This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dealing with anxiety from a writer's perspective

Over at The Writer's Inner Journey, Meredith Gordon Resnick publishes The 5-Question Interview. Today's interview is with Dennis Palumbo. In it, she asks him about rejection; it plagues all writers and creative types...and anyone who has something to sell. If your job requires you to ask someone to buy something from you, you have to admit, they could--and often do--say no.

Palumbo, author of Writing from the Inside Out: Transforming Your Psychological Blocks to Release the Writer Within and former Hollywood screenwriter who wrote for the popular '70s TV show, "Welcome Back Kotter," has good common sense on how to deal with that, which you might like to read on Meredith's blog (just click on "Today's interview" above).

But here, I wanted to write about what I read further in. Resnick asks Palumbo about the side of ourselves, what she refers to as the "shadow side," that is "riddled with fear and anxiety." She wants to know what we are supposed to do with that, and I liked his response and wanted to share and discuss it with you:

"I once had a writer patient say, 'If only I could take all my doubts, fears and anxieties and just shove them out of the room—then I could write.' To which I answered, “Write about what?' Those very feelings are the stuff from which good writing emerges.”

I love that and absolutely agree with Palumbo 100 percent.

Just as I discuss here that we have within us all we need to overcome obstacles, this is what Palumbo is saying about the act of writing or creating--or even selling. If you access what you're feeling, you can get inside the head of your characters, your clients, even your enemies. Being able to relate to that "shadow side" allows you to conquer it, to move past it...until the next round of fears and anxieties appear before you. You may have to start all over, but you'll be better prepared--with experience.

I think that's why it serves you well to pay attention to the mistakes you make, rather than ignore them. Ignoring them means you're ignoring the anxiety that generally follows. Therefore, you may not be accessing a most basic tool that you have within you--your ability to recognize or become aware--that keeps you from making that same mistake again.

Your thoughts or experiences with this?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Should you tell the family secrets?

What's happening in this week's news about MacKenzie Phillips' tell-all book about her supposed incestuous relationship with her father made me think of a question that came across my in-box last week. On LinkedIn, an editor who belongs to one of the same Groups I joined posed a question. He's writing a piece of fiction on the side and wanted to discuss if others of us on this list were ever challenged when using personal information to tell our stories. He wanted to know how we handle this and whether or not it ever dissuades us from writing or publishing the story at all.

With regards to non-fiction, my take on this is simple: everyone has a story to tell. If you think yours needs to be told, and you can do it with a certain kind of objectivity, then do it.

What I mean by that is this: no one can benefit if you tell your story with the intent to get back at someone. If you're out to hurt another human being by telling your story and publishing it to the world--no matter what that person may have done to you--there is no win. The intent of your story will be as transparent as the windshield on your car.

A prime example, I think, is Dina Matos McGreevey, the ex-wife of former new Jersey Gov. James McGreevey. She wrote her memoir, Silent Partner, to tell the story of what happened to her and her marriage to the governor in 2004, after it turned out that he was gay, and he resigned. Afterward, their divorce made dramatic headlines for many months. Obviously, she was devastated. But I don't think she gave herself enough time to process what had happened to her, because it wasn't long after that when she took all her rage and put it inside that sensational book. From my perspective--and from the sound of her very candid television interviews--her motives were clear. And we haven't heard much from her since.

If, on the other hand, you want to tell your story with the intent to help others who may be experiencing the same thing you did, then go with your gut. Remember, you have those Killer instincts that nag at you from the inside, telling you what you need to do. They are killer, because they hone in on the challenge you're facing at any given minute, and they act as your warning siren. If you muffle that sound (and usually we do this unconsciously) you won't be able to listen.

Besides, it's not like writing a book is a quick and easy process. It's not, and it's shouldn't be--especially if it's a memoir. The life lessons we derive from our experiences take time themselves to be understood. Imagine writing them out when you're still trying to figure out what just happened to you. Well, you're still trying to figure out what just happened to you! You don't yet have the lessons to share when you don't yet know what they are.

My suggestion then is to keep writing in your journals till you hit upon the underlying message. It will appear on those pages, as if someone came knocking on your door to deliver a package. Ding-dong! Oh, there you are! You will get that light-bulb moment--if it's really what you must do. I really believe that, which is why I think Jenny Sanford's book will be a success.

I'm certain, from my own experience, when you get there, you'll know. And I suggest you trust your judgment, write the story from your heart, and then, you'll have your answer as to whether it should be published to the world or not.

