Sparkly Yet Spiritual

Truth Byte #51

“You can’t move forward with a split mind.”


For years, we have wanted things. New houses, cars, fancy clothes, the newest tech gadget, a happy wife, a thriving career, a caring boss, a baby, or the next child, or a pet. Some of us get these things and are thrilled. Some of us get these things and they are not enough to fill the longing.


Why is it that some people are satisfied with their lives while others are not? What makes some of us content with very little while others have a lot of stuff and very little happiness?


And the reverse is true too. There are those without all they want and need who are miserable and also those who live abundantly and thoroughly enjoy their lives.

Acquisition of things does not equate with happiness.


And yet we are wired to want.


Some spiritual and psychological traditions encourage us to be critical of this impulse to want, to learn to curb our desires and attachments and teach our selves to want less. People who follow these paths speak plainly and sometimes disdainfully about things and argue that the acquisition of things is our first and foundational problem. These traditions teach that it’s better to have experiences and relationships rather than things, and since we are all going to die anyway, none of this stuff actually matters in the long run.


I tried following those paths, and fell flat on my face.


Because I like stuff.


I like sparkly stuff, fancy stuff, decorative stuff, pretty things - just because they light up my space and bring a beautiful tone to my day. I like big things and small things and new things and plain things and bright things and things that make my life easier or trendier or just more fun.


I like stuff.


Going to the mall, for me, is like going to a museum. All those beautiful things to look at!


So when I stumbled upon the Law of Attraction, I felt like I had finally found a metaphysical system that works with my love of stuff. The Law basically says that whatever you focus on you attract to you. In it’s simplest form, the Law teaches that if you focus on what’s working, you get more of that. If you focus on what’s not working, you get more of that.


It even works for little things: if you focus on yellow flowers, you will start to notice them everywhere. Caterpillars? Same thing. Choose any physical object and focus on it, and it will start to appear more frequently and obviously in your life.


And of course, you would want more of the good stuff, so the teachings of the Law of Attraction helps us train our body/mind to focus more on the good stuff. Our spirit doesn’t need stuff, but enjoys the process of making thoughts into things, so there is no dichotomy in this system between wanting stuff and being in alignment with our own true spiritual nature.


So what about happiness? Well, many people think that getting the stuff is what will eventually bring happiness. But we can find hundreds of examples of how that is simply untrue.


Here’s an alternative approach: If we can learn to be happy first, then the stuff is just a bonus.


So what if we applied the Law of Attraction to happiness? That would mean the more happy we were, the more happiness would come to us.


And this totally works.


I have seen it dozens of times.


But only if you don’t have a split mind.


A split mind is where one voice in your head says, “Yes! Go for it? You can do it!” and the other voice in your head says, “That’s impossible. That will never work. You suck.”


Yes, you have voices in your head. We all do. And many of us believe the second voice because that is the voice that has evolved with us over centuries to keep us safe.


And for the masses, safety is the goal.


But then there are those of us that want something more than just survival. There are those of us that want richness and texture and complexity to our lives. We want adventure and thriving relationships and deep down joy. Some of us want to live loudly and vibrantly and totally immersed in this human experience. Some of us want to dance when we hear a drum beat and sing at the top of our lungs to our favourite songs on the radio. Some of us need that shiny, eye-catching centerpiece on our kitchen table to remind us that life is meant to be lived fully, not just tolerated. Some of us are willing to forgo order and discipline to be able to feel the cool dew of morning grass on the soles of our feet, or feel the gritty rhythm of live jazz pulse through our chests in a fringe club in the wrong part of town.


And we don’t get to live that kind of a life by listening to that second voice.


The only way we get a sparkly life is to believe that voice that says we are limitless, timeless, spiritual creators having a physical experience. That this life was meant to be lived to the brim, and that the only thing stopping us is our choice to believe that “life is hard” and “good things take time”. We have to believe that voice that tells us we are worthy, loveable, and unstoppable. And that life is supposed to be easy, fun, and free.


