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Public Apology to Tom Hanks and Wife Rita

31 Mar

Oprah and beau Stedman Graham

 

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Lies Your Father Taught You

30 Jan

 Yes, your father lied to you.

As the first man you ever loved, each time he held you and told you that you were perfect he was guilty of lying: a crime that most fathers unwittingly commit.

Whenever a father tells his little girl that he loves her and that she’s perfect just the way she is, he’s teaching her the biggest lie.

You’re taught unconditional love by your father. He loves you as you are from the moment you are born.

Then we grow up to believe that the man of our dreams will love us the same way our fathers did — unconditionally.

Yet another lie learned, because as adults we know that love is conditional.

Our fathers taught us we were special: that we deserve to be treated special and that we’ll always be special in their eyes.

Not necessarily in the eyes of the men in our lives, however, as our “specialness” may wan over time if we don’t continue to live up to those conditions.

A father always puts your happiness and wellbeing above his own. So, we believe our mates will do the same.

They don’t always.

Your father’s love lasts a lifetime. U. S. divorce rates show that a husband’s may not.

Fathers praise their female offspring’s accomplishments.

If a spouse or significant other harbors insecurities, they may not.

Fathers will oftentimes put their girls on pedestals, regardless of their flaws.

Yet, the men in your life could find your flaws difficult to overlook.

Your father will tell you that you’re beautiful.

A perpetual lie that’s often told to adolescent girls in the tween stages.

We all have long since learned the truth that stares back at us in (full-length) mirrors.

Nevertheless, these are some of the lies taught to daughters by their fathers.

We were taught these lies unknowingly. Our fathers never meant to teach them to us.

Yet, we learned them anyway.

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Are We Too Busy to Think?

19 Dec

thCATPJ78O@Recovery_Tools Absolutely! Sage advice. Always value & use yr own judgement, be guided by @CommonSense & yr moral compass.
– (@Theauntsavant) December 11, 2013

Contemplation is Lost in Contemporary Thinking!

To think things through requires time we no longer afford ourselves in a time-crunched, speed-obsessed culture.

And as result, the practice of contemplating has gotten lost as a mode of modern thinking because we don’t utilize it enough in our everyday thought processes.

I’ve become a critical thinker (out of necessity) and learned to put my analytical mind to use when I want to get at what’s beneath the surface of what others think. To the annoyance of some, it can at times make for awkward moments.

I’m sort of a mental code cracker in a sense, not of the enigmatic tangible types in newspapers, so much. But in getting at the gist of how (and when) opinions, belief systems and thought patterns are generally formed.

It could be the underlying reason I chose to major in journalism. That, as well as winning an essay contest in the fifth grade for a short commentary I titled: “Death and Dying: And Fear of the Unknown.” Go figure? I was 10!

Nonetheless, the brain has long fascinated me, as you can see. Writer/creator Rod Serling could probably be credited with having a hand in shaping my adult inquisitiveness, as I watched the Twilight Zone religiously when I was a kid. Not in its original form, mind you, but in reruns that at the time were shown late nights weekdays on channel 11.

Ahhh…I remember it well. I’d be up long after everyone else had gone off to bed, lying on the living room sofa, riveted to the television screen, and engrossed by whatever psychological wonder Rod had conjured up. I enjoyed them all, and still do. He was pure genius incarnate, and certainly ahead of his time.

As he did, one has to go beyond the obvious to contemplate, in order to see what isn’t so obvious. Often we already have the answers we seek within our own minds that need only to be drawn out.

thCAPBSN0Y

Introspective reflection and contemplation helps us to know ourselves better.

Reply: Marriage is for Blogger of Viral Post “Marriage Isn’t for You”

24 Nov

You all might’ve heard about the blog post read ‘round the world, but here’s the auntsavant’s last word on the blogger’s misleading message espoused in “Marriage Isn’t for You.”

Although, the married Mr. Smith’s intentions were good when he wrote the now viral blog post: “Marriage Isn’t For You,” Seth Adam Smith’s altruistic view on marriage wasn’t received positively by all readers.

