My post today is dedicated to the women of the world. Guys, you might want to skip this post entirely. Or, you just might want to read on about how women as a whole are much too hard on themselves, just so you can go do something nice for that special someone in your life.
Here’s the deal: recently, I have sat down and spoken with 2 of my fabulous girlfriends (at separate times) who both all of a sudden went into a mode of not feeling that they are good enough for whatever the next thing is that they want in their lives. Of course, I immediately did my best to correct them of what was obviously not true. Then, I sat down and had to put my sadness to paper: How could these two fabulous ladies get so down on themselves and be so self-critical? Why were they being downright mean to themselves?
They can only answer that themselves, but our conversations put me into self-reflection: I have found that this way of thinking is, unfortunately, all too common for women. It is a pattern of judgment women put on themselves that needs to stop, and that we need to help one another stop by reminding our women friends how wonderful they are, especially when they are having a tough time. This trend can be stopped by a friend telling them like I did, or it can even be healed before that—from within—by deciding first to love who we are, no matter where we are in life, and that we will just keep at whatever it is that we might want to change.
Women all-too-frequently put a great deal of pressure on themselves to be the best in every area of their lives. Typically, we as women want to look, feel, create, and present ourselves in the best light to others. This is understandable, but we also need to recognize that we all have different paths, and we don’t need to do it all. We can ask for help; in fact, I think asking for help should be a requirement.
I love my neighborhood. I love its energy, and the fact that when I walk my dog, I run into people that I know are my neighbors somewhere in the buildings that surround me. I don’t know all their names, but I definitely know their faces, and they know mine. We have those brief, friendly conversations that generally last no more than 3 minutes because we are all New Yorkers who have places to be. It’s an unspoken understanding. If I run into someone I know, I take this as the universe telling me that I am in the flow with life and on the right track. Seeing my “people” shows me that synchronicity is at work and to keep going.
Recently, at different times, I ran into a couple of my older neighbor friends that I chat with on the sidewalk. I realized that they say similar comments to me. They always seem happy to see me, just as I am happy to see them. Then they ask me what I am up to because I always have something going on that is interesting. I think to myself, “These people have interesting lives, too!” After all, we live in the same city, with the same abundance surrounding us.
These threads of comments show me what makes me different in this diverse place: In the 17 years that I have lived here, I have switched careers many times. I’ve had jobs in different industries, and that is unique. When hearing all the industries I have worked in, people ask me, “How could you do that? “ By that, they mean to ask how could I go from casting to a talent agency, from an antique showroom (to the trade), to interior design, with other things mixed in between? How could someone do all these things? I have a very simple answer for them: they all involve the same skills, just different lexicons. All of my skills are transferable to each industry, and the only difference is a matter of learning the language of that field.
From being in so many industries, I have learned that anyone can switch careers as long as they have these six things:
A positive attitude.
A “can-do” frame of mind that stems from listening to your intuition.
The ability to get along with people.
An understanding of when to speak and when to keep quiet.
Knowledge of how to make things happen (and quickly)
Acceptance thatthe first one to two years in a new industry will be the most challenging and most likely interfere with your personal life, but after that everything will settle and become almost routine.
If you are willing to go through the awkward growing pains of learning and being persistent and organized in your process of learning, you will create value. If you create value and make yourself invaluable through persistence and thoroughness to whatever industry you choose, there will be a demand for you, not only there, but in other places as well. It’s all in the details. You must adjust to any and all changes, whether it be a daily happening or a completely different job industry, and if you accept this, all the rest will fall into place.
Whether you are 25, 40, or 65 and want to do something different, you most certainly can. It’s a matter of your tolerance for knowing there will be a transition period that will be a little uncomfortable, and after that, things will fall into place. I know this because I have done it more than a dozen times. Allow yourself to be led to the next and most unexpected opportunity, and allow yourself to begin something new.
It’s not going to be easy. Transition is uncomfortable and takes effort – a lot of effort. As the saying goes, there is no free lunch. But know that you really can change anything in your life. While some elders say “You are different, Mo. You are a go getter.” But I’m not anymore of a go-getter than anyone else. We are all go-getters, as long as you believe in yourself and your capabilities. You either sink or swim, and sometimes you almost drown, but you will find a way to pull yourself back up. I have always been dependent on myself and drowning is not an option. There were times I thought I was about to drown, but I held on to what felt like the eleventh hour more than a handful of time and EVERY single time a lifeboat appeared. This is true for all situations in life. Ride the wave and trust that you will make it through no matter which way you are thrown. But if you don’t take a dive into the unknown every once in a while, that is giving up on your brilliance, and in my book, that is not an option.
