Monthly Archives: March 2019

The X-Factor, Soon To Become A Book

In a world riddled with continuous strife and violence–school shootings, terrorist attacks, nuclear threats, foreign wars, and personal acts of hatred—-what is the true CAUSE of it all?

What’s driving this madness?

Is it just politics? Philosophical or religious differences?  Xenophobia? It goes even deeper.

In order to heal underlying causes of all this craziness, the inner demons that plague our culture, we must first identify the elusive X-factor affecting every human interaction we have. What is it exactly?

“It’s our MENTAL HEALTH, our sense of inner well-being, notes Pastor Gregory Dickow, the acclaimed spiritual leader of Chicago’s renowned Life Changers International Church.  

The charismatic  54-year-old, known as one of America’s leading Bible teachers, is also the author of THE POWER TO CHANGE TODAY, a compelling Christian-based self-help book which offers the secrets to the satisfied life (a book I proudly worked on as its editor.)

In a fascinating phone conversation with Pastor Dickow, he makes a convincing argument about the need for greater public awareness of psychological health:

“Every single thing that happens to us, every headline in the news, is a product of MENTAL HEALTH–the ‘state of mind’ of  our leaders, our families, our congregations, and, in fact, all 7 billion people on earth.”

As we know, people are suffering everywhere–experiencing clinical depression, anxiety, obsession, compulsion, substance abuse and addiction, you name it.

And there are millions of others who are stressed out, often feeling down or discouraged or without faith in the future.

The statistics of mental illness are staggering. An estimated 26% of Americans ages 18 and older — about 1 in 4 adults –suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. Many suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time. In particular, depressive illnesses tend to co-occur with substance abuse and anxiety disorders.

“And it’s not only adults, adds the Pastor. “What about the 10% of elementary-aged children who self-injure themselves. Why? Because they’re in severe emotional pain or, ironically, almost numb to it and attempting to  feel something.”

Obviously, some of these disorders require specialized psychiatric and medical treatments, on multiple platforms. That’s for sure.

“But many people,” says Dickow, “do not need psychiatric medications or medical interventions, but instead greater faith, enhanced awareness, an emboldened outlook, family and peer support,  and down-to-earth prescriptive actions.”

Joining his other insightful books, Pastor Dickow will soon reveal the secrets and techniques to attaining greater inner peace in a new trailblazing book about mental health and how to nurture it.

As we all know too well, poor mental health left untreated can lead to complete chaos.

“Can you believe that 1 million people commit suicide each year worldwide?” asks Dickow.

“People who are not receiving the love and support they need can become unhinged.”

Indeed, with no inhibitions, their primal urges and demonic impulses begin to dominate their psyches.

Some turn inward and hurt themselves, while others begin to out their rage.

So they pull out a gun. They unleash a bomb. They mow down a crowd with a van. They barricade themselves in a hotel room and shoot out the window, killing innocent concertgoers. Or they invade a school or a place of worship.

All this vitriol is violently unleashed in their twisted minds, causing death, heartache, murder, suicide, you name it. So tragic.

Pastor Dickow’s genius is knowing how to blend the lessons from the Bible with practical prescriptions that can result in a renewed outlook, helping others throughout the world to regain the loving spirit that God planted within each of us.

In parting, he reminds me of the classic Biblical story in Luke 8:27, in which Jesus comes upon a demon-possessed man, and restores him to mental health. The demons are pulled from this man and transferred into a herd of pigs.

If only we could do the same with a terrorist or murderer or child abuser, or school shooter, or someone who feels depressed or tortured.  But the story, of course, is a metaphor, teaching us that we can release these demons. Yes, we can experience titanic emotions but we can also learn to let them go, knowing that God can certainly do for us what we can not do alone.

Pastor Dickow and wife, Grace, who is co-founder of Life Changers International Church

The Dickow Family, everyone involved in the mission at Life Changers

Pastor Dickow and his ministry is leading the way, so his upcoming book on healing mental illness and illuminating a path of love will be a must read.

 

Marla Maples: In A Chapter From My Memory Book

On a warm spring day in Manhattan, the doorman in my Battery Park City apartment building rang me up on the intercom phone to announce a very unusual guest.

“Glenn,” said Felipe, sounding taken aback, “Marla Maples is here!”

“Send her up,” I said, anticipating my famous visitor.

And so began a very private interview, given by Maples during the Donald-Ivana-Marla tabloid triangle, a spectacle that was then rocking New York.

Because Marla was the biggest news media draw in America in 1990, she would have been mobbed by paparazzi had we conducted the interview anywhere else, so my apartment was the unexpected choice for an exclusive sit-down, the chance for her to talk thoughtfully about her new-found notoriety.

