Monthly Archives: August 2014

Dark Poetry – A – Question

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Do you have questions just like me.
about how we are supposed to be.

In the dark of my mind
there you are standing sadly
head bowed and confused.

Don’t mind honey all is well
Eventually we will meet in hell.

by g.piazza

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The Disappointment by The Blyssful Witch

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This is so Damned true.

Psalms

The Disappointment

Am I what you wanted, Mother?
A shining daughter of the meadow’s delight?
I fear not, I am a mass of scars
A tiny bone-yard,
Rattling the wretched night.

I am sorry to disappoint, fair one
I was not what you had hoped.
No sweet songs of childish innocence
Will now escape this strangled throat.

I was never pretty enough
Or witty or clever or shy
For I spoke my mind and had my way
Through many battles, you and I.

Until one day, you’d had enough
My life you took from me
Those delicate fingers wrapped ‘round my throat
And shook my final breath free.

I will torment you til the end, fair one
Your disappointment finally complete
When the Grave swallows your shallow soul
And vomits it back at my feet.

For I am always your daughter
A dark thorn in your ivory side
I will pursue you til the accursed end
For even in Hell, you cannot hide.

I am the Daughter of Disappointment
I am the Spawn of the Evil Night
In my revenge, finally like you, Mother
A mirror image, glowing bright.

Words: The Blyssful Witch, Copyright ©2000-2014

Thoughful Thursdays # 64 – Going Underneath the Recesses Of My Mind

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A few weeks ago I wrote about suicide. It was before the Robin Williams incident. And I got a lot of people concerned with my mental health. Here is an explaintion and update on how I am feeling.

There were a series of events that ticked off my codependancy and abandonment issues so I spiraled down that slippery slope of despair. Only this time it was so painful that past memories surfaced. Hence the feeling of annilation.

Update………

Sometimes I have to allow myself to hit bottom emotionally because it is the only way up and out. I must allow myself to feel suicidal, sad, lonely, awful, cry, and scream, abandoned, needy, out of control and insane to the point of losing control.

When my ego is done yacking away with all this pain, I can feel the difference between my ego screaming and what is heart felt and realistic, instinctual and right. This is where time stops and as silly as it might sound I start to feel really lucky to be able to come up from the depths of emotional hell and be thankful for a roof over my head, my health, people I care about, talking, smiling, laughing etc.

My ego perceived lots of unrealistic things as a threat like it will die or is losing something. Those are just fears from the past rearing its ugly head and creating resistance. My ego will fight back, that is it’s nature. But eventually weakens because my ego needs to rest and then turns to being cooperative with healing and health. My ego must cooperate with expression and evolution of the self, it has no choice.

When my ego is open, raw and down it doesn’t see the options that are present. This gives me the reason to sit and go down the slope of despair.

Here is my secret……..This is where I just sit and feel everything. Let my mind wander to all the possible outcomes good and bad. I am not going to kid you it is hard to do this. It feels like no control at all. It is going into the unknown. Will I lose my mind or won’t I. I battle with reaching out for something to relieve being uncomfortable. I want the cigarette, drink, drug, person to distract me, the internet anything to stop the pain. But I must not, I must sit and feel no matter how long it takes. Going down to the bottomless pit of hopelessness. Eventually the desperation stops. I am spent, exhausted and heavy.

From here it is up. The feeling of empowerment takes over and the best therapy abounds. My own form of therapy. There is feeling of openness where answers come from. It is a form of meditation. I accept things for what they are. Here is the miracle: I can slowly move in a new direction. Still in pain I can still move ahead. Lick my wounds and heal.

I will say this: don’t listen or act on the ego it loves drama and pain. Listen and act on the positive, it loves moving like lava from out of the mountain of despair. Burning away illusions and reveals the truth of the situation. My truth and your truth. The positive wrenches through the illusion of despair and hopelessness. There is no such thing as helplessness really because it is all in the mind. But the ego does not realize this. The ego refuses to believe in possibilities. It believes in fear.

My heart must speak to the ego like a baby and encourage it to cooperate because my heart knows how to hold the hand of the screaming ego child lovingly and wholly. So does your heart. If you listen.

Peace, all is as it should be.

World Blog Tour – 21 Century Marketing

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I have been invited to participate in the World Blog Tour. Here’ show it goes.

