Spring Cleaning Your Heart (and Home)

The last few days I have been on fire with Spring cleaning. Suddenly, I am filled with energy and motivation to clear out clutter, clean up old messes, wipe down the baseboards, throw out and give away things that aren’t needed… and it feels great.

As part of your Spring Cleaning to enhance your love life, my friend and Feng Shui expert Shawne Mitchell suggests enlivening the Marriage and Relationship section of your home.

To figure out where this is, stand in your front door (facing into your home) and locate the far right corner of the house (or of your bedroom) and this is it!

Not only does this section represent all love relationships, on a spiritual level it also represents your relationship to yourself.
To enliven this space, add artwork that depicts love and romance, or add pairs of things such as two lovebirds, or swans or any animals that mate, like dolphins.

Include fresh flowers, candles, and crystals (you can hang them from the ceiling on red or pink ribbons.)

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Making Sense of Life’s Uncertainties

The truth is, sometimes you don’t know what to think because nothing seems to make sense. Nothing that you thought to be true is. Everything you believed to be, isn’t. It all just feels fluid, unsteady, confusing and scary.

For me — for a variety of reasons — that’s how I’m feeling right now. But, what my life has taught me is that these moments pass and that the best way to get through them is to actually live through them and breathe each step of the way.

Breathe. Breathe in and breathe out. I’ve learned that when one feels unsteady, it’s best to try and visualize a wave. See the confusion, the fear, the sorrow, and the grief as a wave that comes in and out and, slowly, it will give way to a calm sea.

No doubt, the calm doesn’t come as quickly as you would like, but it will come with time. For me, knowing this to be true is what makes the unknowing in life more bearable.

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Love What’s Real

What do a healthy relationship, family, organization, or country have in common?

What can you count on?

The Practice:
Love what’s real.

Why?

Because this practice could seem so abstract or so obvious that it’s not worth doing, I am going to take longer than usual to explain why it’s so important.

As I grew up, my family and schools felt like very shaky ground. I didn’t understand why my parents and many kids reacted the ways they did, with anger or plain weirdness that was unrelated to what was actually happening. It felt shaky inside me, too, and I sure didn’t understand my own feelings and reactions. Outside and inside both felt twirly, up in the air, unnerving.

So I looked for solid ground. I tried to see and understand what was really true. The orange groves and hills around our home were natural and comforting, and I spent a lot of time there. I started reading science fiction and loved an orderly universe in which you could figure out why the spaceship was falling and save it.

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Living Kindness

We learn kindness and patience step by step, sometimes in the receiving, sometimes in the giving. And sometimes, even more powerfully, in the shadow experience: through thoughtlessness or impatience, our own or someone else’s. Hurt by hurt, mistake by mistake, we walk forward into the swirl of human emotion and interrelationship. We learn about pain by being hurt as well as by hurting another. Someone else’s anger or offhand remark can cut to the quick. But to see pain in a loved one’s eyes from our own unthinking or harsh words is to know the other side of pain. It can break your heart, but in the breaking is the opening­—to compassion, to kindness.

When I look back honestly on my own life, I see moments that have taught me, painfully, to be more compassionate and aware. In the years before my mother’s death, she began to have challenges with both her eyesight (cataracts) and memory. I felt tremendous responsibility and fear around making sure she was okay. Once, after a doctor’s appointment, I was asking her questions about what had transpired (What did he say? Did you ask him about ____?). She couldn’t think fast enough to answer me and finally burst into tears. Abruptly I realized I had to slow down and just listen patiently instead of question her. I could see the pain in her eyes at not being able to answer me quickly. It stopped me in my tracks, and I hugged her. What did the answers matter when my mother’s ease of mind was at stake?

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Dreams Really DO Come True

I love weddings!!! And, I especially love weddings that we get to officiate.

Being surrounded by a loving bride and groom (and all of their friends and family) in a beautiful setting filled with magic, music, flowers, fun and fabulous food is the perfect recipe for joy.

This past weekend, Brian and I had the honor of officiating the wedding of our friends Ann and Dennis (both in their 60’s).

We met Ann a little more than two years ago when she joined us in Bali for our Manifest Your Greatest Unmet Dream transformational journey to focus on her desire to meet her soulmate.

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Sibling Rivalry

Sibling rivalry wouldn’t exist if only parents knew how to handle children better.


A whole lot of us carry the burden of sibling rivalry.  No matter how old we get, we still suffer from the effects of ‘Mom and Dad always loved you more’. Much of our adult behaviour is coloured by this aspect which seems to colour our relationships with our siblings. 

