Front Row Seat

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You have followed your dream.  You have reached the pinnacle of your career.  Only the most prominent people get to sit in the front row seats.  You are on view for everyone to see and acknowledge your accomplishments.  You are obviously a “doer.”

However, there is always a flip side to front row seats.  Remember that the rest of the audience is sitting behind you.  They are watching you and listening to you.  They expect you to lead the way, to know the answers.  Obviously, you have achieved success so you must know how to get things done, to get results.  The audience is filled with people who may be just as talented or as smart or as knowledgeable as you but you must know something special.  Something that no one else knows.  They want to know your secret.  They are looking to see if and when you will reveal your closely guarded secret so that they too can be eligible to sit in the front row seats.

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This is when responsibility comes into the picture.  Since you will not always be the one who is sitting in the front row seat, you must be able to prepare others to take over that duty.  There are a few techniques that you might find helpful to complete the job.

  •  being a teacher gives someone else access to your knowledge
  •  remaining approachable allows other to ask questions and develop new ideas
  •  handing initial ideas over to others for further development  shows leadership
  •  positive reinforcements encourages “trial-and-error” development and initiative
  • Someone deserving of a front row seat always keeps the audience in mind.

 

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One Match

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The penniless widow sat in her dark, dingy apartment shivering.  Her few resources include a well-worn shawl, home-made candles, her favorite rocking chair, companion books and an unused wooden match. Most of her elderly friends are unable to climb the wooden stairs to her second floor lodgings.

A knock at the door startles her and pierces the silence of the secluded room. “Martha, why are you sitting here in the dark.  If you would just light the candle, the room would fill with light and you could see to read your cherished books.  Those books have always given you comfort even on the days when you didn’t feel well. You could then use the light from the candle for the flame in the fireplace.  It would warm the room.”  With great effort, the elderly woman turns toward the visitor with a surprised look on her face and responds.  “But if I use the match to light the candle then the match is gone. I may need the match for something later.  I don’t want to use it up.”

In astonishment the visitor responds.  “Martha, you are sitting here shivering in a dark room.  You could use the lighted candle to guide your way down the hall to talk with your neighbor and borrow a box of matches or a couple of candles.  Then you would have light and heat for a long time.  You could also meet a new friend.”  With stubborn conviction Martha responds. “But if I use the match it will be gone and I might need the match for something later.  I don’t want to use it up.”

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I challenge you to light your match.

Partners

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As an RN with 35 years of hands-on experience, I publish with a focus on health and wellness.  This posting will have a slightly different twist.  I will talk about IPV: intimate partner violence.  This describes anyone who experiences violence at the hands of a spouse or partner.  An article in American Nurse Today (March,2017) describes this issue as having serious health consequences.  Since IPV is physical or sexual violence or stalking and psychological aggression, including coercive acts, by a current of former intimate partner, some professions also use the term “domestic” violence.  This term however, is more inclusive and can also include child and elder abuse.

When a former loving relationship turns violent, devotion can be frightening, disturbing or even deadly.  The approaching signs of IPV are not often easy to detect.  Social isolation seems to be a hallmark for abuse.  The abuser initially tries to isolate the victim from any form of help or rescue.  This can involve monitoring the partners cell phone usage or physically restricting their social interactions.  The CDC (Center for Disease Control) states that IPV affects one in three women in the U.S. over their lifetime.  However, this issue is not limited to females.  The CDC also publishes that men experience IPV in 1of 4 relationships.

The U.S. Justice Department defines sexual assault as: any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.  Local police departments have similar definitions.  The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force states that women ages 14 to 46 years (childbearing age) are at increased risk.

Remember that intimate partners know each other well.  Therefore, when a victim tries to reach out for help, they are often shielded from health providers by the abuser.  If someone is reporting abuse, there is usually abuse.  Approach the situation with a non-judgment attitude and set the stage for a trusting and open relationships.

