Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Archive for September, 2012

You Decide

Don’t you just love a day when everything just seems to work! You may get to your job or meeting early, enjoy a conversation with someone that gave you food for thought and learned something new or saw a different perspective. You seem to accomplish more than you ever expected and at the end of the day when you reflect back it with a smile on your face you think to yourself, today was a GOOD day.

Other days, however, seem to be more challenging. It may start out with misplacing your keys, causing you to run late and get stuck in the rush hour traffic. At this point you are feeling so frustrated you might even say something to someone that, in retrospect, you wish you hadn’t said. The whole day just seems to be off and as you begin thinking about the issues they become magnified in your mind. By the end of the evening you may be thinking, well that’s my life, if I didn’t have bad luck I wouldn’t have any luck at all! You are exhausted as much by what happened but, more importantly, from the amount of time and energy you spent ruminating about them.

In the book, The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, there is a worthwhile suggestion by Bob Proctor that might help you the next time your day starts out a bit off track. He suggests that to stop the cycle of negative thoughts that you have about events from going out into the Universe and magnifying the negative effect back to us, we stop ourselves in mind midstream and think. Since we are all made up of energy, each time we allow ourself to be in a negative mindset, the Universe ‘hears’ the message and delivers more of the same back to us.

Basically, you interrupt the cycle of negative energy by shifting your thought frequency. Proctor suggested that we make a mental list of ‘secret shifters.’ Those are things that can change your feelings and attitude in a minute and put gratitude and love back in you thoughts. Maybe it’s a certain song or a special memory that brings a smile to your face or a absolute howl of laughter from deep inside you. It could even be the thought of a future event or holiday that you have planned. (There is a logical reason why people plan way in advance for a fun break in their schedule). Do anything that can short circuit the negative flow of energy from your mind and body which causes you to catastrophize, and get you back on a more positive track. We don’t have to have an entire day of bad. Maybe we could try to reduce it down to an event or moment until we reduce those negative times to such a short period that you don’t ruin the rest of your God given day.

I really do believe that anything our minds can believe we can achieve but it takes mind and heart work. I’m not talking of simply a wish but something so important to you that you are willing to plan and work to achieve it. Once you have this goal in your mind, any set back you experience in attainment is simply viewed as temporary. I choose to believe in myself and the beautiful gift of tomorrow. If I have a problem or two along the way, okay, life happens. But I refuse to allow those events to ruin the gift of today that I have received from the Universe.

Are you with me on this?

Decide on Happiness

Some of you may remember the children’s song, “If You’re Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands.” Having spent over 38 years in education, I can close my eyes and actually hear the melodic voices of little children singing that song with accompanying giggles and enthusiastic clapping of hands.

As we become adults, the melody may slip away, even the words may be forgotten but the thought is worth keeping around to examine from time to time. Ask yourself right now, “Am I happy?” After really thinking about it, if you are genuinely NOT happy, it is time to do something about it. It doesn’t count to say to yourself, “I’ll be happy when…” as if it is a condition of your life that is dependent upon achieving something you don’t presently have.

What will it take to make you internally happy? What is the major sticking point that is keeping you stuck in unhappiness? Is it resolvable? Obviously, the death of a loved one is something that cannot be changed. But, the way you look at it can make all the difference. They did not desert you because they didn’t love you anymore. It was simply their exit point – their time to move on. They did not disappear forever. You really will see them again on a soul level, and in the meantime you can reconnect with them through the help of others if you choose. If you have stopped living and are simply existing since their death that is not what they would have wanted for you. Life is to be lived and a big part of living is to decide to be happy.

Yes, that’s right, I said DECIDE to be happy. It takes work and a concerted effort to make lemon aid from lemons but it can be done. What I do know is that there are no awards given for being, “The Most Unhappy Person in Show” category. When you see your glass consistently as half-empty rather than half-full, it drains you and those around you of the positive energy needed to live your life.