I am very much a producer, and I put pressure on myself to be productive pretty much every minute of the day. That is just how this silly mind of mine works, and I’m used to it. I am relaxed about going with the flow, but going with the flow can still mean getting things done. Since I got back from being in Maui and Kauai about a month ago, however, I can still feel the effects – I’m much more relaxed about life overall. Things seem just a little bit easier.
Being that I have been to Hawaii 4 times now, I really have done the majority of the sightseeing, so my focus was not to run around the island, which can be very fun, but instead to just really do not much of anything other than rest, read, and rejuvenate however I felt I wanted to each day. So, I planned the minimum and left my itinerary open to going with the flow.
As much as I know Hawaii balances my system, there is always something thematic that I need to work on to bring myself back to balance. As the days of relaxation went by and I listened to my inner GPS, or intuition, one of the things that I decided I wanted to do was go visit Ken Carlson. I hadn’t seen Ken for about six years, so I picked up my cell and dialed him, hoping he would be around. Ken is unique in that he is an expert on flower essences. He creates and bottles Kauai flower and gem essences for healing. The origin of medicine came from flowers and herbs, so to use flower essences in healing is—lets just call it—the old fashioned, natural way of doing things. For decades, Ken has spent his time creating and sharing the flower and gem essences of Kauai with those who are drawn to this ancient form of energetic healing. The universe was drawing me in, and sure enough, without even speaking directly, Ken and I left messages back and forth to establish a time to meet the next day.
Ken’s house is about 45 minutes from the hotel, so my friend and I got in the car almost exactly 45 minutes in advance. I believe that when there is something that your Spirit requires of you, or if you are being led by your spirit, then it is almost impossible to be late. It is as if the universe stops time, or quickens it, to make sure you arrive at exactly the right minute. Despite any traffic or stops we made to get some water, we arrived to Ken’s house on the exact minute we agreed. I smiled in gratitude as we drove up his private driveway past one house to his. As we got out of the car, Ken greeted us, let us know he would be out in a few minutes, and told us to feel free to roam around the property.
I remembered his backyard from my last visit, so I was excited to show my friend the magical views, some of the most spectacular ones I have ever seen. I can’t help but feel that the reason he is blessed with such magnificent beauty in his backyard is because he is creating his work from the ultimate symbol of beauty: the flower. You attract what you give off. Call it Karma—what you give is what you receive. The view at Ken’s speaks for itself and is one uniquely magical place. Look to the left of his property and you see a water stream with lush green mountains; look to the right and you see a cliff and the ocean. It takes your breath away and puts you in place of meditation almost immediately. In less than an hour, both my friend and I individually met with Ken, left with our personal flower essence mixture, and headed back to the hotel feeling nurtured. Ken chooses the essences based on a conversation with you and on what his intuition is telling him. As I left Ken, he said, “let the island of Kauai heal you.” And it does. Nature heals and Kauai is one of the most powerful places where nature does in fact heal you. One might call it magic or magical, and I think that is a pretty accurate description.
Now that I am back from Hawaii and moved into my new apartment, I feel very lucky for all that I have and my trip to Kauai. This past visit to the islands healed me by slowing me down and reminding me that I don’t always need to be working and to not push my intuition to the side because my mind is telling me I should be getting something done. I just need to slow down more. Usually, I have a list of things to do when I get home from work, and that list is basically just more work. It’s primarily my writing work, which I love, so it doesn’t bother me one bit to go from my day job to my “night job” of writing. Nine times out of ten it puts social engagements to the side. Since getting back, that voice in me that puts everything recreational to the side and fills it in with work seems to have been tamed for now. For example, these past weeks, I just felt like going out. And I’ve been going out 3 out of 7 nights to meet and catch up with friends for a bite to eat and have a glass of wine. That is almost unheard of for me—I did not go from work to work, typing away, reading or sorting through what I must get done. Instead, I had the feeling I wanted to be out and about, so out I have gone, not internally battling in my head about what I “should be doing.” There was no battle.
Over the weekend, I actually sat down outside with a tea latte and my dog at my feet on the sidewalk and really just had a lazy Sunday morning while taking in some sun. I have to say, I don’t remember ever doing that. That might sound crazy that I haven’t allowed myself these quiet moments, but as I said, I’m a producer. My norm is for me to pick up that latte and keep moving to the next errand or thing that I have to get done. Instead, since my reset from Hawaii, I’m able to smell the roses much more than my usual self. I’m liking this new set of habits.
