Happiness Is Key to Unlocking World-Class Success—Optimism is Everything.

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.—Albert Schweitzer

Success is a matter of interpretation. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Success can take on many forms or mean different things, to many people, personally and professionally. To some, the bigger the better. The expression: “go big or go home”, comes to mind when thinking from an entrepreneurial mindset. For me, personal growth is success. That every day I learn something new, about myself, about life, about how each of us have a purpose in this vast planet, something to contribute and that I, in some small or big way may have a part in the success of a vision in the grand scheme of things.

Hello my beautiful souls! While corporations pride themselves in lifting economies, I will strive myself to lift your spirits, celebrate and elevate the creative genius that is you! This world is full of great thinkers, yet happiness is thought of as the ultimate end goal often the result of external rewards or accolades. Success should not be a noun describing an end-result, an accomplishment of an aim, but a feeling. The feeling you get when you nurture the concept of a book for example and you work hard on it for months, maybe years—you enjoy the highs and lows of writing—the epiphanies along the way and then you write the last sentence, you type that last period on your manuscript—oh what joy that is, what a sense of accomplishment!  Nothing is more rewarding than the hard work put in and the happiness and joy you feel along the way—this is success! Happiness for me, is the beautiful feelings cultivated from the big and small moments, the blood, sweat, tears and love poured on a masterpiece. No titles, no hiding behind large offices, or expensive toys—success is to be empowered by connections made, fueled by passion always offering support, spreading the ultimate enthusiasm—this is what my perception of success should feel like.

The painful reality is that very few have limited themselves to inviting into their world a vision for ‘success’ or a what a potential or level of success would be like; worse yet have denied themselves the capability that success is within us all, that we all have the ability to realize and materialize into our world in achieving optimal success—perhaps they feel underserving of that success. Sadly, most of us operate from a perspective that: Life operates on life’s terms. That we are surrounded by a multitude of realities playing out in our world brought on by others. Circumstances, events, playing on emotion become our superficial realities. The result of these realities becomes what you see in the mirror. Ruthless, hard, drained, deceitful-always trying to stay ahead, hungry, competitive—all drawn from fear. True success relies heavily on what you perceive that success to be for you, success may be having optimal health always, great friendships—a solid marriage, from an entrepreneurial mindset, it might be overcoming challenges and rising above amidst adversity—you hold a strong vision for yourself of possible outcomes—a reflection of your truth. Do you view the world from a face-value perspective—what you see is what you get? Or are you more of let’s imagine it and go after it—the world is full of possibilities kind of visionary—that anything you imagine has the potential to become a reality! And what a wonderful way to view life from a lens that the world is our playground and the life we dream ourselves is ready for the picking as soon as we are ready, as soon as we consciously choose to follow that dream, and begin to take part in that process of joyfully creating a life that reflects our highest value—it will remain dormant until you make the decision to choose it—to follow your path, to follow your truth.

Learning to use your imagination faithfully on any project without the trappings of ego, is essentially the secret to truly creating the ultimate experience you wish to experience in this lifetime. Following your bliss; submitting to your ultimate truth, is the only way one can achieve greatness. It is what makes the Sir Richard Bransons, the Warren Buffets, the Tony Robbins, of the world—these innovators simply tapped into a set of principles—their truth proven time and time again by their personal experiences materializing into immense success. Their start began with an immense desire—a vision. A vision so strong they each assumed it as a ‘wish fulfilled’.  Now let me be clear, to say that these men are geniuses, or anyone out there accomplishing their vision of a dream to a high degree and call them geniuses is simply to place them in a certain category when having a discussion, it is not to say these individuals have a specific gene that makes them geniuses. They are geniuses because they have tapped into an awareness; drawing from personal experience, viewing their successes and failures as tools necessary to navigate life in remarkable ways. Through their heroic efforts, these visionaries, these bold thinkers have managed to ignore critics, have done the unreasonable, they push the envelope and seize glorious opportunities as they show up—not always on their schedule, but they have learned to listen to their gut—their intuition, never steering them wrong. They show up courageous and fearless, speaking their truth from a place of authenticity. Ready to succeed.

