Honesty and Integrity


Honesty is the best policyWith this “race for the white house” upon us, I cannot help but think about these two words.

Honesty and Integrity.

I will not be getting political here.  I believe it is up to each of us to have our own beliefs and opinions and our own freedom to choose.

However, as I watch a race where I believe a particular candidate will do or say anything to be elected, I cannot help but think of the power behind these words: honesty and integrity.  I cannot help but wonder when our elected officials stopped being the government by the people for the people as designed by our founding fathers.  Did you ever stop to think how, in just 240 short years since our American revolution, we could screw so much up?  I also cannot help but wonder when becoming President of the United States become such a prize that it no longer represents all people in this great Country.

In the life of my personal family, I taught my children the value of honesty and integrity.  I believe our current political races teach our youth that it is OK to lie to personal advantage.  The whole situation makes me quite sad for the future of our Country.

As for myself, I will NEVER tell someone I am going to do something and not complete the task.  I taught my children not to lie to anyone and that, if you do, in the end, the truth will come out.  I learned these lessons by personal observation when I was young.  I saw the affects of my own relative hurting others by not being truthful (you can read more in my book to learn more).

I believe it is so important to live in truth.  I believe that truth gives you freedom.

Think about that for a moment….

When someone does not personally tell you the truth, whether it is a spouse, a coworker, a sibling, or your child – how does that make you feel?

Personally, if someone does not act truthful or complete what they say I do feel betrayed and am more cautious in dealing with that person the next time.  However, please note: I learned some years ago to let these feelings go, to forgive the person and move forward.  I learned that the only person hurt while staying in a negative and hurtful situation is myself.  One thing that is most important to consider here is how the memory of the betrayal affects our current and future opinions and actions about that person or a specific situation.  As I personally have stated many times, my goal is to have a nice day, every day, so I can enjoy life.  It’s important to assess and recognize our feelings.  If our feelings are of hate or retaliation, we need to take a moment to stop, reassess, and determine the best way to move forward to insure a positive life experience.

So…. back to our topic.  In reference to honesty and integrity, take a moment to evaluate this:

  • What do you stand for?
  • What do you expect for the future and what will you accept in your life?
  • How do you treat others?

These are questions you can use to start to live in your own truth and integrity.

Starting with ourselves to make ourselves better will insure a better future.  We are only able to control ourselves, our behavior, our feelings and our actions.

Just imagine the possibilities.

After all, it is time to enjoy life. It is Time to Play.

Love, Doreen

Photo credit:

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive, a certified professional life coach, the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life and author of If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.  The concept behind time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation was absolutely created out of LOVE. Please see for more information.

I Believe We Can All Find Something to Be Grateful For


I am grateful for; gratitude; gratefulThis article was sparked by a recent experience, and I felt I should share.

My husband and I just got back from a 5-day cruise.  The cruise activities director spent the whole cruise saying “How Are You Feeling?” and expecting a response of “GREAT!”

The last night he explained why.

He read some statistics which I will share in a moment.  It was about the statistical breakdown if the world had 100 people and how many would fall into different categories.  He noted that, after he read the statistics, he no longer answered that he was feeling “good”, a general response many of us give many times if we are asked that question in a general greeting.

He said he now answers “Great” or “Amazing” if someone asks how he is doing, because he realized that he had so much to be thankful for in his own life.

Here are the statistics broken down as of 2006.  The original statistics were provided by Donella Meadows from the Peace Corps in 1990 and can be viewed here.   Source for the below:

If the World were 100 PEOPLE:
  • 50 would be female | 50 would be male
  • 26 would be children:  There would be 74 adults, 8 of whom would be 65 and older
  • There would be: 60 Asians, 15 Africans, 14 people from the Americas, 11 Europeans
  • 33 Christians, 22 Muslims, 14 Hindus, 7 Buddhists, 12 people who practice other religions, 12 people who would not be aligned with a religion
  • 12 would speak Chinese, 5 would speak Spanish, 5 would speak English, 3 would speak Arabic, 3 would speak Hindi, 3 would speak Bengali, 3 would speak Portuguese, 2 would speak Russian, 2 would speak Japanese, 62 would speak other languages, 83 would be able to read and write; 17 would not
  • 7 would have a college degree
  • 22 would own or share a computer
  • 77 people would have a place to shelter them from the wind and the rain, but 23 would not
  • 1 would be dying of starvation
  • 15 would be undernourished
  • 21 would be overweight
  • 87 would have access to safe drinking water | 13 people would have no clean, safe water to drink

Personally, I am most grateful for my life.  I have a home and food to eat.  I probably own 10 computers (not sure if that is a blessing?), I have a car. I have love and a wonderful family.  I have freedom.

I agree and believe that responding to a “How are you doing” in a “GREAT!” manner is healthy, and I adopted saying “Excellent” a few years ago if I am asked.  When I respond “Excellent”, I feel much more positive.

