Let’s Do Something About Sandy Hook

Single CandleIn light of the tragic events that happened in Newtown, CT this post is different from what I usually write about.

Please bear with me as I try to make sense of this senseless tragedy.

On Friday December 14, 2012, the lives of twenty children and 6 adults brutally ended when a shooter armed with an assault rifle entered the Sandy Hook
Elementary School in Newtown, CT. Among those killed was a 6-year old angel, Ana – the daughter of Nelba and Jimmy Greene.

I’m sure that Friday morning started out like most other school days. Parents lovingly deposited their children on school buses or dropped them off at the front door of the school in what they considered a safe, secure environment.

But, by mid-morning, the scene was anything but idyllic.

No bright yellow school buses stood waiting.

No throng of smiling faces met these parents.

Instead, parents were met by an untold number of police cars, swat teams, ambulances, confusion and tears. And in the case of Nelba and
Jimmy Green and the other parents-

they received the unthinkable news…

their child was dead.

I’m sure it’s heartbreaking to lose a child under any circumstances but especially so when it’s a senseless act of violence.

When I did consulting work for city schools, I had to ring a buzzer and put my name on a visitor list to gain entrance to the building housing precious children.

Before the Sandy Hook massacre, I hadn’t given much thought to this “security measure”. Like most of us, I thought this was enough. However, upon reflection, I now see it wasn’t enough. I don’t recall ever being questioned about the purpose of my visit before being admitted.

Someone simply buzzed me in.

I now wonder if such a step as asking the nature of one’s visit to Sandy Hook Elementary School would have given pause to the shooter.

Of course, we have no way of knowing if that measure would have changed the course of events. But in the aftermath of such a tragic event, one can’t help but “wonder”…

Is better security needed in our schools?

Could improved security prevented the tragedy at Sandy Hook?

What about our gun control laws?

How can we ensure that no one else has access to an assault rifle using it to murder innocent children?

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, between 2006 and 2010, 47,856 people were murdered in the U.S. by firearms, more than twice as many as were killed by all other means combined.

Right now if you don’t have a criminal record and you have not been judged as mentally incompetent, you can buy guns.

Although a background check is required, each check doesn’t accurately represent a single gun purchase or the mental state of the purchaser.

For example, if one were to purchase two or three guns at one time, there would be only one background check. And, if there is no documented history of mental illness or violence, a permit is issued.

I don’t know why a person would commit such horrible acts as the ones in Newtown,CT, Aurora, Arizona, or Virginia Tech or how easy it is for guns to get into the hands of unstable people who mean to hurt or kill.

I do think the answer to this problem lies with our elected officials. This country needs to look seriously at way the licensing
and registration processes are handled for gun ownership.

Stricter licensing and registration, more vigorous background checks and definitely a ban on assault weapons would be a great start toward preventing tragedies such as the one in Newtown, CT.

My heartfelt condolences and prayers go to Nelba and Jimmy Green and to all the other families affected by this senseless tragedy.

And, as a reminder for the rest of us…

  • Take time to let your children, family, and friends know that you love them.
  • Never part company with your love ones on an angry note.
  • Make each moment memorable…every day!
  • Create lasting memories with pictures, videos and letter writing.
  • Push away petty grievances and accept your love ones (especially difficult family members) for who they are.

Doing just one of the above could make a huge difference in someone’s life.

Now is not the time to sit idly by and stay mired in “what if’s” or “why’s”. It’s time to take action. If nothing else, we must decide whether or not we are part of the problem (remaining silent on gun reform) or part of the solution (contact your elected officials).

Let’s all do something NOW!

Take Charge of Your Life: Are You the Pilot or Passenger?

Are you the pilot or the passenger in your life?

A pilot is in charge of the instrumentation that paves the way for a smooth, safe journey. In other words, the pilot makes the decisions about how and when to react in unpredictable situations. She follows a specific flight pattern to get you safely to your destination. On the other hand, as a passenger, you simply take a backseat, turn the control over to the pilot and wait to be delivered to your destination.

I’m sure a lot of you can agree that most of our behaviors, habits, decisions and responses stem from complex invisible patterns and experiences we’ve had within our families and society.

And those experiences sometimes creates a false sense of who we really are. We become the passenger and not the pilot in our own lives.

