When I first started this site, I called it Diary of a Perfectionist Wannabe. It was borne out of the desire to be perfect, to have a sense of perfectionism. This is a trait many Asian Americans understand. We strive to be the best, so we try to perfect ourselves in order to be accepted.
When I read “Searching for Sylvie Lee” by Jean Kwok, I understood why I always had this desire to strive for perfection. It is because I am trying to be accepted by a family and a society that has rejected me because I am not 100% white.
Yes, I said family. My brother and I are a bit of the outliers in our family. My mother is Thai and she married an American in order to escape the slavery she was subjected to in her home country. She wanted to give her future children the opportunity to grow up and live in a world where their family would never sell them in order to put food on their table.
She gave us freedom, but also gave us hell. We were the ones who were not accepted, because we were the minority in our white schools. Our racist Christian family pretended like they loved us, but we knew they didn’t. They tolerated us, because they had no choice. It was the Christian thing to do…pretend to love these kids because they’re blood, but they’re not white.
Love was not something we received from them. We had to search outside of our home for love. I spent most of my life trying to prove to them that I existed. I just wanted to be accepted. The thing is, the world accepted me, but my family never did.
I remember when I invited my wealthy aunt and uncle to an Indy 500 party. Senators and everybody that was anybody in the political world was there. Senator after Senator told my aunt and uncle what a wonderful person I was and how they thought the world of me.
The look on their faces was not one of being proud, it was of shock that these Senators even knew I existed. It was so much easier for them to believe that the life I lived was a complete lie. It did not fit their mold of what they believed I was…someone who would never amount to anything. To them I was not anyone of importance, no matter how many Senators spoke so highly of me and knew my name.
These are things I carry with me even to this day. Like Sylvie Lee, you get to that point where you just want to give up and not care anymore. If they don’t see you now, they will never see you for who you really are. They will never accept me as someone they could love, all because my mother is not white.
It doesn’t matter that I grew up in a white household and the only thing that connects me to the Thai culture is just the food (something I can’t even make). My mother made sure to assimilate us into the American culture, because she was running from her past and wanted nothing to do with it.
I understand that completely. I understand running from the things that have hurt you and caused you pain, looking to start over again. I’m watching it happen to my friend right now. I see her pain and humiliation. I’m watching her preparing to run. I see her not giving a shit about her life right now, because truth be told, no matter how many times she tries not to talk about it, I know what it’s like to be in her shoes. It took me eight years to get over the last guy that made me run.
That’s the thing about pain. When people wound you deeply, you lose all sense of yourself. You walk through life like a ghost, just trying to survive the monotony and move on to the next day. We’ve all been there.
I don’t even like to admit how hurt I was when my boss left. I never thought it would effect me the way that it did. For the last two years, I’ve stopped living my life. I just settled into the flow of existing. Hell, my Instagram feed just screams that I am part of the floodwaters. I’m not me.
That’s what’s been missing these past couple of years…me. There was a time I lived in the VIP world. Yet, these past couple of years, I’ve not done anything. I didn’t go to the opera or the ballet. I barely saw friends. Hell, I barely go out to the movies. All of those celebrity filled events, film festivals, rubbing elbows with directors, actors and fashion designers…I stepped away from.
They’re so busy creating and living, while I’ve fallen into that world that they despise…the mediocrity of life…all because someone hurt me.
So I’m writing all of this, because my universe keeps saying live for today. That mantra is on repeat every single day.
Someone I know recently retired. Then they found out they had stage 4 colon cancer. That’s also known as the death cancer. The lesson here is don’t wait for tomorrow to live life. Do it now, because you are not promised tomorrow.
I tell myself this every single day…since last June. Yet, I did not let it truly sink in that I am not living. I’m just doing the bare minimum to withdraw from life and go on autopilot. But the truth is that it is okay to let yourself grieve and to go numb for a little while. Just don’t stay there so long that you forget who you are and what you are meant to become.
I have been trying very hard to write daily. Sometimes I write one page in one month. That is just how withdrawn I’ve been. I started to see the people that inspire me withdraw from me, because in the grand scheme of the way things are done, you can’t keep sucking the life out of them. They’ve got to shine, and they can’t have you around dulling up their sparkle. They need other gems to sparkle alongside them.
Which leads me to why I am writing this today. I have been out of it for two years now. For some strange reason, I feel like I’ve woken up from a dream where nothing gets done. I looked at my final receipts for the clothes I bought last year and it amounted to $1500. That is so not me. That means, I just did not care. I had emptied out my closets, wanting only easy pieces to wear. These were items that took absolutely no thought whatsoever to pull out to wear.
I realized recently that something was amiss. This just isn’t me. That wake-up call within me finally happened. Now, I’m ready to get back to my life and living it.
This means I want to share my world with the people that come here to read or go to my social media to view. It means not just putting a book up in front of me for you to see, but letting you see more into my life and what I am doing, as well as the things I am trying to accomplish.
The fact that this is my second post this month is a huge step in the right direction.
So with that step, let me tell you what I plan to do from here on out. In my previous post, I shared I wanted to read a book a day. Oh, believe me, that is still a goal. But I am going to take a little step back in the reviewing process, so that I can spend more time writing.
I plan on going back to the film festivals, going to the ballet, operas and Broadway. I plan on hanging out with rock stars, like I used to do. I have every intention of dining out more and trying all of these incredible places that Manhattan has to offer. I plan on building up my wardrobe again. I also plan on buying my first house in the upcoming months, because I need to move in that direction.
Oh yeah, a developer purchased my apartment building. I was told they are giving me a year and a half before they begin the eviction process. I believe that is the amount of time they think they will need to be able to purchase up the remainder of the properties on my block, so they can tear it all down and build something more modern.
I’m kind of tired of people doing that to me and my home, so I am just going to go and buy a place. I spoke to a mortgage lender and we walked through the process. I have more than enough money for a down payment on a house, so it is just a matter of finding the right property.
So right now, my apartment is basically halfway packed up. It’s basically boxes everywhere.
Matthew has had severe allergies over the past few months. First, I came home to the Maine Coon from Pet Semetary and had to run to the vet’s office because his mouth was bleeding again. This time, it wouldn’t stop. We got him on meds fast enough. But come the next month, he needed stronger meds, because he scratched up his face so badly, that it took a couple of months for it to heal. The vet says that like humans, as we get older our allergies get worse. It’s the same for cats. So I’m looking forward to more bleeding and itchiness for the little guy.
Other than that drama, I’ve been thinking lately about the life I want to live. Living is the important part, because that’s the part that’s been missing from my life these past two years. I was stuck in a moment I could not get out of…and once I realized I was stuck in a moment, I decided it was time to get out of it and start living again.
Now, I know there are people that go out there, travel the ends of the earth, completely stuck in a moment inside of themselves, trying to escape it. But the truth is we cannot escape ourselves. We will carry that pain, sorrow, humiliation, and grief with us no matter where we go. A new destination does not mean we will be free of our tormentors. Because we still carry what they did to us no matter where we go to try and heal. Moving forward begins inside of us.
Change begins when we decide we need to change ourselves. What happened to us does not define us. Who we choose to become as a result of everything that has ever happened to us, that’s up to us. We hold that power to become better than we were yesterday.
Me? I’m just tired of waiting for my future to happen, when I know I am the one in charge of creating my own destiny. The universe just falls in line based on the energy I put out there. Change begins within me.
I may strive to be perfect and to create a more perfect system in my life, but I know I am always going to want to be a perfectionist, and never a true perfectionist.
For the family who never saw that perfect child who is a far greater success than anyone else in the family, I may not exist to you, but I exist to others. They see me and they love me for who I am and all my imperfections. They’ve taught me that you were wrong. This is not normal. I deserve better, because I am a way better person than you are. Just too bad you didn’t want to know me at all. Then again, I’m better off not wanting to know you anymore.
Whoever thought I could get hit with a broken heart? I started off this year all gung ho about my new mission this year: TO LOVE MYSELF. The first eleven days were fantastic. I focused on my health, my mind, my body and just doing the things that would bring me joy. I reminded myself with each change I was making: you are doing this because you love yourself.
Then I got hit with a massive snowball that knocked me flat on my ass in the middle of the snowy dirty sludge of a New York City gutter. Ok…maybe it wasn’t that bad. But the fact remained, someone had broken my heart. And it took me three months to realize that.
First of all, I was being forced to say goodbye to someone I did not want to say goodbye to. Well, I say forced because that is what it felt like.
We were not in any kind of romantic relationship, but we had a very special bond that people always spoke about. Everyone said they had never before seen the kind of relationship like we had. We worked very well together as a team. He changed me for the better. Most of all, he inspired and challenged me to be better than I am.
He tapped into that part of me that strives to be better (i.e. the tagline for this site), gave me the tools I needed and guided me to becoming a better version of myself. This is the only person I’ve met in this lifetime that has done that for me. He is my perfectionist guru and because of that, I think the world of him.
Unfortunately, all great things have to come to an end. As we were saying our final goodbyes, he said something to me…a lie. And for anyone that knows me, they know that they should never lie to me, because the entire truth will come forward. I will see the truth.
The lie was a little lie. Nothing bad. He must have heard my boss say this, because we have this type of relationship he was describing. I did not have this type of relationship with him. He tried to use an example and that’s when I saw the truth. His heart was finishing the story. I realized he was in love with me. Then I saw how the universe had been conspiring for the past few months. I looked at him and asked myself: now that I know how he feels, how do I feel? I realized I felt the same way.
And just like that, he broke my heart. You see, he was leaving that day. Never coming back. I was left devastated.
Come the next business morning, I had a meeting with my boss. We got coffee and beignets, sat down and talked about what happened. He wanted to get to the root of why I was so devastated. I had absolutely no idea why I felt this way. So many people come and go in my life. Why was this one so different? I mean, I was really messed up!
Sitting there talking to him about this, it seemed like we were in couple’s therapy, trying to improve on our relationship. We talked about why I was so devastated, but I did not actually tell him what happened. You will not believe what he did next.
He picked up the pieces of my shattered existence and started putting me back together by inserting himself in the place where the other person had left a hole in my life. For that, I am lucky I have him. He is the first person I’ve ever met that refused to let me go through this alone. We became closer because of it.
Three months later, I realize what happened that day…my heart was broken. And I was not okay with that. How can someone just open up the door to my heart, pull on my heart strings and walk right out? I mean, what did I do to him for him to be so cruel?
I meditated about this and asked God to help me get back to the person I was before this happened. Help me to heal this broken heart and get me back on track to my goals I planned for myself.
The next day, he let me know that this devastation was about a broken heart. So while I was perusing the upcoming book release database, I noticed a new release called “How to Fix a Broken Heart” by Guy Winch. And surprise, surprise, the psychologist works in Manhattan!
When I bought the book, another book popped up in the recommendations called, “This is Me Letting You Go” by Heidi Priebe. I bought it immediately, because that is exactly what I needed to be able to say.
I binged the books over the weekend and here is what I learned.
You may know that feeling when someone leaves that you need to keep in contact with them somehow. You text, call, email…anything for some recognition from them that they are not completely gone. Guess what, kiddies? That is an addiction. You are going through withdrawal.
While none of the cases mentioned in this book had anything to do with what I was going through, it still explained some of the psychological patterns people experience when they go through a loss.
Here are some points I took from the book:
To heal from a broken heart we have to first stop making things worse.
What makes letting go so challenging is that we need to let go of far more than mere emotional pain – we need to let go of hope, of the fantasy in which we undo what went wrong, of the psychological presence the person or pet has in our daily thoughts, and thus, in our lives. We need to truly say goodbye – to turn away from love, even when there is no longer a person or animal there to receive it. And we need to let go of a part of ourselves, of the person we were when our love still mattered.
Numerous studies have found that recovering our sense of self and getting in touch with our core is a crucial variable in our ability to heal from heartbreak.
Recovering from heartbreak always starts with a decision, a determination to move on when our mind is fighting to keep us stuck. The battle ahead requires courage and determination but also knowledge and awareness:
We have to fight the addictive tendency to keep those whom we have lost in our lives, whether via memories or reminders.
We have to rebuild our self-esteem by practicing self-compassion.
We have to recognize the voids that have been created in our lives and take steps to fill them.
We have to reconnect to our core so we can get back in touch with the essence of what makes us who we are.
Our heart might be broken but we do not have to break with it.
Especially relevant is mention of an interesting study of how devastating a broken heart can be to a person. They concluded that the pain from a broken heart is just as intense as subjecting your body to extreme pain (10 on a scale of 10). So that pain you feel in your heart is the equivalent of your body feeling like you are in extreme, excruciating pain. Interesting study, to say the least.
After I read this book, I felt that I was probably one step closer to healing. Maybe I was ready to move on towards letting go.
This is Me Letting You Go
Based on the title, you would think this book is about telling someone to fuck off, because you are letting them go. I am sorry to say…nope. This is the perfect book to read to get you back to who you are, to really, truly heal.
This book is a collection of short essays the author wrote to help her get over the various degrees of letting go. The most important lesson to learn in all of this is to learn to continue loving that person even though they are no longer in your life. You were loved and you loved them in return. It is a wonderful feeling, but you also have to learn to let them go when it is time.
People are in our lives for a reason. They can be here for a short time or they can be here for the rest of your life. You don’t know how much time you have with someone, but when the time comes to let them go, you need to let them go. But let them go with love.
Here are some of the wonderful points I got from this book. Not everything is just about healing. Some of the words are just beautiful and loving, including learning to love yourself.
To love without expectation, you learn to appreciate what’s there. Other people are not ours to own or rearrange or expect things from and the more anticipation we pit onto others, the more we let ourselves down in the end. All we can do is appreciate who we have when we have them, and let them go when we do not. To lend our hearts like vacant hotel rooms: celebrating others when they come in and letting them go when they leave. Understanding that at the end of the day, all we can do is refuse occupancy. But we cannot force anyone to stay.
To love without expectation you have to be okay with yourself. Okay with opening your doors, spreading your arms, baring your heart and understanding that not everyone is going to be gentle with it. You have to know that you can recover from those aches, that you can heal your own wounds, that you can trust yourself to walk away from the situations that do not grow or aid you.
Need for others to accept you, to validate you, to tell you that you’re good and worthwhile and strong. And if you can do that for yourself – if you can live up to your own expectations and desires, then the need for other people to do so disappears.
Take a chance on me. Because the timing’s always going to be wrong and the stars are never going to align but I would break every clock in this city and I’d shut every star down from shining if it meant that for one afternoon we could cast all that aside and give in.
Take a chance on me – because tomorrow the Universe could collapse in on itself and this city could disintegrate to ashes and the sun could burst into a thousand disjointed rays and goddammit if I am going to die never knowing what it feels like to have your lips on mine.
I have been promised too many forevers to have much faith in them anymore so instead I’d like to offer you right now.
Through every twist and bump in the road that threatens to tear us apart I will choose you with the ferocious certainty I’ve felt since the fist time I ever laid eyes on you. I’m not worried about falling out of love with you baby, because I never fell in. Loving you was a waking, conscious choice and it’s one that I’m going to keep making until the day my heart stops beating.
You have to show up to your new life, your new world and your new way of doing things, no matter how painful and raw it all feels. You have [to] face forward toward the future you hadn’t planned for and the life you didn’t know that you would lead. You have to stop showing up to the land of used-to-be’s and could-be-stills and show up to this world. The one where it hurts. The one that’s unfair. The world that is here, because it’s the only one you have left.
To learn from people you’ve lost and to embrace the people that you have left. To embrace the life you have left.
And maybe this is the Universe where I learn to not need you anymore.
We want to capture it and hold it between our palms forever – not realizing that we have to let it go for it to mean anything at all.
Maybe anyone worth loving is worth loving inconclusively…to allow yourself to love someone with everything you’ve got – and then to fully and completely let them go.
This is me knowing that we’re going to grow old. That your life is going to be huge and important and chockfull of love but that it’s all going to transpire without me.
I want you to take whatever crooked, twisted path you need to take if it will lead you towards your dreams. This is me letting you go.
What I Learned
In the second book, “This is Me Letting You Go,” I noticed that there is more than just one love being talked about that I did not consider before. There is the love from the people around me, helping me get through this. My friends express their love in their own ways.
Especially my boss, doing something like picking up the pieces from my shattered existence and trying to put me back together again, that is love. All I wanted to do was yell at him and tell him to leave it. Let me sweep it up and throw it in the trash. Except, he would not let me do that. He picked the pieces up for me and tried to be the person I needed after suffering this loss. What boss does that? Most would just tell you to get your shit together.
This one, though, I think he knew what he was dealing with before I even knew. For that, I am thankful I have such a wonderful person in my life. That is love. [I also realize he may read this…just know, I appreciate what you’ve done for me.]
You see, love is not always just romantic love that leads to intimate relationships. Sometimes it is the love of family, friends, bosses, even complete strangers. They are all part of the process of helping you to heal. I am thankful that the Universe has been conspiring all throughout to help me get through this.
Go With Love
As mad as I am that he left the way he did and could not leave like a normal person, I realize maybe I really did need to know I was loved. And I needed to confront the truth that maybe I loved what he did for me in my life. He made me into a better person during the short time he was in my life. Even though I live by the motto that when you find someone that inspires you to be greater than you are, you never let them go. This time, though, I had no choice but to let him go.
I need to let him go with love. My life was amazing with him in it, but sometimes you have to let guys like him go so he can go change the world. You cannot keep him forever. The world is calling for guys like him to help change our world. He has a bigger fight to fight.
Right. Did I mention he is perfect? Yeah…he is one of those guys out fighting the good fight. I’m not joking when I say that. He really is. That is why he left. And I am proud of him. I just kind of wish he left without pulling my heart strings on his way out the door.
These two books helped me to let him go. The point where my broken heart healed is when I realized I needed to let him go with love. Letting someone go is never easy, because it creates a finality of the moment. Sometimes when the moment is so amazing, you don’t want it to end. That was the case with me.
Letting go with love means that you don’t stop loving them. You just let them go so they can chase after their dreams. You can’t stifle someone’s journey in life. Wish them the best and give yourself fully while they are in your life. There will always be a part of them you carry inside your heart; and there will always be a part of you that they carry within themselves. Let that be the love that is carried along in your separate journeys in life.
When I began my journey this year into the foreign domain of learning how to love myself, I had no idea what would happen. I had certain goals in mind for the year. When I looked at my long list of resolutions, I kept asking myself how I was going to accomplish all of this. I mean, what exactly does it mean to love yourself?
Loving yourself is about stopping yourself from causing yourself anymore sorrow. It is about taking a deep internal look into your dreams, your desires, your wants and aspirations, and deciding that you will stop making excuses and take the chance of living the life you daydream about every single waking second.
Loving yourself means believing you are worthy enough to be a greater version of yourself.
No More Sorrow
It is so much easier to notice when we cause sorrow to others. When we realize we hurt someone, we feel remorse and quickly try to fix things, or at least try to say that we are sorry.
