Shakespeare on Addiction: Sonnet 129

Something interesting happens every time I teach Shakespeare’s Sonnet 129. I’m reasonably certain the term “sex addiction” didn’t exist in his day – and neither did 12 step groups for it, with Elizabethans turning up in their flamboyant garb – but that doesn’t mean that the problem, and its attendant degradations, didn’t exist. Just ask Shakespeare about his Dark Lady.***

The expense of spirit in a waste of shame

Is lust in action; and till action, lust

Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,

Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,

Enjoy’d no sooner but despised straight,

Past reason hunted, and no sooner had

Past reason hated, as a swallow’d bait

On purpose laid to make the taker mad;

Mad in pursuit and in possession so;

Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;

A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;

Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.

All this the world well knows; yet none knows well

To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

Why am I thinking about sonnet 129? Shakespeare’s sonnets beg for interpretation, and it’s not just because they are formal masterpieces that we should, as intelligent folk, feel compelled to dissect for dissection’s sake. No, there’s more to them than that. His sonnets are relevant today and I’m going to show you why.

A few years ago, I came across an hour long documentary made about Vancouver’s notorious downtown eastside. The area has been ravaged by an influx of drugs and its victims, earning it a reputation for being something of an elephants’ graveyard: it’s where addicts go to die. The film was called Through a Blue Lens and was shot, mostly, by two beat cops who wanted to portray the lives of the addicts living there. It’s not a warm and fuzzy film about drug addiction, but it’s not condemnatory either. Here’s an excerpt:

The plight of those living in that part of Vancouver became a minor cause célèbre in 1999, in part because The Globe and Mail published a photo essay of its denizens that left a lot of Canadians gasping. It made us aware, in a none-too-gentle way, that we had inner city problems just as bad as some cities south of the border. Vancouver’s port is a gateway for the drug trade and it seems at least some of these drugs don’t travel far: they form the lifeblood of those immiserated souls living in the downtown area.

So why look at Canada’s Skid Row when we’re talking about Shakespeare? It’s because his definition of addiction is one of the best I’ve ever read. It’s relevant today and that’s because when addicts talk about their suffering, they report (albeit less eloquently) many of the same things. And when I say things, I mean they report having many of the same feelings and experiences described by Shakespeare. Those haunting sounds of agony — the addict’s anguish — are distilled, painfully and thoroughly, in this poem.

It begins:

The expense of spirit in a waste of shame

Shakespeare believes we forfeit our spirit – our soul – when we engage in addictive behaviour. The expense, or the price of the addiction, is paid with it. Waste here is used literally (implying that lives are wasted by addiction) and also symbolically to denote a place. This double meaning is made obvious by the use of the preposition in, as “in” a waste of shame. Waste as a place bookends neatly with that other inferno, hell, mentioned in the closing couplet.

Lust is Shakespeare’s drug of choice and the belief is that it was aimed at the infamous Dark Lady, that promiscuous creature that had Shakespeare, and others, utterly intoxicated.

The expense of spirit in a waste of shame

Is lust in action; and till action, lust

Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,

Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust

What are the signs of Shakespeare’s enslavement? The form of a sonnet is strictly prescribed: it is made up of three quatrains — three groups of four lines — and a closing couplet. The rhyme scheme tends to alternate lines, meaning the first line rhymes with the third, the second with the fourth, etc. The lines are usually made up of phrases that go towards forming sentences. However, in this quatrain, the last half is simply a list of adjectives or adjective phrases, enumerating Shakespeare’s agonies. And these agonies are stated strongly, with words like murderous, bloody, savage and extreme.

This is a man in the throes of an obsession, an obsession that won’t even allow him to form coherent thoughts; instead he spits out a list of adjectives to convey his feelings. Shakespeare the wordsmith created this list for a reason. It’s there to denote a burst of feeling that can’t be contained.