So tell me. Have you ever experienced a moment in life where you just knew there was a story behind it? What happened afterward? I can tell you, when this happened to me, I spent the next several years exploring the hidden message, and that became my BIKE.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Jenny Sanford will write her memoir

A news report today says Jenny Sanford, the wife of South Carolina governor Mark Sanford, the man who publicly claimed his mistress as his soulmate, will write her memoir. It is scheduled to be released in 2010.

Her focus will be about how one can maintain integrity and a sense of self during troubling times. It will be motivational in tone.

I suspect some will question her judgment about this book, but I don't. After I found out my ex was cheating on me, I knew there were lessons to be learned--and I opened myself up to learning them. Some made me proud. Some made me cringe. And most were soul growth moments. I realized the lessons I needed to learn had very little to do with him and much more to do with me. I, too, am writing a book about this.

I suspect Jenny Sanford has been learning similar lessons. For one: how do you get back up from such a fall? When you're right in the middle of it, it doesn't seem possible at all. Unless you intend to stay down, you quickly learn what you're made of and what you need to do to pick yourself back up. And if you have it in you to push back, you do. You become much more methodical, making choices more carefully, more consciously--and, of course, with dignity, if you have any sense of self left. If not, you dig deep to reconnect.

That's something I've grown to respect about his woman--her dignity shines, from my perspective. When she speaks out, she simply states the truth. She doesn't give her husband any more or any less than he deserves. And she stands tall, because she knows what he did was not about her. For many, that's the hardest lesson to accept...and it may not come quickly. For some, it never does. In this case, I see Jenny Sanford as a reluctant role model--someone, nevertheless, to watch down the road. I see her taking charge of her new role.

She is not a woman who will ever be hiding under the covers.

When faced with the unexpected knowledge that the love of your life, the person who you looked up to, leaned on, and depended on as a source of strength has betrayed you in such a personal way is one of the hardest things, I think, a woman can bear. It knocks you in the gut, over and over again. It does, indeed, make you question your very sense of self.

Ultimately, it can make you stronger. Troubling times, no matter what they are, test your strength, your inner core, your judgment. How you respond to them definitely tests your integrity. Even though I've never met her, I believe her to be a kindred spirit, and I eagerly await Jenny Sanford's take on this topic.

What about you?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Social Media Net-works in many ways

I'll be speaking tomorrow night about Social Media Networking for the Living Room Forum--a monthly special meeting for members and candidates of the Arizona chapter of the National Speakers Association. I'm honored that they asked me to do this. I've made a name for myself with the group as a leader of the topic. I'm one of the first to promote my blog with the group, to get on Twitter and LinkedIn, and I really got things started when I convinced more than a dozen of these speakers to join me in a Blogathon--twice.

We had great fun. And the members then started calling on me to answer questions about how to navigate the social media world. I helped some of them with Plug-ins, others with setting up blogrolls, and others just with encouragement. The blogathon got the ball rolling, and NSA-Arizona members started blogging on a regular basis. It was fun to watch.

Because of them, I have learned a lot as well. For business, social media is the way we all must move our marketing activities. It's cheap and relatively easy. So why not?

On the personal side, it's not a bad place to be, either. As many of you know, I've been dealing with several emotionally-trying issues of late. And where have I gone to find comfort? Aside from praying, I've reached out to the friends I've met on the Social Media Networks. Some I've known for years. But even for the ones I've known for just a short while, the relationships we've been building along the way have grown personal--and it felt natural to turn to many of you for comfort. Better still. I got it. I found exactly what I needed--a kind word, a virtual hug, a thought and a prayer. All of this helped pull me back up on my feet.

So I just wanted to report today that, because of you, I'm feeling much better about what lies ahead--a great example of how the mental BIKE works.

No one is immune to sadness or some kind of distress in life. What you don't want to be immune from, either, is the knowledge that you can move beyond it. For me, that's where my mental BIKE comes in. It reminds me of the resources available to do just that. Friends, either live or virtual, are a great resource to reach out to in times of trouble. And as one of my virtual friends told me over on Facebook, "...picturing you biking right through this, girlfriend." She's right. That's what I'm doing.

Will you be able to BIKE through your next challenge?

Friday, September 18, 2009

What's so great about grief?

As I deal with the death of my brother, mostly the sadness I can't seem to shake, I have looked to my BIKE work to find the opportunity in the obstacle. I asked myself this morning: what could that be?

