Guess Who Came to Dinner?

Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn

It was far from my normal dinner, especially with it being College basketball’s annual March Madness event and all. But Friday night, instead of bringing home some Thai food and watching college basketball, this wingman found himself at a small dinner party seated next to Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the brilliant founder of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program (MBSR), best-selling author and internationally known meditation teacher.

Sitting with us at the table were Neuroscience Researchers, Professors of Religion, Wellness Leaders, my sister Sandy, and my brother-in-law Jack.

Have you ever been in a really cool setting, like my dinner last night, and have your sister call you by your endearing family name. That’s right, you may know me as Michael, or Wingman, but now Jon Kabat-Zinn knows me as Mikey. Like that old TV commercial, “Give it to Mikey, he’ll eat anything”. Ahhh… family.

So there I was, in the seat of honor, next to the guest of honor. How that happened is still a mystery to me, but the whole esoteric nature of life seemed to dominate the conversation so perhaps my privileged seating was just another example of such.

Jon, oh yeah, we’re now on a first name basis, was in Providence, RI, doing some workshops on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for Brown University’s faculty, staff and students.

I was there because my brother-in-law, Jack, is the Dean of Brown University Medical School, and was unable to drive due to a recent surgery.

That’s right, the wingman was there as his driver.

Right time, right place sort of thing?
Or maybe my dinner with Jon was some sort of karmic reward.

After all, I was supposed to be in Malaysia, then Australia, Indonesia and finally, South Korea, where I’ll be spending some time with my friend and teacher, Zen Master Jung Bong Mu Mu. My trip had to be postponed though, due to a weird confluence of circumstances, where both my sister Sandy, and Jack, had some medical issues and needed me to drive them around. And then, my 89 year-old, mother took a turn for the worse.
I was grounded.

When you live a nomadic existence with no permanent address, you would think you were always just, “in the moment”. But in truth, itineraries, reservations and airplane tickets are planned and arranged months in advance. So, in my current circumstances of being a wingman for my sister and brother in law, and a caretaker for my mom, all of my current travel plans have been thrown out the window. It was the perfect time to be reminded of the importance of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s primary philosophy to be present in this moment.

And with our trip postponed, our plane tickets canceled, and without a clear vision of what’s coming next, I realized that this “be in the moment stuff”, is easier said then done. But if there is one thing I’ve learned as a wingman, it’s that I can practice it. So practice I do.

And as I practice being in this moment, I’m reminded that you never know what the next moment will bring. Last Sunday, I was driving to the Newark airport in one moment, and the next, I had made a U-turn and was heading back up to Providence. Who could have foretold that because of that moment, that U-turn would have led to my dinner with Jon.

As Jon says, “Give yourself permission to allow this moment to be exactly as it is, and allow yourself to be exactly as you are.”

And so I do.

What capped off the evening was when Jon learned of my video Wingman minutes, he gifted me a practice.
So please, join me in doing Jon’s Wingman Minute practice by clicking below and taking 5 deep breaths and being present in this moment.

If you want to know more about Jon Kabat-Zinn and his Mindfulness based Stress Reduction program, click here. https://www.mindfulnesscds.com

If you want to check out a very cool wellness website from someone from the dinner party, click here… http://beta.nutmegaspirin.com

Your Wingman,
Michael

+ Everyone in our Wingman Mastermind group has been making great progress toward achieving their goals, so much so, that Jan and I decided to start another one shortly. I’ll send out the info soon. Email me if you are interested in joining.

++ You can practice with me every morning, by just clicking on my web site at www.beyourownwingman.com.

+++ If you want to improve your positive energy, increase your level of success, and begin living the life you desire, feel free to contact me for individual on-line sessions with both Janet, an LCSW and Psychotherapist for the past 20 years, and myself.

A New Goal, a New Challenge.

When Jan and I sold our house, we set a goal of having an adventure and traveling for a year. Well, it’s now been 13 months and we have a new goal.

To keep this great adventure going.

But there are new challenges. Energy. Money. Physical fitness.

And I am embracing all of them.

How about you?

When you’ve manifested your latest desire, don’t you often come up with a new objective?

Run a 10k; you want to run a marathon.
Lose 5 pounds; you want to lose
another 10.
Make a million dollars; you want to make another million.
Buy a house, you want to renovate it.

The list goes on.

It’s what makes life so much fun.

Or frustrating.

So here’s the big question…

Are you having fun? Or are you frustrated?

So often we think happiness comes from succeeding at achieving our goal when really the feeling of that success is fleeting, a new goal always seems to immediately surface.

Well, I can tell you for the first time in my life, it does not matter which stage I’m in. Whether the target has just been chosen, I’ve just come to my first huge obstacle, or success is imminent, I’m enjoying the process.