Yahoo Shine summed up the general consensus of the massive responses the controversial essay invoked on Twitter, chiming in with an article titled, “Why Man’s Marriage Isn’t For You’ Essay Misses the Mark.”

And it does, almost entirely. Smith said his hope was of “helping someone going through a similar experience to turn around their relationship,” which he voiced on Today.com. It apparently not only didn’t convey what he had hoped, but was also met with strong skepticism.

Citing a recent research study, Washington, D.C.-based licensed clinical psychologist, Andrea Bonior, PhD., told Yahoo “science substantiates that marriage is not just about one person’s needs.”

Though well meaning, this paternal advice could be better shelved under “old-school romance,” as Cosmopolitan noted in a similar reply to Smith’s spiel on marital edification.

READ: Why Winfrey Says She and Longtime Mate Stedman Graham Have Not Married

Oprah Winfrey acknowledged publicly that the main reason she and longtime mate Stedman Graham haven’t wed is because of “the very idea of what it means to be a wife and the responsibility and the sacrifice that it carries.”

Not willing to enter into a traditional marriage in order to try to please someone else or conform to societal cultural mores — she scrapped her wedding plans in 1992. An argument can be made for attributing the high percentage rates of infidelity and divorce in the U.S., to this type of matrimonial philosophy that advocates one spouse unselfishly put [his] spouses’ happiness above [his] own.

Why can’t both individuals strive to be happy without one person having to sacrifice their happiness for the other?

If two people are equally committed to their union, there wouldn’t be any need to settle for a 60-40 or 70-30,  or God forbid an 80-20 proposition. It would preferably be 50-50, and a win-win for both parties.

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Lighten Up! It’s Not that Serious

2 Oct
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Come on People: On the Path from Victims to Victors
by Bill Cosby and Alvin Poussaint

To reference Bill Cosby’s 2007 book, “Come on, People.”

To which I’ll add: Listen Up! People. Stop taking everything so seriously. Really.

Think about it? Many of the things that upset or stress us on any given day are probably not as serious as they seem.

We shouldn’t “sweat the small stuff,” as a matter of conscientious practice. A lot of people are either looking for a fight, argument or altercation, or expect one,  a majority of the time. Here’s a for instance:

As I was standing (in one of the multiple lines) in a local McDonald’s early one evening to get a cup of coffee, the woman in front of me stood to one side and motioned me to go ahead of her. She’d already ordered. But as I was about to step up to the counter, a man, whom I guess was with his wife, moved to the register before I got to it. I just glanced at the lady waiting for her food with a slight frown, and shrugged. “Oh well.”

The man then paused suddenly, slid back over to where he had been, threw up his hands and laughingly said, “I don’t want no trouble.” Naturally,  I took grave offense to that remark, especially since it was unprovoked—and unwarranted. Maybe the comment was in reaction to me wearing my sunglasses indoors? I don’t know. If so, that’s my choice. Did I appear menacing in my camouflage jacket? I thought it showed patriotism. It wasn’t as if I had on a biker jacket emblazoned with a skull & crossbones, a bandanna and a “badass” attitude to match. And I wasn’t a random black male with a “hoodie” on. No, that couldn’t have been it. The man was African-American. But that’s a whole other issue.

The point is I felt this stranger was attempting to assail my character. I felt compelled to respond. So I turned to him, lowered my shades nose height, and simply replied, “There’s no trouble,” and added that I hadn’t said a word to him. “It’s not that serious,” I repeated, as I ordered my medium coffee with cream, two Splendas and two sugars to go.

The take-away here, I believe, is that we should all make a concerted effort to:

1)      withhold silly presumptions about people we don’t know

2)      try to give people the benefit of the doubt

3)      not always expect the worst-case scenario and above all

4)      Come on people. Lighten up! For God’s sake.

Life is too short to go through it angry.

