Archive for November, 2009
Monday, November 30th, 2009
Why the whispers?
I wrote a book called: “Life is a Song in the Key of Love OR Growing Up With the Embarrassment of Prejudice” ISBN 978-0-578-00690-1 (LCCN 2009901580). It is an autobiographical/philosophical discussion about acting out in prejudice or bias ways without actually FEELING the prejudice and bias. The book is meant to make us self-aware of whether our actions truly reflect our feelings; or are we just mimicking learned behavior? The book evolves into seeing the beauty of ALL life in ALL its forms of expression. To become in AWE of it ALL!
I see and hear continued comments of hate and confusion in regards to prejudice and bias. I felt the need to share the following to note that we can’t fight hate WITH hate. I feel the need to become AWARE of the SOURCE of our feelings; love ourselves and get to know one another in an open, honest way to remove pre-conceived notions learned and passed on. Below is an example of the confusing actions we show due to our lack of awareness in day to day life, relating to bias, prejudice and stereotype.
I was sitting in a restaurant having lunch, yesterday. There were two women and two men having lunch at a round table just behind me and to the right. At one point, discussion came to the cost of an Assisted Living Center where the one woman worked. She noted that the rate was so high priced she didn’t know how people could afford it. Then, she noted, even though it isn’t a Jewish (whispered) home, there are mainly Jewish (whispered) people there. I guess they are the only ones that can afford it? What assumptions was she making? I’m not Jewish, but I heard her clearly as well as others in the restaurant did, even though she whispered.
Years ago, I was on a bus with some co-workers, during our lunch period. There was a shuttle that took us from our downtown workplace to city restaurants. At one point, my one friend was telling a story about a black (whispered) woman at work. It was just a basic story with no emotion, about a basic work experience. The racial reference didn’t need to be made, it just was, with no malice.
Why do we WHISPER when talking about Cultures, Religious Creeds, Races, Lifestyle Choices, etc? The ridiculous thing is that the WHISPERING can actually be heard louder than a normal vocal tone. Plus, if the whisper isn’t heard, it leaves such a LOUD GAP in the conversation, that anyone around can tell there is a SECRET occurring!
Are we carrying guilt, fear, confusion? Why does pointing out a person’s physical attributes in a crowd, to make it easier to point out a friend, cause a whisper of their nature or preference? I had this discussion with an African-American friend of mine.
I recall a story of an Aunt of mine being referred to as ‘that fat girl over there’ by her mother, when someone at a picnic asked where her daughter was in the crowd. Depending on how a physical attribute is used or reference, can be quite hurtful.
I was watching one of the first episodes of SURVIVOR, a television show. The contestants are diverse. At first meeting, they are placed on the beach and asked to write down who they feel should be the leader of each tribe. I was curious to see how they would describe one another, not knowing each other’s names. Not one person noted race or culture as they described who they chose. Even though there was a dark skinned man, woman, Asian-looking woman, etc. – descriptions were made of clothes or hairstyles, etc. It was interesting to watch. As the show progressed, there was an issue that arose with a question of bias.
I’m not judging; I’m throwing this out there for discussion. It seems when we talk about a group that is in the minority or questioned by society, we whisper. In my book, I talk about educating ourselves, learning about racial, cultural, religious, and other groups so that we don’t have to whisper; and can feel comfortable with one another.
Education is the key! I suggest reading, talking to friends of different backgrounds, cultures, beliefs, etc rather than having to make assumptions or be fearful or questioning. Staying in the DARK breeds fear; fear breeds hate. Hating hate groups only perpetuates the cycle.
I felt inspired to write this when I hear and saw hate being spewed over the internet. Education and Awareness are the keys! Stop the ignorance and the hate; become aware and educated and share LOVE and UNDERSTANDING.
Thank you for allowing me to share. Again, my intent is to prompt awareness and promote healthy discussion. I wish blessings of peace, love and awareness to the world!
May we all reach the point of being in AWE of it ALL!
Motivational-Inspirational Speaker, Writer and Author
Helen Marie Szollosy
Live Life! Laugh Often!
Live life in amazement, be in Awe of it All!
Friday, November 27th, 2009
My younger sister recently made me aware of a new athletic shoe for women known as ‘Skecher Shape-Ups’. With taking an early retirement from State Government work and being on a limited budget while I start up my LAFOLOT business, I didn’t have the funds for this wonderful footwear.
