Jan Desai is an entrepreneur, a wife, a mother, a philanthropist and, most importantly, a woman with a vision.At 60, after years of intense inner work, she is now living the authentic life that she hoped for, that she dreamed of and that she always aspired towards. Jan’s journey is proof that it’s never too late to begin living your most authentic ...life and in doing so, reclaim your passion, your purpose and your joy.Her life and work are dedicated to giving women the inspiration and power they need to reclaim their dreams and begin living their most authentic lives. Learn more at jandesai.com. More

3 Ways to Reboot Your Metabolism to Lose Weight and Feel Great

3-Ways-to-Reboot-Your-Metabolism-2-1140x761 3 Ways to Reboot Your Metabolism to Lose Weight and Feel Great

Do you remember what it was like to be able to eat anything you wanted to? Maybe, if you’re very, very lucky, you still can! But if you’re like most of the 40+ year old crowd I know, myself included, your metabolism has changed substantially.

I remember waking up and eating a bagel and cream cheese for breakfast without a second thought. In between meals, if I felt like it, I might grab a handful of M&Ms or some potato chips. Pizza for dinner with the children was not an uncommon occurrence. When it came to food, I was bulletproof. I was living the nutritional equivalent of a life without consequences. Then, sometime after I turned 50 the bottom, or my bottom to be more precise, quite literally fell out.

I woke up one morning and found my breasts on my chest and my butt on my thighs. Equally frustrating, my clothes weren’t fitting me like they used to. Things that I used to wear with no problem were now tighter around my derriere and thighs. The sleeves were pulling around my upper arms. UUGH! Time was marching on. I was getting older and gaining weight. It was as though my formerly compliant body had developed a mind of its own.

My activity level was the same. My diet, including those bagels, pizza, and chocolate, remained consistent. I had learned how to manage healthy eating with splurge days. But something else was definitely going on.

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The Compass Rose

The Compass Rose The Compass Rose

Consider a simple map. The paper kind that you have to unfold and feel you’re your hands, not an electronic GPS map. When you take a map and spread it out across a table, or the car hood, you get a proper view just like a navigator of old unfurling a chart.

There before you are every route, every destination, and every potential obstacle that may throw you off course. Run your finger across it and you touch mountains, hills, rivers, and forests. In an instant, your hand can span miles. In a glance, you can understand the entire kingdom.

A map is a form of magic, three dimensions distilled into two. To use it is to know the names and directions of all the places on your journey. In that knowledge is power. For a good map is a permanent guide, a perpetual set of bearings and a perennial charm against being confused, unsure and lost. A true map will keep your feet on the path and your ship off the rocks, but only if you know how to use it and only if you’re willing to learn.

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5 Sure-Fire Ways to Improve Your Sex Life

Unconditional Love 5 Sure-Fire Ways to Improve Your Sex Life

It’s never too late to start having the best sex of your life. As we women get older, we may begin to look our age, but we certainly don’t have to act like it – and especially not in bed. This is our time, and it’s the best time to own our sexuality.

 

Ten years ago, when I began dating a man 21 years my junior, I was terrified in anticipation of how our relationship between the sheets would unfold. I began to second guess my aging body. My breasts are original equipment and with age had lost their firmness and fullness. My poor eyesight meant I was blind to the long black hairs growing alongside my nipples. And my butt… well that piece of real estate looked more and more like the flat spatula I flipped my son’s pancakes with every morning. Truth be told, I had never been a big fan of sex and my body’s responsiveness – or lack thereof – led me to believe I was never built for eye-squinting, soul-shattering sex.

 

Here’s a big lesson as you build your most authentic life: Never say NEVER! Great sex has nothing to do with your age. It has everything to do with your degree of self-love and the relationship and connection with your partner.

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The Water of Life - Your Most Important Daily Practice

The Water of Life - Your Most Important Daily Practice The Water of Life - Your Most Important Daily Practice

Water is magical. It sustains life. It exists simultaneously in three seperate states. It has been a part of human ritual and religion since the dawn of time. It covers the majority of the world and it comprises the majority of each of us. In a very real sense, water is where the physical and the spiritual meet. It is indeed aqua vitae - the water of life.