But does this fury of Shakespeare’s capture the state of those sad and emaciated souls wandering the downtown eastside? I would argue it does and the key word here is shame. Ask any active addict how they feel about their life and you are bound to discover, underneath the anger and street braggadocio, a deep and murky well of it. That shame is what keeps them using; it’s what keeps them from wanting to feel.

After Shakespeare establishes his narrative voice, he turns to the cyclical nature of his malady. In the second quatrain, he states:

Enjoy’d no sooner but despised straight,

Past reason hunted, and no sooner had

Past reason hated, as a swallow’d bait

On purpose laid to make the taker mad;

Here we see the structural and thematic rendering of the cycle of addiction. Let me translate: the addict no sooner enjoys (uses) her drug when she starts to despise its consequences straight (right away). However, beyond all reason she continues to hunt for it, and again, as soon as she consumes it, she hates it beyond all reason because she can’t stop. Then Shakespeare expands the subtle animal imagery and lays blame on suppliers and enablers. Her drug is like a trap laid on purpose and it makes her, the taker, mad. Mad here is being used in the British sense of the word, meaning insane.

It’s usually at this point in my class that I stop and ask students to think of an activity, any activity, they do to excess. Do they spend too much time online? Eat too much of the wrong kind of food? Text incessantly? And it’s also here that I tell them my own little story of addiction, the one that had me frequently rushing to the neighbourhood corner store, in Toronto, when I was a student.

I had an addiction and it was to Swedish Berries, those soft red candies that taste heavenly but are of no nutritional value whatever. These darlings came in handy at midnight when I had an essay to finish and needed a sugar boost. However, the problem was that I didn’t know when to stop. The store sold them in bulk and I didn’t have the discipline to buy only a few. My reasoning, as I stood in front of that bin and ladled in scoop after scoop, was that I would save some for later.


So I would eat them until I felt sick and this process, over the last two years of my undergrad degree, repeated itself more times than I care to remember. But it was the sequence of events in this process that was important. I would come to the realization it was late. I knew I had to keep working but didn’t want coffee. Then I would think: Hey! Swedish Berries! Great idea! And I would haul myself off to the store, come back and eat way too many of them. Only afterwards would I say to myself: “Did I really have to scarf down that whole bag?” Or: “Good idea? What was I thinking?”

So too goes the cycle of addiction: there is the chase, the consummation and the aftermath. In other words, the anticipation, the imbibing and the remorse. This cycle will be expanded upon in the next quatrain.

Mad in pursuit and in possession so;

Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;

A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;

Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.

The first quatrain establishes, through the use of enumeration, Shakespeare’s lo
ss of control. The second establishes the cyclical nature of his addiction. This last is significant because it does not provide new information. However, it does repeat the three part cycle and repetition in Shakespeare is always significant: he uses it to let us know we need to pay attention. Here we are told, again and with more emphasis, that an addict is mad while chasing the drug and mad while consuming it. And of course it is that madness — that inability to reason — that starts the cycle all over again.

But take a look at the second line. Shakespeare reverses the order of the cycle: he starts with the aftermath: had, moves to the consummation: having, and then moves to the first stage of the cycle, the chase: in quest to have. He does this to create the impression of a back-and-forth motion: the addict moves forward and backward, forward and backward, ad infinitum. Why? Because that’s what happens when one becomes addicted: life stalls.

At the start of this article, I said something interesting happens every time I teach this sonnet. Here it is: after I read it out loud, I tell my students to look closely at the panhandlers, especially the young ones, when they pass through the Atwater metro, the metro that services Dawson. I almost always get the same reaction: the class goes silent, the flow of air in the room stops, and these young people, with their futures ahead of them, pay closer attention. This suffering, rendered so poetically by Shakespeare, is only steps away.

And it happens elsewhere. When I drive home, I stop at a busy intersection leading onto the highway. That’s where I often see a young woman, her blonde hair in dreadlocks, holding up a sign asking for spare change. I always give her some and now she knows to come to me. If the traffic light permits, we may even exchange a few words.

