Let There Be Peace On Earth

My desire for now and moving forward into 2014 is that we all find that peace within us. When we do, the world becomes a better place. This version of the song, “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” is brought to us from the 5th grade chorus of PS22 of several years ago, right here in Staten Island.

This video is several years old now and I still get chills and inspiration every time I see and hear it. Very inspiring! These kids and their teacher really feel the music within their hearts. May we all feel the peace within us in this new year. Happy New Year, Everyone!

Busy is for the Bees–Not Me!

It’s been 7 months since I last posted here. My, how time flies by! I haven’t been active here since I dedicated my time to other areas of my life during that time, and I admit that it hasn’t been easy. I’ve been busy!
In fact, I was so busy I kept telling myself and others how busy I was and guess what happened? I just got busier! 
For people that understand the power of our thoughts and feelings, it should come as no surprise that as I practiced the story of being so “busy,” I kept getting busier and busier.  For what we think, feel and speak about becomes our reality. That’s the process of creation and I wasn’t being very deliberate about it in my “busyness.”  
Suffice it to say that while I was working long hours and days and weekends during this time, I wasn’t taking care of me very well. While I was busy as a bee, I wasn’t making time for me.  So then my story became how “exhausted” I was, which led to more exhaustion! 
I reached a point of extreme contrast in this exhaustion that served me well in that I’d had enough. I got so tired of being busy that I made a conscious decision to shift my energy to better feeling thoughts and to make time for me everyday. These are things I know, practice, mentor and coach, but I let my “busyness” preoccupation get in my own way of self-care and self-love. 
So this week I am taking a break from it all to reflect and relax. I’ve been reading Teal Scott’s book, “Sculptor in the Sky” and came across this quote that served as a reaffirmation of how being busy does not serve us. She writes, “You must simply remember that constant busyness will not satisfy you. It is the reason for a good deal of suffering.” 

Intellectually and intuitively I knew this all along: I just got on a roller coaster of focusing on all the “action” of my days and nights and less on the “stillness” of the present moment. I can now reflect and appreciate the busyness for its reminder to make peace with where I am right now. Making peace and appreciating “what is” is an important practice in finding happiness and creating a space of where we want to be.

But the contrast can also be appreciated.  Teal writes,  “If there is no dirt, there is no flower.” I appreciate all those circumstances in my “busyness” that allowed me to experience new things, meet new people, and to clarify my ideal working environment. I am very appreciative of these experiences within my busy days and nights and can truly say that without the bees, there’d be no honey for me!

So let’s leave the “busyness” for the bees (and find time to appreciate that they do it so well), so that we can taste the honey sweetness of life! Find time to be still, relax, breathe, exercise, and appreciate what is happening in your life at this very moment: even if it’s not the sweetest thing right now.  There is always something, someone or some aspect in your current situation to appreciate. It’s a practice that I intend to remember the next time that “busy story” shows up on my bookshelf.

P.S. I started a new space in Google Plus called The Appreciation Station. You’re welcome to stop by and post there, and/or join to read the good vibes of others who post. Relax and rejuvenate in an energy of appreciation and joy!

Almost A Week Since Hurricane Sandy Came To Visit

What a week it’s been here since Hurricane Sandy decided to visit.  A week ago, we were bracing for the incoming storm and hunkering down in our homes (or) evacuating in the mandatory evacuation areas. I lost my power around 8 p.m. on Monday and got it back on Thursday night. I’ve been posting on Facebook as best as I could, partly to pass the time, partly to let others know I was ok, partly because I wanted to journal in some way and social media was the easiest and partly because I wanted to find something – anything – to appreciate through it all. Today I got my cable and internet back up and running, so I thought I’d make a blog post and use this as my Facebook update for the day.

Yesterday I discovered a Staten Island Community Board on Facebook for both victims who need help and for volunteers willing to serve.  There’s a LOT of information there and it truly shows the value of social media in times like these.  I had read they needed clothing, so I spent Saturday gathering up some things around the house but later read online that they didn’t need clothing any longer. There was a post about a restaurant here in Staten Island that had a lot of supplies and needed help transporting it to one of the locations where some of the volunteer teams are stationed.

Since my gas tank is still rather abundant since I last filled it,  I thought I could help out by transporting supplies from the restaurant to the volunteer area. I am blessed with and appreciate a fairly short commute to work, and especially by New York City standards.

As I made my way to the restaurant, I saw runners who had made their way from the Staten Island ferry terminal and were running along the road. They looked to be traveling/running together, but were definitely going at different paces in different groups. Now I’m not sure where they were going, as the shoreline where supplies and volunteers is not straight up on that road, but many looked liked they had supplies with them, by evidence of their plastic bags and also the people accompanying them with backpacks loaded down on their backs. Staten Island has a lot of hills so they were definitely getting a work-out this morning.