One of the nights I went out, I met up with my friend who I went to Kauai with. I had felt that I was “slacking” compared to my usual routine, but as we talked I went through a number of things that I had done since we arrived home. She was like, wow, you have been busy. I thought, even when I’m slacking off, I actually get a lot done. I just have my own personal “normal,” which is just fine with me because I’ve always been a fan of thinking and being outside the box. I think the universe made it pretty clear that the one thing I need to do is have a little bit more fun and not worry so much about being a producer. I will produce no matter what, because it’s in my heart and soul.
I believe the beauty and calm of Kauai is like getting a gentle shake from the environment saying, “don’t forget all the natural beauty that surrounds you every day.” Nature is here to heal us and balance us; it’s literally right in front of our noses. Yet, it’s so easy to walk obliviously by nature because we are caught up in what seems to “urgent” or “important.” I was just reminded by Hawaii for the fourth time that the most important thing is to be present in order to fully enjoy this interesting journey of life.
It’s Spring and oh am I loving it! The flowers are blooming everywhere and it’s FINALLY getting warm in New York City. It’s been a rough winter: lots of temps below zero, lots of snow, lots of sleet, lots of layered clothing — you name it, we got it. I’m excited for Spring because I just got back from Hawaii, which is full of lush everything. I came home to flowers blooming everywhere. If there is something we always have in this city, it’s an abundance of flowers. We are known for our bodegas on street corners that have beautiful flowers pouring out onto the sidewalks. I would think my new apartment would be my focus these days since I’m still getting settled, but that’s not the case. Fun, celebration, and health are in the air for me and I hope they are for you too. If you are not getting that Spring kick yet, actively seek it. Ask the universe to show you something to celebrate, or jump start it by planting a new flower in your backyard or potting a new one on your windowsill –clean out that closet and those drawers, and give away what you haven’t worn in over a year to keep that energy moving! Then, go for a walk outside and email, text, or call that friend who always gives you more good energy. It will be an energetic reboot in every way and hopefully kick start your Spring. Most importantly, Spring reminds us of where we get our most essential source of energy: plant-based food.
Recently, I’ve been drawn to books about health, aging, and nutrition, and how basing diet primarily off of vegetables is the way to feel your best. The books I’m reading aren’t telling anyone to completely remove anything (except to limit your red meat intake), but to eliminate processed foods. Eating foods that grow free of pesticides and hormones is the way to live your best life. It makes complete sense to me. I try my best to put this into action by asking myself before I eat: “Is this derived from a plant, free from hormones and pesticides?“ If the answer is no, I shouldn’t eat it, because it has no energy to give me. Why eat something that isn’t derived from life/grown on this planet and free of chemicals to produce energy in my body?
Food either adds to our energy or takes it away. We all know when something takes it away. It’s the food that spikes our blood sugar or makes us feel jittery, overly full, sleepy, or just not great. There are so many choices of what to eat in order to be healthy that it can be overwhelming. Whenever I go to visit my Mom in the suburbs, I’m always amazed by the size of the grocery stores compared to those in the city. Those suburban stores have so many aisles filled with so many packaged and boxed items that it makes me dizzy. I don’t know how people walk out of these places without feeling drained. In New York City, because we are limited on space, our grocery stores are extremely small and I find that it limits packaged and boxed items and we have more fresh foods to choose from. I’m also lucky because it is so easy to get completely fresh, delicious food delivered to my door in just 30 minutes! Talk about service. Although we are limited on boxed food, the options are endless in different types of cuisine. I don’t know that you could live in a healthier place, because so much is available.
With the universe continually bringing nutrition to the forefront of my mind, I ‘m working on ways to incorporate the habit of eating more plant and life force foods (foods derived from the earth that create natural energy and energy flow) in my daily life. We have become so busy and have so many demands in our schedules that we forget that one of the most important things we can do is slow down to really think about where and how the food we are about to put in our mouths was created. Society is definitely more aware of the importance of this and is demanding more from those who produce and distribute food, but I think we can do better and I feel we have to do better, if not for ourselves, then for our children. We are smarter than a processed, addictive taste. And don’t be fooled by thinking that if you shop in the organic health food stores that you are “safe from the issue.” It really is everywhere. The top three ingredients need to be the top three best ingredients because they are going inside your every cell so you can be your best, most healthy and beautiful you.