But what about the sorrow we cause ourselves every single day? How many lies and empty promises do we tell ourselves every single day? Tomorrow, we will go on a diet. In the morning, we will get up early to write our novel. We will head to the gym, first thing tomorrow morning.
The future is our excuse, because we have this insane belief that we have an unlimited amount of time on this Earth. We will do everything in the future and never right now. Yet, when tomorrow becomes today, we are back to telling ourselves the same thing, “Tomorrow, I will…”. I mean, seriously. Who are we kidding?
Putting off everything keeps us in a constant state of sorrow. The reason why we make empty promises is because when we say we are going to change, we are coming from a place of unhappiness. The changes we promise ourselves are not because we love ourselves. We make them because we don’t like how we look, or how much money we make, or the state of our health, or the life we are living.
We are demanding that we change from a place of hate, that part of us where we hate ourselves. And that is why we fail in our resolutions.
Changing the Narrative
So instead of saying to ourselves that we need to change so we can stop hating ourselves, let’s focus on changing ourselves because we would love to be that person we daydream about being. Truthfully, in our heads we know that our life would be complete sorrow unless we are that person we dream about being.
So what if we stopped dreaming and just became that person?
If we changed the narrative to doing this because we love ourselves enough to change our lives for the better, the results will be so much more different. You will actually stick to your resolutions. Your decisions will be based purely on if it will make you happy, because you know you are doing this out of love for yourself.
This year, when I began my journey, I set very high, unrealistic goals. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and told myself that I am doing this for me, because I do not want to cause myself anymore sorrow. No more hurting myself.
I realized that not working on the book, being creative or doing the things I love to do caused me sorrow. Every single day, I chastise myself if I do nothing for this site. I wanted to stop doing that to myself, being that person I hate…the procrastinator that gets nothing done.
Realizing just how much sorrow I brought to myself, I decided to stop being that procrastinator. Why in the world was I choosing to hurt myself by not doing something I really wanted to do? I should just do it!
I made out a list of all of the things I wanted to do for myself. Then I focused on loving myself. If I loved myself, what would it look like? What kind of life would I have? Who would I be?
So I made a plan.
I decided to lose 75 pounds this year…technically, 85 pounds, because when I made the bet, I already lost 10 pounds at weigh-in. I bet $50/month ($600/yr) that I would lose this weight by year end. If I lose the weight, I am set to gain over $2400.
I made the bet through an app called Healthy Wage and got my brother to make a bet, too. Everyone I encounter on a daily basis knew about my bet. I have one person checking in on my meals. Another person checks to make sure I exercised.
I made the decision to lose the weight, because frankly it was time and I was tired of making excuses. I found a way to lose the weight and that was going on a paleo, low carb, no sugar diet. But it is not just a diet. It is a lifestyle. If I don’t want another tumor, I need to focus on my lifestyle. I need to love myself enough to take care of my health, so that I will not be put through another cancer scare.
When I workout, I do positive affirmations. I repeat, “I am losing weight,” over and over again. Oddly enough, mixed with all of those happy endorphins I am generating, I notice that the weight comes off more frequently when I do this. Those positive affirmations tie into my goals and loving myself.
Losing this weight is about seeing the person I dream of being and becoming that person. I have to love myself enough to be the person I dream of being. Guess what? It takes a lot of work to become the person you dream of being, because we live in an auto-pilot world, sinking into the doldrums of existence. We have to work hard to stay out of that thinking in order to create our new reality.
We become so accustomed to doing the same thing every single day, that we have a difficult time stepping out of our daily routine. That routine is not who we are, especially if it is bringing us so much sorrow. We are living a life that does not reflect who we want to be.
You see, losing the weight is only part of my goals this year. It ties into all of the other stuff. The plan includes morning and evening meditations, morning runs, working on the novel, and working on the site (even if there isn’t a daily post). I even have a goal to make half a million dollars outside of my day job. This is a goal I’ve told everyone about, including my bosses. One boss understands why I am doing it and completely supports my endeavors, because that plan includes him, too.
I made sure my goals all tied in together, because the change I seek within myself is to be the person I dream of being. That requires a lot of change and a lot of hard work. To live on auto-pilot is to create sorrow within myself.
I love myself enough to stop creating anymore sorrow to myself. By not becoming the person I know I am supposed to be, I create sorrow to myself. That needs to stop.
The Surprises of Loving Myself
When I started this journey, I planned on focusing only on me. My friends and family all knew what I was doing, so that they could all help keep me on track. I made sure that I kept up with the positive affirmations, journaling, and doing things that focused on keeping my mindset on loving myself, and creating no sorrow to anyone, especially to myself.
Relationships or finding love was not on my radar. It was not even on the agenda. But something strange happened at the very beginning. For some time, my heart had been putting out there that what I desired the most was someone who could inspire and challenge me to be better than I am. When you find that person, you don’t let them go.
So there he was, staring me right in the face, letting his heart do the talking. I looked at him and realized he was in love with me. Then I saw how the universe had been at work for some time. I had to ask myself how I felt about all of this. I looked at him and realized I felt the exact same way and I was not about to let him go.
It’s funny how all of this works. Learning to love myself is something I work at every single day. I try my hardest not to fall back into routine, because that is where I am the unhappiest. In return, the universe keeps offering up new opportunities that coincide with my goals.
You see, when you put love out into the universe, it comes right back to you. Every single goal you are trying to achieve, the universe lends a hand, because it wants you to succeed. We all know who that person is that we want to be. It takes loving yourself enough to go out there and become that person.
How to Love Yourself
You already know what your daydream is. Write it down. Every single dream you have for yourself, write it down in a journal.
Look at all of the entries you’ve made. What can you accomplish in one year? Create a life plan by breaking down each goal. Want to buy a house? What steps do you need to take to buy a house? Break it all down and then start taking steps towards making that goal a reality. For example, for this year, I took my goals of weight loss, healthy lifestyle, financial goals, and my career, and started mapping out what I could do in the first year, one step at a time.
Make it part of your day. Schedule the changes into your life. For example, I am up at 4:45AM every morning. The cats are in on it. If I try to sleep in, one of them comes in to wake me up. I get up, feed them, then meditate until 5:30AM. At 5:30AM, I go for a run or do some sort of exercise. 6AM, I’m ready to write my novel. 7AM, I start getting ready for work. On the commute, I work on social media posts and business items for the site. After work, I focus on more business items for the site, go to events, maybe even write a post. All in all, I am kicking out several goals all in the same day. At the end of the day, I make sure to journal the positives for the day and write a couple of love notes. I finish the day off with a deep meditation with God. I start and end my day with God, because through God, all things are possible.
Positive Affirmations. I hate to exercise. I really do. So when I exercise, I make sure to say positive affirmations as I workout. I find that doing positive affirmations really lifts your spirits and gets you on a ‘love yourself’ high. I’ve also changed my narrative on my least favorite activity in the world…running. I tell myself I am a runner. That’s what keeps me running. So tell yourself you are fit, beautiful, healthy, and everything you want to be. Claim those titles as your own, because you need to see yourself as that person. That means you need to brainwash yourself into believing you are that incredible person you daydream of being.
Hustle. Don’t ever go back to routine. Always keep charging ahead and hustle the hell out of life. It’s more fun that way.
Self-check. Always be conscious of not causing yourself anymore sorrow. The moment you notice you have a bad feeling, take a step back and ask yourself why you are feeling that way. What can you do to take that bad feeling away? Do you get mad every single time you think about someone or an incident? Ask yourself what you can do to stop feeling that way. What solutions can you present to make yourself feel better? Always self-check your negative emotions, get to the root of why you feel that way and fix it. We have a choice in how we choose to feel.
Keep at it. Life is all about making ourselves better than we are. We always have room to learn and to grow. Never stop becoming the best version of yourself. Keep working at it.
Be Open to Love & Opportunities. Sometimes what we put out there comes right back to us. We have to be willing to let those opportunities in, especially when they are good for us. Loving yourself also means letting people love you. The greater the love you have for yourself, the greater the love you will have coming right back to you. That is the kind of investment you want to make.
Have you ever felt stuck? No matter what you do, you can’t get back to attracting the good things in life to you. You feel disconnected from God/the Universe/the Source. You don’t feel like yourself.
That was me. Since my surgery in 2013 to remove a tumor in my parathyroid gland, I felt stuck. I lost a sense of myself. Meditations were difficult. I did not know what was wrong with me. My entire existence felt like it was on pause. I could not move forward, because I was stuck.
I came across “The Abundance Project” by Derek Rydall recently and his book helped me untangle the water hose of my mind. Rydall uses that term to describe how things can become so twisted up in our connection to God/the Universe/the Source. Water hoses gets tangled up, making it difficult for water to flow easily. You have to undo all of the kinks in the hose so that the water can flow freely and with great force. Like the water hose, we have to untangle our connection to the source so that abundance can flow freely.
In this book, he gives you a step-by-step guide on how you can untangle the hose so the water can flow. This is about focusing on tapping into the Source that is within you to generate an abundance of wealth in all aspects of your life. It’s not just about money. This is also about love, happiness, friendships, family, and so much more.
The key element in awakening abundance lies in the seven variations of giving. “Whatever’s missing is what we’re not giving,” is a repetitive theme throughout the book. This concept serves as a mirror to our own being. Are we giving what we would like to create more abundance of? Can we stretch our limits and give more?
When I first read the reviews for this book, many people kept referencing “The Secret.” That is the incorrect way to describe this book, because “The Secret” only touches lightly on these principles. It does not dive into the true essence of how “The Secret” works. It is this quote that makes this book stand out from “The Secret”:
Life isn’t holding anything back from us; we are holding ourselves back from life, because we’ve been hypnotized into believing we have to be more, feel more, and believe more before we can ask, seek, knock and act from our highest vision.
With books that talk about the Law of Attraction, the whole concept is to believe in what you want and to put positive thoughts into the universe so that what you put out there comes right back to you (aka karma). What Rydall does goes much deeper, straight to the source which is within all of us. He tells us how to do this correctly. It’s not just about thinking pretty all of the time.
In other words, abundance is within us, we just have to go within to bring forth what is already within us.
This book is very lengthy and filled with so much information. If you stick with it to the end, you will be able to unravel the garden hose so that it will allow the abundance to flow at full strength. He uses many quotes from the Bible throughout the book, but this is not a book aimed only towards Christians. It is for everybody that wants to learn how to bring forth great wealth and abundance in their lives.
For me, he helped me work through the twists and turns to help me reconnect with my inner source. He helped me realize that it’s okay to ask for the impossible, if that is what I truly want. “Ask and it will be given to you.”
I was able to create a plan, just like I did when I first started out on my journey to creating abundance 10 years ago. When I was sidetracked with the tumor, I lost sight of who I was. Rydall helped me reconnect to my being.
One quote that stood out to me the most was this: “An amateur makes excuses for why they can’t; a pro gets the job done.” I am one of the biggest procrastinators and saboteurs in my life. I wrote down this quote as a reminder that I am a pro. Only an amateur keeps making excuses, so stop it!
[All quotes in this post are subject to change in the finished publication. I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. This post contains affiliate links, which means this site may receive a commission on the sale of the products listed in this post.]
Everyday we should not just aim to do good. We must focus on doing better than good.
With each action you make, consider looking beyond the initial act. Think to yourself: how can the blessings I am putting forth go even further? How can I do this better?
In order to be better than good, your actions must come from a pure, loving place. When you give, you give of your heart and wish good blessings upon each person this effects. Don’t just give because it is the right thing to do. Give with love and good intentions that go beyond the initial act.
A Case Study in How to be Better than Good
In 1927, an American tourist named Amy Bend Bishop visited Morocco. While she was there, she was horrified by the suffering of the animals. After her trip, she returned to Boston, worked with animal rights activists and established a veterinary clinic in Fes.
What makes this clinic so unique is that working animals receive free medical care there. For many Moroccans, animals are a means of survival, whether it be for business, farming or transportation. They are a vital resource. The people live in extreme poverty and cannot afford veterinary bills if their donkey, horse or camel becomes sick or injured.
For those who can afford pets, they have to pay for the services at the clinic. Their reasoning is if you can afford to own a pet, buy it food, etc., then you can afford to pay for its care.
When Moroccans tell the story of what this woman did for them, they speak very highly of her. It is because they are so grateful for this clinic that they speak praises of her long after she died. This clinic has been around for almost 90 years. She did better than good for the people of Morocco. By helping the working animals, she helped everyone there.
This act of love and kindness towards animals went so much further than just helping the animals. She helped the entire city of Fes, Morocco and still to this day continues to help them long after her death. Animal rights groups in America keep this clinic running.
When we set out to help, we must first think wisely. Our heart strings are pulled to help, but we must decide how to best benefit each being we help.
Poverty in America
Poverty in America is very high with 40 million Americans living in poverty and nearly half in extreme poverty (Washington Post). Homelessness continues to rise, especially near urban centers as welfare programs and public housing funding decreases. Scurvy is well known to exist among the poor due to malnutrition and poor diets.
Instead of giving just money, a hot cup of coffee, toiletries or a meal, carry some oranges with you when you give to the homeless. It helps protect them from not only scurvy, but from getting sick.
For years, I used to give an orange to a homeless man I saw outside of Port Authority every day. The way his face would just light up to see this piece of fruit magically appear in his hand, it made me smile every single time. Now, he’s gone.
These days, when I give out apples or oranges, I have an opportunity to stop and talk to the homeless men on the street. I always tell them to make sure they eat it so they will not get sick. The way they look at me when they thank me, it is with a sparked look of hope that they are not invisible and that someone out there cares enough about them and their well being…that they are still human.
Volunteering my time at the NY Food Bank has taught me about food, hunger and poverty. At food pantries in the Bronx, I hand out food and see how little is available for the poor to survive upon each month. I see involuntary hunger everywhere I go. That is why I always pack a little something extra in case I see someone that is hungry.
Poverty and hunger are the two things that pull at my heart strings every single day. Perhaps it is because I understand what it feels like to be hungry and not be able to afford food. I was like that once when I worked for the government. You do your time with the government and live in poverty so you can get carte blanche in the private sector (and command a large salary) one day.
I walked to work at 6AM, just to get there by 8:30AM. I only had $70 to buy food for the month. And they expected me to pay for my insurance out of that measly pay.
The poor are not necessarily lazy. There are some homeless people working three jobs, and living in shelters with their families. There are legal immigrants living in the slums that work all day in a factory, go to school, deliver food all night, and then go home to sleep 3 hours in a room filled with 10 other families where the bathroom is across the street at 7-11.
We live in a country with great abundance, but instead of helping each other, people take advantage of others in order to profit. This is a selfish country where we put blinders on and refuse to see the truth. There are 40 million people in our country that are living in poverty. 20 million of them can’t afford to eat. That is one child, one parent, one human too many.
Give Because the Universe Gives to You
I learned a long time ago that in order to be wealthy in life, you must share your wealth with universe. The universe shares its wealth with you, so in turn, you must share your wealth with the universe and those in it.
Wealth comes in the form of money, but also knowledge, love, happiness, joy, luck, etc. These are all things we must share with each other in order to truly sparkle in God’s eyes. We need to focus on giving back what is given to us. Everything that is given to us is a tool. We are judged upon how we use these tools to better the world around us.
When you give, think beyond your initial act. How can your act of kindness stretch further? If you think in the karmic sense of what you put out comes right back to you, ask yourself if this act can go 3 to 8 times further. Or in the case of Fes, Morocco, can your act of kindness go on long after your death?
We should strive to commit to acts of kindness like the one Amy Bishop displayed all those years ago. Not only is she continuing to help animals and people long after her death, but she continues to receive blessings from many people every single day. She wasn’t rich or famous. She just felt the call to help and got the assistance she needed from like minded souls to create a blessing that would last for a very long time.
That is how you can be better than good and be the sparkle in God’s eyes. Choose to be better than good every single day. It benefits the world.
One common theme throughout the book, at the end of every chapter, Sincero tells us, “Love Yourself.” If you want to live the best life, you have to learn to love yourself enough to go out and make the things you dream of doing happen. You have to love yourself enough to get healthy, lose weight, earn more money, work hard for your dreams, and do the scary things that will help you accomplish your goals. There must be enough love in there for yourself to be the person you dream of being.
We can make the usual resolutions, but we will not accomplish those goals unless we love ourselves enough to see it through.
I Made a Bet to Lose 75 pounds by New Year’s Eve 2018
I made a bet with my brother that we could lose 75 pounds by the end of 2018. He was a little reluctant to make the bet (he still is), but I went ahead and made the bet legit through the Healthy Wage app.
If I lose the 75 pounds by the end of the year, I stand to win $2,500 through the app. That’s a nice little vacation or a new wardrobe (or both) after I reach my goal. In other words, I would be getting paid to lose weight. That is what that means.
[If you click through the link above and join the Healthy Wage challenge with me, they’ll add an extra $40 at the end if you meet your goal.]
Losing a lot of weight like that is not easy, especially when I know how difficult it has been for the last 20 years to drop the PTSD weight. Or rather, was that just an excuse?
I Lost 10 Pounds in One Month
Last year, for the first time, I learned that maybe there was a way to lose the weight. I attempted the Whole 30 diet two times.
After the first month, I dropped 10 pounds. I learned the science behind what food was doing to my body. All of those chemicals we put into our bodies are making us sick. Our bodies do not know how to process the ingredients, so it gets buried away in our fat cells.
Carbs + stress = cancer. Reading how carbs and stress cause tumors in our bodies was a huge wake up call for me. My last tumor was in a hormonal gland. To think it was carbs that caused it…wouldn’t you want to change your diet? I did.
It was a harsh realization that what I was putting into my body was making me sick and stagnating the weight loss. Hence, it was not how much I was eating.
A Little Change Can Do Some Good
I am not a big fan of sugar. When I have my sugar cravings, I eat a little sugar and that’s it. I prefer salty and sour. One thing that surprised me on the Whole 30 diet was just how much sugar is in everything we eat. It’s in everything!
Sugar loves fat cells. It sticks to those babies and doesn’t let go. Whole 30 takes sugar out of your diet (you can get your sugar from fruit), and forces your body to get the sugar from your fat stores. Instead of feeding your body sugar when it signals for it (through cravings), you are forcing your body to use what it has been socking away for a rainy day.
Yes, there is a process of detox through this month away from bad foods, but during that time you start to learn…OMG, I can lose weight if I change the way I eat. You are what you eat is a truer statement than you will ever realize. It is more about what you put into your body, not how much you workout, that will determine how healthy you are.
For the foods you love, you can find new ways to eat. I am a huge fan of vegetable noodles. Last year, I upgraded to a bigger spiralizer to crank out zucchini noodles faster.
I can’t tell you how much the spiralizer has helped me to see vegetables differently. As a result of this great invention, I changed the way I eat noodles. I mean…I LOVE NOODLES!!! To switch my beloved spaghetti or rice noodles with zucchini noodles was terrifying [aka what am I going to eat now?]…until I tried it and did an OMG! It was so much better than the regular noodles.