So yes, dream, follow your heart and soon your body will follow—always staying true to yourself. But is this enough to feel successful?  Many, go out there, plant their stake, break ground, fill beautiful buildings with active minds and souls from all over the world and they get busy. Anyone can show leadership behaviour, but are they equipped with all the tools to properly navigate the ship? Strong leadership translates into increased performance outcomes. Ineffective leadership can stifle an organization’s ability to reach its full potential for success. So why do many businesses fail when it comes to receiving that health check in leadership scores? We all lead in some form, in our homes, our families, our friendships, our relationships, our workplace—to be effective leaders we need the right perspective. The most successful organizations grow leaders throughout their organizations—know your role. Everyone needs to be accountable for their role within their place of work, their home, their relationships. The word lead in leadership means to guide, to influence other individuals, perhaps in teams, or organizations, or in your personal life, your family, your friendships, and relationships—the success depends largely on approach or the set of leadership principles these ‘leaders’ will choose to successfully navigate their business life and personal life. Research tells us that great leaders are not a hereditary genius but most likely characteristics that can be developed with the proper tools, education, environment, healthy perspectives, often creating opportunities along the way. Successful leaders never miss an opportunity to elevate, give praise often, add value by counting their blessings. Have the awareness to recognize that everything that has happened to you, was necessary to get you where you are today—to become the genius, kind soul you are today. Success is not a popularity contest—enjoy the moment—be present always. Share your success—embrace change and all its mess, and open yourself to the brilliant life you are meant to have—happiness will be sure to kick into high gear and what a beautiful feeling to share.

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.—John C. Maxwell

When discussing success, I feel it equally important to discuss leadership, as we all need to learn to behave as leaders not only in our work environments but in our personal lives as well. In fact, showing up as a leader in your everyday life, will certainly transcend the rest. People want to be a part of an organization that allows them to bring their gifts and talents to work on a daily. To be heard. How pivotal for any organization to have powerful creative conversations from the top CEOs to the youngest freshest minds, sharing visionary insights at all levels, having the boldness to tackle challenges with pure optimism—it is infectious, next level of authentic excellence—it is the formula to exceptional success. With excellent leadership comes excellent relationships. I cannot think of the most satisfying feeling than to feel you are contributing to something big, to feel engaged with your team, to feel that your contribution is worth something. It makes me feel alive and want to produce more. A leader, that promotes this healthy work environment, comes from a mindset of feeling quite successful in their own lives; optimism is infused, and they wish to bring more of that to their place of work—their baby. Interesting choice of word don’t you think? Often, I hear entrepreneurs refer to their projects, their business, as their baby. I wonder, if they are truly taking care of their business(es) like they would an actual baby? I know it is a metaphor but having cared for two babies in my lifetime (I am referring to my daughters of course), I must tell you, there is a lot of nurturing involved. In addition, to all the nurturing and teaching, all is done with a great amount of love. The love you pour into a family, particularly a young child, is like the amount of sun and water and yes love, a flower needs to grow. Without a parent’s love and guidance, a child will have a difficult time growing to its potential. In addition to parenting, I have also been blessed with the opportunity of mentoring, working in supervisory level type positions in the corporate world and I too have poured all my love into my work to ensure that bosses, peers, colleagues, teammates received my personal excellence, always—this is me showing up, this is me loving myself!

So, what are we doing to our businesses are we mass producing? Building for the sake of banging out a quick fix, a product that may or may not last or worse yet, because of rapid growth in technology, are we just mindlessly adding too many options—confusing consumers? What happened to quality and value? Our success comes from creating positive cultures within our establishments knowing we are making a difference not only with our product but in the lives of the individuals who support us, contributing to this planet hoping to leave it a little better than we found it—that is the feeling of success! You see when we lift others, when we inspire, we offer a genius that knows no boundaries, this optimism is infectious, in turn our families (in business and in our homes) conjure this discipline, this immense feeling of remaining brilliantly focused on their endeavors, creating, adding value, dreaming bigger and voilá the whole world gets to experience greatness, separating genius from the rest. Be remarkable at what you do. This is genius at work! This is building success from within!