As a magazine reporter at the New York Daily News, I felt fortunate to have gotten the interview at all, which happened thanks to Donald Trump’s recommendation, since I had months earlier interviewed him for the News.

And it wouldn’t be long before I’d interview him for the cover of Playboy Magazine

During the wide-ranging 2-hour chat, Marla, the most unflappable, articulate 24-year-old, spoke eloquently about her relationship with The Donald, and maturely faced down the judgments of those who criticized her:

“What I’ve learned,” she mused, “is that nothing is black and white. Sometimes, our biggest fears and hypocrisies come back to haunt us—to teach us lessons. I absolutely believe that my higher power put this in my path—so that I would learn not to judge, just to love.”

At one point during the conversation, she got up and went into my bedroom, closed the door, and called Donald on a break.

If all this seems surreal now, back then, who could have ever guessed that Donald Trump would one day become President?

A few years later, Marla, of course, would marry Trump at the Plaza Hotel and have a daughter with him, Tiffany Trump, though that union would eventually end, with Marla moving to California as she pursued a career as an actress.

In fact, two years after my first interview with Marla, she made her impressive Broadway debut as the star of the Will Rogers Follies, which yielded another cover story interview with her.

As she laughed: “The last thing I wanted to do was get up and play what could have been looked at as a light blond role; but I watched it and saw it was a demanding, comedic part. And, finally, after all the time and money I’ve spent on getting rid of my Southern accent, now I can use it!”

Just a few months after this interview she kindly agreed to appear with me on The Oprah Winfrey Show in October 1992, to promote my book, Turning Point: Pivotal Moments In The Lives Of America’s Celebrities. She certainly had a pivotal moment to discuss!

And on the show, which also included Angie Dickinson, Rod Steiger, and Annette Funicello, she spoke in very frank terms about her relationship with Donald Trump.

And now, decades later, Marla, at 55, is still startlingly youthful, proven by her appearance on Dancing With The Stars, where she displayed a physical grace that defies any age.

As for me, I can still see her sitting on the white couch in my living room, talking quietly about her hopes for a happy future, one that she has certainly achieved on her own terms—as a dedicated mother with a college-age daughter, and a multi-talented woman who has found her center.

With more than 15 films roles (Happiness, Black and White, Executive Decision), numerous TV appearances (Liv and Maddie, Spin City, The Nanny), Broadway shows (The Will Rogers Follies, Love, Loss and What I Wore), and dozens of magazine covers on her resume, Maples firmly secured her place in popular culture.

Nowadays, in her various pursuits, the actress, singer, social activist advocates both physical and spiritual health, with fantastic recipes on her web site describing a diet that has kept her happy and healthy.

Her charitable devotion is legion: Having contracted  Lyme Disease as a teen, Marla has been honored for her work with the Global Lyme Alliance. In addition, she remains committed to supporting a multitude of non-profit organizations including AWARENYC.org, Spirituality for Kids, The Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine, The City Of Hope, and Kids Creating Peace. Through it all, she maintains a dignity and resilience that have become her trademarks.

As she said in a recent interview: “I think life is about being ready for anything, and where are you going to find the positive in all things,” she said. “I choose not to judge anybody else. I don’t want to be judged, so how can I judge another human being? I say to my friends, let’s help lift this world, not bring it down.”

LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 28: Marla Maples (L) and Tiffany Trump have dinner at Sumosan on July 28, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)

 

How To Confront and Heal Domestic Violence and Childhood Abuse

Oprah interviewing two of Michael Jackson’s victims

In HBO’s shocking new documentary, Leaving Neverland, we witness the horrifying spectacle of pop star Michael Jackson allegedly sexually abusing young boys, preying on them with his fame.

Not to mention ongoing revelations about legions of Catholic priests who have sexually abused children over decades. All this bad news is yet another reminder that the world must protect its children.

Psychologist Linda Olson

Nobody knows this better than renowned clinical psychologist Linda Olson, who has committed the last 30 years of her medical practice to treating survivors of childhood sexual abuse, violence and trauma.

Having founded the nation’s first regional chapter of the Childhood Domestic Violence Association, Dr. Olson knows about childhood abuse from the inside out, having been a victim of childhood domestic violence herself, among 40 million Americans who are:

“UNICEF,” she notes, “calls childhood domestic violence (CDV) one of the most pervasive unaddressed human rights violations in the world, an epidemic affecting 275 million children globally.

“One out of seven children grows up witnessing violence between their parents or caregiver, or experiences physical or emotional abuse directly.”

