Wednesday, March 27, 2013

SOMEDAY, BEING PRETTY, WILL JUST NOT BE ENOUGH ANYMORE!


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Sometimes, something will catch my eye that makes me truly ponder my life and my experiences herein.  Today, I watched the below video on being "Pretty".  It really made me stop and think about my life and my own struggles with being "Pretty".  Thus, the following blog.

In the Early Years of my life, I thought I was ugly.  (I'm 100% serious).  I was a very dark-skinned gay Jewish boy, but perhaps that's because I spent three consecutive months in the summer outside at the lake.  (Who knows?)   The sad thing is, I already had a pre-conceived notion throughout my childhood that being "Pretty" was somehow the way I wanted to look on the outside.  

When I was sixteen years old, at Sarah Lawrence, I remember looking at myself intensely in the bathroom (btw - shared with eight other guys) and at that moment decided I was "okay" looking.  At sixteen going on seventeen, I KNEW I was AWESOME on the inside, and I felt that finally my outside was starting to reflect how I felt on the inside.

Since then, it's been quite the journey.  When living in New York, I refer to those as my wanna-be-model days.  I was actually modeling in NYC.  See, outside of the runway (for which clearly, I was too short) there were A+ models, B+ models, C+ models, and D+ models.  A+ models were the most stunning breed of models.  B+ models were people like me.  They were too good looking for commercial media, but not good looking enough for high fashion media.  The most competition for the least amount of jobs.  There were the C+ Models, who were the standard "okay" looking, great for commercials and perfect for Bank of America ads.  Then, there were D+ models.  They were the models who fit a specific brand, ethnicity, and/or "need" for the clients.  Kindly note these model types were advised me to by my various friends in the Modeling Agency world.  They are not my opinion.

I do want to mention an important fact.  No matter where you fall in the A+ to D+ model scale, we all gotz self-confidence issues.  We all gotz problems.  We all must pay taxes.  We all must take bathroom breaks.  Believe it.

Then, I moved to sunny Los Angeles where I am consistently surprised.  People out here have THE best bodies in the world, however, the faces are, not as beautiful as those in NYC.  So, New York is the land of the great looking faces and LA is the land of the great looking bodies.  Anyway...I digress.

I'm perplexed by the "Pretty" issue.  Of course, everyone wants to be good looking.  That's a given, right?  But why?  Is it because we want to be admired, desired, and the center of other people's attention?  Does it fulfill some childhood need that we were lacking?   Do "Pretty" people get more things?   Why is "Pretty" at all better?

While I definitely agree that "Pretty" people have an easier go at life than others, I also have to add at what cost.  In my experience, truly HAWT individuals have a myriad of other issues those of which us not-so-hawt humans don't have to deal.  Other people mutilate their faces, bodies, etc...all on the socially-induced pretext that "Pretty-ness" is what life is all about.  That said, I'm not opposed to having some work done to preserve the terrible-ness of age-defying effects.  I am, however, suspect of those that change their entire appearance just to be "Pretty".  Before going to that extreme, come to me for coaching!  I will help you Embrace you.

To me, some of the most beautiful people alive or on TV are "The Biggest Loser" contestants (or TBL fans at home) after they have lost hundreds of pounds.  Those are my heroes.  Those are the people that truly smile from the inside, which is why I love the show so much.  They define beauty in the most physical, emotional, and spiritual way.

I, personally, do my best to give thanks every day for having two legs, two arms, a decent face, my health, my physique, and that I can walk and run.  (Well...soon).  How often do you appreciate yourself?

As you will see in the video below, being "Pretty" is just not enough anymore.  I agree 100% that I do NOT want to live in a society where being "Pretty" is the end all be all.  I do not want my children to struggle to be "Pretty".  I want my children to struggle to be the most loving person in the world, the most fantastic person in the world, or the most giving person in the world.  I want my children to understand that society will do its very best to define what we believe to be "Pretty", but that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.  I want my children to believe that beauty truly starts from the inside and works its way to the outside.  Finally, I want my children to KNOW that no one can define what you believe to be beautiful and I want them to Embrace who they are and all others as well. 