There is a lot of research that shows counting our own personal blessings, of being in a state of gratitude, looking for the bright side, and focusing on something positive, is healthy for us.

I know that it is hard to do many times, and I know it is not something I had learned to do when I was younger.  During my childhood I had learned envy, jealousy and to focus on lack – not to focus on what I had and to be grateful for my life, but to focus on what I didn’t have.  I wrote about this in my book, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now“, which brought the awareness to spur the proactive approach of our foundation.  Through my life learning and awareness, and through a lot of reading, education and research, it has become my life purpose to provide the education, tips and tools for you and others to learn how to PREinvent YOUR Life®.  What does that mean?  To bring awareness, life and coping skills to others sooner than later so people have the opportunity to have their best life longer.

I believe the current system in our society is reinvention and recovery, which causes us to unlearn our way of thinking and to RE-learn how to enjoy life.  But, how about if we started out with the right skills at the onset so we can enjoy life the whole time?  There’s a lot more to this concept which I’ve shared and will continue to share and present.

In our current society, many of us are taught to focus on the negative.  Don’t believe me?  Just watch the news.  We seem to revel in disaster or sadness.  There are so many things that we can focus on, instead.  There are so many people and organizations doing amazing things — so many people out there that, if we band together, can make every community the most amazing place to live for all people.

In reference to gratitude, I have been reading Dr. Martin Seligman’s book Flourish.  He discussed the affects of positive emotions and health benefits of those who found something to be grateful for and how the focus on something positive that happened to them, “people who habitually acknowledge and express gratitude” see benefits in their health, sleep, relationships and perform better in their life.  Dr. Seligman had people reflect on one thing that happened the day before that was a “blessing” or something they were grateful for.  This shift in finding one thing that we are grateful for can shift our whole perspective so we can enjoy life.

Here’s some information on another study on gratitude.  There are tons of studies out there, so just Google “gratitude and happiness” if you want to learn more.  In this study, two groups of people were asked to keep journals.  One group kept track of five things they were grateful for that had occurred in the past week, and the other group kept track of daily hassles from the previous week that displeased them.  They reported that, 10 weeks later, the people in the gratitude group felt better about their lives as a whole, were a full 25 percent happier, and reported fewer health complaints.

I believe this to be true.  Personally, if I focus on how tough my week is, how horrible something is, how _________________ (fill in the blank), I feel tired, achy, or miserable.

Take a moment and reflect on yourself:  How do you feel when you focus on how you hate your job, or how you are angry at someone, or how you have a lack in your life?

Imagine the shift that could be possible if you focused on the positive things — the shift in your attitude, the shift in your personality.

I’m not saying everything in life is perfect.  Not everything is 1000% perfect in my life all the time, either.

BUT, I personally know that if I dwell on the negative, I feel worse.

After years of working on the Time to Play project, I have realized that the “KEY” is to recognize what I’m feeling and to dig a little — to recognize what my focus is and to figure out why I feel a specific way, especially if I am not feeling good.  Once I know the “why” (the root cause), I know I can move away from the situation and shift my focus and my thinking.

In the end, I know that it is always up to me to have the best day I can — no matter what the circumstances.

I know that I can only control me to have an enjoyable day, which is my goal everyday.  I cannot control anyone else’s behavior.  I do thank Rebecca L. Norrington, our Time to Play Foundation’s happiness expert, for sparking this awareness in me many years ago.  This awareness is definitely necessary to appropriately reach to life situations in a better manner to create a better life.

Start easy — just focus on something, one thing, to be grateful for – whether you do it at night before you go to sleep or when you wake up to start your day — or, maybe, do both!

You will notice a tremendous difference in how you feel.  I guarantee it.

After all, it is time to enjoy life.  It is Time to Play.



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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive, a certified professional life coach, the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life and author of If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.  The concept behind time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation was absolutely created out of LOVE. Please see for more information


Benefits of a Diet Change


Benefits of Diet ChangeThe Time to Play Philosophy is that you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance.

As far as health, as a person who has worked in healthcare over these last almost 30 years observing the increase of “sick and sad” in our society, I think the “healthy” part is most important.  If you are not feeling 100%, it’s hard to enjoy life.  If something is not 100%, I believe it is so important to be your own best advocate to find a solution that works for you.

Over my lifetime, I’ve become a detective of sorts.  For so many years I have lived with crampiness and bloating which impacted many areas of my life.  Again and again I learn about food reactions and our body’s “rejection” of what we are eating and “reacting” in ways that do not benefit us.  But, this is not top of mind for many healthcare practitioners – again, it is important to be your own best advocate to get to a root cause of what ails you.

My husband and I recently modified our diet significantly by implementing “the blood sugar solution” through Dr. Mark Hyman’s 10-Day Diet Detox.  OK…  so, “Detox” is historically a bad word.  I agree.  So many “detox” programs out there are super strict or are yucky shakes or expensive programs.  This lifestyle change is not that.  It’s more of a paleo lifestyle, but modified a little more to exclude foods that can convert to sugar and spike insulin.

