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Who Is My Dependent?

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Kids
Who Is My Dependent?

Who to claim as a dependent on a tax return can range from being simple to very complicated. The IRS has tests that must be met for you to claim an individual as a dependent. For married parents claiming their children, it can be relatively simple. However, other situations, such as divorced parents, single parents, living with a grandparent, and other unusual circumstances can cloud who is eligible to claim a child. You must have the correct filing status. What do I do if the electronic filing is rejected because my dependent was claimed on another tax return? What tax credits can I claim for my dependents? Can I claim my child going to college? This episode will help to clear up the waters and answer these questions.

5 Tips To Ensure Healthy Gaming Practices

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Health & Wellness
5 Tips To Ensure Healthy Gaming Practices

In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially recognized gaming addiction as a mental health disorder. As a parent, you may feel worried about the behaviors your child experience around online gaming. You may also find it hard to create a healthy gaming balance for your kids. To help you out in this difficult situation, here are 5 tips to help you create a healthy gaming balance for your kids.

  1. Establish Limits

A Mott poll has recently revealed its shocking findings that most parents aren’t aware of the extent of their children’s gaming habits. Parents that know their children are gamers have reported that 54% dedicate three or more hours per day to gaming. Only 13% of gamer parents believe their child spends more time gaming than average, while 78% believe their child plays video games equivalent to that of peers. It is fine to have some level of gaming time and partake in some online gambling games so long as it is done with caution.

The poll also reveals that teen boys are twice as likely to spend their time gaming than girls. Meanwhile, parents of teen boys also admit that their child can spend three or more hours gaming in a given day.

It is important that parents limit screen-based entertainment for their teens to no more than two hours per day. Parents should actively limit their child’s playing time as not doing so may significantly impact other areas of their lives.

In order to successfully impose limitations on gaming, parents should not leave gaming consoles and systems in the bedroom. Most importantly, gaming expectations should be made clear from the start so teens aren’t left in the dark. It is also crucial to remove all tech gadgets from the dinner table. The idea behind controlling gaming habits is ensuring that teens don’t sacrifice schoolwork, spending time with friends, and interacting with family for gaming after school.

*Parents may also choose to hide gaming equipment in an effort to control negative gaming behavior.

  1. Disallow Violent Games

The jury is still out whether violent video games provoke teens to commit real-life violence, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Research has found, however, that teens who play violent games often end up lacking empathy and are more prone to handling weapons than those that don’t. As such, parents should help teens find fun alternatives to violent games.

There are non-violent alternatives to favorite games out there. For example, if a teen loves playing Minecraft, letting them only play creative mode versus survival mode will help reduce exposure to violence. Teens may love fantasy or strategy games filled with violence, but Common Sense Media can help parents find alternatives to these games.

It is crucial that parents are involved in their teen’s gaming behavior, but aren’t restricting to the point of suffocation. For example, parents may wish to see their children while they’re gaming or simply ask about the things they’re exposed to in the game.

About four in ten parents do their best to restrict video game playing. Usually, parents of teens aged between 13 to 15 will check maturity ratings on games to ensure they’re safe for their children.

  1. Know To Look For Signs Of Trouble

Parents need to constantly look for key signs of trouble that their teen is spending too much of their time gaming. Excessive gaming may often impact other areas of a teen’s life such as a lack of interest in other hobbies, less sleep, unfinished homework assignments, and less time spent with friends or family.

It is not uncommon for teens to play video games anywhere from four to eight hours, but this alarming habit often yields plenty of other problems. Apart from the non-stop sedentary nature of gaming, teens may gain weight, academics can suffer, and a lack of sleep may result in unhealthy behavior. It is important as a parent to act quickly at the first signs of trouble. Whether pulling the plug on gaming or asking for professional help, it is necessary to seek assistance in some way.

  1. Gaming With Parents

The ‘can’t beat them then join them’ mentality can do wonders for parent-teen relationships. Some parents may turn gaming into a whole family affair and that does allow a certain sense of control into the environment without becoming overbearing. When adults engage with their children using technology, it becomes a gateway to other interests and forms of communication.

