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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Thought for the Day: Sometimes you need to take a leap of faith & try something new. Perhaps you will discover The Next Big Thing!

     Today my blog is very different. It is longer than my usual posts, but it is also part of something bigger than usual. Last week, Rev. Dr. Sharon Jacobson invited me to be part of a blog hop called The Next Big Thing. I've never done a blog hop before, but I decided to try it & see how it works. The purpose is to help readers discover the next great book or author; i.e., the one they will be compelled to read or the author who's work they simply can't put down. I had never heard of Sharon Jacobson's work before, but her inspirational bent connecting her experiences with food to spirituality sounds intriguing. I am looking forward to reading something outside of the norm for me. Her current book The Zenful Kitchen, is stories about food, family, friends & life changing moments related to sharing food. It is not a cook book, but there will be some recipes along with stories about how food & good company has changed her life. Check out Sharon's latest book & blog. What is exciting about this blog hop is the opportunity to learn about authors from various genres & styles. Her work might be the Next Big Thing, or perhaps mine is. Who knows?
       Since the Wake Up and Dream Challenge is non-fiction, thinking about my work, based on questions that were designed for fictional writers was a creative exercise for me. It put my work into a totally different perspective. So, this week, I am going to answer 10 questions & tell you about how The Wake Up and Dream Challenge grew & developed into the book it is today. It also gave me some great inspiration for photos, I hope you like them as well! Of course, as always, feel free to comment & ask me questions to keep the dialogue going.


1) What is the working title of your book? 

     The working title for my next book is: Jack of All Trades, Master of Many. I am too busy letting people know about my 1st book to work on it yet, but the ideas are brewing! My next book will illustrate how people are accomplishing multiple dreams. Hopefully, my readers will share their stories of how my current book helped them become Jacks of All Trades and Masters of Many.

     The Wake Up and Dream Challenge is the title of my book. The working title while I wrote the book, however, was Wake Up and Dream. It was not until I thought I had finished the book that the title changed (and  then it took a year of additional work to complete the book). When I applied my own techniques, I realized that I wanted the book to do more than teach people how to accomplish their dreams. I wanted it to help non-profit organizations help others reach their dreams as well. I set out to find creative organizations that make a difference in the lives countless people. Since the book is self-published, I share 1/2 of the profits with these amazing charities. The inspirational stories of how they make dreams happen are included in the book.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book? 
     The idea started when I learned a goal setting technique that I began to use with my clients. Over the year I changed the technique & observed the way it helped my clients overcome all kinds of obstacles & transform their lives. I felt compelled to share their stories & the techniques that helped them with a larger audience. The techniques are simple, yet profound & powerful. It gives people a way to turn their wildest dreams into manageable action plans.

3) What genre does your book fall under? 

     It is a combination of Psychology, Self Help & Inspirational genres.

4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? 

     I only chose 3 of the former clients portrayed in the book. All of the clients stories are based on the lives of real people, but their appearance & other identifying details have been changed to protect their confidentiality, so using actors is not a bad idea. Here's a  a short description of each of the "characters" & why I chose a specific actor to portray them. 
     I could see Kathy Bates playing Jody. Here's a description of Jody on the day I first met her:
             "It was a stormy day when Jody first came into my office; her curly
        black hair was damp and frizzy, showing all the signs of the dreary
        landscape outside. Jody was an over-weight, fifty-year-old, whose
        wrinkled face made her look at least ten years older than she was....
        Beginning her story, Jody apologized for her tears and wiped
        her eyes, revealing the dark circles she had tried to mask with an
        overabundance of make-up. There was a proud, intelligent woman
        struggling to maintain her dignity inside this cheerless figure; a woman
        who never thought she would need to see a psychologist.
        As she looked around nervously, Jody stared at the door and
        seemed ready to bolt for freedom. Pausing, Jody tilted her head towards
        the floor as if she wanted her foot to stop tapping so that she could
        compose herself. In almost a whisper, she said, “I’m not crazy but I’m
        at my wits’ end. Sometimes I think about putting my head in a gas oven
        and simply ending the pain."
     I chose Kathy Bates for her ability to capture the shame, hopelessness & despair Jody felt when she first came to see me. The book tells how she regained her will to live & discovered how to thrive despite chronic pain. I believe Kathy Bates could portray both the depression & the joy, strength, & gratitude the new Jody exuded after she learned how to wake up and dream when she was "pinching herself" to be sure she was not dreamng.

