Monday, January 31, 2011

I'm back!

Wow, that case of Shingles kicked me down hard, but I'm finally recovered and happy to be back at work. I've discovered that I have lovely clients who are very patient.  Thank you to all of you who kindly waited for me to reschedule your appointments.  It feels so good to be back at work and feeling back to myself!

But, I did learn a few lessons while I was battling the Shingles:

1) I'm such a baby.  I hate being sick and I can get a little whiny.  Thank God my husband has a lot of patience.

2) My kids can do a lot more for themselves than I give them credit.  One day, I couldn't even get out of bed to pack lunches, and my husband, trying to balance everything else, forgot.  And so my little 2nd and 3rd graders packed their own lunches.  One even threw in an apple!

3) I have really good friends who brought over meals and watched my kids for me so I could sleep and throw up in peace :)

4) I need to do less.  When the doctor diagnosed me, he said, "I rarely see Shingles in someone as young as you.  Are you under stress?"  I wanted say, "Gee, let me think.  I have three kids under 8.  I do readings and teach classes, manage 4 work email accounts, keep a blog, a weekly live radio show and a monthly newsletter and volunteer each week at my kids' school.  Stressed?  No, of course not."  Instead, I just nodded quietly.

Ah, stress, my angry sister, you are back.  And so I've realized that while I may talk the talk, I do not walk the walk.  Yes, I make time for myself.  But only after I've made time for my family, my friends, my clients, my jobs and my pets.  Then, and only if there's time, will I do something for myself.  Well, no more.  I am now vowing to spend lots of time each day doing nothing productive.  I've found great stress relief in just sitting to pet my cat, in taking my dog for a walk, in mindlessly flipping through a magazine and not feeling guilty for wasting time.

I hope some of you busy readers out there will learn this lesson from me before a nasty illness "helps" you learn it for yourself.  If we don't give our body the rest it deserves, it will find a way to get it.

So for now, I'm well rested and happy to go back to my magazine!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Under the Weather

Hello all, I've come down with a nasty case of Shingles and am just today able to lift my head. I'll return to blogging, and responding to your emails and phone calls as soon as I am able.  In the meantime, any light, love and prayers sent my way will be greatly appreciated.  Thank you!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Feng Shui For 2011

I love the idea of Feng Shui -- that everything, even furniture and books and  mirrors, holds energy. Feng Shui means "wind" and "water" and has been practiced for over 5,000 years.  The objective of Feng Shui is to find balance in your home.  I was first introduced to Feng Shui in 1986.  My dad had been asked to take over a struggling marketing department for a large advertising company in Manhattan.  As part of the deal, he was given a substantial budget to redecorate and got called into the board after they discovered he'd spent most of the money on Feng Shui planners.  But dad got the last laugh when, by the end of the year, he'd turned the department around and made it the most successful it had ever been.  Was that a result of the new plants and water fountains or his hard work and dedication?  If you ask him, he'll say it was both.

Here are some simple Feng Shui tips everyone should follow to maintain harmony in their home:

1) Keep your house clean and uncluttered at all times
2) Tie red ribbons around all pipes under sinks, behind washers and water heaters to ensure that the good, positive energy doesn't leave your home
3) Keep the toilet and washer/dryer lids closed at all times when not in use to prevent good energy from leaking out your home.
4) Keep all bathroom doors shut
5)Do not have a mirror facing your bed
6) Tie red ribbons around the base of your bed to ensure it's rooted in passion and stability
7) Put a mirror or reflective object behind your stove top to reflect and double your good fortune.  In Feng Shui the kitchen is the hearth of the home and is central to good energy flow.
8) Hang a crystal from ceiling fans to disperse the fans' disruptive energy.
9) Have good plants in main rooms.  Good plants are evergreens like bamboo and jade.  Avoid negative plants such as cacti.
10) Open all blinds and curtains during the day to let the light in and allow good energy to flow.
11) Make sure the entrance to your home is clearly marked and looks welcoming.  A red door attracts positive chi.  Fresh flowers flanking the door and a welcoming mat help too.  Make sure your front door is freshly painted, opens easily and doesn't squeak.
12) A bowl of fresh fruit maintains good energy in the kitchen.  But do not have dying fruit, flowers or plants in your home.  Pull off all dead leaves from plants.

This is just a brief start.  I'll post more Feng Shui tips as time allows.  The topic is broad and ranges across many disciplines, but some of the concepts are basic and common sense.  Check out my website and click on Recommended Reading for some of my favorite Feng Shui books.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Ripple Effect

I was at the store yesterday shopping for linens.  We have family in town this weekend, and I wanted to have fresh sheets and blankets.  Of course I chose the one blanket without a tag, so the salesgirl had to go and find another one.  I turned to an elderly, well dressed lady behind me and said, "I'm so sorry.  I don't know how I picked the only one without a tag." The woman paused, gave me the meanest stare between squinted eyes and then threw up her hands in disgust.  "Great!" She shrieked.  "Just great." Then she crossed her arms and turned her back to me.

