The more you clean up your inner world, the more beautiful your outer world will be.

” In order to see the light, we must first experience the darkness.” — C. G. Jung

To savor success you must first taste failure, to understand and appreciate the value of love, you must expose yourself to rejection and pain. By expanding our consciousness, we open ourselves to a better understanding of the teaching tool our experiences hold for us, by allowing the flow of life and accepting that things need to happen in order to learn, we are in a better position to become more appreciative for the life that is unfolding—we are better open to a life of harmony.

Hello beautiful souls! I wish you many bright days and if you are currently experiencing darkness, I pray that it will be short lived, for it is in moments of profound darkness that our souls find the light once more. When we mourn our losses, it is when we struggle to find peace once again, we become vulnerable, uncomfortable, at times powerless. The pain might be so unbearable, making us feel immense fear; our mood darkened—life becomes a struggle. But why must it be so? Why struggle, why not allow? Why not accept the flow of life, trust, know that this too shall pass; learn the lesson and move on—this is a one way to view life. To succeed at achieving a state of gratitude and appreciation (for all that life holds for us) we must be open to experiencing by first comparing and fully understanding the opposing side (we cannot have one without the other).

To live in this conscious awareness and understanding that we live in ‘duality’; we accept a deeper understanding of life and its balance interaction of opposite and competing forces. When we live in duality, we learn to experience opposing sides by comparing the opposing counterpart—giving that (opposing) experience value.  Examples of duality that come to mind are peace and war, love and hate, companionship and solitude. The concept of duality can prove to be quite instrumental in answering scientific questions and even prove to be inspirational in the concept of mythology and religion:

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”—Lao Tzu

When you are living the darkness, it is difficult sometimes impossible even, to see even a flicker of light at the end of the long treacherous tunnel—but it is there. Just as you are assured that after daylight there is nightfall (depending on where you live), you must know that light always follows darkness—it does not matter whether you are religious or not—it has been engrained in you that this is the case. So why resist? Why not embrace the flow—difficulties and all! Contradictions, truths, non-truths all are relational, everything has its purpose—together an expression of each other. These experiences or perception of experiences determine how we show up in the world.

As the winter months near, I think about running into my warm beautifully lit home with fireplace running, grabbing my blanket and hot cocoa—love this, feeling of warmth and coziness! I recognize that I wouldn’t be able to grasp the concept of ‘warmth’ and appreciate it as much as I do, until I have experienced the cold treacherous weather (remembering waiting for the bus during -20°C), walking in damp socks after stepping in slushy snow—not fun☹. When we manage to travel to sunny destinations for a week or two, we certainly appreciate the beautiful warm Caribbean weather, the ocean breeze, don’t we? I think all of us wish we could fly off anywhere that is near the sea right now after living this world-wide lock-down, to experience that luscious freedom of running across the sand, taking in the sea breeze, taking in the sun (a symbol of light dispelling darkness), that will once again restore my calmness, making me feel relaxed and renewed. For the folks living near the sea, think of us living up north having no access to beaches—please appreciate your natural environment that much more. Right now, I am enjoying my hot cocoa as it is currently 8°C here in Toronto. So, yes, we understand that we first must live uncomfortable scenarios, experience a form of darkness to understand and appreciate the light that much more, that we know will soon come to pass and what a beautiful sweet spot to be in.

I am extremely grateful for all my experiences in life, I embrace them all! Having experienced times of turmoil, violence, chaos early on in my life, that season of darkness, taught me to appreciate the peace and love that much more, that is very much a part of my life now. I embrace it wholeheartedly and it gives me great comfort knowing that I could not understand the extent of such peace and love, were it not for that period of darkness—and for this I am grateful. I forgive myself for having allowed such darkness, I forgive my teachers that took part in it—I am grateful for my lessons.

We need to embrace the opposite in order to achieve wholeness—a life of harmony. We can only continue our personal growth when we open ourselves to many more painful and uncomfortable moments. Be mindful of what you are putting out into the universe when designing your map to what you perceive success should be. If we are the architects of our own lives and we know that our experiences shape us, then why choose to see life from a negative lens? What type of foundation are you building for yourself? Are you choosing to draw these perceptions from ego; what your mind has been fed by society, or will choose to view your circumstance and live your experiences by following your heart—living from wholeness rather than from lack. This is what our seasons of darkness teach us. Choose to see the light in everything, choose to move on and walk into the beautiful life that awaits you, now that you are wiser, but choose and hold yourself accountable for those choices. To choose or not choose are also opposing examples, however not making a choice in life, is also ‘choosing’ not to choose (huh?). I think my point here is: don’t let life happen to you, make a decision and move with the flow—it will certainly move you in the direction you need to go in order to achieve greater success!

For approximately thirty years, I was humbled with the opportunity to represent some beautiful souls that for whatever reason in their lives had to go through a period of darkness, some recovered fully, took their season of darkness as a period of reflection, took the lesson(s) learned and moved on. Some however remain on the repeat soundtrack: ”Why Me?” It is their inability to forgive these moments and feelings of anger, that kept them reliving these painful experiences, taking them deeper and deeper into darkness. They do no realize that they are allowing this pain, this lack, to take hold of them. They do not see that their suffering spills over to their loved ones who are trying their best to keep it together for them—do not do this to yourself and your loved ones. Do not allow this period of darkness take you down, instead reflect.

I will give you an example of one such case of success. I had just started with this law firm, and I was thrown to a workload of 600 cases—as you can imagine I felt overwhelmed and I could not breathe as I drove home that evening after my first day. I cried in my car thinking I made the biggest mistake, but after that good cry, I held my head up, I prayed (as I often do), I felt a calmness and was ready for what the day brought me. My mornings were busy with never ending phone calls of poor souls seeking guidance, seeking answers and solutions to their cases that had been neglected for some time (seeing that there was a recent shift in management). I tackled each case, one a time, making no promises just applying what I know. With great confidence, I organized a team and began as my very own version of ‘Dear Abby’, (yup that’s how young I am! Yikes!) to resolve and provide answers to these poor souls, one heartbeat at a time. This led me to a gentleman (in fact he was my very first call and case on the job) who called quite frantic, seeking resolution to his case immediately (by then it was already 6yrs old and no resolution in sight). I later discovered that he did not just have one case but five cases pending—for which I was instrumental in seeing through the successful resolution of all his cases and gave him that much needed closure in his personal life. The success of this story was not so much that his cases resolved, with great monetary value, but that along the way this client; (let’s call him Mr. X for the sake of this blog), began to see the value of the lesson learned. As this client had a few cases pending, naturally it would take a few years to see the resolution of all cases and during that time, we had plenty of opportunity to talk. I am quite open with my clients and encourage them to be open about how they are feeling not just physically, but emotionally as well. I become an active participant, as they welcome me on their journey, I ensure to hold their hand every step of the way, along with the help of a magnificent rehabilitation team, to ensure that not only their rehabilitation goals are met, but also their goals at becoming a better version of themselves. As their representative I have access to their medical file, I become quite familiar with their health patterns and come to an understanding of the events leading to their misfortunate accidents, an understanding stemming from a spiritual perspective. Two cars colliding or a pedestrian crossing and getting seriously injured—that’s obvious; no, my thinking goes beyond my physical lens.

My conversation with Mr. X led to what was going in his life, right before the accident. I cannot tell you how many times clients start to realize and question, how they fell into the lie that their lives were wonderful, they were making money, their life at home was good, blah, blah, blah. But was it? No, I ask my clients to dig deep. Cases aside; if you are going through a period of darkness, and if in fact you and your family were living your ‘best lives’, then you might conclude that your talents must have been called to action and you must figure out what you are called to do in order to realize your true potential (your life’s purpose), in this life time.

For Mr. X, his revelation was so profound, by examining every aspect of his life, he concluded that the first accident (that caused several fractures including his vertebrae and several internal injuries) which was the most severe, and was a near death experience, leaving him with a multitude of impairments; in fact, saved his life. Prior to his first accident, Mr. X, was quite successful, was making more than a decent salary, his job called for him to be on the road often, but he thought he was content and living the life—this however,  was not reflected on his medical file, mind you. He was obese, had an enormous amount of health issues and he was refusing to see the many lacks in his personal family life due to traveling. As I began working with him and we began having our conversations, and as he learned to ‘keep his cool’ when things did not get done as quickly as he hoped, he started allowing more peace in his life. As his legal cases began to come to a resolution one-at-a-time, he learned to relax. He came to terms that the life he had before was not for him, an in fact he was on his way to no good with all his underlying health issues. As I put together a rehabilitation team to work with him on his physical injuries, I also made sure he had access to some wonderful practitioners qualified to address all his emotional and psychological needs. He grew quite fond of the care he received from his team (including my care and advice) and chose to only look at the positives going for him and that goodness he was experiencing; despite his near-death experience. He no longer dwelled on what was, focused on himself and on getting stronger physically, understanding that this season of darkness while only momentarily, ‘too shall pass’, I began to notice a shift in his mindset, in his mood, on his outlook. He learned to trust. He embraced the lesson it brought him, learning to love himself again. He repaired his relationship with his son (that was non-existent before his accident due to spending it entirely on the road and in hotels), he worked on self-love, and began to open himself up to opportunities once more. When he began the healing process, he began to shed all those unnecessary pounds and the last time I spoke to him he had lost half his weight (being close to 360lbs. prior to his accident). Whenever he called me, he was no longer frustrated, no longer yelling, (as he often did at reception) it was because of his foul mood that my entire office came to know him. When he attended my office for his last and final visit, he was unrecognizable, surely my colleagues would not have pegged him for someone that weighed 360lbs at some point, and they were certainly shocked to hear that this was the gentleman who often yelled at anyone who would lend an ear to his misery. I empathize for his pain, I showed compassion, offered him support where needed, and it was because he was open to letting go of this old pain, because he was willing to accept the flow of life, and allowed this new-found perspective that he was able to see the light once more. God bless!      