We can heal so much of ourselves if we can start this habit of really looking at the foods we choose to consume. We can only be our best selves if we are conscious of what we are putting inside our bodies- we are ultimately the end source of whatever energy we put into our bodies. Could you imagine how much illness would be cured if boxed, processed items no longer existed in the aisles of our grocery stores? I hope one day society becomes so conscious that we can look back and say: “Oh my goodness, there was a time that people ate all these unnatural processed boxes and packages of items they categorized as food! I can’t believe they didn’t know it wasn’t actually food, and ultimately, the cause of so much disease.” I’m a dreamer — I always have been and always will be. If you can imagine it, you can create it. Let’s clear those packages and boxes off the shelf, people.
I do all of my writing from my intuition. It is as if something takes over. I start typing away, not really sure who is doing the writing. I can tell my writing comes from my intuition because sometimes certain ideas “drop in.” Writing Solitary Genius was a major learning experience for me. I didn’t even think or know I could write well. I remember as a teenager, for one of the first times in my life, my father was reading an essay I had written for my college application to Loyola College in Maryland. I clearly recall his feedback saying, “This is good. You’re a very simple writer, but clear.” To me, that was an insult. The word “simple” as a teenager just isn’t something you want to hear. I smiled at my dad, saying thank you as my heart sank. So, to think that I could write a book or even an interesting essay was not something I considered.
After I got out of college, I was teaching the children I write about in Solitary Genius and I found that I had so much inside of me which they inspired that the only way I could find a way to express it was to start writing their inspirational stories in my trusty journal.
That is where Solitary Genius began: within my personal journal pages. I have never taken a writing course and no one ever said in my entire career of private schooling that I had any sort of writing skill, so why would I think I was a good writer by any means? It seemed like a fluke for me to discover that I could write or that anything within my personal journal pages was of value other than for my own personal reflection.
In my 20s, I lived on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. The first assumption when someone hears you live in Manhattan in your twenties is that I was out living it up, partying as much as possible. In reality, it was a rare occasion that I was partying. I’m not a huge drinker and I never have been. Instead, in my 20s you would find me more often than not in the Barnes and Noble on 82nd and Broadway upstairs in the Self Help and New Age section. I was trying to figure out my purpose in life. No wonder I never got married in my 20s. How many 20 year old guys do you find in Manhattan at the Barnes and Noble in the Self Help and New Age Section?
Upon hearing this, one of the first questions asked is, what did you love doing as a child? The second is what do you lose all sense of time doing? It’s not the easiest question to answer because as a child I feel like there are so many different experiences you love. Writing did not stick out as one of the top three things that I loved to do as a child. I loved my tap and ballet classes as a child, I loved my ceramic classes, and I loved Art class. I was obsessed with dress up, walking in my Mom’s high heels, playing dolls and having pen pals. Yes, this really dates me to say I had pen pals, but I did and it was one the best things I thought there was. Ironically, one of my friends that was a pen pal to me as a child is a writer today as well. So, like does attract like, especially as little children. When I was in college I took an oil painting class and I have never found myself so lost in time. If I pull out my oil paints (which is maybe once a year these days and this is a goal of mine to change this fact), I have no sense of time. Everything around me does not exist. It is like a trance. So, all of these things told me, I’m a creative, but what did that mean my purpose is? After speaking with a particular life coach in my late 20’s while I was trying to figure it all out, it all came together, although I almost didn’t believe it. Those stories I had written down in my journal about teaching my students fresh out of college really was a book. So, I dug in and went through the long process of learning how to write a book. I just kept writing and writing. One morning I woke up and it was as if someone directly whispered in my ear, “The title of your book is Solitary Genius”. It was as if a light switch went on. I was trying to capture the children I taught in the title of my book, and for weeks, I couldn’t figure it out.
To me, Solitary Genius was the perfect solution. All of my students that I taught were solitary and they all had their own genius inside of them, no matter what their struggles were. It was a matter of patiently discovering their genius that made them such special souls. With a title on top of my stack of typed pages, I handed my manuscript to my very well esteemed editor who I was more than lucky to be connected with. I was nervous. What if she told me it was garbage and didn’t make sense? I waited for a few days and then I received a voicemail from her asking me to call her back.
That was when the words I never imagined I would hear came out of her mouth. “Maureen, have you ever taken a writing course?” No, I haven’t. “No writing class, ever?” No, never (Oh no, here it comes. Go take a class and get back to me). “Well, I just can’t believe you have never taken a writing course. You are a very talented writer.” I wanted to cry and hug her through the phone. Could this be true? The only way to find out was to get Solitary Genius published, which I did.
Solitary Genius has been an interesting ride for me. My mother made it clear she did not like the book when it was first published because she felt it exposed our family and that this was not fair to my siblings. No one wants to have your mother yelling at you for something you have put so much heart and soul into. I had to believe that the larger message would prevail and perhaps, my mom would change her opinion. Like everything, time continues and time heals things. I don’t think Solitary Genius will ever be one of my Mom’s liked books, but she seems to be just okay with it at this point in life. Most importantly, I hope that the messages within its pages are really heard.
