Friday, January 29, 2016

Top Five Things I Learned from the “Zombie Snow Apocalypse 2016”

Last week here on the U.S. East Coast, over 70 million people panicked as a “massive snow storm of historic proportions” was predicted for nearly a week before the first flake fell last Friday. We were told to prepare to lose power and to be stuck in place for up to a week. We panicked, right on cue.

I went to the grocery store, mid-day mind you, a full 48 hours prior to the weather event and witnessed people running around in horror like an army of the undead was circling the town preparing to feast on the chubby village folk. The food shelves were sparse, but I managed to get my essentials and returned to my car unscathed after waiting in the check-out line for nearly 30 minutes. While weathercasters dubbed the storm “Jonas,” it will always be the Zombie Snow Apocalypse of 2016 to me.

The weather guys got it right this time. The storm was a beast. In my area, about 50 miles southwest of Washington, DC, snow fell for nearly 36 hours straight dumping 30” around us. We typically don’t get that much snow in a year, much less at one time. To make matters worse, fierce winds between 35 – 50 miles an hour raged in the overnight hours sweeping the soft dry snow into massive drifts that trapped some people inside their home for days.

It was an interesting weekend. We never lost power so we could watch the storm from the perspective of our home as well as see news reports and the social media accounts of our friends. Everything was closed as government officials warned the public to stay put so roads could safely be cleared. Since I drive a Prius and my husband has a Mini-Cooper, we’re not on the roads much in the snow. Staying put was not a problem.

Now that the snow has passed, I thought I’d share the Top Five Things I Learned from the Zombie Snow Apocalypse 2016:   
1) Most people want to be of service. Over and over again, I saw people going above and beyond to dig out neighbors, walk through high snow drifts to rescue animals and offer help to strangers. To me, this is “love in action.”   

2) People need to feel “connected” to others. It was heartwarming to see how many people were checking on each other, posting snow photos and creating funny videos to share during the storm. Besides the occasional, “Do you SEE how hard it’s snowing out there?” my husband kept uttering, “OMG! Did you see this on Facebook?” I had texts and messages from friends in other parts of the world checking to see if we were safe and had power. Prayers and love were being sent to everyone enduring “Jonas.” Especially to the snow removal crews, police and emergency workers who were battling the elements. It’s true. “We are all one,” especially in emergencies.

3) Communication is key, and humor helps! No matter how much you adore another person, being snowbound together, and not knowing for how long, can be a challenge. Sprinkle in some fear (did you see those roofs collapse on TV?) and consume lots of bad-for-you-no-good sugary foods (everyone knows boredom + stress = sugar cravings) and the result can be frazzled nerves. After many years of marriage, my husband and I were both aware of potential pitfalls and were honest with our feelings. We communicated what we needed from each other. Being honest made the event fun instead of frustrating. And we felt free to be playful, even goofy. Here’s a goofy example: my husband shoved a plastic white shark toy into the snow and staged “snow shark” photos including one with his fuzzy bear hat attacking the shark, all for the amusement of his Facebook friends. Goofy and fun can definitely help pass the time during a snow storm.

4) People think they’re “funny” sending warm weather wishes. Oh, I’m not communicating clearly. This is what I mean to say: Hey, so happy you’re in sunny Hawaii, the Caribbean, Florida or freakin’ Australia enjoying beautiful sunshine and warm beaches. The first 100 photos you sent were cool, you know, the ones with the captions “wish you were here” but enough already. Yes, we’re posting lots of snow pictures and writing blogs, but this was an historic storm that even shut down Washington, DC for days. And to those who keep posting “I’m so jealous of the snow” from their beach chairs…no, no you’re not. We all know you’re not.

5) Parents of school aged children are the most fun to follow on social media. Our kids are grown so it was fun to watch posts start out from young parents saying things like “Can’t wait to build a snowman with our adorable crew.” A couple days in, messages became, “Kids are getting restless, but we’re having a wonderful adventure.” By day four I saw posts like, “FOR GOD’S SAKE SEND A DOG SLED LOADED WITH WINE!! I CAN’T TAKE THIS MUCH LONGER!”