I finished putting my recent blog-talk radio interview onto a CD so I could take it to my Mom’s apartment for her to listen to. I went to lunch, and read my daily meditation magazine while I was waiting for the very busy-but efficient server to bring my check. The meditation mentioned to ‘accept the good coming your way’ – in different words, but same thought. Basically, expect Luck!
So I headed over to my Mom’s. Being a Laughter Leader and speaking of: ‘Good Hearted Living ‘Forgiveness’ – I recently went over my last hurdle with forgiving my mother. It has taken 20 years, but I evolved a little at a time as I’ve healed my feelings and perceptions of my childhood years. This is a BIG thing, because for at least 25 years, I couldn’t stand to be near my mom, dealing with a lot of hate (her alcoholism, my abuse etc etc). Having reached pre-menopause this past year, becoming my mentally/physically disabled oldest sister’s Power of Attorney and Nursing Home Representative… it dawned on me one day: ‘How in the world did she do it!?’ (my mom, that is) That’s when I was able to go over the final FORGIVENESS hurdle with my mom. My mom had 7 kids, addiction of alcoholism, a mentally/physically disabled oldest daughter due to her being hit by a drunk driver at age 19, as well as having to take care of her father and mother (who had dementia and diabetes – passing on in 1982). I thought – I don’t have kids, I don’t drink, how in the heck did my mom do it? So I WAS GIVEN THE GIFT OF FORGIVENESS towards my mom.
As a result, I have been able to give her little gifts like, taking a CD over to her apartment so she can hear me singing torch style music. I can let her know about my LAFOLOT business, see her excitement when the weather man interviewed me on television during his weather segment, and today – sit with her while she listened to my blog-talk radio interview. So, I can honestly say – I was given the gift of awareness and forgiveness and was able to give that to my mother, too.
With that said, my mother was never able to give emotional/mushy support but found it easier to give cash. This would make me angry, because I used to feel she was buying my affection with cash. As I started to heal, I realized that was her way of giving love and I should accept her gift, because I truly realized that the gift was in the giving.
So – why all the above information? When I went to see my mother, I put the CD in for her to listen to it, she listened intently – and then – I saw the outstretched hand. I was just thrilled she was happy listening to my interview and being proud of it. But, there she was – holding out money for me. I graciously took the cash, knowing THIS is what makes her happy, to know her children are happy and cared for. [My mom had always wanted to be another Shirley Temple, to tap dance and be on stage... I feel I've helped her dream come true with my singing, local amateur acting, and laughter leader status.]
So – my meditation/prayer/wish was answered from this morning. My mom had given me enough money to buy the Skecher Shape-Up athletic shoes I needed/wanted. I let her know that I was now going to be able to buy the shoes. She was thrilled (the gift was in the giving).
When I went to buy the shoes at our local BOSCOV’s Department store, it was very crowded. I started to play my SMILE CAMPAIGN GAME, sharing and receiving smiles as I walked through the busy store towards the shoe department in the back.
LUCK was hitting me from all sides! Just as the meditation had shared. I ended up sitting next to a State Government worker who is going to give my LAFOLOT Smile Bookmark business card to their Human Resource Dept for a possible future gig!
One of the shoe department salesmen advised me to put on both the shoes and walk up two flights of stairs in the middle of the store to test them. They are very different in their makeup and I wanted to make sure I could handle them. I gave him one of my Smile Face Bookmarks to hold as Collateral while I left the department to try out the shoes.
When I returned, I got talking to another customer who works at a local federal building. She was so excited, because they have lunch-n-learn programs where she works and she said she wants something fun to do when she retires (laughter leader). She said, ‘I was meant to run into you, today!’
When I picked out the pair of Skecher Shape-Ups I wanted, I kept them on and put my old athletic shoes in the box. My salesman had returned. I saw my ‘collateral bookmark still sitting there on the counter’ – I went to retrieve it when the first helpful salesman saw it. I said: Would you like to keep it? His eyes started to sparkle and he smiled like a little kid. It said someting like: You’ve got a great laugh! on it.