I’ve been criticized for doing this — “she’ll just spend the money on drugs” is what I hear — but I don’t know what else to do. I don’t know how we can stop people from “committing suicide on the installment plan,” as a good friend of mine puts it.

Shakespeare didn’t know either, but luckily for us, that didn’t stop him from looking deeply into that darkness and writing about it anyway.

***I will be, for the sake of brevity and compression, be referring to the narrator as Shakespeare.

How Word of Mouth Promotion Can Help You Make Money Online

A lot of people have turned to blogging to make money online. These blogs range from providing up-to-date information about a specific type of product, topic or service like digital cameras, marathons, hemorrhoids, restaurants, etc. You name it and there’s bound to be a blog that talks about it on the internet.

But blogs are not just used for promoting products and services. Professionals from different industries have also discovered that they can make money from blogging by building a community of avid followers.

They start by building a personal brand and reputation online. Likewise, they put themselves out there and let people know that they genuinely want to help them. They then provide a mountain of tips and advices on their blog and sneak in some sales pitches in between to entice them to buy a product or two or even to avail of their services and in the process, make money online.

People, as well all know, are constantly looking for solutions to their problems online. So if they stumble upon your blog which is full of insights, suggestions and tips that are specific to their problems, they would not just visit your blog often, they would also want to share it with their personal network of family and friends! As your followers grow in number, so does your potential to make money online.

The question here now is, “how do you make sure that people find your blog?”

There are many ways to promote your blog online and I’m pretty sure that you’re well aware of some of them. However, there’s one channel that many professional marketers overlook and that is through word of mouth promotion. I know, it sounds pretty old school. But hey, it works and here’s how!

1. A Personal Encounter Has More Impact Than An Online Interaction

Let’s admit it! We can all remember our first date, our first kiss, our first car or even funny incidents with family and friends. It gives us a mental picture that we can easily pull out of our memory and share with others or just to reminisce about it.

This is also true with networking in person. Meeting people in the flesh and engaging them in a lively conversation has more impact than if you were just chatting online or exchanging comments on Facebook or Twitter. Not only that but you will leave a lasting impression which can be strengthened further when they visit your blog and read about your insightful thoughts and recommendations.

Although engaging people online in discussions has its merits, think of how you’re missing out on their expressions and reactions. A personal encounter on the other hand won’t give them a chance to conceal what they’re really thinking or feeling and you can immediately find ways to assure them or provide them with a solution. Of course, don’t forget to let them know about your blog so they could still find you online after your meet up.

2. A Personal Encounter Can Lead To A Community Of Prospects

You might be wondering how this is possible but I tell you, a number of marketers have found networking events are a goldmine of potential business to make money online.

Joining networking events and conferences such as one that is sponsored by your local chamber of commerce would give you ample opportunity to meet with industry leaders and influential people. These people would naturally have their own community of followers who they can influence and if you can get them to see the value of what you’re offering, you would have a huge chance to market to their followers as well!

Mike Eagar of Wildfire Marketing shared how word of mouth marketing had helped him sell thousands of books about social media from just one community at a time when eBook readers hardly existed.

What he did first was identify the trade shows and conferences that would attract influential leaders to join. He would then contact the organizers and provide free resources as well as conduct workshops based on the book that he was selling. However, he made it his top priority to build personal relationships with the leaders of the community.

One event alone led him to conduct more than 20 large speaking engagements that subsequently resulted to thousands of books sold!

Even though this example involved the physical selling of books, this is relevant to promoting your blog too and make money online. For instance, if you’re a social media marketer who offers coaching and social media marketing services, you can reach out to potential businesses that are looking to break in to the social media arena and use its power to boost their business from these networking events. These businesses would know of other businesses that would also want to take advantage of the internet’s reach and they can very well recommend you to them and so on.

So don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth marketing in promoting your blog and selling your products and services on the internet. It is without a doubt a channel that every professional marketer should exploit to make money online.