At this point in my life (especially now that I’m post-AARP) I have a profound appreciation for my good health. I call it feeling “star spangled”! You know what I’m talking about: energy is flowing, eyes sparkle, thinking is crystal clear, digestion is running smoothly, free from illness, and joints are pain-free as though they’ve just been WD-40’d.

 

When I’m in this state, I look and feel at least 25 years younger. I feel as though I’m glowing from the inside out. I can easily connect to my inner guidance, my compassion is endless, my energy is boundless, and my joy and positive attitude are infectious. It’s a fantastic feeling. It’s the way we’re supposed to feel.

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The Miracle of Everyday Joy

everydayjoy The Miracle of Everyday Joy

Maybe you’ve been there. You’re determined to try and gain (or regain) a greater measure of insight and enlightenment in your life - the kind of enlightenment that can lead to real joy and significant satisfaction. So you make the decision to begin a spiritual practice - meditation, prayer, journaling, or even simple reflection.

The setting for the first day of your new practice can vary. You may be in a low-lit room or you could be outside in the sunshine. Maybe you’re alone or surrounded by others with a similar goal. No matter where you are, it can feel like you’re a warrior on the day of battle. You sit and you wait for this momentous beginning to occur, for enlightenment, insight, and truth to wash over you.


However, there’s a good chance that all of this is occurring at the beginning or the end of a long day. As you sit there, your mind, which didn’t get the memo regarding your new practice, starts to spit up all the things that are on your to-do list. Or...all the things that you failed to cross off that list.

Stop it! Concentrate!

You take a deep breath and begin again, trying to clear your monkey mind. But it swings wildly, throwing crazy disjointed thoughts through your awareness like the never-ending news ticker at the bottom of a CNN news report. Red wine. Yes, full-bodied delicious red wine. You think about how nice it would be to have glass of wine and slip into a warm bath. Isn’t the new episode of “The Crown” on tonight?

Stop this! Cut this crap out! Get serious!

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3 Essential Steps to Greater Happiness

3 Essential Steps to Greater Happiness 3 Essential Steps to Greater Happiness

I WANT.”

Five simple letters. Two words. Yet, there are probably no other two words in the English language that cause such powerful suffering.

The pull of wanting is immensely strong. Like an emotional black hole, it can drag you away from the light of grace and into the darkness of need. You become detached from the present moment. Instead of experiencing the joy, meaning, and peace that is your natural state, you endlessly orbit the bottomless pit of want, a thrall to an emptiness that can never be filled.


In short, these two tiny words equal pain and frustration. Let me show you how:

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A Recipe For A Better Life

Baking-Bread-for-an-Authentic-Life-Part-1-1-min-1140x753 A Recipe For A Better Life

The simplest of ingredients can yield the most wonderful and delicious results. Take bread for example. Four basic components combine together to construct something that is profound, magical and very satisfying. In many ways, a recipe for a good loaf of bread has a lot in common with a recipe for a better life.

You see, bread – like life – is an everyday miracle. Bread is far-reaching in its effect, yet easy to overlook or forget because its essential nature makes it seem commonplace. Yet bread is anything but commonplace. Its smell is evocative of home. Its taste is uncomplicated, yet redolent of abundance. It has fed humanity for millennia and in some sense, everything we see around us is connected to it or dependent on it. Sharing it with family and friends is an ancient symbol of love and connection, as well as of the bonds of hospitality, fidelity, and trust. As Cervantes said, all sorrows are less with bread.


We obviously associate bread with abundance and prosperity. Someone who earns money for a family is said to be a breadwinner. Bread and butter symbolize someone’s income. Upper-crust is another term for wealth and success. In fact, both dough and bread are slang terms for money. Even though we may take it for granted, bread carries a great deal of importance for our species.


I love bread and I bake it as often as possible. Usually I bake a simple boule, but sometimes it’s a rich brioche or a hearty rye. It’s a gift I give myself and those I love. I bake it for the smell. I bake it for the taste. I bake it for the looks on my family’s face when they’re enjoying it. And of course, I bake it so that I can have a slice (or three) for myself. However, for me, baking bread is not only about the sensual
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7 Ways to Painlessly Discuss Finances – Part Two

Jan-desai-7-ways-to-painlessly-discuss-finances-part-two 7 Ways to Painlessly Discuss Finances – Part Two

In Part One of this article, I talked about some of the very real, and very serious, problems that I had when it came to talking about money in my own relationship. I also gave you the ground rules that my husband and I agreed to use so that we could talk start about money in a transparent, non-judgmental, and open environment.


