What are you telling yourself? The power behind your words.

Mantras and affirmations can change our lives. Or, at the very least, change the way we think about something.  

If you've done self-help work, personal development or spiritual work, you know what I’m talking about.

Phrases and affirmations like, “I’m a strong and vibrant person” or “I am peaceful and calm” help us take root in a new way of thinking.

But could repeating affirmations over and over again actually hinder us?

Here’s the thing, when a mantra is grounded in positivity, yes, it can be powerful and helpful. But what happens when our affirmations are rooted in a belief that may not necessary serve us? And those affirmations are repeated again and again?

For example, what if you have a belief that you will never get over a death that has occurred.

You tell yourself “I will never get over this,” and then well-intended friends and family say to you “I don’t know how you’ll get over this.”

What do you think will happen?

Chances are you will never get over it. Now, I am not saying we ever truly “get over” a death, but we can learn to integrate it in our lives. The way I see it is, the day we learned of a death or the devastating news that changed our lives forever, is the day that a humongous heavy rock was placed on our backs. And although we can never get it off our backs, we can get stronger to carry it.

Let’s the change the mantra to, “I am getting stronger everyday” or “I am healing” or “I will heal completely” and have that repeated back to us.

“You are healing and every day and you are closer than you were before.”  

Our most powerful words, over any, are the words we tell ourselves. What we say does make a big difference.  

If you want to heal, start by becoming more aware of what you tell yourself and by being conscious of what you believe your truth to be.

Easter Sunday

For nine months we had talked, compared and anticipated what we were certain would be an incredible experience. We looked forward to what should have been a time of great joy and elation, but we never imagined how it would test the bonds of our friendship.

Twenty-five years ago I met Monica.

“Have some plums. I just picked them,” she said to me excitedly.

As I quickly scanned her tall, lean body I thought, “Oh, great. I have a health nut for a roommate.”

Despite my first impression, we instantly bonded. Eventually she fell victim to the guilty pleasures of my goodies in the kitchen. We had made a deal: if she washed and cut the vegetables, I would eat them. In return, I would make warm, chewy, chocolate chip cookies.

That was the start of our kinship. Through our many years we have always been there for each other. Although Monica and I never lived close to each other after college, and sometimes months would go by before we would see each other, it would never matter. Having a friend like Monica was like having a pair of favorite jeans.  

As the years passed, Monica and I both married. She was busy with her career, and growing vegetables year-round in warm, sunny Florida. I chose to start my family and to stay in New Hampshire. I was way ahead of her as far as babies went too.

When we would get together, Monica would take one of my two little boys and pretend he was hers. She was great with my children. My youngest, her godchild, would climb on her lap to hear the same story, The Fuzzy Bunny, read over and over again. They often would cuddle and read while a stack of books would surround them. I always knew Monica would be a great mom. She longed for babies of her own, but her body thought otherwise.

remember one particular day we spoke on the phone. I felt a little guilty...I had just found out that I had “number three” growing inside me. I wondered how I could say anything to Monica; I wasn’t even planning on this.

I was so conflicted about whether to tell her or not. As our conversation continued, Monica casually mentioned that she was pregnant. Before my thoughts could stop my tongue, a “me too!” slipped out. We giggled and tripped over our words as we shared our exciting news. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect: best friends having babies together. This would be so much fun. Through the months, we both learned we were having girls. I was due one week ahead of her, on Easter Sunday.

The snow was melting and I could feel spring in the air. I decided to make the three-hour trip to visit her. (I am so happy that she lives closer now!) We enjoyed a wonderful visit. I felt her daughter’s kicks and could see how big she was getting by the size of Monica’s belly.

“I wonder what she looks like,” Monica said inquisitively to me. I told her she will be the most beautiful thing she will ever see. She rolls her eyes at me like I am the biggest sap in the world.

“I bet she will have long eyelashes, like her dad,” she said with a smile.  

“Probably. And brown hair like you. And she will be holding a plum,” I joked sarcastically, making us giggle at the memory.

As I got ready to head home, we looked at each other and realized that the next time we saw one another we would both be holding our daughters.

Driving home, I thought about my friend and the incredible experience that was awaiting her. Even though I could see the love she has for this unborn baby, I knew that she would soon understand the overwhelming feeling of becoming a mom. I felt so happy for Monica.

Back at home, I woke up extra early one Sunday morning by the screams of delight that accompany the annual visit of the Easter Bunny. I waddled to the flurry of excitement. My boys were scampering here and there, collecting brightly colored, candy-filled eggs. My thoughts were distant, as that day was my due date, and I so wanted that birth over. I felt as large as a circus tent and my arms longed to hold my little girl.