The World Blog tour is a concept of paying it forward. Someone invites to to join in, someone else invites some one else and so on. Essentially it is a chain letter for blogs. The objective is to bring do a good deed by mentioning other peoples work. You also must answer the same questions below. I want to thank my fellow writer and personal historian Deborah Perham of A Lifetime Legacy for inviting me on the World Blog Tour. Be sure to check out her blog: alifetimelegacy.com.

What am I currently working on?

I am currently working on interviewing inspirational creative people who have overcome the challenges of running creative businesses and lifestyles. I am also writing positive thinking and inspirational pieces. Creative writing like poetry and free association come up occasionally too. I love the feeling of passing insights to my audience and my objective is to validate each and every one of our authentic lives. No life is the same but we are the same in generalities. Often we don’t know about other peoples struggles so writing and sharing them has a healing effect and hopefully motivate change in a positive direction as well.

How Does My Work Differ From Others Of This Genre?

I am not sure how it is different other than I am the one saying it. Those who need to hear what I have to say will be drawn to my work. I started writing with gusto just a few years ago and I loved it so much I have been running with it ever since and have not looked back. Writing is healing for me and words have such power. The power to heal or destroy. My words are intended to heal.

Why Do I Write What I Write?

I write to validate, validate, validate. I know what it feels like to not be listened to or validated. It is extremely important to me that whoever I am dealing with knows I hear them. It is so frustrating when you want to be heard and no one listens. I do this through writing. So as a public service on my blog I do a lot of interviews to give back to those who have inspired me and pass on the information for others to be inspired.

How Does My Writing Process Work?

My entire writing process is based on free association and stream of consciousness. I have an idea and just write till I feel it is enough and then I edit or change. I don’t censor myself I just let my mind take over. I have been amazed at what I write. I found an essay I wrote a few years ago and I was amazed and the depth at which I wrote. The words just flowed. It was like someone else wrote it.

Shout out to some impressive people I have the pleasure of knowing.

Deborah Perham of A Life Time Legacy who is connecting generations through her personal history preservation business. Her website explains in depth how to keep the memories and your life alive for generations. Her dedication and enthusiasm for personal history is unending. Check her website: alifetimelegacy.com.

Karen Sackowitz of Karen Sackowitz Communications who is a professional writer and personal historian in the business of consulting and business services. The written word is gracefully put together for your business. Brochures, web content, social media messages are just a few of the services her company provides. Check out her services at karensackowitz.com.

Linda Villano of SerendipiTea who has the best tea importing company on the planet. Yes the planet, she imports tea from all over the world including exotic places like the Azores and Guatemala. She is generous with her knowledge and is focused on creating a great product and reducing the carbon footprint. Visit her website for a tea education: serendipitea.com.

Martie McNabb of Memories Out Of The Box who will create a unique personal history book for you without words. She is a visual artist who puts all your old memorabilia into a chronological book with your lifes story in it. It’s the kind of book to pull off the shelf, grab a beverage and tell the story with your own words. Visit her website:memoriesoutofthebox.com.

Tiffini Minatel-Schreiber of Tiff’s LIC (k) Dogwalking and Playgroups, LLC who is a successful and compassionate business owner. She is one of the original dog walking business owners in Long Island City, NY . She loves dogs and it shows in her professionalism and commitment to the dogs left in her care. To contact Tiffini visit her facebook page.

I have had the pleasure of interviewing each one of these extraordinary women. You can see their interviews on my blog: purelysimplewords.

Pass it on. World Blog Tour-21 Centruy Marketing. Thanks again to Deborah Perham for inviting me.

 

Contests I Have Won So Far

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7/14…. 6 e books about being a better writer by  Linda Formicelli of Renegade Writer.

 

8/14….1 Kindle copy of Low Country Bribe – The first in the series of the Carolina Slade Mysteries by C. Hope Clark.

 

 

 

Linda Villano – Owner of SerendipiTea

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linda

As we turned the corner of Northern Blvd and Plandome Road in Manhasset, New York the church on the corner was a familiar site. I had not been here in many years but immediately recognized the store front we needed. Along with my daughter, we came to see my friend Linda Villano who has created the best specialty tea company on the planet. Yes the planet. I say that because I am an avid tea drinker my entire life and tried many specialty teas which kind of makes me an expert. As we entered the smell of store was radiating fresh mouthwatering tea from all over the world. On display were some of the basic necessities for brewing fresh tea. Tea pots, cups, sample packs of tea and tea cloths.

There is a wall filled from floor to ceiling with every tea and tea blend that Linda created. Customers can come in and sample the tea or mix and match for an interesting creation. I have mixed and matched myself. I blend Eve’s Temptation with Berry Blueberry for a caffeine free fruity lift. My other favorite is Congo Bongo that has coconut and chocolate and black tea for when I need a boost.

