Looking Outward

end youth homelessness

Instead of yelling at a homeless youth to “get a job”, why not offer them one?


Rainbow flag

While I appreciate all that Dan Savage and friends have done to support LGBTQ youth who are struggling and being bullied,

I still have issue with the “It Gets Better” project.


Because I don’t want to tell them to wait it out, endure the suffering and be patient.

Time is very different for young people – one month can seem like a year, a year can seem like an eternity.

When you are an adult, your world is large and busy and scheduled.  Time flies by as you fulfill your various responsibilities…for us a month or 6 months or a year seem to go by quickly.

I don’t like the idea of telling a youth who may be bullied, depressed and possibly suicidal to look into the future when their lives will possibly be easier.

I want us to make their lives easier now.

I want more GSA’s (Gay/Straight Alliance groups) in schools and communities.

I want more school counselors to have rainbow safe space stickers on their office doors.

I want more info sessions about the LGBTQ population at teachers conventions.  With mandatory attendance.

I want community options readily available if a queer youth is rejected by their family – so they can immediately stay somewhere safe and continue their education.  Note: There are many LGBTQ youth living on the streets simply because their “loving” families threw them out for being who they are.

I want more communities to host a “Queer Prom” where LGBTQ youth from the area can attend and feel safe…bringing the date of their choice, dressing in the way that makes them feel most comfortable and happy, dancing with whoever they want to, and spending at least one fun evening in a completely supportive environment.

I want more public figures and celebrities to come out and let those youth know there is nothing wrong with them.

I want more allies to come out and say that bullying someone for being their true self is incredibly cruel.

I want people to learn about how indigenous communities once called people “two spirited” and celebrated the wisdom and beauty that came from them having strong connections to both the female and male energies.  These members of a community were revered because they were seen as having a greater connection to the whole universe.

I want more people to see that we are each born a wonderful mystery, and that our life goal is let our true self emerge.  And just like flowers in a garden, more unique that true self is, the more beautiful it is.

I don’t want to tell these kids that it gets better later in life.

I want to tell them that we can make it better for them today.

HydrangeasYou use food to feed your body.

You use relationships to feed your soul.

You need to imagine that both of these categories will contain items that range from healthy,

to unhealthy…

to dangerous…

to toxic or even deadly.

You don’t feel physically well when you eat a lot of unhealthy food…

and you don’t feel spiritually and emotionally well when you surround yourself with unhealthy relationships and people.

Make sense?

Look at what you are putting in your body.  Will it make you healthy or unhealthy?

Does it make you sick?

Look at who you are keeping in your life.  Will they warm or harm your soul?

Do they make you sad?

Feel well.

Choose well.

sad face

If you want to show support for someone who is newly single,

avoid talking about the past (“You guys were so perfect for each other!” / “I knew he was bad news!”),

and avoid talking about the future (“You’ll bounce back!” / “There are plenty of fish in the sea”).

Focus on the present:

their sadness,

their wounded soul.

Ask what they need right now, and how you can help them heal –

whether it is a chat, a laugh, to go do an activity they enjoy…

just focus on where they are now.



I have been providing you with weekly wisdom since July 2011, and it is time to take a little break.  I am working on a book and would like to focus on that for a while!


I am opening up the floor to you.

Until I return to my regular Monday morning musings, I am available to give advice.

Do you know anyone who could use some?

If yes, get them to email me a question (hopefully not pages and pages – I want to be able to post it on this site) and I will post it as well as my answer!  Hopefully I will be of some help.

Email questions can be sent to: ask.remotestarter@gmail.com

Now go out there and kick Monday’s ass!

Thanks for reading……

If the holidays are already stressing you out, here are a few handy tips to help you out:

-Stay sane by setting boundaries.  Identify what things you love about the holidays and what you hate.  What stresses you out, what brings you peace?  Who do you want to be around, who do you want to avoid?  Plan your schedule around doing what makes you happy as often as possible.  Don’t apologize for things like:

  • wanting to only spend 2-3 hours at a party
  • avoiding a family event you go to every year
  • turning a major meal that you usually host into a potluck
  • spending time going to look at decorated houses (even if you are the only one who wants to go – get yourself a fancy latte and really take your time.  If it makes you happy, then schedule some time for it)
  • taking time out to find some silence at least once a day (long bath, long walk, long nap)

-Say you are going shopping or to run errands.  Instead, go to a matinee.