So, through research and trial and error, I have eliminated foods that we eat that may spike insulin after consuming.  The primary reason we started was to help my husband decrease his risk for conversion to type 2 diabetes.  When we started our lifestyle modification, his A1c was a 7.  The results since our lifestyle change have been astounding.  Within one month his A1c went down to a 6.5 and his triglycerides went down 170 points.  Now, approximately 47 days later, he’s down almost 40 pounds.  Today he put on a size XL shirt for the first time in years.  It’s been pretty impressive and a great experience overall!

Change is hard.  Throughout my career, I have observed people with lung disease continue to smoke, people with diabetes continue to eat fried foods and sweets, people with potentially reversible health issues triggered by gluten allergies continue to eat the gluten, and more…

I am not judging.

I am not preaching.

I totally get it.

It’s not easy to make a life change.  My husband had been struggling with his weight over the last 33 years I’ve known him, and we tried so many things that did not work.  It gets discouraging.

I know in the scheme of things, we need to weigh the “benefits of” continuing to do what we do or adopting something that can make a shift to a place where we can better enjoy life.  We need to keep trying even when we feel we can’t try anymore.  It’s up to us to become detectives in our lives – to find the right path so we can become more happy, more healthy, have more money and have a work life balance. It’s up to us to learn what we need to know and weigh if the “benefits of” something outweigh what we are doing in our lives.

Personally, at 50 years old, I’m game to try anything that can make my life as good as it can be for as long as it can be.

As I wrote in my book, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now”, I wish I knew what I know now so many years ago.  I truly believe my quality of life would have been improved by implementing our current diet.  I spent many, many days feeling poorly.

The benefits of my lifestyle eating program change definitely outweigh the way I lived for almost 50 years.  Becoming a detective to determine the food that was making me feel poorly instead of just popping pills to counter my stomach issues is definitely a benefit that I cannot dispute.  As an extra bonus, the way I look and the way I feel has also dramatically improved.



A lot of work to plan, food shop and prepare our own meals?


But, I’ll take the “benefits of” the extra work to prepare our meals over feeling poorly any day.

Sometimes it’s necessary for us to stop and reevaluate what we are doing to make a shift that can give us significant benefits so we can enjoy our life:  whether it is a relationship issue, a job issue, a health issue or a quality of life issue.

It’s always our choice.

After all, it is time to enjoy life. It is Time to Play.

Love, Doreen

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive, a certified professional life coach, the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life and author of If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.  The concept behind time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation was absolutely created out of LOVE. Please see for more information.

Photo Credit:

Free radicals – What do they do?


free radical

Note:  This is the 2nd part of a 7 article series on reducing your cancer risk.

Goals for this article:  To give you information on Free Radicals – What do they do?  What can free radical damage cause?  Name free radical  generators.

Free radicals have an unstable bond or unpaired electrons in their outer shell.  They are unstable because their outermost shell is not full of electrons.  Thus, they want to gain (or lose or share) electrons to become full of electrons in its outermost shell, also known as stable.

These free radicals tend to attach the nearest molecule to steal an electron (-).  Then that recently stable molecule, who now just lost an electron, is now also an unstable free radical.  Then that free radical will look for a nearby molecule to steal an electron to become more stable.  Now a chain reaction has occurred.  It’s important to stop the free radicals because they will cause more free radicals, or unstable molecules.  Free radicals cause oxidative stress/damage to cells & DNA which causes mutations.  These mutations may create disease i.e. cancers, CVD, alzheimer’s,  parkinson’s, diabetes, rheumatoid…. Free radical generators include, but definitely not limited to, pollution, radiation, smoke i.e. tobacco, pesticides, insecticides, sun, alcohol, asbestos…Free radicals accumulate with age.    Thus, it’s important to become proactive NOW!

If you cut an apple in half, oxidation will cause it to brown.  But if you poured lemon juice (vitamin C-an antioxidant) on half of the apple, it would greatly slow down the oxidation process which causes the browning.  When iron comes in contact with oxidants (ie oxygen & water), oxidation & rust occurs.  If free radicals overwhelm the body, it causes oxidative stress.  Many studies have shown that free radicals age us quicker, are linked to weight gain & cancers.  For example, I’ve seen pictures of identical older twins.  Even though they have identical genes, the one that was overweight & smoked appeared several years older.  Genetics play an important role & we can’t change our genes.  Yet, environmental factors also play an important role & we do have the power/choice to make a positive change ie quit smoking, eating more veggies…

This is especially important if you have cancer in your family.


Image credit:

What is Stopping YOU?


Back to BasicsSo, it’s the beginning of the 2nd quarter of 2016.

Take a moment to stop and reflect on what you’ve been up to over these past three months (time does fly!), and make a plan, that’s right – a plan, for the second quarter.

We use planning for our businesses, or for our retirement, so why not for us, too?

