Saturday, March 26, 2011

To the class of 2010

With the passing of another year you can take the time to think about how far you have come as students and individuals.  And, understandably you are probably wondering where you will fit in as part of our society.  You have a lot to be proud of.  I could write about all the challenges facing your generation but you know them.  The media has been filling your head with it since you were babies.  You will handle it.  It’s the progress that you have made that puts you far ahead of your predecessors in terms of attitude, acceptance and life outlook.  Commencements afford us a brief moment to examine what you have accomplished.
Your generation has earned your diploma not just because of what you learned but what you taught the rest of us.  You taught us that it is not too late to make the changes that will save our planet. As long as you are alive it’s never too late. You taught us that living in fear is NOT living.  Fear exists in all of us but it does not define us.  You thanked a veteran and you questioned war. Your generation has little use for the word “Normal”.  Normal is only useful when it pertains to health.  Your body should have a “normal” temperature of 98.6, and sure, you should have blood pressure with the “normal” range.  But that is where it ends. It is you who taught us that uniqueness makes us creative, inspired, and ultimately powerful.
 For these lessons I thank you.  And perhaps you can indulge me as I impart some lessons that I have learned.

  • Maintain good credit.  One of the greatest gifts you have been given, as a child of the free world, is the ability to make positive change for yourself based on little more than your past ability to pay for the things you bought.
  • Learn all you can about our country’s past and take an interest in our government. Maybe that means running for office, reading more, or just watching CSPAN every now and then.
  • Use spell check
  • Don’t listen to those who tell you we lost our way.
  • Be generous with your time.  Giving money is nice.  It takes only seconds to write a check.  But some of my most valuable life lessons came while volunteering.
  • Accept who you are.  You are the only one living your life.
  • When in a meeting listen, don’t just wait for your turn to talk.  Keep in mind some of the best ideas have come from unlikely places.
  • Much of our fear and ignorance comes from our parents.  Reject it. It will set you free.  But do not blame or resent your parents for that fear.  They were just doing the best they could.  You mean everything to them.
As you land that first job and begin building a career, many of you will begin to consider starting a family.  When that time comes, understand the power you have in shaping your Children’s perspective.  Teach them tolerance. Teach them to educate themselves on a subject before making snap judgments.  Let them know that God does not care whether you work on Wall Street or build walls or whether make your living turning a wrench or turning a phrase.  Let them know that nothing in the schoolyard that is relevant later on. So it does not matter if you are great at doge ball or you throw like a girl or dress like one.  Help them understand it’s not important whom you fall in love with. What is important is that you have love to give in the first place.  Love is not a zero sum, it is paradoxical in fact, because the more you give away the more you have.
So continue to astound us. Go out there and live, love, earn, make mistakes and leave this world a more, selfless and compassionate place then the one you entered.
By Stacy Hathaway


With high unemployment and a sluggish economy, opportunity is a word on many people’s minds.  Is it out there?  How do you get it?
 As much as we try, so little of what happens for us is due to our actions.  Our fortunes are nothing more than the sum of our talent, timing and opportunities.  Oprah Winfrey would disagree.  In a recent interview with Simon Cowell she insisted that people make their opportunities.  Oprah is wrong. (Oh yeah, I went there)  Well, mostly wrong. That is in my opinion a lazy conclusion; a mistake many people make by looking at “success stories” and work backwards.  The problem is that it discounts the nameless millions of people whom, with possibly even more talent, perseverance and hard work, have little to show for it.  By definition, these individuals are anonymous.  So we ignore them.  Then we focus on that group of individuals whom had that rare combination of perfect timing and the right talent.  But what’s worse about assuming that people are lacking success because of something they are not doing is that it places blame squarely on them.
 So what do we do with this info?  The first thing we need to stop is giving so much undeserved credibility to people who have amassed great wealth.  I like Warren Buffet, I think he is good guy and I would even go so far as to say he is something of a role model based on his philanthropic endeavors and his ability to put his staggering wealth into perspective.  I do not, however, think he has much to contribute to you and me in terms of advice on how to be a success.  Mr. Buffet was successful because he possesses a specific set of skills that worked during a specific period of time.  There is growing evidence in fact that those times have changed.  The second thing might be to place less emphasis on our own chosen path.  It’s great to have goals; actually it’s critical.  But the older I get the more I can see there is no such thing as a chosen path.  Like Yogi Berra said “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”  Life is a series of different options. After you take that path, only you can decide that it was the wrong decision. So… don’t.  Be confident in your choices and do your best to live without regrets.  
Many years ago, in another life, it seems, I worked in sales. The company I worked for sent me to many sales seminars during the time that I worked for them.  One of these “Gurus” really had an impact on me (although not enough for me to remember his name).  Much of his advice focused on staying positive.  He said, “Folks, if I’m going down in flames I’m going’ down with a smile on my face”.  His point being, that much of life is chance so chose to be happy.  And why the heck not?
 So don’t be concerned about that big break that you are still waiting for.  A bad luck streak, like good luck, doesn’t last.  Keep waiting, working, and doing your best but if the big “it” never happens that’s OK too.
By Stacy Hathaway

