Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Archive for April, 2012

Virtues and Reasons for Life Challenges

The 27 Divine Virtues that Robert Schwartz talked about in his lecture, is to help us to determine what particular areas we are working on in this lifetime. Usually 3-5 seem to pop out as areas that are the most difficult for us to accept, believe in or practice. Going more deeply into the why we may have chosen particular virtues to work on, he has discovered 4 main reasons. They are explained in greater depth in his book, Your Soul’s Gift.

He first talks about KARMA. He defines karma differently. He feels it is not a ‘cosmic debt’ that we are trying to repay but rather as something our soul needs to experience to more fully understand the emotional lessons involved in fully learning the virtue. He further explains that karma can be for 1 of 2 reasons. Balancing or releasing. Balancing our karma is when we have purposely designed life lessons to help us experience all emotional sides or an issue for deeper understanding. The result then, is a 360 degree view of the virtue. You really, really get it at that point. Releasing, on the other hand, is achieved when we finally understand the underlying root cause of the imbalance and can release it. For instance, if a person looks at life as if the cup is half empty, scarcity or the fear of not having enough of something, may be at the root cause. FEAR of … (you fill in the word) is usually the cause of our imbalances in life. Once we truly internalize that anything (including fear) that we give emotional energy to, we are actually drawing more of it to us, we will stop. If you don’t want scarcity in your life stop dwelling on it. Think abundance and believe that there is more than enough in this Universe for everyone. Refuse to be crippled by fear of anything!

The second reason Schwartz feels that we may have planned certain challenges in our life is for HEALING. He explains that when we have unresolved negative energy from a previous lifetime (such as anger, guilt, blame, judgment of self and/or others) we may plan specific life issues to live through that involve these exact feelings so that we can heal ourselves from inside out and achieve greater understanding and peace.

Schwartz believes the third reason we may have chosen our life challenges is for SERVICE TO OTHERS. The phrase is self explanatory. We know that what we give, we receive and what we teach, we learn. He says that this area, service to others is an ‘accelerated path’ of spiritual growth. Remember the phrase, pay it forward? It applies here, for sure. When we remember that we are all part of God/Universal energy and when we help others we are also helping ourselves, the impact becomes that much greater.

He feels a fourth reason for our challenges on this earth is for CONTRAST. My understanding is that on earth we experience an intensity of emotional experiences. No kidding! We are in a classroom of nonstop learning! So our opportunity for growth (to become a better person) is greater. It makes me think of the fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson, The Princess and the Pea. Even under 20 mattresses she was able to feel the pea. Her physical/emotional awareness was so heightened from her experience as a princess. On earth, since our challenges are so vast and difficult, our own physical and emotional growth is heightened which allows us to develop a higher level of functioning and understanding.

Have you found anything from his work that seems to speak to you? I hope so.


Importance of Determining What You Chose to Work On

The last two blogs explained that before birth, we decide on the life lessons we want to learn. Robert Schwartz calls these the 27 Divine Virtues.
At a recent international conference he explained that through his research he has determined that many of us are truly in search of the deeper meaning or purpose to the events in our lives. Often, we see similar challenges being presented over and over in our lives. Why? I have read that the first time a lesson is presented to us, it is, as if, God/Universal Energy is whispering to us. If we don’t learn the lesson, the next time it is presented in our life it is, as if, God/Universal Energy is speaking loudly to us. Ultimately, if the lesson is still not learned it is presented once again, but this time God/Universal Energy is shouting at us. What does this mean? Simply, that WE have chosen our life plan to learn particular virtues as Schwartz references. If we don’t learn the lesson when it is presented, each time the lesson resurfaces in our lives it becomes more difficult, more challenging, more attention getting, until we master it. After all, we have chosen to work on particular areas and consequently God/Universal Energy is simply helping us follow through with our commitment!

Schwartz, in his latest book, Your Soul’s Gift, explains that through his extensive research, he has found 4 main reasons that we may choose to learn a particular lesson. The first is karma. He believes that karma does not mean doing something to pay back someone for something previously done to them but rather to experience something our soul has not experienced previously. He feels it is about learning balance in our soul experience. He quotes in his book, “Karma is not balanced by doing good to someone… but by going through the experience oneself.” Thinking about this in reference to your life, are there any of the 27 life virtues that seem to continually surface in your life that you may be working on? It may be to balance out your karma. True, it may be hard to know – but something to ponder. He gives the example of abandonment. If you had abandoned someone in a previous life, you may have chosen to be abandoned in this lifetime to experience how it feels on a soul level and learn from it. He goes on to explain that releasing karma can happen instantly when your soul realizes that is part of the Divine energy of God/Universal energy.

