Its Friday afternoon and I don't have any idea what is for dinner. I scan the countries on our A list and see Azerbaijani. I wonder what their food is like...... I feel like having soup and find this delicious recipe for Tera Bebeyi. Look at the lucious ingredients chopped up and ready to be cooked on this chilly February day. All ingredients are organic and the dill was frozen this summer for events like this, still smelling like summertime.
The dish was delicious and then I decided to regenerate the spring onions. I used my daughter Carina's technique to keep them all upright. How fun that plants will keep growing and growing when we place them in the right conditions!
Food from Afganistan has been a wonderful choice to celebrate my daughter Carina's 24th birthday, as it was delicious, with lots of interesting spices.
When my friend Kathy Puffer heard of our plans, she lent me this beautiful book by Madeleine Segall-Marx. She is a sculptor, and she spent 10 years on an anti-war art project, of which this book is a part. The project is about Listening to the Enemy, and she collected stories from 25 areas of armed conflict, and made an artwork for each one. You can see the project at www.listeningtotheenemy.com. The story for Afghanistan is told by Shabana Basij-Rasikh, who dressed like a boy and went by the name of Shaban the first 10 years of her life, so that she could attend school and walk safely in the streets. No girl should have to hide her gender in order to attend school and be safe. I feel a new appreciation for the freedom Carina enjoyed growing up. I reflect back on her early years of wearing her favorite color fuscia on frilly, girly dresses, her hair decorated with ribbons and bows put all over her head in a wild profusion of straight hair fountains,flamboyantly designed by herself. Once Carina hit her teen years, she favored earth tones and her hair developed nautral waves and curls, quite a contrast to her earlier years. How grateful I am that Carina has been free to express herself just as she wanted during her girly fuscia years to her earthtones older years without fear of judgement or violence, sadly so unlike the country of Afghanistan where Shabana grew up. I am grateful Carina has grown up in the United States, where she could be who she wanted to during different stages of her life!
Below is our menu, with links to the recipes we used, followed by a picture of a plate of food. Kale from our greenhouse garden was added to the Gulpea for a bit of fresh greens. All of the food was absolutely delicious!
Qaubili Pilau(Rice Pilaf)
Gulpea (Tender Cauliflower)
Lavand-e-Murgh (Chicken in Yoghurt)
Nan (Flat Bread)
Eid Mubarak (Baklava)
Finding the ingredients for these meals was like going on a scavenger hunt. The nan recipe called for kalonji seeds, also known as nigella, black cumin, black caraway or onion seeds. I found these seeds at the Aaoji Grocery Store in Middletown, NY. We also discovered many delicious spices, rice and dried beans which we are sure to use in future meals.
Our Cuisines from A to Z is an exciting project, which is introducing us to new cultures, tastes and stories from around the world. Join us for our Armenian adventures next week!
We had just returned from an exceptionally wonderful family trip to North Carolina with our two grown daughters Carina, Anna and new dog Lacey. A total of 30 hours of driving gave us time to talk, listen to each other's favorite music, plus share frustrations when we got detoured yet again due to differences in navigation philosophies.
My brother and sister in law not only had their two dogs Gilligan and Cole, but also a fun loving golden retriever puppy Nala. All of the animals and humans got along famously. Nala was the center of attention, flitting to wrestle with anyone who was eager for puppy love. Some of us went for a chilly dip in the ocean on December 25th, just to say we did it and to show our courage.
We were back at home, Carina having returned to her new home and Anna was off to see her boyfriend. Tom and I sat across from each other at our overwhelmingly silent dining room table and I burst into tears,feeling terribly sad and bereft that our chicks had flown away after such a wonderful trip. Somehow, this intense onset of empty nest syndrome caught us by surprise and poor Tom felt terribly sad for me. What a pair we were. This was the beginning of an exploration where we have begun to figure out what comes next after raising two beautiful, amazing, inspiring young women.
A few weeks into our discussions, Tom suggested we cook food from around the world each week, listing all the countries from A to Z. We've had fun thinking of all the countries and enlisted help from Carina, world maps and friend Zhenya. Our first dinner was food from Angola, which is pictured below. We hardly had any leftovers because the food was so very delicious. Carina and her fiancee Shad joined us for this delicious feast. The only part of the meal which we grew ourselves was the dried calendula flowers in the corn fritters. As my gardening and preserving skills improve, I hope more and more ingredients are grown in our city homestead gardens! I am excited about sharing our adventures with International Cuisines from A to Z and would love to hear from you in the comment section below :)
Do you like surprise gifts? I sure do. In my garden, I love when plants pop up in places I would never expect. I call them volunteers. Here is a picture of the volunteer spider plants or cleome which are growing in the space of grass I cleared next to the sidewalk into my office. They are beautifully colorful, tall, flowing and magnificent. Bees visit to gather pollen and each day, the plant grows taller, producing new flowers while the old flowers transform into seeds. I wonder where these seeds will blow and what surprise gifts they have in store for us next year...
