Thursday, October 6, 2011

Stones and Crystals Healing Properties

Many people throughout history have used gem stones and crystals for their healing properties.  Some people go by the color of the stone rather than it’s type, while others go by the type of stone rather than just color.  Here is a short list of stones that you could use to get started with using crystals and stones.

I’ve linked each stone name to the Wiki Article detailing it’s make up and scientific facts.  Below the list there are some links that I’ve found to be useful as well.

Amethyst: Promotes inner peace, strength and contentment.  It is also  said to enhance psychic and creative abilities. It can also used to support sobriety and help break other addictions.

Amazonite: A powerful gemstone for creative people, it encourages heartfelt communication with loved ones.

Amber: Amber, which is fossilized tree resin, is used to open up the crown chakra and increase physical vitality and energy flow throughout the body.

Bloodstone: Good for the heart, improving oxygen through the bloodstream and encouraging relaxation and reducing emotional stress.

Blue Lace Agate: Can be used to aid in the healing of bone and skeletal maladies. It is said to promote the healing of broken bones and fractures.

Carnelian: By helping to promote feelings of love and acceptance, carnelian helps to reduce feelings of fear, insecurity and anger. Also good for actors and those in the theater.

Citrine: Known as a "merchant" stone, citrine is believed to attract money and increase business. It also raises self esteem and warm feelings of hope.

Fluorite: Excellent for advancement of mind, greater concentration, meditation. Helps one to grasp higher, more abstract concepts. Facilitates inter-dimensional communication.

Garnet: The stone of love and commitment, garnet helps balance energy in and around the body and promote feelings of love for oneself and others.

Green Jade: Said to be a stone of good luck, green jade helps promote peace within and in the world around us.

Hematite: A gem said to encourage inner peace and happiness and increase focus and confidence.

Iolite: Encourages responsibility with money and eliminate debt. Also used to promote harmony in relationships.

Jasper: A gem of protection and nurturing, jasper is said to cleanse auras and provide protection against negative energies. It also promotes a sense of brotherhood and "green" outlook on the world.

Lapis Lazuli: The stone of royalty, known to increase strength and vitality. Also to protect its wearer from physical and psychic danger.

Malachite: The stone of transition, malachite helps balance and ground one's energy and stay on the right path. Also used in the treatment of swollen joints, broken bones and torn muscles.

Moonstone: Called the "traveler's stone," moonstone is a gem of good fortune and protection when traveling.

Obsidian: Known as the "mirror stone" because it helps one look within and address personal issues that need to be dealt with. Promotes forgiveness.

Onyx: Used to enhance the ability to make good decisions, encourage happiness and attract good fortune.

Peridot: Provides a shield of protection to block out negativity and helps to promote inner happiness and letting go of anger and jealousy.

Quartz: A stone of power, quartz is known to promote harmony and align energies within and around the body.

Rose Quartz: Helps calm energy, remove negativity and heal emotional pain. Good to have around chaotic environments.

Sodalite: Promotes psychic abilities and helps to calm and clear the mind. Also used to strengthens the metabolism and lymphatic system.

Tiger’s Eye: Encourages clarity of mind, enhances psychic ability, and promotes the attainment and management of wealth.

Turquoise: Good for creative expression and promoting open communication and friendship. Used in the treatment of lung, circulation and respiratory issues.

Unakite: Promotes emotional balance, also used to stimulate healthy pregnancies and babies. Also used to examine the underlying cause of disease.

Most Crystals and Stones used in healing are called different names by different users, which can ultimately become confusing. I found a good list HERE that helps decipher some of the names and lessen the confusion.

For Crystal and Stone Identification by color I use this site:

Please note that although I’m giving this information about stones I’m NOT telling anyone to stop seeking medical treatment or care for conditions.  This is only information and how you use it is on you.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Guy's Perspective: Stress, Life, and how to not let them control you (part 2)

Last post I spoke of how the Ch'i can affect our bodies and our moods. It is this affect on our being that effects those who are around us. We as human beings are social creatures and crave, nay require interaction with other people. A problem that occurs, with some of us, is that in our search for a connection with someone else, we morph our beliefs, emotions, and very thoughts to what others around us believe, feel, or think.  In an article written by Dr. Athena Staik, ( she says: "Life is a learning journey. We are each unique beings living in a world surrounded by unique others, with whom, paradoxically, we also share a lot in common. The best and perhaps only way to really understand others is to know and understand ourselves." One method of understanding ourselves is through meditation.
There are as many ways to meditate, as there are people in the world.  The reason for this is due to what is in the paragraph above, our uniqueness.  Meditation is simply a state of mind. It is a tool used to achieve an insight into what is our center. Finding what is in the center of our "uniqueness", keeps us grounded into what makes us an individual.  It helps us to not get lost in other people's beliefs, emotions, or thoughts. If everyday you reach into yourself for a little sense of peace, then all the stresses you come into contact with will be more manageable.  Think about this way, that stress is your belief of what you think others require of you. You would have no stress if you were in control of what was required of you. This is not a revelation, but no one can control you but you. Your thoughts, your ideas, your actions, and mostly your decisions are all controlled by you.  A therapist once told me that all we can control is our thoughts, our emotions, and our actions.  Sounds like the same idea.  But these are not new ideas, thousands of years ago a great philosopher Lao Tzu said; "“When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete, everybody will respect you.”  This is the state meditation assists us in acquiring.  
If you have never tried mediation, start by simply sitting somewhere fairly quiet.  Sit with your legs crossed for balance, if you can, or just sit. Close your eyes, and don't think.  Now I know you are probably saying, I can't just sit and not think.  I had the same problems when I started, my mind was not able to shut down my thoughts.  So, focus your thoughts on your breathing. Breathe in your nose and out your mouth, and count your breathes.  Each cycle of breath is inhaling through your nose, and exhaling through your mouth. That is one breath.  Focus your thoughts on visualizing a white number on a black background.  As you take each breath, focus only on the number.  See it in your mind as if you were looking at it on a page.  Allow the number to change as you breathe.  Your breaths must be slow, allow yourself to let go and just see the number as you breathe.  Do this until you are able to focus solely on the number with no other thoughts creeping in.  It may not happen the first few times you meditate.  It will happen eventually though, remember the point is not to have a goal or destination, but the trip itself.  Relax, breathe, and enjoy the ride.

Guy's Perspective: Stress, Life, and how to not let them control you (part 2)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

When Is It Time To Let Go Of Past Hurts?

All too often many of us have been hurt one way or another by someone we know. We all deal with the pain differently but the hurt is always there. Even when you try to apply the principle of "forgiving and forgetting" there always seems to be a situation that brings back the hurt all over again. You may question whether or not there is any resolution to moving past the hurt. My answer to you is simply-- if you choose to move past the hurt, the hurt will move past you.

I can think of many situations within my own life where I have been hurt emotionally and physically by individuals who I cared about. I know what it is like to feel abandoned by a parent. I know what it is like to watch relatives fight among each other for "no apparent reason." I even know what it is like to be a survivor of domestic abuse. I know the hurt that go along with these issues as I lived them within my own life. I have felt the pain and the hurt of trying to understand why it happened to me. I never understood what I did wrong to deserve such treatment but it did happen. For many years I struggled with letting go of the hurt as I felt that it was the fire that I needed to "champion" over people and my situations. I used my past hurts as a torch to remind me that I had to always be on top no matter who I had to trample on. What I did not know was that the fire that I used for survival was the exact same fire that almost killed me.

