I proudly claim to be an Opti-Mystic; one who sees the world through the eyes of possibility. I may have come by it genetically, since my parents generally looked on the bright side of things and reinforced that all would work out somehow, even in the face of losing their fathers relatively early in life, losing their mothers while raising my sister and me, my early on health challenges that have since resolved, illness for both of them throughout their lives, job layoffs for my dad, and then widowhood for my mother. From them, I learned the life enhancing skill of resilience and it is what I teach my son, clients and students.
One thing I am increasingly delighted to know is that I am not alone. A growing number of people world wide are jumping on board the band wagon and in fact, many are leading the band. I laugh when I think about the idea that one can be ‘too positive’ or ‘too happy’. How does it serve anyone or anything to wallow in negativity, fear and doubt? You have heard that misery loves company. I’m here to tell you that like attracts like (in case you haven’t heard) and that which you put out into the world, comes winging back at you. Imagine a boomerang on which you have written your core beliefs about life. You cast it out in front of you with those messages and of course, as it’s heading back in your direction, it hasn’t lost any of those concepts. What do you want to return to you? Negativity or positivity? Another analogy is the Grand Canyon. If you were to stand over it and call out your name, whose name will come echoing back? Not your mother’s, father’s, sibling’s or teacher’s who you may feel had ‘done you wrong’. Yes, our past experiences may be catalysts for our current and future conditions, AND they are fueled by our prevailing thoughts and perspectives. It is within your power, to shift those beliefs, thus causing a ripple effect that will change the outcome.
Recently, I was asked to take part in a series called The Positivity Project which launches on March 4th and runs through April 22nd, for which I will be in the company of some of the most amazing speakers on this lovely planet of ours that is deeply in need of healing and nurturing. I can guarantee you that these folks are not gonna sugar coat anything and pretend that they have it all together. My guess is that they, like me, have ‘been there, done that, got the t-shirt’ when it comes to working their way through life experiences that have honed and polished them.
You will be familiar with some of them and will get to know others.
Dee Wallace, an internationally known actress, best known as the mother in ET, and roles in Stepford Wives and The Howling among many others, is also a best-selling author, healer and teacher. She has developed the I~M System of Healing to help discern and balance internal fears and limiting beliefs, and has appeared on major news and talk shows, including Oprah, the O’Reilly Factor, and E! Hollywood Stories.
Marci Shimoff, is the New York Times bestselling author of “Happy for No Reason”, “Love for No Reason”, and several titles in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, making her one of the best-selling non-fiction writers of all time! She is also host of the National PBS show “Happy for no Reason”, was a featured teacher in “The Secret” book and movie, is the president and co-founder of The Esteem Group, and has appeared on more than 500 national and regional TV and radio shows.
Rick Hanson is a neuropsychologist and Amazon best selling author of “Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom”., and “Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time.”
Howard Martin is the co-founder of HeartMath Institute, and a key member of the Global Coherence Initiative; a science-based project designed to help create global balance, cooperation, and peace. He is also the co-author of “The HeartMath Solution” and has appeared on CNN Headline News and Discovery channel.
Margie Warell is an executive life coach, regular contributor to Forbes Magazine, bestselling author of “Find Your Courage” (Her next book Stop Playing Safe will be published by Wiley Press in March 2013.) and a regular guest on national television, with appearances on The TODAY Show, FOX News, CNBC, and is the “Resident Coach” on Washington D.C.’s daily talk show Let’s Talk Live.
Hueina Su is a coach, trainer, former nurse, Amazon best-selling author of Intensive Care for the Nurturer’s Soul, and co-star with Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul), Marci Shimoff (Happy for No Reason) and John Gray (Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus) in the award-winning film The Keeper of the Keys.
This series of webinars was created by two dynamic powerhouse opti-mystics themselves who ‘opt into’ life full on:
Kathy Poehnert, has over 25 years of experience working in the educational, business, and human potential fields, as a coach, trainer, and consultant, and was an external coach for Deloitte, a senior lead trainer for iPEC coaching, a member of the state-wide Rutgers University/NJ division of Youth & Famiy Services case practice model training team, and a training development and presentation specialist for a NY City non-profit. She is an ICF credentialed coach, a Presentation Skills facilitator, and dedicated to helping women (and men!) maximize the power of their feminine energy for a softer, more collaborative and peaceful world.