Nearly 20 years ago Linda and her husband Tomoslov started with their love of tea and an opportunity. Their team work gave birth to SerendipiTea. The company imports tea from all over the world including countries previously unknown for their tea gardens. Linda works her magic buy creating unique tea blends and has a thriving wholesale and retail enterprise. To her many credits SerendipiTea’s website was nominated for “Best Tea Retail website” by the World Tea Awards (2014) and the proud winner of two American Tea Championship awards (2013)

After heartfelt greetings and the usual formalities, we sat down to talk about teas. Her huge oak desk has her computer, lots of paper and is stained with many previous steaming cups of tea. Linda stepped out of the office to fill two infuser tea pots. As a master tea server she came back with well worn tea cups and tea pots. Each clear glass pot looked as if it had seen many brews steeped in them.

Linda told us she is serving 2 blends: One is a Faux Coca which is a caffeine free based blend of Rooibos, Chocolate & Spice, the other one is called Buccaneer which is a south Indian black tea base blended with Rooibos chocolate and vanilla and coconut for my daughter.

Get ready for an education and welcome Linda Villano of SerendipiTea.

Purely Simple Words (PSW): Here we are in SerendipiTea’s home base with the beautiful and talented Linda Villano. What got you started in the tea business?

Linda Villano (LV): Oh boy that’s a long story but I will shorten it. SerendipiTea was started in 1995 that is close to 20 years ago. Which is shocking to me. My former partner and husband was from Australia, he was of Slavic background so drinking tea is an everyday occurrence. So we had tea in the house all the time. My husband thought it was an abomination to have tea in bags. So we used loose tea. I didn’t know anything but tea bags. I am from an Italian background we drank coffee and tea was for when you were sick, and I didn’t know anything but tea bags. So it was an education for me in the beginning just in our home.

My husband was working for a Japanese department store called Felissimo. On the top floor of the store there was an art gallery and tea room. He managed the art gallery. The tea room was a traditional Japanese tea room but not just Japanese teas were sold, there were teas in general. So he would go to the tea room, talk about tea, chime in when there were tea programs…eventually he became known as the Tea Guy.

He met a woman who had a bath and beauty line who asked my husband to develop a line of tea and candle products. He came from a retail background and I came from a restaurant background (my family had restaurants). So we started to experiment with different varieties of tea. The woman was not committed to the line and we already had the foundation so we created our own company. It started in our fifth floor walk-up on the upper west side of Manhattan. Before we knew it we had a business. We started in the food service area and specialty kitchens. Eventually we opened a retail line.

It all happened by an incredible accident. It wasn’t anything we planned. It was serendipity.

PSW: How many different types of tea blends do you have?

LV: In tea there are 5 main categories of tea: black, white, green, oolong and pu-erh. Tisanes are Herbals, florals, botanicals, etc. Everything that is not tea. Some tea is re-packed the way they are received. Others are used in blends. The blends represent about 30 percent of what we offer, blends can be both tisane and tea.

PSW: How do you name your tea blends?

LV: Darjeeling for example, is a growing region, Ceylon tea is from Sri Lanka is a growing country. Names of certain teas are what they are. The blends, the ones we make here are named by how they feel, taste, smell, but it should make some sense for example Fiji is a lush green tea with pineapple and papaya…tastes & smells like what I imagine Fiji to be!

Once Upon A Tea was our first chocolate blend. I created this caffeine-free blend for my friend’s daughter who was under two years old. She liked to sip tea from her mother’s cup, her mom was concerned about caffeine. This has a little chocolate in it, good for kids.

PSW: All of your products are organic and there are no machine used for weighing, measuring and packing is hand done plus your packaging is bio degradable. Everything is hand made , home made and fresh made and that is a very unique thing. Most shoppers go to the grocery store and buy boxed teas. However loose and fresh tea is very different and your product is the real thing. How did you learn so much about tea?

LV: When we started there was no tea education. No formal tea class. Everyone in the industry at the time learned from each other. We are known as the specialty tea industry. In the specialty tea industry now there are a lot of tea training options. And through the Tea Association of the USA there are intense certificate programs. It takes years get to the level of a certified tea specialist. The tea world is different now. Which is a good thing because as tea became more popular here in the US the consumer became more educated about tea so education had to keep up. The same thing happened in the wine industry. There are tea geeks that are passionate about tea, there are meet-ups, tea swaps, tea programs, tea groups, tea books, there’s a whole world of just tea drinkers, sharing information, and knowledge. There are some tea courses that are not very reputable. Check them all out before you enroll.

