Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Archive for May, 2013

Accepting Unplanned Changes

Timing – how many times have we created detail plans for events in our lives and had them change …instantly it seems… and we are left wondering, ‘ what the …. just happened?” As we struggle and worry about how to pick up the pieces of our broken plans the energy we initially put into emotionally demanding that things be different seem to outweigh our ability to move forward. Naturally, we are more comfortable with predictably and control and do not like things to upset our world right?

As we struggle with the feelings of the change that happened which was out of our control, at just the perfect moment it seems, a new pathway is presented to us and we move forward realizing that we are better off with the new plan than our original one in retrospect. What lesson is the Universe trying to teach us?

Does it mean that we should not make plans? I don’t think so – at least for someone who has a tendency to mentally design plans A, B, C – sometimes through to Z. But what I have truly come to appreciate is that something, somewhere, somehow seems to guide us in a way that is ultimately better for us. The challenge then is to accept and allow the inevitable changes to happen with trust and a deep belief, a knowing, that everything will be okay.

Allowing is the ultimate gift of confidence and peace you can give yourself. It can be visualized as a box, wrapped in the most beautiful paper – in all colors of the rainbow that unwrapped, presents a touchstone of warm light. As you pick up the stone a sense of peace touches your soul and you smile to yourself and think, “Ah, this is how that feels.’ The term, allow, truly embodies the spiritual belief that, “All is as it should be.” Physically it can be compared to exhaling rather than inhaling – relaxing your tense muscles rather than holding them tighter and tighter in an effort to control EVERYTHING. An activity that is not only arrogant but impossible.

Visiting Australia, I have found that everyone – and I do mean EVERYONE uses the terms, ‘no worry, no problem, no hassle’ when responding to an inquiry. At first, I was a bit taken aback. It can rattle the cage of a visiting American. After a few days the environment begins to envelope you and you find yourself thinking, for the most part, the same….something happened….no problem, no worry. In other words, it will all work out. “All is as it should be.”

Every culture, every single, solitary human being has something to teach us. When we humble ourselves enough to observe and learn from them it enables us to adjust the kaleidoscope of our own lives, ever so slightly, to see colors more vibrantly and truth more deeply.

Have a great few days!

Happiness Now!

A heard a statement the other day that made quite an impression on me. ‘To be truly successful in life we need to be at peace with ourselves.’ The more I thought about it the more it made sense. It seems that many of us feel we are in constant need of repair, rework or overhaul. We spend time watching T.V. programs, reading magazines and books and seeking advice on how to be happier. The irony is that while we are seeking greater happiness we are simultaneously comparing ourselves to false images of perfection that we see or read about in the media and coming up short. As a result we are at epidemic levels of dissatisfaction and agitation. Would you choose yourself as a friend if you continually pointed out your own perceived shortcomings? Hardly!

Adding to all of this, we know that what occupies our thinking – what is constantly rolling around in our brains – becomes our truth. If we allow our thoughts to be about limitations or dissatisfaction with self or others, the Universe will surely deliver more of it to us. The popular statement, change your thinking and change your life really works.

What if our one true purpose in life is to learn unconditional acceptance – of ourselves and others? We know the Universe doesn’t make mistakes – and it didn’t make a mistake with you. Maybe, just for one day, we could practice accepting ourselves unconditionally and relish in knowing that we are simply a miraculous part of soul energy that is surrounded in a sea of Universal Light. We are exactly who and what we are supposed to be and the ultimate lesson is in learning to gracefully accept it. Makes you think doesn’t it?

Being grateful for our unique place in the Universe and thinking, ‘I am blessed. I am a good person. I am making an important contribution to this earth simply by living in the here and now and appreciating all that life has to offer me,’ would do more for our personal happiness index than all the self improvement tactics combined.

When we learn to fully accept ourselves with all of our unique characteristics we will end our resistance – our fear – of being our authentic selves. We will open up the flow of positive energy from the Universe and life will unfold perfectly. Let’s give it a try, we have nothing to lose and pure happiness to gain.

Have a great few days!

Irreplaceable Loss

Around the world we are watching the effects of the devastating tornado in Moore, Oklahoma. To date, 24 people have lost their lives. Natural disasters are frighteningly unpredictable and may cause us to feel uncertain, vulnerable even fearful of tomorrow.

We don’t understand why things of this magnitude happen and why one life is spared and another lost. What can we do to regain our emotional balance and continue on with our lives? Of equal importance, what can we do to help others?

Many times contributing to a reputable assistance fund to aid the victims allows us to feel that we are doing something, however small, to offer a measure of comfort and support. Possessions can, over time, be replaced and are merely things, commodities that seemed important at a point in our lives.