And I want you to join me, and together, we can mastermind our way to a more fulfilling life filled with greater successes.

In case you missed my last blog, Jan and I are running two Mastermind groups and we have a few slots left.

Click here to read more about it…

It’s Time to Mastermind.

We’re thrilled to be offering this Mastermind group and don’t want you to miss out. It’s shaping up to be an exciting opportunity filled with positive, successful and motivated people.

Your Wingman,
Michael

Details:

We are creating 2 separate groups.

Group 1 will meet on Thursdays from 7:00-8:30pm.
Session Dates will be 2/23, 3/2, 3/9, 3/23, 3/30, 4/6 and 4/20.

Group 2 will meet on Mondays from 7:00-8:30pm.
Session Dates will be 2/27, 3/6, 3/20, 3/27, 4/3, 4/17 and 4/24.

Cost: $250.00

To Register: Email me at Michael@Beyourownwingman.com.
PS… You can practice with me every morning, by just clicking on my web site at www.beyourownwingman.com.

PSS… If you want to improve your positive energy, increase your level of success, and begin living the life you desire, feel free to contact me for individual on-line sessions with both Janet, an LCSW and Psychotherapist for the past 20 years, and myself.

It’s Time to Mastermind.

As you may know, over a year ago, we decided to change our lives, break out of the mold and live a different kind of life. A life of our choosing.

For us, this meant selling our home, traveling the world and working remotely. Looking back, we realize that the hardest part of this endeavor was making the decision and taking the first step. We recognize how isolating and overwhelming it can feel when working towards a goal or making a life shift on your own.

This is why we decided to start our own Mastermind Group. The beauty of a Mastermind Group is that it unites like-minded people to share their expertise, tackle their challenges, create and implement goals, brainstorm ideas, and support each other in manifesting their desires. Mastermind participants act as catalysts for growth, cheerleaders, accountability partners and trusted advisors.

If you have a dream that you have not yet actualized, if you have goals which you’ve not yet accomplished or if you just feel there is something better out there for you and you don’t know what it is, what it looks like, or how to get there, our Mastermind group is the perfect place to start

We invite you to take part in this group if you are looking to implement change in your life and support and inspire others who are seeking the same.

We will be facilitating each meeting, utilizing our many years of collective experience in life coaching, psychotherapy, goal setting and thought and vibration shifting processes.

We believe you will reap huge benefits from being a part of this group.

You will:

*   Find answers and ideas from brainstorming with the group
*   Tap into the experience and skills of others
*   Increase your confidence in your ability to achieve your desires
*   Gain an instant and valuable support network
*   Experience a sense of shared endeavor – there are others out there
*   Enjoy a boost to your everyday positive mental attitude

We’re looking for team members who are willing to:

*   Participate in each call
*   Share their expertise and challenges
*   Come prepared to each session
*   Be committed to this process

In order to receive maximum benefit and attention, this two-month on-line group is limited to six participants.

This investment in yourself will cost $250.00 and includes:

*   Seven-90 minute group sessions from wherever you are in the world
*   Preparation Worksheets for each session
*   Daily support, motivation, inspiration and conversation via a private Facebook group page.

If you would like to join us and be a part of our team, please contact us to register at michael@beyourownwingman.com.

To Your Success,
Michael and Janet

Details:

We are creating 2 separate groups.

Group 1 will meet on Thursdays from 7:00-8:30pm.
Session Dates will be 2/23, 3/2, 3/9, 3/23, 3/30, 4/6 and 4/20.

Group 2 will meet on Mondays from 7:00-8:30pm.
Session Dates will be 2/27, 3/6, 3/20, 3/27, 4/3, 4/17 and 4/24.

Cost: $250.00

This group will be co-facilitated by Michael Gross and Janet Sokoloff, LCSW.

Michael Gross is a Certified Law of Attraction Life Coach, Positive Energy Practitioner and founder of Be Your Own Wingman. His coaching, videos, blogs and radio show have taught and inspired thousands of individuals, business leaders and health care professionals how to incorporate his Wingman principles and practices into their personal and professional lives.

Janet Sokoloff, LCSW is a Psychotherapist who has spent the past 20 years working with people in her private practice along with providing counseling at a university counseling center in Philadelphia. Her extensive training and experience in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction has helped many work through life transitions and live their authentic lives.

 
PS… You can practice with me every morning, by just clicking on my web site at www.beyourownwingman.com.

PSS… If you want to improve your positive energy, increase your level of success, and begin living the life you desire, feel free to contact me for individual on-line coaching sessions with both Janet, an LCSW and Psychotherapist for the past 20 years, and myself.

A Deep(ak) Disappointment.