Simple Woodworking Business Marketing Tips

First off, you are a small business. Unlike big businesses that can afford to advertise for name recognition and future product sales, you need an advertising plan that will create sales now. A good approach to this would be to offer something special in your advertisements.

People buy things every day. However, not all people make their decision to buy any particular product or service for the same reason. Some consumers care only about the price while others are more concerned about the quality. You can easily appeal to either of these groups.

Offer Different Priced Versions

Some customers just do not want to pay the full price for anything, while others are concerned about only getting something for the lowest price regardless of the quality. You can appeal to these types of customers with a discounted or scaled down model that sells for less.

On the other hand, there are those who are not opposed to paying a little more to get a quality product and/or service. You can increase your average sale by offering your premium wood products or a combination of products at a higher but fair price.

Use Alternative Marketing Methods

Find the marketing methods that your competition may be overlooking. There are many low-cost ways to get the word out about your woodworking business.

Create a website or blog. Promote your woodworking business with mailings. A small ad printed on a simple postcard and mailed to perspective customers can generate sales leads and website traffic.

Run smaller ads. This will allow you to have more advertisements for less money. Shorter, smaller ads have a surprisingly better response rate than you might think. Smaller ads often produce better results than their larger counterparts.

Consider Joint Venture Advertising

Contact some of the non-competing businesses in your area that serve the same customer base as your woodworking business. Suggest starting a cooperative advertising campaign with them. You could promote their business by referring customers to them and they would in turn do the same for you. You could even offer discounts to the referred customers. This type of cross promotion results in more sales for both businesses and literally costs nothing…

Reward Your Customers

Take advantage of your woodworking business’s most valuable asset: your current customers. These people know you and have come to trust and believe in your work. It is a lot easier to entice more business from a prior customer than someone who hasn’t bought from you yet.

Alert these customers to any new woodworking products or services before you release them to the general public, and offer them a special deal.

Your satisfied customers are your best advertisement, so use this to your advantage and reward them whenever you can. Give your customers a reason to refer you to their friends. Develop incentives that will encourage them to spread the word about you and your woodworking business. A discount on their next product is well worth a new customer.

These simple marketing tips provide affordable ways for your woodworking business to create a customer base and produce sales quickly.

Importance of Alcohol Rehabilitation

Do you know that the last hope of alcohol addicts lies in rehabilitation centers? Alcohol rehabilitation is a recovery process that helps drug addicts return to their normal self and get incorporated into their families and the society.

The recovery process may at times be a painful one to both the patient and the relatives. This is why you need professional touch experts.

Research has shown that it takes several weeks for full recuperation from alcohol addiction. This period ranges between eight weeks to six months. However, the length of time it takes an individual to get healed depends on the gravity of addiction. In essence, when someone indulges in such drugs like as marijuana, cocaine, morphine, and even heroine, such a person will likely suffer the consequence.

Addiction is like a disease which inflicts more injury to the patient and refuses to go except it receives the desired treatment from alcohol rehabilitation professionals. For instance, drug causes the addict more hunger for the substance and at the same time induces abnormal behavior in the person.

Such behavior may include shop-lifting, arrest and detention of the culprit. When someone drives under the influence of alcohol, there is a high chance of fatal accident with resultant death.

Have you taken time to consider the impact of addiction on children? The behaviors of children who are trained by drug-addicted parents are violent and chaotic. Their lives too are known to be very unproductive, insecure and unpredictable.

The ultimate alternative is for those who have alcohol addiction to seek alcohol rehabilitation centers where proper care will be ensured.

In these rehabilitation centers, there are several professionals who manage and care for patients. Here, the mental and other health complications of addiction are treated.

Several alcohol rehabilitation programs abound. These programs are capable of restoring the mental normalcy of the patient. In the rehabilitation centers, there are in- and out-patient sections. In the out-patient section, the patient only visits the doctor for attention usually in the morning and leaves for his home at a later part of the day. This type of program has been adjudged to be the best as it allows the patient and his relatives enough time and opportunity for other activities such as work while keeping time for his treatment.