We need to learn to use the paradoxes in our lives to expand our consciousness, to learn to create our future successes. Trust the flow and learn to recognize how moments of darkness teach us appreciation and gratitude for life. There is life after loss, more happy moments, after moments of darkness, laughter after moments of sadness—take comfort in knowing that ‘it too shall pass’ and embrace your brighter and wiser self! Know that there is more to this universe, this space. Think about what you are putting out there and how that thought that action materializes in your outer world. You have everything in your power to handle what is going on in your life today, tomorrow has not yet come, so why worry about what you cannot control? Yesterday cannot return so why dwell on it? Today, is what is available to you—own it! Release your desired outcome, what you think now becomes your reality, let go of fear, let got of ego—stay present. Feel your desirable outcome, visualize with full intention what that prosperous outcome looks like, despite the temporary outer conditions (this is to practice non-duality). You have one life, live it!

Now, my dear readers, to experience ultimate joy, contentment, peace always, you must open your mind to a mind of ‘non-duality’ to simply feeling; the ability to live with what is happening within your day without separating yourself from it (That is a double huh?). Be sure to keep a look out for this very informative segment on non-duality in future posts. But for now my sweet souls, simply understanding ‘duality’ is a good starting point to finding your purpose, to help you reach a level of awareness that offers you the ability to be alive in this moment; to take on all experiences as teaching tools for brighter tomorrows.

Remember to offer love to everyone, be kind always including your loyal and faithful pets!

Until our next visit together, stay kind and true to yourself.

To the powerful you,

Ana Spano

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or LinkedIn.  Thank you!

I Am Enjoying The Journey To There…

“To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.”—Robert Louis Stevenson

What a gorgeous sunny day it is here in Toronto (at least it was when I started drafting this post)! The sky is filled with beautiful clouds resembling fluffy cotton balls and birds are helping themselves to freshly laid seeds on my grass (sweet). The air is a crisp 12°C but my heart is warm with the love I feel for myself and those around me.

Hello my sweet souls! I wish you all a glorious day and may you find your path to your dreams and your successes, whatever that might mean for you. I am finding it quite liberating to living a life that reflects my authenticity and just being in the present…a life of peace, joy, smiles, good hearts, and loads and loads of LOVE—that is who I am.

I am here to tell you I survived the corporate world…shockingly there is life after the late night lattes, wasting away in that expensive leather chair that did nothing for your posture wondering: is this life? Words like ambition, innovating, leverage, influential, performance, promotion, personal growth, setback, fortune and opportunity, have taken on a different meaning in my life—they no longer own me and my corporate ways. Instead, they serve a more meaningful purpose as I now navigate through life designing a new map of the kind of world I would love to live in as I learn to not think n’or view life with my analytical mind (let go of ego) but start viewing life through my spiritual lens, follow my heart, and allow myself to step into a reality that is true to me.

Life throws at you what you throw in it. Luckily for me it seems, I have sown seeds of beauty, peace, friendships and love as it continues to show up in my world. Kindness, has always been a priority for me growing up, it was especially present during my years in what was an unforgiving corporate world.  As my awareness deepened, it became evident that I no longer belonged in a space designed to hold endless meetings that suck up valuable time, where passion is never praised or rewarded, but a means to compete for titles and the amount of zeros your paycheck will reflect. As egos grow so does the toxic air and I soon came to realize that what once gave me joy, was no longer working for me, it became clear that I was not being true to myself…and so I left in search of recapturing joy, passion and to grow a deeper relationship with myself and strengthen my spirituality.

I am grateful for all my past experiences, each serving me as lessons in life that needed to be learned preparing me for what will follow. Right now I am in that sweet spot in life, taking in all the highs and lows, experiencing life with clarity, embracing challenges that help me move forward—taking charge of my destiny. I am reminded each day to maintain my humility, always, think first of others and place with intention every action and service that must come from a place of love—this is my authenticity. I can see clearly now, that everyone that I have met, have served as mentors in my life, all my experiences as guidance to a path of self-discovery. I choose to no longer cave into the demands or expectations of others. Like my dog (currently sprawled on my floor snoring away) teaches me unconditional love each time I open the front door, or the snail crawling across my garden bricks teaches me patience and to be appreciative of nature, and that toilet that keeps getting clogged in my daughters’ bathroom (that keeps me wondering what the f**k is going on?), never relenting, perhaps added humor to my current peaceful pace.  I take all the beauty around me as teaching tools and welcome them with open arms and accept them as my teachers.

Ambition once related to power and rank, is now my drive to achieve my ultimate accomplishment in self-realization, it will be my major drive for personal growth and development.  To always be innovating never complacent, always learning, to outdo my last performance while tapping into a higher vibration bringing on a contagious enthusiasm that will inspire all those around me. While in this higher vibration, I am able to leverage myself to a higher level of awareness, I hope to someday have the opportunity to be influential by inspiring and motivating others to be and do better—to live a life of compassion while remaining true to themselves. My promotion will be to successfully lift others; that they succeed in achieving their life’s purpose, to elevate, support and cultivate courage in them so that they achieve their goals, their dreams. I now learn to view setbacks as life lessons, embrace all the lows and sweet moments in my life that bring me good fortune, and acknowledge with excitement the doors that open to many more opportunities that help me accomplish great things while remaining humble and kind.   

I find myself happier now, experiencing every moment with a joyful heart. I learn now that this is the way life is intended to be lived.  These days, I find myself drinking from the cup of love, peace, joy and a whole lot of gratitude and I am enjoying this journey.

This world needs a lot of love and if we could all just do our part, by spreading it one person at a time with a simple smile, a kind word, a generous act—what a bright inspired world this would be. Let’s keep evolving and become better version of ourselves!

Remember to offer love to everyone, be kind always including your loyal and faithful pets!

Until our next visit together, stay kind and true to yourself.

To the powerful you,

Ana Spano

Experiences Shape Us: Fear stops us from growing and evolving -Together we conquer.

It seems that all we read and hear about these days is news on COVID-19, numbers of significant loss, the infected, the affected – it is simply grim all around.  So, what have we learned? When all of this is said and done, after this soon fades away where does it leave you?

Our respective heads of government are doing their best to create a plan of action, one that will hopefully keep us all afloat financially during these difficult times. Beyond finances, they each cleverly have come up with slogans and hashtags to help communities get through this safely such as: #StayingHomeSavesLives #StrongerTogether2020, We can do this #AloneTogether, it is our hope that this assistance will last until such time that we are able to leave our caves and back to some normalcy – they offer us tools: wash your hands, maintain physical distancing and of course stay home – but that’s just it they are survival tools.  Do you want to be surviving or do you want to be excelling? Do you want to stay afloat or do you want to come out on top? It seems that social media is consumed with reprimanding their respective government(s) demanding details on how each will be assisting communities and nations financially and yes, this is extremely important and in some cases whatever your circumstance, this assistance may be detrimental. It may be inevitable in certain circumstances to seek financial support to survive, but for most; is this where you want to be? Is this how you want to live; always looking for handouts (for lack of a better word), to have to rely on someone or an entity to provide you financial freedom? I often find myself giving advice to couples, my daughter, friends and family that they must depend on themselves – to never have to rely on anyone else but themselves. This must come from watching my single mother while growing up, and just observing how she tackled life all on her own –having no surviving parents from a very young age, she literally had to do it all on her own; a quality I believe, I acquired and for which I am most grateful.

It would have been very easy for me to make excuses for myself as to why I should fail financially at life, having been raised by a single mother not having access to that extra financial support –but instead, my life although not extravagant, was definitely not a deprived life.  Despite the lacks in my life – it was from lack that I learned to go after and create for myself the outcomes and successes in my life as a career woman, as a mother, as a wife – no crutches, no excuses.

Now, here we are experiencing and being witnesses to some unprecedented moments that for some, its outcome has left them with much sorrow and significant losses – this has definitely affected us all worldwide and continues to affect us in the most negative and profound way; its aftermath never to be forgotten. It is difficult to find a silver lining during these challenging times, especially while we are still living it, not knowing its final outcome, my mind constantly racing with thoughts of where will it leave me? What must I prepare for if not for myself, for my family, for my children? So I dig deep, I pray for guidance, strength, and that my family and I come out on top in the face of this storm.