We continue to allow these familial beliefs, rituals and faulty messages to derail our dreams and prevent us from living joyful lives.

Are You the Pilot or Passenger?

Are You the Pilot or Passenger?

In life when we sit back and allow someone else to take charge of where we are going, it can mean we end up somewhere other than where we intended.

When we’re faced with turbulence in our life, do we take control and decide the best course of action or do we blindly wait for others to direct us and make the decision whether it’s safe or risky to forge ahead?

I would love to hear if you are the pilot or passenger in your life. Please feel free to share your comments with us.taktt

And for more ways to take charge of your life,  you may want to get my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace and Celebrate the Real You

Make Room in Your Life

make room in your life quote image

This quote reminds me that one of the best things we can do for ourselves is to do more of the things we love and enjoy. Deferring our passions, dreams, and goals does nothing to nourish our souls and spearhead us on the path of success, fulfillment and joy.

To see more quotes and inspirational tips like this, join us over in the Self Care Circle.

Living Consciously – Every Day!

Would You Like to Live More Consciously – Every Day? This new book shows you how

Women Living Consciously Book

I’ve recently become aware of a new inspirational, uplifting and empowering book for women to live consciously and I want you to have access to it as well.

I’d like to share with you not one, but forty-seven inspiring women who have courageously chosen to share their stories so that you have company and a guiding force on your journey of life. These are remarkable stories of living consciously in relationship, career, wellness and spirituality. They will speak to your heart and soul and, as you read, you may see yourself in their words. You’ll be moved to live more consciously as you move through your life and you’ll get more fulfillment and satisfaction out of each day. Because…

If they can do it, you can too.

This anthology book celebrates the strength and beauty that all women possess. It provides a resource, a sounding board and a path for you to follow. And mostly, it speaks the truth about surviving and thriving through uncertainty, growth and seemingly impossible circumstances.

Watch the book trailer at: http://wlcbook.com

These 47 women celebrate the launch of Women Living Consciously by treating you to an incredible one-time book-launch offer with special bonus gifts from more than 50 joint venture partners.

To receive your special bonus gifts purchase the book on launch day, May1st at: http://wlcbook.com

This book will help you to move more quickly into your realization of personal greatness, wholeness and conscious living, and it will open your heart to the joy of becoming the real you in every sense imaginable.

In this book, You’ll Discover these Timeless Truths and Valuable Lessons:

• Rid yourself of the “disease to please” once and for all

• Recognize the diamond in the rough and polish it

• Know that your dreams have no limits–empower yourself

• Build your business to match your vision, no matter the economy

• Survivor and victim are two sides of the same coin–you choose

• Childhood trauma doesn’t equal a traumatized adult

• Labels are not death sentences, they’re just words

• How to live an authentic life in alignment with your highest values

• Spirit exists in every experience, sometimes you just need faith

• Release the darkness of the past and open up to your bright future

• Living in the moment is all you really have

• Love is the greatest elixir for all ills–physical, emotional and spiritual

• Fear is all in your head; living from your heart is the only way to eliminate it

• Maintain eternal connections with loved ones for greater peace

The courageous stories in “Women Living Consciously” will inspire you to pursue your dreams and live the fulfilled and meaningful lives you are destined to have.

Click here to purchase the book and receive your special bonus gifts.

I look forward to hearing your comments on the book!

The Living Quilt

QuiltI’ve always been fascinated with the patterns, colors and designs in quilts.  Quilt making is one of the things on my to-do-list and it’s inching its way closer to the top of the list.  I’ve taken the first step already and enrolled in a quilting class starting in a few weeks!

The intricate patterns of a skillfully woven quilt depict stories of struggles, joys, celebrations, messages, challenges and endings very similar to the days of our lives.  We weave in and out of connections daily, giving little thought to the impressions we make on others, or how others affect us.  If we take the time to be honest with ourselves, our interactions with others would certainly take us on a different journey.

African history tells us of oral traditions being passed down generation after generation using colors, embedded messages, symbols and elaborate designs to send coded messages to those attempting to escape slavery through the Underground Railroad; oftentimes, at the risk of death or at least serious injury.  Just as the Africans used quilting to endure the hardship of slavery as a means of escape and survival, we, too send embedded messages and pass them along to others and our descendants.  Although, we no longer need to design elaborate coded messages to ensure our communication is received; nevertheless, coded emotional messages are being proliferated among us on a daily basis.

