Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Archive for October, 2012

Tragic Events

When unforeseen and tragic events happen such as Hurricane Sandy we wonder why. People have lost their lives, their homes and belongings and some are struggling just to find drinking water. The feelings of helplessness and fear affect all of us. These natural disasters are humbling. We realize how tenuous life is in general. As we strive to accept and make sense of everything, the belief surfaces that we are spiritual beings in a physical body and our bodies do have an expiration date.

We know, of course, that there really is a thing called climate change. In all areas of the country we are seeing an intensification of the normal weather conditions. The scientific evidence is apparent. Yet, we still wonder why and think,to ourselves, how could this have happened?

As I watched the 12 plus feet of water rushing into areas of New Jersey and New York, I just kept thinking that there are so many things beyond our control, beyond our knowing. It helps to control anxiety and fear when we accept the thought that there is something bigger than ourselves in the Universe. It is important for us to remember that nothing happens by accident. All is as it should be. Following this reasoning the question then surfaces, what lessons are we supposed to learn from these life altering situations?

Our survival depends upon our willingness to be good stewards of the earth on which we live. Global warming is caused by many things. We are a part, a contributor, to the warming that is causing the extreme climate changes. The good news is that each of us, in our own way, can do something to improve the environment. We just need to make a commitment to do so.

Another huge lesson I see surfacing is a reminder that as Americans we are survivors. We can put aside our differences and come together for a cause greater than ourselves. We are tough, resilient folks who are willing to lend a hand in times of trouble. In the challenges of Hurricane Sandy, we have seen our federal and state governments working together within a matter of hours. The politics of the presidential election have been put aside, as it should be, for a bigger purpose. It has been impressive to see how fast the various agencies have joined hands to assist so many people. This tragedy cannot be undone but the question remains, will we internalize the lessons from it?

We can help the people on the east coast in various ways. One possibility is to send in a donation – even five dollars – to the Red Cross or some other reputable organizations. Every dollar will help to ease the pain of our fellow Americans.

As we watch the devastation unfold before our eyes we can’t help but offer a little prayer for those people whose lives have been changed forever. For those that lost a loved one everything changes. They will be experiencing the stages of loss on so many different levels. May they have the strength and resiliency to rebuild and face tomorrow.

We will help, we will survive because we are Americans!

Your True Compass

For those of us who have experienced a personal loss in our lives it is difficult enough to muster up the energy to feel positive on a daily basis. Yet, during this election season it seems that when we turn on the news we are inundated with more negatives. The hiccup of either candidate is heard, replayed, fact checked and then repeated again during the next news segment so that the team of news analysts can tell us what was meant by what was said. It is both exhausting and frustrating. The negative energy that is being promulgated into the Universe has to be off the chart. I work at staying positive and staying informed. I don’t want to miss the opportunity to voice my opinion and have my vote counted.

Recently, the autobiography of Ted Kennedy caught my attention and I decided to read the entire 500 plus pages. As I read over the 70 year time span, I was amazed at how long it took Washington to change things for the better for the 99 percent of us who, as my mom would say, were ‘not born with a silver spoon in our mouths.’ It helped me put in perspective the amount of time necessary to make fundamental changes in our country. After finishing the book I felt optimism for our future, regardless of what the evening news presented. What I do know is that positive energy, hard work and a belief in the divinity within us will change the world. Robert Kennedy said, “some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.” When you lose a loved one that phrase has a depth of meaning that can be felt in your very core.

I believe we are seeing the transformation we needed in this country. The housing market is improving, college loans are now more available, jobs are developing again and the auto industry is alive and well and living in the USA! I have talked to many people over the past 3 years about the economy. It is good to hear the true American spirit that I was raised with coming through once again. People are glad to have their jobs even if it means more overtime or higher expectations from their bosses. My dad always told me to give your employer 150 percent for every $1 they give you and I have lived by that motto. Together we have all made this country great. We have had tremendous challenges and are beginning to see and feel the optimism that is uniquely American rise to the surface once again.

We are living out our own unique story chapter by chapter. As spiritual beings in a physical body, we are learning our lessons and moving toward the light and love of God/Universal energy. An important part of seeing our own truth is what we do for those less fortunate and for those who need a shoulder to lean on as they regain their balance. Let information and truth be your light and positive energy surround you over the next 10 days. Open your heart and breath in the energy that unites us all with a power greater than ourselves.

Have a great few days!

Allow Yourself to Heal

I talked to a person recently who said that they no longer feel joy in their life since losing their loved one. They feel anxious, unable to concentrate and just basically empty inside. I understand. I have been there. From the moment you wake in the morning a heaviness descends around you and you have to absolutely will yourself to take that first step of the day. The loss of someone you love is not easy to put into words. Loyalty, trust and joy are just a few of the emotions felt when we love someone so deeply. We think to ourselves, now all that is gone from my life. Our grief is not only for today but the many unrealized tomorrows.