I was appalled and angry.  The delay in my transaction was caused by an accident, and I apologized for it. Her anger transferred to me like a nasty cold germ.  When the nice salesgirls finished ringing me up, I took my bags, turned to the horrid woman behind me and said, "I hope you have a wonderful and patient day." I'm ashamed to say that my voice was dripping in sarcasm.

But really?  Really?  That's her reaction to an honest apology for something that really wasn't my fault. How does she behave to something actually upsetting in her life?  How does she maintain relationships of any kind?  In every moment of our day -- when a car pulls out in front of us, when a neighbor gossips to us, when a co-worker teases someone -- we have a choice as to how we'll behave.  We can be nice or mean.  And that choice has a ripple effect.  I drove home angry at that woman and angry at myself for letting her bitterness make me angry.

I came home, unpacked my bags and hurried up to my office to meditate before several afternoon phone readings.  Here's an example of how some of those readings went:

ME: "Your mom wants to talk about your brother.  Is he married? She's talking about marital discord?"
CLIENT: "Oh, I wouldn't know.  I haven't talked to my brother in over 15 years.  I got mom's car when she died and he wanted it, so that's that.  We don't have a relationship."

Really?  Are you all kidding me? You're going to throw away a relationship over a car?

ME: "Your aunt says that you're being too hard on your daughter.  Something about her hair I think?"

CLIENT: "And her hips.  That poor girl has the worst body God created.  I keep telling her that she needs to watch every morsel that goes into her mouth or its Tubbo City."

Really?  Really?  That client needs to write a book called, "How To Raise an Anorexic and Not Feel Any Remorse About It."

How do you raise your own child to hate her body?  How does that happen?

ME: "Your grandmother's here.  Are you named after her?"

CLIENT: "Yes, but I didn't really know her.  Is there any one else there for me?"

Oh. My. God.  Someone from the other side took precious time out of their day and you don't care because why?  You didn't know her that well?

God help me.  Is it any wonder I went to bed last night after taking 2 Advil and drinking a rather large glass of wine.  Totally unlike me but after my day very necessary.

It will do us all good, I think, to remember that your actions have a ripple effect that like dominoes falling down effect everyone around us.  You have the choice, this moment, every moment, each day, to be nice or mean.  Please, for the sake of us all, BE NICE!

Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dream Visits

In my readings over the last week or so, I've had a lot of people come through with information about their dream visits which left my clients with many questions, so I thought I'd take a minute to explain what I've learned from our loved ones on the other side.

When you've lost a loved one, they're allowed to come to you in dreams to let you know they're okay, that they made it to the other side.  I've also learned through my readings that it takes a lot of energy for our deceased friends and loved ones to come through this way.  This is just a sampling of what I heard just this week in readings,

"Tell her I'm trying to build up enough energy to come in a dream."

"Please let him know I'm trying to come in a dream, but his grief is preventing me."

"I'm sorry I scared her in my dream visit. I didn't mean to."

"Tell her that really was me in a dream.  She doesn't believe it."

In order for them to visit us in a dream, they have to get permission from their guides and angels, they have to learn how to build their energy and align it with ours during our dream state, and they have to learn how to recreate themselves because on the other side, they don't have a body.  They're just pure light.  They have to use their energy to build or create everything in the dream -- the scenery, the clothes, the weather, the furniture.

If you're grieving, your energy puts up a dense barrier and your loved ones can't penetrate that barrier to come through in a dream visit.  Be patient with your grief and ask for signs instead until you're ready to receive them in a dream.

Give them time to come to you. I was sitting with a client last week and her loved one apologized for scaring her in a dream.  I relayed this information to my client and she said, "He did!  I woke up in my dream and saw him walking toward me with his limbs going every which way; it was like he had no bones! I told him to go away.  Stop scaring me."  She felt terrible about that, but the dream truly frightened her.  I explained to her that since he'd only recently passed, he hadn't learned how to use energy to recreate his body.

I've also been told by loved ones that they're only allowed to come to us in three dream visits.  This doesn't always hold true; if something major is going on in your life, often they'll be given permission to visit you in a dream and offer comfort.  But in general, they're given three visits.  This is done to prevent the grieving person from holding on to their lost love and their grief.  If they were allowed to visit us in dreams as often as we wished, we'd never get through the grieving process and our loved ones on the other side would never be allowed to move on.

