Garbage In, Garbage Out


I take walking breaks between teaching classes. I used to grab my little iPod mini (which replaced my Sony Walkman). I got tired of listening to my music. So I plugged my headphones into my cell phone and listened to TedTalks and informational videos on YouTube. The change has been tremendous!

I’ve learned about meditation, motivation, education, nutrition and much more. Because I learn during my walks, I have more to offer my students, my children, my spouse and friends. Now, my walks provide mental as well as physical energy.

What are you listening to? What are you reading? You’re in control of the input. Now – more than ever – there is “information” and “noise.” Be mindful about what goes through those ears of yours and into your beautiful mind.





When you are in the presence of a person who speaks his mind freely, spontaneously and thoroughly (often inappropriately) we say, “He has no filter.”

This is often a problem in the classroom when there are 34 students and the teacher has numerous goals she wants to achieve. The outspoken person not only takes up valuable time uttering words that have little to no value, but it can distract other students and take them off-task.

It often causes drama.

That student can filter his words, but it requires self-awareness and self-discipline.

We can ALL filter our minds. We are in control of what we choose to read. We are all, each, in control of who we socialize with and, to some degree, who we engage with at work. You can choose to read the news and get upset or, you can choose to opt out.

But how will I stay informed? How will I continue to participate in my world?

To which I ask, “Are you truly engaging and participating in the world when you read what inflames you and then complain about it?” How about doing some volunteer work? How about starting a rights group? How about writing letters to your state representatives?

There will things you see or hear that you do not like. This is when space is helpful.

Filter your world carefully and you will see a change for the better.








When I was sixteen, I subscribed to “Cosmopolitan” Magazine. I was young and dumb. I spent good money to receive a thick magazine full of ads and editorials, telling me the definition of beauty was to be rail thin. It advertised things that were well out of my reach money-wise. It did very little for me.

Since then, I’ve gotten wiser. I subscribe to “Sunset Magazine” which touts itself as the premier home and living magazine of the West. I learn about great shops and restaurants, home decor ideas, ideal plants for my yard, and time-saving (yet delicious) recipes. Most of the information provides timeless value.

Subscriptions should provide benefits. It should feel like a gift. When you subscribe to blogs, newsletters, magazines, wine of the month clubs, etc. where you pay ahead of time (if at all) and receive something on a regular basis, it ought to leave you happy and grateful, like a present.


As the year comes to a close, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate your subscriptions. What’s automatically coming to your door or inbox? Does it provide value and joy? Does it fulfill someone else’s purpose or yours?