Rescuing Our Inner Child

November 11, 2010 by  
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Angie Rubin

Families are complex.  But, it is in these early dynamics that we learn to be and relate with the outside world.

Most of the things we learn while growing up are good; love, forgiveness and solidarity.  Unfortunately, we also inherit some of our parents’ unresolved issues, our interpretation of them as well as our position in the family.  Once grown up we go out into the world – without realizing – repeating the same learned dynamics over and over as an effort to resolve our hang ups.

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Owning Our Emotions

May 16, 2010 by  
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EYE-4There are times we know exactly why our emotions are what they are. Then there are times they take us by surprise and emotions become challenged. We often find ourselves trying to defend them. Explaining why we are feeling a certain way. Why?

As a kid I remember feeling that I was both the peace-maker in, and protector of, my entire family. As a little girl I would tell people it was rude to stare at my mom who was often in a wheelchair. Peruvian, my father spoke with a heavy accent. I found myself explaining what he said to salesclerks who, most often than not, didn’t understand him. I remember vividly the store where a clerk kept telling my father “I can’t understand you” rather than listen to me trying to explain. My father grabbed my hand and very slowly said to this man, “Go. To. Hell.” Then he turned to me, “Come on honey let’s go.” I realized that my attempt to protect him, turned into him protecting me. One night, without telling my sister, I went to the store where her boyfriend worked. I found his car and waited for him to come out. They’d had a big fight and she’d been crying for days and no one was going to get away with making my sister cry.

I had all the courage in the world to protect my family. When faced with a situation in which I needed to protect myself however, that courage was nowhere to be found. I became the peace-maker wanting everyone to be happy, even if I wasn’t. Then, when I couldn’t deal with something, I would protect myself by taking the stance that it didn’t exist. Retreating into my thoughts, I would carefully place situations in a box and put them away in a closet. Out of sight, out of mind.

Acceptance… to own our emotions is to accept them. The peace-maker will become our protector.

All I can do is be me, whoever that is.

Bob Dylan



May 7, 2010 by  
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The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.  ~Honoré de Balzac

I have just come back from spending ten days in Brazil with my parents.  I had a great time with them; we talked, had lunch and dinners together, and saw a couple of movies.  It was also my mother’s seventy ninth birthday.

I love my mother but ours wasn’t always an easy relationship.   She was always very emotional, and that scared me, and I, a little wild for her.  As the years went on we tried to strike a balance; neither one of us forgetting we were a family.

I’m not a mother so it has taken me a long time to understand how my mother feels about me.  I was made by an act of love, grew inside of her and then fed and protected by her, while I had my eyes on my life’s road.

My mother and I survived all the years of misunderstanding because of the love we have for each other.  That’s the power of love; it keeps you there even when your mind tells you to shut the door.

Today, I admire my mother’ wisdom and her still ever growing love for me.   I’m no longer afraid of her emotions and she has come to understand my singular way of being.

So this Sunday, even though I never pay any attention to holidays,  I will tell my mother how much I love her and how much she means to me.  And I hope our love can color all the roads that lay ahead for me.

Thou art thy mother’s glass, and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime.
~William Shakespeare


Love Sometimes Can Be A Strange Thing

May 5, 2010 by  
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I have lived away from my parents for two decades.  I was raised in small very tight knit family with its own set of issues like any other family.  At age eighteen I went to NYC and never went back home.

The decades I spent away from my family were filled with visits where I would resist going back to see them and then would cry all the way back from Brazil to the US.

I have learned, over time, that my love for my parents is so strong that unconsciously I started a self-preservation process of rejecting them in order not to feel the separation.  Of course this has never worked out well the result being; guilt and inner-conflict.

A couple of days ago, going to the beach (I’m still visiting Rio) with a childhood friend we talked about our families’ history and she said: “we put our errors and discords behind so we can move forward, because we love.”

So I have learned I have rejected and trivialized situations in my life because they were too much for me.  My “self” was trying to survive without realizing the damage it was actually causing.

Living life involves loving with all our hearts and involves hurt when the people we have loved are no longer with us.  Holding our love back does not save us from the hurt as love is powerful and sooner or later breaks through the dam with all its might.

We can not change the past but we can make a new present which will have a different ending.  When I feel bad of all that has gone on before I remember I am looking at my past with the heart and the mind I have today and not the mind and the heart I had yesterday.  And I remember I’m making a new life today.