You might have the right product, the right project or idea but do you have a vision of what that success might look like for you? Do not forget to take your dose of humility wherever you go. You might be making truckloads of money, you might be the number one producer and your confidence is unparallel, but what is your legacy? Nobody likes arrogance. A wonderful quote I came across that sums up humility is: “Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up.”—Jesse Jackson. I think we are too eager to get to the finish line, an idea is born, and we cannot wait for the world to see our creation, but along the way, we forget the ‘our’ in our creation. Oftentimes, leaders of organizations forget that a vision is only a vision until you get an army behind the scenes and with their support, that vision materializes. It is imperative that as visionaries, leaders, consumers, that we become aware, of the brilliance that surrounds us, at home, at work, every establishment that we have the good fortune to visit or do business with. It is easy to get to the end result relying on so many, but how quickly we forget the beautiful souls supporting us along the way, that in the end we only take notice of our pockets; rather than seeing with clarity, the forces helping our dream unfold. Taking notice of such courage, strength, love, kindness is to awaken the hero in you, trusting the course of life and simply unleashing greatness! This togetherness, this feeling of community, building together as a whole is the success I am referring to. It takes a village to raise a child—your child, why not offer security, love, encouragement—breathe life to your passion but raise it, with world class level of care in order to achieve world class level of success!

So, while goal setting is incredibly important in setting yourself up for success, I would like to share with you the following set of principles that will assist you and offer you guidance to feeling accomplished and successful while revolutionizing your life with the people you work with, the loved ones you live with, and with those you get to encounter every single day with whom you share this journey called life:

  1. Self Love. There is nothing you cannot accomplish when you have practiced self-love.
  2. Dream. Visualize. Let it take hold of you and act.
  3. Devote time to your dream—no one else will. What will that end-result look like? Be sure to include how this service will benefit others, will benefit the world? To leave the world a little better than you found it. Schedule time to work on you. Exercise, meditate, affirmation, dream, map out your goals. Journal. What is written, gets done!
  4. How does that success feel? Everyone gets caught up on end results, and outcomes, the materials they wish to acquire, but forget how they wish to feel along the way or when that ‘dream’ is finally realized, how did they intend to feel. Do you wish to feel joy? Do you wish to feel peace? Do you wish to feel love? It is wonderful to achieve the materials success brings with it, but why is it that when all is said and done, why do most not necessarily feel successful once they get there? For most, while building their empire, it is a whole lot of busyness, stress, worry—is this what success feels like? Success is not a destination, it is one of many journeys in life at the end, love is the feeling we all wish.
  5. Always act with kindness. Be optimistic about your vision, your dream, your project, your home and the life in it. Kindness, optimism is infectious—soon others will follow, you cannot fail.
  6. If you feel you are the smartest person in the room—then you need to find new friends, and yes, a new perspective. It is not necessarily that you are the smartest person in the room, perhaps you are not engaging with those around you. Everyone has something to offer—be open to discussion, invite intellectual and fun conversations—all promote healthy environments. We should always strive to learn new things. Become a world-class listener. Soon, the creative juices flow and genius arrives!
  7. Do you! Stop following the crowd. Be bold take action toward your dream, honor your specialness, step into your authenticity regardless of what the critics might think—the world will be a better place once you do.  
  8. Be respectful. Just as you think you earned your respect—so should your colleagues and teammates, be respected. These are mothers, fathers, members of congregations and communities—treat them with respect; I am sure they have earned it. Treat everyone you meet as you wish to be treated. When you bark orders and talk down to people—it makes one wonder how you see yourself and those in your household? It costs nothing to be kind and respectful, yet it will pay dividends manyfold when you trust and believe in your team.
  9. Encourage a safe and positive environment—compliment often. Never miss an opportunity to celebrate and elevate those you get to work with and have relationships with. The universe will often shower you with opportunities to shine—be your exceptional self always!
  10. Create the ultimate product or the ultimate experience. Commit to your craft. Whatever you are selling, whatever the service, whether at home, at work or life—make it world-class. Create the ultimate experience. To do this, you must ask the right question: How can I give more, do more, be more? The focus should be on how to provide more value—this is untapping to unlimited possibilities in creating the life you deserve, the life of your dreams. Lead the field in what you do. Over deliver always. Stay true to your vision.
  11. Embrace failure. Learn to fail fast. The more you do, the more opportunities to fail at, the more growth you will experience, the grander the mastery. You will know happiness once you experience pain and adversity.
  12. Practice gratitude. The daily practice of gratitude cultivates a positive outlook—beneficial for our brain and wellbeing. Compassion and kindness are the benefits we receive when practicing gratitude—it is certainly a great motivator in the workplace.  Expressing gratitude for growth opportunities, including challenges, new experiences, offering positive supportive feedback to colleagues and staff.  Reflect often. Are you aligned with your deepest beliefs? What is a game changer for you?
  13. Unplug. Go back to nature. Excessive media use is not good for us physically, mentally, or emotionally. Unplugging improves quality of life. Reduce (stress), recharge, renew and be present.
  14. Always keep learning. Journal often (if you are not able to daily), listen to podcasts, not just in your field in everything—as you know more you achieve more—you become legendary. Have gorgeous conversations with masters.