How interesting to note the similarity of this ancient art form of quilting to our present day lives.  Our lives are full of daily pressures, challenges, beginnings, endings, joyfulness and sorrow.  Everyday, we send and receive a multitude of messages based on our experiences and thoughts – some explicitly sent, others sent underhandedly but messages just the same.  Do we consider the explicit and underground messages we send to our children, friends, love ones, and casual acquaintances?   We design elaborate coded message into the quilt of our lives every day.

When we recognize that it takes a variety of stitches and patterns to form the fabric of our lives, we will embrace the diversity of ourselves and do the same for others. And, by doing so, we present and receive a more authentic interaction.

Our underground code of silence, our reluctance to disclose our authentic thoughts and feelings, outright denial, and codified messages deceives others and us alike. To be our authentic selves, we must take risks  — a risk that someone will judge us severely, dislike us or our comments, or ask questions we are disinclined to answer.  Being authentic involves taking a major risk but taking that risk and breaking the pattern of duplicity is also welcome relief.  It opens the way for us to tell our story in an honorable and genuine way and in the process gives others the opportunity to tell theirs.

It takes a variety of well thought out stitches to complete each section of a quilt as was done in quilting bees of yesterday. Oftentimes it took many hands working together to form a unified design.  One piece of fabric alone cannot become a quilt.  We cannot afford to be disjointed, isolated, unreachable, and unapproachable to those who make up our living quilt. All of us are all interconnected and the sooner we begin to authentically acknowledge each others’ triumphs as well as struggles, it is then and only then, will we be able to unite and pass the intricately diverse quilt of life onto our family, friends and descendants.

I encourage you to get your free 7 daily self care tips when you join our Self Care Circle where you will gain more insight, tools and resources to help you stitch your living quilt.

Gladys Anderson | Self-Care Genie
Gladys M. Anderson is a certified life coach, licensed marriage & family therapist, consultant, workshop facilitator and author of the soon to be published book, “Master the Genie    Within”. She coaches women in the art of saying no and how to protect their precious time and energy by setting strong boundaries to create a uniquely crystal clear vision for the satisfying careers and relationships they truly want.

10 Ways to Improve Your Listening Skills

ListeningMarch was International Listening Awareness Month but every month is a good time to check how well you listen.

What with the endless supply of texts messages, abbreviations and acronyms we use to communicate, it’s no wonder our listening skills fall short.

Listening is the process of receiving, constructing meaning from and responding to spoken and/or nonverbal messages.

In the early years of marriage, my husband often accused me of not listening. Of course, I denied, explained and defended my listening skills repeatedly.  Fortunately, I learned that hearing is not the same as fully listening.

According to the International Listening Association, only about 50% of what we hear is retained immediately after we hear it and only 20% after that.

So in honor of International Listening Awareness Month, I’ve compiled a list of ways to become a more effective listener:

  1. Maintain eye contact – eye contact keeps you focused on the conversation at hand and keeps you involved
  2. Focus on using inviting body language, such as making eye contact, uncrossing your arms, and turning your shoulders so you’re facing the person speaking. Use your body to show your interest and concern such as nodding year head.
  3. Avoid thinking about what you’re going to say next.   Try not to get ahead of the speaker by finishing his or her thoughts in your mind before the person is finished speaking
  4. Participate in active listening by encouraging the speaker with nods and affirmative words.
  5. Paraphrase and repeat what you heard when it’s your turn to talk. Don’t interrupt – If you’re interrupting the person speaking to get your point across, you’re not listening
  6. Ask questions or request examples for clarification and to get a better understanding of what is being said.
  7. Stop doing other things — fidgeting, texting, reading, etc., — while someone is speaking to you.
  8. Focus on content, not delivery. If you find yourself counting the number of times someone clears their throat, touches their nose or  says uh, your attention is not on the subject matter and you need to refocus more on the message.
  9. Ask open ended questions. Closed questions close the door to further conversation by giving a yes or no answer. Whereas, open questions allow for access to further dialogue. For example, the speaker might say, “I don’t like my hair” The listener might respond, “What about your hair don’t you like?” or, “Tell me more about your feelings regarding your hair”.
  10. Pay close attention to a speaker’s body language – posture, eye movement and facial expressions.  This will give you cues to the meaning behind the words being spoken and what he or she is really trying to convey.