The power of believing in yourself

What does it mean to have the power of believing in you? This process begins with getting to know "who you are", "what you are about", and "why you are here" to begin with. It also has to do with learning how to live your life too. Sometimes it takes many years of maturity to understand the power that is within your heart as well as going through the struggles of growing up as a person. But where do we begin this journey if we don’t understand what it takes to walk through the process of life?
The steps to recognize the power within starts in the "heart and soul" of where life is felt from the time we are raised by our families as well as the walking through the steps of our emotional and mental well-being. It’s learning to recognize the existence of how we feel and live each moment through our hardships and struggles in life. Sometimes it can be a long process to recognize over the years.
The lessons that we learn through life helps us to recognize the weaknesses of characteristics within the core of our own inner being. It also begins with learning to know and understand what its like to have faith in something that we believe in tremendously which helps us to realize the direction we will take in our daily lives.
Sometimes we lose track of going in so many directions at once and don’t know what should come first. Sometimes we don’t understand why we take so many short steps and then fumble down constantly. It’s not a pleasant experience to keep spinning the wheels of our lives in many directions until we are confused and disturbed about why life is putting us on the edge of our seats. Then we are sitting back and asking questions daily, “why am I so miserable”, "what am I doing wrong that life is throwing these “curve balls” in my direction?
There is so much to learn about life when it comes to the power of believing in yourself. My spiritual journey in life came from the hardships and losses of life that isn’t pleasant to handle. The struggles of learning about self-esteem, self-love, self-worth, trust, honor, respect, co-dependence and dysfunction and many other areas helped me to overcome and understand so much about my life. This helped my life grow so much about when I began this journey in life.
My relationship with “God” also kept me in the right direction of my life. Anytime I was at cross-roads with my life, I would continue to ask “God” daily where I should be. Even though I am 52 years old now, I am still continuing to ask questions. The spiritual journey within our precious “heart and soul” is the most powerful gift that a human can love and appreciate about themselves when the inner turmoil has passed. It’s a never ending process through the years we live our lives with the universe and how we handle the problems as they come.
By Cheryl Scheinin


I’m not sure who coined the phrase “happiness is a choice” but choosing happiness is a  skill that is in my opinion one of the most important in life.  If you lose your job you can chose to look at the opportunity life just presented to you.  If you go through a difficult breakup (are any ever easy?) just think of how much you learned from this last relationship an how your next romance will be that much better. If only it were that easy.  The reason I use the word skill is because at its core that’s exactly what it is.  No one likes mind games, but sometimes I find that you must in a sense trick yourself to avoid the pitfalls of gloom.  So here are a few things that I do to keep myself cheerful even in the face of trials tribulations and miscellaneous adversity.
  1. Start your morning with exercise while listening to happy upbeat music.  Exercise relives stress and releases endorphins that make you feel better.  The song that you listen too is equally important.  Chose something up-tempo with a positive message.  This morning DJ Stacy served up a little “Happy” by the Rolling tones.  That song never ceases to make me happy no matter how many times I hear it.
  2. Plan something.  It turns out, according to research, that the anticipation of a fun event is more intense than the event itself.  Planning a vacation or a fun night with your friends several weeks in advance is a great way to put a little more spring in your step.
  3. Catch some Rays.  Living here in Connecticut, the winters are long and sunny days from November to April are few and far between.  I make a point of visiting the beach or working outside on those rare days when the sun is peaking through the endless New England clouds.  Sunlight produces vitamin D and vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to depression so a few rays a day will keep the winter blues away.
  4. Get a pet.  It’s widely known that people with dogs or cats live longer because time with a pet reduces stress.  I have both just to be safe.  Recent studies have shown that time spent petting your dog or cat releases chemicals that a mother’s body creates while breastfeeding.  These chemicals help a mother bond with her baby and create a somewhat euphoric feeling.
  5. Avoid unnecessary negativity.  This one can be tough.  It is our civic duty to stay informed about politics and world events but the news is also filled with horror that just doesn’t pertain to anyone but those directly involved and therefore serves only to bring you down.  Where it is really tricky is when it comes to friends.  We all have that friend who is so negative about everything.  The one who can find something wrong in every situation.  I know a few, and I have no choice but to limit my time with them.  In an extreme case I have even had to disconnect completely.  Difficult, especially if you have a long past together but your survival, in a sense, depends on it.

By Stacy Hathaway
The most important thing though is to remain positive no matter what.  Morn when you have to, be sad when you have to, but remember if you are still here things will get better but only if that is the energy you put out there.  Think of negative thoughts as bacteria invading your brain.   You have the power to make them go away.  Even if it means saying out loud “I will not let this get to me!”  Your survival depends on it.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

If you drink milk but know

Food for thought......................Did you know 70% of cows are pregnant when they are milked? That explains some of the hormones in milk - Sandy