Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Today I welcome my first "Guest Blogger" Erana Leiken. I have enjoyed Erana's blog "Just doing my thing" for a longtime now. I was introduced to her through the "Authentic Blogger" group on Facebook.

Erana Leiken, principal of Tiger Marketing, is a marketing and PR consultant and freelance writer. She also teaches communication courses at the University of Phoenix and Web marketing and interactive content for the Art Institute of Phoenix. Formerly an NBC reporter, magazine editor, and Web business writer, she is writing creative nonfiction and doing Web consulting.

Please welcome Erana & be sure to check out her blog.

By Erana Leiken

I close my eyes and breathe deeply. As I take deeper, longer breaths, in my mind, I am transported.

I stand before an arch looking at the path that takes me into a golden field on the way to the garden, my beautiful, tranquil garden.

I follow the path to the water and the secluded garden where my guide awaits.

It is a spiritual retreat, and only I have access. It is an inner resting place I have created when there is nowhere else to go.

Life’s pressures and stresses are not allowed in my secret garden.

Once I am there, I escape the cares and weight of life. My guide is always there …when I am afraid, uncertain and alone. We are connected. We sit beside the water, and my guide listens to my doubts and apprehensions.

I know I can rely on my guide to help me when life is too much, and I need refuge. This is our time and place, an inner world untouched by others where there is peace and comfort from external reality.

In the garden, I am comforted by my gentle guide. We are detached from the material world.

In this oasis of meditation, I transcend responsibilities, worries and anxieties.

In my garden I am calm. I am safe. I am free.

Copyright © Erana Leiken, 2009 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Archway photo by Maureen McGarrigle

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rose colored glasses

I have often been asked if my positive attitude about life is really just looking at the world through rose colored glasses. My answer is always the same, "No" I see the pain, the ugly human behavior & the need to grab power. I understand all of these things, I just choose not to focus on them. I've been hurt in my life & I've known pain & bad times but even in those times I've found the joy in each moment as I move forward in my life.

Life is about choices & you have a choice in each moment that you live. You can choose to accept all the negative that surrounds you or you can acknowledge the negative & move beyond it to place of joy. The choice is really up to you. Your life is really your own choosing. Don't blame others for your misfortune. Understand that what happens in your life is your own creation. This can be a difficult lesson to learn especially when bad things continue to happen to you but it is a lesson that you should learn.

I'm not saying that there aren't random bad things that happen to everyone from time to time. What I'm saying is that by understanding how we create our life we minimize these bad things & bring more joy into our life. We can't control much in our life but we can allow the God/universe to create the life we envision. Our biggest challenge is allowing not controling. We become very attached to our dreams/intentions & the more we're attached the harder it is for the God/universe to create what we envision.

To me detachment works like this; I want a job that is fulfilling & that pays enough for me to be able to pay my bills. I then allow God/universe to create the circumstances for this intention to be created. You can be more specific but the key is to allow God/universe to create the path to the fulfillment of your intention & to not be attached to the results.

Take time each day to create the life you want to live. Let go of the negative in your life & live a more joyful life today.

Till tomorrow,


PS I'm still looking for guest bloggers. I would love to hear from more of you so I can promote your blog here. Contact me at

Quote of the day: "Life is about choices, choose joy & you'll discover more joy in your life!"

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Monday, June 28, 2010

The Gulf Crisis

I try to avoid the headlines. My vision for this blog has been to discuss the ways I've learned to live a more joyful life. I've varied a few times because when I can't get something out of my head I truly need to write down my thoughts. I thank all of you for indulging me when I've moved a bit off topic!!

The crisis in the Gulf continues to have a greater & greater impact on so many things (fishing, tourism, marine life) that I left it was time to address it. I have become a little more involved with this cause in the positive way I try to deal with everything in my life. On Saturday I was involved in a phone call creating positive intentions to help the Gulf. (Here's the link if you want to listen). I have also become very involved with a new group that Deepak Chopra has started called "Collective Creativity" . The idea behind this group is to come together to & creativity come up with solutions for the current Gulf crisis but also for bringing the Earth back into harmony. Deepak leads the group with an 8 point plan on how you can help right now.