PSW: What countries do you travel to, to pick up your teas?

LV: I actually just got back in May from Guatemala. This is a surprising place to import tea from but we have been importing tea from Guatemala for four years now. They are also suppliers for cardamom. Usually it’s the big five India, China, Taiwan, Ceylon and Japan that’s where most of our teas come from. But we also carry tea from Kenya and Tanzania. I have not been to the African countries yet. But the others I have visited. I visited the Azores Islands 3 years ago which is part of Portugal and in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, half way between here (USA) and the Portuguese coast line. These are a series of islands that are absolutely beautiful. I was on the big island of Sao Miguel where there are two remaining tea gardens. The tea is great and different because of where it is grown and the salty sea air. I like finding teas from grown from unusual origins.

PSW: Do these companies come to you or do you find them?

LV: Both. The Guatemala garden reached out to us. Other companies have as well. The gardens in the Azores I had known about from a good friend of mine, Pearl Dexter the founder/past owner of TEA Magazine. She introduced me to them.

PSW: How do you think you have grown by having your own business?

LV: It’s a lot of responsibility. Shortly after we first started we moved from NYC to Connecticut because we needed space. I am familiar with Connecticut because I went to school there. We knew we could get more if we went to Connecticut as opposed to staying in NYC. Because it was just me and my husband we could take risks and we could wing it. When we started to take on employees it really changed the dynamics, I realized I was not just responsible for my business and making sure it is reputable. But I was taking on someone else’s livelihood. And I had a responsibility to them as well. What I do now, Tomoslov is no longer with us, is for everybody’s sake. I make calculated decisions and I weight everything very heavily. If I invest in something or make certain purchases, I am conservative by nature but when it comes to the business I am more so to keep the business solvent. My mantra is not to rule the world but to put out a good product and make sure everyone is happy. Then we can all do nicely.

PSW: What is the best part you like about the tea business?

LV: I love to travel. I love experiencing different cultures. Just the relationships we have with the growers in other countries is really enriching, it’s really important in order to maintain a sound existence you must be able to see things through other peoples eyes and experiencing life through other people perspective helps in so many decisions making situations. Just in the office here we have folks from Latin America, India, Tibet, Columbia, USA we have a really nice mix of people. We are an international microcosm as it is. We are different origins under one roof. In an ideal world this is how we should be. I enjoy interacting with other cultures because it takes me out of myself.

But I also love working with the tea, the blending process. This part is really, really fun so is the writing. And social media, like FB. Even though sometimes it drives me crazy. And once in a while we do shows where we get to interact with customers. Since we are wholesalers primarily we really don’t interact with customers so when we get the chance to do the shows and it’s really fun.

PSW: Is there anything that drives you nuts about running this business?

LV: there is plenty that drives me nuts. Doing payroll, taxes, the nitty gritty number crunching. What is moving and what is not. It is all a necessary part of what you have to do when you have a business you have to see every aspect of the business and it gives me a snap shot of what is going on. It is not my favorite thing. I am not a numbers person. To me that part is effort.

PSW: What are your business plans for the future?

LV: One of the things we did about 4 years ago was add a line of tea bags. It was necessary because many of our customers are cafe customers and tea house customers that have fast service like , morning rushes and they kept asking for tea bags and unfortunately we lost a few customers because they went with companies that had tea bags. A number of years ago a certain tea bag became available. (Linda shows us a triangle shaped tea bag). I know there are many types of tea bags available out there some are nylon, some are paper with staples but one became available that is made out of plant based material and over time it is bio-degradable. That was my biggest concern.

All of our packaging is post-consumer recycled content and biodegradable, we are considered artisan and boutique because we do things by hand. When you are so close to a product you see if something is not right or is inconsistent. No machinery is used and no energy is being wasted. So when the soilon tea bags became available I thought “someone is sending me a message” and we have to do it. We introduced a line of tea-bags in bulk for food service a few years ago and it’s only increased our sales in this sector. We just finished the Fancy Food Show which is a big trade show at the Javits Center in NYC for Gourmet Food. There we introduced a retail line of the tea-bags.

PSW: Which teas to do put in the tea bags?