-Use gift cards you got in the past to buy presents for people this year.

-Don’t know what to get someone?  A card full of lottery and scratch tickets has the POTENTIAL to be the most amazing gift ever!  (Just don’t get mad if they win and don’t share it with you.  It was a gift…as soon as it left your hands, it belonged to them and they can do what they like with it)

-When you can’t stand being around certain people anymore, go help out in the kitchen.

-If your beliefs around this holiday/Christmas season clash with someone else’s, cut them some slack.  Be joyful and kind.  Be giving and compassionate.

-To all major dinners, wear clothes that are a little too big for you.  Trust me.  If you aren’t allowed to wear sweat pants, this is the next best thing.

-It’s never too late to start your own “traditions”.  Maybe it is a 3 hour stretch where everyone unplugs completely and has to choose between playing outside, reading or playing board games.  Maybe it is “ugly sweater attire to Christmas Eve dinner”.  Maybe it is gathering around with popcorn to watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  Whatever it is, you can do it this year – and declare it a tradition from now on.

-Take some video footage when people are in good moods.  Ask people about their favorite Christmas memory, tell a joke, sing a song…anything.  If anyone in your footage this year is no longer with us next year…you will be glad you did.

-If you spent too much this year, start looking around your house for things you could sell in the new year and put the money on your credit card.

-If you absolutely HAVE to spend time with people you loathe/fear/resent…ensure that time is limited.  Hang out in different rooms.  Sit far away from them.  Leave the room or the home when it gets too overwhelming.  Fake illness, I don’t care.  This is the season of giving – so give yourself permission to take care of yourself.

If nothing else helps you feel better, there is always this:


joy ornament

I know it is getting closer to the Christmas season, which may be causing you stress.

You might be fretting about money or gifts or meeting unreasonably high expectations for yourself.

You are probably worried about making everyone “happy”.

Well, stop it.

Give yourself a simpler task – focus on bringing people JOY.

Yes, there is a difference.

Can you see it?

Happiness is a temporary feeling.  It is often dictated by what is happening around us or what we have.  So many marriages dissolve too soon because people feel they aren’t “happy” anymore.  Happiness: that superficial lightness that comes when “everything is going right”.

Happiness isn’t a bad thing, it’s a good thing.

But joy…….joy is a GREAT thing.

Joy is a deep warm glow that lasts.  It comes from deep within you.  And it often comes when we stop focusing on ourselves and start looking outward.

Joy doesn’t come to your family through an immaculately decorated home.  It comes through an evening spent together playing games or watching funny movies and eating popcorn.

Joy doesn’t come to your kids by spending all of your money (and some belonging to the bank) on gifts.  It comes through a small number of thoughtful gifts…..like “coupons” to spend time together doing an activity of their choosing.  It comes through writing them a long letter wrapped in ribbon, telling them all of the reasons you love them and are proud of them.  Maybe it even comes through going shopping together for toys you will donate to a children’s charity.

Joy may come to you by cooking a delicious meal, as long as you do it without stress.  Remember….joy doesn’t come from trying to impress people.  It comes from feeding them healthy food, sitting around the table and sharing stories and laughter.  Imagine it….you could bring joy to those around you even if you did it on paper plates, with simple food, cheap wine, store bought pie and music in the background.  It’s about the people, sharing time together and feeling a sense of belonging.

Do you understand what I am talking about?  We have all felt happiness at one time or another….but have you ever felt real joy?

You will know it when you feel it.  It is a warm glow that starts as a little flame deep in your soul.  I can’t explain it any other way.

It is when you feel a real sense of peace.  Compassion.  Kindness.  Connection to others.

And it has nothing to do with a house or a job or money or affluence.  If you haven’t felt it in awhile, go volunteer for a charity or spend quality time with people you care about – who know and love the real you.  That will be a good start.

So as you head into this crazy holiday season, remember this: You can find peace…if you focus on joy.

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