I have stopped doing some things.
Some of my teaching has started to feel like white noise.
I think I will save that for another post.
So I decided to dedicate myself to my first true love, which was even over and above being a performer or a meditation master.
I have made a real commitment to write again.
Just to write.
I absolutely, unashamedly, unabashedly, love to write.
When you write the world is at your feet.
You can literally write about ANYTHING.
You may be better at some writing than others.
I have discovered that with time.
What works for me to write and for others to read WORKS!
Not JUST because writing, for as long as it has existed, is still an incredibly impactful mode of communication.
OR that no film, no play, no book, no article, no advertising, no teaching, no learning, no communication for that matter, exists without writing.
Even if you cannot read, someone can read TO you what has been written.
But because writing is every emotion.
It is every genre, culture, race, religion, and lack thereof.
Writing is every age and stage of life.
Writing is dictation, or eye movement, as in the case of Stephen Hawking.
It is innumerable mediums.
It touches the deepest recesses of our being in minute, small, medium and large ways.
It makes us laugh, cry, angry, motivated and all the other reactions in between.
Writing is the email, the letter, the check, the note, the greeting card, the postcard, and the order in a restaurant.
It is the business card, the brochure, the flyer, the website, the thesis, the suicide note, the eulogy, and the tombstone.
Writing is controversial, painful, hurtful, and bullying.
AND it is inspirational, elucidating, nurturing, testimony, praise, and positive feedback or review.
One can get relief from pain, stress, or tension.
The profound “Ah ha” moment can be brought to us via writing.
I can write ANYWHERE and on ANYTHING.
ANYTIME of the day or night.
One of the best things to do when you have something on your mind is to WRITE IT DOWN. Keep a notepad by your bed and put down your thoughts, concerns or ideas. It will be there when you wake up.
With the advent of the cellphone I record my writing to transpose it later.
I jot an idea in “Notes’ or on “Pages.
I even take a napkin, full sized or cocktail, when the inspiration strikes, and scribble away.
Whether it is an obsession, a pull, a need, a desire, a calling or simply expression, writing has remarkable diversity.
If you are drawn to write, like I have been professionally since the age of 15 , DO IT.
You don’t need to have the agenda to be a famous author, screenwriter, playwright, journalist or poet.
Sometimes writing is the ultimate therapy.
And sometimes it is where you return again and again.
It stays with you.
It's easy, hard, frustrating, scary, thrilling, cathartic, and pervasive.
You can’t shake it and you don’t want to shake it.
It becomes clear that your raison d’être is writing.
Get it write.
You’ve got the write stuff
Write up my alley.
Write this way.
Whatever CLICHÉ you can think of, it fits.
I’ll be write back!
As always, thanks for reading.
See you again next week
I love dogs.
I love most animals.
I have had a menagerie all my life.
BUT there is nothing worse than an ill-mannered, misbehaved, aggressive dog.
AND there is NO excuse for one.
An untrained dog is a danger to your neighbors, friends and, most importantly, to your family.
I was sitting in my office when I heard a lot of barking and growling.
Our little 7 pound chihuahua, who was sitting with me, started getting in a lather and made a b-line for the garage.
I ran into the garage to see my husband wielding a machete and yelling “Get your dog on a leash! Keep your dog on your property!”
The dog had apparently run into our yard, (my husband was working with the garage door open) and began to snarl and growl at him.
Then the dog lunged into the garage at him, baring his teeth..
The owner of the wayward dog lives about 5 houses away and just laughed saying “Yea, yea.”
Other neighbors said they have had similar experiences.
Loose, snarling dog.
What comes after "loose, snarling dog?
Yep, dog bite!
Do you know how many dog attacks and dog bites there are every year from dogs allowed to wander or be off leash?
Approximately 4.5 million dog bites A YEAR!
MILLION!! (I just said that in my head like Dr. Evil.)
That just isn’t the vilified Pit Bull, or Rottweiller.
It's also Labs, Standard Poodles, Miniature Poodles, Jack Russells, Spaniels, Collies, Chihuahuas, Llaso Apsos, Bull Terriers, Pekingese, and more.
The dog bite instances are not just the big dogs, they are the small dogs, too.
That his evidenced by a nickel-sized scar on the inside of my left calf.
A dog may bite because of stress, feeling threatened, protecting their owners, puppies or companions, being ill, startled, or even during play.
A friend was bitten the other day by a playful puppy who jumped up on him while on a leash attached to the owner! No harm was intended by the owner or the dog but things happen.
It's important to keep your wits about you around unknown dogs.
