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28 May

Prescription: Media Fast — Stat !

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As someone who has been called a “media maven,” and who participates in and contributes to practically every form of print and broadcast media out there, this is probably the last thing you expect to hear from me: Turn it all off. Unplug. Seriously. We — and yes, I am speaking for just about anyone who is plugged in at the moment — are desperately in big-time need of a media fast. I wouldn’t say this if I were not experiencing it myself.

How many times do we need to come across the photo of a celebrity’s mugshot? Are we really sitting on the edge of our seats waiting to learn the most popular baby names of 2012? Do we really care that a 40-something newscaster covets a 20-something model’s dyed blonde hair? How many times do we need to hear about getting in shape for swimsuit season? And yet, these are the kinds of topics that permeate the airwaves on any given media outlet, at any given time.

Social media serves an important purpose in highlighting and encouraging the connection between us all. And yet, it is also a place for idleness, a distraction, where the trivial meets the banal. Then, when our social media “friends” post their political viewpoints, respect and courtesy often fly out the window. This forum creates as much tension and controversy as any other.

There are literally hundreds of television networks. And there are thousands of radio stations to choose from, probably even more if we count all the new online stations. There are millions of websites to peruse. We hear the same thing over and over again — in different ways at different times, through different mouths. Tweets are pre-programmed, pitches are automated, and shows are rerun ad infinitum. There is never a moment when we aren’t presented with some sort of tap dance from some form of media. Even as I’m writing this I’m feeling overwhelmed, knowing that I’m just adding more to the mix. We are on information overload! It’s time for a reboot.

Silence. Do you remember what that sounds like? Silence is the antidote to all the noise we are bombarded with every minute of every day. We’ve gotten so used to the cacophony that we don’t even hear it anymore. I know many people can’t even get to sleep without the TV or radio on. When was the last time you drove in a car without the stereo blaring? We need to detox the brain, to get some space in between the billboards so that we can think clearly, and remember what is really important in life.

Imagine what it would be like if we had to read sentences with no spaces between words. Wewoulddefinitelystruggletomakesenseofthings! There are so many media outlets literally fighting for our attention that we don’t know where to look or listen first. No wonder we’re so stressed out.

Instead, let’s start with silence. Let’s end the day with silence. Let’s spend some time in nature listening to the birds, the rain, and the wind as it moves through the trees. This is where all the wisdom of the world lives. Tap into that. When we sit quietly, check in with ourselves, we regain that sense of calm and balance that gets out of what when our attention is placed outside of ourselves for so long.

This is why traveling is so healthy and restorative. When we travel, especially if we travel to a foreign county, we’re away from media. We don’t watch TV or read the paper because it’s in another language. We give ourselves that luxury of time to rest, and to just be. There’s no reason why we can’t have that same experience wherever we are, at any time. It just takes the commitment to a regular practice. We can’t let ourselves get into bad habits.

It would be totally amazing if we could go cold turkey and just have a media-free day once a week. And for those who can do that — go for it! For others, we might want to work in a media-free hour once a day. Set aside some time when you might normally be surfing the net or watching a TV show, or, as is probably most likely, when you would be multitasking with multimedia. Media-free means no media: no books, computers, phones, games, movies, television — none of that! No going to the mall, either. This is time to reflect, to be still, to gain insight, to be calm. Sit outside, take a bath, or go for a hike. There are lots of options. Don’t try to distract yourself, just be with yourself. Novel concept, I know — but I think you’ll find that you are very good company.

The idea behind a media fast is to regain balance. We’ve been so inundated with media for so long that we’ve forgotten what it’s like to just be quiet. We need that reminder that our inner world is alive and well and ready to serve us. Everything we could possibly need or want resides within each one of us. When there’s a power outage, we’re kind of forced to take a media break — unless of course you’ve got backup systems and generators. But a media fast is proactive. It’s purposeful, and meant to help us set our priorities straight.

Shall we start right now? Who’s in?

For more by Lissa Coffey, click here.

For more on unplugging and recharging, click here.

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16 Apr

Life Lessons Learned From Salsa

Summer 2014 will go down in my personal history as the “Summer of Salsa!” I’ve spent the past seven weeks going from 0 to 60 in learning this particular style of Latin dance, and I’ve loved every minute of it!

This all came about because of the Oxnard Salsa Festival, held every year near my hometown. As a part of the festivities, they hold a “Dancing With the Community Stars” Salsa competition. Community “stars” are matched up with seasoned professional dancers and then the pair comes up with a dance routine to perform at the Festival. All of this helps local charities raise money as the charities campaign for their stars through the various events. Of course, when I found out about this, I loved the idea, and was thrilled to take up the challenge! So I’m dancing for my favorite nonprofit organization, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County.