LV: We have twelve kinds: everything is organic, Breakfast Tea, Darjeeling single estate, Earl Grey, Black and Blue which is a black tea with blueberries, Marsala Chai, China Green, Jasmine Yin Hao, which is a green tea with jasmine, Passion and Envy, which is passion fruit with straight green tea. Strictly Strawberry which is a caffeine free strawberry fruit blend, Peppermint, Chamomile, Coco Loco Nut which is a rooibos, chocolate & coconut blend.

PSW: Is the majority of your business in wholesale, trade shows or retail?

L. LV: The majority of our business is in bulk wholesale I would say that 75% of our business is food service. Selling to restaurants, cafes, tea houses, any one who uses our tea to serve customers. This is how we started. I feel comfortable in that business I grew up in that business. I am comfortable in and out of restaurant kitchens, that was natural. It was easier to grow the business in the food service area. We have a website and I probably don’t pay enough attention to making it more successful but it does OK , I know it could do much better. And that is retail based for the end consumer. We do have a retail line that we wholesale to places like Dean and DeLuca and Zabars and other specialty food stores. That’s the segment I am really trying to focus on with places like Fresh Direct, they carry our line. But that is the segment I am trying to figure out to expand because we are New York based and we are recognized in the NYC five boroughs, lower Westchester, and Connecticut. We have good representation on the West Coast and have a broker who has been working with us since 1997 who is great.

In the middle of the country people tend to carry us places. So if someone has worked in a restaurant here and moved out West they tend to take us with them I think if we do more exposure in retail shows people will know about it and ask for us and hopefully will increase sales overall. So that is where my focus has been these days.

PSW: Are most of your sales in the US?

LV: Yes the majority. We also have representation in Japan called SerendipiTea Japan. Also a sister company SerendipiTea Australia which is my late/former husband’s brother. He started this company 7-8 years ago, I buy the tea for them because they are basically not tea people, they understand marketing and placement and great sales. We have a long time customer in Seoul South Korea, she a former Julliard student who drank our tea here in NY and opened a tea house in Korea when she returned. We have a customer in Denmark of all places. They just find us in the oddest ways. There’s one here and there.

PSW: Would you like to add advice to anyone who wants to be in this business and what have you learned about being in business?

LV: The tea business is booming. It is a wide open area and if you truly love tea and would like to get into the business. There’s lots of opportunity, you can go to Linked-in where there are tea enthusiastic, FB, meet-ups and you can reach out to your local tea purveyor. You can contact them and see if they need help in any capacity.

Once you are in remember business is business is business, so we are not hanging around talking about tea all day. We are in a business. I love the enthusiasm of tea but if all you want to do is sit around and talk about tea it is not productive the business needs to run and to be successful and to operate it has to run like a well-oiled machine.

I am pretty strict about when we do have tastings. It is usually in the mornings. I will call and invite staff to taste and explain why and what I am doing. I have a library in the hallway with tons of information, books videos, for staff to borrow and increase their tea knowledge. We have periodicals also from time to time we will do crash talks about tea specifically. Enthusiasm about the product is wonderful and necessary, but most of the time it is a business.

Consider I did it at a time when I did not have any major responsibility so I could take risks and I knew I could shift gears and find a job if it didn’t work. Be cautious, plan, have more than one contingency plan. Just in case things don’t work out. Be positive. And hope for it to work out and do your darnedest to make it. There are so many resources available, take advantage of them! And where there is a will there is a way I firmly believe that and I am stubborn as they come. If I am told No it won’t work out I say Yeah you want to try me. You will figure it out, where there is a will there is a way. My other mantra is “Know your limitations”. That is for me to know when to ask for help. You can’t do everything, you can’t know everything. For example, I rely heavily on my accountant to answer questions. I am not an accountant I was never trained in business I come from an art background. So a lot of this is learning as you go along. Sonam (my assistant) is amazing with computers technology and software systems. She is fantastic and I rely on her heavily for a lot of those things. And other things like customer relations. It’s important to know where you need to be bolstered. And look for that in different people especially those who want to go along for the ride.

PSW: So there is no way I want this interview to end. But is there anything you want to add?

LV: I am so glad to see you and happy you are following your dreams of interviewing. It is your turn now. I am thrilled and honored to be one of your interviewees. Thanks and so nice to see you and your daughter.

PSW: Thank you so much for your time and I love you because you have been so nice to us. We will certainly remain in touch.