Alan Cohen, author of “Those Difficult Talks for PR Pros”, is a former public relations and marketing executive serving prominent clients in broadcasting, publishing and Broadway theater, and was the Director of publicity at Scholastic, where he led the promotion of the acclaimed Harry Potter book series. He was Communications Director for The Broadway League where he lead the crisis communications team during the Broadway stagehands strike, and currently works with organizations and individual leaders as a coach and trainer in the areas of effective communication, conflict management and leadership.
The impact of positivity on neuroscience, resilience, loss and grief, recovery, workplace functioning, creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship and physiology will be explored. Some would use the throwaway phrase “Easier said than done.” I would interject that saying and doing go hand in hand. The more we have deep and meaningful conversations about this topic, the more we will be moved to action, “putting legs under our beliefs” as I like to encourage myself and others to do. There isn’t a person on the planet who hasn’t experienced loss, change, pain, struggle and challenge. It may feel familiar to stay stuck in the muck, but does it truly serve us? Imagine a world in which all of our energies, efforts and intention went into finding solutions, seeking common threads, witnessing beauty, celebrating connection, linking hearts, living as the magnificent beings that we are. What couldn’t we accomplish?
http://www.profcs.com/app/?af=1517924 This is the link to sign up for this FREE teleseminar
http://youtu.be/aJn3QJYYBr0 Beautiful- Carole King
It came to me a few days ago as I was sitting in services at Circle of Miracles that perhaps praying to God is not the same thing as praying with God, since for me, God is not an outside (male) entity sitting on a literal throne somewhere way over yonder. Instead, my take (and I don’t ever tell anyone what to believe spiritually, including my son, since it is a personal and inside job) is that which we call by many different names is an energy that permeates all things and all beings, a creating and sustaining Source. As a minister and therapist, I am often asked why God allows tragic things to happen. My response, after taking a deep breath comes in the form of a few questions: What if God doesn’t make destructive, painful, or otherwise traumatic events occur, but rather is the way we get through it? What if we could see the challenges as a exercise equipment that make us stronger, more flexible and resilient people? How would it be if we made room in our belief systems that we pray along with God for whatever it takes to be resilient thrivers and grand celebrants of whatever we have learned from our experiences? Not always easy to do, I know. I have cared for an ill spouse, was widowed at 40, lost a home in Hurricane Andrew, raised a child solo, had an ectopic pregnancy, became an ‘adult orphan’ in the past 5 years, have worked for 30 years with folks with sometimes severe physical and mental health conditions, addictions, homelessness, abuse and trauma histories. Each time I have been faced with challenges, I have engaged my prayer muscles and moved through the muck and mire and around the boulders that seem sometimes impassable/impossible. It is such a paradox at times, to know how much of my own personal strength to utilize and how much to surrender to an even more enduring power. I have heard that the word EGO is sometime seen as an acronym for Edging God Out. I would prefer to partner with the Divine. What if indeed, we are God’s eyes, hands and heart and God needs our energy, intention and action as much as we need God’s guidance and sustenance and further, what if these things happen so that we can join together as people tend to do in times of crisis? We see it over and over how we humans rise to the occasion during floods, hurricanes and school shootings. What if, rather than waiting and mustering our resources then, we feed the collective soup pot and nourish each other along with the God of our understanding on an daily basis. Perhaps then we won’t need be putting out proverbial fires and feeling lost and alone, bemoaning our fate. Instead, we will be Higher Powered.