 

Coping with sibling rivalry could be very stressful, we all seem to face it somewhere and sometime in our lives. It actually needs to be dealt with in childhood so that it doesn’t surface in our relationships in adulthood.  If left undealt it creates major family disputes and unpleasantness in the closest of relationships leading to immense stress.

 

Accept your reality


You as an adult can cope with your issues if in your childhood you were taught how to manage your sibling relationships consciously. Relate to your own inner self. Try and be a good parent to your kids.

Today I will discuss how to handle sibling rivalry in children so that we consciously raise stress-free children who will further turn into well adjusted humans with comparatively low level of stress in a new zone of living.

 

Parenting consciously


This is most essential.  If parents are consciously monitoring their kids and making an effort in consistently bonding them in a mutually loving relationship, it creates great harmony.

 

Causes of conflict


Most of the time it is the competition for the favour of the parents who need to understand that comparing two kids is the worst possible way of creating a love culture. Never ever promote competition between children.  In this way they learn to resent each other.

 

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Compassion – Part 2 of Present Heart: The Universal Expressions of Love (video)

Part 2: Compassion – the tender resonance of heart – awakens as we allow ourselves to be touched by our shared vulnerability.

This series reflects on four primary expressions of an awake, wise heart: lovingkindness, compassion, joy and equanimity. In each talk we explore the habitual patterning that blocks our full realization of these innate capacities, and the understandings and practices that nurture their unfolding.

From the talk:

When you witness vulnerability, really feel it in you – let yourself be touched – and when the tenderness comes, when the real visceral tenderness comes, feel it for 15 seconds, 20 seconds, and let yourself marinate in the feeling of tenderness.

As we begin to get more tender and to look and to respond, it’s contagious to people around us. They get touched and then they act that way more. Just the way there’s limbic contagion when people are angry or upset, there’s compassion contagion.

“Just Like You”
(Inspired by the Dalai Lama)
Walk gently on this earth with purposeful steps
You share this space with seven billion human beings
And countless other precious life forms
Just like you
They all want to be happy
Just like you
They all need love
We’re not going to survive unless we walk
Gently on this earth together,
Until we touch something in others that 
Feels just like the shards of our own pain,
The fluttering warmth of our own joy,
Until we sew their wounds into our hearts
And seal it with our own skin
~ Anon

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Lovingkindness – Part 1 of Present Heart: The Universal Expressions of Love (video)

Part 1: Lovingkindness – We awaken our natural lovingkindness by learning to attend to and take in the goodness of this life.

This series reflects on four primary expressions of an awake, wise heart: lovingkindness, compassion, joy and equanimity. In each talk we explore the habitual patterning that blocks our full realization of these innate capacities, and the understandings and practices that nurture their unfolding.

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When Love Comes Later (Finding Love Later in Life)

I am admittedly a late bloomer when it comes to the traditional idea of partnering and Love having met my soulmate when I was 44 (the husband kind). But to be honest I would not have accepted the possibility of that in my earlier years, say my 20s and 30’s.


When I was 20 a 44 year-old woman was, in my eyes (please forgive that young me!) old and en route to drying up. I had no idea I would be at the beginning of the best years of my life (which I am loving even more NOW) at 44, nor did I understand the work I had to do to truly be alive and ready to be a good partner.  


I used my outer life experience as a way to measure my worth which was determined by whether I was partnered or not. You may not identify with this but I had a real drive to meet THE ONE since I was a teenager. The ONE was going to make everything all better! But that was only part of it. Being rescued by a prince was part of the Cinderella fairy tale I bought into but the truth is I had a lot of love to give, I just had a distorted and dysfunctional map of Love to follow.


Without going into the details of my experimentations in the Love department before my 40’s I’m going to stick to the topic of discovering a later love and what that could mean.


No matter how much I said I wanted to have a family and settle down, I attracted lovers who could not offer that to me. In fact, the more unavailable, inappropriate and just plain wrong they were the better. I could never see that at the time, preferring to label myself a victim of my sad despairing romantic failures (I could sing you quite the sob story!).


Deep down I knew I couldn’t have kids which was confirmed in my late 30’s so that normal “let’s meet fall in love and start a family!”  was not to be anyway and the men I was attracted to were hard-wired for betrayal anyway.

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Einstein’s Theory of LOVE!

I am super excited to share with you something my amazing soulmate, Brian, turned me on to: A letter Albert Einstein sent to his daughter about love.

“When I proposed the theory of relativity, very few understood me, and what I will reveal now to transmit to mankind will also collide with the misunderstanding and prejudice in the world.


I ask you to guard the letters as long as necessary, years, decades, until society is advanced enough to accept what I will explain below.


