Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Losing someone we love...

ARLINGTON, VA - DECEMBER 12:  Cheyenne Genevie...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

One of the toughest things in life is having to face the death of a loved one.  Of course we would all agree that when a child or young adult dies this is a tragedy, but the truth is that losing anyone we love can feel like that too.

Even when a person has lived a long life and you know the end is approaching it is still so very difficult.  Many of us who have had close relationships with our pets know that it is a heart crushing event when they die too.

In Dec of 2008 my grandmother (Ita) passed away from congestive heart failure- she suffered a lot in the end.  And although there was a part of me that was relieved that she didn't have to suffer any more, this other part of me felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest.  There were so many things I wanted to share with her (like my wedding and starting a family).
Gardenia jasminoides (2 photos)Image by Tatters:) via Flickr At my wedding I had all gardenias - my grandmother's favorite flower- it was my way of having her there and honoring her.  I also picked up sewing- she was a pro at that!

Then after that in January 2009 I had to put my cat Felix to sleep.  I had Felix for 14 years and he was my little love.  He was the most awesome cat and I really had a very strong bond with him. This really put me in a tail spin of grief and loss.  I remember days when I would just cry and cry because it hurt so much.

I learned a few things from this:
1.  It helps to cry- and to feel- even though it hurts so bad
2.  It's important to do things to remember them, to honor them
3.  Time helps to heal the pain- as long as you allow yourself to grieve
4.  It is important to talk to others about it
5. I found a great site that lets you create a commemorative page about your loved one (family member or pet- who many consider to be a family member)
6.  Don't judge your reaction- it is what it needs to be (if you are expressing it that is)

*I found this site when I was dealing with the loss of my cat- which was really about both the loss of him and my grandmother- what a double whammy!

I hope that it can bring you some solace if and when you are faced with loss and grief. And remember, don't ever be afraid to ask for help or support.

With love,

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Words of wisdom

Mother Teresa had it right when she said:

 Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come.  We have only today. Let us begin. 

There are many other versions of this quote that exist, and they are all very true and very wise.

We lose so much time over thinking what we could have done differently, or worrying over what is yet to come.  The fact is though, we can't do anything to change the past and we certainly don't have any control over the future.

Yes we can "get all of our ducks in a row" as the say, and I personally think it is a great idea to set goals and work towards them.  The problem presents itself when we are so focused on the future we miss what is happening right now. The fact of the matter is, all we have is now.  We have no certainly that tomorrow will come, or that we will be alive to see it.  A few wonderful things can begin to happen when we view life this way:

1.  We stop taking people and things for granted
2.  We pay more attention to the beauty that exists all around us
3.  We decrease our stress, anxiety, sadness

These are just a few of the wonderful things that can happen.  Oooh, I just thought of one more thing. For those of you who are looking for that "perfect person" and perhaps are feeling depressed that you haven't met him/her- this is the perfect opportunity to be totally present and not miss the billions of opportunities you would normally miss by being so stuck in the past and the future brooding over what went wrong in your past relationships or how you are going to be alone forever with 20 cats.

Let me level with you here- that use to be me!  I literally remember saying to myself that if I didn't meet someone and start a life soon then I would be alone forever with 20 cats- the "crazy cat lady".  I can laugh at this now, but at the time this fear was very real to me.  I was so focused on what I didn't have and what I wanted in the future I was suffering greatly.  I thought over and over again about how I always seemed to pick the wrong guy, and reviewed in my head the ways in which I went wrong and what I should have seen sooner.  I realized that being so desperate and focused on the future as well as what I was lacking in my life, I was willing to settle- which also meant that I was driving myself to the wrong guy again and again.  

Things began to change for me when I started to focus on the now, and I learned to love myself and be okay with the now.  It doesn't mean that the now is always going to be easy or positive, but as long as I knew I was going to be okay- I made it through.

It is wonderful to be positive and think of a positive future for yourself- many people will say that you can manifest a future that you desire if you think about it enough with absolute certainty.  I have to say that I agree with this theory because there is something called the self-fulfilling prophecy- basically it says that if you think you can or if you think you can't- you're right.  Our beliefs and doubts get in the way of a lot of things for us- even our health.  Now I'm not trying to say that thinking positive will cure you of an illness or solve your problems.  But it may just give you the hope and will power to get through it, to keep going and explore new possibilities.  For with out hope we are lost!