Those precious parents are soooo cute. They’ll learn. Like we all have. No matter how bad the ice storm, or how deep the snow…spring is on the way.

All we have to do is hold on.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

"Spiritual Crap"

                                                                             Alevtina Karro/
I’ve spent years deepening my spiritual practice through prayer, meditation, classes, retreats and self-exploration. I feel blessed to be on this path and I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my life’s purpose is to help others discover the joy of spiritual connection.

Did that resonate with you? Or did you just think, “blah, blah, blah…it’s that spiritual crap again!”

I know, I know. Sometimes this “spiritual crap” doesn’t seem realistic. Someone told me once, “I want to be more spiritual, I want to know the Divine within, but how does that pay the bills? I hate my job and my spouse is a jerk. Tell God to take care of that stuff and I’ll have time to be more spiritual.”

Yep, I get that a lot.

The point of developing a life that’s connected to Divine spirit isn’t so much about what you get, but what you give. It’s in the giving that we receive.

Don’t shoot the messenger. I didn’t come up with this plan.

I’ve just seen it quietly at work in my own life and in the lives of my family and coaching clients. And it’s more awesome than you can imagine. It’s where the magic of life happens.

Here’s an example:

A woman gave a $200 donation to a tsunami relief fund to help a devastated community thousands of miles away. It was a huge amount to her and wasn’t in her budget, but she gave from an open and loving heart. Over the next few days, she prayed for those affected and imagined her money bringing clean water and fresh food to hungry children.

A week later, she was gifted a lottery ticket and won $2,000.


Yeah, it can happen like that. And sometimes it doesn’t.

Sometimes you do something from a place of love and it feels like you got shoved into the dirt. Get up. Brush yourself off and stay connected to love. Real love, not the manipulative “I’m doing this because it helps me” kind of love.

Keep living from love, doing your best to be connected to spirit so it flows through all you do and say. Not because of what you’ll get, but because you want to be an instrument for Divine love in this world. That’s the goal of a spiritual life.

When you stay on that loving path, miracles start to find you. Your life becomes magical.

Just ask my sister.

After many years of struggle, her life is now filled with joy. She’s happier than I’ve ever seen her. She’s the one in the family who’s “always there” for any of us in a crisis…or any other time, for that matter.

In our family, she’s always the first:

- to meet you at the hospital emergency room and stay to drive you home
- help with the computer problem
- answer that weird tax question that everyone understands but you
- to answer the phone when you’re having a bad day and need to vent
- take a drive with you to clear your head
- come to every birthday, anniversary, holiday or “just because” family function, no matter where it is, or how much it costs to participate
- cheer on your every success, no matter how big or small
- encourage you in every way…especially when situations look impossible
- say “love you” at the end of text or phone conversations

She’s THAT one. The one everyone leans on, whether you need a shoulder to cry on or want someone to laugh at your stupid joke. Every generation in our family counts on her.

Her love and support is genuine and without expectations.

Is she spiritual? Yes, in every aspect of the word. She lives by allowing Divine love to flow through her actions and into the world. Has it always been easy? No. Like all of us, she’s had traumas, dramas and pain in her life. She makes mistakes. She chooses to live from love anyway.

What a joy to see what’s happened for her in this last year. She’s met the man of her dreams. Her prince. And she’s his princess. Spend time with them and hear their giggles, see the wide smiles and watch their eyes sparkle as they plan their future together which, of course, includes both families.

It’s like she hit the lottery. But not the one that pays money. It’s much more than that.

By connecting to her Divine spirit and living a life of loving service to others in the best way she knows how, she’s experiencing an abundant life. It’s filled with love, romance, security, fun, adventure....and magic.

I just love how this “spiritual crap” works.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Super Powers? Yeah, SUPER POWERS!