Too much gaming is bad for any one person, but it can seriously impact the life of a teen. Parents should actively seek out ways to make gaming a relationship-building activity versus one that negatively impacts the life of their child. In fact, inviting other friends over for gaming sessions can make it into a social gathering. Many teens develop “online friendships” with gaming buddies, but this may make it hard for them to connect with others in real life. They should have the ability to separate their gaming activity from their friendships. A modern problem is that teens are having trouble communicating their thoughts and feelings as they’re too attuned to online interaction. Physically gaming with friends can help address this widespread issue.

In a hospital setting that treats mental health issues as a result of excessive gaming, virtual reality is employed. By giving teens video games and virtual reality, it teaches them to interact with peers once again.

  1. Create Alternative Solutions

Parents that have participated in a recent gaming study have revealed that they do actively try to limit their teens’ gaming time. From enforcing a time limit to encouraging other healthier hobby alternatives, most parents are aware of what their children are doing.

What many kids don’t understand is that video games are created with hooking people in mind. This means they always give some type of “reward” or “incentive” for spending more time gaming such as cool new weapons or a better score. Many studies and books have been written about the psychology behind gaming, and video game creators take advantage of this. Teens with attention problems or mental disorders are especially at risk for developing excessive gaming habits, which is why parents need to pay attention.

The best way to limit video games is to hone other interests. For some, this may be sports or group activities, and for others, it may be art or computer coding.

How to Prepare for Divorce: Divorce Support Guide

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Empowerment
How to Prepare for Divorce: Divorce Support Guide

Are you going through a divorce? Here is a good guide to help you in the process.

1. Do not Believe What You Might Have Heard

There is a good chance you have heard a lot from friends, family, co-workers, and tv characters. This “legal advice” should be written down then shredded. You should not put any value in such advice. Lawyers are used to hearing people saying “my friend got X amount of money in spousal support, why am I not getting the same” or “my co-worker got sole custody of his children, why can I also get it?”

It is not a good idea to let those who have been through separation or divorce to set your expectations when it comes to legal entitlements and obligations. You will often end up disappointed.

Each case has to be analyzed individually by looking at the unique set of circumstances: the assets and liabilities of this particular couple, their income, and the interest of the children. Cookie-cutter or prototype approaches don’t apply in family law matters. You cannot relate two different cases because the outcome might not be the same. You can still listen to and value what it is they are saying because you can know how they felt about the process.

2. Making Sure You Have a Reliable Support Network

During the divorce process, you are going to need a lot of support; both emotionally and financially. Emotional support can be in the form of counseling, a solid core family and friends you share with, or even an online support group. There are times when you might start feeling like the walls are closing in. When you have the right people in your corner who are ready to listen to you during those bad days, then you can expect to have an easier time. It is advisable to look at any form of emotional self-treatment because it is how you are going to find your happy place. Visit clarityclinic.com for support.

It can be a challenge to deal with the legal fees involved with Divorce and Family Law matters. Make sure you choose a lawyer who is within your financial means. Make sure you have a plan for financing their fees, upfront payments, and other related costs.

3. Choosing the Right Lawyer

The lawyer you are going to work with needs to be someone who is experienced and ready to help you with your case. Take the time to choose the right lawyer because he/she is going to have a big impact on your case. Different lawyers have different levels of experience and also different styles. If you feel like your spouse is going to use the “scorched earth” approach, then it might be better to look for a lawyer experienced in cases involving high conflict matters. A lawyer with a more collaborative style is a great option when you have a good relationship that you want to salvage and cultivate even after you have divorced.

4. Distinguishing Battles from the War

There are Divorce and Family Law issues that might come with a high degree of urgency and have to be resolved in the shortest time possible. There are issues that can be considered as “low-hanging fruit” because the fair and just outcome can be seen by all. It is important to resolve them upfront, even if it is on a temporary basis, as you wait for the final decision.