I'm sure I'm in for quite the battle, but imagine what we all could do if we stopped obsessing about being beautiful/"Pretty" and instead, embraced who we were.  OMG...what a fucking nightmare~! (My Cousin Vinny reference).  It would be an incredible place to be, live, and know.  Join me!


Marriage Equality Now!


FINAL THOUGHTS:
1)   RIP "Griselda" - my fave hen from the backyard.  She unfortunately died suddenly this weekend from the same EggBound problem that I had previously saved her life many many moons ago.  I'm sad.
2)  Starting next week, I will be doing a major publicity/promotion for my book.  Yay!  Rest assured, I will be reaching out to my contacts.
3)  Coaching.  I have only 3 time slots left for empowerment and confidence coaching sessions.  Let me know if you are interested.
4)  Did you read my blog published last week in the Huffington Post Gay Voices?  It was AWESOME!  More to come!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6wJl37N9C0


A Smile From The Inside Production :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

QUITE POSSIBLY THE UGLIEST PERSON IN AMERICA...



I'm not talking about physically, I'm talking about how he acts, what he says, and where he works.

Mr. Peter Sprigg is a Senior Fellow of Policy Studies (whatever that means) at the Family Research Council in DC. Their slogan says: Advanced Faith, Family, and Freedom.  If only, they perpetuated the more universal spiritual lessons of faith, family, and freedom and not be so contrary to love, acceptance, and hope.  I still don't understand how people misinterpret the Bible so and its teachings seem to always be in their favor.  It was never intended to be a book written with 5 Million interpretations.  

On February 26, 2013, The Maryland Senate Committee struck down the Maryland's Transgender Rights Bill after hearing testimony from an overwhelming amount of individuals, including Peter Sprigg, who made the following comments:

“This bill will force the state and private actors — employers, landlords and others who provide public services — to officially and legally affirm the very delusion that puts these suffering individuals at odds with reality,” Sprigg said. “Not only will it not makes their lives better, but it will prevent them from getting the very help they do need to make their lives better.”
Don't worry the fight ain't over yet!  I'm convinced it will continue to reappear in each and every state until it is a federal law.  Mark my words!


Mr. Peter Sprigg
Senior Fellow for Policy Studies
Family Research Council
801 G Street, NW
Washington, D.C.  20001

Dear Mr. Sprigg:

I'm writing to you in response to your recent remarks regarding Transgender individuals as well as your recent remarks about gays in general.  In fact, I would LOVE to sit down with you to discuss many things, if you would be willing.  I'm beyond words whenever I hear you speak with such hatred and fear in your heart.   Being very honest, I am terrified that you actually believe what you speak.  I cannot wait to have the opportunity to debate on CNN in the very near future.

I don't really even know where to begin.

I'm curious what would have been the most challenging event you have ever had the misfortune to experience?

Don't you agree that life has enough challenges and obstacles without a gender identity issue?  There is enough malevolency and indecency in this world even before it comes to your sexuality or your gender.  I wonder if you could ever, EVER, understand either what it's like to "come out" to the world as gay OR face the world as Transgender.  They are the true heroes of this world.  They and incredible spiritual beings have a human experience and ALL have my utmost respect and admiration for their courage.


We Can Talk Facts.
  • The Williams Institute report, performed in 2011 stated that 700,000 Americans identify as Transgender, less than 1% (I believe that's kinda low)
  • 9-Million (3.4%) openly admit their gayness (roughly the population of Los Angeles County)
  • 19-Million (8.2%) have engaged in same-sex behavior
  • 25.6-Million (11%) have had same sex attraction
  • In a Gallup Poll, released in October, 2012, confirms that 3.4% of individuals posed identify as LGBTQ (which I believe is way too low)
  • If 3-5% of the world population identifies as LGBTQ, that's 210-Million to 350-Million
Question for you:  Do you think all of us LGBTQ'ers suffer from delusions?  Just curious, can 700,000 to 1,000,000 people suffer from the same delusion?  Or am I missing something?


Or We Can Talk About Mental Health Issues Within the United States.

On the topic of being deluded, according to the National Institute for Mental Health, 1 in 4 Americans suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder each year.

Are those the type of delusions from which we suffer?  


But... Today, I Want To Offer You My Friendship.

