with our vital, intuitive nature, we panic and crawl safely back into the shopping center mentality. We resign ourselves to buying the leopard print pants because we’re afraid to be the leopard.

How do we answer this call to reclaim our connection to what’s true for us? We start by giving ourselves permission to be passionate, to dream beyond our self-imposed boundaries. Read more

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COMMENTS (4) | empowerment, renewal, self realization, thriving
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Dear Support Person
By Johnny Mackay

It was all unexpected. Sure, life wasn’t grand but you know it was pretty good, I thought. In retrospect it seems like the changes took place overnight though I am not sure that is true either. My best friend and lover of 5 years decided to take up relations with another man. This was enough to force me to explore my own personal difficulties, shortcomings and relative commitment issues. I discovered that I loved her more than I loved life, more than I loved myself. Unfortunately, my new found passion for a life of solid relations with her and her alone, fell on deaf ears and I was told it was too late.

More than anything the ‘weight’ of the hole inside me was incapacitating, the darkness was unbearable, the pain relatively inescapable. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | depression, empowerment, self growth
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Cooking With Love
By T. Wayne Waters

It’s a little past 8:00 on a Wednesday morning and 82-year-old twin sisters, Helen Ashe and Ellen Turner, are in the kitchen cracking eggs into wide-mouth wooden bowls. Brewing coffee infuses the air with an earthy aroma. Ellen gets a handheld electric mixer, plugs it in, and dips its shiny beaters into the yellow egg yolks in the bowl, a soft whirring sound signaling the start of scrambled eggs. Helen, meanwhile, turns her attention from the eggs to white rounds of biscuit dough she begins to lay out on a large metal tray.

The breakfast Helen and Ellen are fixing isn’t for them. It’s for the dozens of needy Knoxville folks who come to this special kitchen on the east side of the city–the Love Kitchen–twice a week, for a free meal cooked with care by the sisters and their volunteer staff. And for delivery to the hundreds of people in need who have no way to get to Love Kitchen. And for the hundreds more who come by and pick up much-needed emergency food bags; for, as the sisters like to say, the hungry, the homeless, the helpless, the hopeless, and the homebound. Helen and Ellen have been doing it for 25 years. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | community, empowerment, faith, inspiration, service
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Twitter Saved My Life
By Salvatore Stefanile

I’m not really much of a Twitter guy and rarely use it to ramble random life musings. I mainly use Twitter to follow Dan Harmon, Kurt Sutter, Norm Macdonald and pretty much every sports Twitter feed imaginable.

I never imagined I’d stick with Twitter for long. Figured I’d just sign up, check it out and delete my account eventually.

Was I ever wrong.

On April 15 of 2010, Twitter helped save my life.

One of the most prolific writers of today’s generation is Deadspin writer Drew Magary. I don’t know where he gets the time to write for all the publications he does, not to mention write a book, too. I give him credit for that. He was one of the first people I followed on Twitter.

He kept complaining how he needed to lose 50 pounds and instead of just bitching about it to faceless internet followers, he came up with a plan:  announce to the world how much he weighed and keep people on Twitter informed of his progress.

He dubbed his plan the #twitterpublichumiliationdiet. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | empowerment, self growth, weight loss
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Independent Women: Is It Us?
By Acamea Deadwiler

I was recently seeing a guy whom I had made plans to meet for our third date.  I decided to catch the train 30 minutes away to Chicago in order to avoid the notorious traffic. In discussing our “plan” we spoke of the time I would need him to have me back at the train station in order to return home, when he said, “That’s if you go back home tonight.” I replied jokingly, but dead serious, “Oh, I’m coming back home tonight.” His response was a snide, “You independent women.”

Now, I am a well-educated 31-year-old with no kids, a successful career, a very nice place of dwelling, and a luxury vehicle. I am, by all accounts, every bit of an independent woman. But the way he said it… He just made it sound so dirty, so stigmatized. He said “independent women” as if there were something wrong with it. As if, it was something to be ashamed of. That was the first time I’d heard being an independent woman spoken of in such a condescending manner, and it really made me think. It made me wonder if being independent has become an undesirable characteristic in the eyes of men. Read more

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COMMENTS (5) | empowerment, self worth
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Saying ‘Yes’ To My Anxiety
By Billie Criswell

I know it sounds a little strange saying “yes” to anxiety, but so often it is easier to stuff issues away rather than face them head on. That was the relationship between me and my anxiety. It would crop up, catch me by surprise, and I would shout, “No, no, no!” And this became the pattern of my behavior… get anxious, get annoyed that I’m anxious, reject it, and fail to deal with it. Something had to change between us. Someone had to give, and that someone was me. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | anxiety, empowerment, self improvement
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The Art Of Mistakes
By Heather Klem

As recovering people, stripped of our destructive defenses and damaging coping mechanisms, we face overwhelming uncertainty. Who are we? Where do we fit into this complicated thing we call life? The most basic decisions confound us.