BUT a dog running loose is no excuse.
If a dog isn’t trained young OR if when rescued it's not put into some training, the possibilities are VERY real they will attack or bite someone.
No matter how sweet, mellow or docile they may appear.
If a dog is only used to you, your family and it’s housemates, that is a recipe for trouble.
A dog not desensitized to others becomes VERY protective of its pack.
PLUS, if a dog, no matter how well trained, is allowed to be off-leash, there are going to be incidents.
I was a former veterinary technician. (Yes, one of my many jobs to support my arts habits.) I saw it all.
Our veterinarian would not go into the examining room without at least 3 vet techs when she had to examine a particular breed of dog.
In general, as a breed, It is known to be aggressive. I saw this for myself several times.
I've had 12 dogs in my lifetime. My dog is my responsibility, and it gets training.
Anyone can learn how to train a dog to be obedient, even if they don’t have the money to send them to PetsMart training or to a school.
It only takes a little bit of time every day.
Crate train it, leash train it, command train it.
There is NO excuse for an unruly dog.
This is the responsibility of the pet owner. Not the pet.
You are their pack leader.
BUT MAKE NO MISTAKE if you don’t train them, they will train you.
That is the reason our shelters and rescues are filled to overflowing with abandoned or relinquished dogs.
People don’t want to take the time to train them, they give up when it gets tough, they say they have no time, or claim the dog is untrainable.
Virtually no dog is untrainable.
Even dogs who have gotten off to a bad or abusive start are trainable.
The only time I have seen a dog be untrainable was because it was so mercilessly abused that the loyalty and love had been beaten out of it
Its ONLY recourse was aggression.
There is no reason that a dog should leave its property, run down the street to another home and become aggressive towards a neighbor going about their business.
If necessary, you can call 911 and report the dog and the owner.
Also, report them to your HOA, if you live in one.
Neighbors with trained dogs make good neighbors.
Accidents happen all the time.
Dogs also attack other dogs.
A friend had her small dog attacked and killed by a larger dog.
At a dog park, the bigger dog grabbed the smaller dog - out of the blue and from nowhere - and shook it to death.
Then the owner just put the killer dog in the car and drove off while my friend sat in shock on the ground with her dying dog in her lap.
Dog and animal lovers - CAN YOU IMAGINE?
You may or may not be surprised that this is a pretty common occurrence.
For me the jury is still out about dog parks.
Even when the dogs are separated by size.
Many times I have seen large dog owners insist their dog would be just fine in the small dog park.
AND I saw the small dog owners refuse to allow it to protect their little dog.
You don’t have time to train your dog with even the simplest of commands?
No matter how badly we may want one of these loyal family members we may need to rethink that until we have more time to make it a positive member of our family and our community.
As always, THANKS FOR READING!
See you next week.
Welcome to my NEW site!
Actually, it's not new, it's just renamed.
I had a colleague ask me why I had taken myself out of the equation when I renamed my site two years ago?
Previously, my website was under my name.
She said "YOU are this work...make your writing and your teaching easier to find! BE YOU!"
SO, "HELLO, IT'S ME." (that may date me because that is an OLD song. BUT who cares?)
Here's my post for this week!
I know, I said I was putting publishing this post on hold.
But life takes twists and turns and it turned towards me blogging about this today!
I couldn't wait to put it in the book. Actually, I decided not to put it in the book at all. It revealed itself to be more for the blog.
I changed my mind.
Isn't it GREAT that we can change our minds!
It's OK to change your mind.
I have more to say about that in a future post. So, stayed tuned!!).
Without further ado:
"This week we are going to look at the third of my overriding principles for teaching in juvenile justice and for my life.
3). Go with the Flow
The central tenet in Taoism and Buddhism.
For me, it has become the central tenet of life, regardless of any philosophy.
You don't need a philosophy to sign up for this one!
What I have learned teaching in juvenile justice and, fortunately, what being a Buddhist, studying Taoism and Confucianism have taught me is:
Every day, every class is GO WITH THE FLOW. (Bold, underlined!!!)
You can spend hours preparing a lesson plan to throw it right out of the window when you get to class.
You never know what kind of week any of the residents have experienced.
This applies to any justice facility.
If you teach or coach in a jail or prison this lesson is also for YOU!
You have to go into it every class with the attitude that I will just let it evolve.
You have to know the material inside and out to go through your databanks and fly by the seat of your pants sometimes.
More times than not.
Within the framework of my technique, I can move elements around.
Some of it only works on an A, B, C basis and some can be interchanged with different exercises added or removed.
Why is this necessary?