When we repair the split and start focusing on only that first voice, life becomes really shiny, really quickly. And while there may be moments of self-doubt, we generally move our “normal” up a few notches, and find ourselves happier. With or without the stuff.


Tell me about your Law of Attraction stories! When have you wanted something and it came to you quickly and unexpectedly? Leave a comment below to start the conversation or send me a note at

If It’s Not Fun…

Truth Byte #50

 “If it’s not inspired, it’s just busy work.”


I used to be a really busy person.  I rushed around from one thing to another, always feeling like I was squeezing in life between events. Even when I was with people I Ioved being around, my mind would flit on to the the next to do in my agenda.


Not inspiring.  Not inspired.


It wasn’t always this way.


Years ago, during my Master’s degree in California, I met a group of incredible minds.  We laughed, learned, and lived together, coming with all kinds of back stories to a space we would share for four years.


I remember dinner parties with these friends. 


They would start in the early evening, and go on and on into the wee hours of the morning.  We talked for hours about the newest television drama or the meaning of life, and everything in between. When I was with them, I was inspired.  We made art together, wrote poetry, checked each other’s grammar for essays, and personally researched the human spirit in ourselves and each other.  We participated in each other’s religious and cultural ceremonies, shared meals and gifts on Holy Days, met each other’s families, and found a home in each other. Those were days of little sleep and much reading, few boundaries and dozens of breakthroughs.


Those were the most inspired years of my life.


Fast forward twelve years.


I am a mother of two young children and I am an entrepreneur.  I volunteer at least ten hours a week on professional boards, and babysit other people’s children regularly. I run a private practice as a psychotherapist and also run a household. I am the one who drops and picks the little ones from all their activities, including school, and I have a thriving and full social life with my incredible husband and our friends.  Plus, I go to the gym five times a week and squeeze in a manicure and massage once a month.


I have a lot to do.


Gone are the days of endless dawdling and conversation.  These days, I am one busy woman!


But until recently, that busy-ness was just busy-ness, not inspired action.


Today, I filmed an episode of my YouTube show, Today is Your Day, and we discussed the benefit of inspired action. If action is not inspired, it simply one more “have to”.  And I hate “have tos”.  Always have.  Sucked it up and pushed through most of my life, but these days, if something is a have to, I am out.


And so these days, I am remembering what I learned from my friends in California: if it isn’t fun, why are we doing it? Anything from school picks ups, to client re-scheduling, to photocopying the class list, to folding laundry can be fun…if done in the right frame of mind.


So my challenge to you today would be to take stock of all the have tos on your own to do list.  What could you just do later? And what could you never actually do well, unless it is inspired? Your answers may surprise you.


Want more? Join us on YouTube for Today is your Day, or visit us on a Thursday night at The Get Happy Club! Email for details.

Being the Lighthouse

Truth Byte #49

“Stop trying to make the way you feel someone else’s fault.”


Sometimes people are mean. Downright cruel. Sometimes, for no good reason, people pick on you. I have been having this experience lately with my three-almost-four-year-old.  Sometimes she is just mean, for no good reason.


So you know me, I hit the research on parenting and child development. Why is she angry? Where is this coming from? What can I do differently? And usually, I am right on point, able to diffuse and re-direct, able to love her through her tests and boundary-building exercises.


But sometimes, every once in a while, I take it personally.


And that is when s#!t hits the fan.


And I tell her she has made me mad, or that she has made me sad.  And then she tells me it’s because I don’t listen to her. And back and forth until one of us is screaming.  More often than I would like to admit, my voice raises louder than I want it to, and suddenly, we are two preschoolers, having a shouting match.


This week, my seven year-old (who is also her big brother and takes that role very seriously) called me out on that.  He said to me, “Mama, no one can MAKE you feel anything.”


Don’t you hate it when your own words come back to bite you in the face?


And I had to admit he was right.  No one can make me feel anything.  People can have behaviours, demonstrations, opinions, and they can act out in front of me, but how I respond….well, that’s on me.