It was through me holding onto past hurts that made me question my individuality. I found myself drinking more and having thoughts of suicide on a regular basis. I even started developing chest pains at the age of 24 due to me holding on to this burning desire to "champion" over my past hurts. It seemed like the higher I climbed up the mountain of success, the more my self-esteem faded in the distance. I found myself living a life to appease others and not a life that pleased me. It was not until I crumbled that I realized that all of the hurts I chose to hold onto were sabotaging my present and future endeavors. I had to make a change before it was too late or was I already too late?

For me, there is no such thing as being too late when it comes to reclaiming your person hood. Every day you deserve to live a life of peace, wholeness, and happiness regardless of what has occurred within your past life. I finally let go of the past when I discovered that I was still an "able body person" designed to help other people find success within their lives. Even when I was trying to get ahead of others I always found myself encouraging people to strive for more within their lives. I probably did this because I did not want those around me to experience the pain and pressure I felt for so many years. Everyday I am thankful that I made the decision to just let it go. Have those memories been erased from my thoughts? NO! However, I have chosen not to replay those memories of past hurts in my mind as I see how they would impact my current endeavors. Daily I choose to live in the present moment and let the past be the past. As I tell everyone, this was the best lesson I ever learned from my son as a toddler as he shows me daily that every day is a brand new day filled with great opportunities to take hold of.

So what in your past are you holding onto that has become a road block to your present life? Are you willing to make a start to living a life that seeks to promote the present while allowing the past to stay in yesterday's world? If you are ready to make that switch, then consider moving on from your past hurts. The more you begin to shake off the dust from the past the clearer you will be able to see what is presently in front of you. So take the time today to forgive yourself and those who may have hurt you in the past. Choose today not to allow your past hurts to triumph over your present life's path.

April Lisbon-Peoples is a growth and development coach who enjoys inspiring her clients to find their life's purpose through becoming visionaries. She the founder and CEO of Running Your Race, a coaching practice designed for individuals who are ready to awaken their visions and create their destiny.

April has written various articles focusing on elevating and motivating people as they aim towards reaching their highest potential. She aspires to help her clients live their dreams while gaining and maintaining a level of healthy success. So if you are ready to fly like the eagles and see your vision come to past, then visit her at [] or e-mail her at

Article Source:

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Stand Up Against Domestic Violence


Check out and share this site I had the privilege of being able to join this weekend.  This is a great resource for Domestic Violence victims, survivors and their families.  Join up!  There is an area for discussion as well as the blog to read and comment on... along with many many other useful areas to peruse at will!

If you would like to friend me there, my profile is:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Stress, Life, and how to not let them control you (part 1)


As we live through everyday life, we have stress factors that can affect us at every turn. Work, money, bills, relationships, and children are all factors that can cause us stress in our lives. We can not control whether we have stress, but we can control how we allow the stress to affect us.

I have studied traditional chinese medicine and believe in Ch'i.  Ch'i is the life-force which many people call energy, holy spirit, or feelings.  Regardless of what you may want to name it, it is the driving force which resides in all of us. Ch'i flows through our body like blood through our bloodstream. It flows along what is called meridians. Meridians are the lines or pathways similar to our veins and arteries.  Ch'i can affect our emotional state.  It can make us angry, happy, sad as well as many other emotions when it is not flowing properly. Ch'i can also affect our physical bodies.  Blockages in our Ch'i can cause sore muscles, illnesses, and many other physical issues. Learning to clear those blockages can also treat many of those illnesses and other issues. There are many ways to treat blockages in our Ch'i, acupuncture being one of the more well known methods, as well as acupressure, massage, herbal remedies, and meditation.

Meditation is also a method of maintaining and controlling our Ch'i.  Meditation is used as a way to help us deal with the everyday struggles which affect our physical and mental well-being. There are various forms of meditation that are used by people, and you may use it and not even know it.  Have you ever sat and taken five minutes to just relax and breathe?  That is a form of mediation. Meditate is defined by Webster's dictionary as the engagement of thought or contemplation.  Many people believe that meditation is a religious, fake, or new age farce. Many people that don't understand meditation see it as pointless with no beneficial purpose. People that pray are mediating, sitting to relax and clear your mind is meditating.  Whether you do these things to feel better emotionally or to be more focused it is still a form of meditation.  Once you can view meditation as a tool used widely and not within the confines of a belief system or far-fetched  new age remedy, you can begin to allow the benefits of a balanced Ch'i help with the stresses that affect you everyday.

This will be a three part series, in the next series I will go over meditation principles and practices, methods of mediation,  and patterns to help deal with different emotional states.

Guy's Perspective: Stress, Life, and how to not let them control you (part 1)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Natural Herbs for Anxiety - Take That Natural Approach

Where drugs may possibly lead to dependence, natural herbs are not an addictive form of medication. Natural herbs have been used for centuries by many different cultures for the treatment of various kinds of ailments. Natural herbs for anxiety are used in place of medication. Natural ingredients do not have any adverse side-effects and as a natural product, they take care of the treatment process without causing any harm to your body or brain. Some of the most natural herbs for anxiety treatment include, Ginseng, Kava kava, Valerian, Lemon Balm, Bugleweed, GLA and Catnip.

The first of the natural herbs for anxiety, Ginseng, is known as one of the herbs that is proven to reduce stress and allows relaxing of body and mind. The property found in this natural anti-anxiety herb enhances a person's health and maintains emotional balance. What is even more beneficial about utilizing this form of natural herb for anxiety is that it increases people's energy levels and contains anti-aging ingredients. It is an effective multi-purpose remedy and can assist with many facets of a person's life.

Kava kava is a second form of natural anxiety herb that has been used for many centuries. Taken from the root of a plant, Kava kava is not addictive, reduces stress and increases energy levels, Studies have found that stress reduction can take place within a week of its consumption.

The Valerian natural anxiety herb is a safe form of tranquilizer that enables a person to relax and de-stress. What is advantageous about this type of herb is that it can be taken during the week, in the evenings, when a person needs to feel relaxed enough to sleep, and revived enough to wake up the following morning. Valerian aids in prolonged sleep and enables a person to fall asleep quickly when climbing into bed. Upon waking up, one feels relaxed, de-stressed and revitalized. Being well-rested is one way to reduce the frequency and severity of anxiety attacks.

Natural herbs for anxiety allow a person to feel rejuvenated and relaxed from within; many herbs also assist in the relief of muscle aches and pains, headaches and other health related symptoms caused by excessive stress. When suffering from a treatable condition such as anxiety, utilizing natural herbs is a very effective option for treatment that needs to be considered. Moreover, frequently found in the natural food or health sections of stores, these herbs are purchasable over the counter and therefore do not require a doctor's prescription.