My partner, Lovie Hernandez, has years of experience and his own studio in Santa Paula. Before meeting him I had never danced a step of Salsa in my life — wouldn’t even know where to start. The two of us hit it off quickly as we were faced with the same goal: get this girl dancing and win the contest!

With Lovie’s background and teaching experience, I knew that, despite my awkwardness, that somehow he’d get me to looking at least a little bit like a Salsa dancer. But what I didn’t know is that Lovie would become my own personal Yoda, sharing with me the wisdom of the Salsa philosophy. While I learned to dance, what surprised me is how much I learned about life through this whole experience. Over the course of our time together I got some great takeaways and I want to share them with you.

— Mix it up. Salsa dancing is actually a mix of different styles from different countries. That’s how it got its name, after the famous spicy salsa dip that’s made out of a mix of different ingredients. Mixing things up to create something new is a good thing! The combination as a whole can be absolutely amazing. Life is like that. We don’t always have to stick to a formula, we can try things out to see what we like, what works. Whether it’s adding new elements to a recipe or a dance or anything, we can always be unique in our self-expression.

— Dancing is communication without words. Lovie says this over and over again. And it’s absolutely true! The body is an instrument, and partners can tell when either one is nervous, unsure, tired, or distracted. You don’t have to say a word, it comes through in the way you move. Relationships are like that, too. We learn to read our partners such that a sigh or the twitch of an eyebrow speaks volumes. We go through a dance with everyone we meet, but those who really know us can sense when something is amiss. The body just doesn’t lie.

— Take your time. Every one of us is going to have our own pace. We can’t compare ourselves to other dancers, or other people. We need to be patient, and gentle with ourselves. Just do your best and trust in the process. When we keep going, we eventually get there. There are many paths to any destination. Once I took Lovie’s advice and was easier on myself, I could enjoy the dance so much more.

— Be in the moment. Choreography is like following a map. You know where you’re going, but you can’t focus on that end goal, you have to be present for every step along the way. If you race ahead, or have your head in the next move rather than the current move, the whole thing is going to fall apart. Not that you can’t recover! A good partner, like Lovie, can help you get back on track. We don’t even realize how much we’re missing out on in life when we’re not paying attention. Be mindful, pay attention, and you’ll be surprised at what you can do.

— Trust your partner. I knew I could trust Lovie from the first moment I met him. We were posing for a photo, and he asked me if we should do a dip. I gave an enthusiastic “yes!” and he proceeded to turn me heels over head. Literally. What fun! I knew that Lovie was strong, and would not let me fall no matter what. When Lovie says “look at me” during our dance, it’s a reminder to me to “spot” so that I don’t get dizzy. At the same time, it’s a reminder to me that we’re a team in this thing, and he’s got my back.

— Keep your eye on the prize. From the very beginning, our motto has been that we are “in it to win it!” And it’s definitely been our goal to win this competition and make as big a splash as possible for Big Brothers Big Sisters. I hope we do win, but I know that all of the other dancers have also put in their work and want to win as well! Now that I’ve been through all this training, spent so much time, sweat, and energy working on this dance, I realize that I already have gained much more than any win. The real prize is the new-found knowledge and skills that I now have. The real prize is all the wonderful people I’ve met who have share my enthusiasm. The real prize is my terrific new friend, a dancer and philosopher who has taught me so much.

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08 Jul

My Radio Interview

Hi everyone!

It has been quite a while since I last posted on this blog.  My apologies.  Unfortunately, my time has been taken up with editing my newly released book, If You Should Read This, Mother, in addition to other writing projects.  As those of you who have read my previous posts know, I am a huge fan of suspense, whether in film, tv, or books.  I think If You Should Read This, Mother is quite suspenseful and is a great summer read.

The book is available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/You-Should-Read-This-Mother-ebook/dp/B07214BLW5/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498410445&sr=8-1&keywords=If+You+Should+Read+This%2C+Mother as well as on the publisher’s website (www.blackopal.com) and bookstores.

I invite you all to tune in to The Kim Pagnano Show next Saturday 7/15, when Kim will be interviewing me about my book. The interview will be played between 7-8 PT on next Saturday on KVTA  Radio 1590, and it will be posted on www.kimpaganoshow.com starting at 9:00 PT.

Hoping you’ll have a chance to listen and to spread the word and that you’ll be placing a copy of If You Should Read This, Mother in your beach bags this summer:

https://www.amazon.com/You-Should-Read-This-Mother-ebook/dp/B07214BLW5/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498410445&sr=8-1&keywords=If+You+Should+Read+This%2C+Mother

And you haven’t already read my first mystery, Groomed for Murder, it is available as an e-book at https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=groomed+for+murder+by+Vivian+Rhodes&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Agroomed+for+murder+by+Vivian+Rhodes

Happy reading!  Vivian

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12 Nov

5 Strategies to Enjoy Your Free Time

Free time is good for the soul. Your best opportunity to re-charge your emotional batteries is to take advantage of those precious non-work hours.

