Monday, August 27, 2007

Charmed Monday Minute, August 27

Hello, all, and happy pre-Labor-Day-weekend -

Can you believe the end of summer as we know it is almost here? Gosh, it's important to look carefully and breathe deeply and get the most out of every day, the way they race past.

The New Age Health Health Spa with my daughter Adair last weekend.
What a terrific place! It's really a world apart. I spoke one evening and one morning and was told that I'll be invited back in '08, which is a delicious prospect. The 110-minute hot stone massage is amazing. In addition, Adair aced (and I attempted) the Alpine Tower. It's a 50-foot-high climbing contraption to test one's mettle and overcome one's fears. Adair really was incredible (the instructor said, "She should change her name to A-dare-devil") and shimmied up the thing as if it was a flight of stairs. (She's been thinking about going to stunt-person school, and this convinced me that it might be a good idea.)
I decided that my goal was 1/3 of the way up - to a particular point where there are some rope-ties and a change of angle. It was hard near that point, but it was my goal and I made it. When I got there, the instructor said, "Now go on." But I absolutely couldn't. And I learned a huge lesson about goals: If I'd made my goal to get the top, or to go 2/3 of the way up, I might not have reached that point to due trepidation, fatigue, lack of physical strength, whatever--but since my goal was set where it was, it was impossible for me to go further, even though I felt fine physically. I have a sense that that's a bigger lesson than I realize, even now.

While there, I took a couple of exquisite yoga classes and the teacher, a lovely woman who's studied Jainism and has a beautiful, compassionate way about her, passed out a sheet of "52 Proven Stress Reducers." Here are some of my favorites...

Stress Reducers from the Spa:

"Don't put up with something that doesn't work right. If something isn't performing, get it fixed or replace it."

"Do nothing which, after being done, causes you to tell a lie."

"Make friends with non-worriers."

"Make duplicates of all keys."

"Do the least pleasant stuff early in the day and get it over with."

"Have forgiving outlook and believe that most people are doing their best under the circumstances."

My son-in-law is Marcel Marceau-like!
Adair's husband, Nick Moran (yep, he took her last name) is one of two mimes in the birthday party scene in The Nanny Diaries. Although The New York Times wasn't crazy about the movie, the reviewer did call Nick (he's the one on the right when you first see them) "Marcel Marceau-like," which, for a mime, is a pretty cool thing to be called. Nick is in the credits, got to go to the New York premier and take Adair, and says that Scarlett Johansson is really nice.

I read a wonderful novel.
Reading really good fiction is such a joy. So many novels don't "grab me" in the first few chapters and I don't stay with them, so when I find a book that invites me in and won't let me go, I'm in heaven. This one did that: The War of the Rosens, by Janice Eidus. It's about Emma Rosen, a little girl growing up in the projects of the Bronx in the mid-sixties. Her parents are Jewish and yet militantly atheist, and although the pretty, poetic Emma is her father's favorite, both she and her sister are subject to his periodic bouts of violence. When tragedy strikes the family, Emma comes into her own. This is a beautiful, gripping read. I highly recommend it.

And speaking of books...
Some of you have asked for this, and I'm so happy to get to tell you that my 1992 book The Love-Powered Diet, republished in 1997 as Love Yourself Thin, is going to have yet another life. Lantern Books, publishers of books on vegetarianism, nonviolence, natural healing, etc., is going to republish the book sometime in 2008. I'll keep you posted closer to the time. In the meantime, you can get one of the earlier versions used on


-New York, NY: Learning Annex, "How to Live a More Spiritual Life." Aug. 30 (Class repeated October 25), 6:45pm.

-Providence, RI: Community Church of Providence, Sept. 23, 10:30 a.m. (401-751-9328)

-New York, NY: Getting to Next seminar, Sept. 28. Luncheon speaker.

-New York, NY: Law of Attraction seminar, Sept. 29. Contact for more information.

-Wichita, KS: KS Book Festival, Oct. 5-6

-New York, NY: 92nd St. Y Expert Series, "Fat, Broke & Lonely No More" seminar (This is the creme de la creme... Don't miss this one!)

-Lake George, NY: TOPS conference, Sept. 13 (518-438-8928)

-Hamilton, Bermuda: Girls' Getaway Weekend, Oct. 18-21

Monday, August 13, 2007

Charmed Monday Minute, August 13

Welcome to the Minute if you're new, and welcome back to everyone else. You are all much appreciated.