     I'd choose Julia Roberts to play the part of Linda's transformation from someone who was trapped in her own self doubt to
a woman who discovered her creativity & power as a thought leader &  teacher. I had helped Linda's daughter in therapy, but did not know Linda well before she called for an appointment for herself. Here's a brief description of Linda's first session:
           Linda was a striking forty-three year-old redhead, who dressed
        in a simple ‘classic’ style. Her tailored suits were a bit conservative,
        although she always added a splash of color with a scarf or an
        interesting piece of jewelry. When she arrived, this bright and well
        educated woman sat stiffly on the edge of the couch in my office, as if
        she was afraid to get too comfortable. On the phone, she’d provided no
        clue as to the purpose of her sudden visit, so I waited patiently for her
        to tell me what was wrong.
            Slowly, Linda began to open up, but avoided all eye contact as
        she spoke. It was obvious that she was working especially hard to stay
        composed. She would slow down her words and take deep breaths,
        acting as if she were trying desperately to hide any signs of fear,
        anxiety or sadness as she spoke about her life. Linda had always felt
        awkward in social situations; this was how her ‘confession-type’ speech
        began. Her husband was a business and finance expert and, because of
        his occupation, he traveled for speaking engagements around the world.
        Even though Linda sometimes accompanied him, she tried desperately
        to avoid going with him whenever she could. In essence, she never
        knew what to say to her husband’s business associates. She felt as out
        of place and awkward as her daughter had in high school.   

      This was Linda before she learned how to stop living in other people's dreams.  Today, Linda is a lawyer teaching law & traveling with her husband whenever she can. I think Julia Roberts could show the changes in this combination of Pretty Woman & Erin Brockovitch-like transformations.
      For George, I had to pick two actors, I'd need a combination of a young Joe Namath or any of the strong ex-football players turned actor & Denzel Washington would work. Since I don't know Joe Namath's career very well, I needed to add Denzel Washington for his ability to show strong emotions which he did so well in his latest film "Flight."  Here's a bit more about George's character:
             George was a strikingly handsome man who
        worked out daily, and owned the muscles to prove it. His friends fondly
        referred to him as the “jolly blond giant.” Unlike most twenty-one year
        old men, George had known what he wanted to do with his life for as
        long as he could remember.
             His father had been an EMT and George wanted to follow in his
        footsteps. George had wanted to go directly into the profession, but his
        father had insisted that he go to college in order to get a well-rounded
        education. Impatient to get started in the field he loved, George became
        a volunteer EMT, worked part-time on weekends and had been looking
        forward to graduating in a few months to start working full-time as an EMT.
            A month before he came in to see me, everything in George’s
        life changed. A call came in for a three-car accident on Interstate 95
        South. He had responded to similar calls in the past, but this time was
        far different for George. An SUV filled with college students crashed
        into a truck, flipped over into oncoming traffic, and was then hit by a
        van. The only survivor in the SUV was the driver who was bruised,
        dazed and drunk.
            George couldn’t get the images of the crash out of his head. He
        had always loved his job as an EMT, but now he suddenly dreaded
        going to work.