An important part of healing from loss or even just making it through the challenges of living as we learn our life lessons is to ‘allow.’ By definition, allow is ‘to permit.’ To give yourself permission to feel, grieve, remember, even momentarily to wish things had been different, and it is a natural part of grieving the changes that happen in our lives.

We are so used to making things happen that to just allow life to unfold seems counterintuitive. We may feel that it is a cop out, an excuse to do nothing. Quite the contrary. If we turn the kaleidoscope in our minds ever so slightly, we will see that when we allow, we resist the urge to try to control everything or to demand life be a certain way to make us happy. We still strive to become all that we can be but as things happen that hurt or derail us we look at them not with indignation but with a deeper understanding as we search for the personal lessons contained within them. To learn to allow is a hard lesson. To me, that one little word – allow – means a combination of acceptance for what is combined with a belief that ‘all is as it should be.’ It speaks of a power, an energy, greater than ourselves

Take some time over the next few days to think about the word ‘allow.’ How would your life be different if you looked at events, challenges even losses in your life and thought to yourself, my life is about accepting that the Universe is unfolding in perfect order. When you learn to allow, a sense of peace envelops you and you begin to exhale the stress that is so deeply bottled up within you.

A poem that has been meaningful to me on this lesson of allowing life to unfold was written by R. Bach.

A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction
and at such a speed,
It feels an impulsion…this is the place to go now.
But the sky knows the reasons and the patterns
behind all clouds,
And you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough
To see beyond horizons.

Have a great few days!

Happiness is an Inside Job

Listening to a webcast yesterday, I was hooked from the first statement. The moderator (Lisa Garr, the host of the Aware Show) said, “Did you know the number one goal people have worldwide is to be happy.” Then she added a shocking statistic, when responding to a survey on personal happiness, Nigerians ranked number 1 with the happiest people and the U.S. ranked 46 out of the 50 areas surveyed. Researching this further, I discovered that Nigeria has a per capita income of $2,748. The people of this country live on $1.25 -$2.00 per day. Health care, life expectancy even access to drinking water in the rural areas are major challenges dealt with on a daily basis. Yet, they are happier? Why?

Robert Holden, a British psychologist has been running a course on happiness for over 15 years. He explains that when we look OUTSIDE ourselves for happiness it is our ego controlling our thinking. For instance, the thought, ‘I will be happy when…’ ( I get a better job, a new boss, more money, etc.) is conditional happiness that doesn’t last. If you, by chance, achieve one of your “wish fors” by habit you will simply replace it with the next thing on your mental want list and feel unhappy, unsettled once again. Funny how that works. We are never at a loss for our next want. This approach keeps us locked into a thinking pattern of lack rather than abundance. We focus on the negative energy involved in what we don’t have causing us to feel lack in our lives rather than on what we do have which brings the positive energy of abundance to our tables.

Maybe the Nigerians do not live in a constant state of want but rather accept what they have with a belief in themselves and a higher power, feeling gratitude for simply being able to live another day. Sounds deceptively simple, yet their happiness ranking is number 1. They must be doing something differently than we are to achieve that ranking.

We each have the DNA of Divinity in us. Being happy, regardless of our circumstance is something we can achieve if we recognize the root cause of happiness. We were born happy – a gift from the Universe. Somewhere along the way we began comparing ourselves to others and accepting negative messages or experiences in our lives as truth. We may have lost our happiness – our belief and confidence in ourself – along the way. Our egos may have gotten involved and we began judging ourselves and others and the cycle of unhappiness began. Something in our lives from then on just felt a bit off.

Let’s return to the place where we were early in our lives, a place before life happened to us, a place of self acceptance. You are on your own unique path and learning the lessons you have chosen to learn in this lifetime. You don’t need to be more or less of something. You are perfect in the image of the Divine. When you think about it the Divine Energy that created you doesn’t make mistakes. The Energy made you perfect in every way so that you could learn the lessons you have chosen to learn this time around. You are learning, growing and becoming the person you wanted to become. Once you accept yourself, unconditionally, for who you really are – a spiritual soul in a physical body who is on their own unique path of learning, you experience happiness from the INSIDE and that can’t ever be taken away from you. It is not something to be bought, achieved or acquired. In other words, happiness truly is an inside job.

It may take time for these thoughts to take seed. I visualize these ideas like a feather. They are not something to be grasped at but rather to let settle into your outstretched hand or mind as you think about them over time. True happiness – the kind that brings a smile to your face for no apparent reason at all – will come to you once you accept the thought that the DNA of Divinity is in you and remember that the Universal Energy/God does not make mistakes.