Many individuals, however, do not rely solely on natural herbs for anxiety to remove or reduce the symptoms of their anxiety disorder. Used in conjunction with other effective treatments, such as exercise and stress-reduction techniques, increases the benefits received from both. Exercise such as yoga and Pilates is not only good for the health of your body but also for the mind because it allows a person to de-stress, relax, and focus on what is important. Taking the natural approach to anxiety cures is often very effective, and provides benefits on a variety of levels.

Source: Free Articles

About the Author

TreatAnxietyDisorder features expert articles on treating panic attacks and anxiety disorders. Visit to find out the single most powerful technique for eliminating anxiety and panic attacks, and gain free access to our mini series: Say Goodbye To Panic Attacks.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Woman's Final Farewell To Past Hurts

By:  April Lisbon-Peoples

Today I say farewell to self-criticism of my being. I choose today to see myself as a beam of light designed to shine wholeness and happiness to others who I meet.

Today I say farewell to self-sabotaging behaviors. No longer will I remind myself of my past mistakes and failures. No longer will I beat myself up for making choices that did not benefit me. Instead, today I choose to honor learn from my failures and embrace my successes as I am a woman designed with dignity.

Today I say farewell to poor self-esteem. No longer will I compare myself to other people as I realize that there is no one in this world that can be like me. I have not found a person who is able to talk, walk, love, and touch with such passion and inspiration like me. I am often imitated but am never duplicated as there is only one me. Thus today I accept that I am beautiful and am proud of who I am.

Today I say farewell to being a woman scorned, as I cannot rewrite the past. No longer will I sit in a room filled with despair, depression, hopelessness, and unhappiness. I will no longer allow my thoughts of past hurts to impact my health, wellness, career, and wealth. I trade these tight fitting shoes from the past for shoes that I am able to strut myself in without fear of corns or bunions. I will walk with my head held up high, as I am a real woman with creative thoughts, visions, and great pride.

Today I say hello to being a woman who loves life. I am filled with energy no matter what obstacles I may face. I was designed to have success in every area of my life and I happily take hold of the reins.

Today I say hello to being a woman who does not have to settle for less. I no longer have to compromise my happiness just to be like everyone else. Instead I strive to fly with the eagles and embark on my life's journey with grace and tenacity. I am a strong woman. I am a real woman.

Today I choose to love myself for who I am and not what other people want me to be. Why you might ask? I have discovered the strength that lies within me. Through times of hurt, I will strive for healing. When faced with fears, I will find faith and peace. When I am feeling alone I will rest assured there is someone with me. I have finally discovered that I have found a friend and that friend lives deep inside me.

So this is my final farewell to ALL my past hurts as I choose to no longer allow you to reside within me.

April Lisbon-Peoples is a school psychologist in NV working with children with various exceptionalities for more than 5 years. She also enjoys working as a life enhancement coach with areas of training in career, wellness, and relationships. To learn more about what I do, please visit me at

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Ever Increasing Relationship Between Stress Relief and Exercise

By Melody Weathers
Stress isn't just uncomfortable; when it comes to your health, stress is downright dangerous. The chronically stressed have higher incidences of all of the following:
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Depression
  • Substance abuse
Understanding Stress
To understand why stress impacts your body and your mood in such a negative way, it helps to get a clearer picture of what stress really is. In essence, stress is your body's "fight or flight" response kicking into gear. From the perspective of evolution, the fight or flight response was absolutely necessary for survival. It told the caveman to run away from the lion or to protect his family from a roving wild dog.
Physically, when the fight or flight response begins, your adrenal glands release a dose of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol provides a quick burst of energy, lowers sensitivity to pain, and increases immune function. After the danger has passed, the cortisol levels return to normal.
People who suffer from chronic stress shoot dose after dose of cortisol into their bloodstream. In small amounts, cortisol is helpful, but when cortisol levels are higher and prolonged they lead to many negative effects. These include the following:
  • Decrease in bone density and muscle density
  • Blood sugar imbalances
  • Increased abdominal fat
  • Suppressed thyroid function
For anyone concerned with how to lose weight fast, too much cortisol resulting from chronic stress is obviously a problem.
How Exercise Helps with Stress
From the point of view of your body chemistry, exercise decreases the stress hormones like cortisol, while increasing endorphins.
Endorphins are our body's own personal narcotic, and their release into our bloodstream leads to a blissful, healthy high. In order for the body to release endorphins, you have to work out fairly hard. Resistance exercise, such as weight lifting, doesn't do much to release endorphins. Aerobic exercise, from high-intensity team sports to running and cycling, is the best way to get the endorphins flowing.
Then there are stretching exercises, such as yoga, that trigger the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is another naturally-occurring chemical that provides a healthy high. Stretching exercises also lower the heart rate, lower blood pressure, and promote healthy sleep (Source: Besides yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong are both popular exercises that are known to reduce stress through systematic stretching.
The benefits of exercise when it comes to stress, however, go beyond mere biochemistry. For example, team sports provide an easy, organic way to develop social support systems. From overall brain health to stress relief, the beneficial impact of increased social support and social interaction has been well-documented.
Exercise also provides the psychological benefit of getting your mind off your problems. When you become engrossed in a yoga posture, focused on power lifting, or zeroed in on the hill you're biking up, you temporarily forget about your problems. It's the unwarranted focus on our problems that leads to the stress response, so forgetting about our problems, if only for a short while, reduces the negative physiological and psychological impact of stress.
Suggestions for Reducing Stress Through Exercise
Although you may feel that the only way you can deal with your stress is to flop on the couch and zone out in front of the TV, this is actually one of the worst things you can do for your body. Yes, your stress will reduce for a while as you forget about your problems, but sitting on the couch won't release any endorphins or dopamine. Our bodies need endorphins and dopamine to stave off depressive states, so it's likely that if you deal with stress by vegging out, over time you will gain weight, feel sluggish, and begin to get depressed.
Instead, find a physical activity you like ? any physical activity. If you think exercise is boring, it's probably because you associate exercise with having to get up early and go to the gym or with going nowhere fast on a treadmill. Exercise isn't all StairMasters and gym memberships, though. Your exercise routine might start by joining an amateur football team, signing up for karate lessons, or just walking around your block. Chasing your kids around the yard, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and walking to lunch instead of driving there are also great ways to get started.
In short, you can definitely reduce your stress by increasing your level of physical activity. Don't trigger that mind of resistance by making exercise seem hard, expensive, or time consuming; start wherever you're at, and as you begin to feel the positive effects of exercise on your body and your mind you'll naturally want to increase your level of activity.
Melody was a fat girl. High school was awful to her and she never felt stress quite like she did then. Shortly thereafter, she made a decision to change her life and hasn't looked back since. She feels reborn and really wants to help out anybody who feels they are in the boat she was in not all that long ago. Melody currently operates How To Lose Weight Fast and would love input from anybody trying to battle the bulge.
Free Articles provided by The Free Library

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Weekly Prayer - May 14, 2011

Mat 18:19  Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 18:20  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Lord, we come together in your name as you have directed us to do, asking that you come into our midst.  Wrap your tender children in your ever loving arms God, that they may not feel the pain of past and current abuses being put up on them.  Jesus we ask in your name, that all who have suffered abuse in their lives be touched by Your ever loving hand and be granted peace and healing from the scars they still carry.  Lord we put it in Your care to deal with those that cause these abuses or allow them to be furthered with their judgments.  Lord Jesus we ask these things of you and know that by your Word they will be given.  Amen.
Mat 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Meditation is a Quiet Revolution

For over 30 years, I have been meditating. For almost as many years, in workshops, consultations, friendly conversations, and writing, I have been encouraging, teaching, or leading people to meditate and create quiet times. During this time, the world has changed considerably, and so have I. My most important learning is: everyone is different. Certainly there are commonalities in meditating, but each individual is unique. I consider that meditation is one of the most empowering practices that anyone can engage in.