I know there are a number of messages and I also know that whatever the reader hears is the one they need at that particular time. But, if I could choose one, this is what it would be:
I hope the reader hears the unspoken. That is, in my heart I believe that these children who face so many communication challenges are here to teach us about energy and the power of the unspoken. They are here to provide us with an awareness of the power beyond words and conventional communication – to push us to a higher level of understanding of what it means to connect and communicate. If we ignore it, they will continue to speak louder through the unspoken. So, let’s listen on their terms. Let’s look at our energy, the sensitivities and overstimulation of our world and work as hard as we can to simplify. I know there are many messages within the pages of this book, but this is the one that I hold most dearly for my Solitary Geniuses.
Interesting in reading Solitary Genius? Click here.
40. What?! Not me. Yes, me. I’m turning 40. I’m convinced I’m only 30.
30 didn’t phase me. I know to a number of my friends, it was jarring. To me, I was excited to be out of my 20s and on to my 30s. It didn’t feel pivotal. This 40 thing is definitely phasing me. This number feels like it has some significance in the direction of my life. It seems that choices in my early 40s will impact me greatly, and that is when my brain goes into the mode of, “what do I need to be doing to make my 40s more fun and more of who I want to be?”
It’s the obvious that people question me about and can see: I’m single with no kids. People want to know, will I get married? Will I have kids? I don’t have an answer for them other than that I believe that what is meant to be will be, whether I stress about it or not. I often get a response that I need to do something to make a relationship happen. I don’t argue their point. I just do my own thing. When I think about my life and where I am right now, I’m so grateful for everything. Nothing is perfect in life, but nothing is “wrong” in my life. What can I add to my life to enhance the quality of it? I think the answer is a relatively simple one: I want more personal time to enjoy life and spend more time on the things that make me happy and really keep me grounded and healthy. If that involves meeting a great guy and having a family, that works. If it doesn’t, then that will work too. I’m not sure that people want to believe this answer, but there is not much I can do about it (nor will I try to convince them).
In the meantime, I’ve got a big birthday coming up and I love to travel. So, more often than not, I travel somewhere (usually somewhere warm to give me sun from the long winter) for my birthday. Originally, I had plans with my good friend from college (who is also turning 40) to spend it in Paris. Despite having no husband and no children, I’m around-the-clock busy, so it is an effort to create the space for anything, but there was something pulling at me and I was avoiding booking the trip. That is, I wasn’t consciously saying, hold off on Paris, but I just wasn’t carving out the time to book what I was so excited to do. Sure enough, the universe changed the direction of my sails and with that, instead of going East to Paris, I will be flying West to one of my favorite places on this earth: Hawaii. If you have been to Hawaii, you know why it is one of my favorite places. If you have not, I’ll do my best to explain why Hawaii is so amazing. As soon as you step off the airplane to Hawaii, you can feel the energy is different than any other place you have been before. It’s like you just walked onto a cloud. It’s like a giant hug. There is so much beauty and it is so lush that it resets your entire body. It centers you in every way. It’s like magic. Energetically, they say Hawaii is the heart of Mother Earth. I believe it.
My goal is to start my 40s off enjoying more and spend more time on the things that keep me grounded, happy, and healthy, Hawaii is the perfect place for me to be celebrating. Until then, I have a list as long as the minutes that make up a day of things to do before I leave for my trip in April. I’ve got a great deal of balls in the air right now, one of them being that I’m moving just seven blocks away to a new apartment at the end of this month. I don’t know that I’ve ever been so excited to move. So, on top of reflecting on my impending age, I’m being forced to look at my things and ask myself: what do I really need, and what can I give away so someone else can use it? I really do this on a regular basis, because I like to keep energy going, but moving makes you ask this question more thoroughly and look at every little thing. In the process of looking through my things, I have realized that I have more than enough and that I really do love the “things” that make up my environment. They literally make me happy. There are also things I know I need to improve upon and I will work at those things as best I can.
Moving is a big energetic shift that mirrors my birthday, and I’m excited for both. I’m finally going from a studio to a one bedroom apartment. Talk about being civilized in your 40s. I will start my next chapter doing what I like to do in a place I love, where I will write down my goals going forward. I’ve done this since I was in my 20s. I look back on the things that I wrote and marvel at how I forgot about things I had written, and despite my forgetting what I wrote down, I created many of the things that were on those pages. I can’t wait to sit down and reflect on what my fingers put on my blank sheet of paper. Then, for the next ten years, I will watch life unfold and see what the cards will show me. In the meantime, I look forward to having each card of life revealed, and I’ll just have to go with the flow.