On the other hand, the residential alcohol rehabilitation is basically for patients with serious case. This is a situation where patients are kept in-house with doctors. Treatments are given at all times to monitor improvement. Often, it is advised that people in such category should seek immediate help.

Upscale Down Town Large City Parking Structure Onsite Auto Detailing and Car Washing

Over the years I’ve had mobile car washing and auto detailing companies ask me about working in large Metro Area parking structures, offering services to company employees in the building. Sometimes folks contact me about setting up services at Airport Park and Fly’s. The other day someone asked about a 1,000 parking space parking garage in the high-rent district. Okay so, let’s say you were putting together a business plan for something like this – how many car owners are really going to be interested in your services? Let’s talk.

It has been my experience that you get 15% peak at the 6th week point providing the quality is “excellent” in the first-fifth week. The first week expect perhaps 5-7%. Now then, generally if you offer 5-day week service you get the most business on Thurs-Fri for weekend, so at first the Monday-Tuesday business might be dismal. These numbers “assume” that you have pre-announced advanced notification, flyers, faxes, or notification from the property manager of a new service which everyone considers trying. You should get 8% of the people getting weekly washes after that 6th week, and the rest getting add-on services for the total of that 15%.

Now then, the people’s cars will still be clean from the original 1-2 weeks, so the second and third week, expect slow growth, less than the first two week, but things then progress. Some folks choose not to use the service regularly because of cost, or kids at home washing cars, DIY crowd; by week six you should peak or plateau at 75% of your future maximum future volume as you slowly win over folks who budget you as a fixed expense.

What about pricing?

Okay so, with all this said unless your buildings contain high-end clientele and is in the downtown financial district – lawyers and other financial type businesses – then your price should be fair and honorable for the middle class. Remember most of your customers will become – if you do this right – weekly executive in-and-out washes at let’s say $15-25 each. Then once per month quick express wax at $40-50. Then, every other month max detail $100+.

You should not forgo the single-mom secretary with the beginner entry point BMW, she’s your very best word of mouth, don’t price her out of the market! Or give her a “free exterior only” wash with tire-dressing if there are 5-or more per office that sign up.

Let’s say you are working with luxury buildings, not condos, I am taking about luxury office buildings with enormous parking structures; if this is a mega-high-end crowd it’s okay to keep your higher price points perhaps one-third or half again more, those higher prices might survive, although I am sketchy on that, economically speaking in the present period. You can always bundle extras rather than lowering price, and you can always bump the prices up a few more dollars once you prove yourself.

What if a property company has 10 or more buildings?

This is common in downtown districts as one company is in charge of many, many, buildings and parking structures. They want amenity type services in all of them. Still, don’t take all the buildings at once, work into it, over committing might be unwise, labor constraints issues, and customer service managers, very challenging working in such a controlled chaotic environment – at first, that is. You’ll get used to it. You have to get it right the first time or your reputation will be trashed for a long while, you could lose 10s of 1,000s of dollars in sales the first six months trying to overcome a poor start.

Indeed, I hope I’ve at least answered some of the questions you might have. Still, please remember all this advice are merely my preliminary thoughts, but I’ve been asked about this now so many times that I thought I’d just put it into an article to save my time in the future. Every circumstance is different, and to do this topic justice I’d really, really need more details on this to better accurately guestimate for each potential circumstance. Please consider all this and think on it.

Windscreen Essentials

A windscreen’s or a windshield’s main function is to serve as a wind and debris cover for people inside and sometimes even supports the vehicle’s frame. Manufacturers configure the screens aerodynamically to not affect the vehicle’s performance. Some even have special substances integrated into them to protect the eyes of the passengers from UV rays. Without windshields, a driver can have difficulty controlling the vehicle. Here some things you need to know in taking care of your windscreens.