I wish you happiness, love and prosperity and may you always remember to be here now and not ever take this moment for granted.  Think of all those people in Japan whose lives were changed in an instant.  Their whole world was turned upside down, and many people were killed or someone they loved was killed.  What happened to their plans and what if they were so focused on the future they forgot to live now?  It is wonderful to have nice things, but our relationships with each other are far more important- don't wast today thinking about tomorrow or yesterday- be here now!  

Live now, and live fully!

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Triangle of Life- Important

My mom sent me this article- it is pretty amazing and important!

I want to check out the movie they made.  It seems a little odd at first, but actually does make sense!

My name is Doug Copp. I am the Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager of the American Rescue Team International (ARTI), the world’s most experienced rescue team. The information in this article will save lives in an earthquake.
I have crawled inside 875 collapsed buildings, worked with rescue teams from 60 countries, founded rescue teams in several countries, and I am a member of many rescue teams from many countries.
I was the United Nations expert in Disaster Mitigation for two years. I have worked at every major disaster in the world since 1985, except for simultaneous disasters.
The first building I ever crawled inside of was a school in Mexico City during the 1985 earthquake. Every child was under its desk. Every child was crushed to the thickness of their bones. They could have survived by lying down next to their desks in the aisles. It was obscene, unnecessary and I wondered why the children were not in the aisles. I didn’t at the time know
that the children were told to hide under something. I am amazed that even today schools are still using the ?Duck and Cover? instructions- telling the children to squat under their desks with their heads bowed and covered with their hands. This was the technique used in the Mexico City school.
Simply stated, when buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings falling upon the objects or furniture inside crushes these objects, leaving a space or void next to them. This space is what I call the ‘triangle of life’. The larger the object, the stronger, the less it will compact. The less the
object compacts, the larger the void, the greater the probability that the person who is using this void for safety will not be injured. The next time you watch collapsed buildings, on television, count the ‘triangles’ you see formed. They are everywhere. It is the most common shape, you will see, in a collapsed building.
1) Almost everyone who simply ‘ducks and covers’ when buildings collapse ARE CRUSHED TO DEATH. People who get under objects, like desks or cars, are crushed.
2) Cats, dogs and babies often naturally curl up in the fetal position. You should too in an  earthquake. It is a natural safety/survival instinct. That position helps you survive in a smaller void. Get next to an object, next to a sofa, next to a large bulky object that will compress slightly but leave a void next to it.
3) Wooden buildings are the safest type of construction to be in during an earthquake. Wood is flexible and moves with the force of the earthquake. If the wooden building does collapse, large survival voids are created. Also, the wooden building has less concentrated, crushing weight. Brick buildings will break into individual bricks. Bricks will cause many injuries but less
squashed bodies than concrete slabs. Concrete slab buildings are the most dangerous during an earthquake.
4) If you are in bed during the night and an earthquake occurs, simply roll off the bed. A safe void will exist around the bed. Hotels can achieve a much greater survival rate in earthquakes, simply by posting a sign on the back of the door of every room telling occupants to lie down on the floor, next to the bottom of the bed during an earthquake.
5) If an earthquake happens and you cannot easily escape by getting out the door or window, then lie down and curl up in the fetal position next to a sofa, or large chair.
6) Almost everyone who gets under a doorway when buildings collapse is killed. How? If you stand under a doorway and the doorjamb falls forward or backward you will be crushed by the ceiling above. If the door jam falls sideways you will be cut in half by the doorway. In either case, you will be killed!
7) Never go to the stairs. The stairs have a different ‘moment of frequency (they swing separately from the main part of the building). The stairs and remainder of the building continuously bump into each other until structural failure of the stairs takes place. The people who get on stairs before they fail are chopped up by the stair treads ? horribly mutilated. Even if the building doesn’t collapse, stay away from the stairs. The stairs are a likely part of the building to be damaged. Even if the stairs are not collapsed by the earthquake, they may collapse later when overloaded by fleeing people. They should always be checked for safety, even when the rest
of the building is not damaged.
8 ) Get Near the Outer Walls Of Buildings Or Outside Of Them If Possible – It is much better to be near the outside of the building rather than the interior. The farther inside you are from the outside perimeter of the building the greater the probability that your escape route will be blocked.
9) People inside of their vehicles are crushed when the road above falls in an earthquake and crushes their vehicles; which is exactly what happened with the slabs between the decks of the Nimitz Freeway. The victims of the San Francisco earthquake all stayed inside of their vehicles. They were all killed. They could have easily survived by getting out and lying in the
fetal position next to their vehicles. Everyone killed would have survived if they had been able to get out of their cars and sit or lie next to them. All the crushed cars had voids 3 feet high next to them, except for the cars that had columns fall directly across them.
10) I discovered, while crawling inside of collapsed newspaper offices and other offices with a lot of paper, that paper does not compact. Large voids are found surrounding stacks of paper.
In 1996 we made a film, which proved my survival methodology to be correct. The Turkish Federal Government, City of Istanbul , University of Istanbul Case Productions and ARTI cooperated to film this practical, scientific test. We collapsed a school and a home with 20 mannequins inside. Ten mannequins did ‘duck and cover,’ and ten mannequins I used in my ‘triangle of life’ survival method. After the simulated earthquake collapse we crawled through the rubble and entered the building to film and document the results.
The film, in which I practiced my survival techniques under directly observable, scientific conditions, relevant to building collapse, showed there would have been zero percent survival for those doing duck and cover.
There would likely have been 100 percent survivability for people using my method of the ‘triangle of life.’ This film has been seen by millions of viewers on television in Turkey and the rest of Europe , and it was seen in the USA , Canada and Latin America on the TV program Real TV.