People often ask me what it’s like to have grown up with 9 siblings. I tell them it’s wonderful, and at the same time, it has its challenges, just like so many things in life. But the positives outweigh any challenges. I am blessed to have grown up in a family of ten and have the relatives I have, because I believe knowing where you come from and who your relatives are provides you with ground. It’s a resource of knowing that you are not alone in this journey. I also know from a spiritual perspective that this is what was meant to be because there are too many miracles that occurred to make it happen. It’s a miracle in itself to have 9 healthy siblings and to make things happen with that many people living under one roof. It takes more than your own will or intention; it takes a higher source to synchronize all that went into each day.
Just to give you a practical snapshot of what it’s like to have 5 brothers and 4 sisters (none of which are twins), let’s start with the age range. There is a 20 year age gap between the oldest and youngest sibling. Yes, if you average that out, my Mom was having a baby every two years. Whenever I tell people about my mom growing up, I picture her pregnant with a basketball belly in front of her petite frame. When you have a twenty year gap, naturally, people go off to college and keep moving forward, so you have limited experiences with younger siblings. I like to explain it as if it was two families growing up under one roof. The first five are the older group, and the last five are the “babies.” Yes, five babies. I had limited exposure to my younger siblings once I went to college. I knew them all very well as actual babies, but then I grew up and went to Loyola College in Maryland.
The next very common question I get is, are we all close? The question of whether we are close or not is individual to every person in my family. Do we get together as an entire family on a regular basis? Yes. I would say this happens twice a year, which to some puts us in the category of being close. But, do I talk to any of my siblings every day like a good bit of siblings do? No, but talking on the phone has never been my thing. There is no one in my life that I speak to on the phone every day, or even two times a week. I just do my own thing and always have. As for relationships, of course I have siblings that I am closer to than others. I always defer to explaining it in spiritual terms, because that is just how I think.
Spiritually and energetically, we cross paths with those who energetically serve us at the right times. The difference with siblings is they are always there. Energy that is consistently around you, but not necessarily one that you will or will not connect with until the time is right. What I find is that I go through waves of being connected to different siblings at different times. For example, I recently found out that my brother Sean is wonderful at social media. I need help in social media, so Sean helps me out. Energetically, I had a need and the discovery came about, resulting in Sean and I getting to know each other more. For instance, it’s just like the person you randomly meet that is perfect for what you need at the time. This is how I see my siblings energetically. We all flow to each other as needed, yet all share the understanding that we love one another despite any challenges we may or may not have had with one another. I have been told by a good bit of people in my life that I am a lucky girl and lucky things just happen to me. I don’t argue this point. Perhaps that luck started from my childhood by having a plentitude of siblings within my life on a regular basis and perhaps that subconscious feeling of luck just went with me and never left because I expect it.
Now, lets get deeper into things. What is the number one lesson I have learned from being in a family of 10? I would say I can’t give you a number one at this time. I may have a number one answer, but for now, here are my top 13 major lessons I learned from growing up with 9 siblings:
1. I learned that miracles happen every day, because they really did in our house. Most of all, I felt that having babies around all of the time was the biggest miracle. Children are amazing, healing souls. They interrupt stress and provide an in-the-moment environment and it is then that you see, appreciate and notice things that you would not typically.
2. I learned that health is the most important thing, because we were lucky to have it. We may have had struggles, but we didn’t have health struggles and we all know of that friend or parent who died too young. To have 12 people living under one roof and not have any major life concerns is another miracle.
3. I learned that you must pull your own weight and take care of yourself at a very young age. If you didn’t take care of yourself, you saw the consequences immediately. If you didn’t take care of your homework, get organized, or get to bed at a reasonable hour there was no one over your shoulder telling you that you should do these things. You simply had to figure it out on your own or pay the consequences. You had to take responsibility for you and what your needs were because there was only one of my mother and ten of us.
4. I learned a great deal of parenting skills, more than most will ever learn. I have changed more diapers than most will in their lifetime. I have helped more crying kids then most will in their lifetimes, and I have shared more precious moments of being with young children and seeing their brilliance and innocence shine through than most. Parenting is innately in me because of these experiences.
5. I learned that love does really conquer all, but there are always challenges in that love, because without the challenges we would not be learning and spiritually expanding. I was hurt often as a child because I couldn’t make sense of a number of things, but in the end, there was a great deal of love in our home that put any discontent to the side.