In my previous blog on “Your Success Depends on How Well You Organize Your Thoughts”, I wrote about how world leaders have to organize a plan and share with us on a daily basis the details of this plan, how we, as a whole will best execute this plan.  They share with us tools to survive whether it is how we must wash and sanitize our hands, avoid touching our faces and the importance of social distancing; to avoid going out except for essential needs – these are just survival tools so that we simply survive this pandemic. My apologies if it I am being repetitive with my message – this is intentional, it’s a matter of life and death that something as simple as washing and sanitizing your hands consistently and social distancing, saves lives. After all the washing and all the sanitizing, once this black cloud clears up, where does it leave you?  What have you done for yourself to prepare for its aftermath? Did you sit in fear? Did you spend endless hours on social media making friends you will never actually get to meet? While connecting through social media, might play an essential role for your mental health and well-being (an abundance of caution as the opposite may occur) ,what connections have you made that will help you successfully come out on top or that will leave you better than where you were right before this mess started?

As we live through this moment of crisis and learn to navigate through these rough times, it is expected that we look to our leaders for answers on how to survive, how to keep ourselves and our families safe. Through their well-organized plan, our respective leaders will lead us to safety, and hopefully that horizon won’t be too far. But, that’s just it, that’s as far as that relationship and obligation from our leaders goes – we must do the rest of our living ourselves. What will you do for yourself or better yet when was the last time you did something for yourself – unsupported, all on your own? We must not look to our leaders to get ourselves out of this financial mess. We have a responsibility to ourselves and to our families to do this on our own, to lead our families out of our financial mess, granted in some cases probably out of circumstance, you might be limited to what you can do (although I was not taught this) but turning to your government to make all the wrongs in your life right, is not the most fireproof plan there is and if this is your plan then, you must dig a little deeper. We all have gifts, unexplored talents –we are unique individuals with limitless gifts and I am confident that when push comes to shove, we can all independently and successfully get out of this mess. The most poignant message in all of this that is uttered by every leader and the media is; “what we do now affects the numbers on where we are in flattening the curve tomorrow.” “What we do now …“– such profound words on so many levels, don’t you think?

Where is the silver lining you ask? That once you come out of this, you treat this circumstance as an opportunity to reshape your life or maybe you’re already taking action and are using this time in isolation to organize your life – that you view this as entering the second act in your life, to a more successful you. I say this with the utmost love and respect, (acknowledging that so many have suffered significant losses and my heart goes out to you) but after you have mourned your losses that you give yourself permission to not stay in that darkness – you deserve so much more. Ever since news of the pandemic broke out, I have been making it a point to watch the Prime Minister and Premier of my country and city come out and share the devastating numbers affecting my country of the significant losses, they also share important messages on what we can do as a society to keep each other safe, and they make it a point to mention all community heroes making a difference in our daily lives helping us in this battle. The message is always #TOGETHER.

Some of us have been in quarantine or in voluntary isolation for weeks now and although some of us get to work from home, most of us are just sitting in fear it seems. Listen, I get that we are living in uncertain times – not knowing how we will come out of this on the other end, certainly is scary, especially if you are going at it alone. If there is one obvious positive in all this is that we are more united than ever; it is, in the worst of times that the best in us comes out it seems, and that is beautiful. We must meet our fear together, with courage and heaping spoons of kindness. The funny thing about fear after all this, (if anything at all) is that you will either be desensitized from fear or you will become more fearful. I hope you choose the former. The common denominator for all of us going through this crisis is, fear. Are you prepared to invite more of it in your life or less? It is my experience with fear that one eventually tires of it – there comes a point in your life where you will say; “I’m done with fear”, you then, surrender to your calmness, surrender to faith and win your power back.

Given these challenging times, I can’t help but to have my message intertwine with what is happening around the world today; the title and quote I chose for this blog would seem to be an oxymoron, that despite this current crisis affecting us all economically, physically, emotionally, psychologically; a moment where our faith is tested, that we come out strong, that we use this time to organize and shape our lives, our future; to have a second chance at life and it’s success solely depending on how hard we work together. I’d like to share a wonderful quote by Deepak Chopra that says; “Even when you think you have your life all mapped out, things happen that shape your destiny in ways you might never have imagined;” such a fitting quote, for the derailment and disruption many of us have suffered and are currently suffering as a result of this crisis. It’s all about perspective isn’t? Will you rise to the occasion and embrace the challenge despite the current crisis, or will you view the challenge as defeat and accept failure. Do you use this time as a time to innovate and find a new dream? I know it is especially hard to think you will come out of this financially successful when you are merely trying to survive and stay alive. My message is simple: make the necessary adjustments, view challenges as opportunities, embrace change, get organized and stay focused – in the end it’s your decision and what you choose to do that will shape your life, tomorrow.        

Proper health and preparedness will get us through and keep us healthy during this pandemic crisis. My daily routine particularly if I must go out for essential needs is: I sanitize my hands when entering my car, I sanitize again before entering any building, wipe down surfaces such as carts, ATM machines, return to my car and sanitize my hands again before entering my car. If I bring purchases – I do not bring them in my home on the same day except for items that need to be refrigerated which get wiped and left in my garage fridge to be consumed in later days. I leave all other items in bins outside my veranda to be wiped off with disinfectant wipes outside (items will remain outside in bins for days before bringing them inside my home.) I then, enter my home, take my shoes off right outside, go straight to the sink and thoroughly wash my hands.  I also sanitize my hands. And then there is the change of clothes. What once was a 20 minute trip to the grocery store now takes me 2 hours (I timed it) no exaggeration. I wipe counters as many times throughout the day and wash and rewash my hands because I have simply lost track of when and if I missed washing my hands. Neurotic – a little perhaps? This is my new norm. I don’t see an end to this madness any time soon so I must accept it as my life now. Am I tired? Sure. Am I bored spending days at home at a time? Of course, but this boredom, this inconvenience pales in comparison when I think of the risks our frontline workers are faced with on a daily basis, my “inconvenience” in all this is quite small – but it definitely plays a big part as a whole in keeping those front line workers safe. My being responsible and choosing to stay home while boring and neurotic saves lives. And no, this will not be forever, but I must do my share now so that tomorrow won’t be too far.

When I think about all that is happening around us, the significant losses suffered, I also think about witnessing the coming together of so many people from all walks of life, risking their lives for strangers, the whole experience minus the losses, has been nothing short of inspiring and quite frankly something this planet has needed in a long time. To see, business leaders, innovators, front line workers team together, work around the clock to get us through the dark days is quite beautiful to watch and to know that I belong to such a world where we all care for one another regardless of race, colour, religion, economic status, to be able to place faith in the hands of strangers for the safety of all is beautiful – an experience that will forever be remembered.  Yes, many businesses have suffered but it is wonderful to see communities doing their best to continue to safely support them in some way as a thank you as they risk their lives to serve us to better weather the storm.  

My message today, was not meant to instill any more fear than what you must already be feeling right now. Many of us are feeling the early effects of what this pandemic has brought with it; losses, fear, isolation – grim all around. Aside from the significant losses suffered, what will this crisis leave in it’s path? What’s on the other side? I will share with you what my wish is in all this:

That on the day the earth stood still, we all learned;

That from a world full of narcissists and selfishness;

We now, have a world full of philanthropists; a world filled with empathy and compassion for one another;

That our leaders have learned to be more caring more compassionate; true visionaries offering inspiration in the worst of times;

In a world that was once filled with hate, there is now an overflow of love;

Where entertainers and athletes were once worshiped as heroes;

We now celebrate our front line workers particularly those in our health sector that have risked everything to keep us safe when me most needed them and helped us win the war– the true heroes;

In a world where most were so self-involved, we now recognize that we love to connect and reach out to simply say hi and;

Show our love for one another; recognizing that small gestures are everything;

That we allow the fear that is currently driving us, guide us and help us see and understand that;

It is the small things that matter, no amount of money will get you out of this;

That we realize we are in it together, that we must learn to rely on others for the safety of;

Our families, the young and old, for me and for you;

 It is this common fear that unites us;

Despite distancing, we learn to work together to keep each other safe;

That in all this, we learn to be more caring towards our planet rather than destroy it;

That the time spent together has perhaps taught us to become caring parents; thoughtful children; compassionate employers, and all around better human beings;

That once we shed the cloak of fear and;

We put on the new lens of hope, courage, love, kindness, empathy, compassion; we will have learned that;

We can accomplish a lot together – all while the world stood still.

What will you remember about the year 2020? For me, it was the year that the world came to a halt, all moments big and small came to a complete stop. When birthday parties could not be celebrated with friends and family; wedding anniversaries, weddings for that matter and those once-in-a-lifetime moments missed, cancelled, replaced with a great deal of uncertainty, a year special holidays were non-existent. It was the year that we all had to learn to live without the things we took for granted. The year we learned the value of family and love – never to be taken for granted. The year 2020, will forever be a connection you hold with people across miles with whom you currently share this vast planet with, a scar that although may slightly fade with time, will forever hold your memory captive. It is a year that has made its mark for sure, not through our hearts but for the many connections made, the losses suffered and the unity witnessed. A moment in history best described as extraordinary times, in which we saw people at their best.

As we adjust our lifestyles and brace ourselves for more uncomfortable days, weeks, months ahead, let’s think about moments in history when the suffering was a whole lot more than having to stay at home and share space with loved ones for an extended period of time (time spent reconnecting), a time spent watching TV on our comfy couches for long hours, a time being plugged in to social media for an unhealthy amount of time, and maybe  time spent sleeping in or staying up later than normal whatever that normal was. Through this journey, this inconvenience, we  learn to recognize that perhaps it was time necessary to mend relationships that needed mending this includes relationships with yourself, with God;  the universe – whatever you refer to as your higher-self, it was a time when the planet healed as we all stay indoors and mourned our losses.