When I arrived at the restaurant, I saw that they had a truck there, so I wondered to myself if they still needed people to transport supplies in their cars. As I quickly learned and probably should have anticipated, yesterday’s social media “news” is already “old,” and they had delivered everything yesterday when the post was made. But they now have a truck, so I didn’t need to spend my gasoline by delivering anything else.  So I decided to go to the nearby CVS store and pick up some bleach and baby wipes: supplies I knew were on “today’s” list. I imagine they will be on many “tomorrow” lists, too, as the clean-up will take a long time.

As I entered the store, there was a group of National Guardsmen sitting on the cement wall outside so I thanked them for their service on my way in.

With the bleach and baby wipes in tow, I made my way back to the restaurant where friendly young volunteers helped me load it into the back of the truck.  It was there I learned they planned to make these runs all week – and for as long as is needed.

We began to talk about how people outside of Staten Island could help, as I’ve been asked that question from friends outside of New York and also through my posts on Twitter.  One of the women there was having supplies sent to her from friends and family in other places and she is personally delivering everything when they arrive later this week. Both the NY1 channel (a local cable news station) and the community are saying the best way for individuals outside of NYC to help is with cash donations. They mentioned that for companies, supplies are better.

The next question is, to what organization or which way is best? I personally feel that people should follow what feels good for them.  Giving is an act from the heart, so I believe that following your heart is the best way to determine how to give your love and your loving funds.  With that said, I was asked by someone on Twitter in the #SpiritChat community to come back to Twitter and give my two cents about the best way to help.

The discussion here seems to be of two mindsets.  There are many who don’t want to pay the overhead of the Red Cross and want to contribute funds so that the maximum amount reaches the widest possible recipients.  The Community Board initiative has recommended the Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation.  Please be sure to specify T2T for Hurricane Sandy Relief, if donating. I had heard about the foundation from the Tunnel2Tower runs and more recently, on a local CBS news report where the man was saying that the funds go directly to those in need – and quickly.  In addition, a friend also reported that the foundation was mentioned in a CNN report.

The other way being mentioned is to hand deliver cash or cash cards (American Express, Visa or Mastercard) to the victims themselves, giving them the power to decide how best the money is used. Unless a person knows someone in the area who can deliver it, this method requires that people put their trust in someone to collect the cards and deliver them.  If anyone who knows me wants to do this, please contact me at: barbara@spiritedstrides.com and I will let you know where to mail the cards, which I promise to deliver to the people who have organized the Community Board volunteer efforts.

On a final note for today, it was a very sunny day. It was quite beautiful, but cold. The sun was shining during the day, but the cold could be felt to your bones, especially if you don’t have heat in your home.
Normally, temperatures in the 30’s are not that bad, but without power and heat, it can feel frigid.  There are still many people without power and heat and the forecast is calling for a possible Nor ‘Easter on Wednesday.  And while today there were “warming centers” open during the day by the city, I keep hearing reports that some people are afraid to leave their homes for fear of losing their possessions to looters.
And with that thought, I’m reminded that possessions can be replaced, but human life is precious. And animal life is precious, too.  I can appreciate all the people and pets that survived, the efforts of the people in this community in responding to this force of Mother Nature, the people from outside of NYC who are here serving lovingly, the government (made for and by the people) who are providing much needed services, and I’m definitely counting my blessings from this week that Sandy visited. May God bless each and every one of us in remembering that it’s the human touch that warms our hearts, that pets are also part of our families and it’s the relationships that truly matter in life. No amount of “goods” can replace the joy of members of our family: our human and/or pet family. 

Love in a Fortune Cookie

© Cfdesignz | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

We often order Chinese food in my job and share our fortunes from the cookies with each other. It’s almost like a fun competition to see who chooses the best one. But lately, the fortune cookie sayings have been a bit negative with words of warning in them. It’s been so noticeable that we’ve joked around how we could make a lot of money writing our own uplifting lines for Chinese restaurants. 
But the Chinese place that I love that’s in my neighborhood always has really good fortunes in it. On a recent purchase, here’s the gem that was inside of my cookie: 
“To love and be loved is like feeling the sun from both sides.”  

Isn’t that lovely? Doesn’t it just feel really good? Why is that such a “feel good” fortune? Because we all know how the sun feels warm against our skin, how the energy of its light makes things grow and to feel it around us from both sides warms our hearts – just like giving and receiving love.
But we don’t have to wait to order Chinese food to come up with our own good fortunes. We can each do that ourselves by choosing our words carefully, selecting loving thoughts or by expressing beautiful affirmations that feel good. Or, we could just choose to BE love and that would do it!
What’s your “feel good” fortune for today?