In subsequent blogs I will be talking about the three other reasons that Schwartz believes we may have chosen to learn a particular lesson: healing, service to others and a desire to experience contrast.

Stay tuned – there is much to discover about our life choices. Ultimately, it is all about Oneness and love – how great is that?

Divine Virtues (Part 2 of 2)

In my last blog I talked about a speaker, Robert Schwartz, and his topic of life virtures, at a recent international conference I attended.  I listed the first 14 virtues on Wednesday and will complete the set today with the remaining 13 (and my interpretation of the definitions as needed).   After you have all 27 virtues I will explain an exercise he gave us that was quite enlightening in the search for our own, individual life plan or purpose.

15.  Sharing

16.  Reverence for Life (honoring the life energy in all living things)

17.  Cooperation

18.  Harmony

19.  Balance

20.  Open-heartedness (drop the armor from around your heart from previous hurts)

21.  Humility

22.  Spirituality

23.  Forgiveness

24.  Gentleness

25.  Self Control

26.  Perseverance

27.  Coming Into a Greater Knowing of Your Strength and Power (you may feel powerless or unworthy of what you really desire)

Write all 27 life virtues along the left hand side of a page of paper.  Then think about the greatest life challenges you have had and list them in chronological order from birth/childhood forward (illness, loss of siblings, moving from place to place, separations, divorces, deaths, basically anything that has been quite difficult to overcome).  Make a list of these (maybe 10-15) on a  separate sheet of paper.  Now, for each difficult challenge in your life using a scale of 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest) think about EACH virtue of the 27. For instance, if one of your life challenges has been loss, rate  on a scale of 1-10 the difficulty encountered in loss in reference to faith, trust, acceptance, compassion, etc. for all 27 virtues.  This will take at least 30 minutes to complete as you really consider the challenges, rankings and divine virtues.  You might want to work on it a little and set it aside to let the ideas sort of incubate in your mind.  Ultimately, you will come up with 2-5 divine virtues that surface in your life that you have built big life challenges around to help you learn them. This can be a very humbling and enlightening experience if you take the time needed to go deep into your mind and pull out the ones that still seem to be a challenge, an irritant in your life.

One the next blog I will talk about the importance of recognizing your life challenges and accompanying divine virtues for you life. Have a great few days!

Divine Virtues

This weekend I attended an amazing international conference and wanted to share some of the outstanding information and insights I was fortunate to experience. Robert Schwartz is a researcher and author. On Saturday afternoon he conducted a session on divine virtues and life challenges. There was standing room only for this break out session! I imagine that his next book will include these virtues with the accompanying exercise. He suggests we use this information to help us get to a deeper understanding of the lessons we have individually CHOSEN to work on in this life time. Analyzing your own life lessons just makes the learning easier. I will give you my interpretation of the definition of each of the virtues and what you can do with them. It will take two blog entries to synthesize this information. Since the exercise at the end will include doing your own individual ranking by life challenges, I would suggest you print off a copy of this blog and combine it with next Sunday’s blog so you will have a complete set. You may be as surprised as I was at what you discover about your life plan. I know you will experience some incredibly helpful insight about your life! Enjoy!


1. Faith (in a Loving Universe/God)

2. Trust (in self, others and the Universe)

3. Acceptance (being able to walk in another person’s shoes and allow them to be themselves; to accept your present/past life circumstances)

4. Compassion (for self and others)

5. Courage (to speak and live your truth; being your authentic self)

6. Kindness

7. Self Love (to accept that you are a unique individual who has the God/Universal energy within)

8. Unconditional Love (the nonphysical type of love that honors and celebrates the uniqueness of all living things)

9. Peace

10. Joy

11. Gratitude

12. Empathy

13. Patience

14. Self-referencing (realizing that your intuition/gut reaction is based on truth and following it; tapping into yourself for knowledge and wisdom)

Think about some of these virtues and how they may seem to REAPPEAR in your life – maybe as a challenge or lesson – until you have mastered them. On Sunday, I will complete the other 13 on the list and explain how you can use them to determine what you decided to work on in this particular journey. Until then – happy contemplating!

Synchronicity and ADC Conference

The last two days have been remarkable. I attended an International Conference on After Death Communication in Phoenix. This was a world class conference that, by pure synchronicity, I heard about only two weeks before in a ten week class that was coming to closure. A requirement of the class I was taking was to present a final product. My friend, taking the class with me, suggested I present my book since it would be published within a few weeks and included the principles learned from the class.

