Blog 3 Listen to your Heart

I have been thinking a lot lately about the responsibility that comes from the ability to help, inspire and influence everyone around us. As we all continue to grow and change, we must remain keenly aware of our powerful influence and do everything we can to make it better. That includes being open to changing the way we live and behave. While it is important to treasure all that we have learned there is a time to move on. Lately I’ve noticed that many of us don’t recognize when it is time to gently let go of anything, or anyone not in tune with your personal journey. Failing to do so can create gnawing tension that can undermine all the good work you are doing.
When I was doing my graduate studies, I read a book called, The Truth Will Set You Free, by Alice Miller. The book’s introduction talks about how psychologists must confront and subdue all of their personal demons to avoid implanting any belief in a patient that could jeopardize their treatment. This is a critical concept, since psychologists touch so many lives and their recommendations are taken so seriously. What they do has real and lasting impact.
But all of us bear responsibility for our powerful impact on others. The higher your own level of self-awareness the better off you and those close to you will be. Work at it. Listen to your heart. Pay attention to the small voice that whispers in your ear when you are moving in the wrong direction. Think about what you do. The decisions we make don’t just affect you, but impact your family and friends and all those close to you. Recognize that all is not what it seems to be, or centered on you. Maintain a clear vision of your own world and try with all your might and all your heart to avoid projecting or implanting your insecurities and mistaken beliefs onto others. Then you can be free to share yourself — and all that you have to offer — to inspire and change other lives for the better.

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Blog 2 Businesses with Like Energy

While reading my e-mails I came across a survey from Facebook Business. They were looking for information about how businesses are using Facebook. The survey stated that there might be a follow up meeting in New York City the following week and asked for my availability. I said yes, I was available. The very next day I received an e-mail asking me to attend the meeting. It was certainly a spontaneous decision, but it also gave me some much-needed time to drive into Manhattan and have a lunch with my partner. At Elegant our purpose is so clear that sometimes the energy just needs to flow and we need time to breathe and make things happen.
So, the next week we found ourselves at Facebook Business (which is a really cool place, I might add). We were taken to a room where our responses were video recorded and posted on our Facebook page. Among many thoughtful questions, we were asked how Facebook could do a better job for its customers. Personally I find Facebook amazingly user friendly with so many ways to market all the services Elegant has to offer. I also feel that Facebook listens to customers like us in a very thoughtful way. It is a truly user friendly service that really cares what its customers want.
When you arrive at Elegant, you immediately feel an enormous rush of energy. Facebook feels the same way. In fact, their approach to customers and the way they do business — although on a much larger scale –reminds me a lot of our approach here at Elegant. Facebook cares about their customers, just as we care about our individuals. Like Facebook the incentives we put together are all people-focused, goals we set are all attainable and we are always listening to what our individuals want. It is this constant listening, and paying attention to those you serve, that can make one business stand out in a very big way. We enjoyed our time with Facebook and look forward to meeting with them again as Elegant continues to grow and expand its services.

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Blog 4 Procrastination & Pressure

I used to procrastinate quite a bit. Now I feel that sometimes that was a good thing. But if you procrastinate because you are afraid you will fail, or feel like you don’t deserve something, that may be harmful. When we first acquired our wonderful new building I thought, we should really just be grateful for having it and leave it at that. But I really wanted to add a conservatory right away since it is such a great addition to our program and something special for all of us. Still, I wondered if I was just being greedy. I was tempted to procrastinate. But no, I became convinced that having the conservatory and an event space were all part of a broader vision for us that needed to happen. So I followed that intuition.
Procrastination can be positive when you have not done something that proves to be on the back burner for a reason. This is where the relationship to pressure comes in. When I am under pressure I wait and listen – but I don’t procrastinate. Instead I wait just long enough to find out what that pressure really means. Is it telling me something important? Very often it is. Then I follow my intuition.
We all want to accommodate everyone, and do everything we can to help ourselves and others grow and prosper. No single person can save the world. But we can make a difference by helping to lead others onto the right path. We are all changing things one person at a time and must realize we cannot serve everyone. But those we do serve must receive our full attention and commitment.
So be guided by your intuition since it is a powerful force that will help you to make good decisions. We all deserve the greatness we were intended to achieve by fulfilling our dreams. Just make sure that you are not held back by procrastination!

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Blog 5 Stress & Coping

We all worry and everyone has stress. If left unchecked it can consume us. So what can we do to deal with stress? One thing I didn’t learn early in life is how to take care of my physical being. I know I am not alone in this. In some families it is not taught. In others you just don’t see your parents taking care of themselves, so you are not taught how. In others you may learn that we do not need, or deserve, to take care of ourselves. We then learn to cope with stress by eating, drinking, smoking cigarettes, and worse. But taking good care of yourself, mentally and physically, can help you deal with stress.
At Elegant we teach our individuals mental and physical coping skills. We teach them everyday. We all keep physically active. We also teach them coping skills when stressful situations happen since we are fortunate enough to always be around when they occur. In those crucial moments we have the ability to be both teachers and guides, showing our individuals a better way to cope. We also free them from feeling guilty about stress and the challenging situations it can create. Instead of having someone trapped by feelings of guilt and disappointment in their behavior, we move them on and teach them to recalibrate.
Our goal is always clear. It is hands down to move individuals forward. In order to do that, we cannot allow them to get stuck in the past. Not their childhood, last year, last week, or the last minute. We just show them a way to move on. We teach them to live as if they have already achieved everything they wanted, as if they were already free from all stress. When you really believe that, and you work hard at living in that frame of mind, you then achieve it. I know it works because I have seen and experienced it over and over again. I am convinced it can happen for you too.