     The contradictory combination of George's striking physical strength with the paralyzing fears, phobias & depression would be the challenge for any actor. Denzel Washington could also bring to the screen George's new found passion & purpose which ensued after working on his DPS (Dream Positioning Syatem). 
      I'm not sure who I would pick to play me in a movie. My first thought was Meryl Streep, however, I have not liked her portrayals of therapists in the past. Perhaps Susan Sarandon or Sally Field. Personally, I find most actors & actresses do not do too well as therapists.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
     This book will teach you how to 'dream it forward' & navigate your way to your dreams at any age regardless of financial, health or personal challenges.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

    The book was 1st self-published on Lulu. A new edition, supported by my new website,, was launched  yesterday! Here's a link to the hot off the press press release. Kiwi Publishing is my new publisher, however, I am keeping my publishing rights so that I can still share the profits with the "dream nonprofits" featured in my book. By switching publishers, I was able to significantly lower the price of the book for my readers without lowering the profits shared with the non-profit organizations.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
     The first draft took only a few months to write; however, it lay dormant for a few years before I decided to rewrite & publish it. The revisions & addition of the nonprofit profiles which I added took about a year and a half to two years to complete.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 

     It is part Chicken Soup for the Soul and Happy For No Reason.

9) Who or What inspired you to write this book?

    Witnessing my clients as they achieved amazing transformations & accomplishments inspired me to write this book. Before I assigned any of my techniques to my clients, I used them myself. I knew that they worked because I saw how they helped me expand my horizons, but I was not stuck before I began using these tools. When I saw how it helped people who had been in dire straights reach their dreams, I knew I needed to share them with a wider audience. I know that it is not a good marketing strategy, however, this book is really appropriate for people from all ages, educational & socioeconomic levels. My college interns find it can help them change their lives. People in mid-life crisis see it as a way to redesign their lives. Retirees see it as a way to find new beginnings.

10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? 

      Don't let the word challenge stop you from choosing this book to help you reach your dreams. Just by buying the book, you are already joining my challenge to make a difference in the world & helping others reach for their dreams. Although the stories of my clients are inspirational, the techniques are down to earth, easy to understand & accomplish. When you take the time to work on your Dream Positioning System (DPS) you will be amazed at what you may discover about yourself & your aspirations. The techniques will free you & allow you to consider ways to do things you may have never imagined doing before reading the book.
      Thank you again, Sharon! Can’t wait to read your newest book, The Zenful Kitchen.
Be prepared to explore new interesting authors!
Watch next week for these five new authors joining the Blog Hop:  Ashley Fontainne, a new best selling fantasy novelist, if you like dragons & fairies, you will want to explore her books; Smadar Belkind Gerson, a genealogist who also happens to be my daughter, published my grandmother's journal & continues to uncover hidden treasures of family history; Troy Lewis, tells the true story of how a stranger saved the his life & started a chain reaction which has saved the lives of others; Donnetta Quinones, a doctoral student in Psychology whose book is in the planning stages as she completes her degree & helps students reach their potential; & Bruce Judish, who writes historical fiction & critiques Christian fiction. You won’t want to miss reading about these wonderful authors upcoming projects. They will be joining the Blog Hop next Wednesday, December 5th, so be sure to check them out then. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving & 6 Mental Health First Aid Tips

As We Celebrate Thanksgiving, many people are still struggling with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy
Thought for the Day: The day before Thanksgiving I was interviewed on a radio show, "Pay It Forward" with Josephine Geraci on how to cope with the trauma of Hurricane Sandy. Josephine lives on Long Island & grew up in Staten Island. She contacted me on Monday to ask that I come on the show & offer some advice to help all the people on the east coast who have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Although my schedule was filled with pre-holiday minutia, I agreed to do the broadcast. To me it felt like the perfect way to give to others just before the Thanksgiving weekend which is very hard following such devastation. Because of the short notice, many people did not get to listen in live, however the broadcast can be downloaded here:

As part of the show, I offered some tips to help people deal with the aftermath this & any trauma. I thought I'd share some of the tips here. On the 1 hour radio show, you can hear more about how you can help yourself, your family, friends,  children, neighbors & co-workers deal with the stresses that arise due to trauma. 
Picture of the home of another facebook friend

The picture on the right was from a facebook "friend" whom I've never met. It is heartbreaking to imagine having to sort through a lifetime of belongings, photos & mementos & to tear down homes they have built & cared for for years. Often we don't know what to say or do to support them. On the show, we discuss what you can do to help yourself & your loved ones.  