Have a great few days!

Help Someone Heal

Thank you to those of you who emailed me directly to respond to my blog on Sunday. It is reassuring that I am helping people who have experienced loss and the challenging, confusing and life altering feelings that accompany the letting go of what was…

Over the last few days, three different people have talked to me about loss involving a senseless act of violence. Taking someone’s life cannot be fully understood by those of us remaining here on earth. We ask ourselves, why would someone do such a horrendous thing? Our minds cannot process it and work through it to arrive at an understanding. We may think the perpetrator of a violent act was not in their right mind, extremely troubled, or did not have a stable upbringing, the list goes on and on. Whatever rationalization we attempt falls short. It still does not seem fair that the flame of someone’s life has been snuffed out as quickly as the flame from a candle. Another useless killing. Another family left to try to function in the aftermath.

Over 6,600 deaths from all causes occur daily in the U.S. The rate for homicides has dropped from a high of 9.8 percent per 100,000 in 1991 to 4.8 percent per year in 2010. These numbers are important. They show a significant drop in homicides and should help us feel a little safer. However, it would be impossible to expect the families of victims of these violent crimes to be encouraged by the numbers since they will no longer have their loved ones in their lives. Grief hurts. The longer it envelopes your life, the deeper the wound becomes. When I talk with someone who has lost a loved one 20 years ago and they still cannot muster up a genuine smile, their eyes showing a depth of hurt that is impossible to describe, my heat goes out to them. They seem to have stopped living and are merely existing. It is, as if, their life has become a sentence that they are simply living out.

On my blog last Sunday, I mentioned a man who lost his wife in a vehicular accident caused by a drunk driver. He has received signs that his wife is giving him to assure him she is still around him with loving concern. Again the statistics are improving but the pain continues. Traffic fatalities have decreased in the past five years. In 2010, the latest recorded statistic, 32,885 people lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents. Fewer is better but once again, doesn’t offer peace to those families who are facing each day without their loved one.

What can we do to help the thousands of walking wounded that have lost their loved ones through any type of loss? You can make a difference. Making a concerted effort to listen to them as they repeat and repeat what happened as they process the reality of their loss is so important. You don’t have to offer any sage advice but simply listen with love. Give them the gift of a empathic listener. Showing them you care by taking the initiative to connect with them and offering the little things that may cause them to think about healing their grief may be the life line they need. I know through experience that reading about others who have survived a loss can give hope for tomorrow. Usually these people do not even know what they need to achieve closure. Do the research to find specific support groups, or grief counselors by name and number so that they do not have to search for these on their own but can simply call a number if they so choose. Books or articles may tell a story that just resonates with them and offers the encouragement they need to take the small, arduous steps needed for recovery. When the student is ready the teacher comes along. Tomorrow the same ideas you may have mentioned previously just might be internalized and accepted by them if they are ready. Don’t give up just continue to support them as they struggle to stand and face tomorrow.

Each of us can do something to help. Eventually, we may be able to see them return from the grip of loss and move on with their lives. It won’t be easy and it won’t be fast. Their mind and heart must crawl through the muck of hurt, anger and denial to get to a point of acceptance. Be patient and be there with love for a human being who is raw with the loneliness and pain of loss.

As my son said in my book, Just Behind the Door, ” Mom, all is as it should be.” It has taken me years to truly ‘get this’ and to decide to live the rest of my life knowing the Universe did not make a mistake with his passing. My lesson has been to keep the wonderful memories alive that I have of him and move on with my life in peace, love and a knowing that I am helping others.

There is a poem in my book that has helped me and I offer a part of it to you.

When I am gone, release me, let me go.
I have so many things to see and do,
You must not tie yourself to me with too many tears
But be thankful we had so many good years….
So grieve for me a while, if grieve you must
Then let the grief be comforted by trust…
I won’t be far away for life goes on.
And if you need me, call and I will come…
And if you listen with your heart, you will hear,
All my love around you soft and clear…

Please make a copy of this blog and pass it on to someone who might benefit from it. There are so many out there who need a hand extended to them in love.

Have a peaceful few days.

A Flower Grew Overnight

Yesterday was ‘Octoberfest’ in Sun City Grand located in Surprise, Arizona and I had rented a table to display my book, Just Behind the Door. I knew it would be a long day but a good one since I would have the opportunity to connect heart to heart with people who had experienced a loss. The eyes of a person are the window to their soul and just looking at the eyes of those who came up to the table let me know where they were on the grief scale toward ultimate healing. Some, after 5 or 7 years were still stuck in the cycle of ‘why did this have to happen.’ Anger, denial and disbelief can be paralyzing emotions. They can freeze frame your life and cause you to become simply a shadow of the person you once were. One woman gently guided her friend over to my table and said, ” You need to talk with her.” What an act of unconditional love and concern for her friend, I thought to myself.