Switching from rice to cauliflower rice was also a positive switch. I could not tell the difference.
These little changes in how I eat my favorite foods not only helped me to lose 10 pounds for the first time in 20 years, but it also made me feel better.
It was losing those 10 pounds that I realized that I could lose weight. I just had to change the way I did things.
I Love Myself Enough to Change
While there is a body positive movement going on, I applaud everyone that says they love every single thing about themselves. It takes a lot of strength to stand up and say you love yourself just the way you are.
Not all of us are that way though. We battle our own internal demons. Over a decade ago, I was used to being in front of the camera. Then one day, I got behind the camera and didn’t think twice about getting back in front of the camera again.
Like most people, there are parts of my body I never want anyone to see. I hate my mother’s legs, so guess what I got? Genetics.
As time goes on and our bodies age, we start to think back to when we actually loved our bodies. For me, like many others, it was in my teenage years.
I am at the weight I am now because of PTSD. I was sexually assaulted and harassed my freshman year in college. I thought, if I had been fat and ugly, this never would have happened to me. So my body responded with its self defense mechanism and the weight came on and refused to come off.
As I got older, I discovered that it did not matter what I looked like. Sexual assault does not discriminate. It can and does happen to people, no matter what they look like on the outside.
The Inner Demons that Keep Us Down
Sometimes the demons of our past can haunt us for the rest of our lives. We blame ourselves. We belittle ourselves. The horrible things the people we loved said to us echoes in the back of our mind. We perpetuate the hurtful truths onto ourselves and put it on repeat until we believe we are that horrible person.
The person we really need to stop from making us into a victim over and over again is ourselves. I am honestly tired of telling myself how unhappy I am with letting myself become this way. It’s not just weight. I am talking about the life I live, the decisions I make, the constant fear of success (so I sabotage myself).
The reason why I am this way is because of unhappiness, fear and not loving myself enough to know better. The feelings of not being good enough to succeed are angry words I tell myself all of the time. I am ready to turn off that sad song playing in my head. Rather than victimize ourselves over and over again, each and every single day, we need to change our tune.
This Year’s Resolution
I made several resolutions this year regarding reading, losing weight, going on vacation (with Matthew Lucifer), finances, and making my dreams come true. The success of those resolutions go back to one central theme. I have to love myself enough to go out there and make those changes so that I can be happy with my life and who I am.
I am done with being too afraid to take the next step to be the person I dream of being, because I hear in the back of my head, “You will never amount to much.” Instead, I choose to love myself enough to believe that I deserve the best life possible. I choose to make my dreams come true by loving myself enough to go after each and every single one of them.
All it takes is believing in myself enough to take that first step.
The Love Yourself Challenge
This year, I will be sharing my journey. On Instagram, you’ll find the daily meals, including the books I’m reading. On the blog, I’ll be sharing recipes, tips and the journey.
I encourage all of you to join me in this journey. Take some time and sit down to figure out what it is you want out of life. What will make you happy? Read “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero. It will help you really take a look at your life and help you develop a plan to live your best life.
After you come up with a plan, how are you going to accomplish it? Sometimes it takes a village. So let’s do this together. Let’s encourage each other, give helpful suggestions and do what it takes to make every single dream come true, because you love yourself enough to live the life you dream of.
Fashion. Books. Home. Food. DIY. These are all things this site promises to deliver, but it has not really lived up to doing just that. Or perhaps, it was something I always wanted to deliver, but needed some sort of direction on how I would deliver that to you.
When people ask me about this site, I never really passionately talk about it. Perfectionist Wannabe has not been in a place I was proud of yet. I was honest about that with the people I met. I did not know how to find that sweet spot where I was content with what I was putting out there.
So I went on a mission to discover what exactly I loved about magazines. Blogs were no longer the answer to what I was looking for.
The Bold Type
As I flipped through a stack of magazines, Freeform’s The Bold Type, a show about three young women working for a fashion magazine, played in the background. The show centers around a writer, a secretary turned stylist, and a social media director. As the girls go from one disaster to another, it is the wisdom of their editor that resonates.
1) Write from your own perspective in life.
2) Print is dying. The electronic age is making print media obsolete, so it is important to focus only on that.
Taking these two points, I began to see a clearer vision of what I wanted.
To get a better handle on how book reviews should be done, I went to the best source: O Magazine. As I read through the book reviews, I saw the importance of writing about experiencing the book. Describing feelings eloquently is what ultimately gets people to read a book.
I read about one reviewer’s morning before she even sat down to read the book. She made me experience her morning with her. There was nothing extraordinary about it. Her morning was a regular morning, just like anyone else’s morning. But by the time she sat down to read the book, I wanted to read whatever she was reading, even though she told me so little about the book.
What made this particular review stand out is that it was written incredibly well. That is the beauty in writing a good review. The writer made me see reviews, not just book reviews, in a whole new light.
Finally, it began to occur to me what I was unhappy with. I was dissatisfied with the voice I used on this site. I was mimicking other bloggers and what they were doing instead of focusing on what I ultimately wanted to do with this site.
In the back of my mind, my friends who are well read, played in the back of my mind. Their comments on fast literature (i.e. the books saturating our market), started to bring me down. As much as I shared their opinions on great literature, it made me ask if what I write is great literature. Would they even think I was good enough?
This is where that sense of wanting to be perfect comes in. There is that fear of never being good enough for my friends to recommend my work to others. They are brutally honest (which I respect and need). What if what I was doing did not live up to their standards?
In our opinion, discovering an author or a book that is well written is difficult to find these days. If you think about blogs in this context, it is not so often you will come across a lot of well written blogs.
Magazines and newspapers house many of the best writers that live up to these standards. Yet, these types of publications are failing because of the saturation of mediocre or poorly written content flooding the market. That means there are a lot of incredible writers out there that go undiscovered by the masses.
There are a lot of blogs out there I love that are both inspiring and beautiful. I like their brand. Even though many of these bloggers are the first of their kind in their niche markets, there are many who try to emulate that same voice, which in turn creates a problem. That brand’s voice is copied, and then it becomes overdone, watering down the original voice. I know, because this site started to do the same thing. I ultimately did not want that.
The direction this site lacked was always something very simple. It was missing my voice and the way I wanted to write and present my views of the world. I spent too much time trying to be like the other bloggers. As a result, I forgot why I created this site to begin with…to share my own adventure into learning how to be a better version of myself.
A Sense of Direction
Most noteworthy of this entire adventure are the opportunities that presented itself to me over these past few years. From Martha Stewart’s American Made to Tribeca Film Festival to Book Expo America (BEA), the universe gave me every single tool I needed to discover how to create my vision for Perfectionist Wannabe.
As a result of those experiences, I learned that even though I believe I am not doing enough, the industry communicated the exact opposite. Publishers explained to me at BEA that I was doing the right thing. I did exactly what they were looking for in order to work with them. They decided who they were allowing into the BEA this year, and I was among the select few they allowed in. [Of all the publishers I spoke with, they only counted three bloggers that were allowed to attend, unlike previous years where the expo was saturated with bloggers.]
What all of these incredible experiences tell me is that I was always on the right track.
I finally had an AHA! moment somewhere between flipping through the magazines and binge watching The Bold Type. This site is my resumé. In the end, this site is about a brand. These past few years of discovery was about defining that brand. That is the only thing it’s been about. In a sense, this site is turning into a better version of itself.
So what can you look forward to? Better content. More continuous posts. A more active social media experience. Better inspiration. More importantly, my voice.
Are you unhappy with how things are going in your life? Do you have dreams you want to accomplish, but can’t seem to figure out where to start? Is everything not turning out the way you want it to?
What if I told you that there is a way you can turn that life you do not want completely off? You can go to the next chapter of your life or start an entirely new book. What if there is a way you can make your dreams come true by changing how you are doing things right now?
In my quest into learning how to live and have a better life, I watched “The Secret” on Netflix. I read the book ten years ago and decided to refresh my memory on the importance of thinking positive all of the time. After watching the film, I felt refreshed and happier. I realized what I could do to change my narrative and become the person I dreamed of being.
I decided to take what I learned from this refresher course and do life differently. I created a new mission and called it The Joy Project.
This project is designed to reshape how we view everything in life. Rather than seeing a pile of dishes in the sink, I ask myself now, “What will bring me joy?” As I wash each dish, I think of how a clean spotless kitchen will bring me joy, which in turn creates a better atmosphere while I do a mundane task.
As I continue to think of joy and create affirmations on the importance of living a joyful life, I find that I don’t remember washing that last dish. I just feel happy and filled with joy before I even realize the kitchen is now spotless. I went through and cleaned every single surface without even thinking about it, because I was so focused on what would bring me joy: a spotless kitchen.
Procrastinate No More
Each time I walk into the kitchen now, I feel joy at seeing clean, clutter-free counters, a shiny microwave, and everything in its place. My kitchen is now impeccably spotless (for the first time ever). If something strikes me as not being joyful (like a dirty floor), it bothers me. It will continue to bother me until it is spotless.
Trust me, I am a procrastinator just like most people. It is a little trait I have been trying to fix since I was in college. I will walk by that same spot for weeks thinking I really should get to that before I actually do. With The Joy Project, I started to look at procrastination differently. I started to see how I was hurting myself and that was not something I wanted to do anymore. I cannot have what I want (a spotless home) if I keep putting things off.
Procrastination, in a large way, brings us sorrow. Putting things off as if we will have forever to do them is a fallacy that we must fix in our minds. We are only promised the present, not the future. If we want joy, we must focus on bringing joy into our lives now, not tomorrow.
One book that really helped me redefine how I do things is The 5 Second Rule. If you find yourself putting things off all of the time, you must read Mel Robbins’s book. She teaches you how to turn your life around. Instead of putting things off, countdown from 5 to 1 and then get moving.
This book really helps in the morning. For me, as a writer, I try to wake up early so I can write. In the past, when that alarm went off, I immediately turned it off and went back to sleep, waiting for the real alarm at 7 a.m. Now, I lament for one second that it is time to get up before I start the countdown: 5-4-3-2-1 and go.
When you stop procrastinating, you stop creating sorrow for yourself. There is a sense of joy when you get things done and not wait until later to do them.
Testing Out the Theory
When I first started this project, I wrote out a list of affirmations. I focused on the things I wanted out of life, thinking over how to say those affirmations in the most positive way. Like most people, my first affirmation was about wealth and increasing it. The only way I could do that was to create positive vibes all around me as I repeated the mantras.
On the first day, I focused on creating joy in my life, because the way the law of the universe works is that the things you want most out of life comes to you quicker when you are happy, joyful, and positive. I went through that pile of dishes thinking of the word ‘joy’ and what it meant to me. What is joy? I repeated to myself: “I welcome joy into my life.”
I wanted to create joy and surround myself in it, repeating the word ‘joy’ over and over again. Before I knew it, the kitchen was spotless.
I didn’t even stress over how much of a disarray it was in before I started. I actually felt like I upped my cleaning game without even noticing. Everything was exactly the way I hoped it would be. I could feel happiness brimming over with so much joy every single time I looked at my spectacularly clean counters. I never thought they would ever look so clean and uncluttered.
The funny thing about this is that I focused on joy, not cleanliness. I took the concept of joy and told myself I will be happy if my home is spectacularly clean and beautiful like we see in magazines and Instagram photos. By focusing on joy, I lost sight of the labor and what I was doing. When I stopped, I realized what I did, how focusing on joy actually helped me bring actual joy into my life.
It Takes a Lot of Work, Baby!
Creating joy in your life takes a lot of work. A LOT OF WORK. The reason why it is so difficult is because our minds are trained to think and absorb the negative easily. Every day, our thoughts tend to lean towards anger, dissatisfaction, and annoyance. We pass judgment and are demeaning to ourselves many times before we even walk out the front door.
Joy does not come easily. You have to work for that joy you ultimately want. By constantly keeping your thoughts in check, you will be able to change the negative narrative into a positive one. You have to reteach yourself how to think better thoughts.
It is easier to think negatively, but with lots of practice, you will be able to switch that thought process. Thinking positively all of the time will become easier than thinking negative. That is and always should be your goal in life…to think, be and feel positive all of the time.
With “The Secret,” you create positive affirmations to ask for what you want. So while you are asking the universe for X, you will get an answer on how to accomplish X. It always requires you to take advantage of the answers that come your way, but it still requires you to do the work to get what you’re asking for.
For instance, after two weeks of doing the affirmations and constantly thinking about joy, the answer came to me on how I would generate more wealth. The blog!
I instantly netted three new sponsors, one of them a major sponsor. I surpassed my monthly hustle financial goal, doubling it. Google sent me a letter asking me where to send the check to (i.e. the site made money). The answer to creating the wealth I wanted was presented to me and I ran with it. I know that in order to really get what I want in the end, I have to work extremely hard for it. The universe presented me with the solution on how I was going to accomplish my dream. I put a lot of work into it and the universe rewarded me accordingly.
Creating Joy Begins Inside
I firmly believe that the first place you need to create joy is inside of your home. Begin by repeating the word joy in your mind. I repeat to myself, “I am creating joy.” I branch off to say where I am creating joy, how I am sharing it within my home and with the world (because the universe looks favorably on sharing good things with the world).
I express gratitude around me for the things I am fortunate to have, the wealth I already have, and the dreams I already accomplished. Being thankful increases my wealth of joy.
Every morning, I practice meditation and mindfulness by repeating my positive affirmations of what I want in life. I say them out loud in the shower and repeat them over and over in my head as I commute to work. While I do each task, I remind myself that I do this with joy.
When I sit down at my desk, I write down in a notebook: “What will bring me joy today?” I create my joy to do list (which essentially is my to do list), and how completing those tasks will bring me joy. For instance, finishing X project means I will not worry later, wondering if I did it or not. It means finishing this now will be one less thing I have to do later.
In everything you do, tell yourself how doing each task will bring you joy. You will find the task much easier to do, and the feeling of happiness that you will feel after you complete it will help you increase your joy. In the long run, it will help push you further to making your affirmations become reality.
How Does This Equate to Accomplishing Your Dream?
Think about it. Living your dream means you will be happy, right? It will bring you immense joy, correct?
If you are putting in the work to help make your dreams come true, you need to focus on the joy and happiness that will come by making that emotion happen now and throughout the process. That is part of the journey. Start with the world around you by inserting joy into your thoughts and how you approach every single thing you do.
Most of all, you will begin to see your world change. The way you view life will be anew. You will begin to see those positive affirmations coming true sooner, rather than later. As a result, those wealth affirmations you keep repeating may start seeing some actual zeros in your bank account.
The universe rewards those putting out positive energy and doing good things for the world. Creating joy in your own life spills over into the world around you. It helps other people find their own moment of happiness. It is like you are bestowing a gift of joy onto other people, and that actually makes the world into a better place.
Action Item: Start Small
Through God all things are possible. You’ve heard that, right? If you really want to create the most powerful affirmations, you create them with God. If you don’t believe in God, stick to “The Secret” version of things. If you believe in God (not talking about Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, etc.), then you must start your affirmations with Him.
In Brahma Kumari’s murlis (i.e. God’s words), we know that if you remember God in everything that you do (because He is the embodiment of love, peace and joy), then you will be entitled to your own fortune. He will take great care of you by rewarding you for your service to him and to the world.
This knowledge can be applied to every religion. If you approach everything you do by remembering God, then you will create joy at a much higher level.
For instance, the way I approach how things are done in my home is by thinking of God while I clean. Is this home worthy of God? If I were to invite God to live with me in my home, would I be proud of the way things look? Is my home worthy of God?
It’s not just about making things clean. It’s about creating an atmosphere, or a sort of energy, that embodies the same virtues God has.
In creating joy, start with these action items.
Meditate when you first wake up in the morning. This is not prayer. Meditation is the act of silencing your mind and going within. If this is your first time, close your eyes. Think of the word joy and what it means to you. Sit there and contemplate that word for one minute, gradually working your way up to ten minute meditations. This is about learning how to make your mind powerful.
Start creating joy in everything you do by starting in your home. A happy home is a healthy home. With everything you do, practice mindfulness. Concentrate on what you are doing and incorporating the thoughts of joy and what it means to you.
As you shower, say your affirmations out loud. For instance, “I attract a positive flow of wealth to me every single day.” Whatever it is that you are dreaming of. Start saying your affirmations over and over again in the most positive way that you can. Make sure there are no negative words in your affirmations or it will conflict with what you are trying to accomplish.
On your commute, repeat the affirmations over and over again in your mind.
When you sit down to work, write in a notebook: “What will bring me joy today?” Write down your to do list and think of how tackling each item will bring you joy. How can you reward yourself for a job well done?
As you go throughout the day, try eliminating negative thoughts from your mind and replacing them with positive thoughts. Your mind must be constantly positive. If you notice you are starting to think negatively, take a step back, acknowledge this is happening and immediately focus on something positive. This is about training yourself to stop thinking negatively and to start focusing on being positive.
Don’t forget to share your gratitude with the universe. Say it in your mind. Write it down. However you like to do it, share with the universe everything you are already grateful for.
But most of all, smile. Be happy. Let that joy be your mission. What’s the point of having a dream if it does not bring you joy? Focus on the joy first, then go after your dream. Having your mind in the right place from the beginning will help you make the correct decisions in the long term to making your dream come true in such a way that it will be way better than you could ever imagine it to be. That’s the dream you want to live.
We walk through life trying to go from one day to the next. For some, it is easier than others. There are those that put life on auto-pilot, becoming accustomed to having a normal life just like everyone else. Then, there are the ones that struggle every single day just to make it through the day.
Yesterday was a sorrowful day as we learned that the world lost an incredible musical talent, Chris Cornell. For those who grew up during the grunge era, bands like Soundgarden, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam were very much a part of our everyday soundtrack.
I mentioned to Jimmy Murphy that Audioslave’s “Like a Stone” reminded me of a time in my life that I never wanted to go back to. It was a moment in my life where I had one of those AHA! moments. Murph wrote this piece on what Cornell’s music meant to him and sent it to me. The one sentence that caught my attention was this: “But what moments like this do, is they trigger our memories and bring us to certain chapters in our lives.”
I told Murph that I thought about writing something about that moment, which I was reluctant to do. He told me to do it. So here I am.
“Like a Stone” is about death and living. From the first note until the last, you can see the brilliance of what made Soundgarden and Alice in Chains such incredible bands. Cornell has this magic of telling his tale, wrapping his voice around your heart by pulling you in, keeping his audience completely mesmerized by the spell he is weaving with his voice. That is what makes him so magical.
If you’ve read Mitch Albom’s “The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto” you’ll understand what I mean by magical. Music has this ability to create legendary creatures like Prince, Michael Jackson, Mozart, Beethoven, Scott Weiland, Kurt Cobain and Chris Cornell. They don’t just create music, they create magic within their music.
In this particular chapter in my life that I am writing about today, the song “Like a Stone” was playing on the radio back in 2004. I was standing in my cottage in Indianapolis listening to it, when I all of a sudden came face to face with everything that was going on inside of me and realized I deserved something better.