Question for you.  I'm going to try not to assume I know the answer.  Do you have any transgender friends?  Drag queen friends?  Do you have any openly gay friends?  Have you ever had an openly gay bestie?  I suspect not.

So, I am asking you today to be my friend.  Allow me to be your friend and show you the absolutely cool-ness that is being gay.  I love being a member of the LGBTQ community.  And, this might really blow your mind, if I could choose to be gay, I would choose it each and every day, over and over again.

I also don't know if you realize that it's just a matter of time before we win the battle for Marriage Equality.  And once that happens, it's then only a matter of time before Transgender rights are fully granted, not just in the United States, but everywhere else too!  Especially if Hillary Clinton becomes our next President, watch out!

So why not take me up on my offer?

I truly believe that Homophobia is the lack thereof of gay-influence in someone's life.  I have a strong feeling once you got to know me (or any LGBTQ individual), you would start to shift your opinions.

Lastly, a word of caution too!  Since you have been featured on CNN several times over the past few months and I imagine you will be featured more as the battle for human, marriage and transgender equality rages onward, think about how you might be using your influence to perpetuate more hatred and fear into the world.  You have an incredible opportunity to use your influence to perpetuate "Embracing" and love into the universe, don't you think?  I just don't think Acceptance is enough anymore.  We must embrace the uniqueness and diversity within all of us.  Don't you agree?

Please feel free to contact me at your convenience at 323-204-2974.  I look forward to sitting down with you on CNN to debate all things LGBTQ.  Let's make it happen soon!


Sincerely,
Seth E Santoro



FINAL THOUGHTS:
1) As of today, I am officially a featured blogger for the Huffington Post's Gay Voices.  I feel like such a grown up now.  Check it out at Huff Post Gay Voices.
2) Last night was my first official Book Signing and Release.  It was an intimate crowd here in Los Angeles.
3) Life is a crazy emotional roller coaster and I look forward to finding myself more and more every day.




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A Smile From The Inside Production :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

WHAT ON EARTH COULD CHICKENS TEACH US?


Daisy and Griselda - During The Change

Chicken wisdom.  I know, I know.  It sounds crazy, but allow me to explain.  The following are eight principles that we, as human beings, could stand a great deal to remind ourselves daily.

Chicken Wisdom #1)  If one chicken lays, all of the chickens lay.  If one chicken stops laying, all of the chickens stop laying.  Hasn't your mother ever said, "If everyone jumps off a bridge, would you jump too?"  Well, if it were up to my chickens, they would all jump.  As humans, we are definitely herding animals.  We like to feel secure, we like to belong, and we like to create families.  Unique and individual choices are what makes us who we are, as spiritual beings having a physical existence.  Be unique!

Chicken Wisdom #2)  They appear to be tough as nails on the outside, but are super delicate and frail birds on the inside.  So many people wear masks of fortitude while underneath, they are tender and sensitive little flowers.  For chickens, it's a combination of survival of the fittest and instinct.  For homo sapiens, it's a combination of the residue from past experiences and our current informed behavioral choices.  Either way, it's not bad or good, but it is important for us to be aware of how we come across to others.  Don't you agree?  Be authentically you at all times!

Chicken Wisdom #3)  Everyone loves attention, even chickens.  A little bit of tender care (pun intended) is always appreciated. We all could stand to use a bit more attention from those around us.  We all want to be primped, pampered, and adored like the princes and princesses of the Medieval ages.  My chickens consistently remind me to give the people closest to me a bit more attention.  Everyone loves attention.  Give more today!

Chicken Wisdom #4)  Contrary to popular belief, chickens love to be loved.  I don't know if you have had many experiences around chickens in your life.  Up until I had my own, I always knew chickens to run away AND fast, from humans.  My chickens, however, love to play hard to get, but deep down they really love to be loved and petted.  Interesting tidbit, the more love you show them, the more they'll keep coming back.  Hmmm.  That doesn't sound familiar at all.  (Note the sarcasm!)  Love each and every day a little bit more!