When we die, as I've said before, we're not assigned a harp and a cloud.  We have work to do.  First there's the life review process which can take awhile.  Then there's the rest period where we come to terms with what we did and didn't do in our lifetime on earth.  This is followed by our job assignment.  We're all given different tasks.  Teachers will often continue their work by either teaching young souls who've recently crossed or by inspiring and guiding teachers on earth.  Doctors will administer to newly arrived souls or assist souls ready to return.  Psychologists and counselors will work with troubled souls who are having a hard time dealing with the karma of their actions.  I've been told by suicides and people who've died through overdosing that their job is to work with suicidal and addicted souls on earth to prevent them from going down the same road.  Some people are given the task of watching out for family members still here on earth.  One client had a brother who passed.  He showed me a fire he'd prevented and said that was his job -- to keep the family safe.

If we continue to hold on to them, pulling them here with our thoughts, our sadness, our needs, they'll never be allowed to progress through the many levels of their soul development.  That's why the dream visits are limited.

I've also been told that if your loved one is able to hug you in a dream, that's a big deal.  It takes a lot of energy for them to create this scenario.  Be grateful for this experience.

If you're blessed with a dream visit, I suggest you do a few things:

1) acknowledge it.  Don't doubt it.  You'll know it's real because you'll remember every detail of it.

2) say thank you.  As I've pointed out many times already, it takes a lot of energy for them to come to us this way.

3) write it down.  You'll be surprised how much comfort you'll receive months and years down the road from reading about your dream visit.

4) be careful who you tell.  Don't enthusiastically share your dream with naysayers.  Our loved ones come to us in dream visits to offer us comfort and hope.  Telling a non-believer and possibly dashing your hopes is not what your loved one on the other side wants for you.

If you haven't received a dream visit, be patient.  Ask for one and then wait patiently.  They will come to you.  If you have any questions or dream visits of your own, please share them here.

Friday, January 7, 2011

You Are Never Alone

"Do you see this pit of despair in my stomach leaving me?"

"Will I ever be blessed with a family?"

"Why can't I find someone?"

"Why did he leave me?"

"Will I always be alone?"

In my office and over the phone, people of all ages and backgrounds have poured out their innermost fears to me, and so often it comes down to that core question: "Will I be alone?"

I've seen women stay in horrible marriages to avoid being alone and conversely I've seen people run from relationships, instead choosing to live like martyred hermits rather than risk their fragile hearts getting broken again.

I don't have all the answers; I hardly have any answers.  What I do have is faith in something much greater than us that, if we just believe, will never leave us, will always sustain us and will strengthen us all the days of our life.  I also know that the best antidote to loneliness is self-contentment.

I should have grown up a very lonely child.  Whenever my dad was offered a better job, we'd up and move.  Between the ages of 5 and 11, I switched schools every other year.  This made me a bit shy and hesitant to meet new people.

I say I should have been a lonely child but I wasn't.  I had myself and because of that often difficult childhood, I had to learn to entertain myself.  Wherever we lived, my dad chose a house bordered by woods and either a creek or a pond.  I would spend hours getting lost in these woods and playing in the creek.  I'd take handfuls of aquarium stones and my mom's cake pans to the banks of the water.  Pouring the stones into the water, I'd pretend to pan for gold.  Sometimes, I'd pick pounds of moss and leave it at the base of a tree where I "knew" fairies lived.  I figured they could spin the moss into blankets to keep themselves warm throughout the winter.  I wrote stories for my stuffed animals and illustrated them, stringing them into little booklets.  On cold or rainy days, I'd make a blanket tent in my bedroom, grab a flashlight and pretend I was camping in the woods.

I'm grateful for these experiences because they've taught me to always enjoy my own company.  That's a gift I've learned some people don't share.  But it's a learned gift. All you have to do is discover what makes you happy and do it, even if you're not good at it.  I have a client who taught herself to knit and was horrible at it for a very long time.  Now, just a few years later, her intricate work is being sold on  Etsy.  There's a gentleman in Boston who loved to paint fun, uplifting pictures, but no one would buy them.  So he started leaving them all throughout Boston -- in subways, bus depots, office lobbies, park benches -- with a simple message: "If this picture made you smile, take it and pass it on."  Now he's got a website, a ton of sales and supposedly a book of his work in the making.  I know a woman who loves to play the piano.  Every Saturday morning, she drives to a local nursing home and plays for the residents.  My good friend had a hard time meditating, so she starting stringing beads as a way of counting her mantras and prayers.  Now she's a well known jewelry artist.

Find your passion, discover your true heart and find solace in the fact that wherever you go, there you are.  There is no escaping yourself; so you'd better fall in love with you!  It's better than the alternative I see so often in my office:  staying in bad relationships, hopping from one relationship to the next or worse, closing yourself off from the possibility of love.  You are a child of light.  You are loved and good and whole just as you are.  Just because a few bad people and a couple of nasty experiences have darkened that light doesn't mean you can't dust yourself off and shine more brightly than ever before.  Make a commitment to yourself this year -- to fall in love with you, to spend time with you, to embark on a journey of you.  And pray.  Ask for guidance and help and you will find it.