Depending on how you spend it, free time allows you to truly express who you are and who you strive to be. You’ll feel at peace and content with your life when you begin to utilize non-work time doing the activities you love.

Try these tips on how to use your free time to your best advantage:

  1. Ask yourself, “What do I really long to do?” Make a list. Include simple and complex projects and activities you’ve always wanted to do.
  • Your list might have items on it like “do yoga 3 times a week, ” “watch those DVDs I bought 6 months ago,” “read at least one novel a month,” or “spend 2 hours making a scrapbook from last year’s vacation photos.” What makes your heart sing?
  1. Take a look at your calendar. It’s good to get a visual of how much free time you have in a given week. It can be exhilarating to realize you have 20 hours of free time each week. When does most of your free time occur? In the evenings from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.? Or only on the weekends? Or both?
  • If you use a paper calendar, highlight the time blocks when your free time will happen in the coming week. You’ll feel a little excited and happy when you do this step. It just feels great to know you’ve got some “me time” coming.
  1. Plan desired activities by writing them into your schedule. It might be unusual for you to consider using your calendar to “schedule” free time. However, if it’s written in the calendar, you’re more likely to follow through.
  • For example, you might reserve 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday to read a novel. From 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. you could schedule “work on vacation scrapbook.” From 9:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., maybe it’s “call my sister in TN.”
  • It’s not necessary to schedule every unscheduled bit of time you have. However, if it’s written into your schedule, it will be a great reminder for you to begin doing many of the things you long to do. You’ll get focused and feel more fulfilled once you start doing the activities you choose.
  1. Gather necessary supplies for favored activities in advance. You’ll be prepared to jump right in if you already have the supplies you need. Use shoe boxes or plastic bins to store supplies so everything will be at the ready when free time rolls around.
  2. Regularly update your list of desired activities. This is the wonderful thing about enjoying free time: you have free rein to change your mind and develop new, exciting interests at your whim. Life is incredibly enriching when you realize you can spend spare time taking part in activities you find stimulating, interesting, or just plain fun.

To feel content and develop a real enjoyment of life, use spare moments to your best advantage. Do every single thing you desire. Enrich your life by enjoying your free time!

Hope you enjoyed this article and have a beautiful week filled with love and light, Barbara

www.BarbaraSavin.com

BarbaraESavin@aol.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GentleEnergyTouch/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbaraSavin

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01 Apr

A TRIBUTE TO PATTY DUKE

patty duke

Like many of you, I was saddened to hear of the passing of Patty Duke.  I met the woman over thirty years ago when I was working as a receptionist at the then relatively small talent agency, Creative Artists, which represented both her and her husband, John Astin.

I knew her as Anna, her given name and one which everyone at the agency was requested to use.  If I didn’t know the actress, Patty, I did come to know the woman, Anna.  She was gracious, funny, and warm.  And she spoke in an almost gravelly voice.

I loved her in the role of Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker, for which she won an academy award for Best Supporting Actress.  I was also a faithful viewer of The Patty Duke Show which aired in the early sixties (I can still remember most of the lyrics to the theme song.)

Probably my best memory of Anna/Patty is the time my sister came to Los Angeles to visit with her son, Jonathan, who was about to celebrate his fifth birthday.  I offered to throw him a little party and then realized that I didn’t have too many friends with little ones back then.  I managed to “scrape up” a few kids, not wanting his party to be a disaster. When I mentioned this to Anna, she and John immediately offered to bring their two sons, Sean, who was a year older than Jonathan, and Mackenzie, who was a year younger.  I accepted their generous offer and John brought them to the party. Both parents were down to earth and very approachable.

Patty Duke, or as I knew her Anna Astin, was a lovely woman who left us far too soon.

The Patty Duke Show Theme Song

Meet Cathy, who’s lived most everywhere,
From Zanzibar to Barclay Square.
But Patty’s only seen the sights
A girl can see from Brooklyn Heights –
What a crazy pair!

But they’re cousins,
Identical cousins all the way.
One pair of matching bookends,
Different as night and day.

Where Cathy adores a minuet,
The Ballet Russes, and crepe suzette,
Our Patty loves to rock and roll,
A hot dog makes her lose control –
What a wild duet!

Still, they’re cousins,
Identical cousins and you’ll find,
They laugh alike, they walk alike,
At times they even talk alike –

You can lose your mind,
When cousins are two of a kind.

Copyright: Lyrics © Original Writer and Publisher
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