A "quiet revolution" is an oxymoron, of course. Meditation is generally a private, quiet practice. In North America its acceptance has changed dramatically over the last several years, although it is still not universally accepted. As with most revolutions, an underground is established before, during, and after the outward manifestations of the awakening. In this culture which I know, more and more individuals are speaking and writing about their meditation practice.

Meditating in groups is also common and very powerful, and yet each meditator still has a unique, quiet, private experience. In the workplace, meditation is rarely practiced openly, nor is it discussed, except in safe, small groups or among friends. When I was a frequent workshop presenter, I had many participants speak to me privately in hushed tones at break times to confess that they meditate. The voices may not be as hushed these days, but still there is a quietness, even a silence, about the practice in many settings.

I am comfortable with the variety of words used to describe meditation. My own purpose for meditation is to connect with the Divine and be replenished by the Source. Some speak about mystical experiences and higher consciousness, while others are more comfortable talking about relaxation, calmness, and resilience. Heightened awareness, intuition, imagery, and vision are frequently used to describe experiences of meditation. I find that helping others to express their own meditation experiences is a powerful process for them, even when the words do not flow smoothly.

Long-time meditators can find other long-time mediators easily. Meditators give off signals or vibrations that are calmer and more aligned with self than those who do not meditate or do not have a meditative-type practice that taps into higher consciousness. Gardening, yoga, certain athletic activities, and regular relaxation can achieve the same soothing signals when practiced in ways that achieve harmony with self.

No matter how or where you meditate, you must make a choice to meditate and practice it regularly in order to benefit fully. Full benefits come with regular practice over a period of time. Meditating only when stressed may certainly be beneficial in the immediate situation, but the long-term benefits of a regular practice include general well-being, health, a strong immune system, longevity, clarity of thought, and balance.

Meditation is sometimes associated with certain religions. Meditation can be practiced in any and all religions, but the two are not synonymous. In my work, I keep meditation distinct from religion; if my clients choose to join the two, that is fine. Those with strong religious beliefs gravitate to the types of meditation that fit their beliefs. Wikipedia has a comprehensive listing of meditation methods.

Regardless of the chosen method, the benefits of regular meditation, over time, are as varied as the individuals who meditate. It is quite common for long-time meditators to acknowledge they benefit physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Recently I received an email message from a long-time meditator in India talking about her meditation experiences. It was a delight to read. It became clear to me that she has integrated the same elements that I encourage people to discover and use.

She uses her breath to relax. She has several processes to handle mind chatter and stress so that she is not disturbed by them in her meditation. She has two different "focal points" for her attention. One is a visual focus, a traditional Indian lamp, which she visualizes as divine light that lightens her heart. Another focal point is one of the most famous mantras, Om, which she chants repeatedly, finding that it takes only a brief time to achieve the state of consciousness that is her purpose for meditation. And she has a regular practice.

Her message was a beautiful summary of what many long-term meditators might report. While working with both new and long-time meditators, I have discovered that the most difficult aspect of meditation is to practice it regularly. All the elements of meditation are easy to understand, but to sit and do it challenges many new meditators.

If you have not meditated before, it may seem mysterious. However, meditation is simple. I recommend a maximum of twenty minutes for new meditators. Here are the elements:

Arrange time when you will not be disturbed;

Sit in a comfortable position and relax;

Close your eyes, unless you prefer an open-eye meditation;

Breathe intentionally for a few breaths;

Choose a focal point, such as music, a chant, a pleasing image, a guiding voice;

Stay with the focal point; if your mind wanders, gently return to the focal point;

Bring the meditation to a close and return to your activities, refreshed.

If this is your first time meditating, you may feel that "nothing is happening" during the first few times you sit to meditate. That is a common sensation. At the end of your chosen meditation time, simply get up and continue with your day. The benefits are cumulative, which is why I advocate a regular practice.

If you want to meditate, yet are not meditating or are not meditating as frequently as you want, please be gentle with yourself. While it is true that only you can sit down and do it, you can also find ways to make it more appealing. In order to have a meditation practice, you must practice meditation. Above all else, follow your heart and trust your own inner guidance.

What about you? Do you want to be part of this quiet revolution? Are you already part of the revolution but wanting to meditate more regularly? If so, meditate one session at a time until it becomes a natural part of your life.

Source: Free Articles

About the Author

Copyright © 2007 Marshall House, Jeanie Marshall, Personal Development Consultant and Coach with Marshall House, writes extensively on subjects related to personal development and empowerment. Her course to help people to meditate regularly is Meditate Now: 21 Days to Meditate Regularly. You may republish this article at your web site or blog, provided you include this paragraph and make all links active.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Free Web Based Conference Calls


As an advocate or activist there usually comes a time when you need to set up a conference call.  There are also times when you may just need to make a call that can be recorded easily.  Web-based conference calling can usually handle your need, whatever it may be in regards to having multiple callers, the ability to record, etc etc.

There are several free conference calling sites around, however I have found to be very easy to use, and it allows callers and host to call using Skype, enough time and callers per call.  The host of a call through also has the ability to record the conference calls, as well as using the host web controls to manage the call online in real time.

This is from the website:

Collaborate and conduct your meetings with our free, reservationless conference calling service. This teleconferencing service is simple to use, requiring only a name and email address to receive an instant account. accounts come with host web-based commands. This offering brings teleconferencing to the next level by providing instant conference call functionality to your computer screen. Features like recording, muting, conference lock, Q&A and more are all accessible by both regular touch tone and right on your computer with just a click of your mouse.

In addition, features like conference preferences, Call Detail Reports and recorded conference calls are available online from your account interface. Conference preferences allow you to set entry and exit tone to be on or off upon joining a conference call, set caller count to be on or off and disconnect callers if the host is not present on the conference call. Call Detail Reports and any recorded conference calls are stored in your account for easy retrieval or reference. Plus, there are no contracts, long term commitments or any hidden fees and it’s all available to you for FREE.
Learn more about host web controls in our
Frequently Asked Questions.

Getting Started
Get FREE Service for your free conferencing account with host web-based commands on the home page. Fill out the registration page and click submit. The following page will display your conferencing account and you will have automatic access to all web-based commands. You may begin conferencing immediately by notifying all participants of the day and time for your conference call.

Further details are provided under Support.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Google Reader


Someone asked a couple weeks ago how to keep up with all the blogs they read and not spend ALL day doing so.  My answer to that, in short, is use Google Reader.

If you are not familiar with Google Reader you should look into it.  Basically it is a feed reader like most others, but for me I’ve found it easier to use; and well since it is Google and I love Google stuff it just works for me.  Google Reader can also be used on most smart phones, which is another plus as far as I am concerned!