Causes of Damage

There are different reasons for your vehicle’s windshield to crack. Here are some of the most common ones:

– Direct Collision: This is the number one cause of shield cracks in road travel. There are small particles and debris that may be invisible to the eye due to your speed in highways. These particles can be gravel, tiny rocks and stones. A car in front of you can propel a small stone strong enough the chip the windscreen glass. The cracks leave room for moisture to accumulate and spread the cracks to the whole windshield gradually.

– Structural Flaw: This reason comes with the vehicle’s old age. When manufacturers make windshields, they unconsciously create weak points at the glass edges. This is because the particles at the edge have no stable gripping. Additionally, builders designed the middle part of the glass to stretch and absorb shock while the edges endure the heavy load.

– Cold Weather: The windscreen reacts to temperature whether it is hot or cold. The difference between the outside and inside temperature can cause distortions to the class that lead to small cracks.

– Hail Storm: Although these events are rare. A windshield suffering damage from a hailstorm renders it to be irreparable.

The small fissures that these factors can cause are unnoticeable. It can make the fracture spread, however, if unaddressed, causing danger to the passengers.

Dangers of Cracks

The most apparent drawback of having cracked windscreens is reduced visibility. One cannot drive without proper vision thus this proves very dangerous to anyone riding the vehicle. Additionally, if the damage becomes significant, the car’s structure might fail, causing the front of the vehicle to cave in unsuspecting passengers. It can also cause the airbags not to release properly, turning simple injuries to fatal ones. windscreen repair is important to continue using the vehicle.

Repairing the Dent

You can buy windscreen repair kits that you can actually use to repair the damage yourself. Bear in mind that these kits are good only for one-time use and may not be applicable to older cracks so repair the dents as soon as you notice them. Be mindful that these kits provide repair for inch long fractures, not the ones that cover the windshield already. Clean the screen before you try to apply the repair kit. Using it on a surface full of dirt and debris can make the resin less effective. Inspect the repair when you are done to make sure you did it correctly.

Installing a New One

There are times when windscreen repair are no longer possible. You can purchase quality windshield glasses from certain dealers but be sure not to do the installation by yourself.

Evils of Addiction

In a recent survey it was found that most cocaine addicts are working with reputed organizations at a fine post. Statistics also reveal that employees working in MNCs are more likely to try drugs like cocaine and heroin some time in their career as compared to students and professionals working in smaller offices. Most MNCs have therefore come up with their own drug and alcohol testing policies as per the OHS system.

Not only does this policy help in identifying drug abusers in the organization but also helps in keeping the employees away from drugs. The mere fear of being caught can cause an employee to steer clear of drugs like heroin and cocaine. 10 panel drug tests in workplaces has also helped a lot of people to get rid of their addiction problem. A workplace drug testing program helps the employers to understand the loopholes in the organization as well. The employee is of course sent to a rehab or a detox center in order to get proper treatment.

The Evils of Drugs

Excessive intake of drugs or frequent drug abuse can lead to addiction and once a person is hooked to a certain drug, he can cause some serious troubles for himself and the people around him. As far as the official point of view is concerned, a drug addict is no asset to the company because of the following reasons:

1. A drug addict is extremely careless with his work and is less likely to do it right
2. An employee hooked to drugs would have trouble taking quick decisions
3. A drug addict experiences severe drops in concentration levels
4. Shift in focus and craving for the drug at work can also lead to poor efficiency
5. If an employee comes to the office stoned, his behavior would not be proper to his colleagues and fellow employees
6. Some one who is addicted to drugs does not go unnoticed and can end up spoiling the name of the organization as a whole
7. An addict can cause people around him to fall into the world of addiction as well

There are a number of health related risks related to drug abuse as well. A drug like cocaine can destroy almost every organ in the human body and an overdose can even lead to death. Psychological problems like nervous breakdowns and extreme depression are common among drug addicts.