I decided the easiest way to really delve into this topic was to research some New Year’s resolutions that people had made for 2016.  I found a video from Good Morning America that had the top 5 resolutions from a survey of 5,000 people, which included:  1) Enjoy Life to the Fullest; 2) Live a Healthier Lifestyle; 3) Lose Weight; 4) Spend More Time With Family and Friends; and 5) Save More, Spend Less.

That pretty much sums up the Time to Play Philosophy!  Be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance so you can Enjoy Life.  Interesting, right?

But, what’s stopping you from making these things happen?  We all may have said it sometime, that we will do ___________ (fill in the blank) someday.  But when is someday today.

It is statistically shown that over 80% of people will give up on the resolutions that they said they would pursue on New Year’s Eve.  Enjoying life to the fullest is not one that anyone should give up on.

So, what’s stopping you from achieving what you want out of life?  Most people will say time.  Don’t get overwhelmed.  This time create sustainable goals – little steps, little bites – something we can do now, today, to make things happen.

This is the backbone to our upcoming seminar, “Winning at Life – It’s Time to Get Back to Basics”.  After so many years as an idea, I cannot even convey how excited I am to see this conference unfolding.  The goal is to give every attendee something that they can use in their lives to move forward so they can enjoy life.

By the end of the morning at our seminar, I hope people will start to realize what holds them back from moving forward.  A little bit of an oxymoron, but I believe valid.  Most times, I believe, we don’t even realize there is something holding us back.  But, instead of dwelling on the past where we were fearful we couldn’t succeed, our goal is to create a positive to shift.

What holds us back?  Maybe it’s just the simple fact that we don’t think we have time to take on something else in our lives.  I’ve got to tell you – if you really want it, the time somehow magically appears.  It’s pretty amazing.

With that, my biggest hope for an outcome of the conference is that people will take away something a little different and be prepared to move forward – to find opportunities that are available in this very moment to shift them from what stops them from achieving or pursuing or completing something that had been started, or embarking on a dream, or taking that trip, or going to school, or being more healthy, etc., and to go for it.

It’s time to get back to basics to figure out what is keeping us from being happy, healthy, having money, or a work life balance.

It’s time to stop letting that underlying cause, something that we might not even be aware of, stop us from actually moving forward.

Is it hard to move forward and change?  Maybe.  But, maybe it’s time to take that first step.  Ask yourself, where will you be if you don’t do it?  No should have’s here.  No regrets.

After all, it is time to enjoy life.  It is Time to Play.



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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive, a certified professional life coach, the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life and author of If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.  The concept behind time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation was absolutely created out of LOVE. Please see for more information

Positive Thinking


Ghandi, Positive Thinking, Ghandi Positive Thinking QuoteI woke up this morning thinking about the affects our thinking has on our lives, whether positive or negative.

Mike Pastore, one of the Time to Play Foundation’s amazing Board members and I had been speaking to a man this past week.  He wanted nothing to do with making his life change or thinking he can make it change.

He had a horrible childhood and he had a horrible life so far.  I actually believe that he had did not have to experience some of his life experiences, but that circumstances actually happened because of his mindset.  Now, at over 60 years old, with all of the negativity and hard life experiences that he has had so far, he has no desire to shift his thinking to change.

I understand things take time and a shift of thinking takes time.  But, I also understand that the average life expectancy is 78 years old.  I believe it is up to us when we decide we have had enough, and that it is up to us when we decide we want something different.  It’s the founding idea behind the PREinvent YOUR Life® program of the Foundation, and my absolute mission, vision and passion – to encourage others to have the best life they can for the longest period of time possible.

Think it’s not possible for you to change the circumstances in your life?

Think you were dealt “a bad hand” and things are as they are and that you can’t change the future?

I disagree.

At this point, I believe every second of every day is a “do over” if you want it to be.  We each have the ability to start fresh, and I believe that our thinking and our choices make it possible to start to do so.

It is an underlying belief of the Time to Play Foundation that positive thinking goes a long way.  I believe that you can make lemonade out of lemons.

I say this all the time now, “I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now”.  That statement became evident a few years ago when I finally wrote the book – but, at 50 years old, I do wish I knew then what I know now when I was much younger.

Even though I know I can’t change things in my past, I now know how every day could have been filled with much more sunshine if I realized how much I am the one in control of my emotions, my reactions, and my destiny.

So, ask yourself:  The “stuff” that happened in your past – can you change it?

The answer is no.

Ask yourself – are you happy with how your life is going right now?

If you are, keep on going the way you are.  If not, take a moment to evaluate what’s happening and what you can do to make one small change to make the next second, or next hour, or the next day different.

Can positive thoughts everyday make a difference in the outcome of a person’s life?

There is much research to prove that it can and how much it affects everything in a person’s life.  The quote by Ghandi shows this knowledge  is not new.  It’s just not something many of us have been taught early on.  But, even though we can’t change our past, we can still PREinvent™ our next day and our next day.

