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Transformation

Inspiring accounts of change and redirecting the future

In a “glass half empty” analogy, we have suffered so much due to the pandemic and have fallen victim to unexpected life changes.

On the other hand, using a “glass half full” scenario, even unwanted changes can be catalysts for transformation, converting proverbial lemons to lemonade.

In this chapter, we present two women of different vocations who took the bull by the horns and steered it into something that works for them and the people around them.

We salute the evolution of a prominent theater organization that made great strides despite pandemic setbacks.

And our Coastal Design contributor makes sense of seeking help when facing forks in the road.

Finally, we offer a meditative quote about the choice to transform and the willingness it takes to become an adventurer in one’s own life.

May we all have the courage to redirect the future.

 
 
 
 
 

FYI — FOR YOUR INSPIRATION

Mindful Musing

 

 

“Change can be hard.

It requires no extra effort to settle for the same old thing. Auto-pilot keeps us locked into past patterns.

But transforming your life? That requires courage, commitment and effort.

It’s tempting to stay camped in the zone of That’s-Just-How-It-Is.

But to get to the really good stuff in life, you have to be willing to become an explorer and adventurer.”  

 

~ John Mark Green, author, “Taste the Wild Wonder”

HEALTH & WELLNESS

Get Moving!

Biomechanics expert gives three good reasons to get off the couch

by Rami Hashish, Ph.D.

If there’s anything the COVID pandemic has taught us, it’s that health is precious and shouldn’t be taken for granted. Yet, ironically, if you’re like most Americans, you’ve been cooped up at home for the last year and a half, resulting in an inability to engage in physical activity, partake in social activities and see your loved ones.

This has undoubtedly taken a toll mentally, physically, and emotionally. Fortunately, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel. While the delta variant is certainly cause for concern, the world feels far more open than it did 18 long months ago. So, there’s no better time than now to start feeling like your true self. And there’s no better way to do it than through working up a sweat. On that note, here are three reasons why — after getting vaccinated, of course — you should go back to the gym:

1. You May Be Deconditioned

At this point in the pandemic, you may feel winded by taking a leisurely stroll down your hallway! But trust me, you’re not alone. Inactivity is associated with not only reduced endurance, but also reduced flexibility and strength, worsened balance and creaky joints. And for those of you who are weight conscious, keep in mind that muscle is denser than fat. So, while the number on the scale may not have changed, the proportion of fat may have increased.

Deconditioning is associated with an increased potential for injury as well as an overall body negativity attitude. And if you’re getting up there in years, decline in flexibility, strength, balance and endurance may be the difference between being able to participate in activities you love — like yoga and golf — or simply serving as a spectator. 

2. It’s Not Just About Physical Fitness

Exercise doesn’t just affect our physical appearance and performance. It affects how we think, feel, perform and sleep. From the mental side, regular physical activity helps promote creativity and ward off diseases such as Alzheimer’s by promoting neurogenesis — the process of brain cell growth. Also, after higher intensity exercise, a small gland in the brain, called the pituitary gland, releases endorphin hormones. This seemingly magical hormone helps inhibit pain and produce a sense of euphoria. In other words, if you’re feeling stressed, anxious or down, a short run may be the best medicine.

 

Exercise can also help spice up your sex life! In fact, exercise is linked with an increased interest in sex, improved energy and stamina, as well as improved body positivity attitude. Among women, exercise also has been shown to increase arousal, while helping to combat erectile dysfunction among men.

And since sleep commonly follows sex, we might as well talk about the benefits of exercise with that, too. Exercise has proven to help people fall asleep faster, as well as improve their sleep efficiency and duration. So, ditch the melatonin — a more natural way to help you get some z’s is simply to move your body.

3.  To Have Fun

Perhaps the most important reason why you should get back to exercising, is to have fun! Now, I know that many don’t love going to the gym, but there’s a simple solution to that: Don’t go. Engage in physical activities you enjoy, whether that’s walking, biking, swimming, skating, yoga or gardening. Keep it simple and realize that what you do matters less than the fact that you do it.  

A basic goal to keep in mind is to do about 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week, with two additional days of resistance training. If you’re wondering what constitutes moderate intensity, think of a 5-mile bike ride in 30 minutes or a brisk walk at a pace of 100 steps per minute or 3,000 steps in a half hour.

