Take Back Your Life!

But we have to save the men, too …

March 30, 2010 by Giulietta Nardone

Hey readers who like to shake things up,

A few weeks ago, I left a comment on a blog and won a DVD called, The Hustle for Worthiness, by Brene Brown. I enjoyed the entire DVD. It’s excellent. Some advice Brene passed along from a friend reinforced something I’ve been talking about for years. (I don’t have the exact quote cause I lent the DVD to someone!) The gist of it was, if you want to save the women, you have to save the men, too.

Makes sense, right?

If women are oppressed by their roles, then men are too. Not all women agree with this. I did a lot of research and wrote a paper on liberating men in grad school. My female teacher slammed it. I got it back covered with unflattering comments scrawled in red and an unexpected B-, the lowest grade I got on any paper in my three years of study.

Did I produce an inferior paper or did I choose an inferior topic? Got my own theory.

I know that a lot of men out there have dreams too. They’ve told me. The problem being men and women both get locked into the generic American Dream to work and consume, work and consume. It doesn’t leave men a lot of options once a family gets entrenched in this cycle. Then folks succumb to the “it’s too late now” or “I’ll do things once my children graduate from college.”

I wonder if sacrificing your own life for your children, who will then presumably sacrifice their lives for their children ( and so on), if this model really creates a happy adult society? Wouldn’t a thriving society filled with active participants of all ages be more vibrant?

Yes? No?

If you’re woman, would you be willing to reduce your standard of living so your husband can try something new? Have you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on saving the men too …

Muse thx, Giulietta

Who are your heroes or heroines?

March 23, 2010 by Giulietta Nardone

Hey rebels,

I read somewhere that people feel there aren’t any real heroes any more. I don’t agree.

About two years ago, I went to the wake of an elderly relative. The man’s son-in-law gave one of the most beautiful unscripted speeches I’ve ever heard. He told us that his father-in-law had been an “everyday” hero to him because of his devotion to his family. It changed forever my own definition of a hero.

Before that wake, I thought a hero had to be someone who ran into a burning building or something else extraordinary. I know that a lot of folks look up to sports figures as hero’s for breaking records or to billionaire’s for making tons of money.

Now I believe that a hero can be the person next door who takes care of his or her ailing parent or the person who reaches out to someone in need with a kind word. It can be you or me. We can all be heroes and heroines.

My husband is my everyday hero. He can fix anything that goes wrong in this old home of ours, from electrical to internet to plumbing. He keeps this place running and from the enthusiasm he does it with, I can see that it’s one of those labors of love people talk about. Thanks Jimmy!

Who are the everyday hero’s in your life? I’d love to know!

Muse thx, Giulietta

Do you bite your tongue too often?

March 16, 2010 by Giulietta Nardone

Hey rebellious ones,

I see people biting their tongues all the time. They don’t agree with what’s being said, yet they do not feel comfortable expressing their opinions. Why? Because we’ve gotten messages from a variety of sources since childhood that encourages us to muffle our opinions. People tell us

a) nice people don’t disagree

b) it will make things worse

c) you’ll upset the other person

d) your boss will fire you

e) you’ll be disliked

f) It’s impossible to express your opinion in a compassionate way.

I found most of these to be false. Speaking up can not only make you feel more powerful, but also improve your relationships with others. How can a friendship survive if one of the friends harbors secret anger at the other? Would you like it if your friend acted weird towards you but kept saying “nope, everything’s fine” when you asked him or her if anything was bothering them?

Frankly, I believe most of us are afraid of our own power, afraid of what our power can do. So, we hide from it and choose the so called safe path. Ironically, it’s really the more dangerous path — for it endangers your health, your dreams, and your happiness.

Opportunities to speak up surround you

You can write a letter to the editor or an opinion piece.
You can join an in-person discussion group on topics of interest.
You can ask a friend out to lunch and reveal something that’s been bothering you.
You can clear some air with a family member that’s been causing you stress.
You can ask a telemarketer to please not call you anymore.
You can write a song.

The more you learn to speak up, the less stressful your life will be.

Muse thx,

Three keys to success and happiness!

March 9, 2010 by Giulietta Nardone

Hey dedicated readers,

First, I’d like to thank you for stopping by as often as you do. Taking time out of your day to read my words means a lot to me. And comments thrill me! Love the interaction. Second, I’d like to re-post a piece I wrote several years ago when the muse of the month at Skirt! Magazine. It’s something the world could use more of on a regular basis. Enjoy …

Three Things:

Seasoned Earth visitors have much to teach us younger folks. A few years ago, I went to a relative’s wake. After expressing my sympathies to the family and catching up with some cousins, I took a seat next to an older gentleman with thick eyeglasses leaning forward onto his cane. I learned his name was Frank and we were connected through one of my aunts.

I asked Frank to tell me about his life. A proud son of Sicilian immigrants, he spoke glowingly of his parents’ birthplace, painting a picture for me of its beautiful mountains, vistas and architecture. We talked about his business, his children, his grandchildren and a forthcoming book his family had written to celebrate his life.

Understanding the amazing gift of life experience sitting to my left, I leaned over and said, “Frank, what do you believe is the key to success and happiness?”

Without missing a beat, he raised his index, middle and ring fingers and said, “Three things.”

“What are they?” I asked, inching closer to the edge of my folding chair.

“To be kind, to be kind and to be kind.”

His words caused me to pause, to take inventory of my own kindness meter. Yes, I could give away more kindness each day. For whom had I been saving it?

If I want to live in a less violent world, a kindler, gentler world then I need to practice Frank’s philosophy of life during my special visit here on Earth.

Postscript: since I learned this secret from Frank, I’ve made it a point to try and help others as much as I can, to offer my “seat” so to speak to someone who needs it more than I, to clear the air in times of disagreement and to gift as many warm hello’s I can.

Thank you for the kindness of stopping by.


Stop Saving Your Life For Later!

March 4, 2010 by Giulietta Nardone

Dear Lovers of Life,

I recently gave a blouse to charity that I bought six years ago, yet never wore. It was beautiful, but I kept “saving” it for a “special” occasion. Before a party or business event, I’d take it out of my closet, hold it up to myself in the mirror, feel pretty and then put it back! Never a good enough occasion.

By the time I found a “good” enough occasion, my pretty blouse no longer fit my style. I’d changed and it didn’t feel right when I put it on. It stayed in the closet for an additional few years.

Many folks do the same thing with their lives that I did with my shirt — they save it for retirement or after the kids get out of school or when they make more money or some other excuse. They want to do exciting things, yet don’t because it’s not the right time. Waiting for the right time, doesn’t make sense when most of us have no idea how long we’ll be a visitor on our beautiful planet.

Does that sound like you? Can you pinpoint why you keep putting off your life? Most of the reasons that stand in the way of you doing what you want in life are just excuses. Ask what the excuses shield you from? What will happen if you start doing some of these things?

What have you been putting off in your life and why? Or, what did you finally stop putting off and how did that change your life?

Muse thx,