There are some things you really can do to improve your perspective. First of all, be the person you would want to be around. Smiling helps, laughing is even better. Find humor in the mundane and ridiculous – if you just look around it’s everywhere. Next, decide on a plan to work through any issue you are dealing with at the moment. A counselor or best friend could be of great help by being a reflective listener. Talk it out, verbalize your feelings and don’t allow yourself to let the issue ‘eat away at you’ from the inside or out. Until the real issue surfaces you may find yourself generalizing that your entire life is simply not good.

Exercise, meditation and spending time giving to others really does boost your physical and mental well being. Visualize yourself as a person who finds joy in life. How does it feel? Good, right? You may, at first, have to ‘fake it ’till you make it,’ but be patient with yourself. It will manifest itself in your life. When we hear that we have to believe it to see it, it’s true.

Give yourself permission to be happy. You deserve it!

Have a great few days!

What is Truth?

Self improvement is something we seem to naturally just choose to do while on this earth. It makes us who we are- always planning and striving-to use the skills we were given by the Universe to become a better person. A big part of self improvement is dealing with truth. This truth is both about others as well as ourselves.

In the movie, “Something’s Gotta Give,” Harry says to Erica, ” I’ve always told you some version of the truth.” She responds, “The truth doesn’t have versions!”

Wow! That statement burned into my brain. The truth doesn’t have versions. It is either truth or not. What are you telling yourself about others or yourself that is only a partial truth? We all do it from time to time. As we become wiser we realize that truth is the most important thing you can give yourself and others. I don’t know another persons’ truth because I have not walked a mile, or even a step, in their shoes. Sometimes we think by not speaking our truth and masking our true feelings, everyone may be better off in the long run. Not so! You may have to mentally rehearse how to say something so that it is not hurtful – that’s a good skill to work on – but to avoid saying the truth hurts everyone eventually. This magnificent world that we are a part of inhales peace and exhales tension when truth is spoken.

Truth comes back to your own self worth. Do you believe in yourself enough to speak the truth about a situation? If you find yourself falling into the trap of comparing yourself with others, remember the issue of truth. Comparison is a violence against yourself. There will always be someone better or worse off than you. That is the path they have chosen for this lifetime. It is not ours to question. We all have our own unique journey. Your truth is your journey. The privilege of our lifetime is to live our lives in truth, to be our highest self and make the world a little better off by doing it.

So tomorrow when you start the day, remember the issue of truth. I believe truth is, simply and completely, an essential part of the Universe. I choose truth and love from this point on, how about you?

Have a great few days!

Being Authentic in Grief

We often hear about the importance of being positive. Seeing your glass as half full rather than half empty is a mindset involving both a skill and an art. It is something that we work on continuously throughout our lives. We like ourselves better when we are positive. Others want to be around us because we have an energy field that is welcoming and uplifting. An important part of being in a positive state involves being our authentic selves. When we recognize and honor our true feelings about something that happened to us, we are being authentic. We are strong enough to show others that we are the same, emotionally, on the inside as the outside.

Being authentic, especially through personal loss is both the hardest and most important thing we can do for ourselves. Challenging or catastrophic experiences involving loss (death, divorce, separation) or other wounds or scars can easily become deeply buried in your psyche because the pain seems so great that you feel unable to confront your own feelings. You may be afraid that if the floodgate holding back your feelings is opened, you may never be able to get it together again. I understand, I have been there. I can tell you that those buried feelings just fester inside you and the anger and hurt you feel can become toxic in your mind and body. The choice between being authentic and verbalizing your true feelings or burying them cannot be overstated. I truly believe it is the difference between simply existing or a life well lived.

Finding a trusted friend who is willing to take all the time YOU need to work through your loss is critical. A good listener just listens and does not rush to tell you how you should handle something or how you should feel. These people are rare to find but are out there and will be of immense help to you. Grief counselors are trained to listen well and can also be invaluable in your search for peace. Send the intention out to the Universe to deliver someone to help you if you are emotionally stuck in a quagmire of anger, blame or discontent. You know you have found that great listener when you explain your situation and they respond with, “How do YOU feel about that?” And they listen with love and grace…

The importance of taking the time to process through your loss and express your authentic feelings about the situation can help you immensely. It is like putting salve on a wound. Eventually, the wound doesn’t hurt as much. Will it ever heal? Maybe not. But it won’t continue to hurt or bleed so profusely. We will live long enough to see the lessons we have learned from our losses and eventually the bigger picture of why those things happened.