Absorbing the atmosphere and finishing our tea I sense an intimate family feel, everyone is happy and Linda is generous with her time and knowledge. She is personable and that is one of her greatest qualities besides her knowledge of the tea world. On the SerendipiTea website the knowledge continues. The Shop tab will bring you an extensive array of teas and blends. Click on Tea World and find: Tea Culture, Tea Recipes, Tea and Health, Universi-Tea, Tea Tips and Articles by SerendipiTea.

For more information and happy tea drinking go to: http://www.serendipitea.com
http://www.facebook.com/SerendipiTea
Twitter @SerendipiTeaUSA

Jury Duty – It’s Not As Bad As You Think

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Jury duty is dreaded. Everyone who is called for jury duty finds it annoying and a waste of time. I know, I understand but it is really is important. It is not only our civil duty but one day you may need a jury to help you out on a case that is important to you. Some aspect of your life may depend on it.

I just finished three days of jury duty on a civil trial case in Queens, NY. I have been called for jury duty many times but I was never picked until now. In the past I have testified as a witness in a number of cases in front of grand juries and mediation so I am familiar with the court process.  Here’s what my experience was as a juror.

Day one of the jury selection process is where at least 150 people wait to be doled out to the different courts. It is a grueling process because there is a lot of waiting. This is where I was picked for the civil case.

Day two is where we showed up in the afternoon to weed out jurors who wouldn’t be good candidates for this trial. After the judge made his selection of 6 jurors and 2 alternates we hear the opening statements of the attorneys and call the plaintiff to the stand.

Mr. K representing the plaintiff began because his client brought the case. In this civil case we were asked to decide only who was at fault in causing a car accident that happened two years ago. There were no other details given about the case. The plaintiff is an 81 year old woman and the defendant is a 20 year old man at this time. Mr. K asked all of us if the age of each driver was an issue in deciding whether a driver is a capable driver and can we be unbiased in deciding the case without age being an issue. He explained how the accident happened on behalf of his clients understanding and reminded us to reconstruct the details based on testimony to find the truth.

Mr. N the attorney for the defendant did the same and added he believed the plaintiff believes her own truth but the pictures entered as evidence could prove his client was not at fault.

Here is where the fun started. The plaintiff takes the stand to testify.

Mr. K began questioning his client on the stand to bring her out as a capable and aware driver. The plaintiff testified and was asked to recall the details of the day of the accident. She reminded me of a sweet senior who was traumatized by this incident and wanted some recourse or retribution in having her car totaled by ending up smashing into a tree with the defendants car squishing her like an accordion. She said she was in the correct lane advancing to her destination. We were shown pictures of the deployed air bag, points of impact on both cars, mangled front ends and back ends, black scrapes on the light car, white scraps of paint on the dark car and the poor tree victim. There were pictures of the road and questions about how and which way she was going. It was noted she was going to pick up MRI films and that was her intentional destination.

The plaintiff had an easy time recalling some of the details but most questions were answered vaguely and with I don’t remember.

I was riveted with attention in listening to the words used and watching the body language of the plaintiff and the two attorneys. Mr. N cross examined the plaintiff and was in fine form in working for his client. His launch began. His questions where direct and fast not to confuse but to prove the plaintiff was not recalling the details as they actually happened. What were the names of the street?  Why don’t you remember? Do you usually go this was? Why did you go that way at that time? Which lane were you in? Mr. K objected at least ten times to Mr. N’s questions and the judge sustained seven times with three side bars. Each attorney was giving their best on behalf of their clients. After about half an hour it was wrap up time until the next day. We were advised by the judge not to talk to anyone etc, etc, etc. We were then dismissed.

Day three was about hearing from the defendant and his two witnesses. Mr. N questioned his client in a way that showed him to be a responsible and efficient driver, student and part time worker. Asked to recall the moments leading up to the accident the defendant says he was already in the right lane and the plaintiff came from the center without signaling, smashed into his car hooking his bumper on to the other car and the both went up on the sidewalk with the plaintiffs car crashing into the tree and the defendants car right behind hence producing the accordion effect. I can imagine the sounds and confusion of the moment.

Mr. K cross examines the defendant. Why did he not know the exact second he tried to apply his brakes? Why did he leave his home without a licensed driver with him because he did not have his adult drivers license yet? Why did he pick up his friends? Where they paying him to pick them up? Mr. K was launching an offensive to save this clients case. Mr. N cries objection, judge sustains, there are three more side bars.

The defendants witness testified with the same information as the defendants. Here come the closing arguments. Mr. K revisited the testimony presented and asked us to seek the truth via testimony. Mr. N revisited the testimony and asked us to see the truth via the pictures in evidence.