Talk with your lawyer about your priorities and triage the issues. The genuine impasse is going to reveal itself with merit, urgency, and priority assigned to your case. The remaining part will be about solving these issues.

5. Looking at Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

The court is not the only option for solving issues. The best way to look at it is as a final resort. There are many models of ADR out there and they are becoming more and more popular. This is usually referred to as “mediation”, and the forum is going to provide amicable, economical, and emotionally healthier ways for both parties to resolve any issues they might be having.

There are no limits on where ADR can be applied. It is going to be a good option whether it involves child/spousal support, parenting matters, or property division.

The Upright Zone

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Empowerment
The Upright Zone

The Upright Zone

When I first conceived of this article, I thought it was going to be primarily about what I had noticed about how my body behaves while walking. Now I see the observations I want to share go much deeper. So let’s begin with the simple version of this article and go from there.

In early 2018 while in Costa Rica, where Shya and I were facilitating our immersion courses in leadership, communication and well-being, I experienced something I now call the “Upright Zone.” Here’s what happened:

One morning, as we took a walk before breakfast, I was a bit stiff – my stride shorter than usual, one of my hamstrings achy. Shya wasn’t feeling particularly spry either, but as usual, we set off on our morning jaunt as though it were our idea (which it was) and made a point to walk with alacrity – an excellent way to bypass those “I don’t wanna” thoughts. Shya and I were patient with ourselves about our pace but at the same time we engaged in the moment, moving as if we were fully alive, not as if we were hardly awake. As we did so, our legs began to swing freer, our stride became longer and naturally, without effort, we began to walk at a lively pace.

On this particular morning, we headed down past the resort office into the gravel parking area, past the geese in the pond and over the suspension bridge. Continuing down the drive about a half-mile to the entrance of the property, we lightly tapped the bars of the gate and reversed course. As we walked, I enjoyed the sky lightening, with wisps of peach clouds turning golden as the sun rose off the horizon. We delighted in the flowers, the play of light on large green leaves and the flash of brilliant red set in midnight black on a scarlet-rumped tanager.

After we reached the end of the drive and had started back toward the resort, I noticed a phenomenon I had felt before but this time it was quite perceptible. As I walked, my belly spontaneously pulled in of its own accord and I found myself taller, in a surprisingly upright posture. I don’t tend to walk with my stomach distended so it was notable to me that my core muscles fully engaged themselves, much like I have purposefully drawn them in while doing Pilates or other exercise discipline. From this state I found myself feeling well and empowered, not only in my body but also in spirit. After describing the sensation to Shya that morning, I started to think of this state as my own personal “Upright Zone.”

I like that tall feeling. I enjoy moving through time and space as if I am not going anywhere yet I am fully engaged, alive and present. I take pleasure in striding forward while moving with ease. And it’s delightful to get a core muscle workout without trying.

On our Costa Rica morning walks Shya and I step out of our door and trick our bodies into action whether they felt like it or not. Tired, awake, it doesn’t matter, we play the fake-it-till-you-make-it school of full engagement until our bodies took over and it required no further effort on our part to keep in motion.

So, originally that was my point and the end of the story. Yet, I was surprised to find the Upright Zone late one night while on a subsequent trip to Oregon to visit my aging parents.

It was now late 2018 and just before Shya and I flew to Oregon, my then 92 year-old father had an emergency operation to remove a large kidney stone. Luckily my two sisters were able to be there to support him and my 93 year-old mom. My dad has such severe dementia, he didn’t grasp he was in the hospital, much less that he’d had an operation.

When we arrived in Oregon, Dad had just come home and everyone was exhausted. But then there were complications. He got nighttime diarrhea, which required helping him make multiple changes of clothes at night. On the second night of his illness, it was my turn to sleep nearby and be on call for the evening challenges. First at 11pm, and then again at 2:30, I was awakened to help him in the bathroom. Each time I needed to clean him up, change his clothes, then mop and sterilize the area. Then at 4:15am when he was sick once again, an amazing thing happened – I suddenly entered the Upright Zone.