Today, every time I walk out my front door to run a simple errand I know what I will be up against, the risk I take to ensure my family’s safety and welfare – so I am careful. I also think about the front line workers and the risks they take for all of us – so I am careful. For those of you having to run out for your quick short survival errand, I ask that you pack a lot of patience, empathy, compassion for those suffering losses daily, and for those risking their lives for us and our loved ones all over the world, so that we might have a little comfort while we stay at home, all the while these heroes help ease this universal crisis during these unprecedented and challenging times – be grateful. 

 The next time you are free to walk out your front door recognize and appreciate that, that very freedom, was provided to you by the coming together of folks around the world who cared enough to risk their lives for you; a freedom provided to you with a whole lot of kindness, compassion and empathy.  No, our current circumstance is not easy, but it’s not for always – be kind.

Today is Easter Monday, and for most, it is especially tough not being able to spend time with family especially for those of us who are not able to see our parents due to social distancing. It is out of love, that we make these painful sacrifices to not be able to physically spend time together, something we will forever remember as a painful moment in time that put things in perspective. For those of you fortunate enough to have your parents live with you, please hug them extra hard this Easter and every day on behalf of the rest of us who wish we could. Whether you celebrate Easter, Passover or whatever wonderful holiday you might be fortunate to celebrate, embrace it, hug your loved ones dear and express how grateful you are to have them in your life. Life is meant to be lived, it is meant to be experienced, more importantly it is meant to be loved – let’s not ever forget that again.

It is my wish that we all come out strong, safe and healthy. If you are currently in a place of darkness, I extend my hand to you and ask that you not stay there for long as nothing is to be gained from a place of worry or fear. If you are done living in fear, if you are done, with being a victim in all this, then shake off the grimness of the past and embrace the brightness of your tomorrow. Hey, look, we are all in this mess together. None of us escaped the harshness of this darkness – this has affected us all. So, let us extend a hand to our fellow friends, our fellow colleagues, family and yes to our neighbours. I would like to express my sincere and heartfelt thanks to the innovators from a vast variety of industries and all front line workers from our grocery stores owners and clerks, restaurants bringing our favorite meals to our front doors, farmers, bakers, delivery services, police officers, public transit workers and of course, to all our medical front line workers risking their lives every day who find themselves in the unique position as being the heart; the machine, that keeps the world in motion when the world had to stop. Your act of bravery and kindness will forever bind us together, thank you, thank you, thank you.

We are facing the greatest challenge yet and I know we will overcome it, we will do it together. That this experience while tragic, has served to restore our faith in each other, ourselves, the universe and God. With love, kindness and compassion, we learn we can conquer the world, supporting one another –together we win. Each and every one of us has a responsibility and a role to play in keeping our families, our loved ones and each other safe, we each have a responsibility in protecting our front line workers, so I ask a simple thing from all of you right now for your safety and for the safety of those around you, and that is that you stay home, we will survive this, we will succeed #AloneTogether.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families during these uncertain and difficult times, my hope is that you remain safe and healthy, remembering that love and togetherness conquers all .

Remember to offer love to everyone, be kind always including your loyal and faithful pets!

Until our next visit together, remember to stay kind and true to yourself.

To the powerful you,

Ana Spano

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or LinkedIn. Thank you!

Your Success Depends On How Well You Organize Your Thoughts

It takes much energy to wish as it does to plan.

– Eleanor Roosevelt

Hello beautiful souls! Welcome Back! What happened? This year is flying by, we have entered March the month of clearing the old and preparing for beautiful spring already?  My apologies I cannot seem to get into the swing of banging these blogs out quick-enough – but eh, I try.  I will work towards making more of an effort. I hope this year has already brought you beautiful souls much love, peace, success and lots and lots of fun and good times. May you be blessed with everything you want in life, hoping excellent health is at the top of your list, because ultimately that’s the one wish that will make all the rest of your wishes a success. Excellent health and peace for all!

When writing out cards for any occasion, it is my standard practice to wish the intended recipient: peace, love and excellent health! Every now and again I remember to write ‘financial abundance’, but my top three are always peace, love and excellent health.  This is my wish for the entire universe – that everyone be granted Peace, that we all be surround by Love and experience Love and always be in excellent Health! As I am sure, you must already suspect I am a journal loving soul!  Journaling is my life! So, when I reflect on my journal, these are my popular three items I put most emphasis on as my wish for the coming year. Equally important, as you move your thoughts to the future and what you hope for the New Year, it is great practice to reflect on your successes and failures of the past year and most importantly what you are most grateful for?  This is not necessarily for the past year alone – but what are you grateful for, in general?

As you enter a new year and start tweaking all that needs tweaking to set yourself up for more successes, remember all the lows of years past that help you get to where you are today. The challenges in life are even more meaningful and if not the most crucial lessons because they help shape who we are today, our mistakes and our failures is what helps us grow. Without the lows, without the challenges, without the losses –we are simply just being with no set direction, we are not growing because everything is smooth sailing, we are not working towards anything leaving us with a sense of emptiness, no growth and what have we learned at the end? When we experience moments of sorrow, failures, challenges – that is when we kick it up in high gear and we learn to excel, we learn to look at things differently, our perspectives change with every challenge – more often than not in a positive direction.

Upon reflecting, I have a tendency to write these headers on my journal: Gratitude, Peace, Spiritual, Relationships, Mental / Health and Financial. These are the areas in my life, I most want to be in a continuous change, and it is most where I want to succeed. My wish or mission is always: how can I achieve more love, more peace? How can I grow spiritually and grow my relationship with God?  I begin by being grateful not only for my successes, but also for the challenges faced throughout the year that has helped me in becoming a little wiser, a little more caring, more loving – to live with more passion.

I cannot stress enough the importance of reflecting on the past as well as setting in motion of what you picture an ideal year will look like for you. I should say, that it is important to no forget to reflect on what brings you pleasure?  What is it that you would like to accomplish, what activity you would like to do, or an act of kindness perhaps that would absolutely bring you pleasure? It is imperative that you not only write it down on your journal but actually go out there and do it! We must never forget to do the things that bring us pleasure – no matter how busy we are in life. Things that bring me pleasure include: carving out some much needed time to write.  How I would love to press the pause button in my life and  be able to enjoy a week of writing straight through – no interruptions – just writing my heart and soul, out! There is something about writing that is so therapeutic – it challenges me in so many ways. There is the actual writing, to be able to put your thoughts down on paper, express yourself in the most meaningful and captivating way. Then, there is the editing process – the part that is most challenging for most – helping you grow as a writer as you carefully start trimming your work discarding what is no longer needed and then there is the final written project ready to be posted or published – allowing yourself to be vulnerable in front of others exposing yourself to be judged – this is growth and I love it!

As I write this article on my kitchen counter, I take breaks in between as I fix dinner. For most, this might be a distraction, perhaps an excuse to not finish a project – but as I navigate myself through my very organized kitchen, I put no thought to the cooking process it kind of just falls into place. My organized meal is basically cooking itself and I’m just the conduit or the mechanical process that manages to place all the ingredients together at the right time, the gas stove and well picked fresh ingredients is what determines how well this meal will be received by my family. Through this analogy, I realize that organization is key to success. Organizing, planning, setting in motion what you want to realize in your life is necessary to be successful. If January is the month you choose to set goals; a time to reflect, I urge you to make March the month to not only organize your space, but to organize your thoughts as well as your goals – your successful life depends on it!

If you decide to skip the process of organizing and just jump in to goal setting, hoping that your wishes for the year will come true, yet you are currently living in this disorganized chaos – your space is a mess, guess what will happen to your goal setting – it too will be a mess, they will certainly not come to pass as quick as you might intended. As you begin to tackle your goals, with the many challenges life throws your way in between, you will be better equipped to handle these challenges and you will have a better chance at succeeding if you take the time to organize, ditch the unnecessary and focus on what matters, focus on what will help you succeed – because you have already set a plan in motion and any derailment will only slow you down a bit, but back on track you go once the challenge is dealt with. Declutter your lifestyle and focus on the important, remember next year is just around the corner – make sure you are doing what matters now! Say no to distractions and continue to focus on what’s really important. Go back and read your organized list and do it!

I joined a wonderful writing community not long ago on Twitter and I love it! This wonderful community not only offers writing tips but they offer such wonderful support for all those on a writing journey. The best tips I have read on writing is to write. Get your first draft written and then do the hard work of editing, but write. I no longer dream about writing – I write! I no longer call myself an aspiring writer – I am writer. I love my writing community, I have learned a lot and it’s the support that gives me that push I need that will help me realize my dream of becoming a published author.

As I began writing this article (late February), I, like everyone else worldwide, got derailed with all the dark news of our Global crisis, so of course, my writing was put at a pause while I processed what me, my family, and everyone else had to deal with and do, in order to deal with this worldwide crisis. Understandably, this crisis has many worried, feeling helpless, scared, and have left us all with a fair amount of uncertainty for our future worldwide. We are relying on heads of government to create the plan of action that will keep us and our loved ones safe and get us through this black cloud. It is a moment that calls upon our faith and trust. To be able to trust and place our lives at the hands of people we hope have our best interest at hand and trust that they will keep themselves safe while keeping the rest of us safe as well. We all have to do our part to conjure our faith and trust that better days are ahead – this is the message that needs to be out there constantly, especially now. If you have the opportunity to help someone, then let that be your purpose today – to spread love, kindness, not fear.

