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Waking up on a couch on New Years day (not because I drank and crashed there, but because I chose to stay with family instead of sharing the freeway with drivers who over-indulged in mind-and -body-altering libations), the sounds of the new year came into focus: the ta-ta, ta-ta rhythm of my mother’s slippers tapping the floor as she strolled in the room, the pharumph of my teenage nephew’s tush sitting on me to welcome me into the year, the sound of those over 50 (I won’t say who you are) shaking their fiber and water to help move things along, hearing the younger generation teaching their grandma how to use the voice memo on her new iphone, listening to my niece streaming Friends finally available on Netflix, the buzzing of my phone with my daughter at the other end wanting to be my first call of the year to say good morning; ….it was a veritable symphony for a comforting awakening to a new day, to a new year.

For the past two years on New Years, I have written about what I would tell my younger self to help start the year, not necessarily with resolutions, but with thoughts and lessons. This time, as I reflect back on the last 365 days, I have observed, listened and learned from others around me, and it is their courage, actions and words of wisdom that I am using to motivate and take to heart on this, the precipice of a new year:

Watching my mother care for her 103 year-old mom ensuring that she has the best quality of life possible, has shown me how important it is to respect old age. Also, how crucial it is that while we care for those we love, we need to give ourselves the oxygen mask first so that we don’t compromise our own physical and mental health.

Watching people I love and care about, deal with scary diagnoses, disease, and treatments with courage, optimism and strength; staring fear in the face, bulldozing right past it with a big F-U.

Watching my kids figure out the direction of their lives, bravely swimming through the growing pains, tackling what needs to be done regardless of overwhelm.

Watching people I care about deal with changes due to health, injury and/or loss, teaching me that you can adjust to change, be it temporary or permanent, without letting it define you. They adapted and learned to live differently, while still finding happiness, even when it seemed impossible.

Watching friends struggle with unemployment, personal demons, and empty bank accounts, yet they push forward with hope, determination and magnificent resilience.

 

With all the challenges we face personally and universally, instead of making resolutions that I think set us up for disappointments or even defeat, I suggest we set ourselves up for making positive strides by listening to, and learning from one another.

To do this, I propose we start the New Year with our heads up (out of the phone) to see what we can observe and discover in order to make each day of the year an opportunity to be our best selves…to be what we want and deserve to be. And don’t forget to notice, as I experienced this New Year’s morning, the most simple, yet wondrous things that make life great.

How we see life, and how we respond to what happens, will determine the level of happy in our days, and in our year.

 

Make it a Happy New Year!

And as always…

Live Passionately and Vulnerably,

Nancy

See this article published on Huffington Post:

How to Make it a Happy New Year

Nancy-200x300

This post is dedicated to all of you who continue to support me by reading and sharing my articles here on NancyTellsAll, and the ones that have been published on other websites. This year has been one of more transition, and in 2015, I am confident there will be even more… including more posts, more videos, and…who knows what surprises will be in store!

Change can be challenging, but remember that as the pieces begin to fall into place, we see things a bit more clearly and we will  have learned more about ourselves, grow stronger and become more confident. And yes, I’m sure I will need to remind myself of this as well!!

Happy, Happy Holiday Season to everyone! Enjoy each and every moment with those you care about–including time with yourself–the person you need to nurture most! And remember…THESE are the Good ‘Ol Days!!

And as always…

Live Passionately and Vulnerably,

Nancy

 

STOPLOOKLISTEN to the people in your life

The Jewish New Year is today. It is a time for reflection, new beginnings, and also a time we often say, “I can’t believe how fast time has gone!”

When discussing the concept of time, the sentiment that usually rings the loudest is how time keeps moving faster and faster. However, the other day my friend/ hairdresser/magician, shared a book with me about this concept, and in it was a quote that struck me:

“Time isn’t speeding up, we are.”

I have felt for a while now that the Universe must be sitting on the fast forward button as so many of us play beat-the- clock every day. But perhaps it is we who are pushing the hands of time. We’re busy running errands, texting, checking email, quickly grabbing food to eat quickly in the car between the soccer game and the dance class. Everything has to happen quickly. The red light doesn’t turn green fast enough, going 75 mph in the fast lane feels slow, and if a web page doesn’t open immediately we become impatient and frustrated.

The Internet is a huge contributor to increasing the speed of life and usurping our quality time and attention from others. People take nosedives into their phones all day long walking down the street, driving in the car, and while sitting with each other at a meal. They say the average person checks their phone 150 times a day. Noses are down and life’s moments are escaping. They are flying by. We run around being busy, often neglecting our most precious relationships and ourselves.