Predominately, the young men have some mental health challenges.
Many are on medication.
Many deal with bipolarism, ADD or ADHD, depression, anxiety or anger management issues.
Some are fathers or deal with substance abuse.
One thing that REALLY works is to read an anecdote from an inspirational leader every week.
They particularly like Thich Nhat Hanh.
They love the “HOW TO” series.
How to Walk.
How to Sit.
How to Eat.
Simple ideologies, but very effective.
Plus, simple WORKS!
One of their favorites is about an incarcerated and persecuted Vietnamese Nun.
She says her persecutors would prevent her from meditating. They would beat her or withhold food.
She then chose to meditate at night.
She taught other inmates to meditate at night.
She said she felt freer in prison than some people feel outside the walls because she found a way to maintain her practice and help others.
You can see how that would resonate with the residents.
I also wanted the staff to be included.
The staff is with the residents full time.
The residents trust and like them, for the most part.
There are incidents of rebellion, but that is expected, given the circumstances.
The staff is their reminder of what is expected of them in the facility.
I was convinced that introducing what I teach my students to them would help reinforce the teachings.
And in the meantime, give the staff tools to release stress.
I was asked to go to a staff meeting and give them a sampling of what I teach to the students.
Allow them to look at juvenile justice as more than punitive.
Introducing the staff to my moving meditation was met with enthusiasm, support, doubt, and resistance.
This did not surprise me one bit.
But imagine standing in front of the staff and at least one-third of them have their hands crossed across their chests and are looking down.
Well, I love a challenge. And I am one of those who feels if anyone in the group gets anything I say, it's successful.
Let’s fast forward about 5 months.
The staff got used to seeing me "float" around.
They all say hello.
They ask me about particular residents and recommend residents for the class. They also talk to my students about class and the students share exercises with them.
They are the “boots on the ground”, so to speak. Who better to reinforce the work than someone who knows these residents?
This is not just those who were receptive to my teachings in the beginning, it's nearly all the staff I encountered.
I’m writing a supplemental book to my teachings, about my technique and the exercises. My desire is to pass the technique on so others can teach it from the inside, or after a resident leaves the facility, and goes back into the world, they can have a guide.
It's a tool.
They have to take the initiative, and have the motivation.
Let me share with you a few things that the students have said about my program:
“Helped me to control my anger. I started being calm."
"I'm spending time with myself more."
"It helps me control my impulses.
"I got so mad one time, I couldn't go to sleep so I just tried to breathe, and then I fell asleep."
"I'm more mature."
"My thought processes have changed."
"I learned breathing can do something if you pay attention to your breathing."
"It made me wiser, more mature, more mindful.”
"I know I have to do the work. Things aren't just going to come to me."
“Ms. KaZ is a big-hearted person she loves all of us. She takes the time out of her life to do it. She has hope for all of us.”
As for the volunteer teachers (did I mention that those who teach classes are, for the most part, volunteers? You may clap now.)
“If nobody cares, they care. They love doing what they do.”
If that isn’t a positive mental attitude, and growth, I don’t know what is.
As always, THANKS FOR READING!
See you next week.
I call this a slice of life post.
It's very personal BUT if I can address this, YOU CAN TOO!
After 25 years of a really difficult relationship I decided to release my fears of retribution, abandonment, and judgment and be completely honest and transparent.
By expressing myself genuinely, and with integrity (for the betterment of the relationship) it took letting go of my fears.
When I addressed the pain in this relationship, and took responsibility for my actions, emotions and behavior, a magical thing happened.
Don't get me wrong, the person was definitely resistant in the beginning.
Typically there would be escalated yelling, walking away, slamming down the phone or non-communication for months on end.
I refused to allow this to happen.
I was very frank:
"It’s because I love you that I’m saying this and we are going to get to the bottom of it. I want you to be healthier, and our relationship to be healthier. I also want to be healthier. Your behavior has been detrimental to both of us and we need to get it out in the open. No more avoidance, sweeping it under the rug, or gossiping to anyone who will listen."
I wasn't the only person experiencing their behavior. I WAS the only person willing put myself OUT THERE to deal with it.
I understand this person has narcissistic and sociopathic tendencies. The behavior stems from an early childhood of emotional and sometimes physical abuse. I understand that completely and do my best to make allowances for it.
HOW can I stand around for one more minute without at least trying to make the situation better for us?
HOW can I turn my back on all of my meditation and healing arts training without being a complete charlatan? A fraud? Do as I say, not as I do?
In the end things are changing.
This person is making an effort.
Being honest and transparent, in a loving way, has had an overarching affect on my ENTIRE existence.