Here's the simple answer: the realization that my support group is out there waiting for my call.

I only need to use that E, the Expressive voice, to find it. With my mental BIKE in place, I am reminded to reach out and ask for what I need. Whether it's a hug, a visit from a friend, a phone call, a pat on the back, a few words of comfort...whatever it is that I may need right here in the physical world, it is up to me to ask for it.

Thus, my question for you today is this: Do you know where to go to find your source of support? Make a list. Realize that your source of strength comes not only from the spiritual guide within but also from your friends, family and colleagues who are there, waiting for your call.

Trust that they are there for you.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Words to rely on

As I deal with my brother's death, I am thinking about a Bible verse I read this week from Matthew 18:3:

"To get into the Kingdom of Heaven, you have to become like a little child."

That verse is sustaining me as I think about what happened to my brother before he died. He had gone to the hospital in a comatose state. When he'd come out of the coma several days later, I'm told he experienced brain damage to the extent that his mind reverted to that of a 12-year-old.

As his life before the coma was filled with sadness and illness I am comforted in believing that he was transported by his Creator so that he could, at last, find peace. I find comfort in this Bible verse, and I am relying on it, particularly since the passage came to me unexpectedly and not even from the Bible itself, but rather from another book I've been reading to heal myself. These words arrived at the exact moment when I needed them. And I knew instantly what they meant. I immediately shared them with my sister, and she was comforted as well.

When you are hurting, what words comfort you? Have you ever experienced a moment where the words appeared at the exact moment when you needed them? This week, I challenge you to keep your eyes and ears open for that which might comfort you. Whether it be words or people or something you've seen, use your mental BIKE--your spiritual navigation tool--to hone in on what will lift you up. Then come back to BIKE WITH JACKIE and share your story.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Thought for the day

Honor your loved ones in the best way you know how.

Monday, September 7, 2009

My mantra for the month

I will never be abandoned by God. I am not now and will never be alone. He will show me the way.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A brother is love

My brother Scott died today at around 9 a.m., Arizona time. He went peacefully. He is at rest. I am thankful he is no longer living in pain. He has returned to the original state of love.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Speaking of compassion...

It seems that Chris Brown is upset that Oprah didn't show him more of it.

In an article in the Chicago Sun Times, it says that the musical artist is upset "by the episode of the Chicago-based talk show that Oprah devoted to domestic violence." It aired in March and was based on Brown's violent behavior toward Rihanna the month before.

Ironically, and very telling, he called it a "slap in the face." At the same time, he says he'd prefer if Oprah had offered him help. He does, it seems, know he needs that.

Brown is definitely in need of continued education, as well as the compassion he seeks from Oprah. In an article that will appear in People next week, the news account mentioned above says he apparently talks about a song he wrote for Rihanna while separated. In the song, "Changed Man," Brown explains to her how being apart took it's toll on him.

No. No, Chris. You're not a changed man, not yet.

As I said yesterday, the boy does need compassion. But he sure makes it tough. When you hurt someone, when you beat up the person you profess to love, when you send this person to the hospital because of your violent acts, you don't know enough about love to earn the right to say it. And you certainly don't later go off and write a song about how the results of your behavior hurt you. A changed man does not do that.

A changed man leaves this woman alone to heal. A changed man has healed himself--and that takes time. Maybe it'll take the entire five years he's been ordered by the judge to stay away from Rihanna. He would be best served if he used this time to learn what real love is all about. To me, he just sounds needy. And that's just not a good thing. Some of it may have to do with his age--he's young. But the rest has to do with his wounded self. He and Rihanna both have some healing to do.

Could someone please explain that to this boy?!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What Chris Brown needs--peace, compassion

The much-hyped interview with hip-hop star Chris Brown on CNN's "Larry King Live" doesn't reveal all that much, that is, if you want details about what he did to his one-time girlfriend Rihanna, a pop star.

What it does reveal is that he's not telling the whole truth to himself.

_It doesn't matter much if he says he remembers (or doesn't remember) what happened the night he knocked the crap out of his girlfriend. That he won't use exact language? Now that could matter.

_It doesn't matter that he ran home afterward to confess to his mother what he did. Perhaps he did that out of fear; he wanted her to protect him from what he'd done.

_And it doesn't matter that he thinks he's not as bad as his stepfather was (a man who continuously beat up Brown's mother) because he says, after all, "I feel like he enjoyed it."

So what? None of that matters.