As I was walking down the hall in those wee hours of the morning, in an instant, I found myself fully engaged – body, mind and spirit. The Upright Zone took over and between one step and the next I was tall and powerful, meeting this situation as if it were my idea, my preference – striding as if I was looking forward to what lay ahead.

As I rounded the corner into the bathroom, I recalled a saying I’ve heard from people in times of hardship or stress, “Just suck it up!” But that adage has always implied pain and suffering and working to overcome being a victim. I realized that I was experiencing a transformational version of sucking it up – no pain, no being a victim, just strength. The Upright Zone occurred naturally rather than following a self-imposed dictate to get over the moment and get on with it – whatever that odious “it” may be.

I’m grateful that I am a player of the game of full engagement, even in the times when life seems simple and undemanding. It has made things so much easier during life’s challenges and when circumstances become potentially stressful.

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, podcast/radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, Germany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here podcast or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Being Here…Too, is available on Amazon.comBarnesandNoble.com and everywhere books are sold.

Books by Ariel & Shya Kane

Aging: Future Possibilities, Fulfilling Life, Brain Health

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Empowerment
Aging: Future Possibilities, Fulfilling Life, Brain Health
Longevity is an accomplishment. Continuing to live a fulfilling, active lifestyle as we age is fundamental to our emotional, mental and physical well-being.
The decline in physical ability and mental acuity as we age are realities of the aging process. And, in the case of dementia, the cognitive decline* can be even more precipitous and pronounced. But can we engage in activities that promote physical, mental and emotional well-being, help us continue to live a purposeful and fulfilling life, as well as stave off or lessen the effects of decline. The answer is a resounding, YES!!
Furthermore, remaining active and engaged in our advancing years is an important legacy to future generations about the meaning of future possibilities.
1. GET UP AND GET MOVING: Regular exercise that elevates your heart rate increases the flow of blood to the body and the brain, sometimes referred to as breaking a sweat, has beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. Studies throughout the years have found there is a link between increased physical activity and reducing the risk of cognitive decline. This can include a regular schedule of walking, running, swimming, or another form of exercise of your choice. Even a slow but steady exercise for extended periods, like gardening, has proven to be helpful. Maybe this is the ideal time to commit or recommit to your fitness goals.
You can also find a new passion or explore an old one.
A 2017 article in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience reported that older people who routinely partake in physical exercise can reverse the signs of aging in the brain, but that dancing had the most significant effect.
The results were reported as a result of a study which compared people whoparticipated in dancing and endurance training. The lead author of the study, Dr.Kathrin Rehfeld, concluded that dancing is a “powerful tool to set new challenges for body and mind, especially in older age.”[1]
2. GET HEARTY: Taking care of your heart should be a priority. The same risk factors that we know causes cardiovascular disease and stroke, namely obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, can also be risk factors for cognitive decline.Therefore, adjust your lifestyle in accordance for a healthy heart and you may be helping your brain at the same time.
3. FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Eating a diet lower in fat and higher in vegetables and fruit may help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline. This is not as evidenced based as other areas, however, people who live in countries eating what is known as the Mediterranean diet, and many other people who have adopted it around the world, as well as another version known as the Mediterranean-DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), are said to experience a reduced risk of cognitive decline.
4. GET BOOK SMART: When the brain is actively engaged in learning it is not only merely keeping it more healthy and vibrant, it could reduce the risk of decline. There are many adult education classes suited to almost any area of interest. They are offered at local colleges, high schools, community centers, libraries or even online. This also helps staying socially engaged by connecting with others who have similar interests.
5. GET REST: As we get older, it is not always easy to get an uninterrupted night’s sleep. However, one should still try to get enough sleep so they feel rested. Lack of sufficient sleep can result in memory and thinking problems.
6. “DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY”: The words in the song convey an important message. There are studies that draw a direct connection between
