Thursday, April 30, 2009

I HAVE A DREAM TODAY TOO!

I watched Martin Luther King’s, “I Have a Dream” speech on a tiny T.V. in August of 1963. Oh, what a day.

I was as idealistic then as any 21 year old graduate student could be. I believed in the dream of equality. Tears welled up in me as he lyrically chanted his dream in an unforgettable cadence. I can hear him in my mind as I write.

Today, I reread his speech. The teary eyed idealist lives on all these years later. In certain scenes I am just a wimp.

“ Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a
bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

There is no doubt he was correct. In 1963 many parts of America were still segregated. Some Southern Governors were elected based upon a promise to promote racist policies.

Martin Luther went on to say, “There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights.” Though preaching peaceful revolution his words were strong and new to an America that had not yet experienced liberating efforts. The 50’s were quiet, while the 60’s exploded into a rapid march toward a new world order that was long overdue.

The marches and speeches continued and gradually our nation began to let go of its discriminatory ways. Schools were desegregated, civil rights bills were passed and equal opportunity became more than a slogan. Many previously locked doors were opened.

Sadly, though not surprisingly given the times, Martin’s door was closed by his 1968 assassination. His words, however, lingered on like a morning fog on a hillside. His dream had much to do with mountain tops.

“ I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they
will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I
have a dream today!

Little by little from the 70’s on that dream became a reality. It reached maximum strength and lift off power in November, 2008 when America elected its first black President, Barack Obama. No matter your politics that had to be a defining moment for our great country.

Somewhere, Martin Luther King is saying, “Damn, that check finally got cashed.”

I have a dream as well. Someday, hopefully soon, the world will return to a healthier state. People will be judged, not by their net worth, but by their self-worth. Then the world will live as one in peace, harmony and emotional prosperity. At that time, John will smile and say, “I imagined it long ago.”

I too have a dream and I am confident that someday it will come to be. Like Dr. King, Dr. Penzer will probably not be here when it happens. Like him, I will know that it did.


Bye For Now,

Bill

williampenzerphd.com

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561 361 1898 x301

check 3/17 blog to know our goals

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

WHITEOUT

Yesterday, while I was typing my blog about the Blackout, I made many typos. They were fixed in a jiffy, thanks to the power of Word and its cut and paste features.

I commented to my wife about these incredibly efficient tools compared to our college and graduate school days. Back then we had whiteout for typo corrections, which always made a soggy and bumpy mess. Before that we had white strips that were placed where the key met the paper and typed over the area to change a letter, word or sentence. This too was a sloppy and inefficient process. All of my typed papers were unsightly. They were, however, better than my handwriting which was and remains illegible. If you don’t believe me ask the kind and patient woman who types my handwritten yellow pad scribbles.

Even when I worked for IBM in the 60’s we had Selectric typewriters that made corrections, but it was not nearly as efficient as today’s computer magic.

My point is that we have come so far in so many ways in my lifetime and yours. So much can be done today that was unknown and undreamed of back then, except by a few visionaries who took us forward

In this context let’s feel grateful for all the good that has come into our lives from the techno revolution of the late 20th and early 21 century achievements. We may, unfortunately, leave our children and grandchildren a legacy of debt, but we are also leaving them the tools and gifts which will make it easier for them to pay those obligations.

More on this issue the rest of the week.


Bye For Now,

Bill

williampenzerphd.com

954 475 1371 x 301
561 361 1898 x 301

see 3/17 blog to know out goals.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

BLACKOUT

I was part of the big blackout in New York City in 1965. I was in graduate school at NYU and teaching at my alma mater, Baruch College on 23rd and Lexington Ave. In the middle of my lecture, all of sudden, the lights went out. I thought I had said something truly profound. Truth be known, it was a massive and multiple electrical failure. Class dismissed!

As is typically the case under crisis conditions the comraderie was wonderful. People stuck for hours in elevators and subways helped and supported each other through those ordeals. On the streets, where I was, the mood was New Years Eve friendly. The bars were full and did a booming business in the dark. As this was BC (before computers) the cash registers went caching without interruption.

Like most people stranded, I waited several hours thinking the lights and trains would be restored soon. That was not the case that night. About 11P.M. I headed toward the Westside Drive and thumbed a ride that took me within walking distance to my apartment in Riverdale, The Bronx. The first car that passed stopped and gave me a lift.

