Friday, May 26, 2017

What I've Learned So Far...

Everyone is here to fill a much needed space in life, whether it seems so or not. Some people are here to teach us a lesson, while others are here to test our own sense of character. Regardless, we learn from both through our own reactions. Some people are here to just piss you off. It's your reaction that counts. As I always say, you don't have to attend every argument that you're invited to. I didn't learn that until I was in my 40's. My reaction to a destructive situation may hurt me now, and I may voice my thoughts and opinions about it, but it's highly unlikely I would seek out revenge as I would've done when I was younger. As I've grown more mature in my faith in God, my relationship and communication with Him, the more I understand the reasoning behind all madness. People hurt. And hurt people hurt other people. It's just a law. But if those people can realize that their past hurt can be healed, or used constructively, life would be much more peaceful. But there's this attachment to the hurt. Some people find a gratifying sense of contentment with staying inside that dark sadness and pain. This is why some people would rather listen to sad music when they're depressed. It amplifies their own misery -- justifies their sadness -- like, "Hey, this song really speaks to me" -- it's about relating to their sadness. It's also about misery loves company.

People who have past emotions that still currently torture their everyday existence are dealing with what's referred to as "pain-body." Eckhart Tolle's definition of the pain-body is this: "The pain-body is my term for the accumulation of old emotional pain that almost all people carry in their energy field. I see it as a semi-autonomous psychic entity. It consists of negative emotions that were not faced, accepted, and then let go in the moment they arose."

This is why some couples will bring up the past in an argument -- something that has nothing to do with the present moment, or what they were initially arguing over in the first place. Someone with a deep pain-body may also seem to insult or attack you more, merely from feeling its existence from within. You're the target, but the reasoning is their own past emotions which are triggering their attack. Have you ever taken something out on someone just because you were angry over something else? I have. And these days, I catch it. It can come on so quickly too. There are some people who exude their negative energy to such a degree, that once you walk into the room they're in -- you can feel that tension -- that overwhelming sense of anger, dread or depression -- and it sucks you in. It's up to your own pain-body whether you want to dwell deeper into it, or slip out for your own well-being if you are conscious enough.

Negative thoughts results in negative actions and reactions. A negative will never prove a positive, however, a positive can always encourage a negative, if it's not already drained of its power. For instance, I've been suffering from anxiety and depression for a while now. It's mostly anxiety, but lately, it's been depression that has been attacking me. I'm grateful that I am conscious of my thoughts most of the time, but if I am not careful, I can slip into a deeper state of sadness, which makes me sleep 12 hours in one night. This morning, I woke up after 12 hours of sleeping and wanted to just pull the covers over my head and sleep some more. So I started to think about positive things: the beautiful day that awaits me, my cute little dog cuddled up next to me, and of course: COFFEE! So I made some coffee and sat outside and prayed to God about it. Just by telling God my problems (even if you don't believe in God -- the act of confessing and acknowledging the pain, is enough to turn your thoughts around. Your mind is extremely powerful. Remember, one negative thought turns into another negative thought, and then possibly into an action. The same applies with positive thoughts. I started thinking of the beautiful day, my dog, my coffee, sitting outside and praying. It snowballed into better things.

I'm still struggling -- but it's not a bad thing. I know what to do. Depression can also be a chemical imbalance, and it can also be circumstantial life occurrences in your life. Sometimes, God gives us rest through (what we think) is depression. The symptoms, like oversleeping, fatigue or just a lack in activities, etc... Realize it for what it is, and pray. It may just mean: HEY, take a break! If I am overwhelmed with too many people all at once, sometimes I have to step aside and take a breather. Too much interaction for me leaves me fatigued. I'm pretty sure I'm an empath -- I absorb everyone else's emotions and overall pain they're experiencing. I can try to help so much, but after a while, my entire body and emotional state is completely drained. But inside, I am grateful and happy in a sense due to my gratitude for life. It's just that I'm tired, which can be confused with depression.

