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Be yourself, dammit!

I meet a lot of people when I do talks who tell me they are frustrated that their kids aren’t “behaving” or “going with the plan” that they have in mind for their future.

“It’s for their own good!” They will insist. “They just don’t listen.”

Often times, I think these parents are trying to force their kids into activities that they don’t enjoy because a part of them wishes they could be doing it themselves. Whether it’s through sports or God forbid one of those child pageants, it’s usually not the kids idea. It’s mom or dad living out some life-long dream by making their kids get up at 7am to go to hockey practice.

I came across a story about a man named Shaun Sperling who is now a litigation attorney in Chicago. When he was 13 back in 1992, he was obsessed with Madonna, so he asked his mom if he could have a Madonna themed bar mitzvah.  She agreed and they had Madonna busts all over the reception, posters, t-shirts, you name it.  He learned the entire “Vogue” routine and performed it in a video that was posted in August and has now gone viral. He practiced everyday for his sister and his dance moves are very fun to watch.

Today, reflecting on his experience with Headline News, he writes,

Even today, as an attorney at a law firm in Chicago, I am still just me — flamboyant, outgoing, ridiculous me. I am thrilled that the video is all over the place making people smile and laugh. I hope that as people watch the video, they can see that being authentic and true to one’s self — no matter how outside the box — is the only real path to success and happiness. 

So if you are a parent- encourage your kids to be who they are- not who you want them to be. Even if it goes outside of your belief system. Change comes from inspiration, not imposition. The more you force your kid to be something they are not, the bigger the wedge you will create between you and your child.

Because whether they are dancing or running or singing or reading, they are incredible human beings. And every child deserves the right to be authentic in order to succeed.

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Why do bad things happen to good people?

I got a call from my old friend Rachel the other day. We were buddies in college and roommates in our 20’s. While arranging a time to grab lunch, she said,

“You heard about Marla, right?”

Marla was another friend of ours from college.

“No? What about her?”

There was this long pause and my heart just sank.

“She died,” she said. “She was hit by a truck after dropping her daughters off at school. She was killed instantly.”

OH MY GOD!

I stopped in my tracks and just stood on Wabash with my phone at my ear.

“What?! What?!”

I hadn’t talked to Marla in years. The last time I saw her I remember she and her husband came over for dinner, along with Rachel and her husband,  and we all cooked pesto pizza and watched “The Long Kiss Goodnight” with Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson.

“I can’t believe this happened,” I said to Rachel. “How could this happen?!”

Marla and her husband Dave lived in Valparaiso with their two daughters. Marla had just dropped off cupcakes to her daughters’ school before a truck ran a red light and killed her.

I write a lot about spirituality, and “you are where you’re supposed to be in every moment,” blah blah blah… but I just can’t imagine Marla was supposed to be killed by a truck. 

This is bullshit, God!

So why do bad things happen to good people? I posed this question recently to a woman who not only died in a kayaking accident and came back to life to talk about it, but she also had to bury her son when he was just 19. Dr. Mary Neal is an orthopedic surgeon who was dead for fourteen minutes and says she was literally “kicked out” of Heaven. Apparently God told her she had to come back and tell her story. She was in town for a talk at Evanston Hospital in April and I tried to pitch her for a column. There was no interest in print so I interviewed her for WGN radio instead.

Since then she’s been on The Today Show and Fox News talking about her brush with death and her book “To Heaven and Back”.

“I’m a pragmatist!” She told me. “I couldn’t make this stuff up if someone put a gun to my head.”

And then she said something I will never forget:

“I can’t tell you how many times over the last 13 years where something terrible has happened where someone says ‘Isn’t that terrible about that boating accident?’ and I think ‘No actually, it was a great gift.’”

“A tragedy is a great gift?” I asked.

 “If you think about ‘bad’ things- think about Jesus- he was betrayed, he was arrested, he was beaten, humiliated, and he was killed. That’s bad. By all accounts we should look at that and say ‘That’s the most horrible thing you can imagine.’ But look what came of it. For more than 2000 years people are remembering his story and using it to heal and love. So can you look at that and say it was horrible, but I look at the affect it had on the last 2000 years and it’s incredible. He brought a covenant of love. You can look at every bad thing that happened and almost always there are incredibly good things that come of it. You know change doesn’t happen when things are easy. Change happens when things aren’t easy and when you are pushed. So I would say there is no such thing as good and bad. It just is. And we may not understand it.”

I definitely don’t understand it. But I will hope that a gift can come out of this.. somehow. While reading this blog post written by Marla’s husband Dave, I was reminded of Marla’s big heart. Her talent. Her artwork. 

This is so unfair!

So tell those you love how much you love them while you still can. And try to find the blessings in the chaos, I guess. Even when it’s hard.

And today, it’s really fucking hard, dammit!  

 

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Is your EGO running the show?

I just received an email from an author asking for help. He wants me to share his book with my contact list. “One of my lifelong dreams is to hit the NY Times Bestseller list,” he wrote.

He reminded me of me when I released my first book “Stay Tuned”. I thought “If I could just get this in Oprah’s hands, I’d be OK.” I checked its status on Amazon daily. I was so proud of it, but that wasn’t enough. I wanted others to be proud of it too. I figured that praise from a list or from a celebrity would make me whole and that I would be better somehow with mass approval.

What I didn’t realize was that I needed to do more work on myself. I was letting the outside world determine if I was OK.  

We live in a society that is so addicted to the approval of others. If this other author makes it to that list, will he be content? It could be a fabulous book, I don’t know because I haven’t read it yet. If he sells a ton of them, it might put some money in his pocket, sure. It’s great to be celebrated and respected, so being on the bestseller list would probably feel wonderful. Until that high wears off and then it’s time to get on the top of another list.

In the last 15 years I’ve interviewed many gurus and authors who’ve had bestsellers. The ones who really stood out weren’t spreading their messages to be famous. They were spreading their words of wisdom because they wanted to help people first. Their fame and money came from their authentic need to help the world, not from their desire to be on the top of the list.

If you are doing ANYTHING because your motivation is to be on a list, or win an award, or get kudos from famous people, then your EGO is running the show. Period.

I love the acronym Edging God Out that Wayne Dyer uses with EGO.

Now don’t get me wrong- I get that having goals is a good thing. It’s important to “reach for the stars” as my tagline says for my second book “I’m Spiritual, Dammit!” But don’t let your happiness be determined by your accomplishments. That is like standing on quicksand. Your happiness needs to come from your relationships with others, but more importantly, your relationship with yourself.

You better still like you regardless of how many books you sell. Regardless of how many medals you win. You are enough, even if you are sitting on your couch doing nothing.

Seriously.

We grind our gears thinking goals will fill the hole and make us whole, and guess what….It just creates more need to succeed. You never stop chasing your tail. You are Edging God Out.

When you come from your heart, you will create life long success. 

So ask yourself as you go through your day, “Is this serving my head (ego) or my heart?”

The heart will always win in the end.

 

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How lazy have we become?

I was looking through my email at work and found a pitch from a person promoting a company called Fiverr, which is a website where people can post their “micro-services.” These  services include everything from video production to turning your home into a temporary hotel and the prices on the site range from $5-$150.

At first, I thought, “how cool!”

Then I saw this post:

I will meditate on your financial abundance for 5 minutes straight. Every 1-2 days, I do this for all new orders. WELCOME income, shifts, insights, new energy & joyful support! Note: There’s no promise of a specific result. Each person gets *unique* benefits. See testimonials below! ☺ Windfalls are not uncommon: Bonuses, promotions, new jobs, cash prizes, unexpected income… I invite a 3-10% tip on your new income, via my tip gig. This keeps the energy moving & brings more good to you! ♥ORDER NOW♥

So now, we can’t even meditate for our own success, we have to pay someone to do it FOR US???!! Are we THAT lazy?

Shit yeah!

I’m not really upset with the woman for listing the micro-service, because after all, she’s just taking advantage of the sloth we’ve become as a species.

But what I am hoping you gleam from taking 2 minutes to read this post is:

THE POWER IS WITHIN YOU. You want to create abundance in your life, or bring on that “windfall”, work on yourself.

Rather than pay a stranger 5 bucks to meditate for your well-being, how about meditating for yourself instead? How about establishing real relationships and a purpose rather than hoping your mom, your spouse, your boss or some stranger on Fiverr will make it better?

Make it better on your own. You can do it. I believe in you.

And if you want someone to sing “Happy Birthday” like Marilyn Monroe, let me know. I may just be posting that service on Fiverr. (That is, unless someone else has thought of it first, dammit!)

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Hearts are everywhere

My friend Kathy’s magical blackberry is at it again..everywhere she turns, hearts follow. Start looking for the good in life, and it will be everywhere.

Here is the proof.

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The world is how you look at it.

I have a friend Kathy who sees hearts in just about everything. From clouds to leaves on the street, it is totally mind blowing that they keep showing up for her.  She sends them to me and each one gets better and better.  I almost can’t believe it sometimes.

What luck?!

 

 

 

 

The more I think about this, I feel it’s her focus that is bringing these hearts into her reality. Whether we admit it or not, whatever we focus on becomes part of our life. If we focus on crap, we keep getting crap. If we think about good things, more good shows up. I know someone who constantly thinks “I’m going to get ripped off!” So guess what?! She’s always the one who gets robbed or cheated out of something. That is her focus. That is her reality.

While Kathy has a gift for finding hearts, I have a gift for getting good parking spaces. I thank the Universe in advance for the perfect parking space, and it shows up. It’s my own silly party trick, but it has become a part of my life – sort of like Kathy’s hearts. I always expect it, so they show up. It’s been about 9 years now of “rock-star” parking. No joke.

The other day, Kathy was finishing some tomato soup and found this at the bottom of her bowl. So why not bring some hearts into your thoughts? It just might make for a life of love….(or at least a meal of heart-shaped goodness.) 

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A review for “I’m Spiritual, Dammit!”

I’m always grateful to get nice reviews- but one from the Pagan Librarian really made me smile. A reader told me about it when she was commenting on my post “Oh Shit, a Skunk!”.

I think one of my favorite parts of the review was:

You also don’t need to be a religious person –church-going or head-in-the-clouds bat-s**t crazy– to have “spiritual” experiences. They can happen to anyone and everyone, regardless of age, race, gender, creed, culture, or career. Most of the times they’re quiet, but they are always unique and made to be meaningful to the intended individuals to get their attention.

So who is the Pagan Librarian? Not sure but I am thankful that she and I are both spiritual, dammit!

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Why do kids stick things in their nose?

My son put a lego up his nose recently and it meant a trip to the ER. I mentioned it at work and it opened the door for several stories from others about how their kids stuck items into their noses. It ranged from Polly Pocket shoes to insulation. I’m just wondering- why oh why do kids – mainly boys – seem to do this?


 

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Never give up

I came across a story of a man named Arthur. He was injured as a paratrooper in the war and gained a lot of weight. He was told he would never again be able to walk without a walker.

Well, he decided to take up yoga and it changed his life. He lost 140 pounds in 10 months and now not only is he walking without help, he can run.

I know many people who are complainers and they want to be fixed. If they could take a pill to lose the weight or the sadness or the stress, that would be their preference. My feeling is, try moving your body first. Please. Maybe a long walk is all you can handle these days. That’s OK too. As long as you do something.

 If you ever doubt you can do it, watch this video. Pass it on to anyone you know who could use a boost. And remember, as Arthur says, “Never underestimate what you can accomplish when you believe in yourself. Never give up.”

 

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Kids say the darndest things…

My son cracks me up. Whether he’s saying his chicken looks like “a bunch of cooked butts” or he’s asking why zippers have teeth when they don’t eat- he always manages to put a smile on my face.

I came across this video of a boy on pain medication who just got a cast for a broken arm. Normally I don’t like to see kids under the influence even if it’s for a good laugh- but this one seems harmless enough- so enjoy.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__dUlY0JpSc