I was completely absorbed in the process, it felt important. As we, the jury, left the court room, I had a hard time looking anyone in the eye because I didn’t want to feel anything. I liked everyone, I didn’t want to choose. Stuff happens and it is unfortunate to have to litigate about it. If the parties in a court case cannot settle, litigation will bring hard feelings because it was important enough for someone to have their case heard. It was important to win and be right.

The court officer brought us to a small stuffy room and briefed us on the paperwork to be filled out and promptly left. Once inside the energy was high with each of us handling the pictures again. It was exciting to collaborate and join together as a group. Juror 1, the plaintiff wasn’t believable, Juror 2, the damage on the vehicles show the defendant did nothing wrong, Juror 3 the plaintiff was not cooperating with the line of questioning. Juror 4, they hooked onto each other so the plaintiff had to be in the center lane moving to the right. Juror 5, the pictures show the truth, Juror 6, The defendant  was bumped by the plaintiff sending them into the tree and sidewalk.

I felt sad to pick one over the other because both sides and their attorneys were nice guys and in a perfect world, in my world, there would have been a compromise. But in this sad reality we had to objectively pick a winner. So we did pick  in favor of the defendant unanimously.

Here I have come full circle when I remember the cases I testified on. I won each case and was a believable witness because I told the truth and sought justice. The jury that heard my cases listened to me the same way I listened to this case. Those jury panels were more important than I gave them credit for and I truly appreciate their time and effort and I know my time and effort was deeply appreciated too.

Jury duty may be your civil duty, and despite the temporary inconvenience, you are helping all parties involved to get justice, you help the attorneys service their clients and you have mediated justice in a lawful and objective way. And done so without any pre-qualifications but only as the law states: Trial by an impartial jury. Period

The next time you are called for Jury Duty don’t look at it as a time waster, look at it as a service to someone who needs your help in getting justice. It’s good Karma and you never know when you may need a jury to help you too.

Thoughful Thursdays #63 Control Freaks

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It is normal to want to control your life. But we all know those control freaks that want their way all the time with you. They want to decide what to do and when. They have a need to run the show at all times. Even their conversations or behavior demands their needs be met and yours don’t matter. If you don’t meet their needs they are unhappy and you will hear about it.

As a control freak it must be hard to control your own life and the lives of others. I imagine at the end of the day they are exhausted. Control freak thinking and behavior leads to a bunch of personality disorders like obsessive compulsive disorder, not trusting anyone and failure to make commitments to anyone.

The reason why someone is a control freak is because they are hiding from themselves. Hiding from their own feelings. They think they have secrets that can’t be exposed. Flaws that they are embarrassed of, terrified of being vulnerable and feel helplessness and hopeless.

Control freaks think the only way to protect themselves it to control every part of their life and that includes relationships, even close relationships. In an odd way controlling creates a sense of order and stability. Control freaks are critical and judgmental of their lovers, and just about everybody else.

Control freaks are defending against their own anxiety, their own feelings of helplessness. Controlling gives a way of not feeling hopeless. The more they use control tactics the more they feel they are managing their lives in an effective manner.

To let go of control would mean the same as being victimized and overwhelmed. When that happens they become angry, panicked, possibly threatening then they can dip deep into emotional despair and depression.

If you are on the receiving end of a control freak don’t take it personally, but be advised, the control freak is really good at distorting reality, can be intimidating and are excellent debaters. They are more frightened than most and on some level feel they need to control you to make themselves feel better. It is only a way of protecting themselves. They are frightened and angry and controlling has become a compulsion and way of life.

If you are a control freak it’s OK. You are trying to protect yourself and have forgotten the negative effects of controlling has on those who care about you. You are not bad or unimportant. You are just frightened. You can take the risk to trust yourself and risk letting life unfold the way it is meant to be. You can be at peace and clear headed. You can stop worrying. What you think is a threat may no longer exist. It may be time to feel again, feel the energy of freedom. Free to be yourself, free to make choices and not hide behind manipulation. In the long run controlling pushes away the very situations you need to grow.

Wanting to control your life is normal. Keep the focus on controlling your own whereabouts, your own struggles, your own health and well-being, your own improvements and leave the rest alone. You are safe and there is no need to control things that are time wasters.

The are no quick fixes for controlling, change happens slowly. You will be amazed at the results if you know you can choose to be free from obsessing about anything. Be patient and keep trying. You will not be disappointed.

