Joan Rivers Being On A Ventilator Should Raise Discussion Within Our Own Lives

The public is not being given any type of detailed information about comedienne, Joan Rivers’ condition, except to say that she is in “critical condition” and has been placed in a medically induced coma after having suffered a heart attack on Thursday August 28th.  

Joan Rivers

Rivers was reportedly, having an endoscopy done to check her throat after a “spot was found on an x-ray”.  Other reports have stated that the star was undergoing minor surgery.  Either way, she was not in a hospital at the time and was likely under sedation while a biopsy was taken (likely what they consider “minor surgery”).  At some point during this procedure, Rivers’ heart stopped and she stopped breathing.  They termed it it a “cardiac arrest”.  

Details on what happened during the 81 year old’s event, were not clear but, Rivers was certainly no stranger to surgeries or anesthesia as she has been an outspoken advocate for plastic surgery.  What is known is that Rivers was undergoing an endoscopy in Yorkville Endoscopy on East 93rd street near Third Avenue, in New York when she suddenly stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest.  At 9:30 a.m., an emergency 911 call was placed which stated that a woman had gone into arrest.  It is unclear at this point in time, how much was done at the endoscopy clinic or what they were able to do or not do.  However, Rivers was transferred to the hospital E.R. by ambulance.

Rivers was listed in “Critical” and some sources, citing “serious” condition but, has been put into a medically induced coma and is reliant upon a ventilator.  

Rivers’ daughter, Melissa arrived from L.A. to NY to be at her mother’s bedside and is said to be “inconsolable”.  Friends are taking care of her teenaged son while she is at her mother’s bedside.  

Well-wishes and prayers have been pouring in for Rivers and the family have stated that they are grateful for all and has expressed their wishes for prayers for the comedienne to continue as they struggle with the uncertainty.  

It is not known yet, how much brain damage may have occurred while Rivers suffered from the attack and stopped breathing.  Sources close to the family have said that Rivers made it known that should she not be able to live a full and active life, she would not want to go on.  Family seems to be agreeing with this wish.  There has been no word on when they will attempt to diagnose how much damage may have been done or whether there was any. 

What is clear is that the family may have a heart breaking decision to make if Rivers condition shows brain damage as well as to other organs in her body once fully assessed.  Right now, the hope is that she makes a full recovery with little to no damage but, the possibility exists that the family may have to make an extremely hard decision in days to come if there is damage to her brain or other organs.  

Having been in this position with family members of my own, it is with both empathy and sympathy that I hold onto hope that Rivers will see a miracle occur and awake with no real issues.  The act of having to make this type of a decision, should it become necessary, is one that none of us ever want to have to make for someone we love and treasure.  However, having had to make those decisions twice now, it’s easier to look back and say, “they wouldn’t have wanted to have lived that way”.

While hope is still there and everyone prays for Rivers’ full and complete recovery, it seems important to remind everyone that none of us know what may or may not be happening to anyone in our lives or, even ourselves.  If we love our families, we will make our wishes known to those who would most likely be the ones to make decisions on our behalf should we not be able to make them for ourselves.  Though still hard, at the least, we know what it is that our loved ones would want us to do should (heaven forbid) we end up in circumstances such as Rivers is in at this time and, vice versa, we also need to know what others feel and would want if we were the ones who were having to make that decision.  it removes a fair amount of guilt and angst for all concerned.  

As we await the news on Joan Rivers, take the time to talk to those closest to you, or those who would be in the position to make such a decision for you as well as asking those for whom you would be in that position for, to talk about each other’s wishes should something like this happen.  Alternatively, make a “living will” where your wishes are in black and white for doctors and family or friends to follow.  It’s a gruesome subject and one that none of us wish to talk about or hear but, like we’ve just seen in Rivers’ case, the simplest of things can result in tragic or nerve wracking circumstances that require knowledge of that person’s wishes or, for them to know ours.  

From my little corner of life, I see this as a necessary conversation no matter how distasteful, painful or emotionally touchy a subject this is or might be.  The rest of someone else’s life is a long time to live with guilt and those hours and sometimes, moments’ worth of decisions can cause guilt that can last a lifetime for those left behind.  Take the time now to establish your wishes so that no one has to struggle with the guilt or fear.  


Shockingly, Robin Williams’ Funeral Was Done August 12th Less Than One Day After His Death

It’s seemingly almost incredulous that we were hearing that Robin Williams was found dead by his personal assistant at about 11:55 a.m. on the 11th of August, 2014 and pronounced dead by first responders at about 12:04 p.m..  There was to be an autopsy done and was reportedly done.  An official statement was made about his death as well as preliminary reports from autopsy results.  Now, we are hearing that it’s been confirmed that he had been cremated, ashes scattered over the San Francisco Bay, a funeral done and over with on the 12th of August.  