One of the psychologists/authors that I have "met" via linkedIn & facebook wrote to apologize that she could not listen in because she is too busy packing, packing, packing. I wrote back & found out that her house needs to be gutted. I was able to extend some words of support to her. We are all able to do something, little things can mean a lot to those who have been impacted. Here are a summary of some of the Mental Health tips I gave on the show.
Post Trauma Mental Health First Aid Tips
      1) Talk to people about the traumatic events. It is therapeutic even if it feels repetitious. It also allows others to support you. Know that holidays will be hard & try to be with people especially during the holidays. If you don't know what to say, give a hug & just be there with them. Watch kids for a few hours. Bring food just as you might to help a friend who is moving or after an operation.
      2) Take care of yourself: make time to relax, exercise, eat well, meditate. When we are under stress we often push ourselves to the limit & forget to take time for ourselves. Ignoring our need for rest can be counter-productive & leave us even more exhausted, overwhelmed & less able to do the tasks at hand.
      3) Help others who are less fortunate, it will help you as well. Take a look at how one woman,
Vanessa McHugh of Queens, made a difference following the hurricane: The Pizza Patrol. Even a phone call to a friend to speak with them & see how they are doing can be helpful.
      4) Look for what you have to be grateful for instead of focusing on what you do not have. Take a look at some of my older posts: Whether the Glass is 1/2 full or 1/2 Empty Make the Most of What You Have Left or this one How A Motorcycle Accident and a Fire Rekindled a Dream.

      5) Be patient with yourself, it takes time to recover from losses. Although we all would like to put a loss behind us & move on quickly, our psyche takes time to recover from any loss or trauma. The average time needed to recover from major losses is a year. Grieve when you feel sad, don't ignore it. It will pass & lessen as time goes by.
      6) If you are having trouble sleeping, have headaches or other physical issues, or frequent flashbacks that do not seem to be lessening over time, speak with a professional. Even if you feel that you or your family are coping with the trauma, it may be helpful to get a mental health check up with a therapist to talk about how everyone is coping with the stress of living through a traumatic event.

I hope you continue to enjoy the rest of this Thanksgiving weekend! As always, I'd love to hear your reactions, comments & feedback. If you have questions, feel free to ask me as well. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving, Alice's Restaurant & Paying It Forward

Thought for the Day: Yesterday while driving home from NYC I turned on the radio. The program was playing folk music written for Thanksgiving. It began with a short clip from Alice's Restaurant & went downhill from there. I was amazed that there were no good songs for the holiday. So I decided to do something different this time. I'm posting the original recording of Alice's Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie for you to enjoy & asking if anyone knows another good song for Thanksgiving. I would love to have you post it here. If you can't find music, perhaps there are some great poems or short stories. Please share them.

It is interesting that Alice's Restaurant is also a peace song written when our nation was at war. I am thankful that our troupes are exiting from the wars we have been fighting, although I am anxious & saddened by the violence in the Middle East & the threat of nuclear proliferation in Iran. As we give thanks for all that we have, I also am saddened by the difficulties people are suffering in New York, New Jersey & Connecticut. On Wednesday I will be doing a radio show on how to reduce the impact of traumatic stress on children & families. The program, Paying It Forward with Josephine Geraci will air Wednesday 11/21/2012 from 10 - 11 AM EST at  & will be available to download after the show. If you listen live, you can call in with questions. I hope that this will help those still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy during this Thanksgiving week. It is one way of giving to those hurt more by the Hurricane than just the inconvenience of losing power for a week.

So send me some songs, stories or poems about Thanksgiving, listen in on Wednesday if you can & have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sex, Lies & Political Gridlock - Is Negative Campaigning Endangering Democracy

Thought for the Day: I usually try to avoid sex & politics in my blog, facebook & as a psychologist; however, given the increase in negative campaigning I wonder whether democracy is becoming an endangered species & felt compelled to write about it. Although you may feel compelled to write from a partisan perspective, please refrain from doing so. I have tried to address the problem as a non-partisan psychological commentary, I hope I will inspire you to question what is happening in political campaigning on both sides & to search for creative solutions to the problems addressed.