That’s what I tell my clients, and now, that’s what my second grader was reminding me.


So for the past week, I have been applying this truth to how I interact with my kids.  I know it works with adults because I do it all the time.  Someone acts out or throws a tantrum or says something hurtful or makes a “joke” that’s more like a jab, and I take a breath and decide how deeply I am going to let that one land.


I have been perfecting this one with my large, close-knit, extended family. In my family, people love each other deeply.  They are also all up in each other’s business.  A lot.  Everyone has an opinion on everyone else’s choices.  And it really does come from a place of genuine love and concern.  But sometimes, it is a bit too much. It is hard to know, sometimes, whose advice to follow, since so many of them have conflicting opinions. And so, a few years ago, I started to take my mom’s advice, “Listen to everyone, respectfully, and in the end do whatever you want.”


My old approach was to argue back, make a case, prove my point. 


Now, I thank them for their input, weigh it’s worth for a moment, and add it to my mental pros and cons list for whichever decision I was trying to make.  Because I really do think that sometimes the people who love me can see me better than I see myself.  When I am in clouds of self-doubt, when I am feeling small and unimportant, when I am unsure of my footing, my family sees me as capable and competent and on the right track.  And sometimes I need a reminder.


But I also don’t want to get in the trap of always needing their approval.


I have been there, and it sucks.


Because it’s true, nobody can MAKE you feel anything.  Even good about yourself.  Because when it’s coming from the outside, it doesn’t actually last very long or penetrate very deep.


These days, I am admitting to myself and teaching my clients that the way we feel is absolutely, one hundred percent, our own responsibility.


Now I can anticipate that you may think something like: “My family member is sick/unemployed/addicted/incarcerated/heartbroken. Of course I am going to feel bad.  And it’s his/her fault that I feel bad/worried/sad for them.”


And I would actually challenge you on that one. 


You get to choose how you respond.


Are you going to join them in their despair and worry, or are you going to be that person who can be the steady lighthouse for them while they navigate the stormy waters of their own tribulations?  Are you going to shine your best self onto their world, or are you going to dim yourself a little to make them “comfortable”?


It’s really your choice.


I have found that when I go the “dimmer switch” route and stop shining to accommodate other’s insecurities, I end up not being very helpful anyways, and then wonder why I put myself in that situation in the first place. In my experience, it’s better to show up with all systems ready for action, and excuse myself if I am being asked to dim down.


Even at funerals.


I allow myself to be the steady so people can fall apart around me. (And let’s be honest, sometimes I am the one falling apart.  The point is, I feel my own feelings and don’t get swayed to just go along with the mood in the room.)


Now if only that three-year-old’s “NO!” didn’t get under my skin so deeply. In the end, it’s a work in progress, even for me!


Want to learn how to take your life back from everyone who has a stake in it? Watch our YouTube show, Today is Your Day and send us your questions and comments!


Birds of a Feather

Truth Byte #48

 “Some people don’t know how to be happy for you.”


People who know me know I am an exclaimer.  When people tell me good news, my voice rises, my face cracks into a wide smile, and I exclaim.  When people tell me bad news, my eyebrows furrow, my jaw slackens, and the concern is all over my face like an “I’m sorry” card from Hallmark.


People love telling me good news.  I think if we had had Instagram when I was at university, much of my feed would be other people capturing my delighted, surprised, oh-so-happy face.


But let me back up here. I am not trying to say I am always happy.  What I am, consistently, is expressive.


Maybe it comes from a long line of adventurous, immigrant women who had a flair for the dramatic. Or maybe it comes from watching Young and the Restless with my grandma when I was way to young to watch it without giggling through the kissing scenes. Or maybe it’s just that I have always secretly wanted to be a stage actor, and these live-out-loud expressions are the closest I can get.


Where ever it came from, this expressive trait is here to stay, and sometimes I forget that not everyone is wired like I am.