Chicken Wisdom #5) Interspecies playing is fantastic! Vinnie and Trixie, my goats, tolerate (and I don't really like using that word) the chickens.  Maggie, my French bulldog, tolerates the goats and the chickens.  The chickens however accept the goats and accept Maggie.  In fact, there were a few months where Sparkle would tease Maggie so that she would chase her around the backyard.  It was the cutest thing ever.  I love Interspecies play.  If only, we, as sentient beings could do a better job at that, right?  Acceptance isn't even enough anymore (like I say multiple times in Book, "How I Learned To Smile From The Inside"), we all must learn to EMBRACE all others, regardless of their species type, racial type, sexual preference, etc...  

Chicken Wisdom #6)  They accept their position as lowest man on the totem pole with respect and move on.  One of the most amazing things about chickens is their contentment and attachment with their present.  In other words, they not only accept they are the lowest man on the pecking block, but they actually Embrace it.  They are sooo present sometimes it's scary.  It's scary because sometimes they might not notice the occasional falcon or hawk that frequents our backyard until after the swooping sound occurs next to their little beaks.  Thank God, they've missed a few times.  So, Embrace where you are and be present!  Not so much though that you lose sight for those individuals who want to take advantage.

Chicken Wisdom #7)  The Annual Change.  Once a year, if they are lucky, the hens molt.  This is a process (photo above) where they lose all of their feathers, their tails, etc... over the course of a couple of weeks.  It is not pretty and they are completely "embarrassed" by their appearance, so they stay quiet, their personalities shrink, and they do NOT want to be touched because it hurts.  Amazing, huh?  We, all animals, pass through some difficult times.  Lucky thing for the hens, they end up looking more beautiful than when they started.  It is quite the process to watch.  Therefore, I say to you, my fellow human beings, no matter what happens, we will always come out stronger, wiser, and more beautiful after each traumatic experience.  If you don't believe me, read my book.  (Sorry, I had to get one more plug in here!)

Chicken Wisdom #8)  They are the closest animal on the planet to dinosaurs.  They eat, shit, sleep, and eat some more.  Their lives are clear and straight forward.  They are rough, tough, and brutal to other hens when they so choose to be.  Their whole lives revolve around eating, sleeping, and relieving themselves.  Priorities.  When was the last time you sat down in silence and considered your priorities.  My hope for all of you is that you never be too caught up in your lives that you cannot see the basic needs and priorities of our civilization.  If we continue down the path we humans are on, there is a possibility that we might become extinct sometime soon in the future too!  Not chickens though.  They will be around forever!  Priorities for you, and then the rest of the world.  Do Better, Be Better!


FINAL THOUGHTS:
1)  It looks like I'm going to have surgery on my left ankle...because I tore all three ligaments and at least one has to be re-attached.  I'm not a happy camper!  :(
2)  I submitted my second blog post for the International Coaching Federation (ICF).  It's all about how, as coaches, we can learn a great deal from Vinnie and Trixie (my goats).  Lol.
3)  Last week's blog post was my most visited yet.  I am approaching 10,000 unique hits in total and I am Psyched!
4)  If you liked my blog, SHARE it.  If you don't, then don't say a word!
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You can purchase "How I Learned To Smile From The Inside" at the following sites:

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A Smile From The Inside Production :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

TO BREAK UP LIKE AN ADULT, YOU NEED TO KNOW THESE TEN THINGS...


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With much relief in my heart, it is time for a secret confession.  It's been something that I have chosen to omit for the last few months due to the sensitivity of its nature and the people involved.  I will admit that, at times, I felt a bit disingenuous to you, my blog family, but please know that it was with poignant reason.  My last love and I broke up a few months back.  As you can imagine, it has been quite the journey of sadness, frustration, and crazy and unexpected emotional turns...daily that is.  If you read my book, or if you are about to enjoy my book, I am "In Overwhelmdom" -- consciously riding the emotional superhighway.  Awareness is a bitch sometimes!

The idea for this blog has been in the making for months.  It is now my gift to you.  As strange as that may sound, please learn from my experience, mistakes, and feelings that follow.  

Break ups are crazy and inevitable.  They will be hairy for you and they will be juicy for almost everybody else.  This stuff is not easy and it requires your big-boy and big-girl pants.  It will be a daily... adventure.  I was going to say struggle, but remember, Pain Is Inevitable, Suffering is Optional.

I don't care how you broke up.  Amicable.  Non-amicable.  Dumped.  Married with Children.  These invitations apply to all.