So, there we were, the two salesmen, and 3 other women at the checkout line. I said: ‘Would you like to do an ALOHA laugh with me? I went through my usual drill and by the second time, after I had them laughing and smiling already… on the count of 1, 2, 3 they all said: A-LO-HA ahahahhahaaaaaa. My salesman said: ‘This is a FUN lady!’
The second woman in line looked inquisitive, so I asked if SHE would like a Smile face LAFOLOT bookmark, and I gave her one of my pamphlets, too. She remarked that she was a nurse and might be able to bring me into her workplace!
So, there we were at the shoe checkout, laughing and smiling.
A WHOLE LOT OF GIVING AND RECEIVING OF GOOD HEALTH and, now, with my Skecher Shape-Ups – HEALTHY LOOKING GAMS!
Ha Ha Helen, out and about and looking good with her athletic workout shoes and healthy legs and laughter!
HAVE A HEALTHY, HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON!
LIVE LIFE! LAUGH OFTEN!
Wednesday, November 25th, 2009
Another Ha Ha Helen sharing moment… ;o)
It’s an overcast, dreary day here in Central PA (USA), but I set out with the intention to light up some souls with my SMILE Campaign!
After I had my healthy soup-salad meal at my favorite Olive Garden restaurant, I decided to walk across the shopping plaza and spread some SMILES at Wal-Mart. I purposely parked at the far end of the parking lot so I could get in a good walk.
I like going into stores around major Holiday Shopping times, not buy anything, but offer SMILES, and assistance, if needed. For example, helping a mom with a crying kid by handing the child a SMILE Bookmark, etc.
So, I entered Wal-Mart. There was one of my favorite Wal-Mart greeters as I entered. She is a lovely soul, always with a smile on her face. I ‘lept’ through the doorway, announcing “Helloooooooo!” She smiled at me as I flew by, on my mission.
My mission: See how many SMILES I receive in return for my smile.
A brief explanation of my smile game – which can be found on my website: www.lafolot.com is: Give a Smile – Get a Smile earn 1 point, Give a Smile – Get a Smile and a verbal comment – earn 2 points!
So, off I went into the store, snaking my way up and down aisles (heading back towards the restrooms, of course!) ha ha
I became concerned! It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day, and two days before the well known ‘Black Friday’ – when retailers expect their ‘books’ to go into the ‘black’ and out of the ‘red’ (debt), due to massive purchases for the holidays.
I normally get a 99% return rate on my SMILES! But, NOT TODAY!
Oh, my! I thought, what’s wrong. So, determined, I continued to walk through the store, giving my ‘soft, close-mouthed, smile’. I actually got 4 points due to 2 gentlemen returning my smile, giving me a nod of the head and saying: ‘How ya doin’?'
I received only two other smiles in return! IT WAS A SMILE EMERGENCY IN AISLE 7!!
Was it the anticipated pressure of the Holiday Season? Even one clerk at a counter looked down and away. Was my zipper open?
Luckily, when I reached the Women’s Room – there was a toddler getting her diaper changed by her mom and Auntie. When she was done, she was placed on the floor to stand on her own, and THANK GOODNESS she SMILED at me! *pfew
There was hope, yet!
On my way out of the store, there was still a major lack in SMILE reciprocation!
I stopped to talk to my favorite Wal-Mart greeter on the way out. She is a ‘very compact’ older woman, in a ‘Physical Assist’ chair. She has the BIGGEST SMILE one could have! A lovely soul!
I walked over to her and said: ‘I’m a bit concerned. I’ve been trying to collect points for my SMILE CAMPAIGN and … I proceeded to relay the lack of smile reciprocation, etc.’
Then, she said: ‘I know what you mean! I was NEAR TEARS an hour ago.’
I KNEW there was a reason I had taken that walk across the parking lot and visited this store.
I said: ‘Well, here, let me help you out. I gave her one of my bright, yellow, sunshine smiling face, LAFOLOT bookmarks with the saying: LIVE LIFE! LAUGH OFTEN!
Here face beamed! She asked if I had another one to give to her associate at a counter near where she was sitting. I DID, so they were both thrilled and smiling.
I said: ‘You have your work cut out for you!’ She said: ‘I know, it’s the stress of the upcoming shopping season.’
I said: ‘Well, may every smile you give be supercharged and light up each person who receives it!’