After an election campaign filled with negativity, I felt a need to encourage people to set aside their differences & join forces behind the government to start fixing the economic crisis that the nation is struggling to overcome. I posted the above photo (which I saw as an olive branch) on my facebook page & on 2 Bellaire High School Alumni groups that I frequent. On my page, people took the post in the way it was intended, liked & shared it 35 times.

On the Bellaire High pages the responses were strikingly different. Around 135 comments & "likes" followed. They have continued to appear daily on the two group pages. To my surprise, the photo & my original comment hoping for people to join together, triggered all kinds of partisan & derogatory comments. It brought up stories of conspiracy theories & mud slinging that I will not repeat. A few people tried to respond to these comments; however, the negative comments continued to come. I merely said that I was taught that regardless of which candidate wins, it is important to find ways to accept the results of the democratic process & find ways to compromise & work together.

Being a psychologist is a blessing but it can also be a curse. I'm not a political analyst, but find myself trying to apply psychological theories to understand the powerful reactions to the photo on facebook. I also began to wonder if the political gridlock in Washington & the divide occurring in our society could be somehow connected to the damaging psychological effects of political advertising.  To do this I did some research on advertising, although it is by no means comprehensive it reflects what experts in the field are saying about political ad campaigns. I encourage you to read some of the articles I reviewed to help understand this complex topic.

America's capitalistic economy relies heavily on advertising.  ($129 Billion on (TV, Print & Online advertizing) in 2011) On the presidential campaigns "this year, according to a fresh report to investors from Needham and Company’s industry analysts, television stations will reap as much as $5 billion—up from $2.8 billion in 2008."  That means that about 15% of the total advertising spenditures in the USA will have gone to TV ads for the presidential election. In 2010, TV ads for House, Senate & gubernatorial elections was $2,870,000. The 2012 spending on these races is expected to grow significantly. Certainly, the numbers alone in the midst of unemployment & recession are unsettling. One wonders how the advertising dollars might improve the economy or education.  However, the content & lack of accountability for it's psychological impact on our society is even more disturbing.

Is it wise to market political leaders as if they were products? It is common knowledge that "sex" & the image of popularity & success sell products. Our greatest presidents, prior to the age of television advertizing were not necessarily handsome or photogenic. Would Abraham Lincoln have been elected on his looks? If his marriage (or the marriages of other great presidents prior to the explosion of television) had been scrutinized would he have been elected? How would the camera or negative ads have treated FDR's physical disabilities? The camera was not kind to Eleanor Roosevelt, but she was one of the most eloquent & influential first ladies our nation has ever had.  In light of their leadership, America might have missed the opportunity to be led by many great leaders if they had been judged by their appearance & not their words & actions.

An even bigger concern for me is the blatant use of lies in political campaigns. With the myriad of ads on both sides & the lack of fact checking by the news media, it often takes months for the truth to come out about ads that influence the outcome of elections. In “Timeless Rules for Advertising and Marketing,” March 26, 2010,, David Ogilvy, advertising icon, called political spots “the most deceptive, misleading, unfair and untruthful of all advertising.”  Robert Spero reports that Ogilvy believes “political advertising ought to be stopped. It’s the only really dishonest kind of advertising that’s left. It’s totally dishonest.” (Robert Spero, The Duping of the American Voter (New York: Lippincott & Crowell, 1980), 4.)

The worst type of political advertising is negative advertising (a form of advertising that is rarely used in commercial advertising). The goal of negative advertising is to put an opponent in a negative light. Negative ads, despite the fact that they are often false, have been found to be highly successful at raising doubts in voters minds about a candidate they may have been leaning towards supporting.  Therefore, it can be tremendously effective, even if it does not generate a single new voter for the candidate who placed the ad. If it pushes the undecided voter not to vote at all, it is seen as a victory for the creator of the ad. I believe, however, that all negative advertising is a defeat for the democratic process.