I ask each of you that reads this blog to let go of the negativity involved in this crisis. Look for positive solutions. Look for ways to help & get involved. I am a strong believer in the human spirit & I believe & know that together we can do anything. Remember that thoughts create things & if we all get mired down in the negative we will create more negative events around this crisis.

I understand that there is a lot of anger involved with this crisis but anger will never solve anything in life. Anger only helps to destroy what has already been built. There's more then enough blame to go around for everyone involved in this crisis but I ask for you to let go of the anger & the blame, focus on the positive things you can do to help. Envision the recover of this area that has just begun to recover from Katrina.

The negativity that surrounds all of us on a daily basis holds us back from leading a truly joyful life! Let go of all the noise, come together in love. Release the need to be right all the time & instead become apart of the solution. I believe in the human spirit, I've seen what can be accomplished when we come together & I know the best of us shines through when the need is the deepest. Join me in bringing the world together & the earth back into harmony!!

Till tomorrow,


I am still looking for guest bloggers, if you're interested please email me at:

Quote of the day: "When things look the darkest always reach for the light. Together we can make a difference, start today!!

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Exercise & Spirituality

The longest hike that Heidi & I went on in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park recently was Bote Mountain. The hike turned out to be a total of 8.5 miles, on it's own that doesn't sound too bad but to reach the top of the mountain we hiked up 3,000 feet in a about 3.5 miles from the parking lot. The day was hot & the humidity was very high again. I was carrying a framed pack with our water, lunch & my camera in it....probably 20-30 pounds. The difficult part of this hike was that there were no switchbacks so we literally hiked straight up the mountain.

On the way up we enjoyed the scenery very much but were annoyed by a bunch of flies/gnats that seemed to continue to fly around our heads. As we hiked I thought about my deep connection with nature & the beauty all around me but as I began to get tired I started to understand why exercise (like yoga) is connected to several of the worlds religions. The endorphins that are released from physical exercise lift your mind to a new & amazing place. It allows you to move beyond the EGO & into a deep spiritual place.

I use to be a pretty good athlete when I was younger & although I had experienced this release of endorphins when I was younger the body/mind connection has never been clearer to me then in the last year. Exercise has become a bigger part of my life over the past year. I currently ride my bike between 18-25 miles a day & Heidi & I hike with the dogs about 4 miles a day. I have experienced this body/mind connection often in the past year but never to the extent I felt it on Bote Mountain.

I wish I had a bunch of great pictures to share from this journey but the sad part of our climb was that there was never a clear vista to look upon. We did see some lovely views through the trees but nothing that came out well in pictures. We sat on the top of the mountain for a long time & ate our lunch (a bunch of granola bars). As we sat there I reflected on the wonderful feeling of accomplishing this great climb & I began to realize the extent of this body/mind connection.

So, what's the point of this blog? Take care of your body, exercise & eat well. Your body is the shell that holds your spirit & the better it works, the easier it is to connect to your spirit. Exercise is one way to move beyond the EGO & listen to your true self (soul). The connection to your true self is the most important connection you can make & whatever helps you reach this deep level of yourself I encourage you to do.....for me exercise & silence are the two easiest ways to get there.

I hope you have a great weekend!!

Till Monday,


PS I am still looking for guest bloggers, if you're interested in writing something for my blog contact me at

Quote of the day: "The deep connection to our true self can be realized through daily exercise. Take time to grow the body/mind connection & discover the joy in your soul."

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Heidi & I have always been big fans of Disney & as I've mentioned before we were married at Disney World in 2000. Disney does many things very well including their movies, parks & merchandising but the one thing they do above everything else is create an atmosphere of joy. In our recent visit to Disney World I saw this phrase in many places "Where magic happens everyday". What does this have to do with my blog? Well, I believe in Magic. I think magical things happen all around us everyday. Beyond my love for the magic in the world this statement creates an atmosphere that each of us should consider.