Besides, bear in mind that it takes more facial muscles to form a scowl than a smile. Yeah.

Younger people will appreciate this when the lines, wrinkles, etc., start to appear.

Empathy is Necessary to Understand Death of MJ

13 Sep
Jackson in good spirits

Jackson in good spirits

September is National Recovery Month!

And in light of Michael Jackson’s birthday observance, I thought this blog post would be both timely and appropriate.

Many times or more often than not, people take the plight of others for granted. There’s an old adage that’s probably been around since the frontier days when Indians still owned the territories on which their reservations stood—a long time before any of us were alive. But I digress.

The saying goes something to the affect: You can’t know a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. Well, no expression could be truer in this case. If we stop judging or even trying to sympathize with others, maybe then we’d give ourselves a chance to really understand that it’s the ability to empathize with another person that ultimately helps you (and I) to better understand him (or her).

Jackson may be viewed unsympathetically as one more famous troubled “addict”—or with sympathy as an overly driven creative genius who simply went too far. And either depiction would be accurate, as each aptly described the Late “King of Pop.” Jackson was driven to a fault and, I believe deeply burdened. He wrote a little known song much less popular than his chart-topping hits, titled “My Childhood,” about a boy who never had a childhood, which in retrospect seems very introspective. One thing’s for certain, he worked hard at perfecting his musical gift from a youngster through harsh discipline and little boyhood playtime. This all played a role in MJ becoming the tragic figure we saw in his troubled adulthood.

What I’m getting at is the question of what brought him to the point of dying senselessly at the hands of a negligent, so-called “celebrity doctor” hanger-on—one Conrad Murray? This is the real issue that no one’s bothered to look at. Why did Jackson go to such lengths to find a “concierge” physician to be bankrolled into keeping him on a steady stream of a dangerously potent anesthetic that by all accounts should not have been administered outside of a hospital setting?

Murray setup a makeshift hospital room in the pop icon’s temporary residence, complete with an IV hookup and oxygen tanks to keep him “doped up.” He knew what he was doing would be ill-advised by fellow peers in the medical community. A responsible “ethical” doctor would have gotten Jackson what he desperately needed most: the aid of a sleep disorder specialist and a drug counselor.

People in general were ill informed and rushed to judgment in simply labeling Jackson a drug addict, when they should’ve been looking with empathy beyond labels to the underlying cause of his dependence on Propofol as a method of sleep inducement. We have only Murray’s summation of events leading up to his discovery that Jackson had died, the nearly inaudible voice recording he presented in court of the superstar entertainer slurring his speech, along with the toxicology report. According to Murray, Jackson begged him for the powerful drug in order to sleep.

There’s a distinct difference between someone being fed a legal substance by a working, board-certified medical professional (at the time), who obtained a pre-surgery hospital drug under false means, and an individual who cops illegal narcotics to get high. Although Jackson was put into a coma rather than a euphoric high derived from consuming drugs, nonetheless, it was still a drug-induced state he was put in. “Addict” conjures up negative connotations rather than an empathetic image of someone that may be a substance abuser like Jackson and many others, who are dependent on prescription and/or over-the-counter drugs.

The bottom line is that a man should not have to die trying to get to sleep—a slumber from which Jackson, sadly, never awoke. That’s the true tragedy of it all. It’s difficult to expect others to comprehend, though. It took some contemplation. Then it dawned on me after a chat with a neighbor about Jackson on the occasion of what would have been the star’s 55th birthday (Aug. 29), which was being commemorated in New York City. Following the conversation I thought it was more enlightening than I’d initially realized; I hadn’t walked in Jackson’s shoes. I had suffered with insomnia but had never been dependent on drugs, pills or medication of any kind. So, could I empathize? Yes, because you have to use empathy to understand how substance abusers become “addicted.”

Before then, in my infinite wisdom based on everyday common sense, I merely surmised that a global entertainer who worked as tirelessly as Jackson did night after night in preparation for his highly anticipated concert dates (captured in the docu-film “This is It”), surely should have fallen out from pure exhaustion. Yet, it was not that easy for Jackson, even though it might seem like a reasonable conclusion to most of us, including myself.