Finding the Positive in the Midst of Pain

Editor’s Note: This post was first published almost five years ago and our relationship survived. If you’re a writer like me, you might find it helpful to go back and re-visit old posts for the insights and reminders they bring to look at a present situation in a “renewed” way. 

Journey of A Spirited Strider: Finding the Positive in the Midst of Pain: When we are hurt and in pain because of a personal relationship, it may seem impossible to see the positive of our situation. After time, we…

Seeing 1, 11, 111 and 1111: Messages from Angels

In Doreen Virtues’ Angel Numbers 101 book, she writes, “Since angels give you guidance with respect to every area of your life, as your read the meaning of number sequences, notice your inner dialogue, as well as your thoughts, visions and feelings, because this is how your angels personalize their messages. So while you’re absorbing the general meaning of a number sequence, your angels will whisper exactly how that message applies to you.”

For well over two years now, I have been seeing the numbers 1, 11, 111, and 1111 consistently. I’ve also seen the same sequences with 2’s, 3’s and 4’s, but more 1 combinations than anything else. It has gotten to be so regular that I now say to myself “Of course!” and smile.

All of this prompted me to buy Doreen’s book from which I referenced in the above paragraph. I recently created a Pinterest board with the statement “I am,” based on what I’ve studied and learned about the power of “I am” statements and more recently, what Wayne Dyer wrote about in his newest book, Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering the Art of Manifesting. When I looked today at my board, I saw it had 111 followers and that was my inspiration for this post. 

According to Doreen’s book, here is what it all means:

1: “Stay positive. Everything you are thinking about right now is coming true, so be sure that you’re only thinking about what you desire. Give any fears to God and the angels.”


11: “Stay positive! Your thoughts are materializing rapidly, so you want to ensure positive outcomes by focusing only on the good within yourself, others and this situation.” 


111: “This number brings you the urgent message that your thoughts are manifesting instantly, so keep your mind-set focused on your desires. Give any fearful thoughts to Heaven for transmutation.” 

1111: She says to break it up into sequences, so it could be 1 and 111 (or) 11 and 11. Either way, it works for me!

I get these “1” variation messages almost daily and sometimes more than once a day. I now use it as a reminder to do a “check” with what I’m thinking and vibrating and to focus positively on my desires, dropping all my fears and doubts and letting a hot air balloon take them away to Heaven. It’s a nice image for me that helps me focus.

Even if you don’t “believe” in these message or in the angels, I like to think that the reminder is a good one to creating a life of your dreams. And guess what? There are days in my world when instant manifestation DOES occur! I think about something and less than 5 minutes later, there’s a message, a phone call, an unexpected visit, an unexpected letter, or the conversation turns to that subject (not initiated by me). And I smile, thanking my angels for the reminder to keep my thoughts in check.

So I ask you today what are you creating? What are you thinking and feeling? Are you paying attention to your thoughts and feelings? I am! I invite you to join me in creating an “I am” board on Pinterest. It’s a wonderful way to visualize and remind ourselves of staying positively focused on our dreams. To learn more about the power of “I am” statements, check out my “I am” store on the tab above in this blog. Who knows – maybe you’ll begin seeing all sorts of variations of the number 1, too!

And I as wrap this post up, I look up to save it and my computer reads: 11:11 PM! What else?

Feeling the “Mega” in the Millions of Moments

The past few weeks, the “Mega Millions” lotto game jackpot continued to rise to last night’s $640 million dollars- the highest ever in the world.  The excitement in the past week across the nation made headlines, national TV stories, and people everywhere were talking about how their lives would change if they won the jackpot.

Last night, as I went to buy a ticket with my own numbers at a local deli, I was struck by the energy of the people around me.  People were smiling, laughing and conversing with one another.  I heard things like, “Everyone has to have a dream,” “Visualize,” “I’m going to spread the wealth with everyone,” and “You gotta be in it to win it!” One guy joked to his friend while I was completing my card, “Use HER numbers.” LOL  I left that deli, giggling and smiling and everyone around me was doing the same. The energy that was flowing was one of joy, anticipated excitement, and fun.  Everyone was in a great mood, with an excited anticipation about great things to come and sharing personal details with complete strangers. What a great feeling!

Want more abundance in your life? Cultivate good feelings like that!  When you focus on these high vibing positive emotions and use your imagination, examples of abundance will show up in your life. The exact “feel good” emotion might be different for everyone, but if it feels really great to you, that’s the way to aligning with the energy and to attracting more “good stuff” into your life.  Whether abundance shows up as winning the “Mega Millions” jackpot, attracting a new friend, getting a promotion at your job, entering or strengthening a great relationship, success in your career, a diagnosis of great health, or even finding a penny in the parking lot, celebrating and appreciating the feeling you believe you’ll have if you were to win the lottery jackpot (or whatever else it is your heart desires) is the key to attracting more abundance in your life.