Psychologically, it is better for a candidate to be on the offensive, rather than on the defensive. So, there is an advantage to a politician to be the first to attack an opponent with a negative ad. Quick response is important as well. The cost of responding to a negative ad continues to increase the cost of political advertising. Therefore, the candidate with the most money has the advantage, regardless of whether the negative ad is true or bogus. As voters, do we want our elected officials to buy our votes by lying about their opponents? Do we want good candidates to lose elections due to false accusations that only see the light of day months after the election?

Posted on Facebook on the day of the election
Not only do negative ads influence the outcome of elections, according to Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols negative television advertising accentuates, "extends and enhances" the problem of citizen apathy. A study by Stephen Ansolabehere and Shanto Iyengar demonstrated that the "main consequence of negative ads is that it demobilizes citizens and turns them off from electoral politics, if not public and civic life altogether." The trend is toward “a political implosion of apathy and withdrawal.” (Stephen Ansolabehere and Shanto Iyengar, Going Negative (New York: The Free Press, 1995), 11–12.) Can democracy survive with apathetic citizens? Are we in danger of making people feel that their vote does not matter & that their leaders are not trustworthy? Is negative political advertising simply propaganda encouraging prejudice & dividing our society?

Many people assume that the news media will "fact check" the ads & inform the public about the "truth."  Unfortunately, this is not the case. Instead, reporters tend to report on the negative controversial ads as sources for news stories. McChensey & Nichols report that one study found that only 1% of TV news campaign stories critique any political advertising. If a candidate wants air time on the news programs, they need to buy ads & make them controversial. Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols conclude that "television journalism has all but abandoned its duty to provide some sort of balance or corrective to political advertising... They are part of the problem, not the solution."

As far as I know, we know very little about the residual effects of being bombarded with negative ads. As a psychologist, this effect is of concern to me.  Are all Americans, Democrats & Republicans, having been exposed to negative & untruthful ads continuing to act as if the ads are true. Could this play a part in the gridlock we see in Washington? Does the conscious & unconscious residue from the powerful negative ads continue to encourage both sides to be polarized against one another? Has it led to increased apathy & distrust of our leaders on the part of voters & politicians alike? CNN reported from the Center for the Study of the American Electorate, that the 2012 voter turnout was 57.5% of all eligible voters, compared to 62.3% who voted in 2008 and 60.4% who cast ballots in 2004. Voter turnout was only slightly higher than in 2000, the turnout rate was 54.2%. An estimated 126 million people voted in the 2012 election. Ninety three million eligible citizens did not cast ballots. Although the depressed economy may also have led to lower voter turnout, is negative ad campaigning making it worse? For democracy to work, all citizens need to be involved, educated & believe in the process. As negative advertizing budgets have increased, gridlock, polarization of politics & apathy of many voters have also increased.

If the advertising community itself believes political advertising should be stopped, should we not at least demand more scrutiny of political ads accuracy & accountability? We have regulated advertising for products & have magazines to help consumers choose between products. However, there is no "Consumer Reports" magazine to help voters check the accuracy of political ads. I don't have the answers, but the questions are important ones for us to address regardless of our political leaning if we are to find a way to address this important issue.

As always, I would love to hear your opinions & ideas to find ways to increase respect, end the gridlock & find ways to make sure both the democratic process thrives & our great nation prospers.

Monday, November 5, 2012

If Nature Was A Mother There Would Be No Hurricanes

Thought for the day: Having just had my electricity restored late last night, I am just beginning to see the images of devastation from Hurricane Sandy. I saw bits and pieces at the comfort station on the internet while dealing with the minor issues I faced on my property & with staying warm. I have been thinking that the term, "Mother Nature," is a misnomer. When we see the beauty of nature it seems appropriate. However, if nature was a mother there would be no hurricanes, tornadoes or earthquakes.