It truly takes a conscious desire and awareness to be present and in the moment. I encourage and challenge us all to slow down a little and make an extra effort to listen more intently, and to look at those you love more attentively. Thornton Wilder addressed this issue years ago, and with such eloquence and emotion. I’ve cited this passage before from Our Town and still, each time I read it I get goose bumps and a lump in my throat. It is also a moving reminder with which I will leave you to contemplate:

(Emily has just died in childbirth and has been given the chance to go back home to a time she wishes to see. Looking at her mother and father whom she will never see again, she realizes that it was a mistake have gone back.)

 “I can’t bear it. They’re so young and beautiful. Why did they ever have to get old? Oh, Mama, just look at me one minute as though you really saw me. Let’s look at one another.

I can’t. I can’t go on. It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another. (She breaks down sobbing, she looks around) I didn’t realize. All that was going on in life and we never noticed. Take me back – up the hill – to my grave. But first: Wait! One more look. Good-by, Good-by, world. Good-by, Grover’s Corners. Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking and Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths, and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? – every, every minute? I’m ready to go back. I should have listened to you. That’s all human beings are! Just blind people.”

Stop. Look. Listen. Not just a helpful reminder before crossing the street, but perhaps also for making our way through life with more awareness and appreciation.

And as always…

Live Passionately and Vulnerably,

Nancy

love of life pic

I think so. I do think, however, that sometimes it’s the love of your life for a reason, or perhaps just a season. And yes, for a lucky few, it is for a lifetime. Until death do they part.

The other night I witnessed a moving tribute exemplifying the latter. I was fortunate enough to be present at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, where Buffy Ford Stewart and the John Stewart Band performed a tribute show for what would have been John’s 75th birthday. John, best known from the Kingston Trio, died 7 years ago from a stroke at the age of 68. “John was my first love,” Buffy says, “my one and only love.” They were together for 43 years until he died.

Buffy herself is a survivor of several cancers and various surgeries, not to mention the loss of her great love. The evening was even more meaningful for me because Buffy was my first singing teacher when I was just 10 years old. She knew my family, and back in 1971/72 she recorded three songs that my mom composed. After her show, I had the honor of reconnecting with her, and the pleasure of giving her a CD of those songs that she sang over 40 years ago.

Buffy’s and John’s relationship is a storybook love story. It is rare to find a love so strong; a love that sustains through the best and worst of times. I have been blessed to know a handful of couples who have successfully ducked divorce or death, and others whose second or third time around seems to be the life-long charm.

I recently wrote about the loss of someone very important to me. At the age of 87, Mirk passed away in June, on the day of his 60th wedding anniversary. Marcia and Mirk had been planning their anniversary party for over a year, which was scheduled for a couple of weeks later. Marcia decided that the party should go on as planned, as a celebration of their life together.

Five months prior, I visited them with my video camera in tow, to interview them about their secrets for staying married almost 60 years. I asked about their thoughts on love, how to get through tough times, and the keys to living a happy fulfilling life. Then in June when Mirk passed away, I realized I had a treasure residing in my laptop that needed to be shared. I asked Marcia if I could create a DVD from that interview as a tribute to him and their marriage to be shown at the anniversary party. She responded with a resounding, “Yes!” So, with almost 100 family members and friends gathered around, we watched them in action.

Secrets to a long-term marriage

DVD cover and label designed by: Compu-Graphics. Email: info@compugds.com

 

There was laughter and there were tears. Seeing people’s emotional responses and receiving many requests to create a living memory on DVD for other families, made me realize that there is a need and incalculable value in creating DVD’s such as this. Interviews with family members or special friends for their anecdotes, grandma and/or grandpa telling their stories, challenges, dating tales, advice and secrets of life. Capturing moments in time leaving a legacy for children, grandchildren, other family members and friends to cherish forever, from generation to generation: Priceless.

 

 

Secrets to a long-term marriage

DVD cover and label designed by: Compu-Graphics. Email: info@compugds.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secrets to a long-term marriage

DVD cover and label designed by: Compu-Graphics. Email: info@compugds.com

 

This idea is so new, that I have no name for it yet, and I am welcoming your suggestions! In fact, if I choose the name you submit, I will produce a DVD for you and your family for half price! So please email me your ideas for a name and/or to talk with me about preserving the stories, wisdom and personalities of your family members, creating a priceless gift for your family. I can be reached at: nancy@nancytellsall.com.