Please join and share our public group:  Wake up every day to a positive thought and some positive energy.  We’re not trying to sugar coat things here – people have tough days.  I do, too!  But, I believe now that it is all in the way we handle things and our outlook, in general, that can create our experience.

We encourage everyone to share positive thoughts and motivation and stories in our Facebook group so we can empower each other.  That is the underlying founding principle of the Time to Play Foundation – People Helping People and Collaboration = Success.

I believe everyone has something to offer that can help someone else.

After all, it is time to enjoy life. It is Time to Play.  Every day.

Love, Doreen

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC has worked in the healthcare field since 1987.  She is a board certified healthcare executive, a certified professional life coach, the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life and author of If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.  The concept behind time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation was absolutely created out of LOVE. Please see for more information.

Source of image:

Don’t Put Off Till Tomorrow What You Can Do Today


today is a giftWe hear about the stories every day.  Someone passed away unexpectantly, someone has an unexpected illness… you know what I’m talking about.

This morning I woke to a message from one of our Foundation’s team members that her brother-in-law was admitted to ICU and is on a respirator.

Today’s weekly reflection article is simple.  It’s a reminder to not put off till tomorrow what we could do today.

I’ve written about this before, and throughout my 50 years of life, have seen evidence of the precious gift of life being taken away in an instant.

So, today, I’m going to throw out there some simple reminders that came to mind:

  • Don’t live in fear. I’m one who absolutely has learned in life that fear does paralyze us and holds us back from achieving.
  • Don’t live with harbored negative feelings toward another person. This is truly a poison within OURSELVES and can overtake our precious moments of our life.
  • Don’t live in the past. Here’s a quote that is most appropriate for this bullet point:  “The clock is running.  Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.” – Alice Morse Earle, 1902
  • Don’t live with “Should”. Just do it. What do you need to do to make the “should” happen?
  • Don’t live with “Wish”. What do you need to do to make the “wish” happen?
  • Don’t live with “Someday”. That opportunity may not come if you don’t make that first step.
  • A super important one… Don’t ask permission. When you tell someone that you (for example) want to start a business, or take a trip, or get a motorcycle, they will surely talk you out of it with a ton of “what ifs” and reasons why you can’t.
  • With that, as I mentioned it, don’t live with “Can’t”. If you Google, you will see tons of stories about amazing people who, against all odds and obstacles, DID.

DO live to make you feel good about yourself.  DO choose your circumstances that cause you to wake up in the morning with excitement and expectation of the wonderful possibilities that may unfold during the new day.  People will tell you how they haven’t chosen their circumstances and how “bad” stuff has happened to them that got them there.  Hey, we all have a story, and we all have a choice on the actions we take.

I am a true believer that not only do we enable the circumstances to happen, but we do have a CHOICE to make them change, as well.  It’s the concept behind the Foundation’s PREinvent YOUR Life® project.

I believe there is so much power within each and every one of us, and I am a true believer that there is a solution to every “problem”.  The word is in quotes because a life event is just that, something that happens.  A life event does not have to be a problem, at all, but just something we have to work around.  I wrote in my book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now, how we make mountains out of molehills – not only personally, at times, but as a society.  I truly believe that, sometimes, if we take a step back a moment and really evaluate things, we will see the option for a small change or a simple thing we can put into place that will shift the issue.

I also believe that if we focus on the solution or the goal, we can make that happen, too.

So, maybe today is your “someday”, the day that you will make those dreams happen.

Remember, today is a precious gift that you have been given.  It is absolutely your choice how you will unwrap it, and your choice how to spend it – in happiness or in despair.

There will be a time when each of us will realize our mortality and lose new chances.  With that being said, I will end this article as I started it:  Don’t Put Off Till Tomorrow What You Can Do Today, and leave you with this really thought provoking quote: “Time and Tide wait for No Man,” – St. Marher, 1225.  It is so true that no one is so powerful that they can stop the march of time.

After all, it is time to enjoy life. It is Time to Play.

Love, Doreen

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive, a certified professional life coach, the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life and author of If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.  The concept behind time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation was absolutely created out of LOVE. Please see for more information.


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It's Time to Enjoy Life: The Enjoy Life Community Program™


Years ago I was the President of the Port Jefferson Station / Terryville Civic Association.  During my time as an officer, our organization functioned beyond its primary function of being a community watchdog.  Myself, Bill Theis and Jacki Kirsch – our officers, worked to bring the community together, to collaborate with everyone, and to bring awareness of things that we should know so we could protect our quality of life.

Community collaboration 365 days a year is the vision behind the Time to Play Foundation, a not for profit organization’s Enjoy Life Community™ program.  The only difficulty to implement the program in any community is the need to introduce the easy to implement protocol that has been created by the Foundation.

A little history and why I know we can make this work:  Years ago, as an officer of the Civic, I had heard about two ladies in a neighboring town that started a program called “Violence Prevention Week”.  This was way before “Bullying” became the everyday term and the huge money-maker it has become in our society today.  As I wrote in my book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now, our society teaches bullying.  Just look at our political races, for an example.  But, that’s another topic for another day.