I love meeting people as I travel or do errands around town. Yesterday, I met Mitch, a wonderful person who helped me find linseed oil to preserve my new raised garden beds. He is also an avid gardener and not only that, he uses the same gardening method I use, called Lasagna Gardening. I told Mitch about the work we are doing at our HEART in Haiti School with our gardens and biodigester. He had just sent his friend who started a school in Zambia information about biodigestion. Mitch's friend calls him, "The Thoughtful One". What a wonderful surprise gift of inspiring conversation Mitch shared with me!
My husband Tom teaches Astronomy Monday evenings after a full day of school. He has a short window of time when he pops home for a bite to eat. I try to have something which is quick for him to eat. Last Monday, I was running late on dinner preps and had an errand to do before he came home. As I was driving up the street, I saw Tom crossing the road as he walked towards our house. We both waved and smiled to each other and I said I would see him in a few minutes. I got stuck in traffic and was annoyed that I was running behind on his busiest day. I was beating myself up internally. I did make it home in time to eat dinner with him before he was off to class. When I opened my laptop that evening, here is the surprise gift I found tucked inside on a green piece of paper. Just so you know, one of his many nicknames for me is Pinkie.
You are so cute
in your pinkie suit
as you drive your electric car
and if your smile
was the sun
you could drive
for miles on
I cried tears straight from my grateful heart. What a sweet surprise after being so hard on myself.
What I've noticed over the years is surprise gifts are all around me. When I take time to slow down, notice and appreciate them, they give me tremendous joy.
I wish you many surprise gifts today and all the days in your future!
We never know how the seeds we plant will fare. Let me share a story with you of how a few seeds are spreading joy around and around.
May the seeds of joy you plant spread far and wide, making the world a brighter, happier place!!!!
Photo via Pixabay by ItsMirkwoodGirl
It can be difficult to know where to begin in helping a friend who has attempted suicide. Overwhelming emotions can make you feel confused, and the stigma that surrounds suicide can leave you feeling unsure as to whether you should do anything at all.
Stepping up after a friend has made an attempt on her life is the right way to go, but if you’re not sure the right way to go about it, just remember to refrain from using accusatory statements that might make her feel guilty. Chances are, she already feels that way, and the depression or mental state that led to the attempt probably left her feeling isolated and anxious. Let her know you’re there for her and that you take her feelings seriously.
Here are some helpful things you can do for your friend if she has attempted suicide.
It will be wonderful for the victim to be able to talk to you and other people she’s close to about her attempt without judgment, but it’s also imperative that she attends a counseling or therapy session, even if it’s just talking to school counselor at first. If she’s uncomfortable with talking to a counselor face-to-face, you may be able to help them find a helpline or therapy session that takes place online.
Finding ways to cope
If your friend is having trouble adjusting after a suicide attempt without experiencing anxiety--especially if she had a substance abuse problem prior--it’s important to help her find ways to cope. This might include art therapy, learning to play an instrument, or creative writing/journaling. It might also be helpful to help her make a box full of items that bring her comfort or happiness, so that when negative feelings pop up she can take out the box and immerse herself in things that help her find her center.
Remember your boundaries
As helpful as you’ll want to be to your friend, it’s important to remember that you can’t be with ther 24 hours a day. You will likely worry about her, and that’s normal, but hovering may make her feel pressured or anxious, the exact opposite of the calming environment she needs. It is okay, however, to keep up communication via phone or text when you can’t be face-to-face, or you might mail her a letter or leave a note just to let her know you’re thinking about her.
Helping with a return to work or school
Going back to normal life after such a traumatic event can be overwhelming for the victim, so having friends who are as supportive as possible is imperative. Help your friend figure out what she will say to people who ask about what happened, especially if it’s in a school environment; rumors can and will spread easily.
You’ll also want to make sure the school staff or management know about your friend’s plans so that they can make the transition as smooth as possible. They may even be able to change the schedule around and add in an extra study period, free time, or break so that your friend can get away from the inevitable stares and whispers.