I know my list looks very lengthy, but that is because I always have so much, I want to share. Often, I over share but it is because of the love I have for you—I want you to succeed. When you succeed, we all succeed. The world is a better place.

I have touched on some of the points listed already in the paragraphs above, and I will take the opportunity to touch on some of them further in the following paragraphs because I feel they need a little more elaborating—that’s me again over sharing😊.  Above all else, before you can succeed at anything, you must first know and practice the power of selflove. To align to your highest level of excellence self-love must be your starting point. Detecting your authentic values early on is key. Have a relentless devotion to working on your personal mastery, to develop a trust and have faith that you are built for success—ready to accept whatever the universe feels is necessary for growth—always trusting the course, knowing when to let go of situations, circumstances, relationships, that no longer serve you, inviting change necessary for the new and better to take root and rise above. Empires can easily crumble when there is lack of self-love. No 3-step, 5-step or 10-step guide to success will truly work if your world within, is a mess, your foundations are weak, the way you view yourself is from a space of neglect, a place of detest, not loving the skin you are in. I have neatly elaborated on this topic, in my November post: “The More You Clean Up Your Inner World, The More Beautiful Your Outer World Will Be.” Everything begins from within—the doorway to success is inward not outward. I am not referring to being self-absorbed, or narcissistic, viewing the world with a sense of entitlement—this is just acting from fear. When you do nothing for yourself—the world owes you nothing.