Today, we have another type of “blackout” going on where so much is being lost in red ink. The lights are still on, but it is hard to see into a comfortable future. So once again, in whatever city you are in try to be kind and caring. Let’s find ways to give others a “lift” emotionally.

Together we can get past these temporary challenges. Daily I hear or read about people reaching out to touch someone. Let’s be one of those people. If needed, let’s be one of those to be touched. That is why we have created free support groups. Call us. We will reach out and touch you in a supportive way. It is time to pay back for the anonymous driver that took me home. Call me so we can be of help.


Bye For Now,


Bill

williampenzerphd.com
954 475 1371 x 301
561 361 1898 x 301

check 3/17 blog to know our goals

Monday, April 27, 2009

SAM WOULD HAVE TOO

Today at Sam’s Club, the weekend shrimp and seafood vendor was blasting Calypso music. It seemed to create an instant good mood. One woman said, “I feel like I am on vacation.”

Another woman broke into a spontaneous dance and strutted on over to the shrimp counter while the vendor starting dancing too. Then another lady and an older man who didn’t appear to be together began to dance a few steps as well. The lady giving out Turkey samples swayed in place to the rhythmic beat.

All in all it was a u tube, dancing with the nonstars moment of spontaneous happiness and free spirited joy. In so many ways it showed the possibility of simple, no cost treasures that can beget pleasures of all kinds.

Music can make or break a mood. As part of the Tranquility Center at our Plantation office ( see the video on our website) spa type music plays continuously in all offices and the waiting area. Everyone finds it pleasant and relaxing including the other therapists and me.

I encourage you to find music that works to enhance your mood and dance, strut, sway, sing along or relax to the beat. I am quite sure that if Sam Walton was alive and in the Coral Springs store today, he would have danced too.


Bye For Now,

Bill

williampenzerphd.com

954 475 1371 x 301

561 361 1898 x 301

check out 3/17 blog to know our goals

Friday, April 24, 2009

TODAY IS………………….

There is a family story that dates back over 40 years. My wife was teaching second grade in a rough and tumble neighborhood in the East Bronx, NY. The principal was a bit rigid. Although English was a second language for most of the students, she insisted that all the children always speak in complete sentences. The teachers were all told to focus on and emphasize that. Obviously, this was before FCATs.

A friend of my wife’s taught kindergarten and would practice each morning with her class to say, “Today is sunny, Today is Monday, Today is warm, etc.” as simple sentences. The teacher was showing a circus filmstrip one day (this was before VCRs or DVDs) when the Principal appeared unexpectedly. She asked the class what the boy in the film was eating? A boy quickly called out “ice cream.” The principal said, “Say it in a sentence.” He stood tall and smiled proudly and proclaimed in a booming voice, “Today is ice cream.” To this day there are times our family says that sentence as a joke.

This morning (4/16/09) I left my house at 8:30 A.M. and took in the brightly shining sun, cloudless blue sky, gentle breeze blowing through the trees and said, “Today is gorgeous. Today is ice cream. I am grateful to be alive.”

Despite whatever physical and /or emotional pains you are experiencing, I hope you can enjoy an “ice cream” day from time to time. Feeling grateful for what we have is a powerful salve to help heal the wounds resulting from what we lost.

Bye For Now,

Bill

www.williampenzerphd.com

954 475 1371 x 301
561 361 1898 x 301
check 3/17 blog to know our goals

Thursday, April 23, 2009

THE EXPERIENCE OF LEARNING

Those nations, families and individuals who don’t learn from their experiences are undeniably destined to repeat the positive and not so positive over and over. Ultimately, the negative corrodes the positive and destroys it.

Those who do learn are destined to grow stronger and healthier, creating positive cycles instead of vicious ones.

I once asked Jim Moran if he could share any secrets to his unique and multiple successes. He responded, “I have made many mistakes, Bill, but I have only made them once.” Clearly he practiced learning from his experiences which is why his motto was, “The future belongs to those who prepare for it.”

Now is an important time for us to prepare for the future by learning from our past experiences. Adaptation and change are the byproducts of learning that allow us personal growth and recovery from any challenge we face.


Bye For Now,


Bill

williampenzerphd.com

954 475 1371 x 301
561 361 1898 x 301

check out 3/17 blog to know our goals

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Raising Children in a Recession

What attitudes help some people become resilient? What can we learn to promote these attitudes in our children? Salvatore R. Maddi, Ph.D studied 400 different employees of Illinois Bell Telephone after its employees were reduced by 50% in 1981. Many employees reacted with negative behavioral and health complications. Those who did not stived for be involved in their lives, to influence outcomes, and to search for growth opportunities in the midst of problems. Instead of solving your child"s problems, be a good listener, and catch them when they approach their problems with any measure of courage and commitment. This is the time to encourage their resilience!