Helping someone you care about after a suicide attempt can be stressful for both of you, but if your friend knows you’re listening and are there to help, she will have a much better shot at getting to a healthy place.
Chloe Pearson is a research specialist and freelance writer. She enjoys volunteering for ConsumerHealthLabs.com because she understands that in order for consumers to make the best decisions about their health they need reliable, well-researched information on which to base those decisions. And that’s precisely what everyone at Consumer Health Labs aims to do as they explore and interpret new health-related data and research.
I went for a late evening walk, toward sunset. Just a few houses away from my house I saw this beautiful little feather on the sidewalk.
I’d been thinking, wondering, “What is the real meaning of life?” The feather seemed like an answer, like an angelic little voice. "I am!” I was compelled to pick it up and carry it with me and photograph it in relationship with all the little things that caught my eye.
A Therese of Lisieux moment?
My heart was touched by its cooperative flexibility, its simplicity, its complexity, its lightness. Its delicacy and strength. Its generosity. How it ruffled and then smoothed back again into elegance so easily with my two fingers.
Holding it against some things it seemed opaque while holding it against others it seemed translucent. It reflected the light in all new ways, allowing the light more of its own true value.
All the things it played with seemed a little happier.
And while it blended and interacted and reflected and shone through, it never lost its uniqueness, its individuation. It was always itself, always the feather.
Words and pictures by Sheila Caffrey
Sunlight streams through our lofty window.
I see the sky completely blue,
I lay in our bed,
my lover’s body,
the soft sheets,
the fluffy comforter.
Feeling completely safe and
Why would I ever want to leave this bed, this home, this security which I feel and appreciate so fully at this moment? There is a passion driving me forward, encouraging me to reach beyond my comfort zone to explore what is possible. I do not have a clear picture of where I am going or what exactly I will be doing but I do know with certainty I am to notice how I am feeling all along the way. Fully feeling the highs and lows, glories and tragedies. I’ve been searching for the formula that I can follow to make everything feel right all the time. That stagnant formula does not exist. Religions have tried for centuries to create dogma to guide people so they don’t have to think, much less feel their way through life. Rules set in stone slowly kill us if followed without engaging in a dialogue. Life keeps changing. I want to flow with each new experience set before me with grace and ease. The ever adaptable, evolving LOVE Formula will guide me on this journey of going on my first book tour for Living Passionately. Let me share:
Lying in bed with the love of my life, I want to stay where I am, safe and secure. I know with certainty if I stay and do not go on this next adventure, my spirit will slowly die, become stagnant and depressed. I must let go of this familiar comfort for a time and follow this passion pushing me to keep moving forward. Typically when I go on a trip, I have a set schedule and agenda for each day. Not this trip. I've let that go... which feels terrifying...acknowledging and letting that feeling go ... feeling the excitement, following that....
Open your mind:
I learn how to follow my intuition each step of the way by connecting with my intuition and the angels, which is new to me. I've brought Trudy Griswold's audiobook: Angelspeake: How to Talk with Your Angels and am learning to connect with the angels through writing. The challenges I face are trusting the angels are there for me and practicing.
I open myself to new adventures, trusting I am guided by my intuition and the angels as I feel my way through each day.
The beginning of my very first day, fear got the best of me and I got lost just an hour from my home, taking a one hour detour into NYC. Instead of beating myself up, I made a pact to stop anytime I was uncertain of where I was to go next. This worked wonderfully. The rest of the day went smoothy and I ended up staying in a lovely hotel on the beach, eating local crabcakes for dinner. Life doesn't get better than that! My success happened because I faced my fear and developed a strategy to move forward with ease.
My first morning away from home, I was missing my dog Lilli. I went for a walk on the beach and met an energetic labradoodle who gave me morning licks and loving as only dogs can. I also found a stone on the beach in the shape of a dog. I knew the angels had heard me and were helping me feel at home on the road.
I worry about finding nutritious, yummy food to eat on the road, so decided to see if the angels could help me. I asked to eat Mexican food at a local restaurant, not Taco Bell. Within 30 minutes, I was guided to a local Mexican restaurant, right off the highway. Delicious!