Ultimately, we either choose to process through our emotions and arrive at an eventual peace about the situation or we will be dealing with the residue both here and on the other side. Lisa Williams in her book, The Survival of the Soul, talks about the importance of resolving our emotional issues on the Earth plane before we cross over. We will have to deal with the issues sometime, someplace, and it is better to do it now.

We can ultimately be more positive in our life if we choose to be our authentic self and live our truth, surround ourselves with love – of self – and others and remember that as difficult as our lives may be from time to time, we wrote our life script to learn specific lessons. It is no one’s fault, the world is not out to get us, we just chose a difficult path this time. Quoting from my son in the book, Just Behind The Door, “All is as it should be.”

Have a great few days!

The Rest of Your Life

Today really is the first day of the rest of your life. What plans, what aspirations do you have for the rest of your life? Will you allow yourself to be controlled by fear of the unknown? Or will you look in the mirror and realize, as my son has told me many times from the other side, “all is as it should be.” It takes time to really process that thought. Even though we may have experienced loss, disappointments and challenges in our lives everything really is ‘as it should be.’ You may be thinking, ‘ but why did I have to experience this.. What did I do wrong?’ You did nothing wrong. You are simply living out your prebirth contract to learn certain lessons you have chosen. Remember the thought… ours is not to question only do. It’s true, questioning, even railing at the injustice that you feel you have experienced will not change things. In fact, it will only made you less ready, less of who you are, to face tomorrow. Show me a person who has not experienced loss and I will show you a person who has never really lived. It doesn’t need to make sense. It just needs to be absorbed into your very soul.

As the Taoist say, ‘we are constantly being born to the future and dying to the past, yet we remain what we are. In the whole of history there has never existed a single person whose conduct was always perfect. Understanding this, the wise don’t try to be perfect.’ There is no fear in dying only fear in living an unfilled life.

So tomorrow, look at yourself in the mirror and say, ” I can do this.” – whatever it may be – because you can. You are part of the unity of this incredible Universe. You are a part of the Divinity of all that ever was and all that ever will be. Be thankful that you have learned the particular lessons that have been presented to you. You have survived, you have learned and will thrive from both the lessons of yesterday and today. They have made you even stronger for tomorrow. Make it a great one!

Have a great few days!

Greater Clarity in Life

It is said that when a person is near death they have a greater clarity of purpose as they reflect back on their lives. We are also told in our Hospice training that people die as they live. The first time I heard that I was a bit puzzled. Now, a couple of years into my volunteer work it has become clearer to me. I have the opportunity to hear this clarity first hand as I listen to them relive the important moments in their lives. What I hear is about love of family and friends and the times when something happened that just took their breath away. It’s about whether they feel they made the world a little better off by being in it. Basically, it is all about gratitude for being a part of this experience we call life on planet earth. I don’t hear people worrying about how much they have accumulated or how much, in real dollars, they are worth. They seem to realize at this life changing time in their lives that what we do and think on a individual level really does affect not only ourselves but the entire world. Their hindsight is, indeed, 20/20. They seem to just know that we are all made up of energy and what we think and speak about most often comes back to us triple fold. Our thoughts really are the key to life and open or close all doors for us. If there is a yearning from these wonderful folks, it is to help the world understand the importance of loving others and lending a hand to someone in need. I am so fortunate to be in this classroom of life called the Hospice experience. It makes living that much more meaningful. You can see first hand that the entire world really has a very deep energy connection.

Our lives can be about so much more than just getting by or getting ours. Do you know of someone that has recently gone through a life transition or is struggling? If so, did you take the time to show them that you are concerned about them. If you don’t know what to say, that’s easy… simply, ” I care and I’m here for you,” is enough. It could be the lifeline they need at that precise moment to make it through another day.The Hallmark people are right, it’s never too late to show someone how much you care. Sooner or later we will all be at the end point in our lives on earth and will see with greater clarity what our lives represented. Let it be about compassion, gratitude and love. As I said in my book, love is the Alpha and Omega of the Universe.