“Mega” means enormous or huge. I thought to myself, “Isn’t this great how we’re all exercising our imagination with MEGA feelings and thoughts that can only bring more good things? Wouldn’t it be nice if we put the “Mega” into our million moments everyday? Just imagine where we’d be and how we’d all feel! It’s world-changing in MEGA ways!”

So to the millions who didn’t “win” last night’s jackpot, I’d like to suggest we all continue with this line of thinking and feeling. While I’m not suggesting that we regularly play the lotto, I am certain that if we celebrate and genuinely feel good about the people who’ve won in Maryland, Kansas and Illinois, we’ll be attracting more abundance into our lives. (So if you’re feeling jealous or judgmental about the winners, now is the time to get your feelings in check.)  While you’re at it, celebrate what is going right for you right NOW. Find ways to appreciate things and make it a daily habit. You can start by appreciating that you were “in it to win it.”

Practice these habits throughout your MEGA millions of moments everyday and you’ll see MEGA results! After all, we’re all winners when we play the “MEGA millions of moments appreciation game!”

Making Room for Abundance: Clearing Clutter

For some time now, I have been on a de-cluttering mission. It is part of my personal self-development and my expansion as a creative soul.  I’ve studied the psychology of it and started a private Facebook group about it.  As you can see from this blog and my website, I also came cross a wonderful coach, Sue Rasmussen, and she has really made a difference in my life. (You can learn more about Sue by looking at the “Clearing Clutter” tab at the top of this blog.)

Sue has a monthly “Clear Out” day as part of her Streamline Your Success program. My work schedule rarely allows me time to participate “live,” but I do get the recordings to listen to later and do at my own pace.  So this weekend, I worked on the call from October (now THAT’s a sign I have too much “time clutter!”) October’s focus was on the bathroom, linen closet, master bedroom and guest room.

I knew going into it that I wouldn’t get to the second bedroom, or finish the master bedroom either and that was fine with me. I just needed to get started and I did make significant progress. My energy feels so much lighter now that my bathroom and linen closet have a lot of extra space. I threw away things that absolutely didn’t delight me: expired over-the-counter items were especially pleasing to get rid of. People who know me, know that I rarely use the items anyway.

I’ve now got a basket full of toiletries to give away to people at work. I started that practice a couple of years ago, where I bring in things and quietly put them in a basket on the window sill of the women’s bathroom. People clear that out in a heartbeat!

I’ve also some things packed up to give to charity. With a pick-up scheduled in a few weeks, it will give me a chance to go through more things between now and then.  Although Sue recommends you take the items to your car or to the charity right away on a “Clear Out Day,”  it feels ok with me to take it out of the bedroom and set it out of the way until pick-up day.

“Tolerations” are things you put up with, but that drain your energy. In physical terms, they could be seemingly little things, but that have a huge effect on your psyche. (Examples: missing buttons, lightbulb burnt out, broken items you’ve been meaning to repair, etc.) The things in that charity donation bag were “tolerations” to a certain extent: I had been meaning to either sell them or donate them, but they hung around for months because I never “got around to it.” Knowing that they’re now temporarily occupying another space until a specific date doesn’t feel like a “toleration.” Had I not had the opportunity to live in a place where some charities come to your home for pick-up items, it would turn into a “toleration” as I’d probably never “get around to it.”

With all that clearing of space, my energy is feeling wonderful and open to new possibilities. I’m excited for the changes that are coming and particularly as it relates to my bedroom space.  Perhaps the biggest clearing path for abundant blessings I cleared was my broken bed. I’ve been putting off dealing with it, as I have other places to sleep, but this broken bed had become a HUGE “toleration” for me. And I believe I got to the point with myself where I’d had enough of putting up with it!

You could say I got fed up with it! So yes, I decided this week that I wanted my bedroom back! First, I worked on fixing the bed frame, only to discover that it broke again as soon as I laid down on it! So I dis-assembled the thing and took it to the garbage, while ordering another frame online. It should come this week and I can’t wait to have my bedroom back!

After going through all of these emotions and feelings with the energy that I allowed to leave my home and the new spacious energy that replaced it, I find it interesting that my bedroom was an area where I had a huge toleration going on, given my recent relationship challenges. I know that by clearing the physical clutter and this toleration I am really paying more attention to my own self-care. And in doing so, I’m loving myself and that only means one thing: I attract more love to me!

My Newest Video: You Can Do Anything!

I was inspired this weekend to do a new video. It’s called You Can Do Anything! and is based on the “Art of Allowing” by Abraham-Hicks. Hope you enjoy it!

And for those who’ve asked where to buy the song, you can get it on Amazon!

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