Approaching my last night on the road, I was really tired, with no idea of where to stay that evening. I stopped at a rest stop and was looking at the map, asking anyone who came by for ideas. I just felt more and more confused. Going into my car, I took a few minutes to meditate and ask for guidance. I didn't receive any answers consciously, yet I felt more at ease. I set my GPS for the next big city and hoped there would be a hotel room open there which wasn't too expensive. After driving for about 30 minutes, the GPS said to take the next exit as the route would be quicker. This made no sense to me, yet I trusted the angels were guiding me. In a few minutes, I was at one of the world's natural wonders: Virginia's Natural Bridge. Wow! I found an inexpensive hotel which had a room available and ahhhhh, took a break to walk and discover an amazing gift. This was just what I needed - time to explore, give myself a rest, be inspired by nature and the lovely people I met along the trail. Here are friends I met at Virginia's Natural Bridge. Feel the wonder of this amazing place!
Following my intuition and trusting the angels to guide me has been and continues to be a wonderful adventure. These are a small sampling of adventures which happened on my book tour alone. I still use meditation, writing and also a pendulum to connect with the angels. Messages do not come in clear, bold ways for me. When I pay attention, I notice the miracles happening every day. My heart feels fully alive and my soul free.
Do you want to learn to connect with your intuition in your own unique way? Join us at the Hearts Alive Community!
Peter Heymann's wife Lois of 25 years invited him to attend a Buddhist retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh 14 years ago. He said he would go, but brought his golf clubs just in case he wanted to escape. Little did he know, this would be an incredibly life-changing experience. Here is Peter's story of using the LOVE formula during this transforming time in his life.
The first part of letting go was actually going to this event. I experienced a deep personal connection with Thich Nhat Hanh, this gentle man in a room full of 800 people. We listened to him speak together, then broke into smaller groups for discussions. I realized I couldn’t use my usual defenses of sarcasm and teasing to keep people from getting close to me. Throughout our 25 years of marriage, Lois told me many times about my being aloof and sarcastic. I had held on to my controlling ways. This event taught me about connection to real people. I grieved my old ways.
Open your mind
My life changed in amazing ways. To that point, I had been denying my own spirituality and need to connect with people. I had acted as if I didn’t need anyone. My mind opened to new possibilities with people who were there the whole time. I realized I loved connecting with people like I had when I was a personal growth youth counselor. I was ready to shed the layers of protection I built around me and begin anew. I started going to enlightening conferences, taking self-development classes and most importantly, asking myself questions as to why I got away from who I was in order to bring my true self back.
I created a new vision, which felt like a re-entry to a new world that I didn’t see before. The sun was now so brilliantly bright. It was almost dangerous driving home from the retreat because everything was so vibrant and fascinating. The seeds were planted, which I nurtured as I began a new life journey where I worked on learning more about the insights I received. I’ve been expanding on this learning ever since that life-transforming retreat. Because I love connecting with people, I became a volunteer counselor for 12 years, which developed into my current life coaching practice where I help people learn how to be and not to be, according to their values and purpose. I know for certain, it is critically important for me to be connected with people. Isn’t it exciting I discovered this before it was too late?
I am thrilled to know I now have power, control and free will to be who I am and to stay in touch with what I really want in life. This is a constant practice, because I was one way for 50 years and now I am changing by creating new habits, possibilities and ways of being. When I face challenges, I catch myself from following old patterns by practice letting go and opening my mind to seeing the situation in a new way. Instead of being reactive and angry, I talk to myself and get back on track to see the situation in a more productive way. I am less judgmental and more loving. I am aware of the people and things right in front of me in their full brilliance. Connect with Peter Heymann through his website: BreakthroughWithCoachPete.com
Reflection by Maria Blon:
Do you feel disconnected from yourself, the people around you or your environment? Consider looking for a community and classes where you can explore what is most important to you.
Look for Peter’s story with more details in the up and coming book: “Living Passionately using the LOVE formula”
Enjoy a few of Peter's favorite inspirational quotes below:
Every Sparks Alive class includes these three of Meditation, Movement and Motivatation. Why? Research has proven they are all effective tools for improving our brain's health in order to live with passion and joy. Following are 3 articles which discuss this research and even more benefits:
I had such a wonderful day, meeting with two coaches at Shadows on the Hudson, a beautiful restaurant overlooking the Hudson River. I felt so inspired to continue moving forward with my business, that I was up until after 11 pm working on my computer. I finally got myself in bed, ready to rest when this beautiful scene was outside my window. I hopped out of bed to get my camera and take lots of pictures. Isn't this scene beautiful? Sparks of light are shining through the clouds, the tree, my window, showing me that inspiration abounds everywhere I look. When I follow my passion each day, one miracle leads to another. I notice the magic around me and feel inspired.
If you are not feeling inspired in your life, you may wonder, how can I get to this point, to feel really good about life? My suggestion is to reach out to people for help, for community and companionship. Reaching out to one person, will lead you to another person, then another person and soon you will feel revived and ready to carry on.