Here in Part Two, I’d like to tell you about seven techniques that you can use in your own relationship to talk about money, financial goals, spending, and saving for that rainy day in a peaceful, loving, and productive way.

 

Action Step 1: Start with What’s Working

Start with an easy discussion about what is currently working in your financial life – individually and together. Strive to find the common ground. Most financial discussions come about when something isn’t working, and that turns into blaming and arguing. So start with something positive. Ask your partner what they feel is important financially. By gaining a better perspective on their values, you not only gain a more intimate understanding of who they are, but you can honor those values when you communicate. These may not be the same values that you have – it’s important to realize that that’s okay! So long as you are both heard, respected, and validated, acceptance doesn’t have to equal agreement, but it does help you approach the conversation with deeper compassion and unconditional love. The main objective here is re-learning how to communicate with your partner by realizing that you’re on the same team. This involves some letting-go of control and ego – and believe me, that’s always a good thing!


Action Step 2: Become an Assertive Communicator

Seek to become an assertive communicator. Share your thoughts and feelings respectfully, and listen to your partner with the same respect. As I’ve pointed out before, you don’t have to agree on everything. But you both need to feel heard and validated. It’s one of the best ways to build an intimate bond of trust.


And speaking of trust – a word here about lying about money and secret spending. If this is you, you already know it. And intuitively, you know that it needs to stop. You will relieve yourself of so much guilt if you reveal your secrets and simply move forward into a new mode of thinking and a new goal of acting financially responsible. And if you have a spending problem, an addiction to buying – please get help, my friend. It is a real disease, and you are not at fault.


Action Step 3: Foster Healthy, Positive Financial Communication

Money issues have to be solved if you’re going to have a happy and balanced relationship. Solving those issues means talking about them in detail, and letting go of ego and judgment while you’re in that space (and hopefully, in your entire relationship).


Action Step 4: Focus on Forward Progress

It can be very, very easy to feel defensive and attacked when we discuss spending and finances. Know that this comes more from inside you (internal guilt) than it does from outside of you (your other). Temper your reactivity, and at a separate time when you are alone, examine it to find its roots. That’s a subject for a different post!

7 Ways to Talk to About Money Painlessly Part Two

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7 Ways to Painlessly Discuss Finances – Part One

7-ways-min-Jan-Desai 7 Ways to Painlessly Discuss Finances – Part One
Right from the start of our relationship, any discussion around money created antagonistic gridlock all the way to disproportionate chaos and conflict for my husband and me. At that time, I was turning 50 and had amassed very strong and wildly illogical beliefs around finances. Just hearing the word “money” or “bills” would cause me to emotionally and physically shut down. I would pick fights with him about his work ethic and earning capacity. I would battle over whose money it was and who could spend it. I would point fingers at what I believed to be ridiculous spending habits. And then on those ominous days when bills had to be paid, I would morph into a screaming, crazy woman.

In retrospect, I can tell you these arguments were completely irrational. We were both working hard and making ends meet. Whenever I checked the online banking statements, the money was there. But I never felt abundant. I truly believed that I would die alone and penniless. (The alone outcome scared me far less than being penniless.) It was a story to which I was so attached that through the force of my energy I was bending our reality to almost insure that our finances were a house of cards ready to collapse at any moment. And my staunch unwillingness to meet my husband in a place of mutual respect where we could talk about these deep values was eating away at our intimacy.

You see, when couples fight about money, their respective positions deeply reflect their core values. And as time goes on, this polarization becomes caustic and like a strong acid, it eats away at the very foundation of the relationship. The unwillingness to appreciate and sympathetically discuss your conflicting attitudes and beliefs eventually creates all kinds of misunderstandings and hurt feelings. If the arguing persists, one day you will find yourself believing that you’re better off alone than constantly fighting over money.

It took time and introspection, but when I could finally articulate what money represented (safety, security, self-esteem, protection, and ultimately freedom and independence) which translated into me being a SAVER (or as he saw it, a miser); and he could identify all that it represented to him (feelings of competence, power, control, happiness and a celebration of hard work) which translated into him being a SPENDER (or as I saw it a spendthrift). we began to gain a greater appreciation for why we were so conflicted. That compassion and deeper understanding created the foundation for learning how to have the tough discussions in a mutually respectful manner and eventually building a strong financial future together.