There are many intervention tools.  If you have a friend or family member who you suspect is experiencing Intimate Partner Violence – speak up, say something.  Keeping silent is not an option.  Silence will only continue the abuse.  Contact, and partner with,  someone who can help resolve the situation.

If you are the victim of IPV, it is a scary situation and can be a potentially deadly condition.  However, there are a few safety tips: make an emergency contact list, compile finances for urgent needs, have spare house and car keys available, talk with your neighbors, have access to your drivers license, birth certificate, bank account #’s, insurance policy #’s, and marriage license.

There are national resources available if needed:  National Domestic Violence Hotline 800.799.7233 – Stop Abuse for Everyone, 1.503.853.8686 – National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, http://www.ncadv.org

Intimate partners should be loving, caring and supportive – violence is not part of the agreement.

 

Ingredients

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I was overly hungry this particular afternoon.  The busy day offering little opportunity for normal meal times.  My blood sugar level must have been low because not only was I dreaming of something hot and steamy but also quick and juicy.  The vision of a popular food chain that specializes in cooking chicken to perfection, immediately pop into my brain.

Having previously eaten at this restaurant, I knew that there was one item on the menu which stood out as dreamily delicious.  My decision was made.  I headed to lunch with my mouth watering anticipating the delicacy.  Ordering the item only increased the flow of my oral saliva.  I sat at the table and slowly unwrapped the warm, doughy, flaky, moist biscuit.  As the aroma whiffed through my pulsing nostrils, there was only one movement left to perform to make this the most delicious “little bite of heaven” ever.

A small squeeze of warm honey melting down onto the flaky, moist biscuit would remedy my hunger pangs.  Picking up the accompanying honey packet, I noticed that it felt lighter in weight than I remembered.  Since I was half-hypnotized by hunger,  my lulling state almost prevented me from examining the packet.  I read the ingredients in shock – the honey packet didn’t contain any honey.  It was branded as “honey sauce” – 57% fat, 17% protein and 26% carbs.  Honey was not listed as an ingredient on the packet.

It almost stopped me from eating my biscuit.  When did this change?  Why didn’t I know?  When was the last time I read the ingredients?  I quickly realized that I couldn’t answer any of these questions.  Not only was I disappointed but felt that I had lost trust in an established institution.  It was a sad moment.  I sat in the restaurant and sadly ate my, now cold, biscuit without any honey.

Patents

pexels-photo-263337.jpegPatents are an official documents conferring a right or privilege.  This document secures to the inventor a term of years exclusive rights to the invention.  According to a report by PHARMA there are a number of prescription drug patents set to expire in 2018.

The National Pharmaceutical Services, the FDA’s Orange Book, Drugs.com, and The Center for Biosimilars lists over 26 nationally known brand name medications that are targeted to “go off patent” in 2018.

As we all know, there is a high cost related to medication today in the field of health care.  So, how much money is actually involved in this process?  The EvaluatePharma – World Preview 2017, Outlook to 2022 report, states that $194 billion (that’s billion) in brand-name sales are at risk during this period.  The companies that patent and sell these medications will probably forfeit $31 billion (that’s billion) in sales.

As you go to your medical provider this year and he/she writes you a prescription for medication, take a moment to ponder on the “behind the scenes” industry connected to the words written on that little piece of paper.

Medications, and the patents for them, are a big business.  It doesn’t matter if they are targeted toward generics, pain relief, easing respiration, erectile dysfunction, curing cancer, biosimilars for autoimmune diseases or diabetes management all are researched, developed, marketed, distributed, patented and sold by someone.  They are targeted to you and your medical provider to improve the quality of life.  Use them wisely but remember that there is a business behind the benevolence.

PENTIMENTO

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Pentimento – the Italian word meaning “repeat or change your mind.”  It’s appropriate for this time of year.  This idea suggests that you leave your stumbles for other to see – not for the achievement of perfection but for the creation of something better.