I'll tell you the truth that two weeks ago, I was feeling down in the dumps. I had just finished speaking at 22 places over 6 months. I didn't have any more speaking engagements planned and was uncertain of my next steps. I realized that I needed help and started reaching out to lots of people:
I am amazed and humbled as I write this by how many people are supporting me in helping people to find the sparks of excitement inside to live their dreams as I live my dream of inspiring people around the world.
What small step can you take today to feel happier? Have you spent time observing nature at different times of the day? Do something new and different and expect to see amazing shifts in your life. We would love to hear what happens!
I feel lucky in so many ways. We were fortunate to purchase land in a lake community when prices were low, then built a small cabin where we get away with friends and family. When we were building the cabin, our TV broke, so to save money, we didn't get another one. Our car broke and we even went with one car for a year. Everyone in our family helped build the cabin by laying tile and hammering many nails. Now, we can enjoy spending time with friends in this beautiful get away created with our love and hard work.
One of my favorite visits with friends was when my friend and co-author Melanie Wood and her boyfriend Mark joined Tom and me for a rainy weekend get-away. We went on walks in the rain. I jumped in puddles and found my first 4 leaf clover. I've been searching all my life for a 4 leaf clover. As a child, I would rip one leaf of a 3 leaf clover, pretending there were 4. You can imagine my jumps of joy to find this amazing specimin, which has spiritual signifigance as well. Stay tuned...
We were four adults gathering on a rainy evening, getting to know each other by playing a really fun game. The idea was inspired by Stacey Cohen's icebreaker Jenga game from her Radically Express Yourself Class. Since I couldn't find a Jenga game, I had each of us write 8 to 9 questions to ask about our past, present or dreams for the future. We put the questions into a bowl, shuffled a deck of cards, then picked one to see who went first to answer a question. The game developed as we all contributed ideas. We selected questions like:
How much fun to connect with each other in different ways. I have known my husband Tom for over 30 years and still learned interesting things about the questions he created and his answers to questions. We were 4 hearts connecting deeply and loving every minute. If you don't mind, please scroll up to the 4 leaf clover and notice what shape the leaves are....................
Yes, 4 hearts together. How cool is that?
When was the last time you created your own game to play with friends?
Being an entrepreneur requires a tremendous amount of self discipline and perseverance. I am my own boss. I can work myself really hard or not and nobody is going to notice. The beginning of building a business is a tremendous amount of work with few rewards. I had recently finished my 22nd speaking engagement and was not sure where I would find the next gig. I was lucky enough to sell three books unexpectedly at a party, which was fun. I was feeling quite stuck at home and my computer wasn't offering any great ideas. I needed to see some real people. I decided to take a trip to my Hudson Heritage Federal Credit Union to deposit the $60 I had from those three books. I love chatting with the people who work there. I ask them what is new in their life and they are always interested in my latest advenure. I walked up to teller Victoria McCreedy who said with great excitement, "You are still getting out there and selling books. How is it going?" I shared the story of my sales at the party which she loved. Soon all the tellers were standing around as I explained marketing a new book takes 3 years. Their eyes were open wide with amazement. I felt so supported and encouraged to keep going. I realized I am doing something really hard that most people wouldn't even attempt. I wasn't sure where I would sell my next book or get a paid speaking engagement, but I knew when I did, the tellers at HHFCU would be cheering me on, which was all I needed to go back to my office and tell my computer what I was going to do next to move SPARKS Alive forward!
I have people in lots of unexpected places that cheer me on: the ladies at the Dollar Store, the Bank, the homeless people in Hollywood. My list goes on and on. Who encourages you and who do you encourage? We are all in this game of life together and it is so much fun to give people we meet a boost. Don't you think? I would love to hear your stories!
Do you enjoy reading inspiring stories like this? Check out our book: Living Passionatey: 21 People Who Found Their Purpose - And How You Can Too!
I have often felt like I was fat, which is far from the truth. My breasts don't jiggle much because they are small, but my belly jiggles, my butt jiggles, my thighs spread out and get crinkly when I sit down in my bathing suit. I am a woman and this is what women look like, but I thought that I needed to look like those skinny models who have six pack abs and tight thighs. My addiction and obsession became watching what I ate, counting calories, trying one diet after another and exercising a lot. I did running races and triathlons which on one level I enjoyed but I trained hard and hurt much of the time. I would exercise so that I could eat more of the ice cream I loved but that didn't really make me feel so good. I switched to yoga after my second daughter Anna was born which helped me to move in a healing way. I also tried the opposite extreme not exercising much at all, but that did not feel good. I love to move my body and have learned to bring the spirit of yoga to walking, hiking, biking, paddling and dancing. It is not about getting to a goal for any of these activities. My focus is on enjoying the moment, moving in a way that feels good and not worrying about how I look or how this will shape my body. I hope you enjoy India Arie's empowering song, "Beautiful Flower"!