Releasing the fear of confrontation and accepting that confrontation happens released fear in many areas of my life.
Hey, better late than never. CLICHÉ but true.
How has it manifested in other areas of my life?
I’m not fearful of speaking up when I get bad service.
I WILL send food back with a pleasant tone in my voice, a smile and a please and thank you.
I’m not fearful of speaking up when someone is rude, unkind, discriminatory or out right nasty.
I express myself firmly and kindly.
In general, this has been greeted with little or no pushback and has surprised me on many levels.
Without a doubt it is a freeing feeling not to be afraid of others' reactions to being truthful and standing up for myself.
Believe me, I have asked myself numerous times: "How did I go for so long being a people-pleaser and FEARING the ramifications and repercussions of standing up for myself and expressing myself?"
I liked to use the excuse that I was in entertainment for so many years and was trained to give people what they wanted in terms of my behavior.
It is an industry of insecurity. An industry of desperation.
An industry where you may be flying high one moment and road kill the next.
Remarkable highs and soul-killing lows.
Yea, so what? So are most big industries.
It's an excuse.
Here's a non-sequitar:
The incredible thing is my lifelong fear of spiders has disappeared.
I love all of Mother Nature’s creatures, even the creepy ones.
I have no problem with snakes and lizards, but I really struggled with spiders or centipedes.
....or any bugs from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
Yesterday, I was standing in my driveway and a spider crawled across the driveway in front of my toes. Instead of stepping on it or running away I knelt down and watched it.
Have you ever watched a spider build a web? It’s nothing short of mesmerizing.
I’ve started watching spiders build webs on my lanai.
Now I gently wrangle them in the house and take them outside.
It makes me think of Charlotte's Web by E.B. White.
They are fascinating creatures.
Granted, we seem to recoil from anything with a myriad of appendages. It's just, well, alien.
NOW I’m excited and thinking "What’s next?"
What other lurking fears - conscious, subconscious or unconscious - can I acknowledge as unfounded when they bubble up?
Of course, I don’t plan on being reckless.
I still listen to my fight or flight responses... the dangerous ones.
I live near alligators and sharks. I have a healthy respect and admiration for them AND I keep a respectable distance.
Even in my travels abroad a healthy fear includes staying safe amongst exotic creatures and unfamiliar peoples.
Maybe it’s the climate we're in today.
Maybe it’s because I’m watching the youth of our country stand up for their own safety, protection, and freedom of expression to live healthy, happy and productive lives.
If they can do it, why can't I?
That being said, I STILL deal with claustrophobia.
I know EXACTLY where that manifested...
...from a mean little girl, who was the child of my parent's friends when I was young.
She used to lock me in the basement laundry room of our apartment building and turn out the lights.
OR hold me under water in the swimming pool.
I get it.
She had her own family issues.
Luckily, I still love to swim.
AND I'm not afraid of the dark.
I made peace with those pesky little demons years ago.
Nevertheless, forget about getting me into one of those dark, haunted houses.
Or an MRI machine...
As always, thanks for reading.
See you next week!
KaZ has been in many facets of entertainment, plus the co-owner of two restaurants, a fitness center, a television production company and the owner of a cinema. She did a stint in politics (she won't be doing that again anytime soon), and in veterinary medicine, She now focuses on writing.
In addition to the above, KaZ is an award-winning vocalist, a former dancer, stunt actor, circus artist, & professional water skier. She has worked as a theater artistic director & writer.
KaZ has been a published writer in magazines & books since the age of 15. She has written plays that have been produced in New York, Florida & New Orleans. She has a featured chapter in the book How To Survive A Move. (Up-to-date she has moved 45 times!) KaZ wrote an article for Organic Wine Journal, and also an article featured at the Ground Zero Memorial.
KaZ co-wrote 2 television informational series & 3 television pilots.
One of the pilots, a sit-com, was produced as a reality pilot. KaZ has revisited it and it's now a one season cable series.
“(And ) Then This Happened.” is based on life, love, and everything in between in the mid-life years. Loosely based on her life and the life of two of her best girlfriends.
KaZ's many high pressure pursuits led her to meditation.
She began studying meditation in '91. Her initial training focused on Kundalini Yoga with Yogi Bhajan and his teachers. She is a certified Master Meditation and Qigong Instructor.
Most recently KaZ taught in a juvenile justice facility, and lectured on mental health in juvenile justice.
With writing being her first love, look for KaZ's upcoming children's books
from the mind of two grandmothers.
Plus, a play based on letters from her two great uncles during WWII.