Most of us would respect the family’s wishes to hold a private funeral for him and perhaps, not inform the world about the details.  However, what remains in question is the idea that he was found dead near noon on the 11th, an autopsy took place, cremation and, a private funeral services and ashes spread, the very next day.  That’s all been done less than or around 24 hours after finding him.  His death certificate stated that his ashes were spread over the bay and the funeral had taken place on the 12th of August in Monte’s Chapel of the Hills in San Anselmo 

How?  Why so quick?  

I have no answers to the above questions but, it raises questions on all of this and how quickly it all took place.  

Within 24 hours or, perhaps less, Williams had been autopsied, cremated, funeral and ashes scattered.  It almost appears as though the family had known wishes or this was pre-planned by perhaps, even Williams, himself.  

According to news sources, Williams’ Death Certificate (as of August 20th) was issued, still listing the cause of death as “under investigation”.  

This leaves the public, whom loved him, left gasping at the idea that there was no public form or ability with which to put closure to his death.  The world was waiting for funeral arrangements or some type of memorial plans to be revealed.  It came as quite the shock and, probably best put in words, as a “kick in the teeth” that not only had he died but, within 24 hours or less, all of the above had taken place and, no future plans announced for a more public memorial.  

From my little corner of life, something isn’t being said or told to the public about a man the public adored.  There are no words to describe the grief and shock of his death but, more to the point, there are no words to express the shock that his funeral had already taken place.  There is a lot we don’t know about all of this and, while we have no “right” to know, it would certainly be a courtesy to Williams’ fans and the public to know.   



The No-Diet Way of Living To Lose Weight

Your weight is not who you are.

Your weight is not who you are.

Losing weight is never an easy proposition.  It’s one that usually requires a tremendous amount of will power as well as the determination to exercise.  Both can create a situation that puts one out of the mood to even attempt to lose weight but, does it really need to be that hard and, are we going about it all the wrong way?

Most of us have been on diets at some point or another in our lives.  There are very few of us who haven’t at least made an attempt at getting in proper nutrition and physical fitness.  For the most part, we’ve fallen off of that proverbial wagon, much the same way an addict can slip off the sobriety course.  Why?  Why is it so hard to lose weight?

In a sense, as living, breathing creatures, we cannot escape having to eat in order to live.  In most developed countries, food is in abundance and, we see it everywhere we go.  We cannot avoid eating.  It’s not like we can put down the bottle of gin or stub out a cigarette and never go back to having a drink or a smoke again.  We need to eat and food will always be around. That makes it hard as temptation stares at us everywhere we turn and we can’t cut it out of our lives.  

Many of us feel that unless we are eating only salads, small portions and exercising ourselves into the ground at the gym, we are somehow not going to lose weight.  As a society, we’ve come to learn that we somehow need to be deprived and hard worked to lose weight but, is that the truth?

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you’ll know that it means “sacrifice”.  It feels like deprivation and oftentimes, we find ourselves hungry, eyeing the cat as though he would make a perfect snack or, we look at those running shoes and spandex outfit we’ve bought ourselves and want to go hide under the bed with the now, shaking cat.  

Diets work.  We can lose weight if we stick to a plan.  There are thousands of them out there, including crazy crash diets, fads, pills and wonder drugs.  Losing weight is someone else’s gain.  Our weight loss efforts go straight into their wallets and we are all suckers when it comes to losing it quickly.  If there’s a gimmick out there that has been created, promising us to help us lose weight, we’ll likely jump at it.  

The real problem is, diets…yes, even the crazy, insane ones that cut out entire groups of food or make us drink our meals, are only temporary solutions.  We’ll get the weight off.  Cut out enough calories for long enough and it will come off.  The problem is, it often returns with a vengeance and brings more with it.  Why is that?

No one can live on deprivation and feeling hungry forever.  If you’ve climbed onto a wagon, chances are, you’re going to fall off of it at some point or another.  Diets are the wagons.  They’re pretty much impossible to stay on forever and there comes the weight, creepy or even sailing back on again.  They’re meant to get off a certain amount of weight in a hurry but, they are not meant to stay on forever.  With the exception of something more flexible, like Weight Watchers types of dieting that allow us to eat whatever we want in limited or regulated amounts, we simply cannot sustain something that gives us a sense of deprivation or cuts out entire groups of foods.  Nor, can most of us devote ourselves to daily trips to the gym for extensive workouts forever.  Injuries occur and eventually, for one reason or another, that gym membership is going to go by the wayside for a good portion of people.  That’s why gyms will see an influx of new customers in January of every year but, have less than half that amount, 2 or 3 months later.  

So, what does make sense?  How can we lose weight and more importantly, keep it off.  