Let's see, to retrace my days and tell you what I've been up to these past two weeks... Well, August 1st, I had breakfast with my literary agent Linda Chester at my now-most-favorite breakfast spot, Asiate, on the 35th floor of the Mandarin Oriental at Columbus Circle in Manhattan. The menu has everything - American breakfast, Japanese breakfast, and more vegan choices than I've ever seen on a breakfast menu outside of a vegetarian restaurant. They brought tiny smoothies as starters for everyone and when I said, "No thank you, I don't drink milk," I was told that they used soy milk. I was sold. Besides, this is an absolutely gorgeous place with a view of Central Park that makes me believe that anything is possible. Remember this place for when you visit New York, and if you live here, it's a great place to take someone you when making an impression means a lot.

I spoke at the lovely Unity church in Norwalk, CT, and for Friends Health Connection in Mercerville, NJ - welcome to everyone who signed up for The Minute in those places - and I landed a once-a-month radio show. It starts Wednesday, September 26, 11 a.m. Eastern, on Creative Health & Spirit Radio. This is Internet radio so you can all listen and, if you're working or otherwise occupied on Wednesday mornings it will be archived. The station url is -- "All Positive Talk & Music Radio." I'll fill you in on details closer to the time. And for all you fans of Love Yourself Thin and its earlier edition, The Love-Powered Diet, it looks as if this long out-of-print book may have a new life. I've met with the lovely people at Lantern Books and, although it's not a done deal, the chances look very good that they may indeed republish an updated version of the book. Let's keep our fingers crossed - I can let you know for sure in the next Minute.

William's three kids have all been here so we've had a full house. Erik, finishing a music production internship in Toronto, had to go back this weekend, but on Saturday we went with his younger brother James (sixteen) and my daughter Adair to Coney Island. It was a hoot. I think an appreciation for the tacky is one key to a happy life. And that Wonder Wheel, the mega-ferris wheel with sliding cars - it looks as if you're going to roll right into the ocean - is lots of good fun. They're talking about decimating old Coney Island and filling it with condominiums. Mayor Bloomberg has called a temporary halt, but I was still happy to get down there and play a little Skee-Ball, see a Brooklyn Cyclones game, and walk along the beach before gentrification changes everything.

Best of life to you,

Overhead in NYC...

This may not be worded properly, but it's how I overheard it. A man was referencing The Talmud, the Jewish book of civil and ceremonial law, and said he'd come upon a passage that read (more or less): "Unlike many other aspects of life, financial wellbeing is totally in the hands of God." I liked that. It helped me remember I don't have to drive myself nuts trying to make things happen: I do the best I can and the most I can. The rest is beyond my control.

Some exquisite cards to look at...

I love words on paper, whether a book or a greeting card or a blank card someone writes in. I discovered a beautiful line of these, Singing Heart Press. Take a look.

"The Antidote" from author and psychotherapist Thom Rutledge...

Thom Rutledge is the author of a terrific book, Embracing Fear, that I cite in Fat, Broke & Lonely No More. He's written an intriguing article called "The Antidote" about another way to look at the information in The Secret.

Several months ago, in response to the correspondence I'd received from Secret viewers who were blaming themselves for every challenge in their lives, I gave you my take on the Law of Attraction idea, which is that I see it as a genuine law of the universe - one of many. It's not going to override the others - the Law of Karma, for instance. I've gotten a lot out of The Secret and it's helped me keep my thinking on the right side of the line. I also admire my colleagues who are part of the project. Even so, some people have used this very well-intentioned work in a way that has diminished their self-esteem rather than added to it. Here's Rutledge's (abridged) take on this. If you want to read the entire article, or learn more about the work of this wise and witty fellow, click here.

"...The vast majority of [The Secret's] readers will not be harmed, and most will even benefit from the emphasis on positive thinking and personal empowerment... I am speaking out for the other readers... the person with low self-esteem who already believes everything in his fault, the person who has believed that she is inherently bad...

The Antidote

· Know that the universe in which we live is, to say the least, a complex place. If someone claims to have solved this puzzle, look him or her straight in the eye and say, "You have got to be kidding."

· Respect the complexities of the human body (including the brain) and the human mind. Brilliant minds have been at work on these projects for some time now, and the best of them (and most of the worst of them, now that I think about it) will tell you we have a hell of a long, long way to go in understanding mind and body.

· Embrace and celebrate independent thought, and encourage others to do the same.

