The Journey of Acceptance

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I struggled my whole life with feeling less than. I covered it with phony, always thinking I should be someone else. I never really had a direction, so being left to my own thinking I was lost before I was a teen. I was chosen last in the playground, I never made teams. I sat on the bench and never played. No one paid attention to me.

When we stop and ask our kids how does sitting feel and they tell you “It’s okay, I don’t mind,” I would think about that. I doubt that it’s okay. We all need recognition. We all need someone to tell us we matter. Continue reading

Start a Movement of Nice

Inspiration! The process of being mentally stimulated to do something, especially to do something creative. Finding something everyday can be challenging, so let’s make it simple—look for opportunities to be kind.

As the saying goes, “just do it.” Reach down into your heart, take a risk, break the norm of watching and just do it. Take some action, no matter how small, to make someone’s day a little bit brighter and make someone smile. Continue reading

Spread the Love

Sitting at my desk, waiting for yet another snow storm to blanket the area, I’m letting my mind wander as it always does when faced with a blank sheet of paper. Suddenly the question drifts up from my deep inner brain: Just who is St. Valentine anyway?

St. Valentine is an interesting character, mostly because we don’t know much about him. Accounts differ and legends abound, but reliable information is on the short side. We do know he is the patron saint of lovers, epileptics and beekeepers. We also know that a lovers’ festival bearing his name dates back to the 14th century. And anyone who can achieve that type of recognition over seven centuries is okay in my book.  Continue reading

More Lessons in Life

We received a lot of positive feedback on the Publishers Letter in November, so I thought I would just do a little continuation with a few personal comments.

Honesty is so important. It is the link to integrity, friendship, relationships and self. It is not always easy and is sometimes a challenge, but like all of life, if we pay attention, understand we are human, stay open and be willing to admit our shortcomings, the rewards are priceless.

Interpersonal relationships. Building this skill pays back in life, in business, in parenting, in everything human. We should be teaching it in our schools, from day one to college graduation. Perfecting it is priceless.  Continue reading

The Fall Shift

October represents change to me. The colors of fall are infectious as I watch the dramatic changing of leaves. Pumpkin patches glow in the fields, and apple trees sparkle as they wait to be picked. Sunsets become works of art. A new and invigorating energy seems to grip the air. Everything about fall and the change of seasons brings a new fresh energy to my life.

It is fascinating to watch how nature deals with change so effortlessly. If only it were the same for us. Nature moves without a push back—it simply adjusts and makes the necessary next move. I am amazed at the order of the universe—how complexity and simplicity work together to deliver exactly what is needed for the planet.  Continue reading

The Season for Change

Quite often change is brought about by pain. Our minds supply us with all the justification we need to stay stuck. I know from personal experience how hard change can be. Even good change can be hard to see as good. Thinking of the future can be so scary that hope is hard to find. Often our thinking generates only the bleak side of endless possibilities. So we push back, consciously or subconsciously, to resist change. We dig in our heels to protect our lives as they are. Even in extreme circumstances such as domestic violence, dysfunctional relationships, drugs and alcoholic abuse, we often will protect what is “normal” in our world and resist change. We also protect the thinking that created our life’s situations. What a paradox—the mind battle of wanting change and resisting at the same time. In our heart of hearts, we know what to do. We hope for change, yet are frozen. We think we are unable to change. How could we know it was our thinking that was wrong?  Continue reading

A Model Experience – Letter from the Publisher – July 2018

Recently, I spent a few days in Sweden. What an amazing trip. The views were stunning and the city of Stockholm majestic, but it was the people and the human interactions that knocked me over. Not only the experience there, but how the effects of spending a short amount of time with a small group of exceptionally nice people have impacted me.

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Letter from the Publisher – June 2018

Recently, we introduced a new column, written by teenagers, called Teen Voices. The idea behind it is to help parents (and other adults) get a glimpse of the world through a teen’s eyes. In raising my own four children, I found striving to better understand their world through their eyes was one of the most powerful tools I could use. This simple approach does help build a foundation of trust; however, building trust with a teenager is a day-to-day business. Some days, you are best friends. The next day, one of us is from another planet. As in most things, it is a process. Listening (when my 15-year-old talks to me) is more important than speaking. No Einstein moment here. The goal is to learn something, not tell something, and keeping that in focus is paramount to building trust. But let’s step back to the beginning, long before the teen years.

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The Day a Mother is Born

May brings sunshine and flowers, and a new energy to the Northeast. It also brings us Mother’s Day. Of course, every day should be Mother’s Day, but that’s another column.

I was pondering what to write here when I thought of my wife, Asta, and her experience in becoming a mother. I remember how she was consumed with fear as her pregnancy progressed toward delivery. As part of her family dynamics, she had had very little, if any, experience with newborns, including holding one. In addition, she was just about to enter her forties, so she had a lot going on. Reading, talking, getting advice, going to classes—everything leading up to delivery was just a fog that covered up her insecurities. Having moved from Lithuania, she had no family around the corner and only a small circle of friends to lean on. I understood just how tough it was for her. I’m sure that, despite my being there, she most likely felt alone at times. I know she was frightened—of child birth, of motherhood, of the future. Everything about taking care of a newborn “scares me to pieces,” she would tell me.

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On the Other Side of Words

I have been thinking lately about words and how they fit into our world of communication. My 24-year-old son, Sean, tells me I need a college course in texting so he can make sense of what I’m trying to say when I speak with my fingers. On self-examination—and the evidence before me—I have to plead guilty as charged.

I have had numerous people tell me they don’t understand my email. It has been pointed out to me, mostly by my editor, that I have a “Joe Dunne mind speak” when I hastily shoot out emails. Again, guilty.

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Seeing What’s Good – Letter from the Publisher, March 2018

Thank you for being a reader. I hope you enjoy our March publication of Natural Awakenings.

I find myself wanting to write about the injustice of things—the penal system, gun control, blame, closed-minded people, war, violence, inequality, inappropriate behavior, prejudices and our education system—and then there’s health care and veterans’ rights. Thankfully, our magazine is not part of “the world of what’s wrong.” Seeing the problem is so easy. Want proof? Turn on a TV, a talk radio station, a political cable broadcast, the news… Everyone, it seems, has an opinion on what is wrong. Continue reading