Why Couples Have Problems Communicating About Finances

Our opinions and values regarding wealth, abundance, and worthiness almost always stem from our upbringing. That’s why so many couples have issues talking about money. Some of us had lots of direction growing up when it came to money management. And some of us watched our parents struggle with not having enough money to buy sufficient food or clothing. Then there are those who witnessed non-stop conflict between their parents over money, a constant source of strife, screaming and suffering. We bring these emotional artifacts of those experiences into our present attitudes about money.

As adults, we can choose to recognize those artifacts, and we can recognize what’s healthy and productive, and what’s not. We can courageously learn to replace those old artifacts with an increasingly positive mindset where wealth – and worthiness – are concerned. Opening ourselves up to our partner to reveal and release the negative while nurturing the positive is a wonderful experience.

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Turn Back the Clock with Positive Thinking

jan-desai-Turn-Back-the-Clock-with-Positive-Thinking

Age is only a number, but if you are empowering it with energy fueled by a negative belief system you are painting a dangerous reality that could deliver exactly what you are most afraid of.

When you think about the word “old,” what images come to mind? Infirmity? Senility? Incontinence? Wrinkles? Chronic illness? Hip replacement? Impotence?

Just a few months ago, when I crossed the threshold of 60, something suspect started happening. For the first time in my life, I started obsessing about myself in terms of my age. And I’m still not entirely clear as to whether I was using it as a badge of courage or an excuse for incompetence.

“I’m 60; I need to get to bed earlier.”

“I’m 60; my clothes don’t fit like they used to.”

“I’m 60, I can’t remember my kids’ names.”

“I’m 60, there’s no way I can drive in a big city.”

“I’m 60, I’m too stiff and sore to have sex.”

None of these issues arrived beautifully wrapped in gift boxes on July 22nd. But this negative self-talk sure did.

Negatively thinking about aging can…you guessed it…actually make you feel older. It can impact your mental perception, your health, your happiness and the way you look.

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4 Steps Toward Creating Your Most Authentic Life – Part Two

4 Steps Toward Creating Your Most Authentic Life – Part Two

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”
– Carl Jung

In Part One, I talked about the importance of living authentically and my own struggle to develop a life that was full of joy and meaning. Here, in Part Two, I’m going to share the four practices that I use every day to keep myself on the most genuine of paths.


4 Ways to Begin Living Authentically

1. Connect with your inner voice.

Uncovering your most authentic life will come from deep within yourself. You need to learn to discern that inner voice that often whispers in your ear. It’s a voice that is so very easily drowned out by the noise of the unimportant and the trivial. Too often, this noise is self-created, so that we can ignore what our inner wisdom is trying to tell us. Through a daily practice of silence, you can create a still space that allows the message that this voice carries to resonate throughout your life.

The key is connecting with your inner voice often throughout the day. Get out of bed 15 minutes early and sit in silence. If this feels uncomfortable for you, start with just 3 – 5 minutes. Simply ask your true self to make itself known. Quietly offer that you are willing to be open and grateful for any wisdom and guidance that comes through.

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4 Steps Toward Creating Your Most Authentic Life – Part One

jan-desai-4-Steps-Toward-Creating-Your-Most-Authentic-Life-Part-1-2-min

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”
~Carl Jung


What do you think of when you hear the word authentic? The dictionary tells us that something authentic is of undisputed origin. It is genuine, real, and true. I must tell you that for the majority of my life, I was far from genuine. In fact, I ran in the opposite direction of my authenticity. I call these decades ‘my chameleon years’.


Back then, I was as changeable as the person or project I was standing near. The goal was not to be myself. Instead, more than anything, I wished to fit in and to be accepted. I wanted to be recognized for my contribution, to feel that I was an integral part of a clan, and a significant part of a tribe. Years later I understood that this need for acceptance at any price was a way to get my parents to look at me and say, “She’s a success.” I was willing to do anything to get that validation.


So I shaped my life from my head rather than my heart.



Living From the Head and Not the Heart


I threw myself fully and completely into any endeavor that I believed would count toward something at the end of the day. I pushed my agenda like a freight train. My philosophy in life was ‘show me a mountain and I’ll either climb it or blow it up.’ I amassed seven divergent, yet very successful careers; there was education, public relations, advertising, investment banking, television, and public speaking. I dabbled in real estate development and tackled community fundraising. I entertained like Martha Stewart. I raised kids, pets, gardens, and the American flag on every holiday that rolled around.