There is an extremely powerful force that, so far, science has not found a formal explanation to. It is a force that includes and governs all others, and is even behind any phenomenon operating in the universe and has not yet been identified by us. This universal force is LOVE.

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The Winds of Love: Taking Refuge in Conscious Relationship

 

Years ago, in Arizona, scientists embarked on an experiment to learn how to replicate the Earth’s ecosystems in a closed ecological system. In the Biosphere experiment, a huge glass dome was constructed with everything needed to sustain life within the structure. The scientists lived inside the Bio-dome for two years and, for a number of reasons, the experiment didn’t work out very well. But one of the main reasons was that the trees wouldn’t grow to maturity. As it turned out, when designing the Bio-dome, the scientists didn’t account for the absence of wind. What they learned was, that without enough wind to develop their heartwood, trees cannot grow.

In the same way, we need the winds of the relational field to grow and wake up our hearts. Whether we are enjoying a gentle breeze, or riding out the high winds of a hurricane, we need it all in order to discover our full potential for loving. There are two powerful ways that the winds of relationship can awaken us—sharing our vulnerability and seeing the good in each other.

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The Secret Key To All Relationships (Video)

You are free when you realize that you don’t have the power to MAKE another person change.


You suffer when you spend your time trying to control the lives of those around you to be what you want them to be.


People don’t change unless they really want to change. You only have the power to share your perspective, wisdom, and invite them to consider a different way of doing things.


When someone changes simply to make you happy, rest assured, it doesn’t last.

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Be a Love Philanthropist

My dear friend Marci Shimoff taught me the phrase Love Philanthropist, and every time I say it, it makes me smile.


Just as I’ve learned that tithing not only makes me feel good and does good for others, it also brings me more abundance.


Being a Love Philanthropist brings more love.


There are so many ways to share your love with the world:


Close your eyes and send love and blessings to your nearest and dearest (including your pets).


Send love notes (do it today!) via email or text or snail mail.


Smile and compliment strangers and beam love from your eyes to theirs.


There is a line in A Course in Miracles that says:

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What Makes You Feel Loved?

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been mesmerized by love stories. Love stories in books. (Hello, “Wuthering Heights.”) Love stories on the big screen. (“The Sound of Music,” “Notting Hill,” “Love Actually”… I won’t tell you how many times I’ve watched these films again and again.) Love stories in the news. (I read the New York Times’ Modern Love column religiously each Sunday.) Yes, I love love stories. I’ve even been known to burst into tears when an elderly couple tells me their love story. Stories like these inspire me. They give me hope. They bring me joy.

Many years ago, a friend asked me, “Maria, what makes you feel loved?” The question stopped me cold in my tracks. I was quiet for a bit because the truth was, I wasn’t entirely sure how to answer the question. But today, I know exactly what makes me feel loved. I feel loved when I feel seen. I feel loved when I feel heard. I feel loved when I feel safe, secure and understood. I feel loved when my children hug me or take a walk with me. I feel loved when I arrive to lunch with a friend and see that they’ve ordered me something that they know I like.
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Love and the Law of Attraction

Thoughts on Valentine’s Day, and How to Manifest a Partner 101


It’s the week of the Valentine’s holiday here in North America and since we’ve traditionally been so heavily pushed to pay attention to it, it’s always been the week, (when I still did one on one consultations) where every single client who wanted to be in partnership would focus on the question “ How can I attract my soul mate or the impossible question- When will I meet my soulmate?” This is the week where Love and the Law of Attraction dance together. It’s also the week where many of us have memories that make the subject come alive and not always pleasant.


So in celebration and honor of all the aspects of the SuperBowl of Love – February 14th- here we go!


I wonder how you felt about this but, when I was little I loved going to school on Valentine’s Day because we had an important task- to spend the morning immersed in creating evidence of LOVE and devotion on paper hearts which would then be delivered to everyone in the class in the afternoon. I was taught it was a day to value love in all forms and one to give and receive declarations of love. No one was left out and sometimes you’d get a nice message from a kid you’d previously ignored. Even the snooty mean girls might share their chocolate spontaneously. It was, for the most part, a moment of sharing LOVE that transcended our separation.


To this day I love the smell of construction paper and glue because it reminds me of the excitement and joy of making special cards for my family and my classmates and even my dog too. While, I don’t remember that I was taught the historical meaning of the day I do remember that February 14th was supposed to be like Christmas- a very special day. Until I became a teenager and it got weird.