After social distancing for far too long, to make it a bit more fun and sustainable, try engaging in group exercise, such as a regular walk, run or swim with a few friends. Another idea is to find whatever you love to do and incorporate exercise. For instance, you could try listening to a book through your AirPods as you walk along the beach. And if you love to paint, keep in mind that physical activity helps promotes creativity, so use it as fuel for your canvas.

If that still doesn’t get your juices flowing, push yourself for your health and for your loved ones, because even if you don’t love the act of physical activity, I’m sure you love being able to play with your kids or grandkids unencumbered and pain free.

Dr. Rami is the founder of the National Biomechanics Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in biomechanics, and a doctorate of physical therapy. He specializes in determining injury causation and human performance. Learn more at www.ramihashish.com.

 

COASTAL DESIGN

Home Transformation

Designers help homeowners transition through life’s changes  

by Diane Torrisi

Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “change” as “undergoing transformation.”

Whether it is a planned transformation — such as empty nesting — or a sudden, heart-wrenching change of family dynamics, decisions concerning your home will need to be made.

We all handle major life events differently and at different speeds. I always recommend to my clients that they take their time and go with their gut instincts. It’s important to take into consideration the opinions of friends and family, but ultimately, you (and only you) know when it’s time to pack up the plastic bins and post “for sale” on Facebook Marketplace.

Of course, not all change is the result of great life choices or well-thought-out plans.

There are basically three different changes: planned, immediate and gradual. All three are attached to emotional strings that can tug you in many different directions. Entrusting a third party, either a professional organizer or your designer, to assist in some of these looming home decisions can help move things along efficiently.

 

Planned

Once a child goes off to college, a part of you might consider turning his or her room into a multifunction space, like a home office with daybed. (Keep those trophies for a while, though!) Let your son or daughter know what you’re planning. I do not suggest springing the “big reveal” on Thanksgiving morning, when they return home for the first fall break.

Immediate

Downsizing because of a personal loss is one of life’s most difficult passages. I recently had a client who was very enthusiastic about renovating her entire home. However, she had some difficulties making decisions about her master bedroom. Her husband had passed away the previous year, and her pain was palpable. I reassured her that I supported her need to temporarily put that room on hold, and that whenever she felt ready, we would return to that project. I’m not a big advocate of storage units, but sometimes we need to just pack up and set everything aside and wait for a quieter time to decide what to keep, what has lasting value going forward in your new home and life. 

Gradual

Gradual changes to lifestyle related to health carry their own set of challenges, and as the general population ages, design style has been influenced. Many designers today are certified in “aging in place” and can guide necessary home renovations to accommodate today’s needs. A focus on safety and function — combined with aesthetics — is critical.

A designer can help you create the retreat that heals your soul. Whether you want to transform your bathroom into more of an escape, or your kitchen into one geared more toward wellness and health, your home should be the perfect shelter from this chaotic world.

 

Take a deep breath, you’ve got this!

FEATURE

In Tune with Instinct

Passion and intuition drive star, Glory Crampton, in times of transition

by Kathy Grey

“Broadway may be dark, and the theater industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, but the pandemic has not slowed down Broadway musical theater soprano and leading lady Glory Crampton. Since relocating to Naples last year, Ms. Crampton rechanneled her singing, acting and directing talents and conceived ‘Project 9’ — a new, 15-minute music video homage to the Tony award-winning musical ‘Nine,’ reconnecting an all-star Broadway cast and full orchestra, filmed and recorded separately from quarantined homes, using advanced iPhone technology.”

Those words, written by publicist Kathy Prutos, captured our attention as we read through nominations of women who are “pandemic transformers” of their lives or the lives of others. In this case, Glory Crampton took on both roles by conceiving and directing “Project 9,” a tribute video to the musical “Nine,” written by Arthur Kopit, with music and lyrics by Maury Yeston and original adaptation of “The Italian” by Mario Fratti.

Crampton starred in the 2010 Westchester Broadway Theatre (Elmsford, New York) production of the musical and dreamed of reuniting the close-knit cast for an encore. Interestingly, lockdown during the pandemic gave her that opportunity.

“It was so strongly in my mind,” Crampton says. “I already knew this extraordinary cast.” Although it’s a musical about a man’s midlife crisis, the cast is otherwise comprised of women. “Incredibly beautiful women,” Crampton says of this particular cast.

“We’ve stayed in close touch. We’ve been supportive of one another for years and years, and I wanted us to revisit this music together. It seemed normal that this was something I could look into during COVID.