For Violence Prevention Week, our then Civic Association brought together the ENTIRE community to pull this off.  We involved the girl scouts – they made hundreds of purple bows out of ribbon and put them on pins out for people to wear for a visual reminder of the concept that we should be nice to each other.  The ribbons, funded by the Civic, were distributed for free everywhere throughout our community.  The boy scouts tied large purple ribbons that were given to people to put on their mailboxes.  Also with their help, large purple bows were tied to telephone poles and trees around our schools and down our main road in our community.  Our fire department got involved.  Our school district held an essay contest for middle and high school students and a poster contest for elementary students with the topic of the importance of being nice to each other.  Our chamber and religious organizations were involved, and a local bank donated bonds to the winners chosen from the submission of the essays and posters.  It was an entire community event – a feel good event to bring awareness of how important it was to care about each other – and people felt pride.

There’s so much evidence that communities can work together as a whole.  So many communities came together in a big way after 9/11.  We also hear about how communities pull together in crisis.  These are amazing examples of effort and the power of a community, but, unfortunately, the collaboration motivated by crisis end quickly after the crisis is over, and people go back to the way things were before.

But, the Enjoy Life Community™ concept is sustainable and here for the long haul.  Recently, under our preliminary efforts in Port Jefferson Station / Terryville, the Enjoy Life Community™ came together to start a walking group, helped at the high school graduation, and did a community clean up.  Not just one group was involved, but people from the civic, the churches, the chamber, the school district, and more — people in our community helping other people in our community.

What is the takeaway of the Enjoy Life Community™?  A feeling of belonging and a sense of community: A group of people who not only live in the same area, but, together, enhance the quality of life for us all, and, further, an opportunity for us to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, to become involved, and to be less lonely.

The Enjoy Life Community™ concept is timely and needed in today’s society.

It is a solution. 

Unfortunately, if we look at what’s happening to our people, we see more and more despair.  In a recent NY Times article, Where Are The Hardest Places to Live in the U.S., the reporter provided a snapshot of our Country looking at six data points for each county in the United States: education, median household income, unemployment rate, disability rate, life expectance and obesity.  I included the very telling image they included in this article.  The dark blue shows areas “doing better”.  The orange shows areas “doing worse”.  You may notice that there’s not much dark blue in the image. What hits me the most is that I live on Long Island, one of the areas designated as “doing better”.  Long Island has recently been identified as THE most expensive place to live in the United States and a place where 1 in 35 homes are in foreclosure.  If that’s doing better, I’m really glad to not live in the area “doing worse”.

It is my opinion that every community would benefit from the becoming an Enjoy Life Community™.Hardest Places to Live in the United States

Image from:

Further, it may be fair to suggest that as life has become more and more busy, people continue to become more socially isolated, resulting in a decrease of quality of life and increase of depression.  There are many supporting articles and programs that show how more and more money is being put into recovery programs and to create medications to help people in despair.  We can almost wonder if this is the right order for us to follow vs. a more active approach for PREvention vs. the reinvention and recovery approach that seems to be commonplace.

I’ve been reading a book entitled, Flourish, by Martin E.P. Seligman, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania who works on positive psychology, learned helplessness, depression, and optimism.  On page 28 he discussed the system of our government’s measurement of success – the measurement of money and gross domestic product, and the fact that the success of government is quantified by how much it built wealth.  Dr. Seligman’s discussion is in support of the measurement of the community’s opportunity to flourish – to have wellbeing – instead of just measuring wealth.  This is the intention of the Enjoy Life Community™:  For people to not only have money, which can be created by the community working together, but to have wellbeing, to enjoy life, and to have quality of life.

Working together as a community to create an Enjoy Life Community™ is a win-win for everyone.  It has the ability to bring the members of the community together, decrease social isolation, encourage participation, increase property values, create collaboration, and create wellbeing.

It is a focus on the positive and the possibilities.

For more information about starting an Enjoy Life Community™ in your area, please contact me by calling 631-331-2675 or emailing

After all, I believe it is time to enjoy life.  It is time to play…

Love, Doreen

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive, a certified professional life coach, the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life and author of If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.  The concept behind time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation was absolutely created out of LOVE. Please see for more information.


Maslow's hierarchy of needs

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My sisters and I had breakfast together yesterday.  In our busy lives, it has been really hard to take time out to visit with each other.  Years ago I had suggested making a monthly family breakfast, and I’m actually glad this is hopefully becoming a priority.  Although our breakfast gathering was only for an hour and it was just the three of us this time, we were able to enjoy each other’s company.

I’ve learned over my 50 years that if you don’t actually schedule something and make an effort to make it happen, it never will.