This morning as I was prepping to go to work, it occurred to me that I get dressed in the same order every day. Underwear, bra, pants, blouse/shirt/sweater, socks, shoes, jewelry, makeup, coat and gloves (depending on the weather) and then head out the door. I do it unconsciously, repetitively, day after day…sometimes mix it up by wearing a dress or skirt. I grab my keys, check to be sure I have my cell phone and wallet in my purse, pick up my briefcase and sling it over my shoulder. I walk to the Jeep, put my belongings in and drive to the office where I offer counseling for folks in recovery from addiction. This morning, I facilitated a group and on the board wrote the words ROUTINE vs. RITUAL and asked the participants what each meant. We all have routines in which we engage at home, school, work and in social settings. Some serve us and others don’t, but repeat them we do, sometimes out of habit or without realizing we have a choice about changing our patterns. They spoke about the positive and negative aspsects of their routines and about creating new ones that serve them better. It brought to mind an episode of All In The Family in which Archie and Mike (a.k.a. Meathead) got into a to-do over what order to put on socks and shoes. Before I could explain it, one of the group members, in his best Archie Bunker accent, berated ‘Mike’ who put on sock, shoe, sock shoe when Archie thought it should be sock, sock, shoe, shoe. We all laughed and clapped and then he and I launched into the theme song…Those Were The Days and I did MY best Edith Bunker screech, hitting the high notes with playful precision.
We then spoke about ritual and all kinds of images came to mind; of religious upbringing, of the rituals that went into sustaining their addictions, of the use of prayer and meditation, of attending 12 step meetings, of making a daily gratitude list, of being in the flow when exercising, of being in nature, of gardening, of family traditions, some nourishing, some toxic. I shared with them my own daily ritual that includes setting intention each day, saying the Shema (the signature prayer in Judaism) before closing my eyes. It’s been part of my life since childhood and I can’t fall asleep without saying it and then my gratitude list.
Shema Yisrael, Adonai, Elohenu, Adonai Echad translates to “Hear, O Israel, the Lord Our God, the Lord is One”, but one that is closer to my heart is “That which we call God is Oneness Itself.”
What are the rituals and routines that sustain you and enrich your life?
http://youtu.be/ZFuniFSP2fo All In The Family (Sock/Shoe episdode)
http://youtu.be/0d8FTPv955I Those Were The Days
This afternoon I received a group email from Arielle Ford that read Debbie Ford Gets Her Wings. I wondered what brilliant thing Arielle’s younger sister had done to earn them and I made a mental note to read it when I had time. It wasn’t until I was sitting at my desk at my job as an addictions counselor, that I opened it. All of a sudden I wasn’t in Lansdale, PA, but instead whisked cross country to California where Debbie’s family was immersed in their private grief that was simultaneously being shared by thousands of others. Tears flowed as my visceral reaction kicked in. I could only imagine what the journey from a gloomy cancer diagnosis a few years ago to transition last night, was like for Debbie and her loved ones. My guess is that she faced it with what Ram Dass would call ‘fierce grace’. After reading Arielle’s message that directed folks to go to another site that was set up to honor Debbie’s memory, I knew that this blog entry needed to be written.
Like most people, my intro to Debbie was through her writing. I had the joy of interviewing her when her groundbreaking book: The Dark Side of The Light Chasers was released. It was a revelation to this light chaser who was (and still is) a perpetual optimist, refusing at times to look at anything remotely shadowy. I was sorting through back copies of Visions Magazine to locate the one in which it was published before writing this and couldn’t find it , so I will have to go from memory. One thing I recall was a story Debbie shared about being at a personal growth training and the facilitator called her a bitch. At first she was taken aback with what I imagine was a “who me?” reaction; much the same as I might have. And then she recognized the grain of truth in the woman’s perception of her and the ways in which pretending that she wasn’t a bitch ran her life and was her M.O. Of course, there were times when she was bitchy, as are we all. Then she came to understand that being a bitch came in handy at times when otherwise she might have been emotionally pushed around by others and needed to stand her ground. Did that ever ring true for me! I was as if I had permission to be more fully expressed, set boundaries and be assertive rather than remain the starry eyed idealist who was like a dishrag at times and an emotional contortionist who would often bend over backward to please people.
She went on to elaborate that what we most attempt to hide about ourselves, is eventually revealed and can become our greatest strength. These days, while I don’t quite embrace my shadow, at least she and I are on cordial, nodding at each other as we pass by, terms. I learned through Debbie’s work that even though I have what I call ‘cave thoughts and feelings’, judgements and mental ‘nasties’, I am still loveable.
Tonight as those who knew her best both mourn the loss of her physical presence and honor her place in their lives, I offer my heartfelt love and prayers to them and say Kaddish with them.
Rise up on those wings, Debbie and soar~
http://youtu.be/UKYgA2JaufY Om Shree Rama, Fly High-Deva Premal and Miten