Also, be careful when dealing with psychiatrists. They're quick to try and medicate you, leaving you with a week or more of no contact. It's not a fair practice for most of them. They're only human. They never seem to flow outside of their "textbook psychology" which is a conditioned mindset. Because let's face it -- every single one of us are different. We can't all be diagnosed with depression or labeled into a diagnosis that's absolutely meant to give a wonderful payday for the pharmaceutical companies. When a doctor gets kickback from a new medicine, it's time to rethink their sincerity of their personalized treatment. Luckily, the psychiatrist that I see doesn't believe in all those antidepressants that's being flung at everyone. He will prescribe an oldie but goodie -- but only if you request it. He'd rather have a constructive therapy session or give you some sound 'outside of the box' advice.

The best therapy I can suggest is a good friend. I've met a couple of really good friends this year who have helped me tremendously. We share one another's struggles in our daily lives, making sure we don't possibly drain each other. It's a beautiful balance. Always make sure you're not being an emotional drain on someone else. It's sometimes hard when you're going through the worst experience of your life, but in the midst of your friend being there for you, make sure you provide something back for him or her, even if it's a heartfelt thank you, and maybe a homemade dinner! Whatever you expertise in, show some love in that area. Friendship is a give and take. It should be balanced out and appreciated for what it is. Your friend is not your therapist. He or she is there to share life with you. That also goes for being with someone intimately, like a spouse or a partner. Make sure their needs are being met too. I know that at times I can be a pain in the butt to live with, but I am thankful for my wife and how she stands by me all the time. I try to be there for her, cook for her, make sure the house is clean and everything is paid for. But most importantly, I try to listen to her too. Between seeing my father fall ill and passing away, to dealing with another parent falling ill to cancer, it hasn't been easy on either of us. She sometimes finds me crying hysterically in the middle of the night in the living room with Kleenex crumpled up all around me. I don't know what I would do without her.

Although I still don't know why I'm here or what's to come, I know that somewhere, somehow, God put me here for a reason. I have a strange little existence here in this world -- not to be mistaken as a bad thing, but it is what it is. I would never want to change places with anyone. Whether I quit school or graduated from Harvard, whether or not I have a high profile career to just being a freelance writer at home, or even nothing at all -- we all go to the same place -- we all start pushing up daisies eventually. Our purpose should be greater than a degree, greater than wealth or materialistic things. It should be more about how you treated people while you were here on this earth. It should be how you treated YOURSELF while you're here alive and kicking. It should be about family, friends, laughter, giving, inspiring, loving --- TIME --- because time spent is priceless. A hospice nurse once interviewed 50 dying patients and asked them if they ever regretted anything in life. Not one patient said that they regretted not working enough hours at their job. They all said that they regretted not spending enough time with their loved ones.

Let that sink in.

Life is so much more than we think it is.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Nothing Is Impossible

Honestly, I never really knew how to shut my mind off completely. I practice meditation, I try to avoid stressful and unnecessary events that seem to creep up in my life as best I can. But something happened last week. The days before my vacation, I was dealing with massive heart palpitations and chest pain. I was sent up to the ER twice for these. All tests concluded that my heart was fine. I even saw a cardiologist. All is well. As soon as I stepped onto the beautiful property that we rented out right on the ocean, something strange happened. My entire mind shut off. I wasn't thinking about my work, about any stressful situations that were occurring or unnecessary arguments that had taken place weeks prior. It also felt as though my health improved as well. I didn't even obsessively think about my mom's cancer and what could happen. Mom was with us. We had a family vacation. Mom didn't even think about her condition, although she was in pain from time to time, but it wasn't as bad as being stuck at home. Her spirits were lifted. Something changed in her as well. There was no discussions about medical procedures or plans about 'what's to be done' about a condition that doctors can't even help with. It was just conversations about how great our life was and is, and how much we loved to spend time with the family. We had long talks about her past, her childhood, and her favorite moments while raising her four girls. I basically forced my mother to come with us on the family getaway. She reluctantly went, and then after a day or so, she never wanted to leave the place. It was that magical.