Imagine little kids being slapped, punched, kicked, thrown down stairs, choked or bit, not to mention verbal threats, intimidation and coercion. This leaves them in constant terror, feeling alone, hopeless, helpless.

The consequences of this multi-generational disease are tragic ones: “Kids who grow up in violent homes are six times more likely to commit suicide, 50 times more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, and 74 times more likely to commit a violent crime. And most importantly, CDV is the single biggest predictor of becoming a victim or perpetrator later in life.”

Dr. Olson is no exception—having grown up in a violent home with parents who were constantly fighting, her out-of-control mother both physically and emotionally abusive to all six children: “She slapped and hit us in the face, pulled our hair, choked us, pulled out pants down to beat us with a belt, always chasing us around, beating us up. Bloody noses were very common.”

As the eldest of the siblings, Linda learned to protect her siblings and later turned her nurturing temperament into a commitment to heal others by becoming a therapist. But in her personal life, she perpetuated the cycle of pain by choosing violent men:

“I always chose very angry, judgmental, super bright men who were sexually, physically, and emotionally abusive.” Her 22-year-old marriage fell into this pattern, “and I kept thinking he would change or that I could ‘fix’ him. I was in massive denial.”

With sons Robbie, Ryan, and Andrew

Ultimately, Dr. Olson was able to break free from her husband and divorce him only once she saw the effects the violence was having on her three sons.

While she escaped the cycle of abuse, two of her younger sisters were not so fortunate, the violence they endured as children having tragic consequences.

Dr. Olson’s youngest sister, Anne, 25, was shot and killed at gunpoint by a violent boyfriend. Her other sister, Mary, was in and out of abusive relationships. “And she died of a broken heart,” says Dr. Olson, ” homeless and alone at 50, her depression and borderline personality disorder never treated. She felt completely worthless. Both of my sisters were victims of childhood domestic violence and it ultimately killed them.”

The wreckage of her own marriage and the tragedy of her sisters’ fate has only strengthened Dr. Olson’s resolve to shine a light for all those affected by CDV.

Inspired by the trailblazing book about childhood domestic violence, INVINCIBLE, written by crusader and philanthropist Brian Martin, Dr. Olson hopes to write an inspiring memoir of her own, based upon her childhood years and her clinical experience. She also plans to write a children’s book to comfort those who are in the midst of such trauma, as no such book currently exists.

Joe Cohen’s book about a GREAT parental relationship

Nurturing Dr. Olson along in this process is Joseph Cohen, cocreator of Empowered Fathers In Action, encouraging positive relationships between fathers and their children. Olson has also been supported in her mission  by veteran media specialist Tom Martin, who worked for years at CBS Sunday morning as a producer.

To comfort kids around the world, Dr. Olson has also founded Project Hope Bear, intended to help grieving children and families find hope after loss and/or witnessing domestic violence. The organization provides an adorable teddy bear to kids, as studies have shown that a cuddly stuffed animal reduces a sense of loneliness and anxiety for anyone who has experienced trauma, violence and loss.

Wouldn’t you like to make a contribution to fund this teddy bear program, so children who need that tenderness and comfort can get it?

We’re lucky to have a Dr. Olson on the job!

BOOK LAUNCH: Tips on Throwing a Publication Party

When my dog memoir, KATIE UP AND DOWN THE HALL was published, Hachette Book Group, my dog-loving agent Jan Miller, our book publicist and I spent nearly a year planning that launch event.

Legendary Host Calvin Klein

It was a military operation, that included pinpointing the right New York City venue, MacKenzie-Childs, procuring our celebrity host,  Calvin Klein,  and creating a guest list that included everyone from NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Judge Judy to bestselling authors Mary Higgins Clark and Barbara Taylor Bradford. Not to mention 350 guests and 15 photographers. It was indeed a night to remember.

The purpose of such an event is to create advance buzz for your book radiating out from your home base to media reporters and online influencers, all in an effort to get sales at B&N and Amazon booming!

So, for first-time authors who want to raise their profile and celebrate their book’s publication, here are 12 launch tips:

(1) Choose a THEME for the event (in my case everything dog-related) that can carry through in the food, decor, invitations, and gift bags

(2) Have a graphic artist design your invitation (printed and/or elite) and make it a keepsake, in full color with an image of the book on it, advance testimonials, and an online RSVP.

Gift Bag Line-Up

(3)Provide Gift Bags: Every book party must provide takeaway gift bag for its guests, with a complimentary copy of the book and other little goodies (in my case the bags contained a chocolate dog bone, a hand-painted Christmas ornament also in the shape of a dog bone, a medical kit for dogs, and a cuddly stuffed cocker spaniel doll, you name it! Be creative.)