ON DOING A MITZVA

Yiddish is a wonderfully warm, colorful and textured language spoken by my grandparents. Sadly, it will probably disappear as the older generation moves on. I don’t speak it, but I do know a few words. Readers of this blog will hear them from time to time.

A mitzva is a good deed. It is doing something kind for a worthy person or cause. It could be as simple as writing a check to charity, as small as a compliment or as big as giving of your precious time to help a friend or relative.

The nice thing about a mitzva is that they add significantly to your pride banks (see yesterdays blog) at a time when we can all use some extra deposits. Doing mitzvot (plural) help neutralize and limit our mishagas (quirkiness, craziness).

Though you yourself may be struggling with some losses, seek out mitzvah opportunities. Often, in a what comes around goes around way, mitzvah get paid back eventually. The funnest part of life is that you just don’t know what lies ahead.

Even if you don’t get a tangible payback, the emotional dividends you feel from doing a mitzvah are worth doing them. Whatever your religion doing a good deed will feel good. I guarantee it.


Bye For Now,

Bill


williampenzerphd.com

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check 3/17 blog to know our goals

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

TIME TO MAKE A DEPOSIT

I believe that we all have a Pride Bank (PB) and a Shame and Blame Account (SBA) within ourselves. When we behave according to positive values we make PB deposits and when we behave in ways that cause feelings of guilt we make SBA entries. People without a conscience – the Madoffs of the world—don’t have working SBAs. In fact in a cross- wired way what for most would be SBA’s, for them are PB deposits. Sociopathy, for most of us, is not easy to understand.

Important to note for most people their PB is directly tied into their Piggy Bank. Thus money helps people to feel successful and secure. When your Piggy Bank is reduced, as most have been, it is easy for shame and blame to flow and make a mess via addictions and other hurtful behaviors.

It can be helpful to separate these three banks in your mind. You may be unemployed, losing your home or going bust, BUT you can still feel proud of your past successes, strengths, skills, potentials, loved ones, and future anticipated recovery. You can also feel proud of your ability to rise to the challenges of the moment, cut back and start anew. Your talents are the same as when the markets were up and you were doing better financially. In many ways we need to see our self as made up of many different components, one of which is our financial resources.

Most importantly, is the need not to dig your hole deeper via unhealthy SBA behaviors. It is just as easy to become addicted to healthy, stress relieving activities as unhealthy ones. Whether you make PB or SBA deposits is always a choice, We encourage you to chose that which will help refill your PB, even though your Piggy Bank is lower than you would like.


Bye For Now,


Bill

williampenzerphd.com

954 475 1371 x301
561 361 1898 x301

Monday, April 20, 2009

THINK ABOUT IT -- REVISITED

On March 31,2009 I posted the following quote from Albert Einstein and said in a future blog I would offer my opinion as to what he mean’t.

THE TRUE VALUE OF A HUMAN BEING IS DETERMINED PRIMARILY BY THE MEASURE AND SENSE ON WHICH HE HAS ATTAINed LIBERATION FROM THE SELF.


I believe that he is referring to women as well as men. But the world had not reached the s/he level of communications. In that sense females had not been liberated yet, when Al spoke of self- liberation.

I believe he was referring to the ongoing narcissism that lives on within each of our selves. It is a carryover from our youth and the times early on when only we existed in our minds as important. The infant doesn’t give. S/he only takes. The selfish, self-serving part of people varies across a wide range. Some of us are very giving, while others are very selfish. I believe Einstein is addressing those in the latter group and saying that a person’s worth is proportional to their willingness to sacrifice their own needs for the good of others.

This takes us back to kindergarten where we began to learn how to play fair, share our toys and live according to the rules. Narcissists never learned those lessons well and remain fixated on ME, ME, ME. Just ask anyone married to one.

To follow Einstein’s encouragement, now is a good time to take a look at yourself and evaluate where you stand in your self-indulgent ways. Most readers of this blog are probably the opposite of narcissists, but in either case it is a worthy goal to balance that which you do for yourself and that which you do for others.

Oddly enough, self-liberation in this sense leads to self-fulfillment and pride bank deposits-a topic we turn to next.