depression and cognitive decline. It is important to be able to recognize if you are experiencing depression, anxiety or other mental health issues. If you are aware of having these issues, know you are not alone. Speak with your physician or seek treatment through other avenues. If a friend or family member recognizes that you are having these symptoms and opens up a discussion, it means the symptoms are significant. Appreciate the fact that they are concerned and are doing you a great favor!
7. GET FRIENDLY: The importance of staying connected with others cannot be overstated, whether it be family, old friends or making new ones. Finding activities in your community that you enjoy will help you stay socially engaged. A few examples: Always loved photography? Consider joining a photography club, Hiking or nature? There are many groups that offer nature programs. Walking? There are even mall walking groups, Singing? Join a choir, Teaching? Consider tutoring young people at an after-school program. Planting or flowers? Consider a local florist, botanical garden, greenhouse. Consider joining a book or cooking club or starting one of your own.
Volunteering is another way to remain engaged in your local community. it is also a way to give back while simultaneously achieving a sense of joy and gratification. A few examples of places to volunteer include:
· Libraries
. Political parties
· Hospitals; Nursing Homes
· Animal shelters
· Food banks
· Day care centers
· Places of worship: churches, temples, mosques
· Cultural groups
· Non-profits organizations
Consider seeking out an organization that is close to your heart. e.g., Diabetes Association, Cancer Agency, Alzheimer’s, AARP. Many websites list volunteer positions and provide training as needed. Opportunities to get involved are endless and many organizations offer info and sign-up forms online.
If one cannot get out as often as they would like or is possible, online activities is another a way to connect with others. This can reduce a feeling of isolation which can be tremendously beneficial. Connecting with family, friends, and online groups help to provide a sense of community. Social networking sites like Facebook help people stay active and engaged. online are other ways that seniors are keeping themselves active and engaged.
8. QUIT SMOKING: There is ample evidence that smoking increases a person’s risk of decline in physical well-being and cognitive function. The earlier one quits smoking the sooner the risk is reduced to the same level as a person who has not smoked.
9. PROTECT YOUR HEAD, LITERALLY: Brain injury can raise your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Protect yourself against falls, always wear your seat belt while driving and use a helmet if bicycle riding or participating in a contact sport.
10.BRAIN TEASERS: It’s important to keep your brain active. Learn new games or play your favorite ones: jeopardy, bridge, dominoes, backgammon, scrabble, chess, bridge. Work on puzzles: from crossword or jigsaw. Join clubs that highlight these activities. Learn to do something new in which you were always interested: a new language, playing an instrument. There are groups or clubs for many of these which would also keep you socially engaged.
10.BRAIN TEASERS: It’s important to keep your brain active. Learn new games or play your favorite ones: jeopardy, bridge, dominoes, backgammon, scrabble, chess, bridge. Work on puzzles: from crossword or jigsaw. Join clubs that highlight these activities. Learn to do something new in which you were always interested: a new language, playing an instrument. There are groups or clubs for many of these which would also keep you socially engaged.
If just beginning to consider these areas, it may be unrealistic to think of adopting all of these habits at once. Pursue those that feel the most likely to be accomplished from an interest, scheduling or availability point of view. Participating in these activities should be enjoyable and fun. If they are effortful and seem like work, it will defeat the purpose.
ENJOY!!!!!
*Cognition – Cognition is a mental process which includes thinking, knowing, remembering, reasoning, judging and problem solving.
[1]“Dancing Can Reverse the Signs of Aging in the Brain”. Frontiers of Human Neuroscience August 25, 2017.https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-08-reverse-aging-brain.html

Aunt Caily: A Tribute to Mothers, Even those Who Aren’t

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Empowerment
Aunt Caily: A Tribute to Mothers, Even those Who Aren’t

Aunt Caily: A Tribute to Mothers, Even those Who Aren’t

Being Here...TooMy Great Aunt Caily was my grandmother’s younger sister. My Grandma and Grandpa eventually moved to Oregon to raise their family but Aunt Caily and her husband, Uncle Gil, lived and died in Orange City, Iowa.

Born in the early 1900’s, Caily came to adulthood in an era when her childless status labeled her as a lady who couldn’t have kids, rather than being regarded as a woman who simply didn’t have kids. I sometimes wonder about the details of her life, things that I will never know. Of course they were never my business anyway.