  • Journal.  Start off by buying an inexpensive dollar store notebook.  Write down everything you put into your mouth during a day, including non-caloric items such as water or black tea, without sugar.  
  • Write down what you’re eating as you’re eating it.  Don’t wait for the end of the day and try to remember everything you’ve eaten.  It doesn’t work.  Your memory may be great but, it’s not a steel trap no matter what your friends tell you. You can always spend a few moments at the end of the day, doing your totals in calories but, journal in real-time.  
  • Be honest with yourself by weighing and measuring your foods.  Get a set of digital scales.  They’re cheap…especially, at places like Walmart or  A set of measuring spoons and a set of measuring cups are really cheaply gotten at your nearest dollar store.  You don’t need to get expensive with them.  
  • Use your computer, your phone or your tablet to download a calorie counting app.  Take your pick.  You can even journal on some of them and not need a notebook.  Spark People, Fitness Pal and several others offer free apps and programs for tracking and calorie counting.  
  • Shop the outer aisles of your grocery store.  The middle aisles contain the “danger foods” but, you’ll also need to go into them for some things.  Just remember that the bulk of your shopping should be done on the outside aisles not the middle aisles as most of us shop.  The temptations dwell in those middle aisles, waiting to sabotage even the most hardened of dieters.
  • Always have fresh foods available at home and, pack weighed and measured foods for your lunch and snacks.  That doesn’t mean that you can never eat out but, start by trying to eat as many meals as you can, prepared from home where you can be sure of how many calories actually lay in those packed lunches/snacks.
  • Eat every 2 to 3 hours.  Don’t starve yourself to 3 meals per day.  Doing that keeps us starving by the time we get to a meal and more calories get consumed than we’d even imagine when we’re hungry.  Aim to get 3 meals and several snacks.  Never go hungry.  
  • Find out what calorie level you’d need to be on in order to lose weight.  We all have a maintenance level, a losing level and a gaining level.  Use one of the sites like Spark People, My Fitness Pal or, simply google free calculators to find your level of calories for your weight, height, gender and level of physical activity.
  • It takes 20 minutes for our brains to recognize that we have had enough to eat or, that we’ve long since surpassed that level and are not just satisfied but, totally overloaded.  Take your time while eating.  Enjoy each mouthful of food and perhaps, even put your fork or spoon down in between bites.  Chew thoroughly and actually taste your food.  Try to sit to eat (not standing or munching on the run), preferably with no distractions, such as reading or television.  It’s easy to consume your entire portion, feel satisfied but, go back for more when you don’t remember what you’ve eaten and haven’t tasted it. 
  • Don’t get down on yourself if you’ve gone over during a meal and give up your entire new eating style.  Chalk it up to a meal where you ate more than was planned and try to get back on track for the rest of the day or week.  Don’t dive into a box of cookies or a cake, thinking “I’ve done it now.  May as well give up and forget it.”   Remember, it’s cumulative.  We need a smaller number of calories over time to lose weight.  It isn’t a “lost cause” because you’ve had one day where things weren’t exactly on target/plan or even a day or a week (like during vacations).  Just get back to eating more healthfully and get back on it as soon as you notice the deviation.  
  • As for physical activity or exercise…the bulk of your weight loss will come from your eating, not running on a treadmill, no matter what the calories burned say on your digital read-out.  You really can’t exercise your way though an entire chocolate cake’s worth of calories.  While exercise is needed in any healthy living pattern, it need not be hours in a gym or forced.  The calories that you can burn during any exercise period will not even remotely equal the number of calories extra that we can consume.  Exercise is healthy for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which includes, emotional well-being.  We need to move our bodies but, it doesn’t need to be hours in a gym, on treadmills or running 5 miles a day…unless, of course, that’s what brings you happiness.  If you struggle with feeling that you have to exercise a certain amount, you won’t likely keep it up.  Let’s face it, there are days when exercise just isn’t in our abilities to do for one reason or another.  That’s ok.  It’s not going to make up the bulk of your weight loss anyway.  Even gardening, house cleaning, walking from the furthest point in the parking lot, taking the stairs, dancing in your underwear if that makes your day, doing the dishes by hand, a stroll with a friend after dinner or lunch or breakfast, walking the dog…everything counts.  Just move more than you usually do and find some activity that you enjoy doing and keep on doing it.  Just move your body.  Most of us are couch-potatoes and technology has made that easier for us to do.  We don’t even need to get up to change the television channel anymore.  Heck, I’m not sure it’s even possible to do.  Simply make it a point to get in more physical movement for now.  

Losing weight doesn’t have to be a monumental task, complete with deprivation and exercising that none of us are likely to keep up with unless we truly enjoy doing it.  It has to be a way of life.  We have to feel “satisfied” and not hungry, starving or so tired out from exercise that we can barely get out of bed or put on our shirts because we’re too sore and tired.  We won’t keep that level up for long and, we certainly won’t maintain our weight afterwards if we do this.  We’ve got to be comfortable with how we live.  

Diets don’t work long termed.  It has to be a lifestyle change that can be maintained or we’ll be back to a diet again in a few months or weeks.  Remember that there are people out there who are making big bucks on keeping you dieting.  It’s to their benefit to trap you into that vicious cycle and keep you coming back, draining your wallet into their bank accounts.  