The weekend conference included speakers from the medical profession, including practicing cardiologists, other medical doctors, neuroscientists, parents who had lost children, authors, healers and counselors. People from as far away as Australia, Canada,The Netherlands and England as well as Hawaii, California, New England, and many other states had traveled to attend. Here I was living only 15 miles away from the conference location! I was in awe with the sessions and the many people I talked to during the weekend. The thought kept coming to me, I just happened to be in the right place, at the right time, to hear about this conference and be able to register in time. What were the chances?

What exactly is that force that causes you to be in just the right place and time? Synchronicity. Carl Jung explained it as an experience of two or more events that are apparently unrelated and unlikely to occur together by chance, but actually do occur, together, in a meaningful way. God/The Universal Energy was working its magic for me, yet again in my life. A very simple way to understand the idea of synchronicity is to think of a time when you were thinking about someone and the phone rang and it was that person. Or, you may have been thinking about a person and then received an email or actual card (a rarity in our fast paced world) from them.

The first speakers, Robert Charles Hunter, a retired CEO from PepsiCo Food Systems, who is married to the actress Diane Ladd, talked about his book Curious Journey, The Energy of the New Age. Diane talked about her life in movies and theatre as actress, writer, director, producer and her book, Spiraling Through the School of Life. (She is also the mother of Laura Dern, the popular actress of stage and screen who was in the immensely popular movie Jurassic Park among many others.

They both talked about the topic of synchronicity. They reiterated a belief I share, which is, that there are no coincidences in life. Things happen for a reason – a purpose that we may not understand at the moment but will in time.

For those of you who are dealing with a loss – any type of loss. Just think about that point for a couple of days. Things really do happen for a reason. We don’t have to like it, we can even rail against it, but there was a reason it happened – whatever it was in your life –
that caused you to stop and reassess your life’s journey. The event may have been small or huge – even life changing for you. Just think about the possible reasons it may have happened. Don’t hurry your thinking. Let the idea mull around in your mind for a few days. I will come back to the topic in my next blog on Wednesday. In the meantime, see what you can come up – it is worth the mental effort!

Have a great few days!

The Unanswered ‘Whys’ in Life

Have you ever asked yourself when facing a tough time in life, “Why did this have to happen to me?” Possibly the better question for me to ask is, “Have you ever NOT asked yourself that question?” When we face difficult life challenges, loss of our loved ones or other heart wrenching issues, it seems our first response is simply, WHY. We are thinking beings who are just trying to understand. Maybe by understanding the why, it will make more sense and help us process through the hurt. Being human we seek a rational understanding of events; especially when they appear to be random acts of devastation in our lives.

I have been in search of the meaning of life since age 26. I’m not kidding here. Maybe I am just a slow learner when it comes to the big question of why are we here on this planet – at this time – and for what purpose. The why is the trigger for me. It has been a slow process of discovery. Just when it seemed like I was close to a deeper understanding, a new and more difficult challenge would appear.

At times I wanted to say to God/Universal Energy, “Really, are you seriously throwing this at me now – or again.” I truly did think those thoughts, more than once. I guess I was just feeling overwhelmed, undervalued and sorry for myself. After licking my wounds yet again, I would finally regain my sense of what I had discovered as truth and move through the latest challenge, nursing my bruises back to health.

This is what I have discovered through my years of searching for the meaning of the “whys” in my life.

1. There is a source of LOVING power in this Universe greater than ourselves.

2. It is available to us, at any time, simply by asking for help. ASKING is the key. One has to humble oneself to ask.

3. There really are no “random acts of devastation” in life. As my son, who has passed on, has repeatedly told me, “Mom, everything is as it should be.”

4. Everything I have lived through has had a lesson in it. Once I truly learned the lesson, it did not reappear in my life.

5. I chose these lessons to work on in my life to develop greater compassion, patience and understanding.

6. Most of all, I have learned that life really is fair. When we look at the lives of others and think they got a better deal – think again –
they have their own lessons they are working on which are as difficult for them as our lessons are for us. Unless we walk in their shoes we cannot fully understand.

Does any of this resonate with you? I would love to hear from you.

Have a great rest of the week!

Ben’s Bells and Hope for Tomorrow

Happy Easter!
Today is viewed by many as a day of renewed hope and belief in something bigger than ourselves. It seems fitting to give tribute to a project of hope that was started by a mother who tragically lost her young son, Ben, at age 2 on Good Friday, March 29, 2002. She began making small bells to hang as her own personal journey through healing. Since many people had been there to help her through the most difficult time in her life, she wanted to ‘pay it forward.’ She choose to help people heal their grief by giving them a visible reminder of hope and kindness. Ten years after her son’s death, this mother brought 1,000 bells to hang on trees, along walking and hiking trails and even in parking lots around the valley in Arizona. Twice a year they are also hung in the Tucson area with the accompanying note attached, instructing the person who finds them to take them home and simply spread kindness in the world. What started out as one mother’s emotional response to her loss has spread across Arizona and the world. Recently, a mother who had lost her daughter years and years ago and unable to move through the grief stage decided to take a walk and just happened to find one of Ben’s Bells with the note. She needed a sign, something, at that exact moment, that would help her begin the arduous process of moving on.