A feed reader is simply a tool for gathering all the feeds from everywhere for you, and putting them all in one place so you don’t have to go get them each time an update is made.  So rather than actually visiting 70 blogs each morning to see if anyone made a new post since yesterday, you can just go to Google Reader and see what is new since you last checked.

 To subscribe to a feed in Reader:

  • Click the Add Subscription link in your left-hand sidebar.
  • Enter the URL of the blog or site you'd like to subscribe to.

Most blogs have feed autodiscovery enabled, meaning the site will automatically tell Reader where to find a blog's feed. If this doesn't work, you'll have to add the URL of a site's feed directly. Find the RSS logo on the site in question, click it, and copy and paste the link into the 'add subscription' box. If you can't find an RSS logo on the site, the site may not offer RSS feeds.

(The above text in italics and the image is copied straight from the help section)

Blogger blogs that you follow (subscribe to) are automatically fed into your Google Reader.

When you have new items to view there will be a number in () beside the word Home, likewise in your list of feeds (that will be below the above section) each feed will show a number if there has been any updated content since your last visit.

You can have Google News and/or Alerts dumped into your Google Reader as well, which will help keep your email uncluttered.

Some blogs have their settings to where you can view the entire post in Google Reader without visiting the blog itself.  Others set it so that feed readers only show a snippet of the article or the first paragraph and then you would have to click from there to the blog in order to read the whole post.

As a side note here, I’d like to point out that once you visit a blog or site that you add to Google Reader, your IP address is not recorded each time you view the new content in the future.  AS LONG AS you do not return to the original site and ONLY read it in Google Reader.

I hope that this overview has given you enough information and links to get you going, but if not... feel free to ask me if you have any questions; I will be happy to walk you through it and help you get set up!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Using Gmail

I personally do not understand how anyone that receives more than five emails per day can use any email service other than GMail.  Especially if you are a member of any email based groups that produces email from several people, filtered through the group and into your email inbox.
This post is just a quick overview of GMail and is in no way intended to cover every function and/or feature.
First let’s take a look at’s free...NEXT!  Because it is free and takes only a few minutes to set, I encourage everyone to start a gmail account and play with the different settings and features.  If you end up not liking it then delete it. 
The one thing I love about gmail is the way it threads messages.  No more flat inbox.  If you and someone else are having a back and forth conversation via email all of those messages with the same subject line are together in your inbox, not scattered all over the place based on the time they were sent.  This feature is extremely helpful for group emails where several people may respond to the same email.  There will be one line in your inbox (or folder you filter messages into) with the subject line for that conversation, when you click that you will then see all the responses and replies stacked together in chronological order.
The filtering and folders play an important role in saving time checking email.  I am a member of several Yahoo Groups and have all messages from all those groups sent to my inbox...what a nightmare.  I set up folders for each group and filtered the messages into the corresponding folders.  Now when I am rushed for time I can scan my inbox for new email without wading through all the group emails that may or may not actually apply to me.  I can save those for later when I have time.
I suggest that you set filters into folders to skip the Inbox and go only to the designated folder.  When there is a new message sent to that folder there will be a number beside the folder name indicating there are new messages and how many that are still unread.  This will keep your actual Inbox from becoming cluttered.  I filter everything, newsletters, email from friends and family, special interest emails, etc etc; not just group emails.
Not only does filtering keep my Inbox uncluttered it also makes searching for information I need a whole lot easier for me.
The next thing I think you should look at and set up is the Priority Inbox.  This is a somewhat new feature.  Read a How-To on this feature.  I can say that so far, I love it!
The next thing you should look at is the Labs section in the Settings.  There are tons of ways to customize GMail, so that it works for you the way that you want it to.  Just because one person may think certain things are useful, another may not; so play with this stuff, try it out, see what actually works for you. 
With GMail you can IM, Voice and Video Chat and now send SMS text messages and make phone calls all from inside your GMail tab.  Gotta love that. 
The overall reason I use GMail is that once I got it configured the way that works for me, have my filters set and all that... I can go through 100’s of emails in less than an hour.  Not every email that I get requires an answer from me, so I can sort those out quickly; delete what needs to go, file those that may need attention later into a folder and then just move on.  
If you have any questions please feel free to ask, I have been using GMail for several years and know my way around and if I don’t know the answer to your specific question right away I will find it for you.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mobile Tweeting, Give It a Try

Let’s talk about Twitter for a bit.  I touched on the very basics of Twitter in a previous post, Twitter Crash Course; however there is a little more that I’d like to discuss about it.  Twitter is about socializing online and with many people at once.  It is known as a social network.  You make friends by following people and they follow you back and all that.  The main point is to engage others in conversation or thought.
Many people have joined twitter only to share information with others and will rarely engage in a conversation.  I have done this at times while away from the internet or short on time.  I only post links to things and do not have the time to follow up on any conversations those links may have sparked.  While that is ok in a sense, it is not a good idea to only use Twitter in that way.
Did you know that you can receive tweets to your cell phone like a text message?  Did you also know that you can send tweets from your phone just like sending a text message?  If not, you can.  First of all, make sure that you have a text messaging package on your phone that will accommodate your tweeting activities without costing you an arm and a leg!  Even if you choose to not receive tweets to your phone you can still send them, just text your tweet to 40404.  It is easier to set that up while at the computer but is possible to do from your phone, just send your first tweet to that number and it will walk you through the rest.
If you have a smart phone...well you can either use the texting method or you can find an app that is compatible to your device and take your mobile tweeting to a whole new level.  (Seesmic mobile app allows you to have multiple accounts logged in even!)  There are way too many different mobile apps for Twitter for me to even think of going into how to use them all.  If you are using a mobile app you can always find a FAQ section on the site you downloaded the app from to help you get started. 
If you choose to use the texting method of tweeting on the go, just log into your Twitter account and in the upper right portion click on Settings, then click Mobile.  This is where you can turn mobile tweets on and off, as well as see a list of texting commands that you can set from your phone.  You can also set individual people to get their tweets via text or not.  If you have more than a handful of people you follow you will more than likely want to choose those you interact with most, rather than choosing your entire list of people you follow.  If you get stuck on how to do this you can always go back to Settings and Mobile and read down the right hand side to review how to turn mobile tweets on and off.
Now that you know that you can tweet from your phone and how to do so let’s talk about why you would want to.  No one really wants to know what you are eating through out the day unless it is really rare or scrumptious.  However, what you eat can start conversations.  So, if what you are eating is interesting to you or you want to engage others in a conversation about food or something along those all means tweet it!
Tweeting while you are out and about brings a new level to the conversations that you can start and participate in via Twitter.  Rather than just sitting at your computer relaying links back and forth you can actually talk to others about activities that you are taking part in.  If you see a beautiful sunrise or sunset maybe describe it and ask others to share what they are seeing at that time.  Or better yet...take a picture of it and send it to something like Twitpic so that everyone can share in what you are seeing.  Or even take a video using Qik (or one of the others) and share the video through Twitter.  Using Twitpic and Qik are up to you, those are just the ones that I use, but there are many others out there that you can find and use.
Just be safety conscious while sending tweets, pictures or videos to Twitter (or anywhere else for that matter).  If you do not want to divulge your real location or identity then don’t take pictures of yourself or anything that will positively identify your or your location.
So go out...have fun...tweet about it...start a conversation...ENGAGE!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Blogging Anonymously


Many of us want to speak out, tell our stories, share our experiences and help others by telling things as they are. Partial map of the Internet based on the Janua... However, for safety reasons many are concerned or even scared to do so, and with good reason.  A person who still has a protective order against their abuser because of past violence and threats made can’t exactly feel (or be) safe blabbing everything that happened to them all over the internet.  Those that were abused as children and now still talk to the same people that abused them; may be reluctant to talk about what happened. 