This friend noted squarely “not if you’ve been taking something for so long that you need stronger and stronger [dosages] in order for it to produce the same effect as it did before.” Another revelation. That’s right! I thought. Otherwise you would expect any normal human being to have not just fallen asleep, but to literally crash after such long hours of grueling, physically taxing rehearsals. However, Jackson was considered “the greatest performer of our time.” The footage showed that he was hands-on, involved, a perfectionist and taskmaster, indeed a creative genius of extreme proportions on the cusp of an imminent comeback. To be able to pull that off he would have to get some sleep.

Murray needed only to show his business card and of course keep a constant supply of Propofol on tap to pull off his newly acquired role as Jackson’s personal doctor to serve as a babe magnet and up his cachet with the various ladies he began courting. He was due to receive a monthly retainer of $150,000, stipulated to be paid to him whether or not Jackson’s shows went on. He had a built-in insurance policy. What did he have to lose? He would get his money regardless. Jackson was at the mercy of Murray, as he detailed MJ’s dependence on anesthesia that he dispensed in large quantities to provide his patient with his nightly/daily” fix”.

MJ

MJ

Now Jackson is no longer among the living and the doc for-hire is reportedly being released early for good behavior. How is that just?

Share some of your thoughts on recovery. Post a comment below.

Why Slowing Down is Not an Option

30 May

Forget Fast Food, Speed Dating, Speed Dialing, Power Walking, Express Lanes, Express Checkout, Same-Day Service, Priority Overnight & Next-Day Air… Whew!

Thought the world had sped up enough already? Add Rapid Mode Texting in place of Instant Messaging or IM (now considered old school), along with Tweeting and Insta-gramming on the Internet, and Yikes! There is no doubt we are living in an increasingly rapid-paced society where most everyone’s in a mad rush to communicate with other people or dashing off to get somewhere really fast. Just watch New York City cabbies in action and bicyclists, and even skateboarders zooming past narrowly avoiding traffic near-misses as harried pedestrians in haste try to quickly beat the light and cross the street!

There are no shortages of deadlines to meet or appointments to keep. And we want it done right away, on time, ASAP! Yes, as in needed it yesterday. There’s an established level of immediacy that we all must adhere to sooner than later. We each have to master the accruements of time management in order to become proficient multi-taskers in our lives (professional and personal), or we risk condemning ourselves to habitual tardiness. Think about it, it’s a never-ending process: expedite, prioritize, digitize, capsulize, over-ride…etc., etc., the list goes on…

The goal of it is meant to make us more expedient, and thus more efficient—in the timeliest manner possible, right? That’s the goal, anyway. So, everybody brace yourselves to be continually inundated, over-scheduled, over-worked, over-taxed, over-stressed, over-pressured, over-booked, over-wrought and over-tired, and any others I’ve left out, because the obvious result is: There’s only 24 hours in a day! You can’t possibly get everything done and get enough sleep, too.

All this in order to get wherever you need to be, whatever it is you need done? And oh yeah, can you step on it, please!

Well, don’t forget, there’s always the Power Nap!

Acknowledgement is Encouragement

6 Mar

I recently had sort of an impromptu power meeting on a weekday morning — kind of a meeting of the minds you could say, between myself, a fellow running team mate, who I’d just finished a run with and a neighbor doing her wash. It evolved in response to a simple inquiry about the running program we’re in over tea and coffee, as well as a moist almond-clustered, date breakfast pastry supplied by my health-conscious friend and team member, and my half eaten donut. Well, it was leftover from a much earlier—5:30 am start—monthly group meeting.

This post-gathering, as it were, convened outside the laundry room on the mezzanine level of our building and couldn’t have gone better if we had planned it! The three of us all having exhibited artwork in in-house art shows, had a rousing exchange of insightful suggestions, which in itself is a great source of inspiration among women, especially. The sheer act of sharing and utilizing our energy collectively to offer information to one another also made for productive use of our social connection and time there. So, armed with food for thought (literally), we left with a few avenues to follow-up.