I've written in the past about how thoughts become things. Therefore, if we focus on thoughts that create the world we want, we will create that world. For me, I can't imagine a world without magic. I am continually awed at the wonder in the world. I find great joy in the smallest things like; watching the birds, seeing the clouds or talking with the animals that enter my life. I also believe that magical things happen all around us everyday. I choose to believe in magic & therefore I see magical things happen all around me....that's the way it works.

In your life you can choose what you want to see. The power of thought is an amazing power. The problem is that we can have an internal dialogue that creates our world even when that dialogue is never expressed, that's how powerful thoughts are. By choosing a mantra or certain thoughts that you want to create in your life & repeating that mantra many times throughout the day we can focus our thoughts on what we want to create. This focusing won't eliminate the internal dialogue but it will begin to minimize it's effect.

When what you want to create isn't being manifested in your life one of the first places I look is my internal dialogue. This internal dialogue is often your EGO talking. For me it works like this; "I don't have time to pay attention to the flowers right now I have too much that I need to do for me." this might be my internal voice & my immediate reaction to what I'm facing but through my personal work & experience I have learned to let go of that thought & take the time I need to enjoy the flowers. We all have this internal dialogue. We can choose to listen to it or try to ignore it but it won't go away easily. By repeating a mantra over & over again we can change our initial thought from the EGO to what we truly want to manifest in our life. Quieting our internal dialogue can be a long process because of the years & years we've allowed it to flourish. Don't get discourage you can change your thoughts & create the world you want to see.

Believe in magic!! Discover the wonder in the world today & find the joy in each & every moment!! I believe in you & I know there's magic in everything!

Till tomorrow,


PS I'm still looking for more people who would like to be a guest blogger on my blog (thanks to those who have responded thus far). If you're interested contact me at

Quote of the day: "Take time to see the magic in everything around you because magic happens here everyday!"

Visit the National Gallery of Writing

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The beauty of the human spirit

I've always been an optimist, many of the things I discuss in this blog took me years to learn but I've always been a positive, optimistic person. I bring this up because I was truly renewed over our vacation by the beauty of the human spirit. I was able to meet, assist & talk to many people from all over the world. I smiled at everyone who walked into my world & without exception I was smiled back at. I offered assistance & said hello to the people who responded with more then a smile. I had some long discussion with people from many places in the world on the Disney World buses or people camping next to us in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

Why do I bring this up? Because I know that together we can do anything. I'm tired of hearing how no one cares & that the challenges we all need to face in the world today are insurmountable. The news we all watch is generally depressing & it robs our spirit. I'm not trying to make light of the challenges in front of us, some of them like the Gulf oil spill, are a difficult lesson that we all need to learn. But, I believe that we will rise to the challenges that we face. We always have & in times of great crisis some of the best ideas are generated.

We are coming together as never before in the world. The world is getting smaller because of the technology that we've invented & by being able to interact with people from all over the world we slowly remove the barriers of differences. The differences we have make us unique, they no longer need to divide us.

I love people, I love the human spirit & I believe that there is a new consciousness being born & the true spirit of cooperation will lead us to a new world order. Let go of the negativity around you. Discover the joy in every moment. Find the best in every person in your life. Help change the world & believe in beauty of the human spirit.

Till tomorrow,


PS I am looking for guest bloggers, if you'd like to write a blog here about discovering the joy in your life please email me at I'd love to post your thoughts.

Quote of the day: "Believe in the beauty of the human spirit, together we can accomplish anything. Start today & discover the best in everyone in your life."

Visit the National Gallery of Writing

Monday, June 21, 2010

The power of water

Over the past couple of weeks I've experienced many amazing things. I allowed each moment to be the only moment, regardless of what was going on. I was able to deeply feel things in myself that I had lost my connection to. One of the things that impressed me the most is water. We can learn a great deal from water, water always finds a way. The path that water takes may not be the path we expect but water always takes the path of least resistance. Water has patience beyond anything we can imagine (just take a look at the Grand Canyon) & it has a deep power that should be respected.