Here I am with Sheila Pearl, author of "Ageless and Sexy". Aren't we two gorgeous women?
You are a beautiful, soft and powerful woman!
Written by Maria Blon
Taking time to carefully choose a speaker will help you to achieve the results you are looking for. Here are three questions to ask when choosing a speaker:
I hope these questions will help you to hone in on what you are looking for in a speaker so that you make the very best choice for your group. Please let me know how these thought provoking questions help you to make the best decision!
Everyone has gone through times where they wonder if there is some sort of meaningful purpose to their life on earth. I know I have struggled with self confidence as I tried to figure out what makes me come alive at different times. I have learned some wonderful tools that have helped me. I've shared these tools with people whose lives have improved. I realized that inspiring people in larger groups, both here in the United States and around the world would make the world shine brighter, would inspire people to be happier as they experience more peace and joy. You may be wondering what are some of the tools I share with people. Lets start with The three Ls:
Love Yourself Completely: Often we may love some aspects of ourselves, but label other parts of us as defective or bad. At one time in my life, I thought I wasn't good at writing. When I started college, I made a decision that I would learn how to write better. I did this by starting my writing assignments as soon as they were given to me. I asked for lots and lots of help. By asking for help, I learned a lot of wonderful skills. Now I have not only written a book, but have encouraged 21 people to write this book with me. I still ask for people to look at my writing and to improve all the time. Because I loved myself even though I had so much uncertainty about writing, I have created a whole new career based on what I once viewed as a weakness. Isn't that cool? So please, love all parts of yourself completely and ask for help as often as you want.
Laugh About Yourself: I know that I do some silly things. I used to call myself all kinds of mean names. I would say out loud or in my head, "I am such a knucklehead. How could I do that? I can't believe I messed that up again............and on and on." Not only would I be hard on myself, but I remember yelling at people in my car when they made a mistake or did something that made me afraid. Now that I laugh at myself when I make a mistake or could have done something better, I am much kinder when driving. If someone cuts me off, I say "I am glad that I was paying attention. They must be in a rush. I hope that they are okay....." I feel so much better when I am at peace with myself and everyone around me. Laughing about the funny situations I find myself in keeps me in an upbeat mood and makes for great story telling at dinnertime.
Live Passionately: Instead of going through the motions in life and just getting by, I love to look at each new day as an adventure. A lot of my work lately is by myself writing, editing websites and our audiobook, plus many other online activities. If I only do this kind of work, I get burned out fast. So, I plan my days differently each day. I make sure to find time for fun exercise. This winter in New York has been wonderful for cross country skiing. I make time to get together with friends and family in person, on the phone or through emails so that I don't get lost in the bubble of my world and stay connected with the people I love and care about. I set and work towards goals to continue reaching out for speaking engagements and other opportunities to help people. Taking time for reflection is a major key to making sure that what I am doing is in alignment with my soul's yearning.
Enough about me. I share my experiences only to help you learn by my example in your life. How would you like to apply the three L's in your life?
Love Yourself Completely
Laugh About Yourself
These are the kinds of tools I share with people to use in their life. Participants are encouraged to reflect on how to apply these tools in their lives. Participants are encouraged to get in pairs to share their three L's for their life. Everyone realizes that we can all find ways to make our lives better and we are not alone in our life journey. My wish is that your life be filled with love, laughter and passion!
To learn more, go to our Living Passionately website.
My youngest brother Evan had cerebral palsy, severe developmental delays, scoliosis and epilepsy. This is a picture of Evan with our amazing Mom, Sue Keane, in 2012. In the summer of 2014, Evan was very sick, spending most of his summer in the hospital, primarily in intensive care. In the middle of this summer, I went through an intense grieving period where I just kept crying. I could not stop and didn't understand why I was sobbing so often. Evan has never been able to speak with us, yet I continued to speak with him in my head, while feeling his spirit in my heart. I decided to write a letter from Evan, thanking us for all that we had done for him in his life. The words for this letter flowed through me very quickly. I read it to my husband Tom, bawling the whole time. Then, like magic, my grieving period ended. I think Evan was asking me to be his voice so that when he died peacefully on Friday, August 22nd, I would have this letter to read at his memorial service the next day. What do you think?