There are a couple of books that I highly recommend reading.  

Firstly, is The Diet Fix by Yoni Freedhoff M.D..  Freedhoff is a doctor who found that his patients were struggling to lose weight in spite of diagnoses of ailments that were weight related and could be changed.  He admits that the average family doctor is simply not educated enough in nutrition to be of help to their patients.  He gives straight forward, easy to understand advice and principles, teaching us how to turn the dieting world on its ear and stick to a way of living and eating that will be a slower but totally sustainable way of getting off and keeping weight off for life.  It’s not a diet.  It’s a pattern change.  

Secondly, is I Can Make You Thin by Paul McKenna.  There’s no diet involved in McKenna’s book.  He’s teaching us how to re-train and re-set our brains towards a more healthful pattern of eating with behavioural modifications.  He’s included a self-hypnosis cd with the book.  (Use it or not, the principles in this book are invaluable by themselves.)  

There’s also apps for your cell phone, computer or tablet in which you can journal and look up calorie counts.  Both set your goal/target levels for your personal weight and activity level (be honest or you’ll be cheating yourself) by answering a couple of basic questions like current weight, weight goal/target weight (be realistic here too…if you were a toothpick in highschool, you might not look good at that weight now nor, be able to maintain it again), height and activity level.  They keep track of your activities as well as your body measurements if you want to track them too.  

SparkPeople apps

My Fitness Pal apps

There, I’ve done the research for you.  You simply need to have the want to lose weight sensibly and without harsh dieting or hours in the gym.  

Losing weight means a lifestyle change that can be maintained by YOUR lifestyle and comfort level.  It needn’t be a struggle that you can’t maintain.  Learn a few principles that diets won’t teach you and save your money for a trip to a beach somewhere instead of padding other people’s pockets.  

Beyond anything else that can be said about dieting and losing weight, there are fit and healthy people who are not of ideal weight.  The people you see on magazine covers have been photoshopped out of recognition.  Even they don’t really look like that.  Take a look at Oprah’s magazine covers.  While she’s lost a lot of weight herself, she is by far, not thin in real life. She’s come a long way but, then again, Oprah has a personal trainer and a gourmet cook who travels with her to keep her on track.  Take a look inside her magazine and you’ll find more realistic pictures of her than you’ll see on her covers.  That’s a flaw that Oprah has to do something about as well.  Even she has fallen prey to allowing herself to be whittled down, de-flawed and perfected in her cover shots.  It does damage to other people in seeing these false images.  None of these stars look like themselves while on covers so, don’t compare yourself to those standards.  Even they don’t look like they do on those covers or articles.  

Love yourself right now.  Love yourself as you are.  Think of who you are as a person and your good qualities.  Those things don’t lay in the numbers on the back of a garment you can wear.  Learn to appreciate your best qualities and even your less than best.  You are worthy just because you exist.  The numbers on a scale cannot measure those things.  You have a lot to offer the world as you are right now.  That’s the way that I’m seeing things from my little corner of life.  

Did Robin Williams Really Intend On Suicide Or Is It Just Denial?

Actor and Comedian Robin Williams 1951 to 2014

Actor and Comedian Robin Williams 1951 to 2014

I’ve been hesitant to write anything about Robin Williams’ passing.  It seemed that there was nothing that I could write that everyone else hadn’t already written.  I felt another tribute with a list of his life’s accomplishments weren’t needed nor, was another “RIP” type of piece.

As with everyone else, it came as a huge shock to hear the news.  Like millions and millions of people, I am and have been a huge fan of Williams and not just his work but, also the person he’s shown us to be, including the humanitarian he was so, I sat in total disbelief as I heard the details beginning to come through mainstream news channels.

It’s not as though the world is a stranger to shocking ends to celebrity sudden death news.  We have watched many pass on and we will see many more also exit this planet via one method or another.  After-all, though stars, they are like everyone else.  As Valerie Harper of Rhoda fame has stated, “we are all terminal”.

I am not at all an expert by any means of the word, on suicides but, I have experienced the loss of a family member through the act.  It hits hard.  Those of us left behind, simply cannot fathom the depths of despair that must have been residing within for the person to have ended their own lives.  More so, those of us left behind, will continually wonder if there was something that we could have or should have done that might have resulted in saving that person’s life.  Guilt rises as we look back and try to figure out whether there were signs and somehow, we “should have known”.  The departed suicide victim’s pain morphs into pain for the surviving family, friends and anyone else who cared enough about the person.  Not only are we dealing with their loss but, we are also left behind to deal with guilt…something that is sometimes, more insidious and deeper cutting than the grief of the loss.

It’s not surprising that since Williams’ apparent suicide, people have spewed out the idea that it is a “cowardly act”.  We are told that it isn’t politically correct or acceptable to think such a thing.  I don’t condone it but, then again, I can’t totally condemn that sense of the act either.  As Robin Williams once said, “it’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem” for the person.  Yet, it becomes a permanent problem for those left behind with both grief and guilt.  It’s a situation whereby one person’s act to get themselves out of pain, puts others into pain.