Bye For Now,

Bill

williampenzerphd.com
954 475 1371 x301
561 361 1898 x301

see 3/17 blog to know our goals

Friday, April 17, 2009

11+ PATHS TO SELF-DEFEAT TO AVOID

Worrying Obsessively
Drinking Excessively
Gambling
Drugging
Panicing
Porning
Not Sleeping
Overeating
Focusing on all the bad news
Isolating
Displacing anger
Physically hurting self or others


OK I mean’t 12!

Lying, stealing, cheating!

13 actually! Can you think of any others to avoid?

Bye For Now,

williampenzerphd.com

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561 361 1898 x301

check 3/17 blog to know our goals

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Your De-Stress Kit

Your Personal De-Stress Kit

This De-stress kit is for anyone experiencing extra stress from the ongoing financial meltdown, or any other challenging event.

The global community is becoming aware of a need to shift from pursuit of self gain at other’s expense, to a balanced system of care for the rights and needs of everyone. Even as we become aware of this need, people are going through different emotional stages - shock, denial, anger, blame and despair.

Eventually we need to engage in thoughts and actions of self-care and health concerns to reach a point where we can rebuild our coping capacity and create a psychological turn-around.

Doc Childre of the HeartMath Institute suggests the following practices to reduce stress and reset our systems to move forward.

1. Communicate and interact with others - Take advantage of the free Cope with the Economy support group on this website.

2. Re-open your heart feelings by offering kindness and compassionate support to others.

3. Practice appreciation and gratitude.

4. Decrease drama.

5. Manage your reactions to the news - Listen from a neutral position.

6. Prayer or Meditation

7. Heart focused breathing to reduce stress and anxiety.

8. Sleep

9. Exercise

10. Reduce comparing the present with the past - stay in the now.

11. Reduce Fear.

12. Engage with your family.

13. Don’t blame yourself.

14. Write a letter to yourself - with a commitment to move forward.

A complete 15 page booklet describing these suggestions in detail is available from:

www.heartmath.org/destresskit

Marcia S. Seeberg, MS,LMHC

www.Marciaseeberg.com

THIS IS NO TIME TO HAVE NO TIME!

When I ask people if they are exercising, reading my blog or any blog, doing fun things, spending quality family time, attending religious services, etc. their answer tends to be the same. “I have no time for that,” they say sounding like a chorus of the overwhelmed.

Now is the time to make time to counterbalance stress and tensions in as many ways as possible. Positive outcomes don’t just magically appear. They come from planting seeds, watering them, organically fertilizing the small buds that begin to grow and continuing to nurture them into beanstalks upon which you can climb out of the holes into which you have fallen.

I strongly encourage you to make and take a small but meaningful slice of time just for yourself. In the long run these short rewards pay dividends and can make a big difference.

Invest 60 or so seconds to return to this blog every day. Go back and read the ones you missed in less than 15 minutes time. Therapy can be as long as a 60 minute intensive and expensive session or as short as a single sentence, free of charge, that hits home for you.

Please be kind to you and give yourself a prescription and permission for relaxation and recreation. You deserve that much—I guarantee it!


Bye For Now,

Bill

williampenzerphd.com

954 475 1371 x 301
561 361 1898 x 301

check 3/17 blog to know our goals

When I ask people if they are exercising, reading my blog or any blog, doing fun things, spending quality family time, attending religious services, etc. their answer tends to be the same. “I have no time for that,” they say sounding like a chorus of the overwhelmed.

Now is the time to make time to counterbalance stress and tensions in as many ways as possible. Positive outcomes don’t just magically appear. They come from planting seeds, watering them, organically fertilizing the small buds that begin to grow and continuing to nurture them into beanstalks upon which you can climb out of the holes into which you have fallen.

I strongly encourage you to make and take a small but meaningful slice of time just for yourself. In the long run these short rewards pay dividends and can make a big difference.

Invest 60 or so seconds to return to this blog every day. Go back and read the ones you missed in less than 15 minutes time. Therapy can be as long as a 60 minute intensive and expensive session or as short as a single sentence, free of charge, that hits home for you.

Please be kind to you and give yourself a prescription and permission for relaxation and recreation. You deserve that much—I guarantee it!


Bye For Now,

Bill

williampenzerphd.com

954 475 1371 x 301
561 361 1898 x 301

check 3/17 blog to know our goals

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spitzer—The Verb!

As we have said stress often fuels a mess. It distorts our decisions and pushes us toward hurtful and self-destructive choices. I call the latter Glop. Glop is a word I use to refer to anything that tempts us into self-defeating behaviors.