Many times, un-planned situations can allow for interesting input, when there’s no pre-set agenda other than simply picking each other’s brains so to speak and spurring creative engagement. Opening this door on the spot doesn’t necessarily prompt exploration into similar areas of one another’s potential aspirations, which under usual circumstances might never be touched on. But it may in these situations.

However, in the course of our lengthy conversation, we did find some correlations and clarified other things we expounded upon. Acknowledging someone else’s individual strengths does strengthen your own resolve.

Respect and mutual admiration is particularly affirming when expressed in personal constructive, purposeful ways and encourages us to see in ourselves, the positive traits and inherent talent the conveyor sees in us.

Giving Thanks

14 Nov

*Note: This post was originally posted on Nov. 5th.

As with many of us, November gets me to thinking of Thanksgiving and what it should mean: thanks for giving.

It may be the thought that counts, but it’s in the form of the action it takes that really matters. For that, we give thanks.

So, have you made a difference to someone lately?

Oftentimes, even the most minor gesture of goodwill can make the biggest difference to someone if it is sincere?

Have you lent a sympathetic ear…given some friendly, non-judgmental sage advice…that perhaps helped diffuse a sensitive situation and thus prevented it from escalating to a point of causing possible harm to another? Have you looked in on or shared a meal with an ailing or elderly neighbor? Or have you offered to assist somebody with a task at which you’re more adept?

Making a difference simply means providing a selfless act (whether large or small) for the benefit of others. Everyday random acts of kindness are the most common ways people give back to each other. Like personal and professional courtesies, usually cost you nothing, yet may make another person’s day.

Embodying ‘an attitude of gratitude,’ is a generous state of being everyone potentially has within them. Genuine generosity comes not from your wallet or purse, but freely—from your heart and spirit –with no strings or ulterior motives attached.

Giving of yourself and your time always makes a difference, especially to the giver or volunteer, because you choose to do it without monetary reward or often any public recognition.

The 20s vs. the 40s and 50s

14 Oct

I enjoyed my 20s when I was in my 20s. Those days were a lot of fun—then. But I wouldn’t want to be at that age now, knowing what I know now, I told a neighbor friend as we discussed the subject of 40 and 50 year-olds engaging in behaviors that we or those we knew had engaged in over 20 years ago.

Balking at the thought, I said I can’t believe that adults in this age group still acted in the same irresponsible reckless way some of us did at the time. When we were in our 20s, we were either in school or finishing school. We weren’t concerned with bills or too seriously worried about our futures. We partied hard every weekend, Friday and Saturday night through Sunday mornings. We’d be headed home when folks were on their way to church. I remember the rays glaring down so strongly sometimes, it seemed as though God was scolding us.

Naturally, we felt a little guilt but we were living out our youth, celebrating coming of age by hanging out and participating in recreational activities like many other young adults in the mid to late 80s. Living la vida loca! Before the advent of Crack became an epidemic and ruined it ALL! Then it no longer was fun to be young and adventurous. That should have been enough to scare anybody straight. It was a real wakeup call!

When you get older you may not get wiser but you get more mature, and hopefully, smarter and eventually tire of it. Essentially, you want to progress not regress. Some people made ill-advised decisions and others encountered bad breaks, which set them back. In any event, Oprah often quotes Maya Angelou when she says, “When you know better, you do better.”

So you can’t blame middle-age misbehavin’ on post-youthful indiscretions, because we’ve been there and done that. And I repeat it was fun—then. But with age you acquire responsibilities, many in fact you may not have even foreseen. You realize your life has to move forward in order to meet them, I reiterated.

In conclusion I told this neighbor I would not want to be doing at 40 or 50, what I did in my 20s. That, Oprah, I know for sure.

p.s.  As you relate to young people, remember when you were their age…

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