Working for the government, getting crap for pay with a student loan payment I couldn’t afford, barely able to afford food, I knew I had to change my financial situation. I was battling with a rocker over the things that were not said between us. He broke my heart, acted like a jerk about it, but kept reeling me in only to throw me away again. I was drowning in the emotional misery he was putting me through. How can I try to be his best friend when he lied to me from the very beginning? I closed my wounded heart to him and he kept pecking at it over and over again, trying to rip the wound open. He was destroying me inside. He was the first guy I fell in love with after losing my soulmate back in 1994.
Which now brings us to Kevin. He is the one that broke me. He took part of my soul with him when he put a bullet into his heart. In the exact moment he died, I felt a part of my soul rip from me. My mind screamed his name and I had no idea why until the next morning when I found out he committed suicide.
You don’t ever get over losing your soulmate.
I spent my college years walking through life as a ghost. I felt half empty and completely lost. Everything I envisioned for myself, I buried with Kevin as they lowered him into his grave. I did not know who to be or what I wanted out of life. Life literally had no meaning for me.
Those couple of years I wound up back in Indiana was rock bottom for me. Sure, I had a well respected career both in the government and outside of it. I was in the papers every week. People wanted to work with me from one project to the next. I had the respect of my community.
I had all of that and it did not fill that emptiness inside of me. I felt nothing. There was no exhalation of a job well done after each event. It was just one thing to cross off the list and move onto the next. I did not take joy in any of my accomplishments, because all I could see was my sorrow.
I hung out with a lot of bands and musicians during this time in my life. I would help them out however I could just so I could get on their guest list, because I couldn’t afford to pay to see them. I tried to support my friends by driving all over the place, even flying to California for the biggest gig of their life, because that is the person I am. I may have struggled to pay for all of that, but I found a way, sometimes doing whatever side jobs I could get my hands on.
Believe it or not, there are a few songs out there about me from this moment in my life. I think the best one was from Josh Holmes. I heard he never plays that song live. As one of his fans put up on his site, “Whoever that song is about, she must have been someone wonderful.”
The song is about our breakup. It was about how he had fallen and how I had broken his heart. I never told anyone what happened. They just knew we broke up. That song though, is about that final conversation and how it changed him into a better person. As we were breaking up, he threatened me and said that I would come back to him just like all of the other girls did. He could hear me crying through the phone when I said, “You’re wrong. I’m not coming back.” [That’s the part of the song where he says, “Who was I to sit there and make you cry and think you’d come back to me.”]
He learned the hard way. I never came back. He became a ghost to me. He opened for a very famous act one night months later. I was there because I was asked to be there for the main act. I was hanging out with the band when he came over and sat right next to me. I pretended like he wasn’t even there. And yeah…that moment made it into the song. The band was well aware of what was going on. I remember the lead singer remarking on how guys should never piss me off. He said it was so blatant someone was trying to get my attention and kept looking at me and I pretended like he didn’t even exist. [“Until which time I became a ghost, without ever knowing why.”]
And don’t think this ex didn’t try to start a fight at another gig. He said something horrible about me to the rocker he eventually lost me to and a fight almost broke out. It was probably the absolute worst time he could have said something to him, because we weren’t in a good place at that time. It was right after I found out about the girl he was hiding from me.
The song Josh wrote is called “Grounded” from his Table 4 One album. [You can find it on streaming services just about everywhere. Download it. Help the guy make some money off of that song. It’s really good.] Our final conversation to each other was the conversation that made him think about what I had said and why I was walking away. I left him so he would learn to become a better man. I was teaching him a life lesson by breaking his heart.
Getting back to the other rocker. We never got past the lie. One of his friends ratted him out. She told me everything. It was difficult trying to move forward when we felt so strongly about each other. But the fact remained that one of us had been wounded. The next year was a roller coaster. I tried to keep my distance, but tried to be a friend when he needed me. He would call me out on reeling in my feelings when he knew there was more there. He would get frustrated with me when he’d call me at my office.
I was planning on moving to California and he was apparently following me, but that’s not how he worded it to me. I was always planning on going to Cali. I told him that when we met. After a few months, he told me ‘Surprise, I’m moving to Cali, too!’ It was nice knowing that I would know someone there. I had no idea he told his friends that if that was where I was going, then that was where he was going.
I think if he had told me the truth from the beginning, my fate line would be very different. I would probably be in California right now instead of New York. The lie was difficult to stomach. I didn’t speak to him for three months after I found out. He kept his distance, and I eventually forgave him. But then he tried to spin another lie with me in it. I knew the truth now, but the other girl didn’t.
To this day, he still writes songs about me and still sings songs about me. Out of all the girls, I’m the one the songs are still about. The ones in recent years have been a bit mean and nasty. Even the bootleg stuff makes its way to me and I sit there like…you son of a bitch.
He can blame me for leaving all he wants, he just refuses to take a moment and look at what he did that caused me to leave. “Like a Stone” is what gave me the courage to look at all of this bullshit in my life and decide that I deserved a better life. I stood in my home that day realizing that if I did not leave, this man would destroy me. I could not keep going back and forth with him on this roller coaster ride of emotions. I needed to be lost in a sea of people where he had no presence so that I could heal.
Getting over him was not easy. It took me eight years to get over him. That was eight years too long. It’s funny that when Death was knocking at my door, telling me to rid my soul of things I should not take with me when I die, he showed me this guy. This guy that hurt me worse than anyone had ever hurt me. He told me to forgive him, but more importantly to forgive myself for hurting him because I left.
That trip to Italy in 2012 was one of the craziest trips I ever embarked upon. Not so often do you feel Death following you around everywhere. After I received Death’s message, I began to see the life I should have had…that life with him. That cafe in Positano…I should not have been eating solo. I should have been enjoying Italy with this man.
But it was that day in 2004 that I made the choice I made. I realized I couldn’t do this life with this man anymore. I had to escape. Thirteen years later and I can honestly tell you that I still do not regret leaving. I left for ME. I made the decision that day to do something for ME. I was going to save myself.
Around this time, I read Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” I saw myself as Basel, and the rocker as Dorian. I saw that if I did not escape, I would wind up just like Basel…completely destroyed by the one I loved. The crazy thing though is that I never wanted to love this guy. It was just something that happened. I knew from the beginning he would end up hurting me. But you can’t tell your heart who to love and who not to love. It just loves, no matter how much you tell your heart, ‘he’s going to destroy you.’ It doesn’t care.
Do I regret falling in love with that guy? No. Thirteen years later I realize that he had to break me the way that he did. He may be the guy I’ll love until the day I die, but I will never forget how he hurt me. That is something I knew he would do from the very beginning. I just could not prevent the heartbreak.
What that heartbreak did for me was push me in the direction I needed to go in my life. It put me back on my path in life. It helped me to find myself and the person I had lost so long ago. It taught me to love myself first and damned if I would ever let anyone get that close to me again.
That heartbreak will lead to some fictional book someday. Maybe. Or maybe it will help my readers understand how each female character survives in the end and why she makes the choices she makes. Sometimes choosing love, you have to choose wisely. I chose to love myself, not him in the end. He was careless with my heart, ergo he had no right to it anymore.
I read “The Heart” by Maylis de Karangal recently. I picked it up knowing it would lead me to some unanswered question about Kevin when I came upon it. It was the story the mother was telling of a boy who loved a girl.
“They used to stay up late, talking into the night while the house was asleep, and maybe they would even whisper I love you, not really knowing what it was they were saying, only that they were saying it to each other, that was what mattered, because Juliette – Juliette was Simon’s heart.”
It reminded me of my moments with Kevin and how we stayed up late talking about everything. He let me into his world, teaching me about skateboarding and bands like Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. We would talk about life. We would talk about death. We would talk about Heaven and Hell, religions of the world. We would talk about God and angels. But never did we talk about what was happening in his home. He never told me about the beatings…those bruises that he told me came from a skateboard mishap.
“Black Hole Sun” became part of our soundtrack. A book on Vampyres wound up in my personal library a decade after we buried him. And a Dragonfly would become the symbol of us and who we’ve become as we walk along two different sides of the veil…a symbol of things to come and to remember who we were.
“The Heart” brought me back to him, remembering the day of his funeral and his mother telling me, “You have no idea how much he loved you.” In “The Heart,” the mother ponders if Juliette will ever love again after her son dies. I never felt so connected to Kevin’s mother until I read that part of the book. I wondered if she ever pondered that same question about me.
Kevin put a bullet into his heart in the month of May in 1994. Chris Cornell also died by his own hands in the month of May in 2017.
Reading about “The Heart” and knowing how Kevin put a bullet into his heart and reading how “Juliette was Simon’s heart,” I realized the symbolism in all of this and it made me sad. I was his heart, yet he put a bullet into his own heart.
Over these last 23 years, I learned to love Kevin in ways I never imagined anyone could love someone. He’s not even here, but I think of him every single day and love him just a little bit more each day. If I am his heart, that means it is still beating and it still beats for him.
After listening to Soundgarden, Chris Cornell and Audioslave all day yesterday, I left the office ready to walk into that mess that is Times Square just a few hours after a doped up idiot ran his car into a young girl, killing her and injuring 20+ people. Just as I stepped out onto the sidewalk to join the passerbys, a gigantic dragonfly came right up to me and then flew off.
This is Manhattan. Dragonflies are practically non-existent in the city. To run right into one after all that happened yesterday, I knew something was up in the universe. That dragonfly is a symbol of me and Kevin. I was so flustered as I walked down the street, lost in what just happened when I saw my name written on the sidewalk. I’ve walked by this spot a million times over the years and I have never once seen my name written on the sidewalk.
I knew this meant something. The universe was trying to get my attention. I looked up what the symbolism of dragonfly meant and this is what I found: The dragonfly, in almost every part of the world symbolizes change and change in the perspective of self realization; and the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity and the understanding of the deeper meaning of life.
That moment Murph mentioned that we come back to…it brought me back to my two loves in life and the love I ultimately chose. I walked away from the misery and chose to save myself. I chose learning how to live without my soulmate. I chose learning to love myself. I chose to let go of a world that was destroying me in order to find a better life. I found a better life and I don’t regret the decision I made. It hurt me more knowing that I hurt him, but I had to do it in order to save myself.
Maybe one day he’ll write a better song about me. Maybe he’ll forgive me one day. I just hope he found the silver lining in my leaving, because it is what it is what it is. Who knows? Maybe one day we can move past the lie and try again. I don’t know what the future holds, but maybe that dragonfly was a sign of things to come…a change for the better.
I don’t often share my meditations anymore, but I thought I would share this one, just because it really makes you think outside of yourself. This is about finding a way to be happy by thinking beyond just yourself.
Usually when we speak to God, whether through prayer or meditation, it is always about what we want. We are always asking for this, that and the other, never stopping to ask God how was his day. How many of us really take the time to ask God how he’s doing? How many of you ever have?
When I started off my meditation the other night, I asked him, “What do you want me to know?” [As in, what should we talk about that concerns me?] Then I stopped and said, “Wait. That is selfish of me. Let’s try something else. Tell me…what makes you happy?”
I honestly don’t think anyone has ever asked God that. Sure, in many religions, someone will say we should do things that will make God happy with us. Asking about God’s happiness is always centered on a selfish reason, like ‘are you happy with me?’ Are we doing good things in God’s eyes? It is always a self reflection of ourselves, rather than just asking God…what is good or what makes him happy.
So what did God reveal when asked this question? The answer is much simpler than you can ever imagine. Here are a few examples of what makes God happy…
The laughter of a child.
Playing games with your child, chasing them around outside.
Sitting down, talking, sharing and laughing with good friends.
The sun shining on your face.
Counting the stars in the sky.
Lying down in the grass, watching the clouds go by next to the person you love (like your child).
The person you love (like your child) wrapping their arms around you and leaning their head against your chest.
A hug from someone you love (like your child).
There is a common theme in all of this. The first one being that none of the things that makes God happy centers around material things. Not a single thing above deals with objects. Instead, it deals with people and nature. God’s happiness is found in sharing love with those around you and finding peace in nature.
These examples are all very simplistic moments, but they are all things that we take for granted each and every day. We take for granted how it feels to hold someone you love. We don’t take time to meet with friends to talk and laugh together in an outside environment, enjoying the peace and tranquility of nature. We don’t chase after our kids and play with them outside. How many of us sit down and even look at the stars every night? [Those of us who live in the city don’t even have the luxury of seeing stars in the sky.]
Can you remember the last time you laid down in the grass and watched the clouds floating by? I think it’s been decades ago for me.
When you truly think about doing those things (and the last time you actually did them), did it bring a moment of happiness to your heart? Remember when those moments were so pure, innocent and peaceful? Those are the moments that make God happy.
Thinking of those examples, when you want to find your own moment of happiness, ask God what makes him happy. Truly open your mind to see what it reveals. If that moment brings you a little bit of love, peace and happiness, hold onto that happy thought.
Take that happy thought and go one step further. When it comes to service, think of the things that make God happy and using that as a guideline, consider thinking of what will make others happy. Do things for others that will truly make them happy (note that this has nothing to do with material things).
Spend time with the people you love. I mean, really go outside and spend time with them. Don’t bring your devices with you to distract you. Disconnect from technology so you can relearn how to connect with each other. Those are the moments both you and your loved ones are going to remember for the rest of your lives.
This is how you create happiness. True happiness comes from a place of love.
In the Grand Scheme of Things
After my meditation, I found how easily my world changed around me. I went to take the trash out and noticed a dog waiting outside of my door with his owner. It was like he was waiting for me to come out. I had never seen him before. I know a lot of the dogs in the neighborhood. This one, I did not know.
I put the trash on the curb, and the dog came over as if to say good morning. I felt like this was the universe saying good morning in the happiest way possible. The owner of the dog was just beaming.
On the way to the train, I noticed an old man sitting in a potted plant doing his #2 business. I had never seen anyone do that before. He waved at me as I was passing by and said, “Good morning!” in a very cheery tone. I didn’t know what to say, so I said good morning back.
I got a block away before I realized…ok…you can’t help but laugh at something like that.
One moment after another was just one more moment of happiness to add to the list.
Embracing God’s happiness and keeping the thoughts of what makes him happy does bring happiness into your own life in incredible ways. It is like the universe conspires to bring happiness right to your door.
Just seeing that dog sitting in front of my door waiting for me to come out…that, to me, was the universe winking back at me. That is the kind of life I like to live, one where the universe conspires to bring happiness into my life in all the little moments out there.
When Warren Buffett released his tax returns after the second Presidential debate, one thing stood out to me: how much he donated to charity versus how much he made in 2015.
OMAHA, Neb.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Answering a question last night about his $916 million income tax loss carryforward in 1995, Donald Trump stated that “Warren Buffett took a massive deduction.” Mr. Trump says he knows more about taxes than any other human. He has not seen my income tax returns. But I am happy to give him the facts.
My 2015 return shows adjusted gross income of $11,563,931. My deductions totaled $5,477,694, of which allowable charitable contributions were $3,469,179. All but $36,037 of the remainder was for state income taxes.
The total charitable contributions I made during the year were $2,858,057,970, of which more than $2.85 billion were not taken as deductions and never will be. Tax law properly limits charitable deductions.
My federal income tax for the year was $1,845,557. Returns for previous years are of a similar nature in respect to contributions, deductions and tax rates.
I have paid federal income tax every year since 1944, when I was 13. (Though, being a slow starter, I owed only $7 in tax that year.) I have copies of all 72 of my returns and none uses a carryforward.
Finally, I have been audited by the IRS multiple times and am currently being audited. I have no problem in releasing my tax information while under audit. Neither would Mr. Trump – at least he would have no legal problem.
Did you see how much he donated to charity? $2.85 billion. Even more interesting is that he never claims his charitable deductions on his tax returns.
Did you notice his 2015 adjusted gross income? $11.5 million. Wow, right?
Buffett’s current net worth is $66.4 billion. The amount he donated to charity overall in 2016 was only 4% of his overall net worth. Even though he earned an income of $11.5 million, he still donated way more than he earned that year. Can you imagine doing something like that?
The Key to Wealth
You see, that is one of the most valuable keys to creating wealth – to give way more than you take in. That wealth is not limited to just money. It is in everything we do in life. If you give more love than you take, you will receive more love than you put out there. If you give more food to others than what you take for yourself, you will receive a bounty of food from the most unlikely of sources.
That latter part is something I witness daily. I give food to the homeless whenever I can. I have way more food than I know what to do with. I don’t expect anything in return when I give.
As a reward from the universe, neighbors knock on my door to deliver plates of food on their best china. People pick up chocolates when they travel to give to me as a gift. Just the other day, someone dropped off a large jug of vinegar just because I commented that I loved the salad dressing my neighbor makes.
The rewards for showing kindness, expecting nothing in return, creates even more wealth according to what you give. That is the key to having a wealthy life. Give way more than what you take for yourself. Give without wanting anything in return. In Buffett’s case, he gives way more than he makes in a year, and still continues to grow his wealth in other areas (investments, interest, etc.).
The most important thing is that he never claims those charitable acts on his tax returns, because to take a credit on your tax returns for charitable giving means that the act of giving was not so selfless. You still got something in return for doing a good deed. That does not equate to giving without some sort of strings attached. The universe does not reward you for those types of actions.
So the lesson learned here today is to give way more than you take in without expecting anything in return. For those who need guidance in growing your monetary wealth this way, start by tithing 10% of your gross income to charities and those who need help. Give selflessly. As your wealth grows each year, donate more and more and more. Don’t claim your charitable contributions on your tax returns. When you have more than enough money to sustain you and your loved ones, start donating more than you take in. This is your way of sharing the wealth and thanking the universe for the wealth it gave to you.
Over this past week, I’ve been pondering what I would like to do with this site. My friends assisted me with the items they would like to see, as well as identifying the items they already liked about the site.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret…keeping up appearances for this site is very time consuming. I plan on changing that. My personal goal is to start posting on a daily basis. That means planning what will go up on this site well in advance.
Planning leads to doing. I started creating the content, cooking up recipes, taking the photographs, writing the posts and then began to feel overwhelmed.
As I was slicing up the pumpkins for the October recipes, I started to feel that pang in my gut. It was that pain of feeling stressed and overwhelmed as I was trying to do something right for myself. It’s that irony of the site’s name…wanting to be perfect.
I stopped what I was doing and re-evaluated why I was doing this. What was my current mindset? I realized I was stressing myself out and not enjoying the ride. If I didn’t change my mindset then I was going to end up with a bunch of crap meals. You see, I am of the belief that how you are feeling as you prepare your food is a direct correlation with how well your food will taste.
People who love to cook tend to make food taste incredible because you can taste their emotion in the food. I used to watch one chef create meals for me on a whim. I would watch him as he poured his love for food and cooking right into the meal. A simple fried egg tastes so different when such care is taken than one created with no emotion or feeling. It’s about passion and sharing that passion with someone else.