There is glop on a plate, in a glass or pill bottle, in street drugs, at casinos, in the boardroom and the bedroom. There is even glop in stores at which we buy stuff we don’t really need. Glop easily becomes addictive.

I choose the word glop because it feels and sounds yucky. Who among us would want to do glop?

Glop feeds directly into your “shame and blame account,” while avoiding it by doing healthy and positive actions fills your pride bank. The stronger your “pride bank,” the better able you are to withstand hits to your piggy bank. The fuller your pride bank the stronger your confidence and self-esteem. With pride, confidence and esteem it is easier to feel optimistic, cope with challenges and mobilize productive energies.

In the past many years we have seen too many high ranking and visible people fall from grace to humiliating glop-filled positions of shame and blame. None of us are immune. Work hard to avoid glopful temptations. Commit to not “Spitzerizing” on yourself.

Be vigilant. Catch yourself before you fall rather than after. No one ever wants to say, “I had a disease,” to explain improprieties. Identify your vulnerable areas and seek support nets if need be. Follow every mother’s advice: Go slow. Be careful. Work hard. Have safe fun. Look both ways before you cross the line!!!

Bye For Now,

Bill

williampenzerphd.com

954 475 1371 x 301
561 361 1898 x 301

check 3/17 blog to know our goals

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

NOTEABLE QUOTES

I subscribe to a monthly magazine called “Good Stuff.” For about $30 a year it brings me many interesting, wise and humorous quotes and short success stories by famous, unknown (at least to me) and anonymous authors.

Here are a few that are relevant to today even though they are from their September, 2006 issue when the economy was still flying high:

It is our choices that show who we really are far more than our abilities.
J.K. Rowling

None of the secrets of success will work unless you do.
W.T. Grant

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn the past, nor to worry
about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.
Buddah

The only thing in life achieved without effort is failure.
Joseph Manning

Bye For Now,

Bill

williampenzerphd.com

954 475 1371 x301
561 361 1898 x301

check 3/17 blog to know our goals

Monday, April 13, 2009

COMMUNICATION IS A TWO WAY STREET

I have been informed by those younger than I am that blogs are supposed to be interactive. Few of our many readers comment back. I thank those that have.

I am happy if you comment anonymously, with initials or first name only. Please let me know if these are helpful and hitting the mark or falling short and if so why. Let us know your views and feelings as well.

If you would like to put up whole blogs on coping and ways you have been successful please email me and I will let you know how to do that.

The more we dialogue the better the outcome. This is true in the reality of everyday life and in the virtual reality of blogging.

If you are enjoying our blogs please let others know about copewiththeeconomy.com. Though the Dow is up quite a bit in the past few weeks we will need to hone our coping skills for some time to come. It ain’t over till it is over and realistically that may be a while.


Bye For Now,

Bill

williampenzerphd.com
954 475 1371 x 301
561 368 1898 x 301

check March 17 blog to know our goals

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Raising Children in a Recession 3

Since economic loss can lead to depression in adults, it is important to acknowledge that· between 20% and 50% of depressed kids and teens have a family history of depression. (U.S. Surgeon GeneralĂ­s Survey, 1999). This means depression can be cyclical in familes due to genetic susceptibility, regardless of the stress of the recession. Typically, an estimated 10-20% of children worldwide have one or more mental health or behavioral problems. (World Health Organization). Personal emotional support, medical/ theraputic support, and maintaining a healthylifestyle can be important factors in breaking the cycle of family depressio.

Friday, April 10, 2009

ON CIRCLES, CYCLES and FALSE BELIEFS

Recently a man who appeared to be in his late twenties said, “ I feel like I’m going around in circles and getting nowhere.” I’m sure many people of all ages are feeling that way these days. Some are feeling worse in that they have gone far backwards from previous more prosperous times.

My response to him and to all who feel these ways is that life is cyclical not circular. People, like markets, go backward, sideways and forward. Some go forward, sideways and backward and then forward. Others go in other patterns. Few if any go up, up and away forever except for Superman and he is a comic fantasy.

Our expectation that things will always be the same is more a wish than a reality. It is a fantasy really given that change in just about every area is the only constant. Believing that all the parts of your life will stay the same is like believing we will stay “forever young.” It is a nice song and ideal, but a false belief none-the-less.