Video Blog 2 – The Teflon Method

March 22, 2010 by  
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The Second Decade

December 31, 2009 by  
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We are beginning the second decade of the 21st century. Those that want to, may argue with me, but we’ve had 10 years that started with 20 and 2010 is the 11th.

I was running through an issue of the New York Times Sunday Magazine a couple of weeks ago with short, beautiful written obits about the well-known people we lost during 2009. One of them was Ted Kennedy.

Probably, because of my age, I have been fascinated by the Kennedy family for most of my life, as have many others. When Ted’s memoir was published in 2009, I was quick to buy and read it.

This isn’t a book review and it isn’t a rehash of the tabloid stories that punctuated too much of his life. And, although the primary cause of his legislative life, to secure adequate health care to all Americans, seems to have enough traction to become a reality, this isn’t about his extraordinary effectiveness as a legislator.

What this is about, is the content of the memoir that was devoted to his relationship with his family. I believe that even were he to have been completely revealing about every facet of his personal life, he could not have informed me more about the truth of his life and the lessons it teaches, than the information about his relationship with his family.

Ted had eight siblings and as is well-known, a bushel of nieces, nephews, and children. He also had a father who lived into his 90’s and a mother who lived past 100.

The family base in Hyannis port, Mass was the location of most of the personal family film the public is familiar with. It was there that the family gathered and in time of disaster, as well as joy. For decades, the family came home to Joe and Rose, Ted’s mother and father, whenever there was something to share. It was there they learned to lean upon each other and to share and enjoy each others successes as well as to mourn their common or individual losses.

Ted’s memoirs bring us back time and time again to the family gatherings where decisions were made, where character and morals and ethics were shaped, where no one was ever alone.

I don’t have eight siblings or parents that lived to triple figures. Most of us don’t. Some of us aren’t even lucky enough to have families that share our life histories. But all of us could very well have a chance to spend some time building relationships with people we can rely on for support, if we are willing to reply in kind. Families come in all sizes and shapes and don’t have to be connected by blood.

I’m going to spend the second decade of this century, if I am lucky enough to survive it, building up this extended family. I’m going to make myself open to people I admire and let them know I am here to serve if they need me. I am going to learn to trust some friends so I can unburden myself of some of the things I have kept locked up inside my head and my heart.

I think I’m going to start by making some phone calls.

I just had a mental picture of the Rodgers and Hammerstein song “Some Enchanted Evening” from their wonderful show South Pacific, now enjoying a very successful revival in New York. There is the phrase in the song which goes “you will see a stranger, across a crowded room.” How often, in the past few years I have seen an old friend across a crowded room and have waved. I think of how often one of us has stuck a pinkie near the mouth and the thumb near the ear in the now familiar “call me” sign, and how many times one of us has nodded yes and never called.

It’s in this spirit that I wish you all a Happy New Year, by letting you know that if the phone rings, it might just be me.