We hope that our leaders are tirelessly drawing up an organized plan to lead us to safety once again to hopefully regain order in the not too distant future – but they need organization don’t they?  They are doing everything possible to obtain the necessary information from all levels of government enabling each of them to draw up a plan that will work for their respective countries to keep their nations safe – they are not going into it blindly, they are drawing up graphs, and consulting with the necessary governing bodies and experts in order to execute the best plan.  I say this respectfully: the only thing that appeals to me about this whole crisis, if anything, is that we are all working together. For a while, it seemed that everyone was out for themselves, with technology so accessible, the world seemingly at their fingertips – but no real connection, no sympathy, no understanding, no lending a hand to those vulnerable or those who need it – this especially from our world leaders. Given today’s crisis and unprecedented circumstances, our world finds itself vulnerable including its leaders , it is incumbent upon every nation to consult with one another, keep each other informed of their progress, their plan to how best resolve and combat this current global crisis .

If you look at history, humans have survived a great deal haven’t we? Global crisis dating so far back when technology was not available as it is today both on the medical front and as lines of communication – but we survived didn’t we? We must be grateful today that we have the resources available to us to manage and combat this current crisis however, it must be done globally. We are relying on everyone’s participation – not just front line workers – everyone! Trust and faith are, key. To trust our leaders while they organize the best plan of action to keep us safe, that we have faith in them, that they in turn have faith in their fellow constituents to execute their orders and assist with the best plan of action. In turn, our leaders must also have faith in us to ensure we follow through with orders in order to maintain safety. It is to have faith (period). To have come to a point in our lives that the circumstances have left us feeling that our lives are in peril; a time of darkness and uncertainty – that is when we must muster faith.

The word ‘faith’ alone conjures feelings of positivity even if currently there is no concise set plan – but we have faith in our leaders that one is being procured. That faith, allows our leaders to lead, knowing that there is this trust that when we needed it most, they will step up to the plate and protect us from harm and lead us to safety, thereby restoring all that is needed to be restored, to give our lives purpose once more. My faith is with my God, the laws of the universe, my higher being, and our current leader in government. My book on ‘Perspectives’ currently being edited, offers a chapter on faith and the importance of such a powerful noun that should exist in your everyday life. What are you currently doing that keeps you grounded and on purpose? What generally keeps you in good spirits and offers you that peace of mind that: “It too, shall pass?”    

It is important that during times of crisis, that we keep focused, that we all share in the responsibility and work together to help one another especially those who are more vulnerable. Now, is not the time to start pointing fingers, to critique, and there is certainly no room for unkindness. We must all be respectful of our neighbours; those with whom we share this planet, to  be kind to one another and yes, we must roll up our sleeves, support and help one another in whatever form that may be – time is of the essence, let’s do our part.

Now, that we have been involuntarily summoned to self-isolate and/or quarantine let’s go back to the organizing I talked about earlier in the opening of my blog. It seems, life often gets in the way with all of our responsibilities and we never give ourselves the much needed time to put together a plan that will enable us to better succeed or simply put – achieve our goals. Now, we have that time. Stop sitting in fear and put a list together of the future you! And not just your future you – but the ideal you! What have you come to realize about yourself or your life now that you have had the time to reflect? If you are a business owner – how have these recent events affected you and what do you see yourself doing now to better succeed? How will you innovate to withstand any future crisis? I challenge you to pull yourself away from whatever mindless activity this current circumstance has put you in and start organizing, start trimming, start innovating, what will be your strategy, what does your end result look like? We live in a very different historical moment – having access to so much at our fingertips, don’t let the opportunity to rise to the occasion slip through your fingers – now is the time to shine! Put into action what you, hope to create and what will help you realize that new and successful you!   

 So as you reflect, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Have I grown as a person?
  2. Have I embraced the challenges I was faced with and have I grown despite the challenges or have I grown in spite of these challenges?
  3. What specific action can I take today to get me a little closer to my goal?
  4. Have I done my share as a humanitarian? Who can I help today?
  5. How can I be more loving? How can I be more compassionate?

My list of questions and reflection is endless but I shared a smaller version with you to help you get started on yours. As you begin to reflect and implement this practice of reflection and organizing your thoughts and goals you will soon start adding to your list what is important to you of course and what resonates with you and your being.

I also, always end my daily journaling with affirmations because it is the most powerful way of ensuring that your list of wishes or goal setting becomes reality – it is a powerful tool that improves your quality of life!  By being deliberate in our intentions we can certainly guarantee ourselves success!

I would like to share some examples:

  1. I know that the universe always provides for me and I am extremely grateful
  2. I know that everything always works out for me in the most positive way
  3. I know that God (the universe, whatever higher being you look to for guidance) has a bigger plan for me  and although I may currently not see a way I know God; the universe, knows what is best for me and I am open to its guidance
  4. I am success – I allow myself to feel successful

We can choose to sit on the sidelines while we wait for daily instructions to be given to us by our nations’ leaders and for the most part we must listen to what those instructions are from a safety perspective, but we must also step up to the plate and shine as leaders, in our own organizations, in our families – to keep them safe. Stop thinking for yourself – that is not caring, it is certainly not leading, you must take yourself out of the equation and start putting others first if we are going to slowly get ourselves out of this mess! There is no room for blame, no room for chaos and certainly no room for political agendas – just solutions.  Everyone must certainly do their part.  

It was my initial vision for this blog to provide a message on the importance of organization from a goal setting perspective, but instead as life often does, I was thrown a curve ball; a harsh one at that, so I re-organized and got a little derailed but my message remains: get organized and stay focused. Leaders; lead, but they do it with a plan – start yours!  I wish nothing more than for you to succeed at whatever you choose, whatever journey, but you need to first have a vision of where you see that journey taking you, make a plan and then go for it – I promise you, you will better enjoy it or at least you will definitely see it through and if you change your vision along the way, then hey, you re-organize and execute your new plan – you owe it to yourself!  

My priority during this difficult time and time of uncertainty is to offer my support to those most vulnerable, I hope it will be yours as well. Whether it is to physically assist or simply stay indoors and do our part to help “flatten the curve” of this COVID-19 public health crisis we all have an obligation to be good humanitarians.

We are currently living this unprecedented crisis, it’s outcome filled with uncertainty but know and have faith that this is temporary, we will survive this and it’s conclusion although uncertain will hopefully leave each and every one of us personally a little better than how we started going into this crisis, of course I am not referring to financial perspective, but your internal being. That despite a global recession, despite losses suffered during these dark times, that you perhaps if nothing else, have learned to view life through a new lens, a lens that has opened doors to a new world filled with compassion, a world filled with love, kindness and peace. Yes, the economy will have taken a hit, it’s set-back a temporary derailment, despite the upset soon enough we will be taken on a new path, new trends, new ways of conducting our businesses perhaps – it is inevitable. It is my wish that as we enter this new way of life that Peace fill our minds, Love for one another, and that we experience more closeness and togetherness with our families and in general. That we of course come out of this healthy because in the end it was not the money that got us through this it was our health, it was how healthy we maintained ourselves, mind and body! So, it is my wish for you that you be blessed with much Peace, Love and excellent Health!

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families during this uncertain and difficult time, my hope is that you remain safe and healthy .

Remember to offer love to everyone, be kind always including your loyal and faithful pets!

Until our next visit together, remember to stay kind and true to yourself.

To the powerful you,

Ana Spano

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or LinkedIn. Thank you!

“Embrace change, It is the only constant in our lives” – Ana Spano

Hello beautiful souls, my apologies for taking a little break in between. Sometimes in life, we need to recognize that a break is in order, to take a breather, to allow the little things happen around us that enable us to gain a new perspective; a time to reflect; a time to develop a relationship with the inevitable changes around us.  Are you being? Or are you doing? What is your relationship with change? Are you embracing it or do you dread change? Do you associate fear with change? In the end, know change is going to happen – so embrace it, your best life depends on it!

                My message today, comes from a quote by the great Greek philosopher, Heraclitus who said: “change is the only constant in life.” With its twists and turns, life has a tendency to shake us; life happens, it is full of experiences, some negative, some positive, some a little sad, but they are experiences nonetheless that are subject to change. We each have choices in life that take us on different journeys, a path ultimately leading us to where we need to be – our destination. It is how we react to change that will determine how well we reach the next level of understanding of such experiences; each time making the experience(s) a little less painful, a little less disappointing. In accepting change, as part of life, we gain strength and inner peace.

                I am quickly recognizing that as I commit to writing more and more, allowing this shift in my life, I will attract more of the situations; or experiences rather, that I need to attract in my life, in order to write from a place of the heart – from a place of living. If we are not out there living our experiences then what are we doing? As writers, how can we effectively engage our readers, if we are not writing from experience? It is from experience that words are born from a place of love, a place of passion.

                The past few months, my thoughts and experiences come from a place of conflict; do I go this way or that way? I have been asking myself: what brings me passion? For those of you who follow me on twitter or perhaps have read My First Blog, you will know a bit about my background in that I am currently working in the legal field slowly making my transition from legal to hopefully becoming a full-time writer and published author. Whereas my current work, once upon a time brought me full joy, with time and life experiences, I can honestly say it is no longer my passion.