A beautiful five year old boy named Christopher, looks his dad in the eye each morning and gives him the same instruction, “Remember your super powers today, Daddy!” Then off he goes to school.

Super powers? What in the world could this little fellow be referring to? Could he believe his dad has fantastic strength like Superman or a super intellect like Batman? Maybe. Could he be thinking of x-ray vision or the ability to fly? Probably not.

When I think of this dad, Robert, I think of his steady presence, kindness, wisdom and quick wit. Every time I’ve seen him, he’s appeared patient, curious, caring and genuinely interested in others.

Ohhh, now I get it! I understand his “super powers.”

Robert lives from Love.

To my mind, that’s more powerful than x-ray vision, flying and super strength combined! Just think what “powers” and benefits come with the ability to live from Love:

     · Forgiveness – forgiving yourself and others for past issues results in freedom from anger, frustration, victimhood and disease.

     · Trust – releases you from constant worry about the future and relieves you of the self-inflicted responsibility of controlling all aspects (and people) in your world.

     · Gratitude – energetically, when you feel truly thankful for anything in your life, you allow more good to flow to you. The result? You have more to be grateful for.

     · Presence – be in the NOW to experience life with a fresh, untainted perspective. New possibilities will emerge, challenges diminish and you’ll be more aware of the sweetness of life when you’re more fully in the moment.

     · Acceptance of others – learning to see individuals as unique expressions of Divine Love frees you from judgement of yourself and others. Do all problems disappear? Nope. But they get better when approached with understanding, respect and love.

     · Joy – my favorite super power! Keeping fear, overwhelm and judgement under control by tapping into the super powers mentioned above, energetically creates space in your life for play, peace, happiness and joy.

Do I think we’ll all have a perfect life if we choose to live from Love? No. But I believe the way we move through pain, sadness and grief will be significantly changed the more we experience life through the filter of Love.

Can we live from Love every minute of our lives? That’s my intention! Sometimes I fall short. Very short. When I don’t feel I’ve been as loving as I could, I forgive myself and keep going forward.

Thanks, Christopher, for reminding me that we all enjoy a fantastic life when we allow ourselves to live from Love.

Now that I’ve remembered my own super powers, I’m off to have fun. I’m going to play. Be silly. Feel free. And create even more to be grateful for while I live this life to the fullest.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Do Something You’ve Never Done

If you want something you’ve never had, you must do something you’ve never done.

This saying, attributed to Virginian Thomas Jefferson, is on a silver cuff bracelet I wear often. I absolutely love it and what it does for me.

When I decided to write my first book, I had a deep desire to give quick and easy stress reducing tips to people suffering from long term stress. These tools had helped me endure an extended family health crisis and I wanted to help others in similar situations.

I was passionate about my project and spent hours on research, developing my outline and writing content.

Then I got tired. Suddenly it wasn’t that fun anymore.

Writing a book is a lot of work! Day after day spent writing, rewriting, editing, proof reading and rewriting again…it was exhausting. And I still had a coaching business to run. The process was definitely not as much fun as I’d envisioned.

But I was still passionate about helping frustrated and overwhelmed people find relief. My original intention never changed.

That’s when Thomas Jefferson came to my rescue. Every time I was busy finding something else to do, I looked down at my bracelet and I knew I had to write. I had to do something different, something uncomfortable, something I’d never done before if I wanted to help my future readers and become a published author. I had to see this project through.

If you want something you’ve never had, you must do something you’ve never done.

I’d repeat this phrase over and over as I forced myself to sit back down at my desk and write. Thanks to Jefferson (and a fantastic support team) today I’m a published author and have had the privilege of helping others through my work.

In hindsight, I wouldn’t change a thing. Understanding I had to “do something I’d never done” to achieve my desired result has been a priceless life lesson. Every minute of work was worth it when I saw How to Choose Love When You Just Want to Slap Somebody on Amazon for the first time. It was amazing.

Everyone has a “special project” that they’ve always dreamed about. So what’s yours?

I guess the big question is, “What will you do that you’ve never done before to ensure your success?