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Blog 10 Gratefulness Never Gets Old

Being grateful never gets old. Every day — and some days can be pretty tough for all of us — someone is living through something that we wouldn’t wish on anyone. Just turn on the news for five minutes. You will become grateful for what you have.
I have learned to be grateful for so much in my life, whether the experience is bad, good or indifferent. We don’t always see it that way, but I know everything we experience is meant to teach us something.
Most of all I am grateful for my team, both my team at home and my team at work. Everyone transcends in wonderful ways I would never have expected. I used to want loyalty from people around me, but I never really knew what loyalty meant. I realized that I wanted something, but until I could embody it I couldn’t receive it. It all starts from within. I wanted love but I didn’t know how to give it. So I was always left feeling unloved — until I started to love myself. Now at age 35, I have learned what many learn at a much younger age. I am so grateful!
I really love this season and I love being able to give more. I always love to give, but what I now understand is that what we have to give is always there in our hearts. We embody it all. In my next post I plan to point out more examples of gratitude as we end this year and plan for 2016. It will be a wonderful year — I know it already!❤️

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Blog 9 Using Your Words

This week I found myself feeling frustrated with the overwhelming number of things to do right before the holidays. How could I possibly get everything done? (Welcome to the club, you are probably saying!) Even worse, I found myself feeling that those around me — both at home and at work – were not doing enough to help me. So, I became agitated and began working even harder. Not a good situation!
In the middle of all this my partner, who is a reasonable man, calmly made me realize that I needed to ask for help. Walking around being all passive aggressive with a chip on your shoulder does not help, he said, and feeling overwhelmed with everything bottled up inside does not answer questions or solve problems. We must all open up and ask for help, he said, and he was right. We talk to our individuals and our own children and associates and ask them all to voice their concerns, to use their words. And all of us need to do the same thing!
My partner likes to say that a closed mouth does not get fed. I have learned over the years that this is so true. Speak up, making sure it is not coming from an angry and agitated place. Then help and advice appears, things get done and you will no longer be overwhelmed, angry and alone!

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Blog 8 Acceptance & Energy

So 2015 is almost over. We have accomplished so much at Elegant, moving closer and closer to making our vision become reality. Of course we have had ups and downs as positive and negative energy forces influence us. But through it all I have learned so much. For instance I have learned what happens when you find negative energy around you and learned how to rise above negative influences.
I have also learned that acceptance is crucial to people. I have acquired a true understanding of that which has built up over the years. Our diverse and amazing team at Elegant reflects that understanding and our individuals and team alike appreciate each other for what we are and what we all have to give.
To live a life you can be proud of you must appreciate others, respect them and love them. At work we must live up to our full potential. At home we must generate positive energy towards all who are close to us. If we do that, we can truly enjoy the life of joy and abundance we have all earned. When we radiate strong positive energy those who do not fit in will slowly, but surely, move away from us. That is why I couldn’t be more excited about what 2016 has in store. Aside from getting married — which is wonderful, exciting, news for me — I also foresee so much positive growth for Elegant as well as for Ruby, our electronic documentation system. As a result I predict abundance, light and happiness for all of us in 2016!

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Blog 7 Gratitude & Decisions

I took some quality time off this week, which isn’t easy since my mind is always with Elegant. But it was a good time to be away since my gift to inspire myself and others needed some recharging. I now know that my goal of quarterly vacations is a must. I just need to make more time to disconnect. I saw other hard working people while I was away and it definitely fortified me for the work ahead of me. There are many dreams that need to become reality in 2016.
For my time off I went away to a place where people were smiling and grateful. Gratitude was in the air. They were not consumed by what they didn’t have, or by what happened or didn’t happen, in the past. As Carlos, a new friend said, “You can’t go back. You have to keep moving.” It was inspirational and renewing to see such hope in hard working people combined with good nature and good intentions.
In fact it, I must admit it led me to defriend some people on Facebook as I continue on my journey of discovery for our program in 2016. It also led me to terminate a staff member who wasn’t upholding our mission. None of this means that people who don’t work for us, or that I defriend, aren’t on their own special journey. I hope they find the same inspiration that has led me and Elegant to where we are today. I truly wish everyone well. But for me to continue to grow personally and professionally decisions need to be made. I’m all for new decisions and breathing fresh air. But in order to do that sometimes, you have to exhale people, things and anything that isn’t serving you anymore.

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Blog 6 Energy Shift

One of the themes I see in the universe this week is an energy shift. When we make changes in life, we may not see them right away. Losing weight is one of them. Someone may say, “Wow, you are looking thinner?” Or, “Are you losing weight?” You may not notice it right away, but someone on the outside looking in is able to see it immediately. Of course, we all appreciate nice comments, but when we are truly able to feel and believe in it ourselves, that is truly what we call an “aha moment”. Oprah Winfrey talks about them all the time.
Experiencing the fruits of our personal growth, whether it be weight loss or the realization of our own empowerment, takes time. We hold onto what we know in life. I grew up with a mother who suffers from mental illness. While she brought turmoil into my life she was also my greatest teacher. It was no easy task, but in the end she inspired me to devote my life to helping others overcome obstacles.
Toxicity comes in many forms and from many directions. People for the most part have good intentions, but they may not always realize what is holding them back from the success and the fruits their labor deserves. The reality is that change comes from within. We can spend our lives thinking that other people are holding us back, but when we see ourselves clearly, waves of strength and beauty rise up and come to us. My own “aha” moment was at our last open house. I looked around and realized that nothing can dull our shine. I felt it like a beam of light during the evening. During all the hard work day-in and day-out, well beyond the formal hours of our daily program, we surely shine. We have a team that I am truly grateful for. Our message is out there. We now stand strong to move our mission. Those who are toxic now come, and then go. We are able to filter them out so quickly, we make them sparkle too!

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