“We were all wondering what was happening to our industry and struggling through it. I wanted to show people you could still live in your passion even when you’re in crisis. I wanted to find a way to get these women singing, dancing and acting again, to be excited about performing and putting makeup on. I wanted to see the joy of them come back to life, moving to music.”

Crampton is not only devoted to performing, she’s devoted to possibilities.

Of what would eventually become “Project 9,” which can now be viewed on Crampton’s website or on YouTube, she says, “I didn’t have the technical chops to do it, but I always move toward challenges. What I did know was the music.”

If she sees something clearly in her mind, she can see it through to the end, she says. “I trust the steps in between will lead me there.”

She reached out to friends and experts for answers and advice. When she thought she had chosen the perfect New York City editor, she listened to her intuition and chose, instead, Naples editor Ruben Dario Vasquez. Crampton not only has faith in possibilities and positive outcomes, she puts trust in her instincts.

Her instinct told her to travel to New York to select sites for filming that were appropriate for each actress. “I went to each girl and walked around her neighborhood,” she says. The video’s compelling backdrops are the result: from NYC rooftops, streetscapes and apartment interiors to a boat in Palm Beach, to Emillions Art in Naples, where most of Crampton’s segments were filmed.

Crampton sums up her year-long labor of love honestly: “During COVID, what else did we have to do? That kept me occupied more than Netflix did.”

The project taught her “a huge lesson in trust” that transformed her personally and professionally. “I learned to have confidence in trusting the process of something you’re passionate about,” she says.

Glory Crampton

“I wanted to show people you could still live in your passion even when you’re in crisis.” ~ Glory Crampton

 

She learned to lean into the encouragement of good friends and advice from trusted experts.

She also learned that her trust had to be actualized.

“When the cast jumped on board, I had to deliver for them … make them proud and make sure their time wasn’t wasted.”

Clearly, their time was well spent. “Project 9” received three Telly awards, including Best Music Video, and the Europe Film Festival UK Award for Best Soundtrack.

When asked what defines her, Crampton answers immediately: “Reinvention.”

“I had a great career early on. I traveled, did the Asian tour of ‘West Side Story,’ ‘Jesus Christ Superstar…’ I invented a concert career, did 14 recordings…”

When she was going through divorce, she presented a TEDx talk about unlimited possibilities.

She studied with Momentum Education (a “journey of self-discovery, empowerment and clarity”) in New York and became a trainer there.

Driven by her personal passions, she considers herself to be “a big advocate for women staying in their joy. I’m always looking forward, taking what I have and redirecting it in times of transition, knowing that good things are always around the corner,” she says. “Stay true to your passion at all costs, and the rest will follow.”

• To view “Project 9,” go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9K6_yg_EnS0

 

• To view Glory Crampton’s TEDx talk, visit https://www.ted.com/talks/glory_crampton_release_stage_fright_ignite_unlimited_possibilities

 

• To learn more about Glory Crampton, visit https://www.glorycrampton.com

FEATURE

Exceeding Expectation

Dr. Jaclynn Faffer led the charge for getting area seniors vaccinated

by Clay W. Cone

Dr. Jaclynn Faffer

In her role as President/CEO of the nonprofit Naples Senior Center, Dr. Jaclynn Faffer knew that something had to be done to help Collier County’s most vulnerable population.

It was mid-January and the much-anticipated COVID-19 vaccine started to roll out. Yet thousands of seniors couldn’t get access to the lifesaving shot, particularly those age 80 and older and who lacked the technology needed to book an appointment with the state.

Dr. Faffer met with County Commissioner Penny Taylor and explained that local seniors were having a tremendous challenge accessing the COVID-19 vaccine in our community.

After further discussions, a pilot program was established through the Florida Department of Health/Collier (FDOH), whereby Naples Senior Center would be given a link to register approximately 100 seniors for the vaccine. Those registered seniors would then visit the state’s vaccine distribution site at the North Collier Regional Park off Livingston Road.

Once word got out that Naples Senior Center was securing vaccine appointments for seniors, gated communities, civic groups and hospitals all began referring seniors. With more and more seniors registering, the weekly allotment of shots increased to over 1,500.

“We intentionally started small to test how it would be received,” says Dr. Faffer. “The demand far exceeded expectations and we were flooded with desperate calls for help.”

Dr. Faffer and her team responded to this surge by adding more phone lines so that staff and volunteers could help every older adult in the community who wanted it. The center also contracted with a home health care company to provide transportation when needed.

The program was a tremendous success and the partnership continued with FDOH until April 16, 2021, when saturation was ultimately reached.