When we are finally able to heal and accept the loss that has happened in our lives and realize that the Universe doesn’t make mistakes, it opens up a deeper level of seeing and knowing. A level of peace envelopes us and we are able to continue on with our own life lessons.

A follow up from someone I talked with yesterday appeared on my email this morning. A gentleman had lost his wife in a traffic accident. They were simply walking, enjoying the experience when hit by a car. In an instant, it changed their lives forever. This spring he went out to water some rose bushes and he said in his email, “I looked down and saw in the hot, dry, barren soil next to the roses a most beautiful white (petunia or pansy) flower with a pink and purple “butterfly” design in the center. It was on a small plant about 3 inches high… We had never planted this type of flower in our garden before… Just the day before I had tended to this tiny garden patch and I never saw any plant like this there. In amazement I asked myself, ‘how did this plant get there …and overnight!”

He took a picture of the plant and forwarded it to friends, had it framed and was gracious enough to send the picture on to me with his email. He accepted the sign with gratitude and love which opened his level of consciousness to receive even more of these messages that are heaven sent. I have had similar experiences and know that birds, the wind, and other environmental factors carry seeds from one location to another. However, when a plant appears overnight (and in this desert environment) to me, it is a sign from our loved one that they are thinking about us and wanting us to live our lives to the fullest.

As we recognize these signs with gratitude we allow ourselves to become more in tune to seeing these messages from our loved ones as a reassurance that, all is as it should be. The psychic, John Holland was taking about messages Friday on a webcast. He emphasized, once again, that the more open and accepting of the belief that it is possible for our loved ones to give us signs from the other side the more you will receive.

We are, after all, simply energy and we know that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only changed in form. The physical body may be gone but their soul energy remains. No wonder, then that our loved ones on the other side can send us these messages. They may be pennies, butterflies, flowers or many other things but they are meant for us. Enjoy your next ‘a ha’ when you see it – it is a gift from your loved one just for you.

Have a great few days!

Tell Someone You Care

How many times have you thought about telling someone how important they are to you or giving them a compliment? In the last few days, I have received emails and a phone call thanking me for something I had done. Four people mentioned a recent blog that had made an impact on them. At first I was humbled and appreciative of the feedback and then I thought more deeply about the affect those messages had on me. I felt more positive energy around me. It changed a good day into an exceptional one for me. It made me think of the importance of ‘paying it forward.’

We often get so involved in our daily lives, the hustle and bustle of it all, that we may think, momentarily, of a kindness or help from someone and then let it slip from awareness as we quickly move on to the next item on our ‘to do’ list. Yet, when all is said and done, what really matters in life is our relationships, our love, concern and recognition of self AND others. People really don’t care how much you have or how much you know until they know how much you care.

Tuning into a T.V. program last night entitled, Undercover Boss, the message was, once again, so apparent. As CEO’s from various large companies disguised themselves so they could walk a mile – or in these examples – a week in the shoes of their employees, these CEOs were humbled by the passion and concern their employees brought to their jobs. All were shocked by the family challenges that so many of their employees endured. Yet, they came to work each day and did their jobs well. At the end of each vignette, the CEOs met with the employees and literally with tears in their eyes thanked them for a job well done. These folks beamed as their ‘top gun’ took the time to recognize them. The CEOs changed the lives of these employees as well as their own.

Conversely, during this election season, the T.V. adds are filled with negative messaging, and some are even designed to instill fear in us. I refuse to be entangled in this web of fear-based programming and will not accept the negative energy from these adds. Negatives just don’t get to me anymore. I will continue to search out truth, listen to the ‘fact checkers’ on the news and remember that I haven’t walked a mile in someone’s shoes. I will make up my own mind based on the facts I can discover and consider the amount of positive energy I feel when listening to a candidate. How incredible it would be if they decided to concentrate on hope rather than fear, on the positives of tomorrow rather than the negatives of yesterday. They could learn a lot from the CEOs that went undercover.

We all do the best we can do each day considering the challenges we face. I can’t believe that anyone wakes up in the morning and says to themselves, ‘I am going to have a very bad day’ and then purposely surrounds themselves with a negative mind set.

Positive energy is something we all need to survive. If we each take a moment to tell someone how important they are to us or how appreciative we are of a kindness shown or a lesson learned we will create a better world.

Maybe you can find an extra 2 or 3 minutes tomorrow to ‘pay it forward’ by complimenting someone, showing appreciation or just letting someone know you are thinking about them. It may help lift their spirits, walk with a little more confidence and have a better day. What a gift you have given them!

I’ll commit to making the world a little happier each day by taking the time to connect with someone for something. Will you?

Have a great few days!