One Hundred Ways To Have Fun With Your Kids For Free Or Little Money

November 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured

  1. Have a reading marathon.
  2. Write stories together.
  3. Play soccer.
  4. Paint or draw together.
  5. Create a fort in your living room out of blankets or cardboard boxes.
  6. Go on a hike.
  7. Have a sunset picnic at a park or beach.
  8. Play board games.
  9. Play kickball.
  10. Get up early, pack breakfast, and have a sunrise breakfast.
  11. Go to a museum.
  12. Go to a playground.
  13. Play hide-and-seek.
  14. Have a pillow fight.
  15. Ride bikes.
  16. Build sandcastles.
  17. Rent a dvd and make popcorn.
  18. Tell stories.
  19. Have a scavenger hunt.
  20. Make mazes or puzzles for each other to solve.
  21. Play card games.
  22. Garden together.
  23. Bake cookies (let the kids help).
  24. Go to the zoo.
  25. Go to the library.
  26. Shop at a thrift shop.
  27. Create a blog together.
  28. Create a scrapbook.
  29. Make a movie using a camcorder and computer.
  30. Learn to play music.
  31. Fingerpaint.
  32. Make play dough from scratch.
  33. Make homemade mini pizzas.
  34. Buy popsicles.
  35. Make hand-painted T-shirts.
  36. Set up a hammock, make lemonade, relax.
  37. Go to a pool.
  38. Go to a public place, people watch, and make up imaginary stories about people.
  39. Visit family.
  40. Write letters to family.
  41. Paint or decorate the kids’ room.
  42. Make milkshakes.
  43. Play freeze tag.
  44. Create a treasure hunt for them (leaving clues around the house or yard).
  45. Decorate a pair of jeans.
  46. Do a science experiment.
  47. Play games online.
  48. Teach them to play chess.
  49. Learn magic tricks.
  50. Create a family book, with information and pictures about each family member.
  51. Fly kites.
  52. Go snorkeling.
  53. Barbecue.
  54. Volunteer.
  55. Donate stuff to charity.
  56. Compete in a three-legged or other race.
  57. Create an obstacle course.
  58. Pitch a tent and sleep outside with marshmallows.
  59. Roast marshmallows.
  60. Play loud music and dance crazy.
  61. Write and produce a play (to perform before other family members).
  62. Paint each other’s faces.
  63. Have a water balloon fight.
  64. Have a gun-fight with those foam dart guns.
  65. Explore your yard and look for insects.
  66. Go for a walk and explore the neighborhood.
  67. Go jogging.
  68. Take pictures of nature.
  69. Play a trivia game.
  70. Make up trivia questions about each other.
  71. Make hot cocoa.
  72. Play house.
  73. Decorate the house with decorations you make.
  74. Make popsicles.
  75. Play school.
  76. Do shadow puppets.
  77. Make a comic book.
  78. Play in the rain.
  79. Make mud pies.
  80. Blow bubbles.
  81. Take turns saying tongue twisters.
  82. Sing songs.
  83. Tell ghost stories in the dark with a flashlight.
  84. Build stuff with Legos.
  85. Give them a bubble bath.
  86. Play with squirt guns.
  87. Play video games together.
  88. Play wiffleball.
  89. Play nerf football.
  90. Build a rocket from a kit.
  91. Bake a cake and decorate it.
  92. Play dress-up.
  93. Thumb-wrestle, play mercy, or have a tickle fight.
  94. Make a gingerbread house, or decorate gingerbread men.
  95. Learn and tell each other jokes.
  96. Play basketball.
  97. Learn to juggle.
  98. Walk barefoot in the grass and pick flowers.
  99. Build paper airplanes and have a flying contest.
  100. Prank call their grandparents, using disguised, humorous voices.

By Leo Babauta


Right to Die

June 9, 2009 by  
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I was doing some web research when I came across an article on about a British couple who traveled to Switzerland to die together at an assisted suicide clinic.  The woman, who was 70, had fought cancer since 1992 and her husband who was 80 had terminal cancer.

Phyllis Bowrnan executive director of Right to Life, which opposes euthanasia, said their case was sad. “I think it’s very sad, particularly as they could have gone together into a hospice. A hospice with cancer — there is not uncontrollable pain. I think that with the euthanasia lobby, they feed on despair and they encourage despair rather than hope” he said.

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The Kitchen

June 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured

Written by Cirina Catania

My daughter and granddaughter are running up the stairs and laughing as they jockey for position on the steps.  “I want to go this way!”  “No, I want to go this way!” “You go the other way.”  “Ahhh….I’m going to beat you!” They giggle and squeal and their footsteps echo in the hallway on the second floor rippling back to the kitchen where I am fixing breakfast and preparing ahead for lunch.

The smell of the peppers broiling takes me back to my childhood and my grandmother’s smile appears in my reflections of the morning.  The yellow, red and green peppers, skin slowly turning dark, bubble in the oven.  Fresh mushrooms already sliced wait near the stove and I am rinsing bright green spinach from a local grower.  Eggs from a nearby farm and provolone cheese wait patiently for me to add them to the omelet.  Rosemary and olive bread, thickly sliced,  is going to be so good with just a smidge of fresh butter on it!

Nana used to love to cook for us.  Her daughters, my aunts, would all gather in the kitchen and the smells of Italian delicacies would make my mouth water.  Soups, breaded cutlets, chicken parmesan, fresh vegetables, pastas, cheeses and….deserts…mmmm…those deserts.  I was too young for wine or coffee, but I remember watching as the grown-ups sat around the big table, the men chomping on their unlit cigars and the women laughing and chattering on about their day.

It is a time far away now, but so closely held in my heart; a time once again remembered, prompted by the sounds of laughter and footsteps of my own daughter and her daughter.  Family, generations, reminding me how lucky I am to love and be loved.

Cirina Catania is the producer of the highly successful show Digital Production BuZZ.  She is a writer/producer/director and an active member of the Producers Guild of America and a former studio executive with 8 years at MGM/UA where she served as VP Worldwide Marketing.