I didn’t want all of the food I was making to taste horrible, so I changed my mindset and focused on why I love to cook. As a result, everything turned out so well, my friend was surprised at how flavorful everything tasted.
Changing my mindset was all about reminding myself what I am passionate about and why.
I met with filmmaker Edwin Walker today for lunch. He is in town from LA filming a new movie. We met last year (see link to our story). There was something about the timing when we met last year. He mentioned to me that when we met, it was like a turning point in our lives. There was something about the direction our lives would take and the people we would become after our first meeting.
We became so inspired by each other to live life fully and passionately. Since we met, I have been trying to find my passion in life again. I only find that my passion comes when I write and when I am being myself and not focusing on what other people want from me.
You see, we live in a world filled with mediocrity and false lives. We struggle every single day to be perfect in our Instagram photos, Twitter, and all forms of social media. Reality TV makes people believe that these stories we see are real lives, when it’s just an act. We become depressed when we don’t have over a thousand friends or followers. We feel like we are failing at life when people are not following us or reading our work or we’re not getting hundreds of thousands of hits on our sites or Youtube videos.
Life for most people has become about the get rich quick schemes, becoming viral, and making a ton of money in the process. It’s not about creating a passion project and putting your blood, sweat and tears into it. It’s about the instant gratification, not the eternal happiness.
We have to constantly think of how to falsely entertain people to make you think that our lives are super glamorous, even when, for many people, it is not. People become superstars for portraying a life on reality TV, even though there is nothing real about their lives on that TV show.
It is like a drug addiction. It’s about that instant high that makes you feel happy for a moment, instead of working on what will make you happy for life.
People don’t watch real artistic movies or qualitative television programming anymore. They’re flocking to the latest ‘explosive’ blockbuster where it’s very little script, and more action with everything blowing up every other minute. The shows that make you think are constantly being canceled.
Children don’t go home and watch cartoons for half an hour like I did when I was a kid. They watch four-minute Youtube videos for entertainment, because they can’t sit through a half hour cartoon anymore.
People complain about the ‘long form’ on blogs. They don’t want to read a long drawn out story. They want glamorous photos with very little text…maybe one paragraph of text and that’s it. They want to see people living these lives that are so far fetched. It’s like watching a fairy tale or a soap opera. They assume it’s real, when it is only a glamour.
It’s depressing isn’t it? It’s like comparing ourselves to the Joneses. We try to emulate these people on a daily basis, as if that is how we are supposed to act and live, even though what they are doing on that reality TV is an act. It’s not real. People assume it is real and follow suit, like this is how they are supposed to act, think, live and dress…no matter how outrageous it is.
We’re supposed to get plastic surgery to be pretty. If you’re ugly, that means you’re too poor to look perfect. As one friend said, it’s what separates the rich from the poor. That is the culture we live in.
People sweat it out and diet, not for themselves, but to look and be thin and accepted. I mean, Donald Trump talks about how horrible it is for women and girls to be fat or ugly. If you are overweight or gain weight, you are called nasty names and meant to feel less than what you are.
When you look at street style photos, they never ever photograph fashionable women that are not thin. I know because I’ve watched thin, beautiful women pulled out of line at fashion shows to be photographed for street style, while the fashionable curvy ladies are overlooked. I have yet to see a single curvy blogger be selected in the slideshows for street style photos, even if they do have more followers than that thin, pretty girl that was pulled out of line to be photographed.
It is as if to say that X is the only thing acceptable in society, which then creates the unhealthy narrative of what it means to be a human being. We see what is on the outside, the shell, and never what is on the inside that makes each and every single one of us great individuals.
The narrative in our society today is about the false perceptions of reality. It’s the quick fix drug that makes you feel something for a moment, to make you forget what is real in your life, instead of focusing on how you can make your life better.
People don’t want the stories that help them self-reflect, connect and learn something. They don’t go see movies that will inspire them to be better human beings. They don’t want to see movies that will fix what is wrong with them on the inside. They only want those things that will help them escape reality, instead of focusing on creating a better reality for themselves and the people around them.
People focus on how they need to be fit, thin, beautiful, well-dressed, rich and famous in order to be accepted in society. You have to have thousands of followers before anyone takes you seriously.
I know there are publishing houses that have said that they are not interested in talking to you unless they see you have over 1,000 followers on Twitter (and yes, they do check to see if your followers are real or if you bought a bunch of dead accounts). That puts you into the 5% of people that do. That’s the 5% they are willing to talk to and work with.
Back in the day, when I was working with bands, each record company said they were only interested in talking to bands that had a following already. The artist needed that following before they would even listen to their music. This, of course, was before blogs and social media were in the picture. It was a lot harder back then to create a following, because they didn’t have social media to help spread the word.
What I’m getting at is this…
I’m glad I started talking about re-branding with my friends. What they were asking of me was to be raw and real on this site. Even Edwin today stressed that being real is what made this site unique. I was sharing the stories of people that needed to be told. These are the people that are living their lives passionately. They are living their dreams.
Edwin wanted me to focus on my passions in life. For me, that is writing, books and movies. In my universe, all of those things are interconnected.
Last year, I discovered that my main followers and readers of this site were the entertainment and film industry. I was doing something they needed. I wasn’t putting out stories or reviews like everyone else. I was telling the narrative untouched by the big dogs of the entertainment industry. I was sharing the art and the passion…the reason why people got into acting, directing, filmmaking, writing, art, etc.
No one ever talks about that anymore.
I noticed recently that a film short that is turning into a feature film soon has been publishing their poster with a quote from me from this site. I didn’t even notice it until I started reading the film’s poster and was like, ‘Wait…that sounds like me…’ and then I saw my site’s name underneath it.
I kind of did a little leap for joy when I saw it, because that directs more people in the film industry to this site. This site, of course, is not about entertainment news. It is about living life passionately. In a way, the site’s name is about me being that perfectionist in the same way all artists strive for perfection in their art. They are just looking for people to understand that dynamic and passion that went into their art.
Unfortunately, the art is always 80% business, 20% art. I learned that a long time ago. I’ll be honest, it is that 80% I hate about writing, because that 80% is what stresses me out all of the time. It prevents me from being me and writing more.
I believe that is the real reason why I don’t post as often as I would like to do on this site, because it becomes more about business than it does about the art. I plan on changing that mindset.
The business side is going to need to be something I am passionate about so that I can create. I need to ask myself if what I am doing is a true reflection of who I am, because truthfully, I am not going to share anything that is not true to who I am. There is too little time in life to waste it sharing the things that have no meaning. I am not going to participate in the mediocrity that has consumed the lives of the world around us. This is about being raw and real about everything.
What I do not share on this site is in actuality the side of me my friends have asked that I start sharing. They want me to share my journey in life. It is the narrative I don’t share completely.
You may think, ‘oh, this is going to be a dull and drab journey,’ when in actuality, it is quite surreal. Like the irony of sharing the Russell Crowe binge on the site is that 15 years ago, would you believe he actually serenaded me in Chicago, Illinois?
Or that when I started the Russell Crowe binge, Paul Haggis (“Crash,” “The Next Three Days”) had stalked my Instagram account and liked a bunch of photos on it? I hadn’t even gotten to “The Next Three Days” yet, and here the director was on my Instagram liking a bunch of photos on it. How is that for irony?
Or how about meeting fashion designer Malan Breton and just being so enamored with our conversation that I looked at him like, if I could talk to you for the rest of my life, I would be one happy woman? He was the first person that ever looked at me and told me right off the bat what my ethnicity was. No one has ever been so spot on. I think what was even cooler was that he knew who I was before I even introduced myself.
This is the world my friends want me to talk about. One friend said that I had always told her these stories about the life I lived. She said that she never even imagined how real that world really was for me until she saw how famous people would walk right up to me and we would have these long, drawn out conversations that were so intriguing.
It amazed her even more when she realized these people knew who I was, even if we were just meeting for the first time. This is the world she wants me to share, because it is so surreal. She wants me to share the gowns I wore. Others want me to share the fashion I wear on a daily basis. They want me to talk about the events I go to, because not everyone has that kind of life. It’s a dream life.
It’s about that VIP status. It’s a status I’ve had since my days in Washington, DC, where I could hear other society women complaining that I had what they wanted…status.
When I first moved to NYC, my boss told me that he knew when I was hired that I was known in societal circles in DC. He told me that if I wanted to enter NYC society, he would help me, but he warned me that it was pretty mean.
I remember thanking him for offering to introduce me, but I would rather go at it alone, choosing who I would like to surround myself with, rather than trying to be accepted by a group of people that seeks to destroy the people around them. In NYC there are different forms of VIP. The number one thing you need is money and being constantly seen in those VIP circles. After a while, you stop paying for the VIP treatment, because it comes to you for free.
You get the invites. You stop running around trying to be accepted by the in crowd or pursuing people for interviews by going through their publisher or agent. After you’ve established yourself, they come to you. You don’t have to pursue anything in life anymore because you are ‘in.’
That is the world my friends want me to share, because not everyone is allowed into that VIP world. It’s not always about parties, getting into clubs, etc. It’s about being in a room with incredible people like yourself and learning something from them. It’s about experiencing life in a new way beyond just attending an event. It’s about learning how the event came into being (like a film), meeting the people involved with creating this art, and letting yourself become inspired by these people and inspiring them by sharing your own journey.
It’s about the human aspect beyond the celebrity. The celebrity part…that’s not real, you know that, right? Celebrity is a false illusion.
I remember there was this guy who told me years ago he was famous. I told him I didn’t believe him. He spent the next year trying to prove to me that he was. I still don’t believe that he is, but during that time, it created a friendship. I never saw the celebrity. I saw him. I saw his passion in life and I wanted him to pursue it at all cost, so I helped him wherever I could.
You see, that is the true essence of who I am and what this site is about. I am drawn to other people like me, the creative types and the people pursuing their dreams and living life passionately. Why? Because these are the people that inspire me to be the person I truly am inside.
We are always learning from each other and inspiring each other. It’s about sharing our journeys together and helping each other in our own ways. That is the life I’m talking about. There’s the glamour on the outside, but the true essence at the core is what is more important. This is the stuff that The PW is all about. It’s not about just the glitz and glamour of life. It’s about the things that make us self-reflect in order to be true to our very own being.
This is about finding the true reality that is life. What’s on the outside is always just the shell of a being. It is not the true essence of what a human being is. It’s the glamour. In other words, it is not real.
It is the drug that makes you feel something for a moment, but never truly changing who you are on the inside. It’s the drug that gives you temporary happiness, instead of focusing on healing what is inside of you and finding what true happiness is, your eternal contentment in life.
The Goal of This Site
In trying to develop content on a daily basis for this site, and remaining true to myself as a writer (i.e. to write the novel, as well), I will be incorporating a version of the KonMari practice in minimizing my life. I am setting out to learn how to make things simpler so that I can post daily.
I am going to attempt to accomplish this goal beginning today. Along the way, hopefully, I’ll discover new and easier ways to create content without feeling overwhelmed (don’t worry, I’ll share my discoveries, because I’m sure that can help many others out there looking to simplify life). It’s that overwhelmed feeling that keeps me from being passionate about this site. I seek to change that, because this is supposed to be my passion project. I just need to focus on what makes me so passionate about it.
For now, I’ll be testing the water in new ways. There will be movies, books, home, arts, fashion, This Is 40, and more on this site. It’s not about what I think people want to read. This is going to be about the passion in life.
If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I am doing a Russell Crowe movie binge. I have not revealed why. I keep promising to reveal why on the site and today is your lucky day!
[DISCLAIMER: What you are about to read may weird you out a little, because this is something different. The people that know me or are close to me can testify to the fact that I am different. As my Muslim friends say, I am not weird or crazy. I am special in a unique way.
As you read through this, bear in mind that in the Old Testament there are stories of people that spoke of dreams where God has spoken to them to reveal a prophecy or to deliver special messages. The Bible speaks of people speaking in tongues or seeing angels…even talking to God. If you are Muslim, Jew or Christian, you believe these stories.
To say that it does not continue to exist today and it only existed thousands of years ago, you do not know God. God never stopped talking to his people. Today, there are many people out there that are listening to God and speaking with him.
My understanding of God and the universe is a little more elevated than conventional religions. For Muslims and Christians who have heard me speak about God, they have always noticed how I reference their beliefs, but explain the way that things should be. It is more elevated in understanding, and it always rings inside their heart as being God’s truth.
As one friend explained to me, there are times I speak about God and the universe in such a way that he does not understand. Even though he does not understand it, what I say rings in his heart as being the truth. Some time will pass and he will be going about his business when something will happen to him and then he will recount the words I said to him. That is when he says to himself, “That is what she was talking about!”
He told me that I’m on a much higher plane of understanding than he is. He is just trying to get there.
This higher plane of understanding…that is what I am going to be discussing today. It is much easier for people to hear my voice when I describe these things, because oftentimes, seeing is believing. To hear someone’s voice as they tell you this story is much more powerful than just reading their story. It’s their voice that strikes the chord within your heart that what this person is saying is true. Even if you don’t understand it, you will eventually.]
The Crowe Binge is Really About the Novel
On this site, I have been talking a lot about the novel I am currently working on. The book is about a dream I had last month that was so prolific that I had to share it. I saw the dream from beginning to end. The story was just so incredible, I had to bring it to life and share the story with the world.
Who was the lead character in the dream? Russell Crowe.
Before you go thinking that I’m having some prolific and awesome dreams about Russell Crowe, note that I said ‘lead character.’ That means that he’s playing the role of the actual person and it’s not really about Russell Crowe. In other words, the dream plays out like a movie and Crowe is just an actor in the dreamlike movie playing the role of an actual person.
For some odd reason, when God is trying to explain something to me, he uses Russell Crowe in the story to explain it. For the last three years, if Crowe appears in the dream, that means it is a message to explain something going on in my life or something that will happen in my life (aka prophetic dreams).
These dreams play out from beginning to end. I see and feel what every character is thinking and feeling. I see all of the fate lines as they interact and intersect with each person in the dream, and I understand the meaning of it all in the grander scheme of things (i.e. from God’s point of view).
When God speaks, he is speaking a million things all at once. That is the way the universe operates. There is not just one single thing happening in the universe at that very moment, there are many things happening across the universe instantaneously. So when God is explaining one situation, there are many things involved beyond just the story. There is the greater message, which is God’s message, and that message is oftentimes lost in the story. It is his message that is the most important part of the story because it explains everything. It truly explains the story of your life.
A lot of times Crowe’s appearance is a mixed bag. He’s playing the role of everyone the story is about. He’s me. He’s the guy in question. He’s the good guy, the bad guy, the clueless guy and the guy that gets his heart trampled on and can’t figure out why it happened.
In this story though, he’s playing the role of the guy this story is really about (an actual person that exists). I decided to call the book “The Death Between Us.” If you’ve followed along with what’s happened to me over these last 3 years, you’ll understand why I chose that title. There are even some elements that go back to when I was at the Vatican in 2012 and what transpired after that. Death himself plays a prominent role in this book and it is not in a way you could ever imagine.
The Vatican – July 2012
Let me take you back to a day in my life – July 2012. I am in Rome, Italy and I’ve decided to go to St. Peter’s Basilica. I leave the hotel, pick up a few slices of pizza, jump on the subway and head to St. Peter’s Basilica.
I’m tired, because I know my cancer has returned, but I refuse to go to the doctors because I am not ready to go through another year of testing. It’s the testing that’s the worst part.
I get through security in Vatican City and decide to sit down at the obelisk and share my lunch with the birds. After lunch, I head into St. Peter’s Basilica, wearing a long black dress and a red Valentino scarf wrapped around my head to hide my hair as a matter of respect to the church. [I’m not even Christian.]
I start looking around, photographing the church, reading the walls. The marble floors are really weighing down on my body, sucking the energy out of me. I notice there’s a prayer room, so I pretend like I’m going to go in and pray just so I can sit down in one of the pews for a while.
This is where I confess that I can do something that most people can’t do. I can push thoughts into people’s head. When you meditate as much as I do, it awakens parts of your mind and allows you to use parts of your brain that most people do not use. There are a lot of people who meditate regularly that can do this. These are sort of ‘powers’ that come when you have a deep understanding and relationship with God. There are many nuns that I know that have this same ability.
Also, another ‘power’ I have is the ability to see with my mind’s eye things that spiritually cannot be seen with the naked eye. It’s the same kind of ‘power’ where when I’m interviewing someone and they are saying one thing, I hear something else. It is that something else that scares them, because if I print it, it could be bad. As I’ve learned from Ilya Kovalchuk, I am 100% correct in what I see in their mind and that scares them (i.e. hockey players).
At any rate, I’m not Catholic and I’m definitely not Christian, so I decided to eavesdrop on what the nuns were praying about. I pushed myself into the eldest nun’s mind and saw her praying for the souls of man that they would find their way to God. So I pushed the answer into her mind on how that should be accomplished. Another nun was visiting from another country. She was praying for funds so that her church would not close. I looked around me in this room filled with opulence and just shook my head. The Vatican has vast sources of money. They are rich beyond belief and they cannot share the wealth with their flock and churches? Come on now.
That’s when I heard the giggle. I immediately looked up and saw two angels sitting up near the top of the ceiling. They were listening to the prayers and laughing at the people below, having a grand time. That’s when they noticed me. One of them said, “I can’t believe she’s here. Of all places!” The one angel stopped the other and said, “Don’t you know she can hear you?” They left out the window, with one looking back at me as he left…like he was getting ready to run and tell on me for stepping foot in what I believe to be…well, I don’t want to make you mad so I won’t share what I truly think of places of worship.
I stayed in the prayer room a little longer listening to people’s prayers, pushing thoughts into their mind to help them find the answer to their prayers. I even bestowed blessings upon people.
When I felt like my body could handle touring the Vatican again, I got up. I walked out of the prayer room, passed the nun at the admittance area, and just felt this weight on my body, pulling me down. I leaned up against one of the columns and sat down. It was unreal how difficult of a time my body was having. It felt like life was being sucked right out of me.
A couple of tourists took it upon themselves to sit down next to me against the column. A guard came running up and told them to get up. They couldn’t sit there. He looked at me and said, “You, you are okay. You can sit there. Just rest.”
As I was sitting there, I saw an Asian priest hurriedly walking through the Basilica. I was astonished. I’d never seen an Asian priest before. So I decided to get up and follow him. I wanted to see how far I could get into the Vatican before I was stopped.
I followed him to the back of the Basilica and then stopped dead in my tracks.
Imagine standing in front of Death’s Door (this really exists at St. Peter’s Basilica) and realizing what is happening in that very moment that transcends human understanding. You are standing in Death’s throne room and he knows you are there.
When I realized what was going on, I started to bolt out of St. Peter’s. Then I turned back around, because I wasn’t sure. I took out my camera and started photographing Death’s Door. I needed proof that what I was seeing was what I was really seeing. [I’m telling you right now, not a single photograph came out. Not a single one.]