"Not long ago a very wise man told me that souls who do not practice prayer are like people whose limbs are paralyzed.  Even though they have hands and feet, they cannot command them.  And so there are souls so caught up in worldly matters that there is little hope for their recovery; they seem to be incapable of entering within themselves.  The entry door to this interior castle is prayer and meditation."
 -- The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Stay Happy!

Brace yourself.  I’m going to brag about my kids, but just for a moment.  Or two. Okay, so I have great kids who teach me every day how to be present and enjoy each moment.  My seven year old is our little earth angel.  Victoria wakes up happy and she goes to bed happy.  Everything rolls off her back.  I promise I’m not exaggerating.  In seven years, she’s never had a temper tantrum or a time out.  She’s just this amazing soul who makes everyone smile.  Her mantra is “Stay Happy!”  When guests leave our house, she runs to the door, waves and says, “Stay Happy!”  She writes it on her pictures right next to a smiling sun wearing sunglasses. 

I love the message in her mantra.  It’s not “Be Happy” nor is it “Hope you’re happy.”  Her message assumes that we’re already happy and she’s asking that we maintain that present awareness.  I remember last year when my kids waited for weeks for a new movie to open at our local theater.  While driving there, I told them I’d take them for ice cream after the movie.  But when we arrived and discovered the movie was sold out, sadness ensued.  I comforted my two other children and said to Victoria, “You okay honey?” She shrugged, smiled and said, “Of course mommy!  This just means we get to the ice cream part quicker.”

My oldest daughter signs her notes and papers “Shine On!” in fancy curly letters reminding us all to fully embrace our inner light.  She’s my religious wonder who always asks us if we can pray.  When she was two, she took to wearing her rosary beads like a necklace and by the time she was five, she’d memorized all the prayers for the rosary.  She sees her angel a lot, believes strongly in fairies, and will set aside toys and clothes to give to the poor almost every month.  My youngest little curly top doesn’t have a mantra yet.  She prefers to sit on her throne and let us make her happy; luckily we’re all willing court jesters.  She’s taught me how to be fearlessly joyful.  Nothing scares this kid.  This past Thanksgiving, she watched The Wizard of Oz for the first time.  I kept her close to me, ready to dart into the kitchen with her when the scary monkey scene came on.  But instead, she hopped off my lap, pulled out an imaginary sword and said, “Back off Mr. Monkeys. I am a musketeer and I will fight you!”

Before God gifted me with my little pumpkins, I was happy when things were going well, and I was sad when they weren’t.  But they’ve taught me how to be happy in all the moments that comprise our life, to be grateful for the smallest things, to share my light with others, to laugh in the face of fear and to always, always shine on and stay happy.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a wonderful new year's celebration and are ready to start the new year with renewed commitment to achieving your goals, dreams and desires.  I just got my children off to their first day of school in the new year, and I feel a bit sad.  We had a wonderful, relaxing two weeks of sleeping in, playing with friends, visiting family and playing with all the new toys Santa brought us.  But I've made a commitment to try and keep that festive feeling with us all year long by saying "NO" more often.  Can I bring 24 cupcakes to school on Friday?  No, actually, I can't. Well, maybe I can buy some cupcakes at the grocery stores, but I will NOT bake them and I certainly won't do the time consuming rainbow cupcakes with seven layers.  See?  Easy.

Alright, so as you can see change comes slowly.  But when we set our mind to something, change DOES come.  We just have to be patient.  And what better time to make these changes than at the new year?  A special energy of manifesting swirls around us twice a year -- at the new year and around our birthday. Plus, astrologically speaking, ALL planets are moving direct for the first several weeks of January. Yes, you read that correctly.  No planets are in retrograde for the new couple of weeks.  That's fantastic and hasn't happened in a really long time.

So where do you see yourself in the next six months? Where will you be on January 1 of 2012?  What will your job, your family, your relationships, your self-esteem, your spirituality look like in one year?  Imagine it, visualize it, be it.

There's a wonderful story I read in the first Chicken Soup for the Soul Book.  It's called "Glenna's Goal Book," and it details how to create your own goal book.  It also talks about a magic formula:

I  x V  = R

Imagination times visualization equals reality.

If you can imagine it, visualize it, feel it, see it, taste it, know it and believe that you deserve this success and MORE, then you will manifest it.

Take hold of the steering wheel of your life.  Don't let your parents' desires run your life, don't allow your friends and family members to control your decisions, throw away your fears and doubts. You are a child of God's divine light.  You have not only a right to shine your brightest, but a responsibility too.

Happy New Year.  Thank you for following me on this blog journey.  I honor you all and keep you in my good thoughts.