In two weeks I will be fifty. Birthdays have always been difficult. Over fifty years, I’ve racked up a passel of dysfunctional celebrations that have worn grooves of negative comfortability in my life. Mindful gratitude is a good antidote. I have spent the past few weeks marking the occasion of my semi-centennial with a Facebook countdown and a regular posting of mementos. I have researched things about my family, taking advantage of how organizations are now digitizing collections of historical documents. This is the way to strengthen gratitude muscles and establish a different groove. It’s been an amazing year of growthfulness and change. I have repostedRead More →

Prima ballerina assoluta is the highest rank a ballerina can achieve. I saw Alicia Alonso of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba in 1978 in Lincoln Center when I was 15. She was so beautiful that I cried. There are only 11 in the world. In 11 days, I will be 50.

Students who take public speaking classes are fearful of delivering speeches. Although we work on speech anxiety in my classes, that is not our focus.Anxiety is a “fight or flight” physiological response left over from the “caveman” (That’s Sexist!) days when we needed adrenaline to face a predator. Since classmates are not predators, folks shouldn’t worry. There are many silly myths about how to handle speech anxiety, such as have a drink to knock the edge off, or look over people’s heads instead of making direct eye contact. Anything that keeps you from engaging with the audience is a mistake. The silliest of all isRead More →