Part of the conversation was about my husband thinking of selling our boat. We have owned a boat for over 30 years.  Jim is a true Pisces, and when we were first dating, he purchased a 21’ Mark Twain.  It had a little cabin and a porta potty.  Although very minimal, we had everything we needed while it was just the two of us, spending many days on the water and many nights sleeping out.  Our three kids grew up on that boat and at the beach, and the stories that boat could have told!  All of the years of fishing (or trying to fish but not catching anything), the sinking episode, the rainstorms we got caught in.  The kids grew up on that boat, rushing to “suicide hill”, a fabricated name for a huge pile of sand near our dock.  We had that boat for almost 20 years.  Jim had always wanted a little bigger boat, one that would be more convenient for our family with a little kitchen area and a real bathroom space that didn’t require taking the whole boat apart to get to.

Then September 11 happened.  If you have read things I’ve written before, sometimes, I believe, it takes a life event to provide the motivation to make today a “someday”.  I’ll explain.  So many times I find that we may say “someday I’ll do this” or “someday I’ll do that”. We can say “it”, we can plan “it”, or we can make “IT” happen.  That October, as a result, I obtained a home equity loan and made “it” possible.  We purchased a larger boat that was able to accommodate the needs of our family convenience- wise, although it did reduce the portability of the boat.  As a side-note, and something that wasn’t planned as the Time to Play project wasn’t in existence at the time, the used boat we purchased came with the name “It’s All About Time”.  This is a super strong message about priorities — the need to take time to enjoy life — that I coincidentally wrote about in paragraph 1 when I began this article.

Anyway, after the years following September 11 to the present, the kids are pretty much never with us and the boat is not used as much as it had been.  With that, my sister, who has two younger boys, discussed a recent conversation with her husband about getting a bigger camping trailer.

FINALLY:  The point of this article after this whole, long introductionWhat “stuff” do we need?

A few days ago Keith Richards Godwin, one of our valuable Time to Play Foundation team, invited me to be a guest on his recovery radio show on 103.9 FM LI Talk Radio.  On the show we had a brief discussion of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the pressure society puts on us to have “stuff”.  We discussed how we needed to question if we, personally, have our basic needs being met including shelter and food, as well as if we really needed all the “stuff” our society tells us we need.

Certainly there is tremendous pressure on us to have things, but I have learned that things don’t make us whole.  At this point in my life, I have realized that anything I have needs to fill a purpose to compliment my life or to make something in my life easier.  I have learned that things are not a substitute for love or fulfillment, and cannot fill the basic needs we each have as a living and breathing human.

Years ago I heard a skit by, I believe, George Carlin, where he discussed how we live in a box where we never are because we are always working, work in a box, and pay for our car, another box, that we drive from our house box to our work box and park outside in a parking lot while we work.  I never forgot the message, which always comes to mind before I purchase something.  I wanted to share a video of the message here, but the best I could find when I Googled was this excerpt from one of George Carlin’s performances about “stuff”

Back to the breakfast with my sisters and our discussion:  our boat is long paid for at this point, so this “stuff” we have only costs yearly maintenance and dock fees.  My sister would have created another payment for her family that she would have had to work harder to cover, so she and her husband decided it wasn’t necessary to get bigger “stuff” right now.

Benefit analysis is pretty important when any purchase is considered – for example, why do you want the “stuff”, will the “stuff” enhance and compliment your life?  Will it fill a purpose to make life better or more enjoyable?

Don’t get me wrong, I love “stuff”.

But now, my intention is to get “stuff” that I will use to add to my life’s enjoyment.  There is no “stuff” that can fill any type of void in my life. And, of course, remember the saying, “You can’t take it with you”.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting or striving to get “stuff” that will add to life enjoyment.  It’s part of the joy in life, and why people make “stuff” in the first place!  I’m actually leaving this morning to go to Connecticut to pick up my new used motorcycle today, which will absolutely add to my life enjoyment this upcoming riding season.

I guess the message I’ve been trying to communicate here is don’t stress to get “stuff”.  Don’t put pressure on yourself to get “stuff”.  Not adding pressure to my life is a message I still have to remind myself of frequently.  I have found that pressure and stress lead to obstacles, and that life should focus on happiness and enjoyment.

If I only knew then what I know now.

I hope this helps spark a thought in you, and that you pass this on to someone else who may need it.

After all, it is time to enjoy life. It is Time to Play.

Love, Doreen

# # #

Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive, a certified professional life coach, the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life and author of If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.  The concept behind time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation was absolutely created out of LOVE. Please see for more information.

“I’m going to die soon”


I love my life“I’m going to die soon.”  Yesterday I spoke with a relative who said this to me.  Not, thankfully, because she has any particular health reason for the statement, but because she bought a new couch.

I asked her to explain.

She discussed how she rationalized purchasing a new couch for her living room because she hated the couch she owned.  She further explained that she was 67 years old and going to die soon, that no one lives forever, and that because she has maybe 10 or 15 more years to live, and that it was perhaps a silly purchase.

I was, truly, taken off guard.

I asked her if that is the way to live…. to wake up every day and think you are going to die soon…

I, for one, do not have the desire to focus my attention on this inevitable issue.  Fortunately, I am not aware of anything that truly predicts the exact day and moment of our individual expiration dates, and I am grateful for that.