                I was quite young when I entered my current field, having only been married a few months, I threw myself into my work, embraced the long hours, making very little time to smell the roses and look up at the sky every now and again. I carved very little to no-time, to nurture the child in me that was filled with passions and dreams. Now looking back 28 years, I realize that it was the path my life needed to take in order to become the individual I am today. In fact, it is the path that allows me to explore this new found passion of one day becoming a published author. As a young adult getting her feet wet in the legal field, many changes had to occur. There were long hours that had to be endured early on, that taught me responsibility, determination, and dedication that groomed me to the experienced devoted professional I am today – qualities I apply in my personal life as well.

                I married quite young, fresh out of school another happy yet very life altering experience; a change that taught me patience, love, and selflessness. You see, as you go about life on your own, as a kid, and as a young adult, it is all about ‘me’; it’s about what ‘I’ can get out of it. But when you find your true partner in life, and you make a commitment, there is a shift that occurs in that little ‘selfish’ you, and you now learn to make time for others, you learn to see things from others’ point of view because you wish to re-experience all those moments as you once did at some point in your life, except  you now wish to experience it through their eyes – which is often a very different more fulfilling experience. It is in doing so, that you learn to love, that you learn to be selfless – a beautiful gift.

                As we live out our experiences in life, we are often changing. Our experiences shift our thoughts, shift our paths, and direction in life, it is what makes us grow as human beings – embrace it! As I enter a new phase in my life, now older and hopefully wiser I invite change, I no longer fear it because I have come to recognize that it is the only constant in my life and with it I continue to grow.

With change…

I realize I am no longer that little girl second guessing herself filled with doubt,

I am no longer the teenager full of big dreams and unanswered prayers,

I realize I am no longer that newlywed filled with insecurity, self-doubt, fear of what the future might hold,

I am no longer that professional questioning her place in the corporate world too eager to measure my success by the check-marks acquired  on an unrealistic set of goals that don’t even reflect who I am,

I realize I am no longer that ‘newbie’ parent too afraid to try unconventional remedies, who thinks outside the box when disciplining her family to ensure her family is healthy, safe and well loved,

It is with change that I have learned that in order to succeed at life, I must first learn to love myself and believe in myself,

It is with change that I embrace my mistakes and my failures and find my personal fulfillment.

                Life experiences and the constant change have been my true education in life. I recognize that change is an opportunity to grow – always. Change has allowed me to evolve into this well-rounded individual and it has taught me to truly analyze and accept myself, acknowledging the good moments, the bad and the growth that comes from how well I react to it. In embracing change, it enables me to live my truth, to live my purpose and what a wonderful place to be.

                The shift in change for me lately is ‘to live my best life now.’ This is my current ‘mantra’ and so… it is. It is to live my best life now, not tomorrow, not when I have more money, not when the moment is right, not when I have met the right people, not when I am feeling better. It is to live it now! This is the way life is intended to be lived. Allow change to take you to your intended purpose. Stop creating obstacles by procrastinating, or generating unnecessary fear and doubt. With change you learn to view all disappointments as blessings, ease yourself into the course of your natural being and allow yourself to love and be loved, thus allowing you to not only realize your full potential but to realize your true potential – the very core of who you were meant to be, not the product of circumstance.

                Change is an inevitable part of life. Focus on what is working for you and do away with the people and circumstances that are keeping you from being the best version of you. Believe in yourself and the experiences that got you where you are today. Value the journey, face your failures with courage, your mistakes with persistence, and love with humility and you will achieve personal fulfillment because in the end that is what will allow you to live YOUR best life NOT the life others want for you.

                I go through life not knowing what my future holds, many outside influential elements offering much uncertainty in areas of health, finance, relationships, spirituality and faith. With each path I choose, change is to be expected. People have come and gone in my life, there is never a shortage of disappointments; experiences are forever altering my thoughts and my very being; but the one thing I can always rely on is change, it is a constant – so I embrace it, I accept it as my teacher in life.

  No one in life is exempted from change; it slips in and out of our lives at any age when you least or most expect it. It may be small, it may be life altering, know that change is very much a part of life, offering an opportunity for growth. Always pay attention to what is going on around you, experience every moment, fully, no matter how painful, for it is in the face of pain that your life will have deeper meaning unlocking your full potential. Learning to embrace the impermanence in life, calmly navigating through the changes that often bring with it challenges, will ultimately catapult you to true success in creating and living your ideal life!

Until our next visit together, remember to stay kind and true to yourself.

To the powerful you,

Ana Spano


If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or LinkedIn. Thank you!

May I Be Kind?

Together we change the world, just one random act of kindness at a time.

– Ron Hall

Welcome back!  I hope you enjoyed my blog on Family! This post was originally meant to be published for the month of April but as things happen in life that were beyond my control, my thoughts had to be placed on a slight pause thereby delaying my post by a bit. As they say: C’est la vie! April sprung, May is now here and I thought what should I write about?  Depending on where you live, you might be entering into warmer weather, a little more sunshine bringing with it warm smiles and happy times ahead.  Why is that? Why do we wait for good weather to become kinder humans, more approachable human-beings? There are studies on how weather affects our mood, the benefits of sunshine, the downside of grey weather, and dampness that dampen our mood. A variety of metaphors may be applied when discussing weather and the effects to our ever changing moods vs. our changeable minds. Does your blood boil when temperatures reach an ultimate high during heat waves showing the aggressive you? Do grey skies cloud your mind? See what I mean…sorry don’t mean to make you cringe at the writing –just wanted to get my message across! Haha!  My message is simple: be the human being you were meant to be regardless of your circumstance, regardless of weather, regardless of…(you fill in the blank). How about we make a better effort to just be? To be kinder, be more soulful, be more joyful, and perhaps be more peaceful. It really is all about the type of experience you wish to have here on earth. Only you have full control of how that will unfold in your life over the years.

The trick to materializing the experience you wish is what you are willing to put emphasis on. Either we choose to make ourselves miserable or we choose to make ourselves happy. Simple? Not really depending on your perspective. I feel that a lot of our hurts, how hard we are on ourselves, have a lot to do with our disappointments in life, our endless search for our purpose, our fear of being left behind. Listen, life will throw a few curve balls every now and again and for some of you, you might feel that you have gotten more than your share, I get it. After you have processed the hurts, the painful experiences, connect with your soul, it will feed your mind the right message that in turn will have your body moving in the right direction that will ultimately have you reclaiming your power. Everyone is on their individual journey – no one is left out. This is the one guarantee in life!  If you have not yet found your purpose in life then help your fellow friends on theirs – be a constant cheerleader! Perhaps that is your journey, your path, to cheer for those that need cheering, to lift those who need lifting. Measure your success not by income but by how many you helped along the way in achieving their goals, their dreams, and you too shall realize yours. An important key – surround yourself with good people, people that lift you not tear you down.  Who have you made smile today?

As I write this blog, the sun is peering through my window calling me to go out and perhaps do a little damage on the credit card, to buy things I more than likely do not need. Instead, I choose to stay indoors typing away in my lovely kitchen hoping to reach to as many people that will take interest in my little blog just so that I perhaps make their day. Even if I only reach one reader, it may be someone who may be feeling alone today, someone who just received terrible news and needs a little pick me up, someone who has been in a slump for some time and today is the day I make an impact with my words, my cheer, spreading a little motivation, a little love. This is my wish – this is my journey. Some time ago, I created my LinkedIn account; being in the legal field, to better network with business professionals in my field. To be honest, I did not really mind the account, as initially intended, due to my extremely busy schedule at the time. I did visit my account not too long ago however, only to notice my profile byline that read: “a consummate professional dedicated to making the lives of busy executives easier.”  In life, this too is my endeavor: always to making the lives of others easier. Give of yourself so you may lessen the burdens of others – this is who I aspire to be everyday . This could be a simple smile that could go a long way, a kind word, a small gesture – that is all that is needed to help someone achieve their goal, their purpose, to hopefully assist that individual on their journey perhaps.

If you are having a hard time finding the silver lining in your own life then do your best to offer kind words or support to those you encounter during your daily interactions. Rain or shine, sunny or gloomy, whether performing a simple transaction at your local food store, or picking up your favorite cup of java at the corner coffee house, by always offering your best and leaving someone better than you found them –this in itself is a purpose!  While writing this blog, I came across a quote from actor, Denzel Washington: ”At the end of the day it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished…it’s about what you’ve given back.” Excellent words to live by.

As you reach for the umbrella to take cover from rain or sun for that matter, look beyond your discomfort, look beyond the physiological effects weather, climate, environment, circumstance may have on your mood. Rather than allowing gloomy weather or your circumstance affect your mood in a negative way, why not choose to be happy instead; choose to be kind, perhaps the person standing beside you might need that smile, that kind word, kind gesture more than you. You never know, that kind small gesture in whatever form, might just be paid forward to someone’s else 10x fold making an immense impact that you may never know and how nicer will our planet be for it?