Beneath this cloud of confusion lies a thick sediment of fear. As a recovering perfectionist, the relentless terror of making a mistake has stalked me through much of my formative years and into my adult life. It is a painful brand of insecurity that stretches from the most basic option offered to me in a given circumstance — paper or plastic at the checkout line — to actual major life decisions, like whether or not a given job opportunity is right for me. Frozen in the paint aisle of Home Depot, the prospect of choosing a color for my living room could lock me in agonizing uncertainty, terrified that Downy was not preferable to Dover White. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | empowerment, self realization
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“Nice To Meet You. I’m Lesbian”
By Reilley Olexson - 16 Years Old

My favourite colour is red. It always has been. My hair has always been curly, and my eyes have always been hazel. I am not a science experiment, or some new invention. Don`t introduce me as if I am some new species you have discovered. To exploit one aspect of who I am to the magnitude of a flying pig, reduces every other ounce of my body. Do not refer to me as “the lesbian”. I would even rather to be referred to as “curly”. Read more

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COMMENTS (6) | empowerment, enlightenment, self realization, tolerance
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Revolution: How Cipralex & I Saved My Life
By Niki Chanway - 17 Years Old

You’d like to think there’s a quick and easy fix to depression. Exhausted, beaten girl that you are, having spent a large portion of your life wiping the metaphorical sweat from your hypothetical brow, you’re wondering why you just can’t access it.

You waste your Friday nights with your knees curled up to your chest.

Your Saturdays, in bed.

Sundays you force yourself to socialize.

Mondays you’d rather do anything than live through the week again.

You suffer. Struggle. Simper. You pretend that nothing hurts; you thrust candy-coated lies into the mouths of the people who love you. If the words seem sweet enough, maybe they won’t notice the limpness in your fingers, your voice, your spirit. Read more

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COMMENTS (35) | depression, empowerment, healing, self worth
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Felix The Cat Part IV: The Grey Dragon
By Melissa Roberts

When my cat Felix decided to tolerate Mum and Dad’s cat Tiptoe in 2010, we had been living there for nearly two years. I never expected Felix to give in, but then again I never expected to lose my job and have nowhere else to go but back where I had come from.

Former stray turned beloved pet, Felix moved with me from St. Louis, Mo to small town Kansas after I lost my job as a hospital chaplain in 2008. My parents and I agreed this would be a temporary situation- six months at the most- until I could get back on my feet. We all overestimated my employability and underestimated the recession. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | animal companion, empowerment, renewal, thriving
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Much More Than A Hearing Dog: The Story Of Jane And Sita Biehl
By Julie Flanders

Jane Biehl resisted getting a hearing dog for years. Biehl, a counselor and professor in Canton, Ohio who has been deaf since childhood, felt that she had managed fine without a hearing dog for decades, and she could easily continue to do so.

Her attitude changed after a friend was robbed and beaten in his own home. Biehl felt vulnerable, and set out to change that by getting a hearing dog. As with so many things in life, the timing was fortuitous. If Biehl had decided to get a dog sooner, she wouldn’t have been partnered with Sita. And if there is one thing that has become clear in the nearly four years they have been together, it’s that Sita and Jane were meant to be. Read more

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COMMENTS (9) | animal companion, animal training, deaf, empowerment
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Getting To Know You, Getting To Know All About You
By Sharon Carmichael

Discovering the truth about ourselves isn’t easy. Too often we suppress our emotions, leaving them dormant in our minds awaiting to pop out at us when we are most vulnerable. I know firsthand – I’ve spent most of my life avoiding my feelings. My father was murdered when I was fifteen-months old, and I traveled through life imagining it didn’t bother me. I told myself things like, “I was too young to remember him,” and “I never knew him so there’s no way this could affect me.” Little did I know this resistance was shaping itself inside of me forming a home within my identity. Read more

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COMMENTS (6) | empowerment, enlightenment, self worth
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Detach, Survive, Thrive In My Marriage To An Alcoholic
By Linda J Riley

The world of the non-alcoholic in the midst of alcoholic insanity is difficult. Many succumb to the insanity and become part of the disease itself, and others die from stress-related illnesses. But it is possible to survive. Once the non-alcoholic has learned the survival techniques, the next step would be thriving in spite of it all. It can be done. I am proof that it is possible.

One day I watched in horror as my husband, Riley, stood in the middle of the living room and spewed a stream of urine onto the carpet. Things had gotten bad, but I never imagined they would get that bad. Read more

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COMMENTS (33) | alcoholic, empowerment, relationships, self realization, thriving
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Reading: A Love Story
By Joseph Longo

I did not come from a family of readers.

My parents were Sicilian immigrants. My mother read an occasional magazine, but she never read a complete book. My father was semiliterate. Though he bought the New York Daily News every day – mainly to see what horses won at the track.

My first reading memory was comic books. I collected them and had a towering stack in my closet. My hero was Superman. I read that many gay boys growing up in the fifties considered him their favorite because he lived two lives.  I also liked True Crime and Classic Comics. As a teenager, I worked for an Italian grocer and spent all my money on comics. I waited each month for my favorites to come out. I still read comics, but now they’re called graphic novels.