Heidi & I hiked out to Abrams Falls (The above picture) overall it was an easy hike. The path was much more rocky then I remembered but it was still only 2.5 miles each way. We hiked up & down several mountains to get to this special place & if it wasn't for the 90+ degree heat & the 90%+ humidity it would have been a really easy hike (although the national park calls it strenuous). Once we made it to the falls we sat & admired this beautiful place. We had started early so it hadn't gotten crowed yet & we were able to sit & listen to the power of the water.

In the moments we had at this beautiful place I reflected on how important water is to my life & as I stated above, how much each of us can learn from water. I realized that many of my favorite pictures that I have taken over the years were pictures that included water. Water is needed to sustain life & fresh water may become as precious as gold in the future if we don't take care of it now. Water can wear away the strongest rock yet it flows right through our hands.

Water is a true mystery it can be present as a solid, liquid or a gas (water vapor) & in each of these states it can effect the environment around it. The same is true for each of us. We have the power to effect our own environment & our thoughts & actions can change things without us even realizing it. Take time to appreciate the things around you. Take time to learn from water.

Till tomorrow,


PS I would like to have a few guest bloggers on my blog. If you have something you'd like to post here that reveals your own path to joy send me an email

Quote of the day: "We can learn so much from water, take time to appreciate the power of water in your life!"

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Believe in yourself!

I've written before about how we're not allowed to make mistakes anymore. In the world today everyone is trying to do things better & faster. Mistakes are held against us & we are judged for every one we make. It didn't use to be that way, people use to be allowed to make mistakes & discover who they are or what they are good at but because of all the pressure that's associated with trying to live a "perfect" life we lose who we are. Discovering ourselves is one of the most important things we can do in our life & I've written before on the ways I've used to discover my true self & my true life's purpose. The most important aspect of discovering yourself is taking the time to look inside & learning to move beyond the EGO.

Today I want to discuss the other part of getting through your daily life & overcoming the mistakes you make. Besides getting to know who you are, the most important advice I could give anyone is to believe in yourself. We all get caught up in the labels that everyone else gives us. We listen so carefully to what others say about us. We worry that we're not liked or that we're misunderstood. Stop it, stop being concerned about what others think. Live your life for yourself. Be true to who you are & believe in yourself.

I'm not saying that you should blindly go through life believing that every action you take is always the right thing to do. No, just the opposite, you need to pay attention to the signs that God/universe sends you in your life. You need to take the time to discover & connect to your true self (soul) & you need to live your life from a place of love. But, the world can be a cruel place & we can encounter people in our life that are very difficult to get along with. To move beyond the hardships we face in life we need to have a deep seated believe in who we are & what we want to do. This believe needs to be flexible & ever changing as we discover the world as it unfolds before us in each moment. But, we need to believe.

Trust in who you are & let go of the need for approval from others. Believe in the process of discovery & life will open up before you. By believing in yourself you move beyond the influences of others & onto a more joyful life.

I believe in each of you. I believe that at our core we are all loving, good people. Take the time to love yourself, open your heart to others & believe in who you are!!



P.S. I'll be away for a couple of weeks. We were fortunate to get a nice anniversary gift from my in-laws & we're going to travel to Disney World (where we got married) & then camp in the Smoky Mountains. I'm not sure how much internet access I will have at either place so I won't be writing this blog until I return. Please take time to read some of the topics I've written in the past...I look forward to hearing from each of you....hugs

Quote of the day:"Believe in yourself, trust in love & the world will become more amazing then you can imagine."

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The skin of our teeth!

I played the lead character of George Antrobus in Thornton Wilder's "The skin of our teeth" when I was a sophomore in college. Why do I bring this up today? because that was a longtime ago & I woke up this morning with the line that's repeated over & over again in that show in my head: "We got through that by the skin of out teeth, one more tight squeeze like that & where would we be!". For those of you that don't know the play "The skin of our teeth" it's about the history of man & how close we were at different points in our history to not making to the next step. We as the human race are very fortunate. We've always found away to survive, even when things get really tough.