My story started about 6 months back. I was invited to be on a panel discussion with Deepak Chopra. It was to be held at The University of Virginia and the agenda was to develop a strategy to encourage and educate women on how to utilize the power of spirituality and mindfulness to survive, and thrive, as they go through life’s challenges, be it divorce, illness, loss of job, or any painful transition.

Needless to say I was honored, excited and a bit unsure of my role.

I mean, what could I add to the dialogue that would be more useful than anything Deepak would bring to the conversation.

But over these last few months I started to re-examine the transitional periods of my life and saw how they’ve helped me become “my own Wingman”. I realized how far I have come from those dark days and how those miserable times became the springboard for my improved life. This realization brought me a sense of confidence in my ability to contribute to this very important project.

So it was with eagerness and an open heart that Jan and I decided to cut short this chapter of our great adventure, currently exploring Ecuador, and return home in the hopes of helping others to successfully overcome their challenges.

It was at a Thai restaurant here in Cuenca, Ecuador’s second largest city, when I received the email.

“We have had further issues and have rescheduled the event for May at NYU.”

“Ughhh… what a bummer.”

All this, just as they were serving my vegetarian Pad Thai and some Peruvian boys started playing music right next to me.

The food and music were great, but it didn’t bring me any relief from the blanket of negativity that had enveloped me.

You can imagine my disappointment.

“Do you want to talk about it”, Jan asked sweetly.
“NO”, I barked back at her, and we walked home in silence, me feeling saddened and a bit despondent. And you can now pile on guilty after the rudeness I exhibited to my loving wife.

Today is now day 2, and even though I’ve done some of my wingman practices I haven’t been able to totally erase the sting of my disappointment.

So this morning upon awakening, I decided to bring in the big guns.
I’ve turned to Rumi, the famous 13th century poet, theologian and Sufi mystic. His moving poem, “The Guest House” is one of the best pieces of advice on dealing with negative feelings.

“This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.”

I was reminded of the time my since departed brother, Stevie, and I were coaching a little league team. We had to make one last cut, which meant an eleven-year-old boy would have to play in the minors that year instead of the majors. His hopes were crushed and his comment to my brother has stayed with me forever.

“But Steve, it’s the majors.”

“But Rumi, it’s Deepak.”
And I don’t want to invite these destructive and ugly emotions into my “house”.

But invite I must. For I know from experience that it is the inviting in that leads to the acceptance and release.

Perhaps my “Rumi” practice can help you as well. Please join me by clicking below, and let’s invite those difficult feelings in, and even be grateful for their arrival and all that they will ultimately teach us.

Your Wingman,
Michael

PS… You can practice with me every morning, by just clicking on my web site at www.beyourownwingman.com.

PSS… If you want to improve your positive energy, increase your level of success, and begin living the life you desire, feel free to contact me for Skype sessions with both Janet, an LCSW and Psychotherapist for the past 20 years, and myself.

 

An “Out of Buddy Experience”.

It started on our first morning at Hosteria Izhcayluma, a small lodge in the mountains surrounding the village of Vilcabamba, Ecuador.  The area has been historically referred to as the “Playground of the Inca’s”, because it was once used as a retreat for Incan royalty.

We were supposed to arrive a day earlier, but after 13 hours of flights to nowhere, delays, miscommunications and many wingman practices to keep us positive, we finally arrived.

After a decent nights sleep we decided some exercise was in order. Our host at the reception desk pointed us on an easy hike, which his “70 year old mother could do”.  It had wonderful views of “Mandango” mountain, the “Sleeping Inca”, which overlooks this “Valley of Longevity”, and whose presence is said to protect the area from earthquakes and other natural disasters.

It’s called the Valley of Longevity because it is widely believed that its inhabitants grow to a very old age. The reasons for this claimed longevity are debatable, with many researchers arguing between the anti-oxidant rich fruit and vegetables and the mineral rich water.

Either way, the locals are said to live a longer life than most.

Fifteen minutes into our hike, and I’m wondering if I’m going to live to see tomorrow. We’re trudging through creeks, slogging through mud and balancing ourselves on trails made for horses. I was definitely a little outside my comfort zone and the comic relief from my thought that his mother must be a “mudder” was the only thing keeping me going forward.

We finally made it to a dirt road, which seemed to be an easier path, other than the fact it went straight uphill. I’d like to blame the 5000 foot altitude, but the extra 10 pounds I’ve gained during the holiday season certainly had as much to do with my huffing, puffing, sitting, cursing and resting every few minutes.

It was at that moment a four-wheel drive truck came cruising up the hill and a man asked if we’d like a ride. Visions of us being chopped up in little pieces and never heard from again lost out to the burning sensation in my legs. Outside my comfort zone, you betcha.
But at least I could breathe for the moment.