There are ways that you can still share your story; not only to help others but as a stepping stone in your own healing process.  Many people make up online personalities to use for social networking and blogging.  No one says that you have to use your real name, your actual location or anything personal.  If you go the route of making up an online personality to blog and join social networking sites with make sure you do not give yourself away (for those that you wish to remain anonymous).

Here are a few of the most common mistakes that I have seen where someone with a made up screen name has ‘outted’ themselves:

  • If you don’t want someone you know in real life to find your new online identity, don’t tell anyone in real life about your identity.  Things have a habit of spreading to the people you don’t want them to.
  • Don’t use the same email account for everything.  When you make up an online personality give it its own email account.  Use a free email provider, don’t make a new account with your home internet provider.   Don’t link this new made up account with your old accounts at all.
  • Don’t post/use real pictures of you, your family, your pets, etc. 
  • If you promote your new blog or profile from your real profile say something like “I just found this blog/person” or “Reading this interesting post”  or something along those lines.  If someone asks you if that is really you, well then you must decide if you tell them or not.
  • Don’t use the real names of anyone you may be talking about on your blog or profile.  Many people will use just the first initial of everyone, but if someone that knows you and those people read what you have written it isn’t hard to put initials and details together.
  • Use a different location than where you are and a different time zone.  Usually you can adjust these in the settings area of many blogs and profiles.
  • Don’t use a made up name that has any meaning to you or that could make someone think of you.  If your favorite animal is tigers, lets say, then don’t make your username tiger something.  If you prefer to use a real sounding name don’t use something like your middle name and your grandma’s last name, others can figure that out.  Make up something that is totally not you.  If you want a real sounding new identity try this site:

There are many many other things that I’m sure could be added to the list above.  If you have something to add please leave it in a comment on this post!

I have had the discussion with others about whether it is ‘right’ to use a fake identity to tell your ‘truth’.  My opinion on that is that if it is keeping a person safe (and safety is the primary factor in my mind) and helping them and others at the same time...then sure why not use a fake identity online.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Twitter Crash Course


I wanted to go ahead and get this Twitter thing out of the way before I really get into the blogging stuff (tomorrow I will post more on blogging anonymously).  There are still a lot of people that are not using twitter, and most of the reasons that I have heard are because they have nothing they want to share that publicly and that much.  This is completely understandable, actually if it weren’t for my advocacy, awareness and coaching I would not Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...have joined in the twitter craze.  However, now that I am on there I do use it for some minor personal stuff. 

Twitter is a great way to get into social networking; especially for abuse survivors.  I say this because you can make an account that has nothing to do with your real name and you can begin to connect to others that are abuse survivors as well.  This helps to build communications and lets you know that you are not alone in this.  It also can help with trust issues that we all face once we are away from the trauma and abuse.  You can begin, even on a surface level, to communicate back and forth with others without having to even know who they are and without them knowing who you are.

I would also suggest that when you join twitter...don’t just follow people that talk about nothing but abuse, violence, trauma, etc.  It is harder (if not impossible) to heal if all you take in everyday is more stories about abuse.  If you have a hobby do a search for others that share that same hobby.  I follow people that tweet about crochet and reading; I also follow those that tweet about different healing techniques such as Reiki, tapping, Yoga, meditation, Law of Attraction, etc.  So, be diverse and follow many people, it is actually more fun that way! 

The rest of this post is for those that are new to twitter.  There are things that may have you scratching your head in confusion and you aren’t even sure where to look to figure it out.  I’m going to start with the symbols used within the messages and what they mean and how to use them; as this seems to be the one thing that most people give up using twitter because of.

  • @ -- this is the symbol you use directly in front of a profile name to reply to someone specifically (ie @TLCoaching), everyone else can read this tweet.  The reason you use this is to get the other person’s attention.  All of your mentions (@’s) are on one page or depending on which twitter client you use they are in one column, that way you can see who specifically has said something to you.  You can also use this to mention, recommend, or give credit to another twitterer.  Using the @ in front of a profile name creates a link to that profile that is clickable.
  • # -- this is called the hashtag and by putting this symbol in front of a word you create a hashtag that is searchable (#domesticviolence).  Do not use spaces in hastags, if you do only the first word is picked up.  If you make up an abbreviation to use as a hashtag, send out a tweet explaining it, so that your followers will know what it means.  Using the # in front of words makes a link to the search page that is clickable.
  • d -- you use the letter d in front of a profile name to send a direct message to someone that no one but that person sees.  (d TLCoaching).  There is a space after the ‘d’. 
  • RT -- this means re-tweet, you use this when you are copying exactly what someone else tweeted (RT @TLCoaching).  You still use the @ in front of the profile name because that gives a link to the person who sent it.  This is a polite thing to do, you will upset people if you constantly forward their tweets without giving them the credit.

Other things to keep in mind:

  • When you send a tweet that you want to have re-tweeted make it short enough so others CAN re-tweet it.  If they have to work too hard in shortening it themselves many won’t.
  • If you send something that you want others to pass on just add a (PLS RT) to the beginning or end, don’t be shy about asking people to pass it on, they will.
  • If you want to RT something that has been RT’d several times and all the profiles are taking up the 140 characters; delete them all except the original person who sent it (this should be the profile name closest to the message).  If you have room then you could also leave on the person that you are following that passed it on so that you saw it.
  • Texting slang/shortcuts are helpful but do confuse people sometimes.  Make sure you are using widely known shortcuts to cut down on confusion.  If you need to figure out what a certain abbreviation or slang term is a good place to look is Internet Slang Dictionary & Translator or Netlingo.

That’s about it!  There are other things that you will figure out as you go along!  If you have questions either ask on twitter (others will help you along) or post your comments and questions here and I will help you if I can.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

To Blog or Not to Blog, That is the Question...


If you are like several people that I know and have worked with you feel like you want to start telling everyone about the abuse that you have endured.  Some decide to do that from the awareness stance, some decide to go into prevention work, and others decide to just tell their own stories and encourage others to heal through knowing they aren't alone.  Regardless of your reason for wanting to speak out, you are now faced with the question of:  How do I do this safely and What is the best way for me to reach others?  Is blogging really for me?; is another question that many think about when trying to decide to start a blog or not.

Do you like to write?  Do you keep a journal and feel that you would like to share parts of it with others to help them in their healing?  Whether or not you have good spelling, grammar or typing skills should not matter in your decision to start blogging. 

Perhaps you are not ready to start blogging or just the thought of it is giving you anxiety attacks...for various reasons.  You could also consider micro-blogging through a service such as or using the notes and/or status section of a profile to get started with.