May has arrived, bringing with it, new life, blooming flowers, perhaps a new you; a you, that will commit to being thoughtful, kind, appreciative of the little things, making room for opportunities yet to come. As you sit in traffic remember to be courteous, it will only move along if you are kind enough to let it. If you are too busy blocking everyone from getting into your lane, you are only causing yourself more aggravation and if you take the time to notice (by law of attraction) others are only doing the same to you, so let it flow. If you are waiting in line to cash out, be patient look around everyone else has schedules to meet as well, be smooth, don’t be the problem, the delay – be appreciative of the poor cashier who is only trying to do his or her best. If everyone would just take a moment to be courteous to the people around them, and be a little more understanding and compassionate, life would flow so much easier – trust the universe. Let May be the month you take notice of the little things. Although, our friend winter, seems to be stubbornly sticking around a bit longer in some parts of the world, it will soon pass, and as you begin to peel away the extra layers of clothing, look up and notice how beautiful this planet truly is and ask yourself: How may I serve? What can I do today to make this planet a little better? Who can I help today? Who can I offer a simple smile to? Who might need that cheer or that support today?

As you immerse yourself into your spring cleaning and start purging items you no longer need, de-cluttering areas in your home of items that have piled up from holiday seasons past, you must also turn your attention inward, to old habits, routines that no longer serve you. I find that when juggling marriage, parenthood, careers, we fall into automaticity simply to ensure that our ‘its’ get done, but as the years pass us by, we forget to purge some of the activities that no longer serve us, including our affected moods, leaving no room to explore new ones. This can be daunting often draining and perhaps the reason why nasty grouch peeps its ugly green head every now and again. In order to ease the task of decluttering your home, it is imperative to go to the root of why you have accumulated some items and why you insist on hanging on to them. I have observed that the longer an item ( ladies that includes clothing items, handbags and / or shoes) stays with you, the harder it becomes in letting it go even if it serves no purpose in your life other than to take up space in your already congested closet. Once you identify the root of how it remained in your closet all those years and why it would be detrimental for it to remain in your closet indefinitely, this will enable you to purge the items a little easier. It is equally necessary to do the same when decluttering your mind or doing inner-work. By identifying the root of what is currently burdening or clouding your mind that generally is the cause of stress and aggravation that in turn affects your mood, this will certainly help lighten your mood, purge old thoughts, old patterns that no longer serve you and will no longer weigh you down. Instead, put a spring in your step by changing your approach to life which starts with offering a simple smile; a gesture so small yet infectious, the benefits of which are immense to both giver and receiver.

We hope that May brings more sunshine perhaps warmer weather, although it is my perspective for this blog that we start making a conscious effort to making a shift in our mood and change our current outlook in order to have more pleasant and happy days regardless of the environment around us that includes weather and/or climate to simply be more pleasant human beings. I know, easier said than done. Do you find that you have to put a lot more effort at being kind rather than be miserable? What is more natural to you? It’s a little sad to think that greater effort is needed in spreading kindness. Studies show that the sun is an excellent source of Vitamin ‘D’ very much needed to combat a slew of diseases and symptoms including fatigue and depression. Although the sun may contribute to the reason why most of us show our smiles allowing others to see our beautiful shiny, hopefully well-kept teeth, it should however, not be the only source for our good nature or the reason to be kind to one another n’or should rain or cloudy days for that matter, be the reason why most of us walk around grumpy barking at everyone in our path. Let the freshness of the month of May be the month to not only do a little spring cleaning around the house; giving your space an uplift, but perhaps introduce the exercise of also conducting inner work thus making some adjustments on how you view yourself and those around you. Introduce a new outlook, allow good vibes fill you by spreading more kindness and more cheer to those you encounter as a daily practice, offer a smile whenever possible, and simply be kind it will only be returned to you 10x fold and the results – exponential, I promise!

As I give this blog its final tweak and decide to post, it is raining here in Toronto and I sit again in my lovely kitchen once again, blinds drawn up, deep in thought about what my purpose is today. I hear my doggy’s little paws on my wood floor as she curiously strolls around every corner of my home looking for someone to play, looking for some love, looking for some cuddles. The world in its diversity too, is in need of some love, in need of some kindness. There are parts of the world suffering from scarcity, violence, and just all sorts of ugly and I don’t think it’s important that I name the source of their suffering but it is sad that in today’s age – this is still a thing. We live in the age of technology, such advancement has led us to accessibility of all sorts of information at lighting speed and you would think that together we would be able to conquer these deficiencies (for lack of a better word) and be able to progress to a more prosperous planet, a united planet, instead there are communities falling even farther behind. No, instead, our planet has a surplus of political drama; political parties lacking vision, a surplus and rise in health related concerns quite possibly brought on from the stress and worry we see around the world that very much affect home. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were a surplus in kindness instead? Let’s visualize what that planet might be like. Let’s work towards taking that vision to the next level through our technologies that are so accessible, so part of our daily routine. Let’s teach leaders that this is possible. This vision begins with the tone you set for yourself and those you encounter the minute you walk out your front door by offering that hello, that smile.

The title for my Blog may not have been my most creative work, but hey it fit the message. Maybe it will serve to stick in your mind every time the month of May rolls around prompting you of such changes, if you need a little reminding. May could be the month you apply that ‘checklist’ I wrote about back in ‘My First Blog‘ post. There are certain months that have an ‘awareness’ attached to it, why not make the month of May, the month you remember to declutter, purge negative moods that have set up camp within you for some time and allow the goodness of the spring air, the blossoming of new flowers bring with it positive shifts in your mood, that help grow an awareness to nourishing a kinder you. There are many things that may be beyond our control but the one thing we as humans actually have a handle on is: being kind. What a better planet this would be if we all chose to be kind – why not a surplus of kindness?

I could write all day on this topic of kindness, but I want you to visit me again. So off I go to cuddle with my furry friend and spread some love as I run some errands. How May I serve the planet today?  How will you? May I be kind?   

Stay humble, be kind always,

Ana Spano

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or LinkedIn. Thank you!

A farewell to an Angel

Angels sail back to God on the sea of joy.

– Terri Guillemets

I would like to dedicate this blog to my beautiful sister-in-law, Lisa (aka my little sis), who recently passed away at age 39, too young, too soon.

A few short months ago my husband and I visited, my sister-in-law, at the hospital. I recall we had a rough drive back, thinking the worst was to come. My husband shared with me at that moment that God needed Lisa up above, to keep things in check. If you had the opportunity to meet Lisa, you know she was tough; tough at work, tough at home always keeping everyone in-check. Lisa must now be looking down at us from above, guarding us all  being a light always to her precious sons, and of course to her loving husband.

I met Lisa 18 years ago, she and my brother-in-law had just started dating. My brother-in-law brought her to the hospital; an hour after I gave birth to my youngest daughter on this very day; April 14th, back in 2001. It would be the first time she and I would meet. I recall thinking what an awkward way to meet someone for the first time; feeling so tired after a 17 hour labor. She sat near the foot of my hospital bed and flashed me that cute shy smile. I remember thinking she is someone special to remember.

Lisa had extremely large hands – often the joke whenever we got together. She was always conscious about how large her hands were, always making fun claiming they were manly compared to my tiny bony hands (size 5 finger). Her hands were a representation of her personality – she was so strong; a warrior.  Her hands often herding her loved ones to where they needed to be, protecting, and loving.

Naturally, the home she would pick for her family would be in the country where she would enjoy the openness; a place to express her creativity; a place where she would enjoy riding her horses. A home she actually took on as a project, having it custom built to her taste, her personality, being involved in picking every detail of that beautiful ranch.  It was wonderful to watch her ride, she seemed so free. Her hands were meant for farming and for tackling the roughness and toughness of life.

Everything about Lisa was unique, her sense of style, the way she tackled life in general -she was truly special. Here I was now, sitting at the foot of her hospital bed one October evening sitting in awkward silence not knowing what to say or do to comfort her. There was a moment when we locked eyes for what seemed like an eternity, I was at a loss for words, as I stared into her beautiful deep green eyes and watched a tear roll down her cheek, as she expressed how she had done all she could in the slightest whisper. As they wheeled her away for a CT Scan I kissed her on the forehead and we both whispered: “I love you”.

On April 1st, 2018, my uncle passed away; Lisa would have already received her medical report a few months earlier and a few weeks after his passing, would now receive devastating news that would forever alter her life and the lives of her loved ones. I must say, this one is definitely leaving a big hole in my heart.

We said our final goodbyes on April 11th, 2019, when she was laid to her final resting place.  We shed tears for her feeling it was too soon, but our hearts will be forever filled with the warmth of our eternal love for her. 

I would always address Lisa as my little sister in greeting cards and in text messages. So, little sis: “you came into our lives for a brief moment and we thank you for blessing us with the gift of compassion and love. You fought a tough fight like a warrior leaving two beautiful boys as your legacy and we shall return that love eternally. Your departure has brought a special bond between two families that share a common love – you.  You are now another angel we can call upon to protect us and keep us safe because in the end that was always your purpose to stand like a warrior; protecting, fighting for a cause, as on earth you now fulfill your purpose up above.

God bless you little sis, may you rest in peace.

FAMILY

Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.

– Michael J. Fox

Welcome back! I hope you enjoyed my first blog. I am having fun embracing this writing venture – truly, a long-time passion of mine.  This Blog is a tribute to family and the importance of family values. Today, we are celebrating Family Day, here in Canada, we are given an opportunity to enjoy Family Day; a statutory holiday recognized by our government, created to spend more time with family – precious loved ones in our lives.