I wondered how Monica was doing. I knew it was early, but she probably couldn’t sleep anyways, so I decided to call her. Much to my surprise, the phone rang and rang.

I wonder where she is? Could she have had her baby? Why wouldn’t she have called me?

I am easily distracted from my thoughts as my little boys go dashing by. They are full of sugar; a breakfast full of red, yellow, and orange jelly beans. The rest of the day was uneventful and, even though I tried throughout the day, I was unsuccessful at reaching my friend.  

Three days later I was feeling anxious, overly sensitive and secretly worried about Monica. At this point, I was unnerved when I called her house...the phone just kept ringing. Later that evening, after reading To the Moon and Back for the hundredth time, I tuck my little cherubs into bed. Exhausted, I decided to turn in early myself. I prepared a cup of hot tea and thought, “I should just enjoy this moment – a quiet house, and two sleeping children, all is peaceful.”  

I was startled out of my thoughts by the loud ringing of the phone. The caller ID instantly relieved me. It’s Monica!

Before I could even tell her how worried I had been, I can hear something in her voice. Something is terribly wrong. Through her shaky, choked tone Monica tells me she delivered her baby on Easter Sunday. She tried to tell me some of the horrifying details, but her words go through me like a sword. Nothing is staying with me. Except one thing, “She had beautiful, long eyelashes and brown hair.”

Her words brought me to my knees, sobbing. What is she saying? Had? 

I mumble, “What?” I clearly could not conceive what she was trying to tell me.

“She, she died inside me. I had to deliver her dead,” she said, panting.

Monica’s baby was dead. I was overcome with nausea and sweat. The news left me paralyzed on my kitchen floor. I needed to help her, to comfort her, somehow.

“What can I do?” I begged her.

“Nothing. We are going to bury her in the morning,” she said stoically.  

Bury her. Those words shook me to the bone. My heart broke one more time. I was not even thinking straight when I say, “In a casket?”

Monica sobbed, “It’s so tiny.” Together we cried, miles apart, needing each other.

Everything changed that night. I suddenly wasn’t in such a rush to have my daughter. That night I tried to muffle my sobbing so I wouldn’t wake my boys.  

The next few days I spent as much time as I could by myself. I needed to be alone to cry and wail, and to try to pull myself together for the inevitable birth of my daughter. This was so unfair. Why Monica? What had happened? I felt useless, overcome with great sadness and guilt.

One week after Easter, my daughter was born. She came kicking and screaming into this world. When the doctor put her on top of me, I sobbed, again, for my friend. I could not even imagine going through labor only to be handed a lifeless child. I struggled with when I should call Monica.

Later that night, alone in the hospital room, I called my dearest friend. Hesitantly, I tell her the news. Monica immediately set me at ease. She told me how happy she was for me and she looks forward to meeting Tess when she is ready. Our conversation was brief, almost awkward. I knew things between us had changed.   I tried to put myself in Monica’s place, and think of how to be the best friend I could be to her.

Several months later, Monica came for a visit. I prepared the house so it would be just Monica, the baby, and me. When she arrived, we hugged as usual, but this time it was for a little longer and a lot tighter. We were like two wounded soldiers seeing each other for the first time after war. To my surprise, Monica wanted to see my daughter right away. We went to the nursery where Tess was sleeping.  

Monica told me she needed to hold her. I point to the rocking chair and she settled in. With tears rolling down both of our faces, I handed her the baby.

Her body ached to hold a warm, breathing baby. I understood that this is what she needed.

“Take as much time as you need,” I whisper and I leave her alone with my daughter.

Our visit helped us both. She told me about the funeral and the unintentional cruel things people had said to her. “You can have another” or “It happened for a reason.”

These statements do not help a grieving person. She did not want another. They did not know why Tara had died. I learned what Monica needed from me was not answers, but to just be there.

Monica and our friendship have made it through this experience. Over time and with her overpowering perseverance, Monica has been blessed with two healthy children. Sometimes she and I talk and cry together about her loss. We often wonder if our daughters would have been best friends, just like their moms.

Grief Trophy

Is there a hierarchy to grief?

I’ve asked myself this question on more than one occasion.

I’ve been told many times that a death by suicide is different, that it’s somehow worse. I never really understood why.

Is my experience any worse or better than someone that has lost a loved one to a horrific accident?

Why are some deaths considered “the worst,” and some deaths seemingly don’t carry the same weight when compared to another. Why is it that a death of a child seemingly trumps the death of an elderly parent? Or when a devastating loss to a natural disaster is worse than losing everything to a broken relationship?

Who is to judge? And is it really a competition anyone wants to win?