The artist Anwar Matisse used this idea in his drawings until a satisfactory design developed.  By practicing re-solution (to resolve yourself), drawing over or retracing our past lives as Matisse did with his art, we begin to see a pattern.  Whether we like or dislike the pattern depends on what we see in the drawing. This time of year is perfect to make resolutions if we don’t like the pattern.   This process is a return to our short comings chronically trying to solve ourselves knowing that we will never be perfect.  We make peace with ourselves, our past and our future.  By holding this thought in this moment we possess re-solution in our hands – it’s ours, it’s fantastic.  It’s a big, bright orb of our possibility.

So, when you view the giant, silver, sparkling ball as it falls in New York Time Square for the countdown into 2018, just imagine that it’s your Pentimento.

Traditions

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Having the unique opportunity of viewing the botanical gardens at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, NV is a true pleasure.  Every few months the staff work tirelessly to present a visual floral feast to celebrate the current recognized holiday.  Without regard to religion or country or creed – each worldwide ethnic traditional celebration is displayed.

Here in the United States we are entering one of our periods of traditional celebration – Thanksgiving,  Christmas and New Year’s.  These are our traditions, our celebrations of development, remembrance and new beginnings.  We express ourselves and our happiness by spending more time with family and friends.  Our gift giving and meal sharing is our attempt at making everyone feel happy and secure.  We want to party and encourage others to join us in celebrating our traditions.

Traditions are our link to the past and offer hope that our surroundings in the future will be stable and secure.  All ethnic groups have similar celebrations focusing on their traditions – it grounds us all to the past yet offers hope for the future.

Traditions, and the celebrations of them, are fast approaching.  We all revel in our ability to freely enjoy their dual meaning: the past the future. Enjoy your traditions and those of others.

More Time

Jennifer Brea was a PhD student at Harvard when her body began to rebel against her. She was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

In her TED talk launched January, 2017 entitled “UNREST,” she describes her harrowing journey through symptom management and finally correct diagnosis.  This debilitating disease stole her energetic, promise-filled life.

Her heart felt sympathy for the other yet unidentified people who carry the invisible disability is heart breaking.  Jennifer was forced to give up a youthful, promising professional life to a debilitating, little-recognized medical condition that will slowly cannibalize her ability to enjoy the pleasures of life.

She’s a beacon: a light that shines a path urging us to use our time wisely.  She thought that she had more time – time for: experiencing the pleasures of life, discovering the truths hidden in books, spending quality time with friends and family and earning an advanced degree at a distinguished university.  Jennifer has reevaluated her life based on new goals that are every bit as challenging.

She has developed a new voice.  A voice that will stand the test of time.  One that will give us all MORE TIME.  Her example shows us that by using our time wisely together and developing a collective voice we can integrate what we know into the challenges of the future. So, my challenge to you is: Check out Jennifer Brea.

Comfort with Life

20171005_123354This cartoon appears in a recent 2017 edition of Reader’s Digest.  Obviously, it offers a relaxed slat on life.  This  viewpoint is reinforced in a recent interview with Art Garfunkel (11/4/2017) when he states that he has reached a period in his life when he is “comfortable with life.”

Certainly, this is a broad term cultivated after weathering life’s many trials and challenges.  Often we wonder: “why am I enduring this horrible situation?” There seems no rhyme or reason for a negative or bad experience to enter our otherwise normal or calm life.  I am not a “bad” person.  I have not intentionally hurt someone.  Yet,  there it is – a great big challenge sitting smack dab in front of you.

So, you gather all of the positive coping strategies that you used in the past to overcome the challenge.  This approach works.  You know it works because it has worked in the past.  You develop a strategy, the strategy works and provides harmony in your life.  This is a path to feeling comfortable in your life.

As you work through issues in your life, instead of ignoring them, you realize that only by addressing barriers that challenge your comfort level will you develop a strategy.  This attitude becomes comfortable.  Being comfortable, feels comfortable. You like the feeling and want to repeat it.  You develop strategies to keep experiencing the feeling.

Before long you too are comfortable with life… Continue reading