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3 keys to make this Valentine’s Day your last one single (one may shock you)

My dear friend and love expert, Dr. Lara Fernandez, has graciously agreed to share three soulmate manifesting tips for you today:


1. Stop thinking you have all the answers.


If you are over 30, single and really don’t want to be, and have been trying for years to find love, then there’s still some more you need to learn about yourself, about men (or women), and relationships. Be willing to have what the Buddhists call a “beginner’s mind” and embrace the journey to your soulmate as a learning process.


People who are know-it-alls are NOT attractive to a healthy relationship… they either end up pushing a good person away or attracting a man who is insecure. Stay humble (yet balanced with a gentle confidence) in your pursuit of your dream life.


Become what I call a “Student of Love.” Commit to continued learning and growing in this area of love and relationships. This learning will serve you not only in finding your Mr. Right… but KEEPING him and maintaining a happy, healthy, thriving relationship for years to come.


2. Be kind to yourself.

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How does consciousness affect the direction of our daily lives?

There are big changes that are happening in terms of the information age, with travel, with movements in psychology. You are a member of a large number of people who are starting to see the world differently from the socialization process they grew up with, the way they were cultured.


The question is, “How do you deal with change?” Or really, “How do you deal with the unknown?”


I watch people who understand that the economic disparities in this culture are creating destabilization and seeds of discontent, hatred, ill will, revolution, and everything. Some of these same people have a lot of money, and so they have the discomfort of realizing they are a problem. They are anxious because they grew up in a value system where they were taught that money is important for happiness. I watched some of those people begin to realize that keeping that disparity the same, in terms of excess and unnecessary expensive stuff, is cutting them off. It’s hurting them and it’s isolating them from the rest of the world, because they’re busy having to ‘not see certain things in order to stay happy’ and hold onto what they have.


I was teaching a course around homelessness at St. John the Divine some years back, and everybody in the class, a couple hundred people, had to go out and do service with a soup kitchen or shelters or something, or helping with street patrols.

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Romance, Food & Your Appetite for Love & Life

Dating, whether you love it or loathe it, is an indispensable part of the soulmate manifestation process (and regular date nights are essential once you are a couple). Eventually, there will be a “first dinner date.” What you order will let him or her know if you have a healthy appetite for love and life.


On these early dates, we want to let our large appetite for life, our enthusiasm for life, really shine through as much as possible.


For those of you with gluten or other sensitivities (I fall into this category), it might be best just to order something you know is “safe” for you to eat rather than engage in a big conversation with the server, which will lead to a talk about your various ailments which might make you appear “high maintenance.”


If you are vegan or vegetarian, no problem, as long as you aren’t sitting in judgment if your date orders a steak. If you are a strident vegan, and you can’t watch anyone eat meat products, that is something to figure out BEFORE you go out on a dinner date.


For those of you “foodies” out there…be adventurous and let your date know that you love trying new things.  Foodies need to find each other!


One other thought:  Judging how someone else eats, even if you believe they are harming themselves, is toxic to you, not them.

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My One Intention This New Year

Last year around New Year’s, my kids and I stood around a fire. One by one, we threw into the fire what we wanted to burn from the past year. We also voiced our intentions for our lives moving forward.


We did it again this year, but this time, I had just one intention that I wanted to set. That was to live and lead from a place of love. That’s it. Every other intention I’ve made in the past pales in comparison.


Trust me, leading from a place of love is going to be way harder than losing 10 pounds (which can be done, but it always comes back — at least for me). It’s going to be way harder than silencing the critical voice in my head (although I did make progress on that last year, so I’m proud of myself for that). It’s also going to be way harder than giving up sugar (well, that is pretty hard, so maybe I’ll save that one for Lent).


Yes, leading from a place of love is going to be my toughest intention yet because it means I’m going to have to show love to people who don’t show it to me. It means I’m going to have to show it to people who I don’t agree with, who I don’t care for, and who don’t show it to those that I do care about. It also means I’m going to have to find it deep within myself when my first reaction might be anything but loving.

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3 Ways to Clear Your Mind to Listen More

Last year I practiced softer living, finding space to let myself be open to all possibilities. To say yes more often than automatically saying no when an opportunity presented that seemed too hard or uncomfortable to manage. As 2018 approached, I thought about what I wanted to achieve over the next twelve months to continue fitting into a skin that felt comfortable. What could I work on that would help me be a better version of myself and a better human in this world?

 

“Mom!” That’s the voice of my youngest dragging me out of my contemplation and forcing me back to the present. “Did you hear me?”

 

“Of course.” Truth? I did not hear her. She sighs and I pick up my phone. I scroll through a social media feed and notice a post from a favorite clothing boutique of mine. The post announces that the color of 2018 is ultra-violet purple. I get excited because for once I have something to say that my thirteen-year-old may actually be interested in hearing.

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