She laughed, thanked me and I left -WITH A SMILE ON MY FACE!
So – CALLING ALL SHOPPERS….. SMILES NEEDED BY THE MILES….
Get out there and COLLECT THOSE SMILE CAMPAIGN POINTS!
I’m sending out a smile campaign challenge to everyone I know to COLLECT AS MANY POINTS AS YOU CAN!
Shoppers…. turn up the corners of your mouths and LIGHT UP THE WORLD WITH YOUR SMILES!
Ka-Ching…. I can hear the sound of the smile points coming in as I finish typing.
Rev up those smile engines - varoooooooom!
HAVE A HAPPY, BLESSED THANKSGIVING filled with Gratitude and Warmth!
Ha Ha Helen of LAFOLOT
Live Life! Laugh Often
Monday, November 23rd, 2009
It’s another Ha Ha Helen of LAFOLOT, ‘living in the moment’ episode!
Once again, to get ‘double results’ from the AD I purchased, that is placed on large shopping cart’s, child safety seats at our local GIANT food store chain in Camp Hill, PA; I did another ‘HA HA Helen out and about’ event!
I wear my ‘I Love to LAFOLOT’ pin, I make sure I get a cart with my AD facing ‘outward’ towards customers, on the back side of the child safety seat and I start ‘shopping’.
I had fun from the start, because I was trying to find one of MY carts as ‘Thanksgiving Holiday Shoppers’ were busily pulling carts out to start their shopping! I had to keep saying, as I bobbed my head up and down, trying to look UNDER and UPWARD through the carts for a cart with my AD on it…. go ahead of me, I’m just looking for my AD on a cart. I got to occupy a ‘mom’s baby’ by talking and acting silly with the baby girl, while the mom said she was glad the child was distracted as she prepared to shop, taking her babies jacket off and putting a pony tale sticking straight up on the little girl’s head!’ I told her she looked LOVELY!
So! Silly me! I finally FOUND one, right in front of me, once I pulled it out! There was my AD with the bright yellow background, my logo AND my smiling face! hee hee hee
I got to practice a little bit of my THAI language knowledge when I ran into a gentleman from Thailand, stocking the lettuce in the produce section. His face lit up when I said: SA-WAT-DE KA! He also spoke English, so I let him know how I learned it from my favorite, local Thai restaurant. I then said ‘Ja Gun Mai’ (spelling?) to indicate: See you later! in Thai. I left him with a big smile and nod.
So – I start on my journey… MY INTENTION – to see how many ‘stress relieving smiles’ and chuckles/laughs I can get by saying: ‘WOW! ISN’T IT WEIRD HOW MY FACE MATCHES THE FACE ON THIS CART AD?”
I would get reactions ranging from:
1) Double-takes and smiles or laughs
2) Intent studying of the cart AD with a look of question on their face… till I’d say: I’m just joking, it’s my AD!
3) One person asking how they could get it done. I told some people there was a camera when you entered the store, they take your photo, then they put it on the cart! THEN, I’d only wait a second and let them know I was kidding, it was my AD.
4) Some folks just looking at me strange and continuing to walk;
5) AND, the BEST reaction – stopping to ASK me about my business, what services I provide and asking for a card!
BUT – the best comment I received today, when I pointed my photo out to a woman in the frozen food section was: I LOVE THE HAT!
Well, let me tell ya, I WASN’T wearing a hat in the photo; but, I just smiled and thanked her.
When I got back out into the parking lot, unloaded my groceries and took my cart to the Cart Corale. I looked at my photo to ‘find the hat’ the woman was talking about.
AHAHAHAHAHA – it was the drapery valance treatment (with beads on the edge of it) where I was standing in front of a window in my home, when my younger sister took the photo!
All I could think of was the scene from the Carol Brunett variety show, where they make fun of the scene from Gone With the Wind (movie). Carol Brunett (as Scarlett O’Hara), rips the velvet drapery treatment down, but keeps the ROD on the draperies, slings it across the back of her neck across her shoulders and uses the gold drapery chord to tie the treatment around her waist… so she can meet Ret Butler and look presentable.
Headline: HA HA HELEN of LAFOLOT starring in a re-make of Gone With the Wind – photo showing her WINDOW VALENCE TREATMENT HAT, with bead accent! ahahahahaha
…this has been another HA HA Helen of LAFOLOT moment.