Wishing you all a long and healthy life,

Friday, March 25, 2011

'Make me feel important'

 Pretend that every single person you meet
has a sign around his or her neck that says,
'Make me feel important.' 

Mary Kay Ash (1918–2001) 
American businesswoman 

What an awesome quote.  Wouldn't our world be a different place if this is how we moved through it?  The sad truth that I have come to learn is that there are a lot of people out there that are hurting- tremendously- in such a deep place that is goes right through to the center of their very being.  These people are often the ones who lash out and hurt others, but they are also the ones who we clearly see, and maybe even choose not to.  They may be struggling with addictions or other self-harming behaviors. Perhaps they are drinking themselves into oblivion.

I know that many of us have had struggles, and many of us have not ended up in such extremes- although some of us most certainly have been there- either way, how do we have any room to judge?  We truly know nothing of a person's life and experiences until we can actually walk a mile in their shoes.  

In the work that I do, I see many people who are struggling.  Yes, it is very sad at times, but it also gives me great joy to know that I may be the person who gives them hope. To show them that life can be different.  My message today is to tell you that you can do this too.

Did you know that there have been people who were committed to making today the last day of their life (that they were going to end it all) and a warm smile from a stranger, a sincere "hello, how are you?" changed their plans?  It's true, and it has happened on more than one occasion!

What if it was you?  What if everything in your life was falling apart before you, and you didn't have the hope to go on?  And what if someone reached out a hand to help, or gave you a sincere, heart felt smile?  What if someone made you feel like you mattered, like you were important?

We are all important, every last one of us on the face of this planet!  Some of us have been so scarred and hurt in ways that are unimaginable- but we all matter.  Now, I'm not saying to go be friends with people who have done horrible things or abuse others.  But what I am saying is to take a moment with every person you encounter to let them know that they matter.  Perhaps it is with a smile, or letting them merge into your lane while driving.  Maybe it's just a friendly "hello".  Don't close yourself off into your own little world of friends and family- there is a whole world of amazing human beings out there.  You just have to be open and willing to see them.

I feel like I am rambling on and on here, but ultimately my message is to be kind to others and follow the wisdom of Mary Kay and pretend that every person you meet has a sign around their neck that says 'make me feel important'.  This trick will also help you go far in life- trust me on that!

Have a wonderful day,

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What would you do if you knew you wouldn't fail?

Really, what would you do?  What would you attempt?  How much does fear of failure or rejection get in your way of making attempts at the things you love and find passion in?   Here is the truth, in life we will fall (or fail, however you choose to see it)- but it's not the falling down that counts, it's the getting back up!

There is another great quote that I love- "Ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships were made for".