We need to maintain a realistic yet optimistic view. We also need to work hard on ourselves to modify our false and distorted beliefs that live and fester in the bedrock of denial. As Jim Moran taught all he met, “The future belongs to those who prepare for it.” There are many cycles ahead. The time to prepare for them is right now!

Bye For Now,
williampenzer.com
954 475 1371 x 301
561 361 1898 x 301
check welcome blog 3/17 to learn our goals

Thursday, April 9, 2009

From Trauma to Drama

From Trauma to Drama


“My life is a mess, I don’t know what else to do. Sleep is nonexistent, and if I do get to sleep I don’t stay asleep or have awful nightmares.”

“Everything irritates me, and my wife says I’m always blowing up about nothing.”

“I can’t concentrate, not even to read, and I don’t feel like doing the things that I used to love to do.”

“I just feel detached, even from my husband and kids.”

“I begin everyday just feeling unsettled, anxious, and unhappy.”


These are just a few of the complaints I’ve heard over the past few weeks. They used to be from those with depression and anxiety from physical, psychological or sexual abuse, or what we all identify as trauma; like rape, attack, combat experiences, or auto and plane accidents. These individuals may have been diagnosed with PTSD.


Today I’m hearing this litany of misery from many struggling with the results of the current economy. A job is lost with little expectation of finding another anytime soon, or a senior, ready to retire and finally relax has watched his retirement diminish significantly, or disappear. Sometimes it’s a spouse who hasn’t worked in years, accustomed to financial security but who now finds herself the primary breadwinner, working a minimum wage position just to buy groceries and pay a few bills. The trauma of the declining market has resulted in a life of emotional turmoil, confusion and often unexpected drama.


This kind of upheaval can trigger symptoms of PTSD, long believed to have been resolved. The old sense of helplessness, powerlessness, anger, detachment, and lack of ability to experience loving feelings feels overwhelming and people feel worse than they think they should.


The “drama” can manifest as angry outbursts, fits of crying and depression, anxiety or panic attacks, emotional shutdown and withdrawal, marital conflict, or even alcohol, substance abuse or over use of prescription medications. On the internet and news we hear the violent extremes to which some are pushed as their lives unravel.


No doubt the trauma is real but the drama can be eliminated. With help, you can learn to cope effectively with the realities of our economy. Support groups like the one offered on this website can provide not only a source of helpful information but a sense of “I’m not in this alone.” An efficient and rapidly effective psychotherapy called EMDR can reduce the emotional intensity driving the drama in your life and allow you to think more clearly about the steps you need to take to survive our economic challenges. None of us are in this alone and help is available.


Marcia S. Seeberg, MS, LMHC

www.marciaseeberg.com

ON BEING PENNY WISE BUT NOT POUND FOOLISH

Today’s blog has the potential to be misunderstood. Know that I strongly believe in belt tightening, cautious and conservative consumerism and a reevaluation of past spending habits for all of us.

I also believe some expenses pay multiple emotional dividends that justify their costs. I observed one such example today. I was driving back to Broward from South Miami at 4:15 PM on a Friday. The new I 95 express lane price was $1.50. It varies depending upon time and traffic. The majority of drivers did not choose that option. It was bumper to bumper for them all the way up, while the express lane was flying at 70 MPH.

I considered the following:

· My car burns much more gas in stop and go traffic.
· A much greater likelihood of a fender bender in stop and go-especially when everyone is texting and talking because they are bored.
· My stress and blood pressure levels in traffic, especially on a Friday.
· The money going to a government agency that can really use the revenue.
· My getting home much faster to spend time with my wife and visiting daughter (priceless).
· I would have repeatedly kicked myself as I limped along for not having taken the express lane.
· It was less than the $2.00+ diet coke I almost bought in Miami.

We need to decide between frivolous expenses and those which are within reason and in the direction of taking care of us. It is very important during all times, but especially difficult ones, that you take care of you, while you are trying your best to take care of business.

Please don’t punish yourself for making poor decisions—everyone, just about, made them. Instead reward yourself for your strength, resilience and ability to rise to the challenges. Comfort for a buck and a half is a deal I recommend you take whenever you can—especially on a Friday. It sure beats a $2.00+ soda any day.


Bye For Now,

Bill

williampenzer.com
954 475 1375 x 301
561 361 1898 x 301
go to welcome blog on 3/17 to know our goals

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

HAPPY EASTER -- HAPPY PASSOVER

The parallels between Christianity and Judaism are fascinating. This year, the Jewish holiday of Passover comes just four days before Easter Sunday. Jewish holidays are notorious for coming very early or late. Not this time as Passover begins tonight.