Yet no matter how many successes I achieved – and there were some big ones – there was no lasting fulfillment. I did feel the momentary head rush of triumph when a deal closed or at the end of a monumental charity campaign. Any time that I received recognition for my contributions brought validation and happiness. But these feelings of happiness evaporated like the dew on a hot August morning. No matter the accolades, no matter the success, there was no lasting joy, no deep satisfaction, and no inner sense of peace. The emptiness always came home to roost.

 

creating an authentic life
Inspiration That Awakens Authenticity

And yet, throughout these years, something far greater than I could comprehend was nudging me along a path of discovering my own authenticity. A bridge was being built to call me into my best life, beckoning me from the darkness, victimhood, and scarcity into the light of possibility, passion, and courage.


This gradual change was facilitated by a handful of diverse women who exuded something so alluring, so appealing, and so genuine, that to be in their presence created a deep inner longing to grow into something more. Without recognizing it themselves, they were emitting an energy that was awakening my deepest self.

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8 Morning Rituals to Bring About Energy and Peace

janstree

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.    

~Marcus Aurelius

 

I’m a morning person, always have been. I wake up around 5 am and bounce out of bed joy-filled, enthusiastic and ready to consume the day. My energy is at its peak and I feel as though nothing can stop me. However, up until five years ago, I didn’t realize how my morning routine was undermining my ability to be the very best I could be. In truth, it was creating blocks to my most authentic life.

 

You see, I’ve learned that what you do when you first wake up in the morning is a solid gage of not only the quality of your day but by extension the quality of your life.

 

The cure for this is to create a realistic morning routine - a set of rituals that works for you and you alone. There are myriad ways to accomplish this, but I’m going to share the eight that have made the biggest difference for me. I’m not just talking about starting the day off on the right foot – but truly changing your life in just about every way imaginable.

 

#1 - Hydrate First

As soon as you get out of bed down a full 8-to-16-ounces of clear water. Before your morning coffee or tea, before you take a shower, before you do anything else, drink your water.

Your body has been in a state of fasting all night, and this liquid miracle will rehydrate you, make your brain feel more alert, and jumpstart your metabolism. It may also help to fill up your tummy so you don’t overeat at breakfast. 

#2 - Stretch

Roll right onto the floor (or if it’s too hard for you, lay back down on your bed) taking five minutes to stretch your body. Lay on your back, clasping your knees to chest. Roll from side to side. Remember to breathe deeply throughout your stretching. You’ll most likely hear your spine and joints gently popping as you elongate.  Stand and stretch your arms overhead as you gently stretch from side to side. Kneel on the floor and then place your forehead on the ground. Stretch your arms over your head and gently elongate your spine. Be gentle. Think and move like a cat. 

 

Stretching in the morning improves circulation and helps to increase the blood flow to your muscles. More blood in your muscles translates into more energy in the morning. It also increases blood flow to your brain and sharpens your concentration.  

#3 - Tea Meditation

 I gave up morning coffee consumption five years ago when out of habit I would lurch from my bed to the kitchen to kidnap an entire pot of bullet-strong Joe and plop down at my desk for the next five hours slamming cup after cup as I  bulldozed through work. Hours later when Panache would make it to my desk I was a barking, short-tempered, over-caffeinated hot mess. My gut was ruined and I suffered terrible diarrhea most days.  I don’t need to tell you that I was so toxic by noon that nobody wanted to be around me. 

 

Now, my morning tea prep is a grace bestowing meditation ritual. I walk slowly, barefoot to the kitchen feeling my feet from heel to toe on the ground. Each step bringing me fully into the present moment.  I take down my favorite over-sized Asian blue ceramic cup and put the water on to boil. I turn  on music that speaks to my soul as I await the whistling of the tea kettle (absolutely no electric tea kettles for me. I love the old-fashioned sound of a kettle’s whistle.) And then I pour the water over the tea and watch it steep.