The worst part about drug addiction is that even when an addict knows that he is as depressed as he can ever be, he shows no intents of coming out of his addiction. Drugs have a firm grip on addicts and therefore treating a drug addict is a lengthy and tough task.

In MNCs and various other companies, drug and alcohol testing is a monthly affair. Drug and alcohol testing is also important in order for the employers to make sure that they are offering a safe and healthy work environment to the employees. In most offices a 10 panel drug test is conducted in order to make sure that the employees are not on drugs.

Home-Based Can Mean Big Business

Nowadays, you can get started with less than one thousand dollars. This will buy you your own website, millions of dollars in inventory, sales and marketing tools, and a team of experienced entrepreneurs working with you every step of the way to help you achieve all your goals in life.

You don’t even need a warehouse with receiving and shipping departments. All you really need is a computer and telephone which most people have anyway.

Initially, I looked at franchises and distributorships when deciding about another business. One of the problems I saw with these two models was the large amount of capital needed to start in most cases. Although the potential rewards were high, the risk was more than I wanted to subject myself to in the current state of the economy.

Another problem was the need for office or warehouse space. This meant I would have the added expense of paying rent and utilities.

Other shortcomings include the long hours it would take to succeed and the need to hire and manage employees.

These were all added expenses and headaches that I didn’t really want or need.

I wanted this to be my last business but it had to be something substantial that I could continue to work at as I got closer to retirement age and possibly beyond.

Then, I looked into home-based businesses. I had a friend tell me about network marketing. My initial thought was that it wasn’t for me. My friend, unbeknownst to me, had been very successful at it and thought I could be too. I took him up on it and decided to explore it further.

I was glad that I did. The investment was small. The return has been greater than any I could have achieved in any other business.

The low risk and high reward far outweighed any other business model.

From past experience I can tell you that it is important to pick the right home-based business. A good support team is crucial to your success. In network marketing, you will need a good upline of people that you can call for help and expertise. Make sure that you choose something that interests you. Do something that you will enjoy talking about and will be passionate about.

A number of really successful people have commented that this is a business structure that will thrive in the coming years as baby boomers get older.

Most boomers don’t have enough money saved for retirement. Also, many of them are losing their jobs or having their hours reduced. Some are just tired of the corporate world.

I get one other benefit from my home-based business. The ability to help other people reach their goals and dreams in life. Most people are either afraid to start their own business or don’t have enough capital to do so. They are afraid to go it alone. Choose the right team and you will never run your business alone.

A home-based business can be the path to financial freedom for anyone.

Panama 2009 – My First Adventure Outside the USA

In the summer of 2009 I made my first trip outside of the Country. At the ripe age of 39, I boarded a plane and headed to Central America. I’d never been though customs, immigration and had a naked passport. I wondered if the representative at the desk would question where I’d been for the previous 39 years, thankfully he didn’t.

Confession Time – I immediately fell in love with the thrill of landing in a foreign location and soaking up all the ambiance. I fell in love with the fun of working remotely from an exotic destination and even the thought that only my team knew where I was and the clients I chatted with had no idea.

My loving and fun guide on this adventure was my fantastic partner, Tomie who had previously visited Panama on several occasions. While this was my first trip, I’d been there many times in books, magazines and via the web. I began to look at moving to Panama when after the summer of 2004 in Central Florida I endured weeks with no power after 3 hurricanes visited. Shortly after that summer I learned that there were no hurricanes in Panama, plenty of infrastructure, friendly people and warm weather.

We ventured into the old City of Casco Viejo, out to the beaches of Santa Clara and into the jungle 3 hours down a winding road from Santiago. We boarded a speed boat and enjoyed an entire day and night out on Tobaga Island. From the condo we stayed in we could see the ships as they waited in line to go through the Panama Canal. While on the island we enjoyed an entire Saturday and Sunday with no internet, it was absolutely liberating.