Have a great few days!

Oprah hits a home run!

Every once in a while something comes along that you feel compelled to share with others. It happened to me this Sunday morning. I was reading my Oprah Magazine and saw an advertisement for the Emmy award-winning series, Super Soul Sunday. The clever title got my attention but what really drew me in was the statement, ” Designed to help viewers awaken to their best selves.” That was my goal in writing my book and remains my goal in blogging twice weekly. Helping people continue on with their life after the death of a child, spouse, or through the painful experiences of divorce, separation, and suicide is something I can do – because I have walked in those shoes. To me, this series is totally designed around positive energy and purposeful living. It’s like a very special gift that will just keep on giving.

Oprah not only talks with well known speakers on spiritualism but includes the “average” person on the street who has lost a loved one. It makes the series even that more meaningful. I heard people saying things such as: listen to the voice within you, look for the message in every problem, grief is an expression of how well you loved, and, of course, our lives are all about learning to love ourselves and others unconditionally.

For those of you who have read my book and follow my blogs you will know what I mean when I say that watching her first program in this series caused me to feel that I had found my true north after studying the topic of unconditional love and loss since the ’70’s.

I would urge you to google or tune in to the OWN network on Sundays at 10 A.M. central/11 A.M. We all need ” a little help from our friends” from time to time. Give yourself a gift next Sunday and sit down, breath deeply and listen. It will bring you a sense of peace. I know that I will watching. The program is exceptional and has the potential to help so many people realize how they can make it through the difficulties and losses in their lives in one piece. We may be wounded from our experiences but do not need to be stopped in this amazing and challenging life journey that each of us has chosen.

Let me know what you think after watching!

Changing Places?

How often have you looked at someone else’s life and thought to yourself, ” It must be nice…”. It may seem that their life is easier, happier or more fulfilling than yours. But is it really? Would you seriously change positions with them? Would you want to have what they have, do what they do and think what they think if it meant that you had to give up what you presently have to do so? I’ll bet not, if you really think about it.

Each of us is on the exact path we are supposed to be on. We are learning the exact lessons we have chosen to learn and, most importantly, we will each finish this life in perfect time – our own. Like an actor on a stage, we are each living out the unique, pre-birth plans that we designed. Jokingly, I said to my sister a few months before her death, ” Next time we need to hire a ghost writer (no pun intended) to write our life scripts because we throw in everything but the kitchen sink and then wonder why our life is so hard!”

The truth is our life is the perfect fit for us. Like that favorite pair of shoes you put on and immediately just realize that everything feels more comfortable. Those shoes feel like they were made just for you. Everything just settles in. Is it difficult, sometimes, to find the right pair – absolutely! Do we have to wait at times to be able to afford them – absolutely! Do we appreciate them and all of life a little more by having to work through the lessons we have chosen to work on to get them – absolutely! But, we can look back after experiencing a really tough challenge in life and realize that we made it, we accomplished something. We feel a renewed sense of pride in our personal strength and tenacity. No one can ever take that feeling of accomplishment away from you. You worked for it, you earned it. That is, indeed, impressive. Even better news – you will be a little bit stronger the next time a life lesson, a challenge, presents itself because you made it through this time of difficulty that you may now be facing.

So next time when you think that others seem to have life so much easier just remember that we haven’t walked in their shoes and we don’t know the lessons they have yet to encounter on their journey. When we accept our own challenges without feeling like a victim, and pat ourselves on the back for our own accomplishments, we achieve a greater sense of self worth. Life becomes a little less daunting through each challenge and accomplishment.

There is a quote in my book from my son that is so fitting on this topic. Ronnie said, “Mom, all is as it should be.” To truly internalize that message is both reassuring and liberating. The lyrics from a song by Frank Sinatra sums it up:

I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exceptions
And more, much more than this
I did it my way.

Have a great few days!