There is no hierarchy and there is no “worst” pain. Every one of us has our own experience that is uniquely ours. Yours is yours and mine is mine.

We would not compare happiness to one another, so why do we feel entitled to hurt more because of our circumstances?

Let’s take off the judgemental grieving goggles and start looking at the healing process.

When we carry around the notion that we cannot feel better because no one will ever understand the pain that we are going through, it can be very isolating. Just as no one understand your pain, no one exactly understands your joy.

Why? It simple. It is not their experience, it is yours.

Grief that goes unhealed is raw and unrelenting.

The burden of carrying grief around with you because you believe you cannot heal it, you shouldn’t heal it or it’s all you have left...this is the worst grief.

There are no winners. You can heal from your pain and maybe even help others in the process.

And the first step is to put down the grief trophy.

The Secret Behind Getting What You Want

"I want it, and I want it NOW!"

If only that was how it worked.

The truth is, we don’t get what we want. We get what we are. 

Say what? What does that mean? 

You’ve heard about this Law of Attraction stuff and you thought all you had to do was want stuff. Like, it is some magical power and “poof!” all your wants are delivered to you. 

Yeah, sorry, it doesn’t work that way. If it did, you would already have everything you've always wanted.

Let’s pretend for a minute. You want a bag full of money and you want it filled with hundreds of dollar bills. Nope, wait a minute! You want it filled with zillion dollar bills. (I mean, let’s go hog wild since we’re pretending after all.)

So now that you have this big delicious bag of money, how are you feeling about it? Happy? Cool. But what does happy mean to you? What does that feel like? Why do you think that big ole bag of money makes you feel happy? What is it representing something to you? The bag of money by itself is just a bag of money, so it has to represent something to you. 

I’m guessing it represents the feeling (vibration) of relief and freedom.

In order for the Universe to bring that to you, you must vibrate what relief and freedom feel like. So how do you do that? Imagine being able to buy anything you want and you never have to look at the price tag. Imagine the feeling of being able to go anywhere and taking anyone with you because the cost is not a problem. Imagine having the freedom of doing what you want, whether it’s staying home with your kids and buying a pony. 

Are you feeling that? Say hello to relief and freedom.

It’s the vibration of what you want that brings it to you, not the want itself. 

When you align with the feeling of what you want and allow it to come to you (receiving), it has no choice but to come to you.

Here’s the catch…the secret, if you will. 

When something shows up and it feels like relief or freedom, acknowledge it. Even if it wasn’t exactly what you thought it would be, acknowledge it. 

If you poop on it you just sent out a vibration of, “What the hell universe?! That’s not a bag full of money.” 

Rule number one: don’t poop on your manifestations! 

For example, let’s say relief and freedom showed up this way: You got a discount on something when you didn’t expect it, or you were told you have the afternoon off with pay. This is your manifestation! Relief and freedom have arrived.

Just because it didn’t show up in the way you thought it would doesn’t mean it’s not working. Give gratitude, keep practicing and look for what is working and celebrate that.  

This can be done for anything you want: a partner, weight loss, your dream job, financial freedom…it works for everything and for everyone, every time.  

What does ‘what you want’ represent? (I’m talking about feelings here). Put it out to the universe and graciously accept what shows up. Write down the proof (this will give you more of it). 

Keep practicing, tweak it and repeat.  

The Gift of Choice



Such a simple concept, but it’s not easy to execute everyday or every time.

Everything is a choice. This is a concept that you need to understand. 

I’m talking about one of the laws of the universe. And this is the Law of Polarity. 

There is no outside of the house, if there is no inside. There is no top, if there is no bottom. You can’t have a left side, if there is no right side. There is no front, if there is no back. 

You get what I am saying. 

So understand, you can’t have bad without good. We get both: top/bottom, good/bad. 

“Nothing is good or bad except our thinking will make it so.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you’re not 100% sure of either outcome, then it’s simply both. What is left in the center is what it is. You get to choose how you think about it. 

Let’s talk about losing weight, for example. 

You may think that it is going to be hard. Are you 100% sure that it will be hard? I mean, one-hundred-percent-not-a-chance that it will not be hard? You can’t be 100% sure it will be that way, so let’s say your answer is, “No.”

Are you sure it is going to be easy? Again are you 100% sure it will be easy? Probably not. So either way, you’re not 100% sure. 

Now it’s time to choose. 

One thought will lead you to your desire of losing weight and the other thought will not. 

Why not choose the thought that feels better? 

It all comes down to choice. 

It may be a difficult choice that you are dealing with, a difficult person or a difficult circumstance. But understand you have the power! You can’t control the situations or circumstances, but you can certainly control how you deal with them. 

Our thoughts are very powerful, choose them carefully.