Wednesday, August 29, 2012

5 Strategies To Keep Your Writing Productive

As I write this article I'm camped out in my den trying not to focus on the sights and sounds of "Super Storm Sandy" wrapping her wrath around all sides of my house. I had spent part of two days securing items in my yard that could become flying missiles, protecting my plants, and wading alongside other last minute shoppers collecting batteries, ice, and edible rations that would stay fresh in a cooler.
Distractions are a part of everyone's lives. Some you can choose to ignore. Others, like a schizophrenic Mother Nature on the warpath from all directions, demand your attention no matter what else is going on. The best defense you have depends on how prepared you are. As the Red Cross phrased it, "The more prepared you are you'll be ready before the storm and the quicker you'll recover after it's all over." My take from a business perspective is, if you plan before hand you'll be able to continue being productive throughout the storm and you'll be much farther ahead of schedule when your world calms down, than if you allow that time to slip by without working.
These suggestions will help you maintain a productive perspective, before, during, and after the squalls settle. Obviously, this advice may not be appropriate or possible if you're in a shelter or while in the treacherous throes of being pelted with blustery winds and relentless rain. But if you're hunkered down in your house, at a friend or families home, give them a try.
It seems like over the last year and a half I've experienced far more brushes with weather disturbances than in the several years before. It drives me crazy to sit in the dark and do nothing. These tactics keep you from watching the clock and will change your posture from one of discomfort to one of determination.
I know how inconvenient it is to be without electricity for days. I'm even familiar with the fear and dread of abandoning all that you own to evacuate, afraid of what you'll return to. But being a notch on the path of destruction from one of the country's worst natural disasters, yet ending up one of the fortunate ones, evokes an emotional combination of grief, guilt, and gratitude in me.
Grief, for all the heart wrenching loss and pain I see on the news.
Guilt, for being battered by the same tumultuous system that's been wreaking just about every kind of weather havoc possible across nearly a third of the country, throughout which, my lights never even flickered. In the beginning the meteorologists weren't sure if Hurricane Sandy was going into Virginia Beach, New Jersey, or New York. So it could have been us.
Gratitude, because with so much devastation being caused by tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods that literally have knocked on my doorstep but exited with debris left behind but no destruction. Why are some spared misery while others are inundated with it? I come away feeling that I have more to be thankful for than I can find words to express.
I now plan if I hear a storm is approaching so I can shift into alternative modes of productivity. I hope that the following 5 ideas help you get organized so you can sustain your productivity as a writer during the stormy distractions that you cannot control:
1. Be grateful and don't waste a minute. If you have a house, if you're warm tonight, if you can cook a meal, chat on your cell phone knowing you simply have to plug it in to charge it. If you're able to take a shower, if you're watching television while reading this article on your laptop, say thank you right now. If you complained about traffic today, got frustrated with delays, complications in your schedule, or computer problems, let it roll off and be grateful, as there are so many who cannot do the simplest of everyday tasks.
2. Don't dwell on it but accept that disasters of all proportions will happen. The best defense you have is in how much you prepare. Artisticpreneurs always have business chores to tackle that do not require a computer. If your electricity is zapped, light some candles, pull out pen and paper, brainstorm and let the ink flow. Touch up your list of goals, writing projects, and your weekly and monthly schedule. When things are crazy with deadlines, appointments, and phone calls, it's hard to fit in time for these items.
3. Something else that's hard to handle on a daily basis is reading. Catch up on that tantalizing fiction novel, that folder of 'to read' business material, or choose a personal development article or book to strengthen your mindset during this challenge. People read by oil lamps and flickering light for many years. You can do it temporarily.
4. Dark, depressing, and dangerous situations can lead to fantastic creative output of expression. Your imagination may run wild with emotion as words and images pour from your right brain that must be eventually shared to empower, educate, and entertain. Let them escape from your mind onto paper or a blank canvas. You may end up with something amazing, and the act will help keep your mind off of what's happening outside.