Here is the letter from Evan to all of us:
Evan from heaven
What have you come to teach us?
To be patient, kind, compassionate, loving, grateful and accepting.
Evan wants to say thank you to the important people in his life:
Mom, I am the luckiest person in the world having you as my mother. I appreciate the gentle love and care that you have given me for these 33 years of my life, during which I have received the best care possible. I am truly blessed. You have helped the doctors learn how to heal me, because you know me better than anyone.
Dad, thank you for caring for me, feeding me, clothing me, accepting me, loving me, bringing me on adventures to the beach, restaurants, music and gardens. I am glad that when you felt stressed out, holding me calmed you down.
Maria, you have treated me with love and kindness while walking me, holding me, feeding me and talking with me. I am happy that because you have cared for me, you have learned to teach people about caregiving while living a balanced and passionate life.
Paul, thanks for being my fun older brother. I liked lying on your bed, listening to your music. Thanks for dancing with me to help me stop crying.
Ella, you were the best nurse dog, letting Mom know when I was having a seizure and keeping me company.
Molly and Ivie, thank you for joining Mom to visit me at Allegheny Valley School. I am glad they allowed dogs as visitors.
Thank you to all the people who have cared for me through my life: Teachers, Babysitters, AVS Staff, Doctors and Nurses. I am blessed to be so loved.
Evan, thank you for all that you have taught us. Say hi to Dad, Sarah, Granny, Grandpa, Grandmom and Grandad. Have a wonderful time being a free spirit, back at your home in heaven.
Love your sister,
We all ask this question of ourselves at one time or another. Every person on this earth is here for a reason and each one of us matter a great deal. Sometimes understanding our purpose and passion in life seems baffling, even for people who seem to have a lot going for them. When we look at these three people's deaths, I ask with great sadness WHY DID THIS HAPPEN?
Mental illness and addiction are real diseases that take too many people's lives. These three amazing artists have touched so many millions of lives through their passions and talents. When someone moves us emotionally like Robin, Philip and Michael have, they are in our heart. When they die, we are crushed, even if we may haven't met them in person. What can you do to ease your sadness and make an effort to prevent mental illness and addiction to take another precious life? Each person needs to feel their importance first and foremost by the people that are most involved with their life. You can do this by:
We may not have influence over famous people who die tragically, but we can manage our sadness by loving ourselves and the people around us more deeply and fully, one day at a time.
Coordinating Author of Living Passionately and whose chapter is titled "Who Am I and Why Do I Matter?
Disclaimer: If you find yourself unable to manage your sadness, seek the help of a professional.
Thank you Sheila Pearl for posting this beautiful discussion of passion by Wayne Dyer on facebook!
"Here’s a concept you won’t want to forget: passion always trumps excuses. Keep in mind that when I use the word passion, I’m not referring to the romantic notions that this concept conjures. Instead, I’m equating it to a vigorous kind of enthusiasm that you feel deep within you and that isn’t easy to explain or define. This kind of passion propels you in a direction that seems motivated by a force beyond your control. It’s the inner excitement of being on the right path, doing what feels good to you, and what you know you were meant to do.
It’s my contention that the mere presence of passion within you is all you need to fulfill your dreams. Remember that God is in no need of excuses, ever. The creative Divine Spirit is able to manifest anything it contemplates, and you and I are the results of its contemplating itself into material form. Thus, when we have an emotional reaction that feels like overwhelming passion for what we’re contemplating, we’re experiencing the God within us…and nothing can hold us back.
Passion is a feeling that tells you: This is the right thing to do. Nothing can stand in my way. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says. This feeling is so good that it cannot be ignored. I’m going to follow my bliss and act upon this glorious sensation of joy.
When you’re enthusiastic, nothing seems difficult. When you have passion, there are no risks: family dramas become meaningless, money isn’t an issue, you know that you have the strength and the smarts, and the rules laid down by others have no bearing on you whatsoever. That’s because you’re answering your calling—and the you who is doing the answering is the highest part of you, or the God within.
The presence of passion within you is the greatest gift you can receive. And when it’s aligned with Spirit, treat it as a miracle, doing everything you can to hold on to it." by Wayne Dyer
Check out our book, SPARKS of Passions!