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12 Ways I Would Live if I had a 24 Hour Redo on Life

12-Ways-I-Would-Live

What is the greatest marvel? Each day death strikes and we live as though we are immortal. ~The Mahabharata

 

On the morning of January 13, 2018, out of the blue, the people of Hawaii were confronted with apparent catastrophe. Every radio, television and cell phone in the state received a message that a ballistic missile was heading inbound towards the islands. People were advised to seek immediate shelter. The chilling last words of the messaged warned that “this is not a drill”.

 

For the next 38 minutes, facing what appeared to be a nuclear attack, people were forced to make decisions about how they would spend the last moments of their lives. Videos posted online showed people running through the streets in a panic. Twitter was inundated with tweets from people reaching out to say goodbye to those they loved. One woman wrote that she, her husband and infant child were sheltering in a closet, the husband shielding the baby. A reporter who had just dropped his son off at the airport wrote about having to decide whether to go back to the airport to be with his son, go to his wife’s place of business or head home to his two youngest children. He couldn’t possibly get to them all.

 

After almost 40 minutes, a second message was sent stating that it was a false alarm. There was no inbound missile. There was no nuclear war. No one would die in a conflagration of unimaginable proportions. Life would go on, at least for now.


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2018: My Conscious Call to Self-Love

2018heart

The ball descends, the wild bells ring out and the minute hand moves to 12. This is the moment when we choose to celebrate renewal, rebirth and rejuvenation. In this moment, we are hopeful. We reflect. We have resolve. And then, for too many of us, the moment fades and along with it the hope and resolve for lasting change.

Like you, with the stroke of midnight, as another year slipped away, the limitless potential of a new beginning rose before me. Yet, as I recognized that potential, I also knew that I had a choice. I could choose to let that limitless potential fade, to let this moment slip by, or I could chose to strengthen my resolve to embrace myself with love.

Easy choice, right? Of course. Yet, why did it feel so damn difficult?

All changes are difficult, especially positive ones because it means that we have to give up some of the dark stuff that gives us false comfort. Without that false comfort, we have to start committing to building real, long-term comfort. And that’s where it gets scary. I can do this now, but how in the hell am I going to do this next week, next month or for an entire year?

So rather than getting lost in an overwhelming future, let’s instead focus on this moment only. Positive change in the long haul is the ultimate goal, but you only get there with a series of daily steps. I realized that all I had to do was make a commitment to love myself TODAY. And with the precious gift of one more day on this earth, I choose to be an awakened custodian of all that I am consciously calling in.

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Oprah, Brendon, Trees and Me

Oprah, Brendon, Trees and Me

No matter the circumstances, we are being reminded to live fully, love deeply and open our hearts to even the most unlikeliest of individuals because each of us matters in this greater unfolding of life.

 

It was another bucket list moment. Not long ago I was at a gospel brunch celebration at Oprah Winfrey’s home for the launch of her new book, "Wisdom of Sundays: Life Changing Insights From Super Soul Conversations,” a compilation of heart opening and profound insights and grace shared by thought-leaders and writers from her Super Soul Sunday television series. (It’s one of those books you should have on your nightstand to set your inner GPS every morning or infuse you with the spirit of peace and gratitude as you end your day.)

 

A lot of movers and shakers in the entertainment and personal development fields attended, however, my husband Panache had a schedule conflict and couldn’t make it.

 

So I went in his place. Alone.

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The Carol of Unconditional Love

The Carol of Unconditional Love

“Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see.” ~The Conductor, Polar Express

 

So, what's on your holiday list this year? A healthy dose of rage for the husband who doesn't even pretend to be civil around your extended family?

Insurmountable sadness for the child who has chosen such an alternative path of independence that he or she refuses to come home to celebrate anymore? Incalculable jealousy for the whip-smart size 6 sister who just received the ultimate career promotion all while being married to the doting husband and whose children both received full-ride scholarships to college? Perhaps it's a super-sized portion of guilt and self-pity as you polish off the last of the homemade Christmas cookies and gooey toffee by candlelight once the kids are tucked in snug as little bugs awaiting the arrival of jolly old St. Nicholas.

 

As you mix a strong vodka martini to attempt to drown your emotional landscape, allow me to share with you the one precious and unexpected gift I received this year that delivered such a profound ‘ah ha!’ moment that my own personal and protected list of transgressions have shriveled to almost nothing.

 

Not long ago, as the monster category 5 storm named Hurricane Irma was beating a path to our front door, I experienced what I can only describe as a miracle of consciousness.