 

And once again, with Marcia’s permission, I invite you to watch below and see “Marcia & Mirk in Rare Form.”

 

Secrets to a long-term marriage

DVD cover and label designed by: Compu-Graphics. Email: info@compugds.com

 

 

Here’s to keeping our family stories, history, and loved ones, alive!

 

 

 

 

 

Ladies and Gentleman, the incomparable Marcia and Mirk:

 

fwb

I have been receiving questions about relationships, love, sex, marriage, etc. from readers, so I’ve decided to occasionally post a “Nancy Answers All” column. Below is the first question for Nancy Answers All!

Q: I have a lady friend and neither of us is in, nor is ready to be in a relationship, but we are very attracted to one another. I just know that sex with her will be incredible, and we have known each other for a long time so there is a comfort level there. While it seems like a win-win in some ways, perhaps maybe it’s not so much in others. What do you think?

A: Can there be a deafening silence? Can you be busy doing nothing? Can there be friends with benefits? This strikes me as one of those oxymoron’s. Not that people who jump into sexually healing waters with a friend are morons; but like oxymorons, while it might be possible, does it make sense?

If you can really truly have sex with a friend and not expect anything more in return, then yes. But the term itself can lead to certain expectations.

If you call yourselves friends with benefits, the word ‘friends’ implies that you might do things that friends do. Friends share thoughts and feelings. They help each other if they’re sick or moving. They call to see how you are doing, and they do whatever it is that friends may do together. What is your definition of a friend? This is a sticky wicket. Instead of Harry and Sally deciding if men and women can just be friends, we wonder, can they be just be friends and be naked sharing multiple erotic fantasies and orgasms. Or even better, the other way around!

So, I guess my best piece of advice to you is this:

If all you want is someone to dance with between the sheets, or at the kitchen sink, in front of the closet mirror, or hanging backward off the bed, then just say so, and don’t couch it (sorry for the pun) with being friends. If this is the case, perhaps instead, you can just ask him/her if they want to be “Your Benefit!”

If you do want more than the occasional sexually fulfilling hook-up, I think the key is to be very, very direct about what it is you both want and don’t want from this non-relationship. This will help to avoid unrealistic expectations, disappointments, or hurt feelings. While there are no guarantees, I think this is the best method of protection when bedding a friend.

If any readers would like to chime in, please feel free to post your thoughts in the comment section below!

And please send in any questions to nancy@nancytellsall.com for future posts of Nancy Answers All!

Until then,

Live vulnerably and passionately!

Nancy

 

love notepic of hugging

For the past few months, words and pictures have been beyond my grasp. Prior to this creative void, I would see pictures in every day life that would conjure up words in my mind, creating yet a totally different picture that I was excited to express and to share. Conversely, a certain word or words would create a picture in my mind I couldn’t wait to describe, hoping to encourage and inspire perceptions unique to each person. But for the past few months, this was all on pause. I dare say, on mute. Unsure, and at times bothered by my lack of inspiration, I didn’t force myself with self-imposed shoulds or deadlines. I figured it would happen organically.

And it did. Tonight I went to see the movie Words and Pictures. While it received a mere 39% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, it was personally recommended to me as worthwhile, which I often find more accurate than many of the movie ‘mavens.’ This was one of those instances. While one driving force of the movie is the dynamic sexual tension between the two main characters, the predominant issue is the debate between words and pictures: which has the most impact? It is this question that appears to be the pilot light igniting my butt back to my laptop with an entirely new view of things. Tonight, words that have been lying dormant are now percolating in my mind.

The picture of my world has changed in many ways since I last wrote. I am metaphorically sitting in the middle of a clean canvas surrounded literally by a new frame. For the first time in over 30 years, I am living alone. At this very moment I am sitting on my balcony (albeit in a blue fold out chair with cup holders which will one day grow up to be nice patio furniture) of my own place, looking up at the stars, sipping a glass of Chardonnay I picked up on sale at World Market. Or as I still call it, Cost Plus. It’s a balmy night, and the only light is from the full moon, a few blurry stars, and my computer illuminating back to me once again, that which I am thinking and experiencing.

Since I last wrote, I also lost someone very near and dear who had been in my life for over 30 years. Mirk’s quick wit, and puns were unmatched. The sparkle in his voice and in his eyes always made me feel so very, very special and loved. I love him and will miss him so very much.

My children are approaching and accomplishing milestones with tremendous stride, confidence, and grace. I am realizing that sometimes I won’t be able to be there for all of these moments the way I want to be, the way I used to be. This is not easy.