Now that I have power, I have been seeing & reading posts by New York Says Thank You Foundation & others in areas hit harder than me. Here's a post from NY Says Thank You's Facebook page today: "QUICK UPDATE: Robin Levitin and Jill Smilow made 200 PB&J sandwiches for us to distribute in the Rockaways and dropped off the box at my house. Josh and I just took some of the sandwiches to distribute to people on the gas line at 96th and West End Ave. The 4th car was a woman from the Rockaways who has been on the gas line since 6:30AM who asked me how many sandwiches we could spare for her to share with her neighbors in the Rockaways?. WE JUST FED 200 PEOPLE IN THE ROCKAWAYS BY GOING TO WEST END AVENUE AND 96TH STREET. Think Global. ACT local. " NY Says Thank You is one of the NPO's featured in my book & I am not surprised to see how they have jumped into action to help.

Today was the first day that I could reflect on what has been happening. Other than to be friendly & helpful when I could in my community, I did not have the energy much more than observe & write a bit on the blog & facebook. I found making photos with inspirational comments was the most I could do (two are shown below). Today, I spoke with some people about helping as a psychologist in my area & possibly preparing a video that could tell other towns about the creative ways they met the challenges for this community. I described them in my last post, but cannot praise their efforts enough. The small town of Weston serviced many other towns around here with meals, beds, showers, movies & activities for children, & busing for the elderly from here & the surrounding area.

It is too soon to report about it in detail, since there may be another storm in two days hitting the region with rain & snow. However, I will be telling the story in the coming weeks. Weston CT which has been hit three times with major storms in the last year & a half took over when nature has reared it's un-motherly wrath & nurtured the community with grace, creativity & amazing organization.

I'd love to hear how you & your town are faring & meeting the challenges that the storm has given you. If you are not on the northeast, how have you helped? Our maternal instincts can help our neighbors recover from the wrath of nature's un-motherly side.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Whether the Glass Is 1/2 Full or 1/2 Empty Make The Most With What You Have Left

Photo source:
Thought for the day: Before the storm I saw a similar photo which I posted on facebook. In light of Hurricane Sandy, the thought has additional significance. Be thankful that you still have a glass and that there is something in it. Some people have only broken glass and their lives, otheres have lost loved ones as well as homes & belongings. If you were fortunate enough to have more, be the glass & contents for your neighbors, friends & strangers. Adversity leads to creative problem solving out of necessity. I'll be sharing some of the creative ways people are helping one another here in my town, but I'd love to hear other ways you & your towns' innovative ways of coping with the aftermath of the storm.

As I reported on facebook, I was lucky. Although we lost power & are still in the dark at home, there is a lot of light coming from the town & neighbors. This is the 3rd time in the last year and a half that CT has been hit by extensive power outages. The last one a year ago left us without power for 2 wks.  Because of the extended power outages in the past, our town was ready to jump into action.

The morning after the storm a tree on my street was cut so that one lane of cars could get by. There were however hundreds of streets impacted by fallen trees. Yesterday, when we came to the "comfort station" set up at the high school, I realized how happy I was to see wood chipping & landscaping trucks all over town. I also saw CLP crews working everywhere I went. The license plates of electric crews were from KT, TX, CA and even Canada.

People are helpful wherever you go as well. On the 1st day after the storm while we worked to clear a tree from our mailbox & driveway,  a neighbor we had only met once stopped, brought their chain saw & helped us cut both trees. Since we only had a hand saw, they saved us hours of labor.

The town comfort station has hot meals for $2.00 to $5.00, hot showers, power strips & tables set up for people to use the internet, for children, the gym, a ping pong room, all the fields outside & movies are being aired a few times a day, & water is available for all to take. Last night, since the temperatures were forecast to go into the 30's they also provided cots for residents to sleep at the high school.

Today was the first time that I actually looked at some of the damage in other parts of the northeast & is is upsetting to see. I feel lucky that what I am dealing with is minimal. If you are reading this & can become part of the glass or the contents of the glass for people who have suffered greater losses, do what you can. Even a call & words of support may help someone get through these tough times.