LIVE LIFE! LAUGH OFTEN!
Saturday, November 14th, 2009
I was sitting at one of my favorite lunch spots, Thai Palace, Camp Hill, PA – in a booth.
Across from me was a man sitting at a four-chair table top.
I realized I heard a vibrating noise. Knowing a lot of folks carry their cell phones – when I pinpointed the direction of the vibration noise, it was coming from the direction of the man sitting across from me.
BUT! After the 2nd vibration sound came, I realized IT WASN’T HIS CELL PHONE! I saw him LIFTING his LEFT BUTT CHEEK along with the sound!!!!! I realized – he was PASSING GAS! He was very professional at it, keeping his eyes focused on a magazine he had brought in with him to read, after his buffet lunch.
I had to smile… because, when I was in highschool – I went to our local Zembo Temple Mosque to see GEORGE CARLIN – LIVE!! Part of his comedy act was describing the thing we do in church, known as the: LEFT CHEEK SNEAK!
The man had done a left cheek sneak! *pfffft! pffffft! I wonder if the late George Carlin was channeling through him? Guess George would have been ‘bowel’-ing over with laughter!
Ha Ha! No joke! It happened just a couple weeks ago!
Ha Ha Helen of LAFOLOT
LIVING LIFE IN AMAZEMENT!
LIVE LIFE! LAUGH OFTEN!
Saturday, November 14th, 2009
…and, THAT’s when I got pulled over for solicitation! ;o) [just my opening line, don't fall off your chairs!] ;o)
I had a very fullfilling, successful event on Friday evening, sharing my Laughter Wellness Program with the Carlisle Men’s Cancer Awareness Group! The turkey dinner was donated by the church as well as the service by the church’s youth group. I agreed to do the program by ‘donation’ only. There were also attendess from Sertoma (a volunteer organization who takes cancer treatment patients to and from their appointments).
So… the coordinator and I subtley placed a ‘wish for wellness donation container’ at the front of the room for folks to freely donate, whatever, if they could or wished to – at the end of the program.
The agreement was, I would split ‘whatever’ we received with the church’s youth group for their service. So – after a VERY SUCCESSFUL program, people leaving with smiles, sparkling eyes, rosey cheeks, and giving much positive feedback…. I stuck around for about 15 minutes and then left to head home.
As I reached the first traffic light coming out of the church parking lot, I was able to make a right turn on red since oncoming traffic was far enough back. I was a bit surprised when I saw an SUV – pull out quickly, behind me.
After about 4 blocks, I came to a Stop Sign behind another vehicle. They proceeded properly, then I reached the stop sign. Even though there was no one coming towards me on the road, I was trying to do my 1, 2, 3… second stop and then turn right.
BUT! The vehicle behind me BEEPED! It startled me, so I went ahead and turned – not sure why they were impatient!
I was driving up the road in the city of Carlisle – looking to my left for a Thai restaurant a friend of mine said had opened, called LILY. But – once again, I was being BEEPED at – this time – from the right lane!
IT WAS ONE OF THE MEN/HUSBAND’S from the Laughter Wellness Program I had just presented! I rolled down my passenger side window (electrically) – and he was hollering!
PULL OVER CLOSER, I HAVE MONEY FOR YOU! (Now – imagine this! There are kids and other folks hanging out on the street in front of the businesses…
I have a vehicle with LAFOLOT Advertising on the left side and right side – as well as a HA HA HA license plate! AND! THIS MAN IS HOLLERING! PULL OVER! I HAVE MONEY FOR YOU! ahahahahaha
He hollers – YOU LEFT BEFORE I COULD GIVE IT TO YOU! PULL CLOSER –
AND HE – THROWS IT INTO MY VEHICLE onto the passenger seat!
I said: THANK YOU! and laughed in astonishment – as he pulled on ahead and took the next right to go back to the church!
….HONEST OFFICER! I GAVE ‘NO OTHER SERVICE’ TO THE MAN – OTHER THAN A HEALTHY LAUGHTER WELLNESS PROGRAM!
I can’t imagine how I would have explained it, were I to have been pulled over!
Ha Ha Helen of LAFOLOT
LIVING LIFE IN AMAZEMENT!