Passover is a happy holiday. It is the the story of the Jewish people’s escape from being slaves in Egypt. Moses led them by parting the Red Sea and drowning their captors. We who are drowning in red ink could use our own personal Moses right now.

It wasn’t easy back then and it isn’t easy right now. On Leno, President Obama said, ”It took us a while to get into this mess and it will take us a while to get out.” Moses basically said the same thing as it took the Jews forty years to wander the desert before arriving in Israel – and they still fight every day for their right to remain. Moses should have realized that in life, then and now, it is all about location, location, location.

As we look to count our blessings instead of our money, we can surely include the one about our freedom. In many places in the world people cannot come and go freely, speak their minds openly, dress as they like, listen to music or read certain books. Many people around the world live as slaves to their tyrannical governments.

Though we may not have as much materially as we had six months ago, we have the same amount of freedom-- perhaps even a little more! Freedom gives you many things that money cannot buy. With it you can actually be your own Moses, Jesus, Buddah or whichever higher power you chose. With vision and work you too can part the “red ink” and slowly get back into the black.

Finally, we need no longer to be enslaved to our possessions and can return to the promised land of simpler times when we counted family and friends, instead of how much was in our 401K or how much our house was worth.

Make these happy holidays by celebrating with those close to you all that you have, including your freedom, instead of that which you have lost. It is possible that even in the worst of times you have more than you think. You gotta count it all!


Bye For Now,
Bill

williampenzer.com
954 475 1371 x 301
561 361 1898 x301

see 3/17 blog to know our goals

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

THE POWER OF PRAYER

Yesterday, we mentioned prayer as something that can help during difficult times. When your back is up against the wall and also between a rock and a hard place, even the most devout Atheist might just mumble a few words directed skyward.

According to Time Magazine, February 23, 2009 research has shown that:

  • People who attend religious services have a lower risk of dying in one year than people who don’t attend. Those who never attend have twice the risk of dying over the next 8 years than those who attend once a week.
  • People who believe in a loving God do better after a diagnosis of a serious illness than people who believe in a punitive god.
  • Spiritually oriented people with HIV have better disease control than those not so inclined.
  • People who pray and people who meditate share similar changes in their brain structure.
  • Prayer may work like a placebo offering hope and optimism for the believer which may convert to cures. Self-fulfilling prophecy works in powerful and mysterious ways.
  • In a study designed to see how regular church goers fare under economic stresses, they found benefits from the social support they received ( a reason we began free support groups)
  • They also found that people who feel grateful for what is going right in their lives have a reduced incidence of depression.


I have told you that I would never blow smoke in your direction. I do not pray or attend services regularly. I do, however, remind myself of the Serenity Prayer at least three times a day.

God grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change; the courage to change what I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

It is the wisdom part that’s really hard. I pray you find that soon.

Bye for now,
Bill

www.williampenzer.com
954-475-1371 x 301
561-361-1898 x 301
check 3/17 blog to know our goals

Monday, April 6, 2009

SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST

While I was dressing in the gym this morning a man walked into the locker room and said, “Hello.” I didn’t know him, but it is always nice when people are friendly so I said, ” Hi, how are you?” He said, ” I’m surviving. I can’t believe what is going on. It is just too much.” I responded by saying,” Surviving is good!!”

I am not sure why people feel that what is going on is unbelievable. It has been coming for a long time and it has been driven by many of our not so positive characteristics. This includes our leaders --- our fearless leaders -- who have given all of us reason to be fearful. But this is neither a time for fearfulness, nor disbelief. Reality may at times bite, but we need to try our best to accept it and adapt accordingly.

This is a time to survive as best we can and try to focus on the positives. This is a time not to dwell on the negatives or engage in lengthy discussions and debates about whom did what to make a mess. A few weeks ago, Time Magazine had a pictorial of the top 25 people who contributed to this crisis. I was not sure of their point since I am sure these people are some among many.

The question is what does surviving mean? I believe it means the following:
· Like the man this morning, getting to the gym or doing some exercise on a regular basis.
· Striving to live a healthy and balanced life.
· Staying connected with family and friends in positive settings
· Finding low /no cost ways to continue to enjoy your lives
· Praying ( my next blog will talk a little about this in a non denominational way)
· Keeping busy in pride - worthy ways
· Thinking about ways you can be a little more conservative ( i.e., your driving, drinking,
drinking and driving, spending, use of credit cards, eating habits, etc.)
· Following our encouragement about relaxation, meditation or some form of stress reducing
activities.
· Laughing a lot and seeking out avenues to stimulate that.