You (we) were meant to do great things in this life!  What is stopping you? Bills, responsibilities, fear... the list can go on and on.  There are a million excuses you could give as to why you shouldn't, couldn't and won't try.  But what I am suggesting is to say "F#$% it!" and take a leap.  Or maybe even just a baby step in the direction you want to go in.

There may come a day when all the stress and lack of happiness and peace of mind gets to you.  Perhaps it will be in the form of a panic attack, anxiety, depression or even a major health scare.  Either way, it's time for you to take action and take control of your life.  Stop living by the standards others may have (or you think they may have) for you.  This is your one life (that I'm aware of anyway), what are you going to do with it?

You never know if today will be the last day.  There are accidents, earthquakes, tsunami's, fires and so many other ways that people lose their lives when they least expect it.  When you go out, how do you want to be remembered?  Better yet, what do you want to see when you look back on your life?

Your life is now, so live it!  Be brave, take chances, you always have a choice even when it feels like you don't.  It is my belief that it is our purpose to find happiness in life- to enjoy this gift we have been given.  Most of us spend our days hating this gift, and hating this amazing, glorious body, mind and soul.  It is time to take pride in this life of yours.   It is time to start to love yourself- mind, body and soul.

Sending you lots of love (and hoping you will find it in your heart to find love for yourself too),

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Be Still My Friend

Even my Yogi tea bag sends me this message (as each tea bag has a written quote or message on it).  There must be something to this, if even Yogi tea says it, right?

I say, yes!  Now, don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting you turn off your brain and act by only animalistic impulses.  What I am saying is to trust yourself a little more, to get out of your head and stop the frantic thoughts that drive most of us to insanity- or anxiety (although they feel like one in the same sometimes).  It is our thoughts that create most of our sadness, anxiety and stress.  What is even more shocking is that our thoughts can lead to anxiety, sadness and stress that can lead to disease in the body (in the form of heart attacks, ulcers, diabetes, obesity..... the list goes on and on.)  Now I am not saying that our thoughts are the only contributing factors- but they make matters a whole lot worse!

Did you know that your body doesn't know the difference between a stressful, anxiety provoking thought and a real life emergency situation that requires systems to shut down and all kinds of hormones and chemicals to be released in your body?  So our thoughts about something anxiety provoking have the same reaction on your body that being faced with a mountain lion that is ready to attack.  Now what do you imagine being in that state- ALL THE TIME will do to you?  Stomach issues, panic attacks (feels like your going to have a heart attack), actual heart attacks, spike in blood sugar, your hair can fall out, skin break outs, hives/ rashes, etc., etc.

So my advice...

Take some time to breathe and do things to de-stress.   Find a way to get out of your head- go for a walk or run, paint, play some music, dance, go for a bike ride, take a class, BREATHE!  If I can encourage you to take one full deep breath every ten minutes, or even every hour- even that will help.  It would be great to have a goal to take a deep breath every time you take a breath-  but lets be real- for some of us, that is a long way off.  So how about today you just take a deep breath right now, and when you can remember to throughout the day.  When you do this, notice all that you are missing around you- the beautiful sky outside, the sound of a bird, a friendly smile- or even perhaps a clear view to the solution you have been looking for.

Give your mind a break, and it actually may start working for you even more productively than it already does.

Here is a great prayer I'd like to share with you- for those of you who aren't religious, then switch the word "God" out with something else- either way- it is a very powerful reminder that we can't control everything, and sometimes we just need to let go, while other times we need to take action even though it might be scary or uncertain!

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference"

May you have the wisdom to know the difference and the courage to make the changes you need to make to find happiness and peace in your life.

With love,

Monday, March 21, 2011

Honor your soul...

This is my first  blog!  I am very excited about this as this is a great way for me to share my knowledge with the world.  So if you are looking for tips on how to have a happy, healthy and successful life- you have found the right place!

So I will start my first blog off with a powerful quote:
"Honor your soul and happiness will follow"- Elizabeth Cappelletti (me)

If you stay true to your passions, dreams and desires you will find happiness and peace.  Often times we lose sight of what we really want in life out of fear of rejection and failure.  We often lose who we are by becoming what others want us to be- or even worse - what we think others want us to be.  But what about what "we" want us to be?  That is what matters most.  Spend some quality time with yourself, and get to know what truly lies within that heart of yours.  Don't turn a deaf ear- it may just cost you your happiness!

Lots of love,