OK… one more story.  You’ll see my point for including it here in a moment.

During Thanksgiving dinner a few weeks ago, a relative in their 70’s asked another relative in their 70’s, “So, what hurts you?”  I actually turned to her and asked if she truly said that.

So, here’s my opinion.

You can be 67 and start a fabricated countdown that is a focus point of each day, making decisions based on your personal expected longevity.  You can be 70, or maybe you are only 20 years old for that matter – age does not really make a difference here – and focus on an ailment, or something else, that creates a negative focus in your life.

OR, you can focus on the joy of being here and savoring the NOW.

I did not always have this mindset.  In my past I admit that I lived in frustration and “wished” my life away (for example, can’t wait till the weekend, can’t wait till the kids can do this stuff themselves, can’t wait till I finish college) in times when I felt challenged.  My only regret is that I did not learn to appreciate the NOW much earlier in my life experience.

A few years ago I read a book by Eckert Tolle entitled The Power of Now, where he noted that there is no past, there is no future, there is only the now.  Think about that.

Yes, sometimes we may dwell on things that happened in the past.  So many times this can effect our life for many years, sometimes in a negative manner, where we blame or makes excuses about our current situation based on something that had happened.  Keep in mind, whatever this may have been, we cannot change it.  In my recent past I have realized that it is our choice whether we want to let that “whatever” situation keep us stuck and paralyzed.  I have learned now that we only have the ability to move forward, but — I’m repeating it because it’s important — that it is our choice to do so.

And then there is Mr. Tolle’s statement that there is no future…  Yes, we plan for the future, as I believe we should.  We choose a career, have goals, plan and look forward to things.  Where would we be if we had nothing to look forward to?  I plan, and strive, and do; but, now I realize that we cannot 100% control how anything will turn out.  Personally, I love looking forward to amazing things to come, and expect only the best outcomes that will fulfill all of my desires.

Lastly, the fact (or concept) that there is only the NOW:  Only the present — this moment, this second, this day.

In my present life I choose to embrace this concept.

Mind you, I’m not perfect.  There are still times were I find myself dwelling on things that happen, or at times, still let things “in” that affect my personal behavior.  BUT, I am proud that I now recognize when this is happening, STOP and then shift my thinking.  Where something may have, in the past, affected me for a period of time, I am proud that I have developed an awareness so that a situation no longer effects me for too long.  I have also, and this is very recent, adopted a new mindset where I no longer hold things in that bother me.  I have recognized that not communicating only harbors negative feelings and frustration.  It’s a scary thing, but if someone says something or does something that bothers me, I tell them.  I recognize that we all are a work in progress.  I have decided to, and consciously make steps to, make every moment as enjoyable as possible.

In my book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now, ( in the very last page in the “Parting Words” chapter, I did create an analogy that I will explain here.

Due to the fact that our society revolves around money, I used the dollar bill to explain my thought in the book.  So, take a dollar out of your wallet.  Go ahead and do it.  Trust me.

Now, look at that dollar.

We purchase things we need and things we want with our dollars.  So, let’s use this dollar to “pay” for this second of our life.  Imagine that every second of your day you are spending one dollar.  As there are 86,400 seconds in one 24 hour day, that equals $86,400.  Pretty visual, huh?

So, imagine spending $86,400 to pay for your irreplaceable time today.  Remember that every second is a second you cannot redo.

Will you spend your dollars to bring you joy, or will you spend them in a way that does not make you feel good?

Think about it.  Take a moment to reflect on your experience.  And, here’s a concept to consider: The fact that, every second, you have an opportunity to change your next second.

If you are enjoying how you are spending your seconds, keep going in that manner.  If not, maybe it’s time to shift something — a job, school, a relationship, or something else in your current life experience, and make a plan so that you can enjoy your next one.  I believe that we all have the power within us to change our experience.  Sometimes, perhaps, all it may take is the awareness that we want to have a different life experience, and to take one small step to get started in a new direction.

Maybe today is the “someday” that we shift our plan of action to make our next second amazing.

I plan to love all my seconds.  I recognize, after 50 years in my life, that it is MY CHOICE on how I want to feel, and it is a waste of my seconds to feel badly in any way.

There’s one more thing that I’m going to add here before I end this, something that might help someone in their quest for quality of life.  One of our board members of the Time to Play Foundation, at New Years, said that instead of just celebrating the one day, “Happy New Year”, why don’t we celebrate everyday:  “Happy New Day”.  I thought this was brilliant and have personally adopted this celebratory mindset.  Happy New Day to you — every day.  Every day is a clean slate and a new opportunity to celebrate life.

I hope this helps spark a thought in you, and that you pass this on to someone else who may need it.

After all, it is time to enjoy life. It is Time to Play.

Love, Doreen

# # #

Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive, a certified professional life coach, the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life and author of If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.  The concept behind time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation was absolutely created out of LOVE. Please see for more information.