When I was young, I sometimes confided in Aunt Caily, but like most children, I was mainly concerned for myself. I had little room to be curious about her. I never knew the reason why she and Uncle Gil didn’t have a family of their own, but I did know that she was special and they were both very loved. It occurs to me that perhaps she, like many folks, didn’t have a clue as to the difference she made. Our paths didn’t cross often. It was a long train-ride from Iowa to Oregon (she refused to travel by air) and our family only visited her on occasion. However, there are bright moments that drift through my memory when I think of her.

Diminutive in stature, feisty in nature, Aunt Caily had a high voice and she was quick to laugh. When I was in those difficult teen years, she came to Grandma’s house and I recall sitting with her on the couch as she asked me about my day. I’m not sure how it happened, but I confided in her that a lot of kids at school were doing drugs, “speed” to be exact, the 70s version of meth. I found it disturbing and I didn’t know how to handle the situation. I don’t recall that she gave me advice or that we came up with a plan or solution, but it was a relief to unburden my load to an adult who would simply listen and who wouldn’t “freak out” and call the school or take unwanted, embarrassing actions.

BakingSodaI frequently think of my Great Aunt Caily when I’m cleaning up after cooking a meal. She once gave my mother advice that has been passed down as a bit of family wisdom. According to Mom, one time when she was visiting Caily, they had pot roast for dinner. Afterwards, my mom did the dishes and as she was scrubbing the pot that had been used to make the roast, Caily came into the kitchen.

“What are you doing?” Caily asked abruptly, startling my mother.

“The dishes,” Mom replied.

“But why are you scrubbing that pot? Don’t be silly. Use baking soda.”

“Baking soda?”

“Yes, of course. Sprinkle some on the pot and let it soak a bit. It will lift the baked-on grease and leavings.”

This was a lesson my mother taught me – a little family legacy from my Great Aunt Caily. Baking soda really does lift the baked-on grease and pan leavings. I rarely have to scrub hard after I use my pots and pans. When Caily gave my mom that nugget of kitchen magic, I’m sure she had no clue that decades after her death, her wisdom would live on in me…and now you.

Most of us underestimate what we have to offer, worrying about what we want to accomplish in our lifetime. We focus on the “big” things, thinking that’s what matters, when sometimes it is the little, unexpected things that matter the most.

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, podcast/radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, Germany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here podcast or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Being Here…Too, is available on Amazon.comBarnesandNoble.com and everywhere books are sold.

Books by Ariel & Shya Kane

Life is in the Blintzes

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Empowerment
Life is in the Blintzes

“Life is in the Blintzes”

By Eric in Brooklyn, NY

An excerpt from Being Here…Too, Short Stories of Modern Enlightenment, Ariel and Shya Kane

When my maternal grandmother, Dora, was a child, she came to America from a tiny village in Eastern Europe. One of my fondest memories of her was that she made amazing blintzes, thin crepe-like pancakes filled with savory cheese. When I was a little boy I’d visit her in the Bronx in New York City, and we’d walk together to the store, my small hand in hers, to get fresh ingredients. Then we’d go back to her apartment and I’d watch her make my beloved blintzes. She never followed a recipe. Everything she made was by eye or by heart. The best part of all was eating them. My grandmother was a cheek pincher who loved me with food. And her food, from blintzes to chicken soup to chopped liver, was extraordinary.

By contrast, I hadn’t felt as close to my mother. While my dad and I shared jokes and a common interest in music, when I was in my pre-teen years, I decided that my mother was stoic, cold, and unable to connect with me emotionally. We didn’t spend much time talking and I didn’t enjoy her cooking.

Eventually I decided that I no longer wanted to be associated with the people in my mother’s family: Eastern European Jews. Their heritage, religion, language, customs, and even their food, including my formerly beloved blintzes, had become embarrassing to me. I conveniently forgot about the hard work and sacrifices my family had made to give me the life that I was taking for granted. I forgot how my mother had paid for things – my cello lessons, an expensive private college, and financial support she gave me when I was having some significant personal struggles – not to mention unwavering moral support.