Beyond these ideas, think about what “survival of the fittest” means to you. All of the above are stepping stones to thinking, feeling and behavioral fitness. As I said to my anonymous buddy in the locker room,” Surviving is good!!!”

Bye For Now,

Bill
williampenzer.com
954 475 1371 x 301
561 361 1898 x 301

see 3/17 welcome blog to know our goals

Friday, April 3, 2009

Don't Pass It On

I called a company with whom I deal last Friday. I explained to the woman on the line that I was sorry I lost their maintenance contract and needed her to fax a new one.

When she began talking, I realized that she either had a bad head cold or had been crying. The Psychologist in me said,” Are you ok?” She said, “People are being so mean. I almost didn’t pick up your call because I just can’t take anymore people yelling at me.” The therapist responded on automatic pilot, “People are stressed to the max. Don’t personalize it. Have a standard response prepared like:

If you talk to me like a human being I will do my best to help you.
If you don’t I won’t.

I hear the same message over and over. It seems that many people are taking their angst and anger out on others. Parents on children, employers on employees, husbands and wives, siblings, coworkers and friends on each other.

The moral and message is clear. Displaced aggression is well known and common. Please strive not to take out your frustrations on innocent strangers or loved ones or anyone. I will repeat Plato’s encouragement as told

by Danny Boyle of Slumdog fame:

“ BE KIND, FOR EVERYONE YOU MEET IS FIGHTING A HARD BATTLE.”

In my words, we need to support and strengthen our team, not weaken or destroy it. During these challenging times we need to be on the same team. Let’s learn from the wonderful people of North Dakota. They have been there for each other during a challenging time. We need to do the same. Supporting each other will help us get through this triumphantly. Beating each other up will only take us down!

Bye for now,

Bill

www.williampenzer.com

954-475-1371 X 301
561-361-1898 X 301

check 3/17/09 welcome blog to know our goals

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Words Worth Your Read

“ULTIMATELY THE ONLY POWER TO WHICH MAN SHOULD ASPIRE IS THAT WHICH HE EXERCISES OVER HIMSELF.”
Elie Wiesel
Not sure why he chose to use an outdated masculine format, but it certainly applies to WOMEN as well! This blog does not discriminate about anything other than self-pity!

So I have rewritten it:

ULTIMATELY THE ONLY POWER TO WHICH PEOPLE
SHOULD ASPIRE IS THAT WHICH THEY EXERCISE OVER
THEMSELVES.

Works for me and hopefully you as well.



Bye For Now,

Bill
www.williampenzer.com
954 475 1371 x 301
561 368 1898 x 301

check 3/17 welcome blog to know our goals

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Surrending to Forces Beyond Your Control

It is amazing how quickly we go from a tonsillectomy as a kid to a colonoscopy as an old goat. “Time flies whether you are having fun or not, so you better have some fun,” I always say.
Today I am doing my colonoscopy prep. TMI, my kids would say. I am writing this blog one sentence at a time, if you know what I mean. Much too much TMI!

I cancelled two previously scheduled colonoscopies like the cowardly lion I am. Finally, I have just surrendered to it. I pushed past my frightened inner child, so my inner adult could allow this inner experience to occur. I hope the meaning of it won’t be felt too deeply.

Surrendering is a healthy acceptance of an unpleasant or unhealthy reality. Addicts of all types surrender when they embrace the first step and admit “I am powerless…..” It is the beginning of their recovery and effort to hold onto that slippery slope.

The same is true for those facing unfathomable losses. The diabetic who has to loose a leg, the person who has gone blind from accident or disease, or the person facing chemotherapy all must surrender to fates and forces beyond their control. That “blind faith” act paves the way for acceptance and helps them move forward into the future.

This is also true for financial losses. People hit hard must ultimately surrender to that unfortunate and unfair reality. Compared to the above it doesn’t really seem as horrible. Everything in life is relative. What seems like worst case consequences may not really be, comparatively.

Compared to all of the above my prep is not really at all awful. I feel better already and hope you do too.

By the way, this is one blog day where no one can say, “You’re full of crap.” Sorry, that just slipped out!

Bye for Now,
Bill

www.williampenzer.com
954-475-1371 X 301
561-361-1898 X 301
see 3/17 welcome to know our goals