Live Life! Laugh Often!…. and, next time – just look up my address on my website and MAIL IT TO ME! ahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaa
[This blog can also be seen at Vibrant Nation Blog Circle - Helenoflafolot]
Friday, November 6th, 2009
Ha He Helen feels this soul had his priorities straight! ;o)
I was sitting at a major intersection (one of those where you sit for several minutes before you get your turn to go…). ;o)
There is a left turn lane, and two lanes to the right of that lane to go straight. I was sitting in the far right lane when I heard a brief:
honk honk of a car horn
I looked to my left, and there was this BRIGHT, SHINING SMILE ON THIS ‘LIT UP’ FACE – looking over at me. I couldn’t help but smile back! He was pointing to my magnetic advertising display on the side of the car – then following it with a THUMBS UP… as well as a: CLASPED HANDS MOTIONING UPWARD in a HOORAY FOR YOU! Cheer!
My business sign notes: LAFOLOT.com Motivational Speaking and Laughter Wellness Talks (along with my phone number).
Since the left turning light hadn’t changed to green (which is a sign our straight lane light would be turning)…
I reached down into a box I keep on the passenger side floor of my car. I pulled out my TINSEL DEELY BOBBER Headband, put it on…
rolled down my driver side window (to get past the tinted window issue)….
he looked questioningly? I bent my head out the window and made the deely bobber tinsel headband jingle.
He LIT UP again, with a BIG SMILE, gave me another THUMBS UP as well as the CLASPED HAND – hip hip hooray cheer, gesture!
I laughed and smiled and gave the OK symbol back.
To be honest with you … his car looked like it was on its last leg. His hair was wild and down to his shoulders. He had a beard as long as his hair! Kinda looked like a Jesus character, when I come to think of it!
But – his SMILE and LAUGH SHONE out through all that hair/beard – and I could swear his car was aglow with the inner light shining out of him!
The lights for our lanes turned green, and we both proceeded ONWARD – smiling as we drove to destinations unknown. (OK, I was heading to Olive Garden ;o) )
All I know is – HAVING HIS VALIDATION meant the world to me!
What a great profession – to be able to receive such warmth and receptivity, even at a traffic light.
Ha Ha Helen of LAFOLOT
Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009
Ha Ha Helen of LAFOLOT – at it again! *tee hee hee
Wore my tinsel, deely-bobber headband to my local Polling/Voting establshment. THIS TIME, I didn’t phase the ‘candidate representatives’ outside the building; since they remembered me from last time! HA HA
But! I didn’t give up! I was on a laughter sharing mission! ;o)
Once I convinced the site representative that I was a valid voter and was NOT there to endorse any specific candidate I was SET FREE..or should I say LET LOOSE? ahahahaha
AFTER, I voted…
I got to share some laughs, information about health benefits and Smiley Face Bookmarks (a.k.a. my ‘business cards’) with the Polling Site volunteers. As always – the easiest to share ‘on the fly’ was the A-LO-HA laugh. I had ‘ready volunteers’ with the laughter!
Having an ‘interesting last name’ SZOLLOSY (Hungarian for Grape Vinyard – with some land ownership attached) – this became the NEXT topic of conversation! It was fun sharing stories of family backgrounds, relatives, heritage, etc.
I laughed, because one woman who was VERY interesting in talking to me, was wearing a like-new L.L.BEAN jacket – logo on the left pocket.
A man walked up behind her (with the same type jacket – husband and wife, I guessed) and she said: ‘This is my husband.’
I just let a SMILE slip out as I shared: “I KINDA GUESSED IT WITH THE MATCHING JACKETS!” She laughed and said: ‘It’s because I am the shopper in the family!’ ;o)
I got to share how some of the poll place volunteers can use SMILES set on their faces to help deal with traffic jams,etc. As well – it can then start a chain reaction down the road, as everyone that drives by, receives the smile to pass on! One poll place volunteer lit up with excitement as he exclaimed: THAT’S A GREAT IDEA!
So – once again, letting my light shine as well as laughter and smiles…. along with a little family heritage!
HA HA Helen of LAFOLOT (a.k.a. SZO-LLO-SY)
LIVE LIFE! LAUGH OFTEN! even at the polling booth!