Years passed and the gulf between me and my mother widened. When my parents moved to Florida, I never made visiting them a priority although my mom took the time to visit me. When I was cast as a professional actor in plays in Boston and New York City, my mother always came to see my performances. After the shows she would meet me, give me a hug and, before I had a chance to ask what she thought of my performance, she would whisper in my ear, “You were the best one.”

When I started to participate in Instantaneous Transformation seminars with Ariel and Shya, I saw that I had preconceived notions of my mother. I didn’t see her as she was. I saw her as I thought she was. That’s not the same thing. My thoughts about her were colored by a filter, put in place by my disgruntled teenage self who’d been insecure and desperate to fit in. Once I saw this important distinction, I was able to truly listen to what Mom had to say and to see things from her perspective. I saw her loving nature and acts, both past and present, because they were no longer at odds with my own very strong point of view. I was suddenly able to remember the hugs as well as the cream cheese and jelly sandwiches with no crusts. I even remembered when I went through my “purple phase” and Mom knitted me a purple sweater. It was well made, but in retrospect it wasn’t a great color decision for me. As a result of my new perspective, our relationship became closer and sweeter.

My grandma Dora is long gone. My mother is ninety-one and her health and memory are fading. She’s confined to a wheelchair and although her long-term memory is generally good, her short-term memory is nonexistent. She remembers my Dad, but not that he’s been dead for twenty years.

I recently went down to Florida to visit her. At first she thought I was a doctor, which was not a total loss. I’m a lawyer and a literary agent, but she had dreamt of my becoming a doctor, and to her I was. She told me she’d enjoyed my comedy show the night before (I was a standup comedian several years ago) although she felt I went on a little too long. Of course there was no show, but she was happy, especially that she’d stayed at my friend Oprah’s apartment. I was pleased to learn that I am close friends with Oprah Winfrey.

I wasn’t upset with Mom’s confusion. As long as she wasn’t depressed or scared, I rolled with it, going along with her reality. But she wasn’t eating and her nurses and aides were concerned. An additional benefit of my participating in the Kanes’ seminars is that I’ve become very intuitive. More accurately, I’ve allowed my intuition to override what used to be my denial and doubt.

Flat Book Cover.jpgI knew in my gut that blintzes would reignite my mother’s appetite. I asked the medical professionals if there were concerns about fat, salt or any other nutritional caveats. They said my mother needed calories and, at this point, any were good. I went to a deli near my mom’s house and on the way home, my car was filled with the familiar aroma of blintzes and matzo ball soup. Images of my grandmother’s smile went through my mind. I heard the roar of the crowd at Yankee stadium as we walked through her Bronx neighborhood. Most importantly, I felt the lineage of love that traveled from Dora through my mother to me. Unexpected tears welled up as I drove the Florida roads, far from New York City. I was grateful I could allow myself the pleasure of those tears, the welling of love and affection. When my mother devoured two blintzes and smiled at me, my chest swelled with gratitude for Instantaneous Transformation. My heritage is rich and full of love and life. In that moment, I rediscovered that life is in the blintzes.

This is an excerpt from Being Here…Too, which is available wherever books are sold as of November 12, 2018.

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYCGermany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here radio show or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books

Walk a Mile…or Two or Ten…in Their Shoes By Ariel & Shya Kane

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Walk a Mile…or Two or Ten…in Their Shoes By Ariel & Shya Kane

May 3: Walk a Mile… or Two or Ten… in Their Shoes

It’s so easy to judge how your parents raised you and how they live their lives, but only if you lack compassion for all that it means to be human. Take a chance. Set down your story and your need to be right and walk a mile… or two or ten… in their shoes. You just might end up being grateful instead. Callers welcome at Tel# 1-888-346-9141!

Listen Live this Wednesday, May 3rd at 9am PST / 12pm EST on the VoiceAmerica Empowerment Channel 

After this Wednesday, you can stream or download this episode and over 500 episodes on a wide variety of topics from our archives here.