The irreplaceable loss, of course, are the human lives. The deaths of those 24 people will leave a gaping hole in the hearts of their family members who must face tomorrow without them. For those of us who have experienced the loss of a loved one, we know the lives of those left behind will be changed forever. We also remember the importance of taking the time to connect with someone who has experienced a loss. We need not worry about what to say for words, oftentimes, are unnecessary. Our energy and concern for the grieving soul can offer strength to them. Simply listening to them as they talk about their loved one can be a lifeline. It helps keep their loved ones alive in their minds as they talk about them and remember….

Every person grieves on their own timeframe. What we do know is that the stages of grief are painfully predictable. Denial, anger, bargaining and acceptance are real emotional hurdles – mountains even, that we must overcome when we have lost a loved one. It will take a great deal of time before the survivors will be able to first crawl, then more slowly stand and regain their footing. Initially, they may question what they could have or should have done to prevent their loved ones’ death. Over time, they arrive at an acceptance that they were powerless to prevent the loss and, as cruel as it may sound, “All is as it should be.” They will never forget their loved one that is physically gone but will gradually begin to rely on the loving memories as salve for their wounded hearts. Losing a loved one has a way of humbling all of us – bringing us to our knees with gut wrenching pain.

Eventually, loss causes us to reexamine the importance of our priorities in life and we place greater value on our relationships with friends and family. Whatever moments we have left become even more purposeful and significant.

Let’s remember the adage, ‘Live each moment to the fullest.’ As witnessed in Moore, tomorrow is shockingly, painfully uncertain. The only thing we do have for certain is this moment – right here – right now in which to make a difference.

Thanks for reading!

Courage and Jason Collins

Jason Collins, the basketball powerhouse, announced recently that, ‘I’m a 34- year-old NBA center. I’m black and I’m gay.” As quoted in the, he is “one of the biggest trailblazers in sports history.” Jason is the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American sport. I applaud his willingness to go where others have feared to tread.

He said he was tired of living in fear and denying his sexuality. He is strong, honest and human. His announcement will help all of us see that humans come in all shapes, sizes and sexual preferences. He went on to say that, “I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, I’m different.” Since no other pro athlete has done it, he said, “I’m raising my hand.” He has received immense support from other NBA players. My hat goes off to him.

Some countries are more accepting of people in general. They see the person, the heart and not the label. We are making slow progress in the U.S. on the topic of gay rights. We now have 10 states that recognize gay marriage. The progress has been painfully slow. One of these days we will see the rest of our country rise to the occasion and accept a human being for who they are and what they do. May it happen sooner rather than later.

As a country, may we lose the fear, the diatribe of wrongness that is too often promoted when someone doesn’t understand an issue or walk in another person’s shoes. Ignorance is simply that…ignorance. You may not be able to fix stupid but you can fix ignorance.

I thank Jason Collins for his strength and willingness to be an example for the rest of the world. Change often happens slowly, painfully one person at a time.
Los Angles Lakers star Kobe Bryant tweeted to Jason, “Don’t suffocate who u r” and fellow Laker star Steve Nash said, “Maximum respect.” That response says a lot. No one should ever have to hide who they are for fear of not being accepted.

The Universal Energy/God doesn’t make mistakes. We would all be better off if we would talk truth, accept others with love, and live by the golden rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Judgment on this topic has no place in a civilized, enlighten world.

Have a great few days!

Optimism Takes Practice

Just like an athlete or musician or any talent, we get really good at what we practice everyday. What are you practicing? Is it happiness, love and understanding or something else?

Positive, caring behavior delivers more of the same. Likewise, if we allow ourselves to be weighed down by anger, fear or sadness we will simply get more of the same tomorrow. The Universe just has a way of delivering to us what is foremost in our thoughts.

Think of the process like a magnet with a negative and positive end. Our thinking is energy. We attract more of the type of energy (positive or negative) that we surround ourselves with. Personally, I feel life is tough enough so I choose to do everything possible to lighten my load by seeing the positives in a situation. Some may see this as Pollyanna thinking. So be it. I have found huge benefits to an optimistic attitude or as Eleanor Porter said in her original Pollyanna books, applying ‘The Glad Game’ to life. There really is a silver lining behind every cloud that crosses our path. Sometimes it takes a little while to realize the purpose, or the lesson, to the difficult event we are experiencing. Eventually, the ‘Aha’ happens and we relax in knowing that everything will work out just as it is supposed to. We simply need to control our thinking and not let perseverating on fear and the ‘if only’ ‘ or ‘poor me’ highjack our ability to handle the issue at hand.

Practicing optimistic thinking takes effort. It does not take work to be a ‘resident critic’ or to find the fault in a situation. That kind of thing is easy to do. Since optimism does not come naturally we need to redirect our thinking each time we realize the ‘negatives’ have taken over our thought process and look for a positive in the situation.

