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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Aren't porcupines cute??

Well, we all know how cute porcupines are, right?

And we all know just how they defend themselves, right?
But that sure doesn't mean that we each have to get blasted by a porcupine in order to know for ourselves that it would hurt. Right? Right.
That is exactly why I wrote "You Don't Have to Learn Everything the Hard Way--What I Wish Someone Had Told Me". (You can read sample chapters for free at and also at Amazon by clicking on the photo of the book to the right. ----->)
Be smart. Learn from O.P.M. (other people's mistakes). Asking trusted sources is one good way to make your journey through life smoother. Enjoy the journey!
Aunt Laya

Friday, March 23, 2007

Simple Chages for Powerful Results or What You Can Learn from Your Dog

It's amazing how powerful simplicity can be. When I was active in martial arts I found that even the black belts all still use (and drill with) the simplest basics that the newest white belts are taught. It's always about doing the basics and we keep building in mastery. Here's one of the most powerful tools we have: speech. The way we use the gift of speech in our daily lives will make a huge difference in success in all areas of our lives. Here are my tips for making talk more positive and life enhancing.

Tip #1
Use positive words when ever you can.
"Not good" instead of "bad" puts the focus on "good". Our minds and spirits hear the words and take in what we hear and say. We don't always hear things the way they're meant. If we're using positive words it reminds us where to focus. You'll never hear a negative word from a dog.

Tip #2
Delete Sarcasm.

Sarcasm comes from the Greek words that mean "to tear flesh". Yikes! We'd never hurt someone like that but with so much humor based on sarcasm, we can forget how much a sarcastic remark can sting and hurt. Dogs are always sincere.

Tip #3
No Gossip.

Gossip hurts three people, the speaker, the listener, and the person being talked about. If this one is hard here’s some food for thought: What you say about someone else really reveals more about the kind of person you are! If you listen to gossip about someone, you gotta wonder how that person talks about you. Getting out of listening to gossip can feel kind of sensitive since you don’t want to come off “holier than thou” but it’s well worth the effort. Here are a few “tips within tips” to get out of listening to gossip:
~change the subject, redirect the conversation
~be direct and honest and respectfully tell the other person that you also won't listen if someone wants to talk to you about him or her
~say there's something wrong with the phone connection and that you'll call them back (now you have time to think about how to redirect the conversation)
know that your reputation as trustworthy will rise
once people know that you're not into gossip, they'll stop coming to you with it
Dogs never, ever gossip about anything, ever.

Tip #4

Same rules apply about yourself.
Remember the old “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? It’s still true and it’s also true about your own precious (as in valuable gem!) self. Dogs never put themselves down.

Tip #5
A kind word goes a long way.
Everyone needs to feel validated. What ever you like to hear is probably what other people like to hear too. A sincere compliment can go a long way. Gratitude is always good to express. Words of encouragement are always well received. Okay, well, dogs can't do this, but they wish they could!

Some cultures teach that you have a certain number of words you can use in your life time and that's it. It's meant to teach that we need to choose our words with care and purpose.

Experiment with this one and see what happens.

Aunt Laya

Photo credit: Avital (c) 2006

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Lion, the Donkey and the Fox

I just heard this story:


There was a lion, a donkey, and a fox that went rabbit hunting one day. At the end of the day, they came together and there was a big pile of rabbits in front of them. The lion said to the donkey, "Why don't you divide the rabbits fairly among us." So the donkey made three nice piles of rabbits at which point the lion killed the donkey, ate part of him, and threw what was left on the pile of rabbits.

Turning to the fox, the lion said, "Why don't you take the rabbits and divide them fairly between the two of us." The fox made a big pile in front of the lion and took one scrawny rabbit for himself. The lion asked, "Where did you learn to count so well?" To which the fox said, "I learned from the donkey!"


That's called learning from other people's life experiences!

Aunt Laya

P.S. If you haven't read my book, "You Don't Have to Learn Everything the Hard Way--What I Wish Someone had Told Me" go ahead and click the link to the right with the picture of the cover to learn more!

Photo from, by monosodium, thank you!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Love the Unlovely

I was reading a book* and saw these words: "Love the Unlovely". Those simple words really struck a chord in me. Sometimes the people we love the most do not act so very "lovely" to us. Sometimes little kids are crabby, sometimes it's teens that act "unlovely", or neighbors or parents or… we have the power to set the tone for our lives and love people through what ever is going on. How do you do that?

Here's something a wise woman taught me: when someone is saying or doing things that aren't so nice, it means that person is in pain. “What they really need is a blessing," she told me. So I tried it. The next time someone cut me off in traffic with an attitude, I blessed them. Right out loud I started saying things like, “I hope you get where you’re going safely. I hope you have many joyous times to celebrate with your family. I hope you live to a ripe old age and see beautiful healthy grandchildren.” Even if the driver of the other car is a young teenager, I bless him with these things. Usually they never hear me, but I hear myself. When I start blessing people who are grouchy or rude, I don’t always mean it when I begin but by the time I’m well into it, my heart is open and I mean every word. And guess what? I feel better. The tension in my body is released, I can take a deep breath, and I can move on to things that are more meaningful to me.

I used to work with teens that were placed in a residential treatment facility. They were boys that were neglected, abused or delinquent. I remember one boy who would get pretty cranky. I would sort of sing, “I love you!” He usually just walked away. Once I was the one who was short tempered and snapped, “I don’t have time for this right now.” He smiled and said, “I love you, too!” Boy, it felt nice to have those words come back at me—over fifteen years later, I still remember it.

May you be blessed to look for and find the words that will bless you and others! Take one step, one breath, at a time.

Aunt Laya

Please note: If someone is abusive or cruel, if they do things that tear you apart body or emotions, you may need to get to a safe place. In this post I'm talking about safe situations when someone is just out of balance with their emotions or mouth! If you need help getting away from an abusive situation; if you feel threatened, please search for safe houses or hotlines in your area, or a telephone hotline where someone can help you. If you're a kid, ask a teacher or counselor for help and keep asking until you get the help you need. Abuse of any kind, sexual or physical or emotional is not okay. It’s the right thing to ask for help to get out of an abusive situation!

*The book is 50 Great Tips, Tricks & Techniques to Connect with Your Teen by Debra Hapenny Ciavola, Ph.D.
photo from by Dani Simmonds

Sunday, March 04, 2007

When's the last time you got silly?

Look around (and look inside) and let yourself enjoy some of the whimsy of life! Bring some cheer to people around you. Remember your most embarrassing moment and see if you can swap stories with someone so you can laugh at yourself. There's always a story that can top yours. Find a good joke and tell it to three people. (or more, and see how many people will return the favor by telling you a joke in return. One good joke deserves another.)

Blessing of the day: May your heart lighten as the days grow longer, may your sense of humor blossom with the coming spring!

Aunt Laya
photo from by patricia