You can also listen to Being Here on the go! Stream or download new and archived episodes to your smart phone or mobile device with these applications:
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Ordinary Things by Ariel & Shya Kane

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Ordinary Things by Ariel & Shya Kane

Ordinary Things
By Ariel Kane

Sometimes I feel silly for how moved I am by ordinary things – but mostly I am profoundly grateful. I wonder from time-to-time if everyone gets drawn to things in their environment – things that are spectacular even if they are apparently everyday events or simple moments. I would like to share with you an example of being here for ordinary things and how it impacted my life. I hope it opens up a possibility for a sense of well being in your own life.

In honor of their 65th wedding Anniversary, I took my parents on a trip to the beach. My sister Cathy joined us and we stayed in a lovely condo at Pacific beach in Oregon. At 89 and 88 years of age, my mom and dad did not feel inclined to trek down to walk along the shore but the view from the unit was spectacular and the weather was fine. While the whole trip was memorable, particularly since my mother declared it would be the last to the beach given their advanced age, it was a few ordinary things that have been etched in my mind.

On the first evening, my father and sister went to bed early and mom and I watched a succession of old movies – silly and dramatically acted in the style of films from that era that were still influenced by the larger than life style of theater and vaudeville. Throughout the days we spent there, we had turkey chili and omelets, a fire in the gas fireplace behind surprisingly realistic ceramic logs. There were flaming sunsets, semi-tame wild rabbits, sun ripened blackberries along the road where I took my daily walk, sea breezes and morning fog – all of this was great, but the main thing that moved me was an extraordinarily intimate moment, for all that was an ordinary thing.

On the second day of our beach trip, I came in from a walk and found my folks in the living room asleep on the couch. Mom was snuggled down with a blanket and a pillow and Dad was listing slightly to his right, his arm draped across the armrest. I paused as I took in the sweetness of the scene. It was likely something they had done a thousand times before, yet the moment was no less profound for its familiarity. In fact, the very ease of these two people, who I love dearly, was all the more stunning in its simple grace. Quietly entering, I sat in the chair across from them as they slumbered. I knew in my heart that they were closing in on the final chapter of their lives together. And then I saw it once again – the love, the simplicity, how they anchored one another even in repose. Mom’s feet were pressed against Dad’s thigh as he held one foot with his left hand, wedding ring glowing faintly. It was a perfect moment and I was there to see it, there to experience it.
jaguar
In the recent past, I have seen many things; the play of light on a blazing autumn tree, a jaguar’s lazy piercing gaze, a young child climbing into an enormous bin of brightly colored balls, my grandsons hair dyed in a bright purple Mohawk, a profusion of vegetables at the farmer’s market, a butterfly on a thistle, sheep being herded by a sheepdog that was being trained by a farmer in his field as they clustered around a horse, flowers of all colors and textures and the loving gesture of two people who have spent more time together than many people will spend on this earth – much less with another. I am happy to be here and grateful to have seen and have been moved by all of these “ordinary” things.

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Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, in the UK, Germany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here radio show or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their four award-winning books.  Their newest book, Practical Enlightenment, is now available on Amazon.com.

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Parents Are People, Too By Ariel & Shya Kane

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7th Wave
Parents Are People, Too By Ariel & Shya Kane

October 12, 2016 – Parents Are People, Too

Has it ever occurred to you that you don’t “own” your parents – that they are people, too? Tune in to this enlightening episode of Being Here with Ariel & Shya Kane and discover that if you stop referencing your parents for why you do the things you do (or don’t do) that you can be free to live your own life.

Listen Live this Wednesday, October 12th at 9am PST / 12pm EST on the VoiceAmerica 7th Wave Channel

After this Wednesday, you can stream or download this episode and over 400 episodes on a wide variety of topics from our archives here.

You can also listen to Being Here on the go! Stream or download new and archived episodes to your smart phone or mobile device with these applications:
Podcasts app for iPhone
Stitcher Podcast app for Any Device
VoiceAmerica app for Apple 
VoiceAmerica app for Android

Listen here!

 

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