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10/16/10

The Perpetual Problem

“OMG! The whole world has gone crazy? Everyone is out of step except me and you and I’m not so sure about you.” Do you identify?

The world in which we live is huge and diverse even though technology is shrinking the distance and empowering earth’s citizens. Increasing interaction intensifies awareness of cultural commonalities and differences, thus increased tension along cultural fault-lines. The result is a perpetual love/hate relationship.

What is culture and how is it determined? How are beliefs about culture formed? Ones beliefs, behaviors, values and attitudes were originally shaped by parents or teachers or those who were important to us. We accepted them without question. We identified. This lifestyle is passed from one generation to another and impacts character in predictable ways.

Unfortunately, for every group in the world, there exists at least one offensive, derogatory word meant to belittle. Just ask Archie Bunker.

Perhaps this is born out of fear.

Human nature has a tendency to be against the unfamiliar. Either side of the color-blind issue lends to our crazy world in damaging ways. Lumping individual factions into group identity is a gross over-simplification. Failure to recognize, appreciate and honor differences is a human injustice. Both over looks the uniqueness of the individual.

Who we are - or who we think we are at the moment - is reflected by identifiers such as manner of dress (dapper or saggin’), cuisine favored, housing style chosen and lifestyle embraced. How does one become more embracing of diversity?

Change in any area comes through something that tweaks our perception. That something is broad and can be major or minor. Here are thoughts to consider.

  • Individuals are personally accountable for what they believe and corresponding actions.
  • Life is about relationships. The relationship of one individual interacting with other individuals, either one-on-one or in a group of individuals.
  • Acknowledge the possibility of the individual (self-included) being unduly influenced by social forces (i.e. laws, employment practices, social segregation).
  • Blanket coverage for solutions engenders the perpetual problem (zero tolerance).
  • Change comes one mind and one heart at a time.
  • Culture/race matters significantly. None are exempt.
  • Graciously speak up, one person, one situation at a time. You never know who you may influence to question their current perception.
  • We are all fellow strugglers.

I have more questions than insights (and no answers). Answers denotes being right; insight gives lee-way to wisdom and compassion.

What is accepted today or even seen as honorable is subject to change with time, knowledge, experience and relationships. As the humanity of each individual is valued, the perpetual problem is less persistent.

We welcome reprinting of articles in your newsletter or magazine, providing credit is given as follows: “This article was written by Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker and Personal Success Coach, www.monadunkin.blogspot.com or www.monadunkin.com.”

10/9/10

Thoughts on Becoming Resilient

Millions are hurt and homeless through natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and tornados. Multitudes are harmed with devastating human conflict like wars, crime, accidents, divorce and death of loved ones. These things disrupt life, as we know it.

Yet in spite of all these tragedies, many bounce back to healthy productive lifestyles, some even to the betterment of themselves and the world. Perhaps the secret is being resilient; of developing the ability to recover. Resiliency is to be flexible, hardy in spiritual constitution and adaptable. Similar to grace, resiliency may not be apparent until you need it.

Resiliency is the opposite of resignation. Do not deny the events just do not be defeated by it. Fall apart and then gather resolve to get back together. Appreciate that you are alive to see the sun come up tomorrow. Mourn and move past rather than getting stuck. Make a conscious decision to rise above.

Draw strength from your Higher Power. Recognize the Divine and receive an undeniable comfort in the midst of an incomprehensible situation. In spite of devastation, find inner peace in the simple reality that planet earth continues to revolve and day and night will go on.

Look at what happened rather than asking why. Reviewing the whys of life keep you trapped even when the answers may be forthcoming. Stressing or angering over the whys prevents one from accepting what is. Focus on what did happen and what can be done to rebuild.
Suppose your home was destroyed. Everyone was safe but the structure was reduced to rubble.

One may ask “why” and find a modicum of relief in the answer, but the house is still in ruins. Knowing the reason why did not reverse the situation nor does it free your mind to problem solve solutions.

Asking “what”, on the other hand, not only lends to finding the cause, it also releases creative energy to reconstruct with an eye toward prevention of it happening again.

It’s all about attitude. During the devastation of Katrina, a displaced family was huddled with hundreds in the Astrodome. Despite makeshift beds and Salvation Army meals, they had each other. One child saw reality beyond the trauma; “Oh, we have a home, we just don’t have a house to put it in.”

Find balance by willingly receiving aide from others, strangers as well as family, and by reaching out to others. You are not in this alone. There are those who care and wish to help, whether through material supplies, manual labor, or love and understanding. There are those that need something from you; possibly your insight, your smile, your hug or encouragement from you.

Look for the silver lining in the dark storm clouds. Blow like a tree in the wind that bends, but does not break. It bounces back to grow and produce fruit.

Concerning those who thrive despite tragedies, Dr. Steven M. Southwick, profess of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine sees them as having “post-traumatic-growth-syndrome”. May that be your legacy.

We welcome reprinting of articles in your newsletter or magazine, providing credit is given as follows: “This article was written by Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker and Personal Success Coach, www.monadunkin.blogspot.com or www.monadunkin.com.”

10/6/10

Benefits of Getting Your Z's

Every parent knows that a cranky child is more pleasant after her “beauty sleep”. It works for adults too. If your life has become so busy that you have decided to give up on sleep, please reconsider. There are numerous benefits. Here area few.

Sleep aids in the processing of emotions. REM is when sleep experts say dreaming takes place. Supposedly we start by reviewing the events of the day and trying to make sense of them. Thus the right-brain/left-brain battle brings on some weird images or nightmares. As the night progresses these issues are settled and dreams become more positive, going into the realm of problem solving and goal setting type of daydreaming. What a shame to get too few hours sleep and miss out on this beneficial imagery.

Sleep helps to balance perspectives. Research says that because of the right-brain, left-brain switch over during sleep, one’s dream state gives more input and creativity than one’s awakened state. Also, in the relaxation of sleep, the intuitive side willingly receives new insight from the logical side.

The old recommendation to “sleep on it” bears a lot of truth. While your body is being reset through the restful mechanics of sleep, the mind is fully active, exploring through buried files unhindered by conscious thought. The engaged mind reviews and sorts and categorizes and comes to conclusions. Even though it happens frequently, I am still impressed when I awaken with the answer to last night’s cross-word puzzler.

Sleep helps elongates short term memory. Harvard University studies taken from different angles, has impressive research showing sleep improves information storage. Students that study intensely followed by sleep then awaken to testing, scored consistently higher than students who studied intently then immediately was tested while “it was still fresh on their mind.” There is something mysterious about sleeping that allows the mind to better understand information, associate it with prior knowledge, store it and easily retrieve it later.

Experts say the amount of regular sleep effects one’s overall weight. Too little restful sleep the more pounds on the frame and the more difficulty in losing weight.

Sleep resets our systems. As a person who functioned well on only a few hours of sleep, I was reluctant to stay abed longer. All of these benefits have been motivators to me to and have definitely improved my life and health. It may take a while to learn new sleep habits and it is well worth the effort.

We welcome reprinting of articles in your newsletter or magazine, providing credit is given as follows: “This article was written by Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker and Personal Success Coach, www.monadunkin.blogspot.com or www.monadunkin.com.”