That having been said, when I first heard the news of Williams’ hanging death, I couldn’t help wondering if perhaps, he had been “toying” with the idea of seeing what it might feel like but, never intending to follow through with it.  His mind appeared to work in mysterious ways and, was not exactly operating on the same wave-length as others.  His work was both his passion as well as one of his addictions.  He feared taking the prescribed medications for his different disorders as he felt that they might affect his work and I wondered if perhaps, this was Williams either researching a role to see what might feel like without actually going through with the act and something went terribly wrong.  Alternatively, I wondered if perhaps, knowing he had been suffering from depression, he might have made the attempt to see what it might feel like to attempt either method of wrist slitting or, hanging but, not actually follow through.

Of course, one can work any theory into fact with a little research and a lot of imagination.

I had recalled seeing an asphyxiation scene in “World’s Greatest Dad” where Williams had played the role of a father who had found his son, accidently asphyxiated during an erotica type of act.  It eerily resembled the seated hanging that Williams, himself had employed.  The death scene (where Williams’ character finds his son’s body) was hard to watch then, but even more difficult to watch now that he’s done this act himself, significantly similarly.  I wondered, could he have had suicidal thoughts and decided to see what it might feel like to end life in that manner?

The cuts found on his wrists were superficial or, at least as reported.  It made me wonder whether he was simply “sampling” the feeling.  The question was, for what reason?  Was it curiosity, driven by the depression and suicidal thoughts or a role research trial?

In searching out information about seated hangings, it appears that the weight of the head is enough to put pressure against the crucial blood and oxygen flow to the brain through the carotid artery and jugular veins, causing a passing out within a 13 second period.  Even well before passing out, the person becomes confused enough that they cannot even remotely begin to reverse the process as hands become limp, thinking becomes distorted and a more forward slumping, causes enough pressure to result in death.  Was it possible that Williams had simply gone too far to reach the point of no-return but, not intended it?

The lack of knowing if there was a suicide note as well as some news sources citing reports that there was no note, made it even easier to add 2 and 2 together to get 5.  Maybe, there was no suicide note because suicide wasn’t intended, at least at this point in time and was purely accidental?

Then, came the news from his current wife that Williams had also been diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease and was suffering greatly from both depression and anxiety. The pieces of wonderment about an accidental death began to fade as the most likely reality set into my mind.  Williams had very likely ended his own life as was initially reported.  Given what is slowly trickling out about it all now, I guess those of us who didn’t want to believe that he could or would end his own life, have to come to accept that It was likely no accident and his internal torture was more than he could handle any longer.

As the days have gone on since the news this week, I have often heard in my imagination, comedy skits that he might have come up with.  I could actually hear Williams voice in my imagination, joking about passing over and how he did it and why. Joking about serious or troublesome issues, seemed to be a way through for him.

I pictured Williams at the gates of heaven being interviewed about being in Heaven and one of his comical monologues that might ensue.

“There seems to be a backlog of traffic into Heaven today.  It’s in a Holding Pattern.  Said they hadn’t expected me and, my reservations weren’t good for another 30 years so, I’m on Standby, waiting for a cancellation.  Who’s gonna cancel?  

Lauren Bacall just breezed through. They nearly cancelled on her…but, she made it.  They stamped her passport and gave her preferred seating on the bus in.  

I heard they were ready for Elvis.  Gave him an all-you-can-eat buffet when he got here.


So far, Heaven’s not what it’s cracked up to be.  Not that I’m a fan of harp music but, you’d think they’d have some playing, somewhere. It’s been billed as the lead musical score up here. Instead they’ve got this Muzak shit being piped in.  Kind of like a mix of Soft Pop Instrumental and Heaven Metal.  

I saw God.  Big Dude, long beard, seems well fed, sitting on a chair.  Reminded me of Santa so, I sat on his knee and asked him for a gin and tonic.  He said I had to pass a Life Review first and couldn’t do it while high.  I told him I didn’t know there was going to be an exam at the end or I wouldn’t have been a Life School Drop Out and asked if He’s looked over the edge of Heaven yet. We’re as fucking high as we can get!

But, Heaven is like the biggest high you could ever be on.  Shit, there ain’t no crack or drug that you could buy down there on earth that gives you this kind of a high.  The colors, the bright lights, the sounds, the clarity of thinking.  It’s like being at a Metallica concert with a hearing aid turned up, binoculars and LSD all at the same time and it feeling good.  It’s the biggest upper and eye opener you can get.  Someone send some of this shit down to Rush Limbaugh.”