Those of us who have experienced loss – in any form – know that moving on takes a great deal of time. Sometimes, it feels like your heart will never heal or be the same as it was before your loss. I understand, I lost my son. When we are the recipient of a random act of kindness, such as the bells, it gives us an opportunity to realize that so many others have also suffered a loss in their life and have eventually found a way to move through it. It can give us the little needed push, at the precise moment, when we are most receptive, to help begin to heal our broken hearts. Ben’s Bells have given thousands of people added strength to face tomorrow through the sound and sight of a bell. They serve as a visible reminder to all of us to have hope and belief that our loved one’s life and death had a purpose. As my son has said, repeatedly throughout my book, “Mom, everything is as it should be.” Our loved ones did not disappear into the Cosmos. They are, in fact, around us and offer their unconditional love and even reconnection when we are ready. Something exists in our Universe that is all about love. Call it God/Universal Energy or whatever label you choose for the force greater than yourself, that it always with us, especially during our time of greatest need.


Spring break and 3 teenage grandboys – it just doesn’t get much better than that! Watching the boys grow physically, mentally and emotionally is such a gift. I know that my son (their father) who is on the other side is watching them and thinking about how proud he is of them. I also know grateful he is to their mother for raising them to be such great kids because he has told me! A waitress in a restaurant commented to me about how mannerly the boys were as compared to most teenage boys she served. I have heard this from people before but I still swelled with pride. How grateful I am to be their “GrandMary!” I’m sure letting the boys drive to another state, alone, was not easy for my daughter-in-law. It reminded me of a poem that has been so meaningful over the years that I wanted to share it with you.


To let go does not mean to stop caring,
it means I can’t do it for someone else.
To let go is not to enable, but to allow
learning from natural consequences.
To let go is to admit powerlessness,
which means the outcome is not in my hands.
To let go is not to care for, but to care about.
To let go is not to judge, but to allow another
to learn to be him or her self.
To let go is not to be in the middle arranging
all the outcomes but to allow others to determine
their own destinies.
To let go is not to be less protective, it is to permit
another to face reality.
To let go is not to dominate, but to be willing
to let things happen.
To let go is not to betray the past, but to have faith
in the future.
To let go means to fear less and love more.

Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Have a fantastic week!

All Forms of Loss Take Time to Heal

We have all had challenges or as I prefer to call them, “opportunities” in our lives that can change it forever. We never know from one day to the next when a phone call, email or person will reconnect with us and tell us something that seems to just rock our world. We question, we try to process and yet the answers seem to be out of reach. Recently, I talked with a dear friend that I thought had just a perfect marriage. Common interests, achievement level, values in life – even humor and appreciation for each other had been evident. Or so I thought. If you would have asked me to name a couple that seemed perfectly matched, I would have thought of them. When I heard that their marriage was in trouble, at first, I simply refused to believe it. Not them, not now, not ever. Yet, here I was on the phone listening to a wonderful person who was shocked, bewildered and maybe even a bit angry. Puzzlement flooded her thinking. “It came out of the blue,” she told me. As I thought about this conversation, I thought about how many other people (myself included) have experienced that same scenario in their lives. Naturally, our minds question the circumstances searching for a reason, an answer. Often, we feel we are left with more questions than answers.

I have noticed a pattern, however, that I think is worth mentioning. All of us are subject to life altering situations of one degree or another. No one seems to avoid them. It seems that when we reflect back a year or two after a loss, for example, one of the real lessons for us was how we responded to it. Did we allow it to redefine our life into one of just existing but not living? Or did we think to ourselves after the initial shock wore off, I don’t know how but I will get through this and my life will continue to have purpose. It may take time to heal my broken heart but it WILL HEAL.
Loss of any kind has so many emotions in common. Healing your heart takes time. Knowing you CAN heal it is essential to moving on. Having someone to talk to is important. You need to voice your hurt, anger and disbelief. A dear friend will help you do that without rushing in to offer solutions. Because, sad as it may sound, sometimes solutions cannot be immediate. You must work through the loss over time. It may also be helpful to remember that to let go is not meant to betray the past, but to have greater faith in the future.