But the magic ended once I stepped foot inside my home. It was almost as if all of the thoughts that I had left behind when I went away all came flooding back. Even my aches, pains and sadness seemed to have crept back in. At the beach house, I went to sleep at a decent hour, for eight entire hours! I didn't have those myoclonic seizures as I do at home. I slept so deeply, that I was disoriented when I woke up -- that being a wonderful feeling! And now I'm back home and finding myself slipping off to sleep at 4am again. For me, it's a sign that I need a huge change. I don't even know if moving out would change anything at all. I just feel like I've outgrown this place, this town, this state. My wife seems to agree too. It's time to start looking for our peace, whether it's finding a new home on the ocean or waterfront property, or just doing something entirely different than our usual routine. Something's gotta give. I told her, "I want to see more blue and less green. I don't want a lawn anymore. I just want a driveway and in the backyard, sand or stones leading up to the water or docks." That's my dream come true.

I'll never forget the time we spent a couple of weeks in Montauk, NY. This place is just heaven on earth. When we woke up the morning of our last day there, we became very depressed. We didn't want to leave. In fact, we pulled over as we were driving home. We were only a mile away from our beach house. We stopped at this place called, "Lunch Lobster Roll," which is the place we stop at all the time to grab a bite to eat right before we unpack our luggage at the house. It's like a fish & chips kind of place. While we drove in, we noticed it was getting a little dark out. We sat at a booth and ordered our dinner. We actually spoke about ways we could just stay there -- not even having to come home at all. My wife could easily grab a job doing the same thing, as I can relocate anywhere due to my line of work. We discussed it as if we were ready to turn around and just camp out at some cheap motel in order to gather our thoughts before heading back home. The idea got way too big for us, and reality kicked in. This sea town we loved so much was just way overpriced and unrealistic for us at that time. One small ranch with 2 bedrooms in the Hamptons is like way over a million dollars. So you can only imagine what a house on the beach would cost.

I do believe that anything is possible. I still have hope that one day I will be living in my favorite spot in the world. Somehow, some way, I will do it. An old friend of mine said some encouraging words to me the other day. She said, "Nothing is unreachable." And then she reminded me of how her and her partner finally stayed at the one place they loved so much right on the water. "It's doable," she said. Something happens to me when I'm by the water. Something shakes up my spirit and calms my soul, to where it's no longer a world of stress, chaos, obsessive thoughts and craziness. I know that even though the shore may wash up a lot of happiness for us, it'll also wash away our tears and frustrations, as life as we know it is never perfect. I'd rather live out our imperfect life living on the water. For now, we're taking steps in making our one dream come into fruition.

Nothing is impossible. And if anyone dares to tell you it is, prove them wrong.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Revenge: Is It Worth It?

There are many things I focus on, some more than others of course. At times, I find myself focused on one thing much more than the other, to the point where it consumes me. Have you ever played a video game when you were younger (or even as an adult) -- and you found yourself sitting Indian style in front of the television set for many hours trying to get to the next level of the game? You couldn't even focus on anything else. When you slept, you even dreamt of playing the game! But what happens when things in your life aren't balanced? Other things in your life start to wilt like a plant -- they get neglected, and so, you lose all sense of priority. Everything else just dies out.

What are you focusing on?

What are you neglecting?

Yesterday afternoon, I had a discussion about forgiveness and letting go on live stream. Many people had some great ideas, and some people were adamantly charged with fuel for revenge. I asked the question of, if somebody hurt you or did something wrong, would you forgive and forget, forgive but always remember, would you seek our revenge or would you remain silent and move on with your life, regardless if you forgave them or not? The results were really fascinating and some people even opened up my own eyes about their higher level of forgiveness. I spoke about a friend whom I forgave, but I just didn't want to reconcile due to the toxicity. Someone said, "Well, it's been a year. Maybe that person has grown?" So why shouldn't we forgive, and yes, forget too?