1.  Put You First...and Your Now-Ex second.
     I don't know how your relationship has been and what boundaries you have set up.  Now, right now, is the time to put you first.  Make sure your needs are fully met.  No one will take better care of you than you.  Then, and only then concern yourself ex and their needs.  If you have kids, clearly, they come first.  I'm just saying.

2.  Logistics Now.
     As counter-intuitive as this may sound, feel your feelings but put them on the back burner for now.  You have work to get done.  If you live together or are married, start making necessary preparations straight away.  Time alone will allow you the opportunity to reflect and emote.  Keep yourself busy and focused for the next two weeks.  You won't regret it.

3.  Feelings Later.
     I know it probably hurts like hell.  This is why I invite each and every one of you to take care of logistics first thing.  This allows two important and vital things to occur.  You master the logistics and annoyances while simultaneously giving your mind and heart time to digest the traumatic experience, so you then you can focus on your feelings.  The feelings will always come.  You can be sure of that.  Trust me.  It works.

4.  Walk.  Don't Run!
    Take one day at a time.  Actually, sometimes even that is too much.  Take it one minute at a time.  There's no rush.  There's no time constraints.  Take your time through the next couple of weeks, months, or years of your life.

5.  It Won't Always End on a Good Note!
    I'm sorry this is happening to you.  It really sucks.  All of these principles apply even if it ends horribly.  Learn from my mistakes and my experiences.  Always leave with your dignity, integrity, and honor.

6.  Friends now?  or Break-time?
     You will have to breach this decision point after your break-up.  I invite you to have this conversation when you both feel ready.  There's pro's and con's to both choices.  You need to decide what's best for you.  The great news is that you can always renegotiate this.  Perhaps you immediately choose to be friends, and then you discover you need some break-time.  Do what feels best for the future...not how you feel right now.

7.  I Don't Need to Know All the Details
     If you choose to be friends, set boundaries.  If you have joint calendars, request the other person create their own personal calendar separate from the joint one.  (I learned that the hard way!).  Discuss what is okay to share and what might not be the best to share at this point.  Constant honest and sincere communication is key.

8.  Never Undermine the Relationship!
     This was an incredible suggestion from our couple's therapist.   Though your relationship has shifted into a new space, do you absolute best every day to honor the relationship you had with your changed love, your deep respect, and your re-focused honest communication!  Some days this will be easier than others.  When one becomes irritated, gently remind the other that it is not easy but it will be worth the challenge in the end.  Even if it was not your best break up, do your best to honor yourself within the relationship and learn from it.

9.  Share With People At Your Own Pace.
     This is a "choose your own adventure" experience.  In my case, we waited a few weeks prior to telling really anyone.  No matter what your decision, I invite you to have this be one of your last amicable decisions together.  It definitely requires a mutual understanding and peace.

10.  Friends Are Weird Sometimes.
     Take it from me, friends can be weird.  Friends (I'm speaking directly to you), I invite you to be a little bit more embracing, a little bit more understanding, and a little bit less selfish for those first few weeks or months.  Reach out and reach out again.  No response.  Wait a little.  Then, reach out a third time and fourth time.  Sometimes, people going through traumatic events need a balance of support and time.

I hope this helps.  I hope you learned at last one thing from the above thoughts on how to break up like an adult.  Whether it's a small event in life or a life-altering traumatic experience that defines who we are, we -- alone -- are responsible for our actions and behaviors.  Know who you are.  Embrace who you are.  Be who you are.  Be the better and bigger person whenever possible.  Do it.  Later, you will be that much resolved in who you are.


FINAL THOUGHTS:
1)  Thank you for all of your support and love with regard to my book, "How I Learned To Smile From The Inside".  After you read it, if you would be so kind as to post a review on Amazon, I would greatly appreciate it.
2)  I submitted my first professional blog for the International Coaching Federation entitled, Inside the Session: Intuition vs. Coaching.  They loved it!  I will keep you apprised.
3)  If you want to reach out to me personally and think I am way too busy right now.  Think again, I always love hearing from you.  In fact, do that with someone else over the next week too!


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You can purchase "How I Learned To Smile From The Inside" at the following sites:

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A Smile From The Inside Production :)