5. Insert batteries into a radio or CD player. Turn on a flashlight or just candles if that's enough light. Straighten a room, a desk, do paperwork, filing, or clean the bathroom. We all have some tidying up that can be done. When you cannot get outside and have no access to computer toys what better time to whip out the dust cloths, mops, file folders, and labels. Action keeps your mind concentrating on the positive motion of progress.
Like many others across the country, I cannot begin to fathom what those that were pummeled and leveled by Sandy are facing in the months or possibly years to come. We're a power driven society... touching, browsing, clicking, flashing, viewing and connecting. That technology makes it possible for people all over the globe to be affected by the devastating stories out of the northeast.
We're inspired by those residents who triumph over tragedy and the enduring speeches we hear from state leaders that are hundreds of miles away. I just hope that those passionate words of resilience, dedication, faith, and encouragement can find a pathway to the residents of those debilitated communities who need so badly to hear and believe them.
Jennifer Darden, owner of The Queens Empire, is an artist, author, and food, flavor, and alcohol pairing connoisseur.
Want to expand on these 5 strategies with 78 powerful exercises? My book is not just for idle reading. It is an action tool. I developed it for all those story scribes out there who have been distracted by life, circumstance, people, relationships, work, tragedy, mistakes, and unresourceful choices. It's never too late to get back on track and adopt a "Do It Now" existence.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Take This Self-Assessment and You Will Know for Whom to Vote

Introduction: The Undecided Vote

November 6 is almost here. The fate of the Republic could depend on your vote. Who is going to get it? Pundits continue to, well, pundit, over the greatest mystery of the young 21st century. Pundits are as obsessed with, mystified by the fact that you are undecided. Will you favor Obama, Romney or a third party candidate, such as Gary Johnson (Libertarian) or Jill Stein (Green Party) for president?
How can this be, the experts wonder? You have had so much time to observe and assess the candidates. There were three presidential and one VP debate, and on the Republican side you got to assess Romney dealing with the likes of Rick, Michelle, Herman, Newt and the Donald, among others. Then there were the conventions, a bazillion ads and a year or more of non-stop campaign stories in print/tv/and other media. I confess - I'm skeptical - I wonder if perhaps you don't enjoy the attention that the undecided identification entails. By declaring yourself undecided, you got to ask questions in a town hall debate. You are basically a minor celebrity. You and other undecideds are the folks who appear every night on national news broadcasts.
Whatever accounts for this mystery, the challenge seems to be: What will bring you to resolution, to a firm and final choice to go blue, red or something else on Nov 6?
Will it be on based which candidate you decide is most likely to lead with the best policies on Iran, Israel, immigration, Supreme Court appointments, the economy, women's reproductive rights, Medicare, climate change, green energy, the environment, separation (or integration) of church and state - what?
Well, none of the above, in my opinion. I think it will ultimately depend on the your character. Those of a certain character will definitely go with the president; those of a quite different character will vote Republican.
For your benefit in choosing, I offer a REAL Wellness Character Self-Assessment (RWCSA). After you have completed the RWCSA, you will know who deserves your vote.
Simply add your score, read the interpretation and your struggle is over. You'll know, based on the character analysis, how you must vote on November 6, beyond a shadow of a doubt.
If you, like me, decided long ago who you favored based upon the issues, the nature of the political parties and your clear preference for the personality of one of the choices, please take the test anyway. It will serve as a confirmation that you are indeed poised to do the right thing on November 6.
A REAL Wellness Character Self-Assessment
Indicate your position about each of the following twenty statements on a scale of one to three. Let "1" represent the strongest possible disagreement with the statement; let "3" represent unreserved agreement with the statement. Choose "2" if you don't feel strongly or are undecided.
A line is provided for marking your numerical assessment at the beginning of each statement. After reading the statement, return to this line and enter your numerical ranking on it. The line has been placed at the beginning of the sentence to make it easier to score the assessment upon completion.
All twenty statements begin with the words:
I favor or am predisposed to...
  1. ___ the application of reason and science to understanding the universe and solving human problems.
  2. ___ the enjoyment of life here and now while developing my talents to the fullest.
  3. ___ respect for common moral decencies, including altruism, integrity, honesty, truthfulness and responsibility more so than commandments or other rules based upon revelation or religious tenets.