When we think of family, hopefully we all visualize harmony, love, bonding, and all the beautiful loving feelings that are deep rooted within us that fill us when we have the opportunity of getting together with our immediate families and our extended families as well.

Today, it seems that we have lost the value of what family signifies.  Gone are the days of getting together with grandparents for Sunday lunch or brunch, now being replaced with dance, soccer, hockey and whatever sport is up for the season. We no longer connect with our families in a way that is meaningful, through conversation, through touch, that makes us feel the inevitable- love. Instead, we spend most of our free time being plugged into our devices, always distracted, distancing ourselves from the ones we love.

Where have our traditions gone?  Life today has us on such a whirlwind with all the toys and whistles that we have forgotten the true meaning of what being a family is truly about.  Have you ever heard the expression: “a family that eats together, stays together? Or is it a family that prays together stays together,” whatever the phrase is, the operative word is together.  What happened to sit down dinners?  Are the tables in our kitchens and dining rooms just space fillers? 

As society gives in to the ever growing technological day-to-day demands, we have simply forgotten to make family time.  Sure, there has been a rise in family vacations. Families are now working harder to be able to afford that family trip at the end of the year.  But are you really bonding as a family when you get to your sunny destinations?  Or are you simply taking a trip because it is the trendy thing to do all the while fulfilling your thirst for envy by those around you? While you are out there working on your tan and shopping for that expensive bag or jewelry are you truly bonding with your children and partner?

Reading today’s media, we read articles filled with these young larger than life idols but where have they gone wrong?   What is truly keeping these young idols from achieving their true dream of family, and staying grounded, after all isn’t that what we all dream of achieving anyway?  Fame is wonderful as long as you have your family supporting you every step of the way.  It is your family that will catch you when you fall, not the paparazzi or the box office.

Putting it in perspective, a family is the bonding of a group of people whether blood related or not who will go to bat for you when things are just not going well.  A family will hold you when you need to be held, they will, more often than not, get on your nerves, but that is what makes us grow closer together once we have ironed out our differences.   They will make you laugh when you need a little cheering and they make you shed tears when things are said and done that are close to the heart—that is what makes family so sacred and truly special.   Therefore, don’t families need celebration?  Perhaps, some gratitude for all that they put forth as a unit?  So why not celebrate by spending some time together to really truly bond and show the respect it deserves.

Some few years back, pop idols: the “Jonas Brothers”, created a media frenzy with their innovative sound and talent, writing and producing their own music and lyrics, this was a band composed of three brothers all with a talent that had girls as young as 4 to age 20 and their mothers, enjoying their talents on stage and off.  Their secret: a strong family bond.  They are in fact, four brothers, one of which was too young to join the band at the time, but either way, received some recognition in many interviews—this shows a great value for all members in this particular family.  They show a tremendous amount of respect for one another, each holding an important role in the band and this is truly what sets them apart; in my opinion, from other performers.  What really stood out in this particular group were their family values.  In the end when the mania wears off, these young men will continue to be brothers sharing the same bond they always shared on and off stage. That’s how dated this paragraph is as this was some time ago, back in 2008. My husband and I joined our girls during their fan frenzy era if this boy-band, attending concerts, watching them on the Disney Channel, but that’s what you do, you enjoy, you support, you create memories together. My girls are now age 21 and 17, their flavor for this year, Rock Band: Greta Van Fleet; a talented Rock Bank composed of a family bond: three brothers and a childhood friend – here we go again!

It is the family values having been instilled in us from a tender age; the unbreakable bond, that is going to make a difference on how our children will raise their families and commit to long term marriage.    It is the families that truly enjoy each other’s company, quirks and all, that can talk about everything from daily events, politics, music to what’s on the Disney /Family or Netflix channel, or sometimes just chilling together, that will succeed in achieving a true harmonious family bond.

My immediate family, consist of my husband of 28 years, my two beautiful daughters, and my dog – because yes, she participates in family occasions, she gives the most awesome cuddles and loves us unconditionally, so of course she is very much a part of this family unit. Like my children, my dog knows when she has done something wrong; she will do anything to get our attention, to make us laugh. She understands I like to keep a clean house, so she will try very hard to keep her area clean although at time fails, just like my girls and that’s ok – she adds a certain element of responsibility to this very tight family unit, we cannot remember a day when she was not part of our lives!

Regardless of how you choose to define your family unit, when an opportunity for a get together with your loved one arises, whether it be for a summer barbecue, or a quaint popcorn and a movie for 4 or 5, maybe 10 on the comfy couch, just remember that aside from creating memories, it is these moments that make an impression for the younger generation and help mold their values, set a solid foundation on what a true family should be and that is: a sense of closeness, love, compassion, empathy, respect and lots and lots of good times. Set your technological devices aside, enjoy the outdoors or cozy up by the fireplace and enjoy family time, perhaps play a game board – too back in time? Then, just do what your family does best and enjoy making memories together!

Being part of a family is the ultimate gift in life because it is to experience love, to be a part of something truly wonderful, to be love and forever be loved. You can do anything and be anything knowing your family has your back!

Enjoy your family today and every day, enjoy your OHANA!  Cherish your family, it is truly the greatest blessing in life!

Life can be challenging, people are most definitely challenging, how can we learn to look at these challenges as positives, it all depends on your perspective! I hope you join me on my next blog as it will give you a sneak peek to my almost finished book on perspectives that I hope will serve as a tool teaching us that we grow in times of adversity, to embrace your failures and be the light after a moment of darkness.

Until then, be kind and true to yourself.

To the powerful you,

Ana Spano


If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or LinkedIn. Thank you!

Welcome to my first Blog post

Hello everyone, I finally made some time from being busy to dabble at writing. I am currently working on a book and I hope to share some of my thoughts, experiences, opinions through my Blog and hope some of these pieces will make it on my book. Coming from a legal background I am embracing this literary world which is totally new and foreign to me.

Law is very black and white I have learned, but it all heavily relies on interpretation – a perspective, if you will. This is how I view life. It is all about perspective isn’t it? A medical perspective, a legal perspective, an artistic perspective, a political perspective – the list is endless. When  an opinion is asked of me on a legal matter or case, I cannot just give you a superficial response one that is on the surface only – I must go deep. My colleagues are fully aware that there is no quick answer or simple question. When they come into my office for a consultation – they must have many facts on hand before they can even approach me for an opinion. You see, when contemplating the facts of a case and before I can even begin to process an opinion or an assessment of a case – there is a checklist that must be satisfied. I will require to know, details of the accident, damage to vehicle, injuries reported from the outset, occupation of the victim, family life, medical history, etc.Why you ask is this so important? It allows me to have a better understanding of the victim involved.I will have a better understanding of the damages already visible and the damages that might arise in the future based on past case analysis and just simple experience in the field.

I have the same approach to life. Whether I am meeting someone new or going through new phases in life – I apply a checklist.  I will always ask myself a series of questions that might go something like this:

  1. Why am I meeting this person?
  2. Why is my meeting this individual imperative in my life right now?
  3. Why is this happening to me right now?
  4. What am I learning from this experience or from this person?
  5. Why might I have attracted this person or experience in my life right now?
  6. If I think with my heart, what might my next step be? Is knowing this person good for me? Is this experience good for me?

The above are samples of some of the questions. You might say – well Ana that is quite annoying if you have to analyze everything but I assure you the experience is so much more pleasant for me when I go through this analytical process, rather than just going through the motions, an experience that might leave you unsatisfied or uninterested in that someone you just encountered simply because of lack of understanding or an unwillingness to want to understand the experience, the person or whatever the situation is.When meeting someone new, I always embrace the experience knowing that we are interacting with so many different people with different backgrounds and from so many different walks of life on a daily basis – which is why every day should be different and beautiful! As soon as you step outside your front door you must be ready to embrace whatever the day holds for you. Keep in mind that everything has a cause and effect. Just like you want to be understood, so does the individual you just met.

This is just a small taste of the type of blog conversations I hope to hold with my readers. Listen, life is already complicated and quite frankly it shouldn’t be – we make it complicated. If life has thrown something at you that you currently don’t understand, sit down and apply the questions I shared in the paragraph above. We all need to understand that life is a series of adjustments. It’s the recipe to keeping alive! Without these adjustments – life is dormant, no growth – slowly dying. If you feel that perhaps the people you have surrounded yourself are bringing you down, you must as Robin Sharma puts it: “Let go of the relationships in your inner-circle that steal your joy. Your highest life depends on this one winning move.”

I have a library of books that are my absolute treasure. I will share with you what I have learned from these beautiful brilliant minds. If there is a topic you wish to discuss it could be work related or simply your view on any given topic, I definitely would like to hear about it. It will give me material to future posts and we can certainly tackle together what might be troubling you or if it is simply a positive thought that everyone should hear about – I am most certainly open to that.

Listen, you get one chance at life. Whether it be short or a long life – make it count. Fill your mind with the richness of beautiful words, your days with positive experiences, filled with adventure, be the type of person you would want to meet – create the ultimate you! Make all this possible, while keeping true to yourself!


With Family Day around the corner, I hope to share my thoughts on the importance of showing up when it comes to family, setting differences aside, or at least learn to look past your differences, to simply enjoy precious moments with those who count in your life. No compromise just simple compassion and empathy.

Until then, be kind and true to yourself.

To the powerful you,

Ana Spano

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or LinkedIn. Thank you!