Look at your own life at this moment. You may have difficult challenges to over come, that is part of the human condition. We all experience moments of worry or momentary despair? But it is the length of time we allow ourselves to be concerned or worried about the issue that is the critical difference. A little time to be concerned about a situation is natural – a long time is unhealthy and unproductive. As we worry the issue becomes larger in our thinking and what may have been a mole hole can quickly become a mountain to overcome.

When we force ourselves to find something good or positive in every situation a strange phenomena happens. We feel more empowered, more energetic to face our life challenges and keep things in perspective. Life just seems a little easier. Trust me, it is worth practicing. Next time you have a life challenge try looking for something good in the situation. Will overcoming the challenge cause you to feel stronger, more confident the next time an unexpected event happens? Remember, the more you practice something the better you get at it!

Make it a great few days!

Remember Mother’s Day and Connect

Mother’s Day is just around the corner! It was actually started by the ancient Greeks and Romans and is now celebrated in over 46 countries around the world. It is a day that we take the time to remember and appreciate the gift of life and unconditional love that we have been given.

Many mothers will be receiving cards, flowers or calls from their children which will warm their hearts and put a grateful smile on their face. They will remember the special moments in life when raising their child may have been challenging but was such a blessing. Once a mother, always a mother, regardless of the age of your offspring.

For those moms who have lost a child the day can be incredibly difficult to face. They also remember, with an ache in their hearts, the times in their lives when their children would remember the day. Sometimes we hesitate to connect with these moms, afraid to upset them further. But fear not, out of sight is not out of mind and your connecting to them could be just what they need at this time. They still yearn to see that special smile or hear the loving voice of their child one more time.

I know that their loved one is still around them. They are trying to get their attention and to thank them for all that they did and to reassure them that ‘All is as it should be.’ I have walked in their shoes and know that energy cannot be created nor destroyed only changed in form. I am convinced that the energy of unconditional love never dies it just moves on to a different dimension.

If you know of someone who has lost their child please take a moment to connect with them over the next few days. Trust me, it will touch their heart to know someone remembers and cares. You might want to forward this blog to them. It may be just the salve needed to help heal their wounded heart.

From the distance of our separation
I see the whole of which I was a part;
I see the way, at times, I tore your heart,
And see the love that you maintain,
And know my leaving caused great pain.
But it was my time to move on again,
You could not change the destiny, the plan
I see the love that shaped our lives,
And am grateful for that and so much more.
Do not fear that I have simply disappeared,
Because I am forever in your loving sphere.
I am here, behind the door, watching and praying for
you to heal, to remember the good times, there were so many.
I chose you as my Mom for so many reasons.
I needed your strength, your love and belief in me,
I needed to learn the lessons that only you could teach me.
I am now free of anger, fear, pain and hurt,
And am surrounded by total peace and love,
The kind of love that you have for me,
Forever and eternally.
I will always be merely a breath and thought away,
Unconditional love just works that way.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Are You Listening?

I once met a couple that had managed to work out a system for communication that was so unique it made a lasting impression on me. The gal was a nonstop talker and when her husband wanted to say something he simply gave her a friendly hand signal and she would stop immediately and let him get a few words in the conversation. The first time I saw them do this I was surprised and a little embarrassed for the wife but then I thought about it later and realized that they had developed a mutual understanding that worked for them.

I also remember in elementary school when we were trying to teach kids the importance of listening we would use a prop that was passed to each person as a signal that it was their turn to talk. The kids enjoyed the lesson and learned the importance of having everyone’s voice in the room.
Hopefully, some of the learning carried over into their adult life to make them better communicators.

It takes effort to hold back, and make sure that everyone has an equal amount of time to speak. But when we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes it is easier to understand the importance of doing so. Everyone wants to feel important, and to know that their opinions matter. Listening to them reaffirms that they are an equal partner in the discussion.You may not agree with them and that’s okay. We all have our own personal view of things depending on our life experiences.

Doesn’t it feel good when someone truly listens to you without interruption, judgment? People who are willing to give you their uninterrupted attention and time are rare. Most people are simply waiting (albeit) impatiently for their turn to talk. We can tell caring listeners by their eye contact and body language. We know that they are not thinking about what they have to do tomorrow, or their next meeting or client but are focused on what we are saying. They may even rephrase what we said to be sure they heard something correctly but otherwise, they simply listen with their head and heart. They are giving us something that can never be replaced – their time. The moment, once elapsed, is gone forever. Folks like this do not worry about ‘losing time’ but are more concerned about making a difference in the life of someone else. They are genuinely interested in what we are saying and doing. People like this are hard to come across but we all run into a few such special individuals in our lives. Their listening behavior signals an unconditional acceptance that causes us to feel more valued, cared for and respected.

Listening is at the heart of communication . In our hectic world so many people are yearning to be heard. It takes effort to sit still and listen attentively without interruption. It takes effort to learn to ask questions that empower rather than using simply declarative statements that disempower but the results are so worth the effort.

Have a great few days!