Williams wasn’t a part of my every day life.  I still see clips of him on the television, the news, and his earlier movies, making it hard to accept that he isn’t still alive somewhere.  I’m sure he is.  I’m sure that there’s life that goes on beyond this one and Robin is part of it in as much peace, joy and comfort as anyone else.  I don’t and won’t buy into the idea that those who end their own lives, have no place in Heaven as some religions would have us believe.  But, I also want to be extremely careful to say that suicide is not an answer to problems or pain.  It’s a form of escape that leaves behind people who love and care about us with a lot of pain, grief, never-ending guilt and a hell that we can’t get out of.  It’s never an answer because someone is going to be left in pain. Even if you manage to escape your own in one way or another, in escaping yours, you are most certainly, going to leave others in pain or create pain for others in exchange.  Who are we to decide who should have that pain and who should be out of it?  Do you really want to do that to those you love?

I pass no judgement on Williams’ decision (if that was, in fact, the case…suicide as I’m still holding onto a tiny bit of doubt) to end his life.  It was his to do with what he wanted but, he left behind people especially, his children who will forever be changed by his choice and decisions and, he’s left behind a world who is mourning his loss.  His pain has been simply been spread out and shared with millions of others but, more importantly, those whom he was a more integral part of their lives…like his family and closest friends.  I’m sure he realizes this now but, at the time, it was at a point of unbearable levels for him.  My only hope is that people can learn from this tragic ending of a wonderful person’s life and that his death wasn’t in vain as we open discussion about addiction issues, mental health issues and break the stigma attached to such realities in this world.  Everyone has been touched by it through someone in their lives or will be at some point.  We all need to understand it so that we can find ways to deal with it other than via these means.

May you finally be in perfect peace and joy, Robin Williams…and, on the very tiny, remote chance that you didn’t intend on suicide fully, may those facts reveal themselves.

No matter which way I look at it, Robin Williams is no longer in pain…at least, that’s the way that I see things from my little corner of life.









Did Oprah Ruin Dr. Oz And Dr. Phil?

“Wealth is like sea-water; the more we drink, the thirstier we become; and the same is true of fame.”

~Arthur Schopenhauer~
Self-made Life Guru, Oprah Winfrey.

Self-made Life Guru, Oprah Winfrey.