There are so many different platforms out there for blogging that it would be impossible for me to cover every one of them.  I personally like the best for those that are new to blogging.  I recommend for those that want a website and blog meshed together.  I have used and personally I don't like it simply because I can not customize and tweak things the way I can with blogger and viviti.

Before you begin blogging or micro-blogging you need to think about whether or not you will be in danger if your abuser finds out that you are telling the world what they have done to you.  The great thing about the internet is that you can speak out with out identifying yourself or putting yourself in danger.

Another thing to think about before you use your real you have kids?  Do they already know everything you plan to blog about (including details you may include at times)?  If you have kids and would rather they NOT read everything you plan to blog, then you may also want to use a fake name.

If you need to remain anonymous yet would like to have a real sounding name so that your readers will take you seriously; visit this website: to generate an entirely random name and location to use. 

One thing to keep in mind is this:  If you don't want to write or blog and someone else is telling you that you should...then you should think about whether or not to even start a blog.  If you aren't ready to write about what has happened, well then you are not ready; period.  Although many are helped greatly in their healing process through writing, there are those that are not helped at all.  There are even some of us that fear writing when we first start thinking about it, after what we have been through.

So, if you don't want to do it, then don't; and do not let anyone try to force you into it.  (Unless of course it is a medical professional; which I am not....then you may want to at least discuss it with them)

If you have any questions about this or how to get started please leave a comment!

Go Empower Yourself!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Best Results for Busy People: Organize Yourself for Spring Cleaning

I subscribe to the email newsletter Best Results for Busy People and thought the below would be helpful for everyone. 

The tradition of spring cleaning date back to ancient cultures, and though we tend to think of it as occurring only in locales with cold winters, the act of readying our homes for spring has long been celebrated world-wide. The origins of the ritual vary by culture, with ancient Persians "shaking the house" as part of a New Year's observance of "khouneh tekooni", while observant Jews, in shedding their homes of "chametz" (unleavened foods) in advance of Passover, clean even the tiniest crevices and corners. Members of the Eastern Orthodox Church observe Clean Week, sweeping clean their homes as the week of Great Lent approaches.  In North America, the concept really took hold in the 19th century when homesteaders found the spring air was warm enough to allow for opening doors and windows, cool enough that insects wouldn't be a problem, and windy enough to blow dust away from the homestead.

Cleaning and organizing aren't the same, but they go hand-in-hand. Cleaning is about getting rid of dirt, cobwebs and dust, and organizing creates functional systems that save time and money. But since you can't
clean if clutter is in the way and it's really hard to organize things that are dirty, we're going to look at how you can organize your spring cleaning.

1)      Break It Down To Build It Up
It's important to take baby steps when approaching the spring cleaning process so that you don't get overwhelmed! Just as a room (or house or car) full of clutter does not get that way overnight, one should not
expect to be able to reverse a year (or five years) of clutter or schmutz in one day.
I advise clients to pick just one room, and start
small. Go drawer-by-drawer or cabinet-by-cabinet and take everything out of one small space, and only put back the items you'd choose all over again if you had to acquire them for the very first time. Think of it as
a zero-based budget, where you don't have any assumptions regarding what has a "right" to stay, only this is a budget for your space instead of your money. For example, if you're going to start in the kitchen, take everything out of the freezer (and only the freezer), wash it down (or defrost it, if you must) and then only put back items you can identify and still
want to eat. Be realistic with yourself - it doesn't matter whether they're leftovers from last Thanksgiving or from an expensive restaurant dinner - just ask yourself if you (or your family) will really eat it.  Then, just as we discussed in our March and May 2010
Bonus Room articles on organizing kitchens and deep freezers, group the food types together so that all the chicken, all of the desserts, all of the vegetables, etc. are in their own sub-sections. If you still have energy, do the same with the fridge and pantry, one shelf at a time, until you've eliminated what must go and have sorted and grouped what will stay. For food items, check to learn how long foods are still safe and nutritious. For cabinets and drawers, pull everything out so you can clean and analyze. If you've never used the strawberry pitter or the ricer or fondue pot (but oh, how could you not make fondue if you had the chance?), send them to new homes and stop letting them live rent-free in your space. If you're worn out, stop there, and plan what project you'll do the next day. Spring cleaning need not be completed in one day or weekend as Ma Ingalls might have done it. In fact, you might maintain more enthusiasm for the process if you break it down into smaller steps for each day.

2)      Embrace Dishpanned Hands
Clients and readers often ask me what tools I most recommend people buy to help them get organized. I think they're surprised by how often I advise not going to a store at all, but by "shopping" in one's own home or office. It's amazing how many baskets, tubs and containers we have which go unused (or ill-used) which could serve our needs. Take, for example, the lowly dishpan. It's rubber or
plastic, it's cheap (usually available in dollar stores or Walmart or Target for under $3) and it's a superior solution to myriad household storage problems. Not sure what a dishpan looks like? Here's a traditional 12-quart dishpan in a spiffy red:
Use dishpans as easy-to-slide-out drawers under the sinks in your bathroom or kitchen, and on pantry shelves so that if something spills or leaks, it will drip into the washable dishpan and not onto other food, cleaning items or toiletries. Clients are often amazed
when I take all of the cleaning supplies from
underneath a kitchen sink (dishwashing liquid,
dishwasher detergent, spare sponges and rubber gloves, steel wool pads, floor cleaner, all-purpose cleanser, etc.) and fit it all neatly in one or two dishpans under the sink. It's a tiny change that rids the cabinet of dripping messes and toppling containers, and makes it so simple to identify when you have duplicates
and when you need to restock. Pull everything out of the area under the sinks in the kitchen and bathroom and group them by what they do. When you see each type of item side by side, it's easy to combine three almost-empty bottles of your favorite shampoo to free up space. Keep cleaning supplies in one dishpan, bath & body products in another. Dishpans aren't just great in kitchens, pantries and
bathrooms. A few other ideas:

--Stack toddler books vertically in one or two dishpans on a low table or even the floor. Normally, we array books on shelves, perhaps in alphabetical order. But small children can't read the spines of books, so they need to pull one (or all) down to get meaningful information. By making books stand tall and face outward, children can let their fingers do the walking
and flip each book towards themselves to find the most appealing cover. The rest of the books stay self-contained. Dubious? I worked in a public library as a teenager, and all pre-school picture books were arranged in a few
dozen such dishpans or tubs, sorted only by the first letter of the author's last name, and it definitely saved cleanup time.

--In craft rooms, use dishpans on open shelves for craft items, whether for adults or children. You can sort yarn types, paints vs. markers and crayons, cloth of different weights or colors, and so on. Label the front-facing portion of the dishpans so that you can
delegate "clean-up" time to someone else.

3) Think Outside the Box
Over and over, we professional organizers tell people to "sort like items with like" when we create homes. Indeed, the rules I always share include:

-- Everything should have home, but not everything has to live with you!  The Pareto Rule or 80/20 rule says that 80% of success
comes from 20% of the effort. And 80% of the time you're wearing the same basic 20% of your wardrobe and your kids are playing with the same 20% of their toys. This is why paring things down gives you a much bigger bang for your buck than you expect -- because you
usually don't miss the things you purge, even though you probably think you are going to, which is what blocks you from downsizing in the first place.