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Gratitude for the Worst Things I’ve Ever Experienced

Gratitude for the Worst Things I’ve Ever Experienced

“ Life is messy, tragic, terrifying, but also unbelievably breathtaking. There are deep gifts hidden in the most demanding challenges that life throws at us. In a time of crisis, gratitude is the key to opening your heart and unlocking the magic contained in these truly profound gifts.”

In the ring stands a boxer. He is clearly exhausted. In the early rounds of the match, he was a fighter. Then, there was a hope of winning. That hope now seems long gone. Now, the boxer is simply trying to survive. Cut and bleeding, he attempts to defend himself. Taking one body blow after another, he endures the punishment, waiting for the sound of the bell.

Does life sometimes leave you feeling like this boxer? Are you dazed and exhausted, struggling to navigate your way through whatever challenge or crisis you are facing? Do the overwhelming negative emotions that you are experiencing feel like crushing blows? Are you barely enduring, waiting for some relief, believing that you may never find your footing again? If so...come sit next to me!

Life can seem like a brutal and overwhelming opponent. Believe me, I know this feeling firsthand. One doesn’t make it into their sixth decade without experiencing a multitude of potential knock-outs. Death. Divorce. Illness. Infertility. Depression. Addiction. Really, any kind of loss is like an unexpected sucker-punch. You don’t see it coming and, when it hits, you are overwhelmed by the crushing unfairness that sends you reeling into the darkness.

Let me share my toughest fights with you. Let me be completely transparent about how I’ve felt during these insurmountable times. Let me show you how I’ve made it through to the other side. My prayer is that, in doing so, you will no longer feel completely alone. In fact, I hope you recognize my words as those of a dear friend who is reaching out a hand in recognition, comfort, love and inspiration.

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Do I Really Need to Be Superwoman? How to Access Divine Wisdom and Insight

JanDesai_Superwoman

I spend way too many hours juggling mountains of perceived responsibilities that I willingly place on my own shoulders in an all-out effort to be the good wife, a compassionate and nurturing mother, a healthy, thriving woman, a loyal and trustworthy best friend, a voracious student of life and an ever-evolving spiritual being. It’s a big job with many hats and one that I needlessly complicate with an outdated belief that I have to “do it all” in order to be worthy of the love of myself, my family and the life that I’m living. 


There are more nights than I care to admit when I wake up at 3 am under the crushing shame, regret and sadness that I fell short of these lofty responsibilities. I yelled at the kids again… I avoided paying the bills... I neglected my spiritual practice… I forgot to return my friends call for the third time…I was too tired to make my husband dinner… I was so distracted that I ran the car into the stone gate as I pulled into the house. (I used to tell my husband that the car was hit at the store while I was buying groceries, but after the third time, he suggested I update my story or find a safer place to do the shopping!) 


I struggle to reconcile the qualities that I need to hone in order to “be love, evolve spiritually and be the best that I can be.” After all, I’m 60 now, and the sands in the hourglass of my life are hauntingly deeper and I so want to get it right while there is still time.


But then I was deeply struck with shattering clarity by author, Anita Moorjani’s newest book, “What if THIS is Heaven?” an exploration of how our cultural myths prevent us from experiencing Heaven on Earth. Moorjani is the New York Times best-selling author of Dying to Be Me, an inspiring account of her nearly four-year battle with cancer that culminated in a moving near-death experience which vastly changed her perspective on life. 

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Surefire Advice for Life in the Eye of the Storm

Surefire Advice for Life in the Eye of the Storm

My preference is for stability. But nothing remains constant. As the inevitable challenges of life confront me, at the deepest level I know I am constantly evolving into more. And yet that seismic shift can feel radically uncomfortable because paradoxically, all of the events that are unfolding are serving to shake me loose of the need for stability. Recently, nature in all her benevolence slapped me upside the head with a tangible reminder of how to release control and embrace surrender in the moments when I am most afraid.

My life has been lived in the eye of the storm literally and figuratively over the past 12 months We are approaching the one-year anniversary of our precious two-year-old, Celeste’s, catastrophic heart failure. And today marks two weeks since the most powerful storm in the history of the Atlantic, Hurricane Irma, plowed through our Southwest Florida community.

I already know the obvious question… why didn’t we get the Sam hell out of Dodge in advance of a Category 5 hurricane?

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