6. I learned that infants are one of the most precious things in life and that holding a infant in your arms with that smell and that calm they bring lasts about as long as the blink of an eye. So, hold them as long as you can because they will be running from your arms faster than you can say their name. 7. I learned that most people don’t really know what it is to work hard and be relentless. You must do this in a family of 10. It is taken to another level. My father and mother worked their butts off to keep our family going. They sacrificed their own comforts to give us as much as they could. They were relentless in their belief that everything works out in long run. The needs of so many all at the same time takes “needs” to another level. 8. I learned that everything in life, no matter how serious or intense or heartbreaking it may feel, will pass and things will get better. I often got stressed out from my school experience. As intense as it was for me, I eventually learned that the seriousness of a situation always passed because time makes it so. 9. I learned that energy is as real as your words. I learned this by observing so many people and so many different needs. It was if I had decoding games in my head going on as to how those around me and my siblings felt. 10. I learned that we all have struggles, every single one of us no matter how things may appear and you must always remember this and treat others as best you can. It felt as though people looked at our family as a model family. We have good looking parents and good looking kids. It looks beautiful, but it was hard work. Every single one of us had to sacrifice something and in turn that created our own personal struggles that we each had to face.
11. I learned that we are all really just doing our best in life, even if others aren’t happy with what doing our best is. I think people naturally want to be the best they can be and aren’t purposely unkind or mean. I think everyone wants to be good and be kind, whether you are a child in your terrible twos driving everyone mad or a high schooler that can’t seem to lose an attitude. 12. I learned that intuition is one of the greatest gifts in this journey called life because it will give you the answers you seek. Intuition told me more often than not where to turn and that things would be okay, even when I couldn’t make sense of circumstances. It has revealed many wonderful things to me.
13. I learned that no matter how much you want to help someone change, you cannot change them. They must decide to change themselves. I was in high school and I was arguing with a sibling of mine who in my eyes was acting unreasonable. As I stood on the other side of the door arguing with them it was as if all of a sudden someone stepped in and said, “Stop!” I took a deep breath and I said to myself, what am I doing? All of this yelling isn’t going to change anything because they don’t want to change right now. I can’t force what someone doesn’t want. I walked away peacefully and have never tried to talk sense into this sibling about this challenge of theirs since that day.
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She is a very powerful soul, but I don’t know that I’ve ever seen an article on Oprah and what she energetically stands for. We all know who she is and we know she is the “it” lady, but energetically and spiritually how does one explain Oprah? Oprah has said her purpose is to dig deeper and go wider by starting her new network and create Super Soul Sunday. We all know Oprah is soulful. But who else is she?
As I sat and watched the Oscars, my thoughts kept deferring to Oprah just because I knew she was in the audience. With all of the things that were going on, even with Neil Patrick Harris providing stellar stage entertainment, I kept thinking of Oprah. That is, my thoughts would drift to how proud she was when certain people walked onstage and how much it means to her to have a film like Selma out.
But ultimately, what it came down to was this conclusion: Oprah is the Mother figure of modern day society. She has more “children” than anyone I know. She is a worldwide symbol of a Mother figure in a society that needs and craves it -a society that wants to be heard and understood. I remember watching a clip of Kelly Ripa say, “Meeting Oprah is like sunshine in your face!” I laughed because energetically, that is exactly who Oprah is: she is shining a light on things that most don’t want to look at, but after you look at that difficult thing in a loving, non-judgmental, and real way, sunshine really does appear. She provides that light. I wonder if Oprah knows this already about herself. I know she says she is the Mother of her beloved girls in her schools, but does she realize she represents the Mother consciousness of modern day society?
It’s not an easy thing to place who you stand for, because we are all a work in progress. Oprah has evolved in front of all of us and has emerged into who she is over time just as we all do. I’m not sure I would want the world to see my evolution so candidly. It’s a tough spot to be in- a brave one. Perhaps the core of our energy is always within us and it’s simply a shedding of skins that we must all go through to have our key virtues reveal themselves. These key virtues ultimately revealing to us what are gifts are. They are how we show up on a day to day basis. It is the face that we show to those around us, which ultimately makes up what we stand for and who we are in this journey.