Recently, I shared some really excited and game-changing news with a family member.  I was met with a blank stare.  I assumed he didn’t quite understand, so I explained why this was such a big deal for me.  To which I got a slight nod and a “Good for you” in a “there-there-dear” tone of voice.  As I reflected on it, I realized I was looking for a big reaction.  But this is a person who never gives big reactions.


So my expectations weren’t really fair.


A few months ago, I told a different family member about a new project I was launching.  And this person is very expressive.  And I care about her opinion (first mistake), so was excited to have her in on it.  What I got was “Why would you want to do that?” When I explained, her next question was, “How much more money will you make it you do that?” After that second question, I got it.  No matter how many “correct” answers I gave her, she was not going to be happy for me. 


She had dug in her heels into her life’s own unhappiness, and was just not willing to let anyone else be happy in her presence.


If you talk to this person, she will tell you she loves her life.  She has a successful career and close relationships. She has hobbies that are meaningful and travels often. And yet, there is this air of unhappiness about her.  All the time.


For many years, I thought I could change that.  I thought if I continued to be bubbly and loving and optimistic around her, she would soften. I now know that when someone is steeped in bitterness, the road back to the sweet life is slow and deliberate, and that first step has to be taken by them, not me.  It’s their road to walk, not mine.


I have walked this hard road.


I have lots of good, reasonable, justifiable reasons for being miserable. In less than four decades, I have battled depression, obesity, sexual and physical assault, relationship betrayal, and all kinds of other physical and emotional barriers to my well-being. When I finally got my own inner house in order and reached out to help others, I had to face the glum reality that nobody around me was really thriving either.  Some of the people closest to me were struggling with drug addiction, divorce, death, potential incarceration, and all forms and flavours of trauma.


Plus, I had chosen a career in which people spent their time with me talking about their problems.


At some point, I had to make a decision about who I was going to choose to be. Was I going to be a feather in the wind, tossed around by the events that Life was throwing at me, or was I going to be the bird, choosing my own path? Being a bird took grit and perseverance.  It also required that I do something that no one else in my world was doing at the time: taking accountability for every part of my life. 


I had to examine my wings, and recognize that they were made up feathers. I had to come to the understanding that the events in my life had impacted me, sure, but I could choose whether or not to let them define me.


I call this learning how to fly.


I had to start re-framing those past events as character-building exercises, and journalled until my hands were raw about the lessons I could look for in them. I had to stop blaming the people and situations that had wronged me, and begin letting the past truly go.


I took a course in forgiveness.


At the Master’s level, for credit.


With one of the world’s leading-edge experts on the topics.


Cuz’ if I was going to learn this stuff, may as well throw my whole self into it, and learn from the best. (He has written some great books by the way, if you are interested. His basic intro and the one that changed my perspective on Life pain is "Forgive for Good" by Dr. Fred Luskin.)


And I had to make choices in all arenas of my life that would bring me closer to being that intentional bird rather than the victimized feather.


So yes, I am expressive. And I get in trouble now because when I sense someone is about to tell me their sob-story, they can tell within seconds that I am going to re-frame it with them. I am not going to sit around and let my friends and family members talk badly about themselves, their partners, their lives, or their choices.


I am going to call them out. 


Every graduation/closing session I have with a client, we talk about flying. I tell them, through guided images and a simple completion ceremony the following truth:


“You don’t need me, or any other therapist. You have recognized that you are not a feather. You now know what’s in your wings, and you have been getting stronger. And now you know how to fly.  You can’t un-learn that. All you need now is to remember who you are, and set a course for where you are going.”


And every decision has it’s consequences. One of my consequences is that I have stopped hanging out with feather-like people. Another is that I have found a flock that knows how to be happy for themselves and for me, and shares my flair for expressiveness.


And while it’s scary at times to be up here, soaring above the bitterness, it just feels so much better.


Want to join me, and learn to fly too? My good friend Jena and I are starting a Get Happy Club. Email me at for details on how to join!