Oprah Protege, Phil McGraw

Oprah Protege, Phil McGraw

Another Oprah backed protege, Dr. Mehmet Oz

Another Oprah backed protege, Dr. Mehmet Oz

They all want YOU!  All three television lifestyle gurus want you to listen to them and put money in their pockets by listening to the things that they are trying to sell you on during their television shows but, are they really interested in your health or lifestyle or their own and who is behind their fame and the phenomenon? 
It’s no big secret that Oprah Winfrey, the former daytime talk show host and self-created guru, earns more than some small countries, with a net worth in the area of $2.7 BILLION and, an annual income of $315 MILLION.  Let’s face it, the woman knew what she was doing once she caught on to how to do it.  
We all know that whatever Oprah endorses, millions in North America will leap out and buy, use or try to emulate.  She’s done her homework, made mistakes and picked herself up out of the gutter to rise like the proverbial phoenix, rising from the ashes.  Kudos to her for her ingenuity and tenacity which garnered her the fame and fortune to which she’s risen with a cult-like following that seemingly hangs on her every word.  
What’s even more amazing is the fact that once Oprah puts her endorsement stamp on other people’s heads, not only do they do well too but, they also become cult-like leaders with their own set of followers that make them wealthy.  Dr. Phil McGraw and Dr. Mehmet Oz, are 2 of those who have fallen into the fame and fortune, tv style doc traps and are both seeing legal issues because of it but, still raking in the big bucks for doing it.  
Dr. Phil McGraw (PhD in Clinical Psychology) and Dr. Mehmet Oz (Cardiothoracic Surgeon) had both followed in their father’s footsteps.  McGraw had wanted to become a psychologist like his father and, Oz had done the same in fulfilling his wish to become an M.D. like his father.  Both were practicing their chosen fields until the idea of more money came to the forefront for them.  
McGraw had joined his father in a family psychology practice in Wichita Falls, Texas after graduating with his degree.  It wasn’t long before the day-to-day grind of being in an office, one patient at a time, seemed to become “old hat” to the father-son duo and they signed up with Thelma Box and created, “Pathways” seminars, an “experience-based training which allows individuals to achieve and create their own results.”  Box was a successful Texas businesswoman, who was good at creating seminar based business and promotions.  Eight years after starting with Box, McGraw suddenly sold all of his shares in the seminar company, not telling his father and went his own separate way, co-founding Courtroom Sciences, Inc. or “CSI” with lawyer, Gary Dobbs and became a Fortune 500 profitable business.  At this point, he ceased the practice of psychology and “retired” his license a few years later.  It was during this time that he met Oprah Winfrey and began doing segments on her talk show.  
Meanwhile, Oz had become a professor at the Department of Surgery at Columbia University and was writing papers and books while doing research in heart replacement surgery, minimally invasive cardiac surgery, and health care policy.  He had also appeared on several television shows and was already becoming famous in his own right when he met Oprah and did several segments on her show, along with Suze Orman and Dr. Phil (who had been hired by Winfrey during her infamous  Amarillo Texas beef trial and lauded by Winfrey for his help in getting her through the trial successfully.) 
What was clear in both men’s cases was the fact that neither of them wanted to actually practise their chosen fields in the hands-on way.  Both had chosen to use their degrees and experience in the form of a public venue method, via lectures, papers, television and other media.  Oprah had become their best vehicle to continue to do so and, she profited by their quest to garner public attention by eventually giving them and financially backing each of their own shows.  
To date, Oz’s net worth is in the area of some $14 million with $4 million annually, while McGraw has far surpassed that with an estimated $200 million worth and an annual salary of $50 million. No small potatoes for either man and certainly far more than what they could have earned by practicing hands-on in their chosen educated professions.
Still, all 3 celebs earn big money each time both Oz and McGraw step in front of the cameras and a studio audience that remain backed by Oprah.  She knows her “cash-cows” as she struggles with her network (OWN) and they know Winfrey is their Golden Meal Ticket.  They scratch her back and she scratches theirs, making all 3 of them richer than they could have dreamed possible.
Is it all roses and bank trips for Oz and McGraw?  Not necessarily.  
Both McGraw and Oz have taken flack and even been in legal hot water due to content on their shows since they started and, McGraw is giving advice while no longer a legal psychologist.  
Oz has been under attack by medical boards for having promoted quackery in his weight loss aid claims while McGraw has had numerous legal problems due to his show’s topics, not the least which includes the ire of Oprah, herself for his intervention piece with Britney Spears.
Both Oz and McGraw have entered into the weight-loss arenas (a topic near and dear to Oprah’s heart) and have been making money off of them.  However, in today’s society where being overweight has hit a new high and “quick fixes” are in demand, both Oz and McGraw have seen their chances to enter the market and put money into their pockets along the way, on the backs of desperate, misguided people who are being led into the multi-billion dollar industry of weight-loss schemes.  
In short, it appears that money still makes the world go round and people dance.  All 3 television gurus seem to have found their own Holy Grails by playing up to audiences who are desperate for free advice and help.  Furthermore, what is clear is that both McGraw and Oz were already aiming to head down Celebrity Lane before they even met Oprah.  Oprah simply became their vehicle while she saw visions of dollar signs, dancing in her head by backing them and giving them not only their starts but, their platforms as well as her backing.  Neither of these men were truly in their professions for simply their profession’s sake.   Both were already aiming for fame status as well as get-rich quick schemes.   
While the public watches these 3, hoping for insight, help, advice, a push, a nudge but most of all, hope…it’s clear that Oprah, Oz and McGraw know how to hone in to that type of desperation and use it to their advantage, even if it means duping the public or misleading it to do so.  Fame and money drive them, not the betterment of society, in spite of their claims otherwise.  
Oprah didn’t ruin either of these men.  She simply became the vehicle by which they drove themselves and, all 3 are laughing at their viewers while on their way to the bank.  At least, that’s the way I’m seeing things from my little corner of the world.  

Why Pleasing Others Doesn’t Work

Most of us want to please others for one reason or another.  Most of us have some type of misconception (on some level or another) that if we are pleasing others, we’ll be liked, loved, accepted and even appreciated more than if we were simply ourselves.  Whatever it is, all of us do it to some extent or another, unless we have some type of emotional or mental health disorder whereby, we lose the ability to care if we’re liked or not.  We all want to be liked, loved and accepted to one degree or another.  

No one wants to feel alone, un-loved, friendless or rejected but, is "People Pleasing" the answer?  Does it help or push us further away from others?

No one wants to feel alone, un-loved, friendless or rejected but, is “People Pleasing” the answer? Does it help or push us further away from others?


The questions are, does people pleasing work or, can it turn against us.  

For the most part, doing good, helping others, being a pleasant, kind, generous person, is a good thing.  Not many people wish to be in the company of a narcissistic, self-centered, obnoxious, rude or unhelpful person.  So, in that sense, yes…it can be an aid to us being wanted as parts of social circles and families.  

However, there comes a point at which we can cross lines and do ourselves more harm than good by being a “do-gooder”.  

We’ve all heard the phrase, “you reap what you sow” so, it’s only natural that we’d come to the conclusion that doing good, pleasing others and following the Golden Rule, might naturally mean that we would be loved, respected, accepted and wanted.  Even more logical is the idea that doing more and more of those things, would result in more adulation, acceptance, love, gratitude and a plethora of people who love our company and, it becomes an addiction after awhile for some of us.  

While some helpful attempts are thought of nicely, it doesn’t necessarily mean that more is better. 

We’ve all heard the saying, “the Road To Hell is paved with good intentions” and “no good deed goes un-punished”.  There’s a reason why those were written.  