So you're wondering what the play has to do with this blog....aren't you? I think there's a lot to be learned from from the line. Remember that our thoughts create actions & if we walk through life believing that we're just getting through it by the skin of our teeth, we will create situations that we just barely get through. That's not a life that we should want to live. We can & should give ourselves credit for making it through difficult times. We tend to not want to give ourselves a pat on the back at all let alone for making it through the things we've had to in our life. I was taught a while ago to stop being so hard on myself. As part of being less hard on myself I was told to reflect on everything I've been through in my life. We're talking about the life changing moments or the difficult times that we all have to get through, if we look back at what we've gotten through & give ourselves credit for still being here, we can begin to understand that we can get through anything. We truly can!!

Life is about the things we experience. We are only an accumulation of our past experiences. I've spoken often in this blog about how we need to let go of the past & live in the current moment. We all get too hung up in what's happened to us in the past. We should, however give ourselves credit for surviving through the challenges we've faced. Don't wear your challenges as a badge of courage. Instead just give yourself credit for getting through these challenges & understand how strong you really are.

The other important message in the play "The skin of our teeth" is that together we can do anything. Each of the characters in the play has their part to help the family survive. We are all part of a great family & we each have our own role to make the world a better place. Trust in your abilities. Believe in your strength!! & remember that thoughts create things. Change the words you use & open your mind to the possibilities of a more joyful life.

Till tomorrow,


Quote of the day:"The seed of joy grows in each of us with care & love. Take care of your thoughts & let joy grow & thrive!"

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Finding joy in difficult times

This week I will celebrate 1 year of being unemployed. It is the first time in my life that I haven't been able to find a job. In the past I've been unemployed before but always found work within a short period of time. This time it's been very different, I've only had 2 interviews in the past year. One of the interviews I was way over qualified for & knew I wouldn't get the job. The owner of the company even told that but it was nice to go through the process anyway. The 2nd interview just happened recently & it was in another state which could be the hang up. I've been told that companies won't move people anymore because there are so many people out of work.

I've been asked how I stay so joyful with all of this going on. The answer, to me, is continuing to live in the now. I have times when I get down just like anyone else but because of the practices I learned in my life these times don't last very long. I get frustrated because of not being able to find a job or doing anything to help contribute to the finances of our home but again I move beyond these troubled feelings because of trusting in God/universe.

The truth is I'm just like anyone else struggling to get by. The only difference is that because of the time & energy I've put into self growth I've been able to look at this time as a bump in the road of life. Over the past year I've continued to grow & writing this blog has contributed to my growth. In many ways this time has been very good for me. My self growth & spiritual growth have truly amazed me. It's rare in this world today to have time to focus on yourself the way I have & that's why I encourage each of you to take time for yourself even in your busy life.

I've gone through all of the emotions any of us would go through when something like this happens. I was truly scared to death when I was let go. I didn't believe we would make it through last summer but slowly I began to understand that with a little help anything is possible. I'm not sure, at this point, when I'll discover my next job but I remain open to God/universe & continue to stay living in the now. I truly can't be concerned about tomorrow because I don't know what tomorrow will bring.

The message I have for each one of you, is to know that life is a joyful celebration & no matter what is happening in your life there is always joy to be found. Look for the joy & let go of the pain. The choice is yours, you can live each moment to the fullest or you can coast through life amusing that when the next big thing happens you'll finally be happy. You have the power to change your life, I know because I've done it. Believe in the process & most of all believe in yourself.

Till tomorrow,



Quote of the day: "The discovery of joy in each moment is a choice we all can make. Let go of tomorrow & live your life to the fullest today."

BTW, if anyone is curious my last position was Tax Controller of a large real estate company, before that I worked 9 years with a Big 4 accounting firm. I also have 8 years in Banking/finance & have volunteered & worked for non-profits.

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