Then I saw him form next to Death’s Door. That was when I bolted for the front door.
Death himself followed me all the way to the front door, telling me a million things all at once (like God does). I looked around me as I made my way to the front door. I came to understand the fallacy of the Christian religion. He told me that they had no idea what they were doing by worshiping the dead. It gave him power and that was wrong. They had no idea how wrong they were. It was not the way things were supposed to be. It was disrespectful to God to give Death so much power by worshiping and praying to the dead.
I hadn’t noticed before while I was touring the Basilica, but there were dead popes all over the place and people were bowing down and praying to their corpses!
When I got to the front door, he told me I had to clean out my soul before it was too late. I took one step out the front door and I saw the guy that had hurt me worse than anyone had ever hurt me in my lifetime standing there on the other side of the gate. Of all the fucking places to run into him, I run into him at the Vatican in Italy.
I turned around and went back into the Basilica, thinking ‘What the Fuck?’ I had a choice. I could either run again or face my fears. I remembered when I was a kid, how I used to get up on the high dive, scared to death. I would stand at the edge and say to myself, just get it over with and jump. So I jumped.
I decided, if God put this guy here at the Vatican at the exact same time as me, it was time to talk to him. So I went back outside, ready to talk to him. He was standing there on the other side of the gates, looking right at me. A woman called from behind him and he turned his head. Then like seeing a haze lift, I saw that it wasn’t him. It wasn’t him at all.
I was so confused, I looked back towards the entrance to the Basilica and Death was standing there. He said, “Now you understand.”
What he was talking about was that I needed to forgive that guy for hurting me worse than anyone has ever hurt me and forgive myself for hurting him by walking away. Death wasn’t there to scare me. He was there to help me. He told me there are certain things you do not want to carry with you when you die. He had dug down deep into the bottom of my soul for that one.
He didn’t pick the guy that killed himself. He didn’t pick the soured relationship between me and my family. He chose him. I had to forgive him and myself for what happened. This was something I should not take with me in my soul when I die. It was a story that should never be repeated in any lifetime.
I was so exhausted from what had transpired, I sat down on the steps outside of the Basilica. Once again, the tourists took it upon themselves to take liberty and sit next to me. The guards came running over telling everyone to get up and leave…EXCEPT me. The guard told me I was fine. I could sit in the shade if I wanted to. There were 3 different guards that relayed that exact same message every single time tourists sat down next to me.
This is why I love the Catholics. They’re so nice.
I Speak in Tongues
The next day, I headed to Sorrento. I was sitting in a cafe when this old gypsy woman approached me asking for donations. I gave her 20 euros. She thanked me and then did a double take. She crossed herself a few times and immediately headed out of the cafe. She kept looking back at me a little scared.
She came back 15 minutes later with all of these charms and pictures of saints. She told me in Italian, “Death is following you.” I responded, “I know.”
She gave me the charms to help ward him off and explained what I should do to help keep Death at bay. I know college level first year Italian. My professor claimed that I was such a native speaker she thought I was lying when I said I didn’t know Italian prior to taking her class…and she was an Italian. [My Russian professor said the same thing about my Russian.] How I was able to communicate with this woman in Italian for a good 20 minutes, I have no idea. My Muslim friends tell me that every now and again I speak in Arabic to them. I don’t know Arabic except for a few choice words.
A friend of mine even witnessed me talking to a Palestinian woman in Arabic on the subway one time. When the lady left me, I blessed her and my friend and I went on our way. She said, “I had no idea you knew Arabic.” I replied, “I don’t.” She thought I was messing with her. I said, “Honestly, I don’t.”
She looked at me strange and said, “But I just witnessed you talking to her in Arabic.” I shrugged my shoulders and said, “She was telling me about her husband and how he had died in a bomb attack. They were sleeping when it hit the house and instantly killed him. She’s on her way to her in-laws in Queens.”
She told me that the conversation was not in English (like I thought it was). It was completely in Arabic.
[I believe this would be the equivalent to a modern day ‘speaking in tongues.’ To me, I hear what the soul is saying. The soul speaks a universal language. It is the same language no matter what language you speak. I may think I’m speaking in English to someone, but I’m really talking to their soul, so somehow it translates into the correct language. Which means that if you are speaking in a foreign language around me, chances are high I understand everything you are saying and can respond in your language.]
So back to the Italian gypsy lady. She told me Death was following me. I knew he was because I could feel him. St. Peter’s Basilica is Death’s Throne Room. That feeling like the life was being sucked right out of me…that was my spiritual side feeling Death himself nearby.
He followed me all over Italy that next week and then continued to follow me around until October 22, 2013. During that time, I came to terms with Death. I learned he was not to be feared. He was a friend. He was an uncle that cared about what was happening to me.
I knew the cancer had returned. I could feel it back then at the Vatican, but I refused to go and see the doctor because in 2008-2009 I spent the entire year going through medical testing, looking for the cancer. The signs were there. We just had to wait and see where it would appear. I also had surgery in 2008 and there were complications post-op. The doctors were trying to figure out what happened. The cancer was awakened thanks to that surgery.
After a year of medical testing, I couldn’t do it anymore. I was just too tired to keep doing it with no results. We were playing the waiting game. We were waiting to see where the cancer would show up.
In 2013, I returned to hockey writing and I was mad as hell. In my meditation, I yelled at God for that broken heart associated with giving up on a dream. He kept telling me I needed to see a doctor. There was something wrong. It wasn’t something I could fix. Only a doctor could fix it. He told me that during every single meditation.
By June, he had to scream it in my head during a meditation, so I booked an appointment to see my doctor. I told her exactly what the meditation was saying. I said to her in the exam room, “God told me in my meditation that there is something wrong with me. It is not something I can fix. Only a doctor can fix it.” She put what I said into the computer system, probably thinking me delusional and to circle back on that later. She told me to just go workout, start a diet, blah blah blah. Everything was okay.
Then the blood tests came back. The result: they found the tumor.
With each doctor I went to at Roosevelt after that, they all asked me again and again, “How did you know?” It’s like they had to hear me say it in order for them to believe it. Science isn’t meant to disprove that God does not exist…it is also meant to prove that God does exist.
During the final stages of my testing, the first doctor I saw during my nuclear testing asked me how I knew. I repeated the exact same words. “God said there is something wrong with me. It is not something I can fix. Only a doctor can fix it.” That doctor did not just want to hear me say it once. She needed to hear me say it again, just to make sure I was not crazy.
With each nuclear test I took that day, each doctor asked me how I knew. I repeated the same thing. In one of the longest part of the tests, the doctor ran out of the room to get the chief doctor to look at my tests. They were also talking about what I had said. I could hear one of them say, “There is no way she could have known about this.”
The technician sat there in the nuclear science lab with me looking at the screen, he turned to me and asked me (because he had heard the other doctors talking about it), “How did you know? There are no signs for this type of cancer. How did you know?”
I repeated the exact same words to him. I explained that the symptoms I was having could have been easily diagnosed as something simple like plantar’s fasciitis, or how I needed to workout more, etc. The blood test was what told us the tumor was there.
The technician sat there looking at me in disbelief. He was an Indian man. He told me that in his culture, they believe this stuff, but this was the first time in his life that he had ever witnessed someone say something like this and it ended up being completely accurate. There was something wrong with me. It was not something I could fix, only a doctor could.
How many men of science do you think changed their mind about God’s existence after meeting me that day?
Death Follows Me
I came to realize that what happened at St. Peter’s Basilica in front of Death’s Door had an even bigger meaning. I wasn’t just figuratively standing before Death’s Door, I was literally at death’s door and he had taken an interest in me that day. He followed me everywhere I went and I could feel him.
Over those two months of testing, the doctors told me to prepare for the worst. So I did. I got my affairs in order and on October 22, 2013, I walked into Roosevelt Hospital hoping that I’d live through this. I had said a prayer that morning when I arose. I asked God to let me live. If he were to let me live, my entire existence would be to live by his will. I would do what I was supposed to do (which is to complete the novels).
As I lie in the bed in the prep room, the team of doctors came in to talk to me to explain everything to me all the way down to explaining how they were filling my body with Gatorade (no joke). At one point, they left. I lay there waiting when I felt Death standing at the edge of my bed. He was happy and told me that he wasn’t there for me that day. He was there for someone else down the hall. “Surprise, you’re going to live!”
I have to say, the weight was lifted off of my shoulders. After the surgery, when I realized I was dreaming, I did a whole, “Fuck. I’m alive.” I heard a beeping noise and a nurse yelling at me to breathe. She told me to just concentrate on breathing. Deep breaths in and out.
I tried to come out of my haze and focus on my breathing. I saw Death standing there smiling saying, “See, I told you that you would live.” He then went on to explain to me that I was on borrowed time.
The Borrowed Time & the Storyline
That ‘borrowed time’ became prevalent in this dream I had last month. According to the dream, Death had taken pity on me and did something he wasn’t supposed to do. He gave me time…time to do what I was supposed to do…to make the dreams come true.
This is why the book is called “The Death Between Us.” This is truly about Death’s vested interest in giving me that borrowed time and what it all means.
Crowe’s role in the dream was not Death. He played the guy who loses the woman he loves. Death is the evil nemesis that steals from him the woman he loves. Death becomes the lover and the one that wipes her memories from her, so she would not only forget who she was, but forget who this man was and how she felt about him. Death is the one that causes the ultimate heart break.
So this whole Russell Crowe binge is about making sure that I continuously see the main character in my mind. Seeing the actor from the dream pushes me to keep on writing, because I am constantly thinking about the story.
One thing I would like is for all of my books to turn into movies. The books in my head are based on those prolific dreams I’ve had. Oddly enough, Crowe was in every single one of those dreams I’m writing about. Like I said, God likes to use Crowe as my spirit guide in my dreams. I’m not complaining. He’s nice to look at. Just saying.
I think perhaps the ultimate reason why Crowe plays out in every story is because if and when these books turn into films, perhaps Crowe will take an interest and be in every single one of these films. I mean, how many authors can say that when they wrote their books, Crowe was the main person in mind to play the lead male character? The character looks like him (something to keep in mind if you ever read the novels).
As for this particular story, I am not going to reveal who the actual person is that this story is really about. That is for him to choose to pick up the book and read it, if and when he is ready. This book is about his heart break. This is my way of explaining to him why his heart breaking was out of my control and there was nothing I could do to stop it from happening. What happened on October 22, 2013 made me forget who he was. When the memories returned, those feelings I had for him never returned.
It is hard watching someone’s heart break in front of you because he knows you no longer love him. This book is being written for him to understand that there was something much greater going on in the universe and it was not within his control. This is about learning to let her go.
I bet never in a million years did you ever expect me to say that the reason for the Russell Crowe binge was because of this. Now you know. It’s about the novel.
Yesterday, we lost Gene Wilder. He was 83 years old when he passed away.
For many people, he brought laughter and many smiles that reached down deep into the very heart of mankind. He touched our souls and filled it with happiness. His character, Willy Wonka, became a part of that very fond story every child remembers from their childhood.
Depending on when you were born and your first Wilder movie, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, The World’s Greatest Lover, or Stir Crazy, they became the movies you fondly remember of Gene Wilder. Whichever movie is the movie that made you laugh in wonder for the very first time, that laughter and happiness is what he carries with him as his soul goes forward.
Gene Wilder’s movies, just like Robin Williams’ movies, were very much a part of my childhood. They created movies in a new way, creating fond memories that people still hold close to their hearts. Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor were my modern day childhood version of Bing Crosby and Jerry Lewis and the legendary team of Abbott and Costello (and yes, I saw all of these films as a kid).
Losing Gene Wilder brings great sorrow to my heart. I plan on binging on his movies after I finish my current binge.
[For those with DirecTV and cable, you’ll find many of his movies available for free On Demand. Movie channels are also notorious for changing their programming to allow people to binge watch an actor’s movies after they have passed away (and on the anniversary of their death if they were popular and missed – like Robin Williams). You can also binge watch his films on Netflix and Amazon Prime. If you can’t find it there, dust off your library card and check the movies out for free at your local library.]
I’m In Heaven
While I was walking to the library last night, I was thinking about Gene Wilder and how sad I was that he was no longer with us. Then I heard Louis Armstrong singing “I’m in heaven.” I could envision Wilder singing and dancing around, happy as a lamb in that tuxedo from Young Frankenstein. It made me smile. He’s in a very happy place, so no one should be sad for him.
On the way home from the library, I heard the song again. Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald singing “I’m in heaven,” from “Cheek to Cheek.” Those were the only lyrics that kept playing over and over again: “I’m in heaven.” There were no other words from the song, just “I’m in heaven” again and again.
Knowing how strange that was and for it to happen twice, I brought it up in my meditation last night. What was explained was this…this is how you do life correctly. If you want to make a lasting impact on your own life and be rewarded in the afterlife, you create happiness for others. You want people speaking wonderful things about you when you die, so give them something to be happy about. Impact their lives with happiness. That is the goal everyone should have: to create everlasting happiness in the world.
That is what Gene Wilder did. In the letter his nephew wrote, he spoke of when Gene was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, he did not want the world to know so that when children would see Willy Wonka, it would not be filled with sadness when parents had to explain what had happened to him. He wanted that pure innocence and joy of seeing Willy Wonka to be something amazing for the children and not marked with sadness by his illness. He did not want to scar this incredible moment for the child because a parent would have to explain to them about the illness, thus creating a sad moment instead of a happy moment.
He wanted the kids to be happy when they saw him.
That is the most important thing about life: to make others happy. Make them laugh. Let your legacy be about the happiness you brought to others so that when it is your time to depart this life, the world will be speaking wonders of how happy you made them.
What Gene Wilder brought to the world was laughter and happiness. That’s the way the world sent him off, with happy blessings for all of the happiness he brought to them. That is the key ingredient to having a blissful afterlife. Ask yourself: How did you make the world feel about your existence here?
Making People Happy Long After You Are Gone
The Moroccans tell a tale from 1927 of an American woman who loved animals. She was appalled at the working conditions of the animals there, so she created an animal hospital (called the American Fondouk (fondouk means ‘inn’)) in Fez, Morocco. There, any working animal can be treated for its ailments for free. For those with pets, they have to pay a fee for their care. [Since donkeys and horses are essential to the work people do in Morocco, to lose an animal could mean loss of income. If you can afford to have a pet, then you should be able to pay for its care.] MORE ON THAT STORY.
It is her kindness, that decades after her death, is still remembered. They still speak praises of her and what she did for the people there. Her good works continue long after her passing. Her family may have forgotten her, but the people of Morocco remember her for the good she brought to them and continues to bring to them.
Live Life Miraculously
You want to live life miraculously? Make your life story about what you did for others. Let the world remember you for the great things you did to uplift them.
For Gene Wilder, he brought the world happiness. He left this world hearing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” I’m sure he’s happily dancing and singing his way through the corridors of heaven. The world remembers how happy he made them. That’s the way we should all leave this world, letting the world remember how happy we made them. Our world is better for it. That is the obligation we owe to this gift called life. Repay the kindness of this gift of life by doing something extraordinarily good for the world.
Have you ever noticed when you are living your dreams, things start to work out more magically than they ever did before? It is as if the universe is conspiring to help you along on your journey. It brings circumstances and people to you that help you benefit in your endeavors. They are all heavenly tools designed to help you along your journey in becoming your true self.
When you are living your dreams, you start to notice how your world is changing. You are becoming the person you always dreamed you would be.
But be careful, because you’ll feel a lot of self-doubt along the way. You’ll question yourself and if you’re doing the right thing. In religion, we say that’s the devil talking to you, trying to stop you from becoming the person that God set out for you to become. Don’t ever listen to the naysayers, the people that don’t believe in you, the dream killers, and that inner voice that seeks to sabotage you. They have no place in your future. To listen to them turns your dream into a nightmare. It turns your dream into a fear.
Listen to your heart. It is guiding you to become your own best self. Don’t let the negative forces out there stop you from becoming your true self, because God knows, the negative forces will try to stop you.
It’s similar to the Temptation of Christ. When the Devil tried to tempt Jesus, it was right before he set off to become God’s messenger that would commence a new global religion. The Devil tried again and again and again to tempt Jesus. It was by knocking the Devil to the curb that Jesus was able to focus on being true to himself. It was only when he told the Devil to go away that the angels came down to help him.
You have to push away all of the negative things that try to prevent you from seeking out your dreams. Once you’ve done that, everything is smooth sailing. It’s like the universe conspires to help you achieve your dreams, but that is only after you have decided to walk away from all of the negative influences surrounding you that are trying to say that you can’t be the person you know inside of you is the person you are meant to become.
Your Biggest Obstacle
Your biggest obstacle will always be yourself. We oftentimes have dreams of how we would like to live and then we tell ourselves that it can’t happen. We thwart our own progress and opportunities. We become afraid to become the person we want to become.
We create our own obstacles along the way. Instead of waking up early to write the next great novel, we sleep in. Instead of working out, we look for the first excuse we can find to get out of going to the gym. When we diet, we create temptations that make us succumb to cheating and then that leads us to completely failing our diets.
We can become our own greatest enemy. Instead of focusing on what could go wrong, focus on how you feel when you are making progress with your dream. Dreams don’t just come true overnight. It takes a lot of work, a lot of steps, a lot of misfires and a lot of setbacks. If you keep watching what works and follow that direction, you’ll find things work out magically. Everything becomes synchronistic. It’s the universe winking back at you saying that you are on your way.
Focus on that “I’m Doing It” Happy Feeling
There is nothing more amazing than that feeling you get while you are working away at your dream. You feel like you are accomplishing something magnificent when that feeling hits. You are actually doing something about that dream.
When you feel that “I’m Doing It” happy feeling, keep going. Remember every single time you step away from the dream to work on something else that you need to get right back to that happy feeling again. Let that happy feeling be your drive to seeing your dream to fruition.
The dream is about the journey you take, not the end result. Enjoy every single second of that dream. Become involved in every single aspect that goes into your dream, even the small stuff, because when the big stuff happens, it will mean so much more to you, but you’ll also remember what little stuff went into creating the big stuff. It’s the little stuff you’ll remember more.
Enjoy the Ride
The things you’ll love about following your dreams are the incredible moments that happen along the way. That song playing the right tune at the right moment, you’ll remember that always. That person you spent 10 minutes with that you’ll never see again, what they said in those moments will become a newfound direction. That person you meet that’s already living their dreams, shares a bit of their passion in life with you…that’s the move that inspires you to keep going.
There are incredible things that happen when you are living your dream. I’m living proof of that. One thing and then the next and then the next happens and you’re standing there thinking, “What does all this mean?” That’s just the universe winking at you, telling you…this is your life now…go forward and be prosperous.
Enjoy every moment of the ride. It’s about the journey, not the end result. The journey is what is so incredible. The end result is just a moment, and the sign of a journey’s end. You now have to go find another dream to live. It’s the journey to get there that is the incredible dream. After all, when we dream, it’s not the end result that makes the dream fantastic. It’s the story of what led up to that moment that we remember.