My Aunt Josie was the only one in my family who was a reader. She is ninety and she still reads, mostly romance novels. In fact, she keeps a notebook of the books she’s read so that she doesn’t buy the same book again. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | empowerment, enlightenment, self realization
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Yes You Can!
By Michael W. Michelsen Jr.

If Dick Hoyt is trying to guilt me into being a better father, I have to admit that he’s accomplished his mission very well.  That’s not to say that I’m not a good father, I am, but if it came down to comparing the two of us, he leaves me in the dust.  Literally. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | empowerment, health, parenting, sports, thriving
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Expert Series: ADD(Attention Deficit Disorder) Is Not Who I Am, It Is What I Have
By Brad Worthley

I had a lot of friends growing up so I enjoyed school from the social standpoint. I went to all the sporting events and if there was a party within 20 miles, I was there. Scholastically, I struggled with my grades, so I was about a “C” student. Out of embarrassment, I masked my inequity from my friends, so you would be hard pressed to find anyone in school that did not believe I was an “A” or “B” student.

As I sat in classrooms, I would try very hard to pay attention to what the teacher was saying because I knew we would be tested on it, but I struggled with retaining the information. I had the same challenges with reading text books in class or at home, because as I was reading, my brain kept drifting away, and I would have to re-read the same page two or three times in order to understand it. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | ADD, empowerment, learning, self realization
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Saving My Marriage
By M. LaVora Perry

What happens when you’re already in deep with a partner—way past the “getting to know you” phase—but lately you feel certain that you blew it by hooking up with this person, and now you’re stuck with him or her.

We all know about some of the most radical options, especially the big “D” or the big “B” (divorce or breakup). There’s also the big “I”—infidelity. Other options are marriage counseling, or individual counseling if your partner isn’t game. And perhaps the least appealing choice of all is to simply continue suffering.

However, there’s another option: decide way down deep inside yourself that you’re going to turn your situation into a mind-blowing victory. Read more

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COMMENTS (10) | empowerment, marriage, relationships, self improvement, spiritual
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Life Is a Continuous Adventure for This 75 Year Old Texan
By Greg Melikov

Larry P. Johnson is proof that disabilities can be conquered. He lives life fearlessly and with zest because to him it’s all an adventure.

The transplanted Chicagoan has been a radio disc jockey, TV newscaster and telephone company human resources director. The San Antonio resident of more than three decades is a family man, author and motivational speaker.

Larry is an amazing individual despite being blind for 74 ½ years of his life. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | blind, empowerment, thriving
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Expert Series: 7 StepsTo Create Your Best Year
By Alissa Finerman

The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we hit it.

Michelangelo

You’re inspired, motivated, and ready to make a change in your life. You even have some New Year’s resolutions to prove it. Then the dust settles and you realize the term commitment involves the word commit. This requires that you take action. For many of us, there seems to be a disconnect between saying we are going to do something and actually doing it. Well this year it’s going to be different because you have an action plan. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | empowerment, learning, self improvement
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Out Of The Rat Race And Into Bamboo
By Greg Pfeffer

I’m not sure which benchmark in corporate America can be credited as the straw that broke the camel’s back; the final event that caused me to “go bamboo.” The chorus of seemingly uniform co-workers wishing me things like “Happy Friday” and “Somebody could use another cup of coffee!” The almost perverted detail I took in studying the walls of my cubical, attempting to conjure up ideas of how any postcard or picture could ever camouflage the walls of the plastic box I worked in.

Most likely, however, it was the unenthusiastic chatter of my fellow 20-somethings every morning on the R5. IPod in ears, the front page of The Metro shielding their face from the morning glances of their fellow commuters; they are ushered from the suburbs like unwilling passengers on the river Styx. As the doors on the regional rail opened it was as if the hand of Charon himself ushered them off at 30th and Market East, putting on the last leg of their daily journey towards an office, a firm, a corporation somewhere in Center City. I wanted out of this Hades, so I broke free.

Read more

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COMMENT (0) | empowerment, thriving, work
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“I Want To Die At Home” — Part One
By Diane Schachter

It was a Monday, October 7th. I know that because it would be my Dad’s last Monday, just four days before he died. My family had to make a crucial decision.

It began on the morning my mother poured out her desperate words to me on the telephone: “It was a bad night.” My head was spinning with images of Dad uncontrollably thrashing in pain throughout the night.

Seven months earlier, my father had made his desire strongly and clearly known to his family. He wanted to die at home. Read more

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COMMENTS (12) | empowerment, loss, relationships, thriving
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Expert Series: Steve Kayser: How To Defeat Your Inner Deadbeat
By Steve Kayser

In every person’s life, there is a still, small voice that tries to guide you to a wonderful calling—a destiny.

Your Destiny

A calling that you, and only you, were put on this earth to fulfill. Near silent, this voice is powerful enough to lift thoughts, dreams and visions to a higher ground. In ancient Rome, this inner voice was called “genius.” A tutelary inner-mentor to guide your aspirations forward–to be the best writer, politician, businessman, inventor, doctor, lawyer, painter, dancer, father, mother or whatever calling you were placed on this earth to fulfill. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | empowerment, self improvement, thriving
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