If I were to ask someone what they feel my core traits, gifts and energy is, I would go turn to some of my best college friends. We lived with one another and really learned about each other’s habits and what makes us tick. Over time, they have reflected to me which virtues I uphold. I have been told that they don’t worry about me because I always seem to figure things out no matter the circumstance. I have been told I’m the “mother” of our group. These two observations are my core energy. I believe I emit the energy that anything is possible, which confirms my ability to overcome any obstacles. I believe I have learned this by taking chances in life and seeing that sometimes I fall and sometimes I fly. It’s been a journey of following my intuition and trusting it moment to moment to solve any and all problems. As for being referred to as a mother in the group, I assume it is because I have a nurturing, yet no-nonsense way that is often attributed to mothers. I also never take “no” for an answer and am I creative problem solver. If you tell me “no,” I’ll figure a way to do or get what I want. Problem solving is probably one of my greatest gifts. There is a force inside me that will always find a way for the greatest good. I set an intention and no one will stop me from getting it. If someone energetically doesn’t support my vision, I ask for someone else. There is always a solution. I believe this with all my heart and soul, and this is where my intuition strongly comes into play in my life. So, perhaps it looks like I am a capable mother who can take problems on and solve them, or maybe it is just my soulful way of navigating life.
What do you energetically stand for? What traits have stuck with you throughout the years? If you’re not sure, ask a few trusted friends what they think and see if any of their thoughts ring true to you. Remember, they usually show up as your gifts. If it’s still not clear to you, ask the universe to help you figure it out and stay alert for answers. Did you consider that things you may think you physically lack or appear to lack, are actually present energetically in different ways just like Oprah’s motherhood? Perhaps you will find the answer in an unexpected place.
Be sure to pay attention, and I’m sure the answers will reveal themselves.
These 2 types are:
– People that give you energy
– People that take your energy
Do yourself a favor and consciously surround yourself only with those who give you energy. It will change your life.
You know who the givers are: they are the people that make you feel good, full of life and you walk away smiling after spending time with. This doesn’t mean they aren’t truthful about things and pretending or glossing things over in life. Instead, they are the people who keep it real and tell you the truth (that you may not want to hear), but no matter what the scenario they are always positive and supportive. Simply put, you walk away happy after being around them.
On the flip side, you know those people who are the takers: when you walk away from a taker you feel drained and possibly bad about yourself. You might even have to go take a nap after being with them. Often times, these are the people in your life who speak to you or perhaps at you in a very loud voice, sometimes criticizing you. Remove these people from your life and positive things will happen. Guaranteed.
Most importantly, what energy do you bring to others?
We all need to make sure we are taking responsibility for the energy we bring to others. We all know what we bring to others simply by observing the other persons body language. You can see if their body is relaxed or tense, you can see in their eyes if they feel lighter or heavier. Fundamentally, when we take responsibility for the energy we bring to others, they just feel good after interacting with you and vice versa. Now, go experiment being a giver of energy:)
We have all seen miracles in our lives: the person that pulls out of an illness, the child who is saved, the unexpected event that changes everything. Those are the big miracles that almost jump at you and give you a belief in the grand picture of life’s journey. What about everyday miracles? Do you notice them? Do you see them? Are you even looking for them? You should be. They’re there. Just like the blue sky and birds in it and the sun that rises and falls each day- everything we are so accustomed to and take for granted- they are all little miracles.
But what is an everyday miracle? Why don’t we pay attention to everyday miracles? Or do you? I hope you do. I try to look for miracles every day. I believe in miracles. I believe in the everyday intervention of something higher than myself that is making it all work and beyond my control. My book, Solitary Genius, is an example of everyday miracles. It was the unexpected triumphs I made with my students even if an outsider could not see it. In daily life, it’s happening more often than not. When I’m unsure, but doing something whole heartedly and I feel like I am at the end of my rope, I am overwhelmed in some capacity or I’m unsure of how I’m going to make something happen that all of a sudden, the table turns. It’s as if the universe knows I have reached my limit: in front of me, just a dust of positivity drops in, a solutions appears, or support steps in.
That is an everyday miracle.
It’s a form of grace. It’s the stranger that you run into and somehow changes your perspective for the day. It’s the flawless timing of getting somewhere with no stress. It’s the unexpected money that shows up that pays for something important. It’s the child that says just the right thing at that exact time you need to hear it. There are so many everyday miracles and I often think most of us forget to look for them and say thank you.
I know it is a practice of many to have a gratitude journal. Gratitude journals change people’s perspectives. They change energy. What if you were to create an everyday miracle journal, or simply add to the gratitude journal by adding a miracle a day? Watch how your perspective shifts. Gratitude and miracles: what a powerful combination. It’s like the ultimate treasure hunt. We all have access to it. You simply have to expect it and it will show itself to you. So, I wish you well on your miracle journey. I wish you all of your dreams and I hope you watch them come true one miracle a day at a time. Then, remember to tell others to do the same. What good energy. What a way to feel most alive.
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