Living our dreams is about deciding to live in the story that we have created for ourselves. We become the author, the narrator, the actor and the director. We become the story we want to live. We stop letting everything else in the world dictate our story for us. Our story we have written for ourselves becomes our own reality.
What is stopping you from living your dreams? Go after them. Live each and every single dream. Don’t be afraid to live in the unknowing. You know this is what you want, so go for it. Never be afraid to be you.
For many years now, I’ve struggled with becoming the person I know that I am inside. I’ve spent many years doing the little things to prepare myself for the big things in life. I always felt like I was just biding my time. For what? I did not know.
My Moroccan friend, Driss, told me years ago that everything happening in my life is for a reason. If I were to look outside the situation, my journey would look like a map. There were markers showing one point to another to another. That map was leading me somewhere…my path to my own destiny.
This past year, I made a lot of major changes and decisions. If I was going to be honest with myself, I hated hockey. I’ve hated it since 2012. The lockout and what the players did on Twitter sealed how I felt. I tried after the lockout to fall back in love with the game again, but ended up hating it even more.
When I initially retired in 2012 from hockey writing, I really didn’t want to have anything more to do with it. When my editor asked me back a year later, I decided to let go of the dream of having a family of my own (which is why I retired) and go back to the career. I broke my own heart and told myself that the dream to have a family is no more.
Perhaps that heartbreak added to the hatred towards the sport and covering it. A few months after returning to hockey, I found out I had a tumor in my parathyroid gland. I spent the next two months preparing for the worst, like my doctor told me to do, making sure all of my affairs were in order for the ‘just in case’ I didn’t survive the surgery.
When I woke up in the recovery room, everything in my life had forever changed. The story of my life prior to that surgery was done. Who I was after the surgery…that was the person I had to discover.
For a lot of people, they have a before and an after in their life. Usually some major traumatic event occurs and the person’s life changes forever. They are no longer that person they were prior to that traumatic moment. They’ve changed.
That was what happened to me post-op. I struggled a lot that first year. I struggled with memories. I had to wait an entire year before all of my memories came back. When they did come back, the emotions attached to them were no longer there.
The sisters of the Meditation Center told me that losing my memories was a good thing. I’ve been carrying a lot of pain in my soul. To no longer have that pain, why would I want to remember it? It should be considered a blessing. God had his reasons for wiping those memories clean.
As a writer, I needed to know what that pain was in order to write about it.
Moving In a New Direction
Last year, knowing I was very unhappy with continuing to be a hockey writer, I asked myself, “What do you love?” The simple answer was books and movies. So I decided to do that. It started with a Film Festival. Next, I attended the Book Expo conference for writers, bloggers, etc. I attended another film festival. I started getting invitations to movie premieres, talks, parties, etc. It was like this world accepted me right from the start and welcomed me in.
My entire world changed.
Hockey season started up again and I just didn’t want to be there. The reason I stayed was because sometimes you just don’t know who you are when you have become a certain identity. People see you and know you as a hockey writer. So what would happen if I were to change that?
I quit in March after the girl that had been helping me cover the Devils revealed that she had to deal with some misogynistic crap and someone tried to kiss her…and these people were members of the press. After I read her account, I realized, you know…that really sickens me that this happened to her.
For years, I’ve had to listen to assholes say shit to me about being there. Old guys would tell me I didn’t know anything about hockey. I could be eating a carrot stick and they would stop and say something nasty about my weight. I’m sure if I was model thin, they’d say I was trying to get a hockey player husband (and yes, I have heard many people accuse me of that over the years).
I was there to be a writer. I was not there looking for a husband. Sure, there were players that had crushes on me, but I was adamant about not being that stereotype that the only reason why women get into sports is because they are trying to get with the player. I rejected every single player that showed an interest because I refused to be the person people wanted to accuse women in sports of.
The misogyny in sports is very real. I just brushed it off and buried myself in my work. But then I realized…wait…this is why I truly hate hockey. These assholes have been saying shit to me for years and I act like it never bothered me, but the truth is that it always did. To know this also happened to the other girl…oh, hell no. I refused to be part of that culture anymore.
I was set to take over the spot at the New York Rangers, the team I wanted to cover since day one. I decided that I didn’t want it anymore because those same jerks were over there, too.
Turning down covering the New York Rangers was a tough decision to make. The Rangers have always been incredible to me. The last time they went to Europe to play a few exhibition games, they invited me along (even though I was the NJ Devils beat reporter). I was the only US based reporter that went along with them and the NHL. The Rangers were also the only team to reach out after I released why I was leaving hockey. I will always love the NY Rangers. They were nothing but good to me.
I did feel like I was letting female hockey fans down. You can try to fight the good fight and represent women in a culture dominated by men, but are you really fighting for anything if you just stand there and let the harassment happen game after game after game? What are you actually accomplishing by saying nothing and remaining?
Leaving hockey was the best thing I could do for myself. I wasn’t passionate about hockey anymore. When you’re not passionate about something anymore, you really shouldn’t be doing it.
A New Beginning
When I quit, people asked me what I was going to do now, thinking that this was the end. No. It was a new beginning for me that had been unfolding for over a year.
When I met fashion designer Malan Breton at the NYCIFF, he told me that he used to be a sports commentator. I was in shock. This man who creates masterpieces was a former sports commentator, model, actor, journalist and so much more. He made me realize that we should do everything we dream of doing. One day, as we’re going along our path, we’ll finally find our true calling.
Looking at my map of life and comparing it to his, I could see that our lives were quite similar. We tried on so many hats, just looking for the right fit that would define us. He helped me open up my eyes to see that this was only the beginning of my journey.
After I quit hockey, authors started contacting me to review their books, willing to do interviews. Before that, I had to seek them out. I had to talk to publishers, meet with the authors, just to get the interviews. I don’t have to do that anymore. They are contacting me directly now.
I got more and more invites to movie premieres, special engagements (like the 25th anniversary of “Silence of the Lambs” with the cast and crew in attendance), invitations to fashion events, art events, etc. I kept getting free stuff from vendors in hopes that I would review them.
Leaving hockey opened up that world completely for me. People were always conflicted about approaching me about their stuff because I was doing hockey, which is not what they were doing. After leaving hockey, they felt more comfortable approaching me. Trust me when I say, leaving hockey was the best thing I ever did for myself. It was a wall that was preventing me from accessing the world that was more like me.
All of this leads to my present
That person I’ve been afraid to let out, well she is currently out. As in, I stopped ‘preparing’ myself to be a novelist. This last year, I met a lot of publishers from various publishing houses. At year end, two had approached me to ask if I had a novel to turn into them. I didn’t.
For some reason, I had this fear of becoming that person I wanted to be (like most people). I was always preparing, writing for other sites and my own blogs. I was writing what I thought people wanted, not what I wanted. What I truly wanted was to take these book ideas inside my head and actually commit to writing the entire story down.
It is time for me to switch to writing books.
Last year, Kim Thùy told me that I should be the one writing books, not her. She loved my writing. That said a lot to me because I think her work is a complete masterpiece and beautifully done. When someone whose work I love tells me this, you would think I should follow through, right?
It takes a dream arriving at the right moment to make me realize now is the time. A couple of weeks ago, I had this dream that was so intense, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The story it told was just so incredible. The elements in the story were so intense with emotion, I realized I had to write this story.
I sat down and started writing down my notes in a notebook, transcribing the dream. 18 pages later and on my third gel pen, I had only told the beginning of the story. I hadn’t even reached the part where the bad guy is introduced.
As I wrote down my notes, my playlist would start playing songs that related to exactly what I was writing in that very moment. It happened again and again and again. You know what that is? That’s the universe telling you that you are on your path. You are doing exactly what you should be doing. You are on your way to your destiny.
As I got lost in this dream, I started to see that map of my life Driss was telling me about. What happened in this dream included a person I’ve been dreaming a lot about these past three years. I never understood why. Each time I had an intense dream that pertained to the story of my life (i.e. the dreams I remembered), this person was in it. I had no clue why he was in it, but he was in it. I just thought he represented someone else, because the story is similar to the story between me and another person.
When I stepped away from writing down my notes for the day, I started thinking about how weird everything was falling into place. Then I realized the main character in this book…his presence in my life goes back to the late-1990s. He’s the reason why I got into hockey. He’s the reason why I wanted to see the New York Rangers play. I was like…this is so bizarre. Then I looked at that map of my life with this new element and had to smack myself in the head. I was reading the map all wrong. I’d been reading it wrong for years.
I was biding my time and I had no idea why. Well, everything is now understood. I now understand the map of my life. I was becoming the person I was meant to become…a novelist. By starting the work on the book, making myself live in each and every single moment I am discussing, telling myself that ‘you must write for yourself,’ my whole universe has shifted in the most incredible way.
When I got the invitation to see David Duchovny, I didn’t RSVP. But then they emailed me again and I finally relented. I’m glad I did. He wasn’t there to talk about acting. He was there to talk about writing. He inspired me to become the narrator of my story and not let anyone else tell my story. I have to remind myself to write for myself. I look at these words before I write:
This is my writing mantra. It helps me to understand that when I tell this story, I have to do this my way. I have to fully be present.
Come as You Are
COME AS YOU ARE. That is what I tell myself. That is what it means to be present in the process of writing. You are giving a piece of yourself, so you need to be brutally honest with yourself as you write.
“Come as You Are” is also a very spiritual song for me. When I was struggling with meditation, this song came on and I realized this was God’s way of saying just come as you are. Sometimes I strive to be the person I used to be and get frustrated that I’m not her anymore. That frustration was making it so difficult for me to meditate. “Come as You Are” made me realize that God already knows my struggle and doesn’t care. I should just show up and be present with him, no matter what state I’m in. I’ll get to where I need to be eventually.
I’ve come to realize that the dream I had a couple of years ago about walking away from someone I loved dearly and watching his heart break was a foreshadowing of my future. God was telling him to let me be. I’d come around when I was ready. There was something I was going through and I had to go through it alone.
My struggles with meditation are about those inner struggles that redefined me after the surgery. The heartaches I was carrying in my soul needed to be dealt with and the surgery triggered that need to wipe the slate clean before it is too late. Letting go of the frustration helped me to understand that I’ve changed. I have to accept that I’m not going to be that perfect soul anymore. I am broken.
Writing for Yourself
‘Write for yourself and no one else’ is about making sure that I’m the only person involved in this writing process. In this day and age of trying to do quick, mass sells in the marketplace, we oftentimes get so involved with trying to figure out what other people want to read, we lose our own authenticity. We lose sight of writing something brilliant…something that will withstand the test of time.
The reason why Anne Rice became so popular was because in 1976, she wrote a book that had never been done before. She wrote the classic “Interview With the Vampire.” She is and continues to be one of the most prolific writers because she is very much a part of each of her stories.
Her stories involve something that happened in her life at that very moment. The struggles she’s going through, the pain as she works through each loss, sickness, etc., her books are a reflection of how she was living at that time. As a result of being true to her very being, she is one of the most celebrated bestselling authors of our time. Every book she has written has been at the top of the bestsellers list.
These days, I oftentimes see her ask what people want. That’s the problem with social media. People get wound up in trying to figure out what their audience wants instead of just doing what they want to do. We all get messed up in wanting to be accepted by others, so we try to give people what they want instead of just creating what we want to create and sharing it with the world.
This novel I’m working on is about my life post-op. It’s about a man who has lost his wife he loved dearly, and then gets her back for a moment. It’s about a woman running away from the abuse, because she is dying. It’s about death and how he takes pity on her and gives her a second chance. He gives her borrowed time. It’s about helping people learn to let go of the person they love more than life itself.
I think, in a way, this book is for someone. It’s to help him let go. I don’t know if you’ve ever watched someone’s heart break because they know you no longer love them. I watched that happen and there was nothing I could do about it. Those memories of how I felt about him did not return after the surgery. They never did.
I think this book is my way of saying “I’m sorry I hurt you.” The true elements to what happened in the real story are hidden in this story in such a way that it is supposed to help him let me go.
This is not the first book I wanted to write, but something tells me that it is needed now, not later. The other two can wait.
Diving into this novel, I realized that a screenplay I’ve been going over in my head (I’m up to season 4 in my head, need to get to a season 7) is starting to become more realistic to me. Last summer, I headed into HBO Studios for a seminar they were hosting. I literally had no idea how any of this TV business stuff worked, especially for writers.
I had accepted the invitation to attend the screenwriter’s seminar, because I actually wanted to start writing for Hannibal. Imagine my surprise when it was the NBC Executive in charge of Hannibal that was giving the seminar. Synchronistic?
I got from that seminar that Hannibal was about to be canceled. It didn’t surprise me after seeing the first 3 episodes (it got too artsy, I couldn’t hear or see anything…it was driving me nuts). But the thing is, there is hope for Hannibal’s return in a few years, but not to NBC. That means they’ll need writers in the future.
Also synchronistic was getting the invitation to attend the 25th Anniversary of “Silence of the Lambs.” Jodie Foster spoke about why she wanted to do this film and it totally changed the way I viewed the movie. I ended up sitting behind Howard Shore, the composer for the film. I almost fan girled right there in my seat. He’s written the music for almost every major film. Most recently he wrote the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit trilogies. I’ve been listening to his works since I was a kid and now he’s sitting directly in front of me to watch “Silence of the Lambs?” I swear to you, my universe is very synchronistic.
My connection with the film industry over this last year has landed a lot of crazy opportunities. The whole point in these opportunities is to learn, because this is a whole new territory to me beyond just watching a film. I’m learning about the ins and outs to the film industry, especially as a writer. I’ve met directors, actors and screenwriters this past year. The funny thing is we are inspiring each other to do great things. That’s what is so amazing about living your dream. You surround yourself with people that are living their dreams, too. They become your support group. You help each other reach each other’s dreams by supporting each other in our own endeavors. A lot of times it’s just adding whatever your talent is to the mix and being a soundboard of support.
There is something to that energy of creative types getting together. We feed off of each other’s energy.
When I decided to write my novel and complete it when the publishing houses make their rounds at year end, I started down a whole new path to realizing I was making my dream come true. When you’re on your path in life, you start to see things magically falling into place, as if to confirm to you that you are on the right path.
It’s like the birds are singing just for you. That is what it means to be living your dream that was designed for no one else in this world, but you.
The opportunities that have arisen over this last year for me was all part of the universe opening the doors for me to see that following movies and books was the direction I was always supposed to follow. Getting my name out there and writing about hockey for a few years was what helped me get my foot in the door when I began meeting with publishers last year. I kept telling myself that writing about hockey was helping me to become a better writer so that one day, when I was ready to sell the novel, it would make me legitimate and not some no name writer no one has ever heard of.
No one is interested in what I wrote for hockey, but knowing I was a member of the credentialed media, it legitimizes the fact that I am a writer. That means that the publishing houses and their agents are willing to talk to me. I’ve seen people with novels in hand going from one publisher to the next to be rejected because they didn’t know who they were.
If a publishing house is going to take a gamble on you, they need to like you right from the start. If you’re a no name who hasn’t put yourself out there to legitimize yourself as a writer, you’ll receive a lot of slammed doors in your face.
One thing I’ve realized as I’ve met writers over the years, they know when they are in the presence of another writer. They can just tell.
When I met Brad Meltzer last year, he looked at me and asked if he knew me. I responded that I didn’t think so. He replied that he knows me from somewhere but can’t put his finger on it. I just shrugged my shoulders. I had a feeling that maybe he was right. Maybe we did know each other somehow, but couldn’t put our finger on it.
I met Kim Thùy. She signed her book and then gave me her personal email to do an interview for this site. I was so surprised she was willing to do that for me. Our correspondence with each other during the interview surprised me. What I learned from her is to try and learn to write with fewer words. There’s always a way to say what you mean in more eloquent ways.
When I met Amy Tan when I first moved to NYC, I asked her about her rock band and if they would be playing anytime soon. She looked at me and said that when I finish my first novel to bring it by and they would help me make it better. I was like…WHAT? “They” being Amy Tan, Stephen King and Scott Turow. Those three are in a rock band together with a few other major American authors (like Dave Barry, Mitch Albom, etc.).
The irony in this is that I wasn’t even a writer yet. At that point in my life, it was just some far off dream. It was the person I wanted to be when I grew up, but I was nowhere close to making that dream come true.
She looked at me like she knew for sure I was a writer and re-emphasized that they would help me make my work better and give me helpful insight to get my work published for the masses. This meant a lot to me because Amy Tan is one of my favorite authors. The fact that she could see right into my very soul and see that I was a writer, that meant something incredible at the time. She was the person that awakened that sleeping writer within. I became a writer after that moment.
Now, it’s time to become the novelist. I don’t want to write other people’s stories all of the time (sometimes, but not all of the time). I need to write my own story, because truthfully, the things that have happened in my life that have helped define me are the stories I want to share.
This site was always about sharing the stories of people making their dreams come true in an effort to inspire others to live their own dreams. I just haven’t been sharing mine with everyone. Now, I am.
Last Monday, David Duchovny discussed his latest novel “Bucky F*cking Dent” at the New World Stages in New York City for Hudson Union Society.
Duchovny spoke about a side of him that most people are not used to…his literary side. The actor best known as Agent Fox Mulder (The X-Files) and Hank Moody (Californication) received his education from both Princeton and Yale, majoring in Literature. He didn’t know what he was going to do with his degree, except maybe become a literature professor.
Instead, while at Yale, he became interested in acting.
Now, he’s returning back to his literary side. For those who are writers, his talk is very inspiring and funny. For those stuck in a rut, it’s good to know we’re not alone, especially when a critic enters your mind of how you’re not good enough.
Here is the audio from his talk.
I originally was not going to attend this event, but when Hudson Union Society sent me an email saying I could go for free, I decided to go. You could say that was the universe encouraging me to go. I had no idea that this would not be a talk about Duchovny’s acting career, but a discussion on being a writer.
The main thing I learned from Duchovny was this…write for yourself. Don’t write for anyone else. Just write for yourself. Tell your story, don’t let others tell your story for you. You have an opportunity to be the narrator in your story and tell your own tale.
Looking at this site and my novel, I realized that sometimes I let my mind think of what other people want and what they want to read. I waste so much time trying to figure out what to write for other people that I forget why I write to begin with.
I shouldn’t care what other people want, because I stop being true to myself as a writer. I have to focus on telling the story I want to tell. I find that people are more inspired from what I write when it comes from a true place. People can sense your passion and admiration. It gets them inspired as well.
Writing from a cold place…one that is reporting and uncaring…I’m not telling those stories anymore. I am going to remain true to myself as a writer. Thank you, David Duchovny, for reminding me of who I am. I am a writer.
For those who are writers, I highly recommend listening to the audio from his talk.
How is everyone’s summer so far? We’ve been graced with this absolutely perfect 70+ degrees weather in NYC. With Father’s Day this weekend, I’m sure there will be a lot of feasting, barbecuing and I Love You’s all across America.