· Express genuine humility. I believe that humility and wisdom are closely linked. My definition for wisdom is this: Wisdom is the accumulated knowledge of our ignorance. The older I get, the more aware I become of all that I don't know and all that I don't control. Since I don't happen to believe that the meaning of my life revolves around knowing and controlling everything (I did when I was 20), this is perfectly okay with me.

· Look beyond your own Santa's little wish list of all the things you want to "manifest" in your life, and encourage others to do the same. Even if I could conjure up a Ferrari today, would that really be the best use of my magical powers?

· Don't focus so much on everything that you want, but instead on clarifying, and living in congruence with your personal value system. Doing this is not easy, but it is rewarding beyond measure. (Contrary to what The Secret tells us, just because something is difficult, or even painful, it does not mean we are doing something wrong. Sometimes it means we are doing something right.)

· Don't run from what scares you. And don't try to make what scares you go away by hiding your head in the sand or casting a magic spell in its direction. Instead, know that moving toward your fears, coming to grips with what really scares you, is part or learning what we need to learn, part of being a full grown, healthy adult.

One thing the authors of The Secret don't tell readers about the secret to their own successes is that every one of these people has been willing to do the hard work that is essential for success. Every one of these authors have faced and overcome many obstacles, both external and internal. And I would be willing to bet that most, if not all, of these authors, owe their successes to their own hard work, their willingness to take risks, including a willingness to fail. It is that kind of courage, that kind of nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic, that kind of relentless persistence that has the best shot at guaranteeing success. When I approach life with these things in mind, even if I fail to achieve my goals outwardly, my integrity remains in tact. I can say that I have given it my best. When I die, you can come to my wake and say one of two things: 1.) Thom accomplished everything he set out to accomplish, or 2.) Thom may not have accomplished everything he wanted to in this lifetime, but that son of a [gun] never stopped trying."

(Note from Victoria: The original word here was not "gun," but my last Minute was returned for profanity from several email servers because it contained a review of a book called Skinny [Gun]. I guess dog breeders can't send emails...)

corn-based water bottle

Product of the Week...

The "Better Water Drinking Water Filter Bottle" is pretty cool. My assistant, Joya, discovered it this week at a natural foods store while looking for an alternative to the dozens of plastic bottles of spring water we all buy (and throw away!) when we're out and about... It's made by a company called New Wave Enviro Products. You buy it empty and then fill it with plain, old, free tap water. When you squeeze it, the water goes through a small, Brita-like filter that removes the chlorine, and the water tastes great! (You can refill it up to 90 times.) Best of all, the bottle itself, which looks and acts like normal plastic, is actually made from corn instead of petroleum and will biodegrade after 80 days in a commercial compost system.

(For New Yorkers: Joya got hers for $6 at Westerly Market. For others, I bet if you contact Enviro, they can tell you where to find their products near you.)

Free Video on Health Foods...

This link came from my friend Jeff Novick at the Pritikin Center. (He's thanked in the credits of Michael Moore's new documentary Sicko.)

"On June 1, I gave a presentation in Burbank, CA at a vegetarian conference on reading food labels. The presentation was just put online and will remain there free through this Wednesday.

If any of you are interested, the presentation can be viewed here.

(NOTE: The site has lots of ads. I am sharing this with you only so those who are interested can see an 80 minute presentation of food labels and labeling for free. I have no association with any of the other advertisers or products, and as you will see in the video, find most of them unhealthy.)"

A Conference for Moms...

My colleague, Judith Sachs (who is the Editorial Director of ParentingTeensOnline), just told me about the first annual telesummit for moms: "The Momference," coming up in October. It's a six-day, online summit, featuring 50 experts in every walk of life that might touch mothers and offering a chance for busy women who often can't get out of the house to be empowered and strengthened in a community of like-minded women. For more info and to register ahead of time, check out their website here.

Website of the Week...

Fat, Broke & Lonely No More is featured on the Book Resources page of this fun site for women in their prime: Check it out!

FBL cover

VICTORIA'S NEW, 10th, and (we're hearing!) BEST BOOK EVER,

Fat, Broke & Lonely No More: Your Personal Solution to Overeating, Overspending, and Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places
from HarperOne

Get your copy today!

If you'd like to order online, here are links to the big guys:
Barnes & Noble

Or, call your favorite independent bookstore to reserve your copy!

(To find an independent bookstore in your area, you can search on here.)

Take care, and all good things -

Victoria Moran