Right before my father passed away from cancer, our entire family were incredibly tense -- emotionally charged full of raw feelings and sadness, and some of those emotions were tied to the past. I had a huge falling out with one of my sisters to whom I love with all my heart. We're incredibly close, and this was the first fight we have ever had since I was born! Many words were said, some that I thought I could never forget, but when you truly understand the reasons why someone is upset, and understand the underlining turmoil that all of us suffer from, then it's easier to forget the madness. I'm not saying that you need to just let someone walk all over you or treat you poorly, but in a case of a disagreement, it's important to know the reason for the madness -- the reasons why someone said what they did, especially words that were only meant to hurt, and not ones that were truly meant from the heart. Sometimes, people can say the cruelest things out of just being frustrated. After our feud, after we both reconciled, I literally had forgotten the words, the incidents...everything.  So did she. I remembered how "we" were and still are: true friends, family, sisters. That's all that's important. Respect. Love. Forgiveness. Nothing else matters. Of course, in our case, our love was stronger than our feud, which made it easier to connect again. But what if it's a feud with someone you don't love? That can get tricky.

Ah, good ol' Periscope. A community of travelers, entrepreneurs, inspirational speakers, Christian pastors, psychics, entertainers and of course, your bong smoking hippies. A nice mixed bag. Which scopes do you choose from?

So, on a personal note to a few of my live streaming friends, I will end my article with this statement. This is not to say I agree with what someone does or doesn't do. It's just my response for the many emails I have received to join in on "fighting for justice."

So hear me out...please.

There are people who are acquaintances and friends. Once betrayed, there is sometimes a need for revenge, or a "payback" to which most would call "karma." The focus can get so intense, so magnified, especially if one side has more people 'rooting' for the 'bad guy' -- it becomes a mob mentality.
Revenge is a form of primitive justice usually assumed to be enacted in the absence of the norms of formal law and jurisprudence. Often, revenge is defined as being a harmful action against a person or group in response to a grievance, be it real or perceived. It is used to right a wrong by going outside of the law.
I've gotten to know many of my live streaming buddies, who either entertain, inspire or present really great discussions on Periscope. Each person I know is so different in their own way. But along the way, there's one person who many disagree with and upset over the seemingly unfairness of a certain situation. What the person is doing isn't illegal, however it can definitely be seen as unethical. This person receives tips for his piano playing and show tunes while live streaming. Many tip him for his heart to heart discussions as well. These people are willingly giving their money to him. He claims he makes his money off of live streaming. Who are we to judge how any of us make a living? The only thing I brought up to this broadcaster was the questionable tipping from a woman who happens to be intellectually challenged. She has even made this known to the public in one of her own live stream broadcasts. When I confronted the broadcaster privately, he publicly made everyone aware that I was concerned about this, along with some harsh words about me, and of course voiced his opinions regarding my personal life and relationship with my partner.

But we both moved on. In fact, it was a calm and peaceful reconciliation. We didn't go back to "BFFs" again, but we moved on. That's what's important.

Although I still disagree with accepting tips from certain individuals, it is none of my business. It's out of my control. It is in God's hands. This woman tips him freely, as she pleases, because she loves him. As unethical as it may seem, it's also not illegal. This broadcaster hasn't "scammed" anyone. He states probably 1,255,975,889 times within his broadcast to go to his PayPal account and to give him a tip if you enjoyed his entertainment or discussion -- that is solely up to the person chucking their hard earned pennies into his hat. Nobody is forced to pay. If you have paid and have regretted it, then learn from it. But stop the madness... Move on. Your entire focus is distorted.

Also, if you are going to give him something that you specialize in as a friend, and never bring up pricing and say it was a favor...then it's definitely a gift. If you do not have a contract signed by the person receiving your services, it is a gift. If you publicly let the world know you helped someone out with their website design, or any other types of services, then it's what?

A gift.