Here is my weekly wrap up of some of my favorite things that caught my eye this week. Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there. Kids, make sure to spoil your daddy!
Feel Good Stories to Read This Weekend
I always love reading the good stories out there. It really makes our hearts smile.
1. Some Amusing Little Things in the US You have to read this just for the laughs. It’s funny to read stories of newcomers to the US and how things are so different here for them. I always find it funny discovering differences when I travel to new countries. I remember learning “Take Away” meant “To Go” in Ireland and London. I remember standing there going, “HUH?” when she asked me about take away. Then I saw there was a sign up that displayed two different prices for dining in and taking away. Then it made sense. Take away meant TO GO!
When you ask for hot sauce in some countries, they give you some weird version of sweet salsa (it’s disgusting) [Prague, Czech Republic]. When you’re in Africa, wee-fee means wifi. In Ireland, there are XXXX number of ways to use one curse word. Believe me when I say within the first 5 minutes of arriving in Dublin, I learned about 20 different ways to use one curse word. I’m sure the woman had more meanings to it, too. I was just like…welcome to Ireland.
2. Bucky Fucking Dent. Need something for your book loving Dad this Father’s Day? Does he like baseball? This book came on my radar this week when I attended an event with the author, David Duchovny (you know, Agent Fox Mulder and Hank Moody). Who knew that this actor has a serious background in literature? That’s what he went to Princeton and Yale for.
Here’s the Amazon synopsis:
Ted Fullilove, aka Mr. Peanut, is not like other Ivy League grads. He shares an apartment with Goldberg, his beloved battery-operated fish, sleeps on a bed littered with yellow legal pads penned with what he hopes will be the next great American Novel, and spends the waning days of the Carter administration at Yankee Stadium, waxing poetic while slinging peanuts to pay the rent.
When Ted hears the news that his estranged father, Marty, is dying of lung cancer, he immediately moves back into his childhood home, where a whirlwind of revelations ensues. The browbeating absentee father of Ted’s youth tries to make up for lost time, but his health dips drastically whenever his beloved Red Sox lose. And so, with help from Mariana―the Nuyorican grief counselor with whom Ted promptly falls in love―and a crew of neighborhood old-timers, Ted orchestrates the illusion of a Boston winning streak, enabling Marty and the Red Sox to reverse the Curse of the Bambino and cruise their way to World Series victory. Well, sort of.
David Duchovny’s richly drawn Bucky F*cking Dent explores the bonds between fathers and sons and the age-old rivalry between Yankee fans and the Fenway faithful, and grapples with our urgent need to persevere―and risk everything―in the name of love. Culminating in that fateful moment in October of ’78 when the mighty Bucky Dent hit his way into baseball history with the unlikeliest of home runs, this tender, insightful, and hilarious novel demonstrates how life truly belongs to the losers, and that the long shots are the ones worth betting on.
Bucky F*ckingDent is a singular tale that brims with the mirth, poignancy, and profound solitude of modern life.
I purchased a copy of the book after hearing Duchovny talk about writing. Not acting, just writing. I’ll have more on that talk this weekend.
3. About the Night. I’ve been reading this book for the past couple of weeks. It’s the current selection for next month’s PW Book Club. I had downloaded the Kindle version, but then ordered the book when it was released to the public on 6/1. This was one of those books that had so many deep, heartfelt words that I had to buy one for my personal library. I wanted to be able to highlight all of the beautiful words that touched my soul. This is a story about an Arab man falling in love with a Jewish woman and then a wall divided them in Jerusalem. It’s such an incredible story. I’m only 2/3 of the way through it.
If you’ve ever loved someone greatly and then they were ripped away from you…you will understand this suffering.
3. Oscar de la Renta. If you saw my Instagram post of this beautiful necklace, you’re probably wondering why I’m wearing a necklace valued at $990 to the office. And then there are some who say, “HOW?” or “WHY would you pay that much for a necklace?”
RTRU is a great way to add couture designers to your daily wardrobe without adding to your clutter. For those who Kon Mari’d their wardrobe, you don’t really want to add any more items to your closet. Renting is great for those who have minimized their closets, but still want something new to wear every now and again. For $139/month, you can rent couture designer items (3 out at a time).
[If you click on the Rent The Runway Unlimited link in this post, you can take $30 off your first month. You can cancel at any time.]
A Better You to Try Out This Weekend
My Most Simple, Most Effective Productivity Technique. For those who are looking for ways to focus and get things done, take a look at this article. I’ve been practicing this technique. It is a challenge, but it will help you to focus on the task at hand so you can get more things done.
We always struggle to stick to a goal we set for ourselves. We say we want to lose weight. We are gung ho about it for a few weeks (if we can make it that far) and then we quit. Maybe we want to save money, but end up going on a spending spree instead and spend all the money we saved. Or maybe we want to take classes, but end up quitting after a few weeks.
We’ve all been there. We try, but often give up before we’ve truly started. We give it our all at the beginning, but then lose steam and all interest shortly thereafter. We don’t like the discomfort, pain and changes that come along with trying to accomplish our goals. It’s so much easier to just give up and go back to our old ways, saying we’ll try again later. It’s easier to say “Yes!” to the doughnut, instead of focusing on our healthy lifestyle.
What if you discovered the secret to accomplishing all of the goals you set for yourself? Would you try again? Maybe set higher and better goals for yourself?
The trick to accomplishing your goals all lie in changing your beliefs by creating new beliefs.
Polly Campbell writes in “Detoxify Your Thoughts,”
Beliefs are simply thoughts or ideas repeated over and over until they become tethered to every aspect of our lives. We take them as truth — even though they are merely illusions. We act from them. And, as a result, they are reflected back into our lives as tangible results. Empowering beliefs can support us en route to our greatest potential. However, often we are saddled with limiting beliefs that narrow our possibilities and keep us from the things we most desire.
She goes on to discuss how we can recognize beliefs that sabotage our goals, and silence them by creating new, positive beliefs to help us accomplish our goals. It is an article worth reading in understanding the process of stopping the sabotage right from the start and trying to overcome it by creating new and positive thoughts that will help you accomplish your goals.
Create Daily Visualization
I create new goals for myself all of the time. The current goals I’m working on in an attempt to make them a lifelong habit is to exercise more, meditate two times a day, complete 100 chores a day, eat healthier, read more and write more. With each goal, I know that I have to make small, but definitive changes each day where I can see I have made actual progress.
Having a monthly/weekly calendar to keep track of the progress of my goals has been the most important tool I have in my arsenal. By visually keeping track of each accomplishment, it gives me more power and incentive to keep going.
I use THIS calendar as my every day calendar. It is unique because at the beginning of the planner, you can list all of your goals, including a time frame you’d like to accomplish each goal. The calendar is designed by Whitney English of Day Designers. It has by far been the best calendar I have used to date. You can download FREE printables from Day Designers to get yourself started. What’s great about Day Designers is that you can customize your own calendar according to your lifestyle or needs. What I also love about Whitney English’s Day Designers is that she teaches you how to best use your calendar by offering you guidance on how to calendar and focus on getting the things done you want to get done. Her calendars are one of the best calendars for perfectionists, Type-A’s, and people who have goals and need a structured way to accomplish their goals. She helps you think outside the box and gives you the tools to focus on how to get through your day and accomplish the goals you have set for yourself.
Day Designers has been working in collaboration with Blue Sky (soon her calendars will be in Target). So if she’s sold out on her site, check Blue Sky for additional products.
Don’t Be Discouraged
One resolution I have this year is to read more than 52 books (12 classics) by December 31, 2016. I started off fantastically. But this past month, I read only two books. Visually seeing that setback could be discouraging. I could do like I did in the past and stop reading for the next few months, telling myself this is something I can’t do. It’s just a crazy feat I will not be able to accomplish. In other words, I could completely sabotage myself.
It’s something we all do because it’s so much simpler to not challenge ourselves to be better. It’s easier to just curl up and flip through Instagram photos, or play Farm Heroes, or read tweets on Twitter. Why read when you can do something else, right? We can always do mindless things that do not challenge ourselves to be better.
It’s easier to indulge in our cravings and reach for that doughnut when you’re on a diet, or buy that new handbag when you’re trying to save for a house, or sleep in when it’s raining outside and you are supposed to go workout. After all, we live in an age of instant gratification. Why work hard to be something we’re not, when it’s so hard or too much work is involved? It’s just easier to give into our cravings then it is to resist them.
That’s because the things that are going to be amazing for us takes a lot of work. We appreciate it more when we have to work hard for it. We will never appreciate the things that come to us easily.
A calendar is a great way to reflect on how you are accomplishing your goals. Even if you only complete two items that month towards that goal, or you suffer a bit of a setback…don’t look at it as a setback. Look at it as part of the challenge. Reflect at the end of the month how you can work with that ‘setback’ to get yourself back on track to accomplishing your goal.
For example, say you saved up $5,000 for a down payment on your dream home, and then your car breaks down. All of that money has to go towards the repairs on the car. You are dismayed because you have to start saving all over again. Don’t give up! Just keep doing what you were doing. You got to $5k and that was an accomplishment. It also means you can do it again. Keep going. Maybe even look for more creative ways to make that money a little faster than you did the first time around. Find fun ways to make that money. Pretty soon you’ll find twice that in your savings account. What you thought was a setback ended up being just a small snafoo.
One thing I always like to remind people is that even millionaires and billionaires can lose their entire fortune. They can end up far more broke than the homeless guy on the street. They pick themselves up and in no time, they have those millions/billions of dollars back in no time. How? Because they had the tools of knowledge on how to make that kind of money. All they had to do is keep doing what they were doing before. Soon they have even more money than they did before. That minor setback was only a learning experience. It wasn’t forever.
That setback taught them how to be better at business so that they could make even more money than they ever did before. They learned from their mistakes and went in a new direction.
Accomplishing your goals are simpler than you think it is. You just have to be willing to do the work. It first starts by changing your beliefs.
Get a monthly/weekly calendar. Write down all of your goals for the year. It could be getting out of debt, saving more money, paying off your mortgage or student loans, eating healthier, exercising more, learning a new language…whatever you dream of being, put down all of your goals that will lead you to your ultimate goal of the person you envision yourself as being.For me, each time I finish a book, I put a sticker in my monthly calendar, marking completion of a book. I write down the number of the book, so I know how many books I’ve read so far that year. I then put another sticker in the weekly section and write down the name of the book and the author. Being able to visually see what books I read gives me a clearer reflection of what I read over the past year. It also helps me remember what I read!
Stay positive. In the previous example, even though you suffer a little setback and feel like you have to start all over again, you shouldn’t be discouraged. You were able to save $5k. Give yourself a pat on the back. You were able to create success in attaining your goal. You were also given the tools on how to save up that money. You can use those tools to raise that money again.By remaining positive and staying focused on your goal, you can keep pushing forward. Campbell says “with practice and commitment you can trade out the bad beliefs for better ones.” So instead of thinking you failed, think of how you were lucky that you had that $5k saved up. If you hadn’t had that money saved up when the car broke down, you would have been screwed.Instead of focusing on the negative, focus on the positives of the situation. With that new understanding, you can charge forward with your goal. But while you’re charging forward with your goal, think of how you can improve on this situation. Is there a way you can make the money faster than you did before? Can you start making money off of a hobby you have? Can you make money off of the items you don’t need anymore? Can you work a part-time job? Brainstorm how you can help reach your goal faster after this small setback. You’ll have the $5k plus more in no time.
Just remain positive.
Take pride in every little accomplishment. Losing weight doesn’t happen overnight. Books don’t read themselves. That mile isn’t going to run itself.The purpose of the calendar is so that you can see that you are actually accomplishing your goal one step at a time. Each day, I count how many chores I do. My goal is to do 100 chores a day. I wake up and start doing chores, counting them in my head, no matter how sleepy I am. I write the number down on the chalkboard and move on with my day. When I get home at the end of the day, I finish up my 100 chores and then I sit down and relax.You may think it’s nuts doing 100 chores a day, but it’s actually quite simple. Each dish I wash counts as one chore. Each piece of mail I go through counts as one chore a piece. That makes getting through those 100 chores so much easier. I oftentimes have to make myself stop at 100 so I can have something to do the next day. I do it this way because knowing I accomplished a daily goal makes me happy. It tells me that I can do anything I set my mind to, because I accomplished a goal for the day.
If I didn’t have those 100 chores a day, I would save the chores for the weekend and end up not being able to relax and enjoy my weekends. In a way, I would be sabotaging myself from all of the other things I want to do…like write more.
My daily goal of 100 chores a day spills over into wanting to accomplish other goals. Those 100 chores forces me to get up at 5:30AM to meditate, workout and write. It encourages me to create healthier recipes and to eat healthier. It allows me to create time for doing the things I want to do with my life, because I’ve created a new belief system. I can visually see that I can accomplish a daily goal. That good feeling of knowing I’ve accomplished a goal I’ve set for myself, tells me I can accomplish all of my goals.
If you make it part of your belief system, you’ll find time. One of the biggest excuse people come up with is not having time to do what they want to do. They don’t want to make time to do it. They are not a morning person, so they don’t want to wake up to workout. Eating healthy is too expensive. They don’t have time to read. They’re already strapped for cash, so how can they save money?Simply put, if you make your goal a part of your belief system, you’ll accomplish your goals. I don’t like waking up before the sun rises, but I do. I have a Maine Coon cat that wakes up at 4AM every morning. He tries to wake everyone up at that time and doesn’t stop until he’s fed at 5:30AM. After he’s fed, maybe he’ll let you sleep until 7AM.After two years of this, I find I wake up a few minutes before he does. That’s when I was able to find time to meditate in the morning. At 5:30AM, the cats are fed and I start yoga or tai chi. After yoga, I sit down with a cup of coffee and write or do research. At 7AM, I begin my day. As I go along in my morning routine, I do chores here and there. On the commute in, I read. At the office, when I find I’m going to be at my computer for an extended amount of time, I listen to an audio book, mainly classics (like now, I’m listening to Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”). On the commute home, I read. When I get home, I finish up the 100 chores for the day before sitting down to relax. By the time I’m in bed, I do some more reading, waiting for both cats to fall asleep so that I can do one last meditation before I go to sleep.
I’ve learned that through meditation, I don’t have to sleep as much. Five to six hours of sleep are all I need. I’ve learned to sleep when Matthew Lucifer (the Maine Coon) sleeps. It’s quite similar to new parents learning when to sleep when their children sleep. They learn to get their few minutes of ‘me’ time in here and there.
The thing is no matter what your circumstances are, you can create time to accomplish your goals by making it a part of your belief system. If you want to live a healthy life, you have to constantly make it part of your choice and belief system until it becomes an unconscious belief. In the beginning, you have to keep at it until the change has become a part of your life.
Matthew used to wake me up every hour on the hour when I first adopted him. I had Mom Brain that whole first year…then all of a sudden a miracle happened. In November 2015, he slept through the night, waking up between 4AM-5AM, demanding breakfast at 5:30AM. Now, we’re all on his sleep schedule. Luckily, the times he wakes up are the times I’m supposed to be getting up to meditate, workout and write. He has helped me find a time to do the things I really want to do. Those are the times I used to wake up when I was in high school to finish my homework, because I was too tired at night to think. I’m still that way. I never write at night, because I’m too tired.
It was difficult at first getting used to waking up early again, but bringing meditation into my life helped me see that I don’t need to sleep as much…but I do need a lot of coffee.
The mind is a powerful thing. By meditating twice a day, I am able to focus on the things I want out of life. All of my goals are easier to accomplish, because I am able to get rid of the clutter in my mind and focus on the things that are important to me.If there’s anything I know that is true, always keeping a positive mind will make wonderful things happen for you. It doesn’t just take a positive mindset, it takes a powerful mind. Meditation is the only way to creating a powerful mind. You’ll be able to confront your own demons, the ones that try to sabotage you every step of the way. You’ll be able to vanquish them and decide that you are not going to listen to the naysayers in your head. You’re going to focus on the good stuff.You learn how to speak to yourself in a nice way. You won’t tolerate the bad thoughts. When the bad thoughts happen, you’ll decide that you’re not going to listen to those thoughts anymore. You choose to listen to only the good things. You choose to remain positive.
It takes a lot of practice to focus on choosing the good and positive things in life. That’s why I meditate no less than two times a day. A lot of times, I go for walks and meditate while walking (not all meditations are closed eyes).
We all have things we have to work on inside of us. We can choose to let go of our past and focus on creating a better self for ourselves. Meditation is a powerful thing. It’s you taking back control over your entire life and deciding that from here on out, you’re going to live an amazing life.
You’ll begin to see that you are not a victim of circumstances. You are the creator of your circumstances. We all have choices we make in life. How we view life and the challenges that happen along this journey, is all a choice.
We can choose to look at life negatively, thus creating a negative circumstance, or we can choose to see things in a positive light and see great things happen. We can see the silver lining even in the worst of circumstances.
Achieving your goal is all in a mindset. It’s all about incorporating your goal into your own belief system.
WHAT TO DO
You’ve gotten this far. First, read that article by Campbell. You’ll see how you can stop from sabotaging yourself and strengthen your belief system.
Get yourself an all-in-one monthly/weekly calendar to keep track of your accomplishments. Be colorful about it. I use different color pens and stickers.
Create a daily goal that you know you can accomplish every single day. Mine is 100 chores a day and to read 50 pages a day. This is your daily dose of the “You Can Do It!” feeling that will overflow into your other goals. It will help give you motivation to accomplish your other goals.
See your setback as a challenge to up your game. Don’t be dismayed when you feel like everything you worked so hard for is wiped out from under you. Instead, take a moment to reflect. Keep doing what you were doing, but ask yourself how you can do this better. Is there something you overlooked? Is there a way you could probably improve upon what you’ve already done? Is there a way you can do this differently, but still accomplish your goal?
Take one step at a time. It is tough making changes like waking up early in the morning to go for a run. When you get up in the morning, resolve to thinking the SNOOZE button no longer exists and you have a crazy Maine Coon cat waking you up and attacking you if you even attempt to press snooze (yes, mine does this). You are accomplishing something each time you wake up and resolve to run.
Keep in mind that you are taking this one step at a time. Create better habits with each step. Maybe instead of taking the elevator up those few short flights, you’ll arrive 10 minutes earlier to walk up those flights of stairs. If you sit at your desk during lunch, resolve to walk during lunch to get in your daily 10,000 steps. Make small, but positive changes to accomplish your goals. This is about incorporating this into your belief cycle…the belief that you should be doing this because it is WHO YOU ARE.
Do this again and again and again until it becomes an unconscious decision inside of you. Practice Makes Perfect! If you want to eat healthier, it’s about always wanting to choose the healthier food the majority of the time. If you don’t like healthy food, create healthy food you’ll fall in love with. It’s all about trial by error. Sometimes you’ll find that trying and trying again, even attempting new things to reach your goals will create a new passion in life…being the person you always dreamed of being…YOU in this moment…the person that accomplished their goals and made their dreams come true.