Communication skills can easily be lost in the sea of instant messages, shorthand-speak and abbreviations we have become accustomed to using.  Unfortunately, these shortcut ways of speaking deprives us of meaningful connections and stimulating conversations.

Even though International Listening Awareness month is over, we can still use these tips to help improve our listening skills.

And, while you’re here, please take a moment to join our Self-Care Circle and get your free audios of 7 Daily Self-Care Tips to Renew Your Body, Soul and Spirit.

 

Gladys Anderson | Self-Care GenieGladys M. Anderson is a certified life coach, licensed marriage & family therapist, consultant, workshop facilitator and author of the soon to be published book, “Master the Genie Within”. She coaches women in the art of saying no and how to protect their precious time and energy by setting strong boundaries to create a uniquely crystal clear vision for the satisfying careers and relationships they truly want. In her spare time, Gladys loves to travel and experience new and exciting adventures. She is an amateur genealogist, avid reader, loves “techy” stuff, and enjoys reading mystery novels.

Quotes and other Life Lessons

For years, I’ve subscribed to Readers Digest. I especially enjoy the courageous and inspiring stories, adventures, healthy living tips, jokes and quotes.

I have quite a collection of inspirational quotes I’ve gathered over the years from a variety of other sources.

Here are some of my favorites:

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw

Many times I’ve heard people say things like, “I’ve just got to find out what I want to do with my life” or “I need to find out how to … [fill in the blank] Your life is not about “finding” anything. Nothing is lost! You already have everything within you that you need to life an abundant and fulfilling life. What I understand about this quote is that you create the life you want by taking charge. You make decisions based on what’s best for you. And you are not defined by self-imposed limitations.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Confidence comes by stepping outside the box, taking risks and being open to new experiences.

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.” – Maya Angelou

You have the power to change anything in your life, including your attitude and responses. Once you embrace that thought, you are empowered and operate at a higher level of consciousness.

“The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind” – Wayne Dyer

A quote from Mike Dooley of www.tut.com blog states, “thoughts become things”- choose the good ones”. Your thoughts are the driving force behind your actions, reactions, decisions and beliefs. When thoughts become stressful, unproductive and negative, they infiltrate every action and reaction. Choose good thoughts.

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step”. – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Whether it’s pursuing you dream job, writing a book, or accomplishing any other goal, you must have confidence and a strong belief that you will succeed. Take baby steps towards your goal and as you master each step, you get closer to the top.

“Every person naturally wants to become all that they are capable of becoming; this desire to realize innate possibilities is inherent in human nature; we cannot help wanting to be all that we can be.” – Wallace Wattle

We all have within us everything we will ever need to be successful, happy and abundantly. You need only to tap into your inherent talents, resources and strengths to create your best life. When you uncover the imagination, creativity intuition already inside of you, you discover who you really are and who you are destined to be.

“Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic. –Anonymous

When you are open to new possibilities and experiences, innumerable opportunities become available. You don’t have to wait until you’re “smart enough”, “bold enough” or “good enough” to risk trying something new.

Quotes and life lessons are valuable resources to have in your toolbox to motivate, uplift your spirits and even put a smile on your face.

And, should you like more quotes and other life lessons like these, join our Self-Care Circle and get your free audios of 7 Daily Self-Care Tips to Renew Your Body, Soul and Spirit http://7dailyselfcaretips.com

Gladys Anderson, Life Coach, Therapist, Author

Gladys M. Anderson is a certified life coach, licensed marriage and family therapist, consultant, workshop facilitator and author of the soon to be published book, “Master the Genie Within”. She coaches women in the art of saying no and how to protect their precious time and energy by setting strong boundaries to create a uniquely crystal clear vision for the satisfying careers and relationships they truly want. In her spare time, Gladys loves to travel and experience new and exciting adventures. She is an amateur genealogist, avid reader, loves “techy” stuff, and enjoys reading mystery novels.