Now here is where the fun begins. The guy turns out to be the former monologue writer for Jay Leno and the “Tonight Show”, Buddy Winston. After an uphill drive, a rocky walk with his groceries over his washed out driveway and a mini botany lesson, we arrived at his place at the top of the world with 360 degree views. He invited us in for tea, made from Guayusa leaves, which tasted great and reminded me more of the “T” in THC, than any tea I’ve had in the states. We hung with Buddy and his dogs as he entertained us with stories of Hollywood, this area of Ecuador, and his travels and misadventures in Malaysia and Thailand.

It turns out he wrote a book based on his time in the “Land of Smiles”.

Titled, “An Out of Buddy Experience”, he recounts his “95% true” adventures of accidentally preventing a rebel bombing and being chased by a contingent of monk assassins.

 

I bought the book on Amazon that night and have been really enjoying it since.

Time went by quickly and we said our goodbyes and embarked on the downhill part of our journey. I recall thinking that this is what makes traveling so magical. It’s not just the people you meet, but your expanded horizons, new perspectives and shared adventures. And especially the unexpected experiences that just magically crop up… such as a truck pulling up behind us and driving us to the top of the world.

And so it inspired a new Wingman Minute Practice … “The Magic Begins Just Outside Your Comfort Zone”. The funny thing is, when you step outside your comfort zone, in time, a new level of security and safety is established. What once may have seemed scary or anxiety producing is now your new normal. For me it began a year ago. I mean, I’m a guy who ate at the same restaurant every day, so as we boarded our plane to Thailand for a four-month adventure, my anxiety was so off the charts that Janet kept reassuring me that if I didn’t like traveling we could just change our plans and come home.

Now, here we are, starting our second year of travel and I’m hiking through jungles and can’t wait for more. I pushed through my worries and have found a new comfort zone.

Perhaps this new wingman practice can be the impetus for you to begin extending yourself. Whether it’s travel, a new relationship or ending an old one, public speaking, a new job, or whatever your desire is, this practice is the perfect strategy to start sending out a new vibration, and begin extending your own self-imposed limitations.

Join me by clicking below, and let’s help each other have our own “Out of Buddy Experience”…

Your Wingman,

Michael

Are You Wanting it? Needing it? Or Allowing it?

Have you ever desired something? Silly question, of course you have.

But have you ever desired it so much that you felt like you needed it?

  • And the more you wanted it, the further you seemed to push it away?

That’s the situation I find myself in as I anxiously await news about a potential, very exciting project.

I feel like…

  • A schoolgirl dissecting every part of her conversation with her (hopeful) boyfriend.
  • A salesman waiting to hear from his prospective client.
  • Or a parent who wants their child to listen to them so badly that they don’t stop talking long enough to hear what their child has to say.

And as I observe my vibration, I realize that instead of attracting my desire, I’m actually pushing it further away.

Because it’s all about vibration.

Right now my vibe has that unpleasant feeling of desperation. Have you ever felt it?

That point where you cross the threshold of feeling inspired by the excitement of wanting something, to the unhealthy obsession of needing it to happen NOW.

But it never does, at least not when you are emitting that anxiety-ridden frequency.  When that is your vibration, there is no possibility you will manifest your desire.

Wayne Dyer called it desire vs. desire-less.

He stated that everything starts with a desire.

But to receive it, you have to become desire-less.

Confusing?
Maybe a little.

Perhaps my Wingman Continuum Practice can help.

You simply step back and observe where your vibration is on the continuum of needing vs. wanting vs. allowing. Is it too close to needing, i.e., you realize you’re actually resisting it, almost forcing any other outcome than that which you desire?

                                The Wingman Continuum

I———————————————–I——————————————————I
Need                                            Want                                                         Allow

If so, it’s time to change your vibe.
It’s time to move it in the direction of allowing.

But how?
How do you become desire-less when you have a desired outcome?

I’ll tell you what I do.

I INVITE my intention to come to me. And then I let it go.

Sounds easy enough. Except it goes against everything I’ve learned since childhood.

I’m supposed to make things happen, not wait for them to happen.
I’m expected to push and fight and compete to achieve my goals.

Isn’t that what we’ve all been taught since an early age?

But what if that way is not working?

As I’ve grown older, I’ve become very clear that when I allow my ambitions to come to me, they seem to materialize much easier than when I try to impose my will.

That doesn’t mean I don’t work to attain them.
It does mean however, that I don’t allow myself to get to the point of NEEDING them. Because when you’re frantic for it, it rarely happens.

And when I invite my intentions to come to me, and then let them go, I totally change the vibration I’m sending out into the universe.

I become desire-less.

Give it a try. And start allowing your desires to come to you.

Your Wingman,

Michael

Click here to join me in my Wingman Continuum Practice.