This same person who has stated that now he demands $2,000 for his website services is also making claims of sexual harassment from this same broadcaster months later. Sexual harassment claims are serious. If you do not provide the proof, or report it while it happened, then you can be sued for defamation of character. Just because you're angry about what somebody is doing does not give you the right to take back gifts or make false claims. In fact, this person has become so consumed with his attempt for revenge, that his entire character has changed. He used to be inspiring and he would help people who suffered with anxiety and depression like myself. He was wonderful, loving, funny...and now, he's turned so angry and negative. He's also very disappointed in someone he once trusted. But when we hold high expectations for people, we're bound to get disappointed eventually by some.

What's more important?

Taken from a SnapChat video. I look like a mannequin! 
I'm writing this because I found myself consumed by reading each claim. I couldn't believe what I was reading and seeing on Periscope. I was so taken aback by all of the claims, that it gave me an anxiety attack. Between my issues at home and tuning into the negativity on Periscope -- I found myself in the ER getting checked out due to my chest pain and palpitations. I had to see a cardiologist, which turned out to be OK thank God. My diagnosis: anxiety. I also witnessed another live streamer who was caught up in some type of drama, who was also taken to the hospital for chest pain and anxiety. These people live streaming are real people. It's not just some type of virtual reality -- there are real people with real feelings on this app. This entire situation is so incredibly toxic, that I'm sure some of you have experienced that same anxiety that I had, maybe in a different way, or maybe you're now joining in and experiencing the mob mentality.

The common denominator: we are all human.

I was told in an indirect way, that if I was a VIP member of Periscope and failed to comply with joining in on the witch hunt, that I was just as bad as the broadcaster, perhaps even worse. Let me just address that statement.

You're wrong. I'm concerned. I'm concerned for your mental health. I'm concerned about my own no less. You don't have to attend every argument you're invited to. And if I choose not to, then that's my right. I'm worried that this has gone way too far. It has trickled into so many lives, so many hearts, and it has given people so much anxiety -- who's to blame? It's not all from the broadcaster, but from the inability to let go. If you truly do not like someone, or feel she or he is doing something unethical, present your case, but if it doesn't 'fly' or doesn't do a world of good, then let it go. Move on. If not, this entire situation will consume you to the point of losing your mind. You may even damage your own personal relationships at home because of this. Remember, indifference is the opposite of love. If you really don't care for this person, let him go.

Forgive, (forget or don't forget) -- but most importantly, learn how to let go, and let God. Learn that some things are just out of our control. There's going to be many people in your personal life who are going to betray you --- no less someone on live streaming on the internet who took $5 bucks because you decided to tip him. If you tipped him $1,000.00 or more, then that's on you. Learn from it, but please, let it go. Focus on your loved ones, your careers, your friendships, everything that life has to offer you. Focus on your health and happiness. Life is way too short to let negativity consume you. Remember, bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. I love that saying, because it's very true. Focus on YOU. Focus on your lives.

Please know that I am writing this in LOVE. I don't have anything against ANYONE on this app. I'm only concerned for everyone's wellbeing since I went through a helluva time recouping from this toxic mess.

Forgiving someone isn't approving how they wronged you, rather, it's no longer allowing their wrong to define you.

What defines you?

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Intentions: You Get What You Give

Back in 2003, I was trying my hardest to become a writer. I started a blog in hopes to get my thoughts out on 'paper' as well as relate to others, hopefully help some people out there on the interwebs. Months later into my blogging experience, I found myself looking at another girl's blog who happened to be featured in the New York Times. She was blogging the same amount of time I was and was offered a book deal. I frantically read her blog, page after page, hoping to find her secret to success. Her writing style was easy to read, which I like because I think people who use 50 cent words are kinda pretentious. The content itself was really dirty though -- pretty much trashy. She mainly spoke about her dating experiences, much like how Amy Schumer would describe them. I'll leave it at that. Everyone ate it up. Her blog got thousands of comments, where she needed a personal assistant to just help out with all the replies. This was before social media, so blog comments were the most important thing. It meant that your blog was important, or at least, popular and well liked.