This is an example of how I coached Alison to help her daughter heal from scary feelings. Alison's deep love for her daughter shines through reading this beautiful story and seeing the dolls they created together which includes her daughter's healing affirmation that she created with Alison's guidance.
My daughter is fearful that something bad will happen to me on an upcoming business trip - that I will get hurt, or worse, not come home. She has experienced nights of sobbing and nightmares in anticipation of the separation. Everything I have tried to soothe her anxiety has not helped.
Maria shared with me an exercise to heal people's hearts from troubling feelings. My daughter and I did this exercise together.
I laid My daughter down across my lap and cradled her. She crossed her arms across her chest. One on her heart and the other hand on the other side of her chest - almost like a hug. I put my hand over her hand on her heart and I guided her through the exercise and she repeated the words after me.
It was so soothing for both of us. No tears that night or the following nights. No more nightmares. We do this every night before bed. We even created a "Mommy doll" so l can be close to her while I am away on the trip.
Thank you, Maria, for healing my baby girl's heart!
Do you feel annoyed when you get sick and need to rest? I know just how you feel and want to share a perspective that may help you through these challenging times.
Each time I return from Haiti, I require a lot of recovery time and healing physically, emotionally and spiritually. How amazing to me that in a mere 4 hour flight, I travel from a lush landscape where I have electricity 24-7, clean water and easy medical access to a land of brown mountains, garbage filled rivers, poor sanitation and electricity that is on sporadically. While I practice meditation daily, upon returning home, I need lots of support to heal. I go to the doctor with any infections that I may have contracted, I have regular energy healing and body balancing sessions, take lots of baths, drink gallons of water, meditate and give myself energy healing. Feeling discouraged, I asked my spiritual teacher, Rev. Dechen Rheault why I need so much "help". She suggested that I am smart to seek the "support" that I need to heal. Once I viewed my healing from a positive perspective without feeling shame, I was able to relax and allow myself the time that I needed. After a week and a half of resting and healing, I feel so much better. On the outside, I didn't accomplish much but on the inside, I've made great strides. I have grieved and healed from a huge personal loss in my life, released much sadness for the land plus people in Haiti and cleared traumatic memories of the past. Now I feel so much lighter and freer! I am writing this to remind anyone going through health and emotional challenges, to remember that this is an opportunity for deep healing.
I feel fortunate that as an Energy Healer, I have the tools to help myself and other people heal physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually! I can teach you tools for self healing as well as being there with you during challenges.
The legend of the Phoenix is that the bird dies in ashes and is then reborn as a beautiful shining bird! Time spent groveling in the ashes when I am releasing what is not serving me can be painful is truly understated, but if I remember that when the time is right, I will be reborn lighter and freer than ever. My healing time is easier when I remind myself of this cycle and I hope this reminder helps you as well!
Join a group of people who are dedicated to Living Passionately in 2014! We will support you during your challenges in the ashes and celebrate while you rise and are reborn!
Bringing often secret unheard negative talk out into the light is a powerful healing tool!
Even though I am 5 foot 5 inches and have never weighed more than 135 pounds when I wasn't pregnant, I have often felt like I was fat and spent a lot of time obsessing over what kind of food to eat or not to eat. I tried a variety of different diets, vegetarian, raw foods, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free...... What I eat now is a balance of whole foods: whole grains, veggies, fruits, some meat (especially seafood) and a bit of dessert. I still go through phases where I eat dessert after each meal and crave chocolate if I can't have it. I use my body intuition to ask if something is good for me to eat. Mostly this works well, but one day, I asked if it would be good for me to eat the chocolate bar that I had in front of me. My body told me no. I ate it anyway. My obsessive, addictive thoughts took over. After eating the whole chocolate bar, I felt lousy. That experience helped me to get out of the unhealthy habit I had developed of dessert after every meal. I will slide back every now and again, but I know that I can get back on track with my eating and be balanced. I eat mostly wholesome good food, but allow treats without being derailed from healthy habits. There is a difference. I can calmly eat a dessert, enjoying each bite, which is good for me. I can wolf down a dessert, not tasting it at all, eating because of an addictive habit and that is not good for me. Awareness is most important. Can you relate? Sometimes I just act crazy. A sense of humor is important at times like this!!! I have learned to say positive, encouraging things to myself. Here are a few.
I treat myself with great love and respect!
I nourish myself with healthy, delicious, beautiful food!
Please share your affirmations!
If you want help getting on track with health eating, here are descriptions and connections to two different coaches.
Stay tuned for the next Blog article: Honoring my Body!
Author: Maria Blon & special guests