  4. ___ an open and pluralistic society.
  5. ___ the idea that democracy is the best guarantee of human rights against authoritarian elites and repressive majorities.
  6. ___ a culture that cultivates the art of negotiation and compromise as a means of resolving differences and achieving mutual understanding.
  7. ___ efforts to transcend divisive parochial loyalties based on race, religion, gender, nationality, creed, class, sexual orientation or ethnicity.
  8. ___ support for the absolute separation of church and state, as affirmed by JFK in 1960.
  9. ___ environmental protections, even if safeguards temporarily limit job creation and access to energy sources that reduce our dependence on Mideast oil.
  10. ___ explanations about the world that are not supernatural in nature.
  11. ___ the right to privacy for all citizens.
  12. ___ adult freedoms to exercise reproductive choices with access to comprehensive and informed health care information and services, to express their sexual preferences, to fulfill their aspirations and to die with dignity.
  13. ___ the notion that scientific discovery and technology are the surest paths for the betterment of human life.
  14. ___ the idea that ethics, moral principles or normative standards to live by are best discovered together, tested by their consequences and amenable to critical, rational guidance.
  15. ___ a conviction that the moral education of children is best nourished by reason and compassion.
  16. ___ ending the unconstitutional practice of opening or closing public events with prayer or religious symbols (as well as opposing the imposition of references to God on currency and in the Pledge of Allegiance, participation in the annual National Day of Prayer, funding of faith-based initiatives.
  17. ___ skepticism about untested claims to knowledge while being open to novel ideas and new ways of thinking.
  18. ___ a disdain for philosophies/theologies of despair and ideologies of violence.
  19. ___ a preference for optimism over pessimism, hope over despair, learning instead of dogma, joy rather than guilt or sin, tolerance in place of fear, love instead of hatred, compassion over selfishness and reason over blind faith.
  20. ___ a commitment to promoting opportunities for all citizens to fully realize their best and noblest capacities as a human beings.
Scoring and Interpretation
If your score is between 20 and 34, Romney is your guy but please vote for Obama anyway!
If your score is between 46 and 60, you will want four more years for Obama. The president is your clear choice on November 6.
If you scored between 35 and 45, you really earned the title undecided. However, now you can go boldly forward, confident that the choice is clear. Your score reveals values more Democratic than Republican. Even if you are not thrilled with the president, the platform of his party is more in line with your priorities. You really should vote for Obama.
My own score of 60 puts me at odds with the president on many matters I consider of grave consequence for REAL wellness and the kind of society I favor. I much prefer Jill Stein of the Green Party and, if she had any chance, she would get my vote. But, alas, she does not so she won't. I consider the election of the Romney/Ryan ticket a potential catastrophe almost beyond belief. It's too bad we do not have another viable political party for those who want a secular government consistent with the United States Constitution and a president who does not feel he has to end every speech by asking God to bless everybody and to bless the United States of America. What the hell does that mean, anyway? Is Obama pandering to the pious prejudices of the majority or does he think a sky god of some kind sends a blessing now and then, if asked to do so at the end of a speech and what happens if a blessing is sent? It's maddening.
The Secular Coalition for America (SCA), a lobbying group that represents atheists and non-theists, released its 2012 Presidential Candidate Scorecard last week. The scorecard graded the candidates on scales of A to F based upon the candidates' public statements and actions in five areas and seventeen issues were considered. Many were similar to the above REAL Wellness Character Self-Assessment. Romney, not surprisingly got an F, Obama a C, Gary Johnson a B and my favorite, Stein, a magnificent A.
So, there you have it. If you are undecided, this should help you become decided. If you were clear and firm before, you might be clearer and firmer now.
All good wishes, be well and let's hope for the best, as we see things, on November 6.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hypnosis As a Tool for Weight Loss

With so-called miracle, fly-by-night diets often leaving people feeling defeated, using hypnosis to aid weight loss has started to grow in popularity.
This is because more and more hypnosis is in the mainstream media and news.
