Wow.  I never cease to amaze myself with the number of people I know who are perfectly comfortable saying EXACTLY what they think. What puzzles me is why with some, I am deeply appreciative of their honesty and can laugh and with others I want to say, “ Reallllly?  Was that necessary?”  Seems to me, there is a fine line and an art to saying what you think in a way that doesn’t offend.

To remind myself of this, I keep the following saying in a frame by my land line (notice I didn’t say telephone? Does anyone even call it a telephone anymore? But, I digress…). I can only pray that on a good day, I remember.

The Sufis advise us to speak only after our words have managed to pass through three gates.

At the first gate, we must ask ourselves, “are these words true?” If so, we must let them pass on; if not, back they go.

At the second gate, we must ask ourselves, “are these words necessary?” If so, we let them pass on; if not, back they go.

At the last gate, we must ask, “Are they kind?”

How do you mindFULLY say what you really think? Let us know!

MindFULL Learning

How many of you know the brainteaser: There are two doors, one leading to pain and one leading to happiness, guarded by two men – one lies and one tells the truth – and you have to ask the same question of each to figure out which door to open?

Last night, Ken and I had fun trying to figure out the answer as we played around on a new website we found, Khan Academy.

Sal Khan, a young and VERY smart guy (MBA from Harvard Business School, a Masters in electrical engineering and computer science, a BS in electrical engineering and computer science, and a BS in mathematics ALL from MIT)  uses nothing more than his Yahoo Doodle Pad and a videocamera to upload his explanations to Youtube, where he helps us understand everything from Algebra to Mortgage Backed Securities to History to Brainteasers.

Khan, an ex VC’er turned world educator, shows us the easiest ways to understand some of the toughest concepts. Smart isn’t only what you glean from a book, its also about how you explain what you know in a way that someone else can understand. This makes Khan a genius. And you can be one, too.

It started as a way to tutor his young cousin over the phone and grew into an open source project–allowing the Khan Academy to become the free classroom for the World, with the mission of providing a world-class education to anyone, anywhere. Its totally cool! There are over 1800+ videos on everything from Math (every level)  to Science to Humanities to SAT Math and GMAT Test Prep.

Whether you have kids in school who could use a new way of hearing their math, science or history lesson or you are looking for a way to understand what the heck is going on in our world (i.e. why your 410k is down 40% and what your mortgage has to do with it), you have to at least check it out. There is no charge. His site runs on donations and one of his new benefactors is Bill Gates, who uses the site with his 11 year old son.

Simply click through and learn one new concept for today. You’ll be amazed at how you can fill your mind with something that leaves you the better for knowing it.

How do you mindFULLY  encourage ease of learning in your home?

AND…what do you think the answer is to the brainteaser?

Let us know!

Splitting Hairs

There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror,
and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.

“Well,” she said, “I think I’ll braid my hair today.” So she did and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only
two hairs on her head. “H-M-M, ” she said, “I think I’ll part my hair down the middle today.” So she did and she had a grand day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had
only one hair on her head. “Well,” she said, “Today I’m going to wear my hair in a pony tail.” So she did and she had a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn’t a single hair on her head. “YEAH!” she exclaimed, “I don’t have to fix my hair today!”

Attitude is everything.

As the saying goes: “The kind of life you will have isn’t determined by what happens to you, its determined by your reaction to what happens to you.”

How do you mindFULLY re-frame  your attitude? Let us know!

The Zen of Housecleaning

A few weeks ago, I moderated focus groups for a large financial institution that sought to understand how people plan for retirement. After two days of  active listening, I began to take the pulse of my own financial health.

This is not new for me. Over the years, I’ve done many financial services projects and I’ve always come home with something to think about. Years ago, my first project with financial advisers led to a now bi-annual meeting with my husband at a local Deli to review “where we are” (I find that if we talk in public, I am less likely to cry). For several reasons tho’, last weeks project hit me hard. The night after I returned home, I thought about quite a lot and as I sat in my nook and pondered how I was spending money, I noticed how often I was sneezing. And then, it hit me.

I have never raised a rag to wipe a surface.

Since I was a teenager, I have accused my mother of switching babies at the hospital and depriving me of my royal birthright. Clearly I was not meant to do housecleaning. For 21 years of marriage, through good times and tight times, I have had someone clean for us every 2 weeks.

But let’s be real. We have a one-year lease on a 2,000sq ft condo and it doesn’t warrant a cleaning lady that charges more per hour than my daughter’s teacher is making.

And so, realizing that if I simply picked up a rag and stayed on top of it, I would save close to $3,000 a year, I embarked on a cleaning frenzy this weekend and proclaimed, “I am going to clean the condo and save toward things I want.”

See, it’s not about depriving myself. Rather it’s about reframing money and having a sense of control and choice. I could easily spend the money on a cleaning lady, but it seems to me that I would rather take a trip to China, make a substantial community donation and know that I have a few extra dollars in case of an emergency. Not forever, but for NOW. As my friend Tamara says, ” it’s about doing more with less”  vs thinking I have less for more.

On top of it all, picking up that rag also became a chance to teach my 12 year old daughter that we are fully capable of making smart financial choices that are empowering. Yesterday we went shopping for clothes. We talked while we shopped. When we came home, she redid her closet and folded everything in her laundry basket that really didn’t need to be washed. I cleaned her bathroom and together we cleared off her bookshelves and made her bed. By helping  keep her room clean, she was learning the value of the clothes we bought and how to make a bed when she lives on her own.

We’ll see how long this lasts. But really, who cares. Its about the insight to be conscious and to own the choices we make; to move towards the financial security that we all crave and to let go of thinking that if only we had the life we were meant to have, it would all be OK. It is already better than OK. It’s great. We are all so lucky to have any choice at all. Why not use it to create the life we want?

Do you have any tips on MindFULL cleaning that you can share? Let us know!


OK friends…as promised, the much awaited One Dish Wonder! “Ellys”, as my daughter calls them, are in the oven. They can be in yours too, in less than 30 minutes. Simply follow the recipe and steps below. Measurements are not exact, but you can feel your way through them. Promise. Enjoy!

You’ll need:

2 packages of LARGE and flaky crescent roll dough (It takes two triangles per person, to make one Elly).

Enough ground beef or turkey or Boca meatless crumbles to feed your family ( I use 1/2 lb of meat for for two of us or one bag of crumbles for all three)

Whatever veggies are in the fridge – chopped fine ( I usually have broccoli)

1 envelope of onion soup mix

Dijon mustard

In a skillet, cook meat, veggies  and 1 envelope of onion soup mix.

Lay two triangles of dough side by side and shmoo them (aka “pinch the slits together) together to make a rectangle.

Shmear mustard on one end.

Place a few big scoops of meat mix on mustard.

Bring end of crescent dough up and over meat mix and pinch the sides to seal it all in (like a big full puffy square).

Bake at 375* until golden brown (about 15 minutes)

What MindFULLY delicious recipe makes your life easier? Let us know!