Words cannot adequately describe how it feels when the picture of our life as we knew it changes, and how it feels to experience the tug and the pull of those moving pieces. But the truth is, we wouldn’t want our life’s picture to remain stagnant.

As I unpack picture after picture of what my life used to look like, I feel pangs in my chest missing what was, but at the same time I am looking forward to what will be. While we usually can’t see clearly what will come next, I believe we need to trust that we are where we need to be, and not force anything. Take chances, think outside the frame, and enjoy what time we have on this canvas of life.

Which has the most impact, words or pictures? I think together they are more simpatico than adversarial. Just like change and life. If we allow them to work together, the possibilities are endless.

I’ll be writing again sooner, rather than later…

 

 

 

 

 

spring break

It’s the beginning of April and it is Spring Break… somewhere. Kids, and usually their parents take a break from the normal routine, and some even break away to destinations with pools, palm trees, or even gondolas and gelato. Our regular routines keep us busy and at times productive, (and no, they’re not the same thing). They keep money coming in (hopefully), food on the table, and appointments in line and on time. Routines keep us on task and on track. However, unless we dedicate a specific time for it, our day-to-day-hustle- bustle doesn’t usually give our minds or our bodies the opportunity to take a break.

For some, breaking away from the daily grind for a cup of rejuvenation isn’t an issue; for others like myself, preventing the mind from percolating can be more challenging. The irony is that our productivity, creativity, and day-to-day performance fire beautifully on all cylinders when we take the time for a tune up. Whatever that looks like for you, do it! Take a walk, have great sex, garden, do nothing, meditate, or all the above!

My break will be a Spring-cleaning of the mind, as I am going to take a few weeks off from writing. I will be seeing family and friends. I’ll have quality time with my nephew and my niece. I will have time with both my kids, and the bonus of observing my daughter showing everyone that it is possible to follow more than one passion as we watch her sing on stage in San Francisco. And yes, I will also make every attempt to find time to do nothing. I have no expectations of any brilliant answers or groundbreaking ideas coming to light. As they sing in the musical Rent: “My only goal is just to be.”

So, until later then! Please feel free to write and let me know what you did differently, or what you didn’t do for your Spring Break!

With appreciation and gratitude,

Nancy

 

 

Texting dangers, risks, affects on relationships

In the 1960’s there was an ad campaign for Tareyton cigarettes that said, “I’d rather fight, than switch!” Texting may not be as toxic as smoking, but it can indeed be hazardous to our lives, and our relationships. And while our electronic devices can help us to feel connected with others, it seems that we don’t ever disconnect. I believe our devices are dividing us:

  • I recently observed a couple sitting in a restaurant. They didn’t say a word to each other or even make eye contact for at least ten minutes. Instead they sat; eyes down, index fingers up, swiping their smart phones. Not so smart. Phones. Next time you’re out, notice how many people are engaging with and embracing an electronic device instead of the person they’re with.
  • A friend of mine recently called his niece to wish her a happy birthday, and she texted him back to say thank you instead of returning his phone call. The growth of our interpersonal skills is being stunted.
  • A friend once texted me to say she was unable to help me with something. I texted back saying, “Never mind, it’s ok.” She flew off the handle thinking I was upset at her and the misunderstanding caused a huge and unnecessary argument.
  • There is now a dating app where you can just swipe, text, and meet. This new slam, bam, thank you ma’am dating process accelerates you right to the meet and greet; eliminating if you so desire, talking to the person first. Courting. Is there an app for that?
  • I recently witnessed a man face down in his cell phone with his back to his young children as they were climbing onto the ledge of a balcony. Was the immediacy of his response more important than the safety of his children?
  • Schools are actually canceling dances. The principal of a High School in New York told TODAY Moms that kids no longer need school activities to keep them connected because of texting, FaceTime, Snapchat, etc.
  • The other day I watched a group of young people hanging out together and all of them were looking at their phones instead of interacting with each other.
  • Phone calls are becoming an endangered species. While it’s great to be able to hear from 100 friends wishing you happy birthday via technology, I miss hearing the voices of the 20 people who used to pick up the phone to call me.
  • Being the man/woman behind the screen creates a sense of security and power to say things we wouldn’t say on the phone or in person. Most often, this won’t end well. It usually doesn’t begin too well either.
  • And lastly, do I need to go into the risks of driving while typing or reading a text?! Or even walking! According to an Ohio State University study, the number of pedestrian ER visits doubled between 2004 and 2010, and at that rate could possibly double again between 2010 and 2015.