(4)Pick the right day and time: The typical book party should be a cocktail Reception from 6-8. Avoid Friday, Saturday or Sunday: Weekdays ideal so people can come after work

(5) Create the perfect MENU: A full bar is not needed and too expensive. Instead, serve wine or Champagne and  possibly beer. Only serve easy to pick up finger food (one bite treats) preferably passed by waiters, or alternately displayed on tables on trays. (You must have at least one vegetarian choice, one meat, one fish, one cheese.)

(6) Compile Your Invite List: Invite 3 times the number of people you actually want to appear. That’s typically the response ratio. Compile of list of family, friends, colleagues, former schoolmates,  press, local celebrities, politicians (try to get the Mayor to come), anybody you can think of. This is the ultimate NETWORKING event to spread the word about your book.

(7) Hire a photographer and videographer to capture the event, media that can be loaded onto your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

(8) Procure Appropriate Sponsors:  Find charitable or corporate organizations that match the theme and mission of your book. This is essential. Placing their logo on your invitation adds prestige and glamor to the evening. To motivate a sponsor, give them something they want–publicity, potential profits from book sales, whatever might enhance your public profile. (PS: Get THEIR list of party guests and merge it with yours)

(9)Order a customized step-and-repeata free standing blow-up of the book,  a centerpiece that can be used at other events, such as book readings, conferences, and media appearances

(10) Liaison with the Press: Invite radio, tv, magazine, newspaper personalities and social media influencers in your home town. You’ll be amazed how many of them will want to attend a book launch. This will pay off in subsequent interviews and mentions.

(11) Invite Adults Only: Much as everyone loves kids, this is a grown-up cocktail party, not a wedding, so hire a babysitter.

Mom and Me

(12)Plan a Post-Party Dinner:  Invite a small circle of close friends and family to join you for an elegant fun dinner after the reception. You’ll be starved by then and ready for a full meal!

A Check Up From The Neck Up

Ever feel like you’re going C-R-A-Z-Y?!

Stress is coming at your from every direction. So instead of feeling confident and in control, you’re frazzled and highly reactive to events around you. Like a car skidding on ice, your emotions are driving you, instead of the other way around.

Forget anti-anxiety drugs and years of psychotherapy.

Instead, try out the powerful treatment offered by renowned brain coach Paula Oleska, who has created a life-changing pathway to unleashing what she calls your Maverick Mindset:

“Imagine what it would be like,” she says, “ to have the inner strength to sail through conflicts… to be unaffected by other people’s incompetence, lack of cooperation, or hostility… to go home at the end of the day relaxed and ready to have peaceful interactions with your spouse and your children”

Sounds great, right?!

“Instead of feeling like you’re floundering, unmotivated, and frustrated with your unending ‘to do’ list, I get you back on track, with crystal-clear focus and enhanced motivation so that you can finally gets things done effortlessly.”

But how? All the answers are in Paula’s revolutionary audio program, Your Secret Brain. In it, Paula teaches how the three layers of the brain are driving everything we think, feel, and do.

The first brain “layer” is the Reptilian, the Behavioral Brain, the oldest of the three, that controls our body’s vital functions and the instinct for self-preservation. It’s our gut meant to keep us safe and secure.

Then there’s the Limbic brain that controls emotions, empathy and parental reactions. That’s our heart.

So often, people report that when they become emotional, their emotional reactions hijack their ability to think clearly and make rational decisions, which leads to…

…the third layer of the brain, the Neocortex, or the Thinking Brain, which controls logic and abstract thoughts.

Paula gets you acquainted with all part of your brain! And in just hours, by integrating mind-body techniques and four very simple gentle physical activities, her program modifies extreme emotional reactions, calming down the Limbic brain and restoring our ability to think clearly and make better decisions.

So anytime anger or fear or intense resentment surface, using her 15-minute program, Paula leads you to having all three parts of your brain work in harmony, so that you can achieve the results you want in life. You will even feel physically healthier, since so many ailments are related to emotional distress.

As for those intense emotions, they’re triggered, she says, by a need that is not being met.

“Once your discover what that need is underneath the emotional reaction, you can learn to meet that need, so that you will never have that emotional again in that situation.”

Voila: Master your emotions and you will be able to resolve conflicts, improve your communications, and have better relationships in business and in your personal life,” she says. It’s a stunning promise. The result is a calmer, more confident, stress-free you.

To see Paula in action and learn more about her transformative work, don’t miss her New York City appearance on March 15th at the Maximize Your Influence Conference. I’ll be there too, talking about how writing a book is a tremendous marketing opportunity.