In 7 days we ate, drank, swam in the ocean, enjoyed siestas and made some new friends. We happily lived without our Blackberries, or as I use to call them, Crackberries. Oddly enough the first two days without checking the silly thing to see if someone sent me an email was tough, then well it was actually liberating. Along the way we enjoyed wifi at most hotels, I was easily able to connect with my team, answer client questions and even make phone calls.

I learned a valuable lesson that I don’t think I could have here in the states where my phone easily let’s me get interrupted all day long. I learned that while I’m pretty important to some people, everyone who wanted to connect with me had no problem waiting a few hours or even until the next day or so to get a reply. Not responding with in seconds or minutes to an email didn’t make the earth spin out of control or my business to suffer. It actually helped me gain focus, clarity and some much needed relaxation.

Fearing the unknown often times keeps us stuck, makes it impossible for us to enjoy the life we truly want. Life is meant for us to enjoy it ~ so make a list of the places you want to visit, the things you want to do and start doing them.

The Flavorful Delights of Israeli Cuisine

It figures I’m about to start a culinary journey on Israeli cuisine while being exceptionally hungry. In my mind’s eye (and a grumbling stomach) I can see the comfort foods of my youth; foods that might make some people in the world ask, what on earth is that?

There’s no easy way to pigeon hole Israeli cuisine, a blend of cultures from Eastern Europe to the shores of Northern Africa and the far reaches of Asia. Each distinct region has brought Israel to the forefront the very best of their tasty dishes, making the act of eating in Israel a vacation all its own.

Many of you might have already heard of some traditional Israeli dishes. Ashkenazi cuisine comes from the folks from Eastern Europe. These are the same folks that give us some wonderfully sweet pastries, yet gave us borsht and gefilte fish. Go figure.

Sephardic foods come from countries like Spain and Morocco, food like the savory pastry known as bourekas, made with puff pastry filled with cheese and spinach, just to name a few.

I’m getting ahead of myself–I should’ve talked about breakfast first. It is the most important meal of the day, right? Most hotels in Israel are quite proud of their Israeli breakfast, which many promote in order to get you to stay there.

Oh no, my American friends, this isn’t your bacon-laden, side of home-fries meal. Look around, you’ll find bowls of fresh fruit, salads made with finely chopped tomatoes, fish, eggs, bread, and yogurt.

Now that I think about it, almost all of Israel’s dishes center on fresh produce. This even includes the ever popular falafel; fried ground chickpeas stuffed in a pita served with Israeli salad (tomato, cucumber, onion) and tahina.

Oh tahina, a sesame sauce that makes everything taste better. Not that the world’s best street food like falafel can’t stand on its own, mind you.

I think the only thing more popular than falafel is hummus. Made with ground chickpeas, often served with pine nuts or a smatter of olive oil, it is generally eaten with just pita. Hummus is so popular in Israeli cuisine it seems to be a culinary staple, no matter what meal it is.

Food in Israel might be fresh and tasty, but it means nothing if not shared with family and loved ones. That is, unless, you’ve gotten a Moroccan and Tunisian fighting it out over who makes better couscous, a dish made from semolina flour with lamb or chicken simmered with veggies on top.

One of the best ways to enjoy Israeli food with the family is a hafla. This is a traditional Bedouin meal of salads and kebabs with Bedouin pita (known as fatir) served as you lounge on soft pillows drinking mint infused beverages (like tea or lemonade).

Food is so ingrained in Israeli culture so that if you’ve been invited into someone’s home, they will try to feed you. And it’s an insult to refuse–so eat up.

Food even has its superstitions. One lady friend who was going to have a baby mentioned in passing that she was “craving” falafel, only to be handed an entire container of them by her Israeli neighbor soon afterwards, simply because it was “wrong” to refuse a pregnant lady any food she wished for.

You could go on forever talking about food in Israel, and spend another lifetime talking about beverages in Israel. Great, now I’m even hungrier than when I started.–someone pass the falafel, please?