Warning: Frequent texting or other Internet related communications may be hazardous to the health of all that is sacred: 

A discussion of any importance should never take place over the Internet. Never! It’s too easy to misunderstand or to be hurtful. It’s also an easier way of dealing with difficult situations. Been there, done that, won’t ever do it again.

Stephen Stills wrote: Love the one you’re with! It’s just plain rude not to give your attention to the people you are with. You can wait to talk with those in cyberspace when you are done playing with your fellow earthlings.

Don’t text or read a text while driving or walking! Nuff said.

If you have any thoughts on this, please comment below!

Not too long ago, I was asked to be a guest on The Divorce View Radio Talk Show to discuss dating after divorce. It’s amazing how many insights….and stories are revealed when you are being interviewed! We also had some technical difficulties in the beginning, which turned out to be my first embarrassing moment.  I couldn’t hear one of the co-hosts, and unbeknownst to me, I could be seen and heard as I was trying to tell/signal them that I couldn’t hear anything she was saying! There is no editing when it’s LIVE! After that it was smooth sailing and oh, the places we went!

Hot topics: 

    • * The fear of dating and meeting men
    • * How each date is a lesson to help you find “Mr.” or “Mrs.” Right
    • * Are you ignoring the “red” flags of your new relationship and why?
    • Plus much, much more..

I hope you enjoy and maybe even laugh a little!

If you want to see the video version, click on the link below:

www.DivorceView.com

If you only want to hear the audio, click below:

http://www.fmgradio.com/divorceview/2014/03/episode-4-dating-adventures-post-divorce.html

 

 

 

 

Communicating with Ex's and other difficult peopleThere are going to be some weeks on NancyTellsAll.com when I change things up a bit. I may write an article or I may post a video, interview, or possibly an article I wrote that was published elsewhere. It may be quotes that I feel the need to share, or just a few paragraphs of blowing off steam.

Guess what this week is? Between dealing with an Ex, entitled misogynists, and watching some of The Bachelor, (this season should have been called The Asshole); I just want to find a deserted island (complete with a really nice bungalow, cook, housekeeper, and a way to listen to music), and go there with my children indefinitely. Not kidding.

It is 1:00 am and my mind is reeling with thoughts of just a little retribution. I’m past the age of prank phone calls or sending 10 pizzas COD. Or am I? I’m past the stage of fantasizing that my fist would find its way into someone’s already deviated septum. Or am I?

If there were a Super Bowl for relationships, I think the two rivals that would consistently face each other would be Expectations vs. Acceptance.

If you are divorced from someone who was never able to communicate or listen to you without an immediate knee jerk reaction jumping down your throat exhibiting no respect for you whatsoever, what would make you think that things would be different post divorce?

If you work with people who bully and have never typically shown regard for co-workers, why would you expect them to suddenly change their ways?

If you’re having a conversation with The Bachelor on TV, who is showing consistently that he is incapable of having a conversation that doesn’t go around in hurtful circles, why would you not see the red flag slapping you in the face caused by the hot air coming from his arrogant mouth?

Why? Because we innately want to believe in people. We want to believe that people care, and that they can and will change. We learn early on to live by the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

If we truly learned everything we need to know in Kindergarten, then I think by our fifth decade of life we should be required to take some continuing education classes! First course: How to Play Nicely in the Sandbox! I’m thinking that the benefits of this could likely extend past the microcosm of personal relationships, helping also on a national or even an international level.

Really people. Why, when we have a choice, can’t we all just choose to try and get along?? Wouldn’t everybody’s lives be much happier and less stressful??

Is it unreasonable to expect that someone would show you respect by listening to you? To respond without inflicting wounds into your feelings of self-worth? To treat you with common courtesy? Is it? We all have varying degrees of expectations and there are times we must accept that they will not be met. As I see it, there are 3 options:

1- Try and explain what you need so that whomever you are addressing has the opportunity to listen, to know they aren’t meeting your needs and to make an effort.

2- If they cannot or will not meet your needs you can either A) Accept that fact and deal with it as best as possible, or B) Move on.

3- Either way, don’t beat your head against a wall or your fist into their deviated septum. Just learn to let it go. Or let them go!

There. It turned out to be more than just a few paragraphs, but I am done blowing off steam, and shall now attempt to follow my own advice. Perhaps I can now go to sleep…

This article can also be seen on Huffington Post!

Thoughts? Comments?

 

 

 

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