What matters now is what he does next.

Will he get the therapy he needs? Will he serve his community service without reservation? Will he relinquish himself of the shame and look, instead, for responsibility? That fact that he pled not guilty speaks to how he really feels about what happened. But that doesn't have to be the end of it.

What Chris Brown needs to do now is what all people who grow up in a house where violence, substance abuse (?) and dysfunction reign--he needs to take a moral inventory. He needs to write out who he thinks he really is, where he's having trouble connecting with who he thinks he really is, and what he might be able to do about it. He needs admit the truth to himself before he can admit it to others. Otherwise, he's just playing games. He needs to learn how to be the person he thinks he is, and not pretend anymore.

It seems like he might have started the process, as he admits the Chris Brown that beat up the girlfriend is not the Chris Brown he wants to be. I think I heard him say "want" on the show. But inventory doesn't stop there. You don't assess who you are just so you can be interviewed on national television, hopefully, so the public will think you're on the right track. You have to keep doing it so you can heal the wounds. Clearly, the boy is wounded from his own childhood.

I hope someone tells him that no matter how much he may think he still loves Rihanna, he has no room in his life for women right now. He needs to first make sure he can love himself. A man who abuses others abuses himself first. There's no way around that. You cannot hurt someone else and think you're untouched by that. Impossible!

Chris Brown needs to make room for finding out who the real Chris Brown is and making sure it's a Chris Brown he can love and who won't hurt again.

If he's on television saying things just to make himself look good, or if he's convinced himself that he's okay now, he's not telling the truth. He's not there yet, and he can expect himself to find more trouble waiting for him just around the corner. If he's kidding himself, it won't be long before he gets angry at something, or at someone, and lashes out. If he's kidding himself and if others are enabling him to do so, he'll more than likely hurt again.

Oh, maybe he won't "enjoy" it, as he says his stepfather did, but that's such an irrelevant statement. Pain is still pain, no matter the motivation that causes it. That's a lie he's picked up along the way, and the fact that he believes it tells me he has much more work ahead.

So let's pray that he will surround himself with people who will help him move in the right direction, with people who will stand up and step up. Let's pray for peace and compassion: peace that Chris Brown is and will continue to work hard to overcome his past hurts so he won't hurt others in the future; compassion, because if you understand dysfunction, you understand that it runs deep. You still have a choice to live your life differently, but dysfunction grabs the soul and holds on tight. It won't let go unless you keep telling it to let go. And that takes practice. Chris Brown has to learn how to live the life that illustrates who he wants to be. He can't just say it to be it. He has to act.

And that takes time.

For his sake, let's pray Chris Brown gets it.

What do you think? Do you think the hip hop star is headed in the right direction? What do you think he needs most?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A rape victim's response

I've been following the Jaycee Dugard case coming out of California for various reasons. First, it's an unprecedented case. The young girl was kidnapped as a child and 18 years later found--alive. Her kidnapper raped her, impregnated her at least twice (she now has two children), and transformed her life in ways most of us could not imagine. And second, it's clear that she has quite the ordeal to overcome.

It will take time. It will take her family's patience. It will take, as news reports are rightly suggesting, a lifetime of therapy. And the issues she'll have to face may not be textbook stuff. Therapists will have to consult each other. Her family will likely misunderstand. And her children will have their own issues, creating an even greater challenge.

Jaycee Dugard will need to rely on everything I teach here--and much, much more--to overcome what those outside of her circumstances probably see as horrific. Even those who are and will continue to be charged with helping this young mother re-enter "normal" society may never fully understand how she sees it.

But I watched the taping here on "Good Morning America" this morning of one of the kidnapper's prior victims. In the mid-70s, a woman named Katie Callaway Hall was also raped by this man. He was convicted of that crime and sent to prison--a 50-year sentence just for the rape conviction. He (and pardon me for not including his name; I don't wish to give the guy any further recognition) received a life sentence for the kidnapping charge, the news report suggested. Sadly, and for reasons only the legal system can explain, he was let out after less than 11 years. The criminal, a registered sex offender, went on to commit the same crime again. Jaycee Dugard was allegedly his victim this time, and possibly her two children as well. Police continue to investigate if there are others.

As someone who has experienced sexual abuse, these kind of cases disturb me for obvious reasons. But I know we can learn from them as well. Hall is a good example of what we can learn. When asked what she might tell her rapist if she ever saw him again, though holding back what might have been much stronger language, she responded with the word that says it all: