Archive for the ‘Attitude’ Category


Life has a way of doling out unexpected circumstances for all of us. They arrive in many different forms, often compounding one another—among them disabilities, job layoffs, financial challenges, relationship matters, and many others. Health issues often bring them all at once, along with all the adjustments required in new roles as a caregiver, guardian, sole provider, single parent or all of the above.

In my own life, until I experienced the super tsunami in 2004, there were certainly always hurdles to overcome, but fairly manageable. Before then, by using the same strategies I wrote about and presented to audiences for creating a life filled with purpose and daily jolts of joy, wonderful things kept manifesting by walking that tried and true path focused on intentions to create positive outcomes, harmonious connections and embrace optimism, among other core beliefs.

I had long resonated with these beliefs “walking my talk” for bringing my heart’s desires into reality. I fully expected it all to keep on flowing and couldn’t foresee how they would truly be put to the test in my early 50’s. However, the Universe had totally different plans and sent a tidal wave of uninvited circumstances, undoubtedly to test my coping skills, core beliefs and values, and to open my eyes to new realities.

In 2004, life in the harmonious zone spun me in directions never, ever imagined, and I tried my best to keep my footing while weathering a tidal wave of unexpected changes. My husband of 27 years became suddenly and mysteriously ill at 59 with a neurological condition conventional medicine couldn’t explain, which transformed him into a stranger, setting me on a long quest of discovery. Mainstream medicine didn’t recognize all of his symptoms were related to chronic inflammation impacting both his body and brain. Gone were all his beloved traits and calm demeanor. I didn’t know how to handle all the bizarre, behavioral changes that both frightened and confused me, without answers from doctors as to the cause of them all or how to handle them.

A year later, that quest finally led to a doctor, Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, a leader in biotoxin illness, who though his functional medicine evaluation, identified Rick with an autoimmune disorder, toxic encephalopathy, a result of chronic inflammation for those genetically susceptible. His therapies provided relief, helping Rick return to an improved quality of life, but that became dependent over the years on the open-mindedness of some of his treating conventional practitioners. Some refused to follow my requests for treatment, or accept the biotoxic diagnosis, and treated him solely with medications for psychiatric conditions which never really resolved his brain issues, and later learned they were actually detrimental to him.

While I was in the midst of adjusting to my role as caregiver for my husband, my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer and I became her caregiver, too. It soon became obvious she was suffering full-blown, cognitive decline around the same time I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. So, my head and heart were spinning in so many directions and I was frazzled, frustrated and chronically stressed in dealing with it all.

It was only what I eventually learned about the roots of Rick’s maladies that I realized through genetic testing that both had a similar predisposition (and  testing revealed so did our daughters and myself!), estimated to affect 25% of the population making us all poor detoxifiers and especially vulnerable to biotoxic exposures, from mold, insect bites and other agents.

Mom and Rick suffered a wide range of symptoms from their long-term, biotoxic exposure,  causing chronic inflammation and autoimmune issues, which were never properly evaluated nor treated by mainstream medicine. Fortunately, this would be discovered through functional medicine, and only due to a synchronistic connection.

Both would die years later from all the complications of their bodies gone haywire, suffering the consequences from our conventional healthcare system not yet prepared to properly evaluate or treat estimated millions of cases related to root causes of toxicity, genetics, nutritional deficiencies, imbalances, and other agents flaring inflammation.

Through this 12-year journey, I learned about caregiver exhaustion, of being on call constantly to handle the unpredictable . . . of witnessing torment and feeling helpless to offer relief. . . letting go of countless expectations. . . feeling guilty whenever I felt impatient, the continuing need to shift priorities in my then, very messy, disorderly life, among countless other lessons. Indeed, it was a regular reminder that resisting what was couldn’t change a thing and just made it worse. Life became overwhelming at times, requiring a total redirection of my energy, focus and priorities.

At times, I was both angry, frustrated and admittedly selfish. With all the doctor and hospital visits, countless trips to pharmacies for medications that didn’t have much effect, on-call for all needs, especially when inflammation was flaring so much pain and brains doing things never imagined, and sorting out endless stacks of paperwork and bills, I no longer had much time to do much of anything I enjoyed which I had long taken for granted. Writing, among them which always served to feed my soul from digging down for the truths within.

Instead of writing about ideas to include in my presentations, books or blog, most of my writing was in the form of regular emails to doctors about new or continuing symptoms I observed in my husband. I hoped these might serve as clues as to what had robbed him of his personality, his brain, his health, and our relationship because I was desperate for answers. I lived in a perpetually crazy world and I was losing myself in the process.

One of the biggest challenges was keeping my own sanity when two loved ones had lost theirs, and dealing with all the chaos that often swirled about threatening to steal my peace during big chunks of time. What ultimately did make a difference was remembering self-care—to dig down in the midst of all the angst, to the beliefs I had long ago taken to heart—the same ones I had shared during my presentations, my sanity savers for the heart and soul which echoed right to my core, and I needed to hold fast to them, more than ever.

I survived these periods of desperation and despair, sometimes moment-by-moment, by remembering to focus on the right thoughts to offer resilience and strength instead of those mental companions invited to my “pity parties,” which would only spiral down and zap my much needed energy to sustain myself and everything else required during this uncharted journey.

In the midst of this unwelcome siege of my heart and soul, I missed so much from my former life, especially of feeling truly happy. I knew happiness was an inside job, so if my life was to improve, which I desperately longed for, I had to take responsibility. I knew the right thoughts were lifesavers, and consciously had to remember to shift them, time and time again, to the ones that would serve me best. This was not easy when just about every day the unexpected arrived and had to adapt to that ever-changing rhythm.

I accepted help from others, my life savers, a network of friends, acquaintances and even strangers, who volunteered to take on tasks in service. They lifted my spirits and lightened the heaviness of my heart.  I began carving out slivers of time doing the things that I loved to do in spite of all the concerns that were never entirely chased away. I hosted gatherings to celebrate life, even as messy as mine was, but it was my life nonetheless, and being surrounded by those who lifted my heart and fed my soul. I re-discovered joy in the process and was forever grateful for all the support that carried me through the darkest times of my life.

For twelve years, a roller coaster ride whipped around lots of emotion, twisting and turning my heart and my hope, sometimes rising up with optimism and other times, free falling down, then circling back again to hope—this was indeed life in perfection, messy, raw and real.

As with most of life’s challenges, we usually can’t see the reasons why we’re having to experience them, yet in retrospect, they often reveal a most vital and significant purpose. So it is with the discoveries uncovered through my own journey—of the lessons learned not only for the heart, but other perspectives regarding health, wellness and well-being vital to all of us and why I’m re-launching my blog. It’s a needed story now, to support the mounting cases of inflamed bodies and brains which are its casualties.

Through this confusing, harrowing journey, my eyes were opened to today’s scary realities now impacting all ages. Those suffering from similar mysterious ailments may soon be spared being misdiagnosed, thanks to recent research uncovering root causes related to many of today’s maladies, along with therapies offering hope. With mainstream medicine’s adaptation of this research which has become part of the growing science of functional medicine, more patients will be able to circumvent the prospect of the heartbreaking, tumultuous journey of neurodegenerative diseases, autoimmune disorders, brain issues and others connected to these same root causes.

With content of this blog focused in support of wellness and well-being, posts will also include perspectives on navigating the elusive states of harmony and happiness amidst the challenges of our own respective journeys. Its purpose is to awaken readers to the potential for transforming health and wellness destinies grounded in hope, and the possibilities offered from those perspectives.

the winning spirit, winning attitudesThe Olympic medal winners around the world are now basking in the glow of their success. As the Olympic coverage has reported, glory often taking place in just a few moments. Yet, often the path paved to the victory stand is riddled with challenges, crushing defeats, exhaustion, disappointments and more.

Yet, the winning spirit, of giving it all they’ve got, is keeping focused with their eye on the prize, until being put to the test with the whole world watching. Read the rest of this entry »

Many of us in the Washington DC metro area are still without power, days after the ferocity of Friday’s storm put millions of us in the dark. It perfectly coincided with record-breaking heat. No power + record heat = long days of misery and nights without any flickers of light. This is a ripe opportunity for dealing with “what is”, when unexpected events slam into your life requiring adaptability and some serious attitude adjusting.

Take away our electricity and our lives are instantly changed–far beyond the creature comforts of staying cool when it’s sizzling outside, keeping refrigerated  foods fresh or out of the dark when light is desired. Every time I forget what I don’t have and flick a switch out of habit, it’s a gentle reminder of gratitude for the things taken so much for granted. Living in a plugged in, wired up world of convenience, instant accessibility, work from anywhere, efficiency and countless other ways, what a lesson in adapability and attitude adjustment when it all goes kaput! Read the rest of this entry »

Updated from article written years ago and inspired from this season’s lessons in patience!

June 14: This is a photo of my “patience plant,” taken today, the same bush which was barren for many seasons, and tested my patience to endure the barren seasons.  Coincidentally, it’s perfect timing, today is the anniversary of my father’s passing, and beautifully demonstrates that faith, patience and careful tending of our desires, does manifest, although we may experience seasons of doubt.

stress reduction, patienceWatching things grow is good for our souls—reminding us of how nature unfolds in just the right way and time. We can’t rush the process, no matter what we do. Some things grow at the speed of time-lapse photography. Other times, it’s more like a waiting and wondering game as in, “Will those seeds ever sprout and grow? “Will that barren bush ever bloom?” I question my green thumb when things don’t grow according to plan, my plan and my timetable. Observing nature teaches me about things I need to take to heart, in all areas of my life, especially when I need to remember them most.

Years ago, I planted a hydrangea bush in memory of my father. It was in glorious full bloom that first spring. The following year I eagerly awaited the display of showy blossoms both for their beauty and for the symbol they represented.  Lush leaves emerged but not one bud. I tended that bush carefully, weeding, watering and fertilizing it. Next season, I waited again for the buds to appear. I was certain they would for I had invested time, energy and effort. Surely I would get the reward. Once again, that barren bush bushwacked my desires.

I asked the garden center what else I could do. “Have patience,” they said.” Sounds like you’re doing everything right.” If I was doing everything right, why wasn’t that darn bush blooming? And so it went. Season after season, year after year. Every spring hydrangeas were in full profusion everywhere, laden with so many flowers they drooped to the ground. Just not in my yard. I dubbed my flowerless hydrangea, my “patience plant.” It had gorgeous, glossy leaves but never a bud for a blossom to grow.

What was I doing wrong? Sure looked healthy and should bear beautiful blossoms. I didn’t give up for I believed that bush would have to eventually blossom. In fact, I was sure of it because I was giving it attention and begging it to bloom. I even talked to it and asked for a little divine intervention. After all, my dad was never long on patience, maybe this was a test!

Finally, all that time, energy and patience paid off—a miracle appeared this spring. Adorning the very top of my “patience plant,” was one regal purple blossom, the long-awaited, crown jewel of patience! To me, it symbolized the power of perseverance and doing what it takes to create manifestation of desire, even without success in sight.

In the garden of life, sometimes success does sprout right away. You make a sale. Get the date. Land the contract. Get the job. Other times when you’re not reaping any harvest from all your time and effort, you may wait and wonder. You may question your ability. You may doubt that what you desire will ever materialize. You might be tempted to give up. Read the rest of this entry »

goals, attitudeWhile my daughter, Stephanie, was living at home, we’d often bond over YouTube videos, sometimes laughing hysterically at animal and people antics, others would light up our hearts with inspiration. Now, living coasts apart, we connect often sharing links. She knows I love stories about how wonderful things happen “out of the blue” and the amazing transformations that result, and grateful for receiving them.

So when she sent me one recently about Caine’s Cardboard Arcade, the subject line in her email read, “Mom, you’ll love this! Take 10 minutes to watch.” She was right. Indeed moments that demonstrate how winning attitudes and creativity are recognized and rewarded, seemingly out of the blue, is time well spent, reminding me of the magic of life and how wonderful things can unfold. When you mix together a brilliant young boy’s creative talent, indomitable spirit and a winning smile with the power of social media, it’s bound to go viral which it has.  http://vimeo.com/40000072

Caine simply put his gifts to work for the sheer joy of creating. He brought forth his brilliance in his father’s used auto parts shop, merely for entertainment. All that creativity could have gone unnoticed had it not been for another creative spirit, Nirvan Mullick, a man who stumbled upon the shop andwas instantly impressed by Caine’s talent. Wanting to share with others, he fired up the social media which not only made Caine’s day, but inspired massive action and changed Caine’s destiny: http://laist.com/2012/04/16/caines_arcade_check.php

Caine’s story is layered with lessons:

  • Putting your gifts into expression has both inner rewards as well as the potential of recognition that opens doors of possibilities.
  • Life can usher in just the right circumstances with the potential to change a life and sometimes many lives.
  • People rally to support others with dreams in their heart and talent.
  • Out of the blue, magical things can happen.
  • Remain optimistic in spite of current circumstances when wishes haven’t yet turned to reality.

What possibilities would you like to attract? Are you putting your gifts to work? Out of the blue magical things can happen whenever we put our talents to work and a desire to share with others.

get along, relationshipsChristy Brinkley and her ex are really fueling a media frenzy in trying to make a case that the other is at fault. In my opinion, they’re both out of their heart space and into their egos, and that only fuels more angst and aggravation.

While having lunch yesterday with Arnold Sanow, fellow speaker and coach who coauthored with me, Get Along with Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere we talked about getting to the heart of needs in all of life’s connections.

Wouldn’t you agree that life is about quality connections? Our success, happiness, and well-being are largely the by-products of our ability to get along well with others and cultivate positive relationships. By revving up the connecting spirit, we attract cherished friendships, valuable relationships, memorable moments, and an abundance of opportunities throughout our circles of influence. At the same time, we reduce the numbers of misunderstandings and conflicts that cost us dearly whether in the form of frustration, confusion, stress, lost revenue, heartache, headaches, or other draining experiences.

Anytime two or more are gathered, there’s an opportunity for all sorts of communication challenges to occur.  However, with the intent to create harmony in our connections, along with arming ourselves with proven strategies to deploy from a vital “get along”kit to either prevent or repair a communication chasm we’re rewarded with relationships that work and connect.

What people do want in their relationships, both personal and professional, is getting to the HEART of needs: to feel heard/honored, encouraged, appreciated, respected, trusted/treasured. If just one of these is missing in a connection, either one or both parties are likely to experience the potential for a  reaction and disconnection. This seems to universally resonate with people because it is what many participants list as one of the most memorable points of my presentations. Read the rest of this entry »

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