--Things should live with others like them.  All your coffee mugs should be in the same cabinet. All your shoes, except the ones on your feet right now, should live together in their little shoe community in your closet. If it seems like it will take too much time to put them away, ask yourself how much more time
it will take to find them when the kids, the pets and midnight stumblings in the dark knock them under the bed.

--Things should live where they're used.  You'd never find your toothbrush in the middle of the garage, right?  The best place to keep something is where you use it, so if your kids never study in the kitchen, don't let them just leave their knapsacks in the kitchen because that's the first room they hit when walking in the house--their stuff should go right to
their study areas. Similarly, you should have one central hub where you pay your bills, and then you should keep a box or tray there with stamps, address labels, a calculator and envelopes.

--Things should live according to the rules of
proximity and utility. Loyal readers know that my fancy way of saying if you need it often, keep it close. If you should be using something all the time, whether it's the dictionary, tax code, or moisturizer, it should be at your
fingertips.  These are the things that deserve Prime Real Estate on your desk or the bulletin board next or your bedside table. The more you use it, or should use it, the closer it should live to you.  If something is hard to get to, you're going to come up with excuses not to use it,
read it, study it or fix it. Conversely, if you only use something once a year, like a serving tray or crock pot you only use at the holidays, put it in less-accessible storage and put a note on your calendar or in your tickler file to get it
out on November 15th.

--Know What's Living Where!
Label where things should go, just like your house number labels the house so the postal carrier knows where to deliver the mail.  Nobody can complain that they didn't put things away because they didn't know where something belonged if the home is labeled. If
that means labeling the inside of the kitchen or
bathroom cabinets, that's OK.  Even if your kids can't read words yet, they can read pictures, so a drawing or photo can tell a child this bin is for Barbie dolls, and that bin is for Matchbox cars. With these five rules in place, you can usually tell your family my golden rule: "Don't put things down, put them away" and they might actually do it.

These tips aside, however, a reality check is sometimes warranted. For example, I make a lot of pasta - ravioli, pierogies, linguini, etc. I have four nested pots in a lower cabinet. For more than a dozen years, I've stored my strainers and colanders with the pots because these I use them for similar, associated tasks
related to the larger aspect of making a pasta dinner. However, my lower cabinets have half-shelves; thus, the pots are on the bottom and I have always had to bend down to reach halfway back, behind the pots, to get a colander. Recently, while putting away the dishes from the dishwasher, I realized that my most-often-used colander fit perfectly nested underneath my glass mixing bowls, which I use to mix salads... which I often eat with pasta. After more than a dozen years of having a
split-second of unconscious annoyance at having to bend to get the colander, I've had two lovely weeks where making pasta is annoyance-free.

My point? Organizing rules are designed to help guide you. If, while you're spring cleaning your kitchen (or bathroom, or bedroom, or garage...), there's a storage option that makes something easier to access and easier
to put away, and which will incline you to use it more often (and more joyfully), set the rules aside.

4)      Safety Is the Best Medicine
Now that flu season is behind us, it's the perfect time clean out the medicine cabinet and dispose of expired medicines responsibly and safely. However, please take
caution. Generally, you should NOT flush medicines or wash them down the drain. The FDA does recommend flushing a small number of prescription medicines, as indicated by this list: Protect children and animals by taking a few extra steps: pour pills into a sealable plastic bag, add some water to dissolve, then add kitty litter or coffee grounds to the bag to make it unappealing to any little
hands (or paws) that might come across it.
If you're uncertain as to how to dispose of a
particular over-the-counter or prescription medicine, consult your pharmacist or see if there are prescription medicine drop-off locations in your community. And participate in the Drug Enforcement Agency's Second Annual National Prescription Drug
Take-Back Day on April 30th from 10a-2p. To learn more,
and to find a Take-Back Day collection site near you, visit:

5)      Don't Pay the Clutter Tax!
Clutter makes it harder to clean, and when it blocks access to what you want or need, you waste time looking or money on buying duplicates. That's a "clutter tax", which you pay with your hard-earned money and your
always-dwindling supply of time. Like pile of clothes or toys, paper can be quite the
obstacle. But, if you clear the clutter that sometimes prevents you from handling finances quickly and easily, it's like getting a "clutter tax" refund! Spring is the perfect time to shred the old receipts and statements that don't relate to tax records, ownership of big-ticket items or things you're going to return. Office Depot has a Shred-While-You-Wait service for
.99/lb. And on that note, here's a link to a special three-part Office Depot coupon:
Shred up to five pounds of papers (and circumvent those nasty identity thieves), photocopy your tax documents and more...all at no cost. (I love saving you money!) If you're not sure what documents and receipts are safe
to shred, consult a records retention schedule, such as the one in my ebook, "Do I Have To Keep This Piece of Paper?"

6)      Everything should have a home, but not everything has to live with you!
That rule is so important, it appears twice in this article! Just as you clean out the cobwebs and dust, take this opportunity to let go of the excess items you don't need. Whether that's clothing that no longer fits or flatters, furniture that's blocking your space, or kitchen tools you never use, freeing up space in your life can be a blessing to others. Donate to Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity's Re-Store, your house of worship or any non-profit, and you can be thrice-blessed. You'll eliminate the clutter from your own space, give someone the opportunity to extend the life of the item, and perhaps even take a tax deduction (next year) on
your donation.

Organizing your spring cleaning process needn't be overwhelming. Break the tasks down into tiny steps (in tiny spaces), clean (to remove gunk), then clean OUT (i.e., purge), and finally, organize what remains. As you go forward, putting a little spring cleaning in your habits may even put a spring in your step!

Julie Bestry is a professional organizer, speaker and author, who helps individuals and businesses save time and money, reduce stress and increase productivity through new organizational skills and systems. For information on how Julie can turn your chaos into serenity, visit Best Results
Organizing at

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sexual Abuse Awareness Month

Tolson 4 TEARS Says "BE REAL"

What can you do if someone reveals to you that he/she has been abused? You can

B Believe her and believe in her*

E Educate yourself; share your knowledge


R Reassure her that is was not her fault

E Empower with information and resources

A Ask what you can do and do your best

L Listen without judgment to what is said

*It is estimated that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will be abused in his/her lifetime. The female pronoun is intended to represent both gender.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Discovery Fit and Health New Show - Facing Trauma (casting call)

FACING TRAUMA - TRAILER from Park Slope Productions on Vimeo.

For more information please read below & check out these links: 

Press Release:

Casting Call:



DISCOVERY FIT & HEALTH is looking for survivors who have sustained facial injuries resulting from domestic violence or violent crimes for the documentary series


FACING TRAUMA follows Dual Board Certified Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon Dr. Andrew Jacono as he helps put back together the faces and lives of people who have been tragically and visibly scarred by violence and are struggling to move forward.  Dr. Jacono’s expert reconstructive treatment will be provided FREE for the benefit of the survivor

If you or someone you know could be a potential candidate please email your story and contact information to:

we will contact you ASAP

We have consulted with domestic violence and crime victim advocates. We embark on this project with great respect and commitment to victim safety, empowerment, and completely informed consent. Please help us raise awareness of domestic violence and the many victims who are trying to reclaim their lives.