Unlike 20 years ago, hypnosis is no longer mysterious or misunderstood. If you haven't tried it yourself, you probably know someone who has, and it is becoming more and more accepted, even appearing in hospitals as a side therapy or being recommended for patients suffering from stress, depression, and even physical ailments.
Hypnosis is finding it's place alongside regular medical treatment.
It is becoming so popular, possibly because of its ease of use; because you can listen, lie down and zone out. There is no educational requirement, no work you have to do, it is also quite an enjoyable, relaxing experience.
How it Works
Hypnosis bypasses the little voice inside your head that tells you that you can't do something - i.e. your conscious, or logical mind.
Your brain will look at each previous attempt to lose weight, and it will try to use logic to project your past results as if they're indicative of future performance. If you ever want to have greater success, it's imperative to silence this voice, and to bypass it with the assurances that you can lose weight.
Since hypnosis works by communicating with your subconscious mind, you're able to re-program the way your brain looks at a difficult task such as weight loss. Of course, it takes more than just hypnosis to lose weight. Real, lasting weight loss is the result of proper diet and exercise, and an entire lifestyle change.
Hypnosis simply helps you to do this. It gives you a push to help you make changes in your life, to increase your willpower and help you to break away from negative and limiting habits. It opens up the door to a new kind of weight loss potential, one that had previously been hidden behind your own personal doubts.
When including hypnosis into your weight loss tool kit of proper diet and exercise, studies have shown that you are statistically likely to lose more weight than if you weren't using hypnosis at all. Self hypnosis is a great tool for weight loss. It allows you to conveniently practise hypnosis by yourself, in the comfort of your own home or even at the gym.
It's Not for Everyone
It isn't right for everyone - if you are looking for just quick fix, then it probably isn't right for you, but if you want to make serious changes in your life and are prepared to take action yourself then hypnotherapy can be an excellent tool to help stimulate your mind and push you towards your goals.
This information is brought to you from Natural Hypnosis, who take a natural, but serious approach to losing weight with their hypnosis recordings:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Worldwide Pollution Facts

It is no surprise that every country in the world contributes to worldwide pollution. From the most populated cities, to the Sentinelese islanders of the Andaman Islands, every living organism in some way contributes to the pollution that is exerted on the world. Today I had a discussion with a colleague of mine relating to worldwide pollution and the areas, including city, state, and material, that we believe has the most significant impact. After some going back and forth on what we thought was more accurate, I decided to do some research to prove myself right (ps. I like to think I am ALWAYS right).
In relation to materials, Artisanal Gold is the highest pollutant which primarily impacts the region of Africa. Of the top 10 list of largest polluters in the world, I also found out that lead in some form or process accounted for 40%. The most impacted continent? Asia. South Asia is hands down the most impacted continent in the world with 50% of the 10 largest pollutants in the world directly affecting S. Asia.
Now when looking the 10 most polluted cities in the world and the 10 post polluted countries in the world, there is no direct correlation between the two. What I mean is, you would assume the country that is the most polluted would have at least one of the world's most polluted cities. However, this isn't the case by any means. The most polluted country in the world, Mongolia, doesn't have one city in the top 10 list of most polluted cities. In fact, the two countries that each has 2 cities in the top 10 list are Russia and China, neither of which is among the top 10 list of most polluted countries.
The final topic we discussed (bickered) about was the most air polluted cities in the United States. Now being from New Jersey and relocating to California, I am constantly plagued by this reputation that NJ has acquired. Everyone thinks New Jersey is extremely polluted and "the armpit of America". My friend is from California so naturally he was defending his state as well. Although, I definitely consider myself a California resident now since I had decided to call this my home, it is difficult to overlook or argue against the fact that California takes the cake in that area. According to a top 10 list of the most air polluted cities in the U.S., California accounts for 70% of the cities. That is 70%!!! The only 3 other states include, Pennsylvania (Pittsburg), Hawaii (Hilo), and Alaska (Fairbanks).
So regardless of our disagreements, we both learned something. Google is awesome. I'm kidding. We learned to the world's pollution isn't the blame of one single source, but rather a collective effort of all nations.