There’s a fine line between being helpful and pleasing and, being seen as intrusive and a doormat.  Where that line gets drawn is hard to decipher but, if you’re wondering why, in spite of all of the good that you do, all of the help that you give, all of the effort that you’ve put into trying to please others, you’re considered an outcast and no one is calling you, you’ve found that line and you’ve crossed it.  

Confusing, isn’t it?

Well, it can be rather disgruntling to figure out that what we call “Karma” doesn’t always work the way that it should but, it’s really not all that complicated to figure out why it isn’t.  There’s a few key points that put it more or less into some type of perspective.  

First of all, in trying to please others, we lose sight of who we are within ourselves.  We pretzel twist ourselves into versions of what we think we want others to see.  We are “the actors” and, no one really buys into the act.  They might not put their fingers on it but, they know, deep down inside that there’s something phoney about us, even if they can’t pin-point it directly.  It’s instinctive to know that someone isn’t being who they really are.  That, in and of itself, can make people suspicious and distrustful of us.  

Secondly, once we’ve lost sight of who we really are through our quest to please others, we lose some of the most interesting and inspirational aspects of ourselves.  We actually become “dull/boring”.  After all, who really wants to be around someone who is seemingly drippingly sweet and pleasing?  It makes them, feel guilty about themselves, their own being and why they can’t be like those who are pleasing them.  We become “non-people” and people lose respect for those who don’t respect themselves, their time and, worst of all, don’t know who we are or, where our boundaries lay.  

Thirdly, doing good for them and pleasing them at first, is nice.  After that, repeated attempts becomes rather obnoxious.  Let’s face it, not many love to be waited on hand and foot constantly. We also need to do for ourselves.  The “Do-Gooder” then becomes that pesky fly that we want to shoo away as quickly as possible or, not let them in to bother us anymore.  

Fourthly, doing nice things and being helpful once or twice is thought of as either a nice gesture or a favor.  It’s accepted and appreciated (unless the person you’re doing it for is a user and abuser).  Doing it more than that and especially, on a regular basis and people come to expect it from you.  It’s now, no longer a nice favor but, it eventually become expected as your “job”.  Try stopping it.  Watch the horror, anger and rejection you’ll get.  

Beyond those points, the other scenarios become that you have made yourself their doormat, they count on you being there to please them and do things for them and they feel angered, hurt or betrayed when you can’t do it or, you’re just plain tired out from your Mother Teresa acts of kindness and giving.  

More than anything, it must be remembered that by helping people out constantly, you are putting yourself in a position whereby, you have seen other’s weaknesses.  While they love the help at the moment, it’s human nature to eventually not need it anymore but, realize that you know their weaknesses.  This is where it becomes that “line” that was talked about.  

People don’t like to feel that they are in the presence of someone who knows many, if not all of their weaknesses when they are feeling stronger and have gotten past the worst part of things. The sight of us can bring both embarrassment as well as an association back to the time when they were feeling weakest, even if we’ve never uttered a word again about it.  

Lastly, no one likes to constantly feel “indebted” to someone else.  However, when someone has given of themselves so freely, without expectation, pay or pay-back of any kind, that sense of owing us something can linger and make others feel ill at ease while around us.  We are ever the reminder that they somehow owe us something.  

So, next time that you’re tempted to please someone or do something for someone, ask yourself why you are doing it.  If you are only doing so to gain friendship, acceptance or to avoid rejection, stop right there because you’re likely heading yourself directly towards the very things that you’re attempting to avoid by these acts.  

Also keep in mind that charity begins at home.  If you’re going to help someone out, do it once or twice but, not consistently.  When you feel the urge to help someone else on any sort of regular basis, make it a “paid” endeavor by asking for something in return (even if not equal in value to what you’re doing) or, ask to be paid for your consistent help so as to let people know that you respect yourself and they should too.  It also breaks that feeling of indebtedness that they will eventually come to hold against you in one way or another.  

Most of all, remind yourself that you are every bit as worthy as the next person.  Don’t lose sight of that by attempting to please everyone else and putting yourself as well as your own needs and wants on the back-burner.  Not only will it not win you any brownie points but, it will take away your sense of self.  No one likes a doormat…except those who are users.  Do you really want one or more of those types of people in your life?  Those people are the only ones who love a pleaser and a doormat.  

Do yourself a favor.  Give and help but, in small doses.  Please others now and again but don’t make it a habit.  If you’re going to help someone on a regular basis, have a trade-off, barter system or, ask to be paid.  You and your time are equally as valuable as anyone else and their time.  Love yourself and others will follow suit.  We train people how to treat us.  If we don’t respect and love ourselves, they won’t either.  Most of all, if you’re not getting back from others, move on.  Don’t try to please them by showering them with pieces of your self-esteem or by doing more and more for them.  It doesn’t work the way one would think it does.  Spend more time on doing things for and with yourself and respecting yourself.  Eventually, others will follow suit.

That’s simply my experience and advice from my little corner of life.