In May, the Board of Collier County Commissioners issued a proclamation, recognizing and expressing deep appreciation for the efforts of Dr. Faffer, staff and volunteers in assisting thousands of local seniors in obtaining COVID-19 vaccine appointments during the global pandemic.

“Through the diligent efforts of staff and volunteers at the Naples Senior Center, an estimated 7,400 seniors obtained a vaccine appointment, including six seniors over the age of 100 and more than 700 veterans,” says Commissioner Taylor. “We deeply appreciate all those who exceeded expectations, demonstrated efficiency and compassion, and assisted thousands of seniors in Collier County in obtaining this lifesaving vaccine.”

Dr. Faffer has been a visionary leader in the field of human services for nearly 30 years. She earned her Master of Social Work from Tulane University and holds a doctorate in social welfare from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University. She relocated to Naples in 2010 to lead the organization that became Naples Senior Center.

Dr. Faffer holds the proclamation issued by the Board of Collier County Commissioners

Naples Senior Center is the only human services agency of its kind in our region, providing “one-stop-shop” programs and services that support and strengthen seniors, often at times of vulnerability and crisis. All services are provided by licensed and credentialed professionals, and individuals of all beliefs and backgrounds are welcome.

For more information on Naples Senior Center, visit www.NaplesSeniorCenter.org.

ARTS EVOLUTION

Manifesting a Dream

Gulfshore Playhouse Theatre and Education Center set to open in 2023

by Glenn Miller

Not even a global pandemic could stop the transformation of Gulfshore Playhouse.

The troupe is now housed at the Norris Community Center in downtown Naples in a sylvan corner of Cambier Park. In October, ground will be broken for a $60 million project on a three-acre site at the corner of Goodlette-Frank Road and First Avenue South.

The new home should be ready for the 2023-24 season and will be the culmination of a two-decade quest for Kristen Coury, the CEO and producing artistic director of Gulfshore Playhouse.

Coury first rolled into Naples in 2003 and fell in love with the community. She’s always loved theater. It was then that her vision combining these two loves started coming into focus. But it would take time. Especially for somebody new to Naples. Coury recalls what it was like in 2003 when she started dreaming of bringing professional theater to Naples.

“I don’t know anybody in town,” Coury says. “I don’t have any money. I don’t have a name for the place.”

Coury swiftly built a name for herself and the theater. What started with just Coury and her dream has evolved into Gulfshore Playhouse with a 22-member board. Support has poured in not only from the board, but the wider community, to make the new home a reality.


Philanthropists Patty and Jay Baker donated $20 million via two challenge grants, one to launch the campaign and one to get to groundbreaking for the Baker Theatre and Education Center. Sandi and Tom Moran of Naples pledged $5 million to name the Moran Mainstage, and Steve and Jane Akin donated $5 million for the naming rights to the Akin Grand Lobby.

Money flowed in from other arts-minded patrons. As the nation and world slogged through the coronavirus pandemic, the transformation of Gulfshore Playhouse continued with donations.

In late July, the $60 million fundraising goal was in sight. Coury says the total at that time was around $55 million, with about 43 other donations that range from $50 to $5 million.

When the pandemic hit in early 2020, Gulfshore Playhouse, like all theaters, struggled. Coury says it was “extremely challenging.”

The new theater will be about more than art. The economic impact is projected at $20 million a year. Coury projects the theater will have a $10 million annual budget and 60 to 75 full-time employees.

Earlier this year. Coury wrote a first-person piece for American Theatre magazine about the transformation and her quest. She mentioned moving from New York to Naples in 2003, writing, “My intuition told me this was the place I needed to make my dreams a reality.”

Now, the reality is inching closer. 

Thinking about groundbreaking day, Coury says, “It’s really hard to imagine the amount of emotion.”

It will be the culmination of a project of great emotion — and even greater imagination — when the Gulfshore Playhouse Theatre and Education Center opens and Coury’s 2003 dream becomes a 2023 reality.

 

Career journalist Glenn Miller is a part-time Florida Gulf Coast University journalism instructor.

Kristen Coury

Diane Torrisi grew up in Europe and brings that European flair to her design projects. She opened her own design studio in historic Bonita Springs in 2020. She is active in her community and has her own podcast, always dreaming up new offerings for her clients, from “Designer for a Day” to the upcoming “Studio Sessions,” a hands-on design workshop. Visit www.DianeTorrisiDesigns.com to learn more.

CHAPTER 47