Detachment repost from July 6, 2014

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Detachment And Other Stuff

I had a disappointing situation this weekend. I had wonderful plans that were thoughtlessly canceled. That led me to spiral down the all too familiar slippery slopes of despair. The disappointment was a reminder of a past belief that no one can be trusted. That is something that drives me crazy: someone you can”t trust. Say what you mean and mean what you say. But was that belief the truth?

I tried to find a way to cope with the situation. Especially since I have a tendency to over react at times like these by turning my emotions viciously into gut wrenching personal attacks on myself.

I needed to stop. It took about half a day of ping ponging between being furious at not having control over the situation to remembering I need to detach to get perspective.

Detachment , to me, is allowing situations unfold or fold up in their own given time. I am reminded that it is not my timing that make things work out for the best. It is not my controlling or fussing that makes things go any faster. However I find waiting really frustrating. I want things my way and now. Well, that is the nasty co dependent, needy side of me speaking.

The nasty co dependent, needy side of me reeks havoc on my life and relationships and especially my thoughts. Co dependency is a product of my past but still alive and well living in the outskirts of my subconscious, waiting to destroy what ever I perceive as a hurt.

What is the truth behind all of this?

1. It is my beliefs and thoughts that are causing my own grief. Yes, I have the right to be disappointed but having my thoughts whirl around like a squirrel in a cage is maddening and extremely unhelpful.

2. Things don’t always go as planned. I forgot this one. Sometimes it’s just a matter of a misunderstanding and perhaps a readjustment. Or not the right time. Or not in my best interest.

3. I can’t control what others do. It is not the end of the world if someone disappoints me. Other peoples poor behavior is a reflection on them not on me.

4. People are not always loving all the time. This is an opportunity to say Ouch at the disappointment but remain open, peaceful and hopeful with the situation.

5. Time always reveals the truth behind what ever is going on, whether I like it or not.

6. All situations are mirrors of what I need to take a look at. Interactions with others bring up feelings. Believe it or not people don’t cause feelings. The feelings that come up belong to me.

I ask these questions:

What would it be like if I made the effort not to think about these perceived offences?

What would it be like if I made the effort to stop the rushing negative thoughts?

What would it be like if I said yes to everything as a form of acceptance?

What would it be like if I practiced being really strong for myself for a change?

What would it be like if I made the effort to improve only my life by examining my own behavior?

What would it be like if I remembered just how darn lucky I am to realize that all situations are unfolding as they need to?

What would it be like if I remembered just how lucky I am to change myself?

I know that as time passes my feelings will subside and clarity will come forward. I will learn what I need to learn and move on. If I have not learned the lesson a similar situation will come up and I will be given the chance to examine myself again.

It is my good fortune and luck to be awake and aware enough not to crawl under a rock and hide from life’s ups and downs.

It is my good fortune and luck to not hide behind any distraction and sit with the pain however uncomfortable it is.

It is compassionate and rewarding to experience suffering to understand what others might experience. Here is the miracle of connection.

From my suffering I can relate to another’s suffering. I know the comfort I need so I can comfort another.

How fortunate to get to the point of letting it go. That does not mean I am not disappointed. I am just not going to invest any more emotional energy on it. I am releasing my attention to what happened.

Here is the crux of the situation. The arduous climb, the crucial point. Here is my chance to mature and be a positive influence to the world at large.

I thank all that were involved in aggravating me. This is another chance for me to get to know who I am.

You are my teacher and I am truly grateful.

Quit List

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Quitting is not a bad thing especially if its quitting bad stuff.

Here is my personal quit list.

It’s just a start.

Ready, get set, QUIT !

1.   Quit allowing my emotions run my life. Detachment is better.

2.   Quit procrastinating. Start fearless actions in improvement.

3.   Quit obsessing about things that are none of my business. Focus on what matters only to my improvement.

 4.   Quit being blind to my own self sabotage. Refuse to fall asleep on my behavior.

5.   Quit isolating myself. Make enormous effort to be in the world.

6.   Quit not speaking my mind. Speak up when appropriate and not hold back.

7.   Quit being judgmental to anyone. There is always a lesson there.

8.   Quit refusing to change. Say yes to everything.

9.   Quit refusing to push myself. I know there is more I can do.

10. Quit holding myself back. I forgot how to be really powerful.

11. Quit believing I am trapped. I am not helpless.

12. Quit believing life is hopeless. It is no where near hopeless.

13. Quit copying a life I really don’t want. Be original

Watch out world – I’m back to myself again.

What is your quit list?

If you can quit just one thing that holds you back do it today.