In my mind, I wanted to know why people chose that sort of content, instead of something more inspirational, borderline controversial due to the LGBT nature mixed in with Christianity. But it didn't take long to realize that her content catered to the 90% of Generation Xers out there (which would be our Millennials right now.)  Nonetheless, I still had this underlining feeling of jealousy that I would've never admitted to. I was never I thought. But I kept looking at her blog, looking at the massive amounts of comments, staring at her new book, to which I eventually bought. I needed to do better. The more I tried to one up her, the more I failed. This girl didn't even know who I was, or that someone out there was trying to compete with her. My intentions were not in the right place, so I failed miserably.

Our intentions with anything we do in life tells us about our integrity. For instance, I remember going through a turbulent relationship with this one girl during this same time period. I remember praying to God just to at least have a friendship with her, but my true intentions were not matching my prayers. God knew that my intentions meant more than just a friendship. I couldn't lie to God, no less myself. So my prayer never got answered. I'm not saying that you have to believe in God in order to set your intentions -- it's a law -- bad intentions will always fail in the end. It's almost like karma: what you put into the universe will be given back to you. I truly believe in that, although, wishing for bad karma on someone else is just bad karma for you. So there's that.

In any type of business, if your goal is to screw people over in order to make your millions, eventually it all comes out in the wash.

Remember Bernie Madoff? No name has become more synonymous with fraud and financial shenanigans. A former stockbroker and investment advisor, Madoff pulled off the largest financial fraud in U.S. history through a Ponzi scheme that totaled roughly $65 billion. Arrested in 2008 at the age of 70, Madoff was put in handcuffs one day after he came clean to his sons about his company’s trickery, and his sons went to authorities with the information. He eventually pleaded guilty to eleven federal felony counts, and was sentenced to the maximum sentence of 150 years in prison. The Madoff trial ended in 2009, but defendants are still pleading guilty to this day. The effects of the scheme hit Madoff’s family especially hard as well, as his son would later commit suicide. Financial victims of the Ponzi scheme include celebrities like Kevin Bacon, Steven Spielberg, and John Malkovich. Considering the enormity of the Madoff scheme as a whole, he could count himself as lucky that he will only be spending a relatively small portion of his century and a half jail sentence behind bars, as time is sure to catch up with him sooner or later.

The day I started to do everything with good intentions, I started to get noticed by other websites, online magazines and publishing houses. I started making money off advertising and created a business of editing and ghostwriting for myself. My intentions were to help, encourage, inspire and to add God into every bit of my work. I didn't look at anybody else's work, and if I did, I was trying to gain knowledge or understanding about the craft of writing and social media. I no longer envied other writers, in fact, I wished them well with their goals, even those who have succeeded beyond what I could possibly imagine. My entire mindset was different, and so were my outcomes.

My point is, if you are trying to gain something in life with bad intentions, the karmic route will always slap you in the face. For me, it's God's gifts. If I don't have good intentions about getting God's gifts, then I won't receive them. That doesn't mean that God is going to give me the world handed on a silver platter -- I'm talking about working hard to meet a goal, but having good intentions behind whatever it is that you enjoy doing. Even in life, with family and friends, all good things come with good intentions. For me, I had to learn the hard way. I had to learn that I couldn't ride off of someone else's coattails to get to where I am now. I couldn't just "wish" for a writing career or magically create one because I thought I was better than "this writer' -- I had to go in full steam ahead with good intentions. There's no such thing as "good content" if done with bad intentions. You can feel the intentions when you're reading someone else's work. You can feel the intentions when you're watching someone's film that they've made. You know that the integrity is there and this is what makes art, writing, film and music magical. Without good intentions, everything else is failure. You get what you give.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

Emotional Self-Preservation

"I'm Sorry." After the last couple of years, and whatever it is that you may be personally going through, it's especially ...