As a young girl entering the workforce, I took pride in my image; how I conducted myself in public, at work and with my colleagues and teammates. My morning rituals always start with meditations, affirmations, stretches, a shower and some more feel-good affirmations all the way to my office. I do not leave my home unless I am well put together—it is how I respect myself. I always arrive to work with the right mindset and always early or on time. I am at my desk ready to work, ready to tackle the never-ending demands of my work. Even as a teenager I always made sure I dressed well, looked professional in school and at my part-time jobs—it is how I showed up, ready. Many organizations adapt titles identifying individuals with high level of responsibility running their operations such as a CEO, COO, VP, CIO, CFO, their vision will drive the company’s success and profitability, these are the big weights that strategize, plan, and collaborate to keep an organization operating smoothly and efficiently. But what if their world is running from a mindset of lack? What if their world is running from a space of pain and rejection? Will these big weights produce success? Are they in a position to rise higher than the person they see in the mirror every day and do they have it in them to take that business and its operating mechanism (staff and all tools in it) to an exponential level of success? And when and if they manage to rise, will they stay there long enough, be consistent, are their foundations strong enough to build excellent business relationships, groom excellent leaders within the organization that will see growth amid challenge and conflict? Self-love is the master tool that will help any leader rise above darkness, work through pain, work through challenges—a leverage necessary to rise to astounding success. Love, mistakes, hurts, pains and all, is what you open yourself up to when you practice self-love and become equally accepting of those flaws from your colleagues, teammates, family and friends.  Just as many motivators speak to creating goals, and schedules to get optimal results for success, how many of us think of working on ourselves? Do you love yourself enough to get up early and take care of you? Do you honor yourself, appreciate who you are as a human being? Are you being kind to yourself and in turn are you transcending that kindness to others? If you are not kind to yourself, if you are not loving yourself, expect nothing from anyone else. Be kind. Self-love is such an important part of life—it is how your life and the world reflect on the outside. If you feel deserving of love, of kindness, if you are honoring yourself, taking care of your body, this is self respect—soon others pick up on this and offer you respect. When you love yourself, you offer that love and kindness to others—its what this world needs more of right now. I cannot see the success of any organization if the culture and environment is one without love? The more love you pour into yourself, the more love, you will pour into your work, love tends to overflow and wouldn’t that be a wonderful place to work and produce—this is success.

None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude. Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves and spend without fear of bankruptcy.—Fred De Witt Van Amburgh

When reflecting on success as a feeling, the most important principle here is gratitude. Be grateful that you get to practice something you love every day. Remember that what you do positively affects countless people. Being thankful and having a positive attitude allows you to create a better and happier environment—gratitude always comes from a place of love. The way you are in the world is a deep reflection of the way you are with yourself—be grateful. You have worked hard to get here, if we are discussing organizations, it is important to reflect on the collaboration of a team that got you here, that assisted with the execution of your vision. When your love comes from a place of gratitude, to be grateful of all your experiences, the good, the dark, the painful, it cultivates a behaviour that reflects your deepest beliefs. When you take care of yourself and consistently work hard to become a better version of yourself (this takes daily practice and daily work) you will keep self-promises—never disappoint (yourself). By expressing gratitude, we learn to appreciate what we already have instead of always being in search for our happiness; in search for that something we think is missing in our lives; often leaving us feeling unfulfilled. This goodness, this gratitude, will only serve to give you more of that which you find deserving, because you are being true to yourself, true to your heart.

We must go into the world each day and be our best selves, live our best lives—life offers daily opportunities to lead with humility. As you awaken, you free yourself from all attachment while enjoying the pleasures of this world where fear is no longer a source of reaction, love in its place. It is only then, that something infinitely greater starts taking root, with love as your source you can begin to make real contribution towards bringing about a better, safer, kinder world. Your outer world then, becomes the quality of your language, your thoughts, the extraordinary value you hold for yourself—all mirroring your inner world—this is the guide to greatness. Take every opportunity to shine—show up a true leader and success will be at your fingertips!

It is my truest wish that you succeed immensely in every aspect of your life, including your business endeavors, that as we shine inward, planting seeds for success, that we collectively start making real contributions and that as we transform our individual lives and become superstars in our craft, that we stay devoted to making a world of difference in creating a more compassionate world, staying committed to leaving it better than we found it while living a rich purposeful life! You deserve to live a brilliant abundant life—be the light of the world! Remember to offer love and elevate everyone in your life, work life, and those you have the opportunity to meet today. Offer much love to your family and friends (everyone is extra hurting), give love and more love always, including your loyal and faithful pets!

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

To the beautiful powerful you,

Ana Spano

P.S. If you enjoyed this post, I would be incredibly grateful if you would help it spread by forwarding it to a friend or sharing it on Twitter or LinkedIn. I am now on IG, come join me there @anaspanowriter! Thank you!

ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WHEN YOU FOLLOW YOUR HEART

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: it is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. —Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Hello beautiful souls! It is my wish that you and your families are healthy, safe and that your homes are filled with peace, love, happiness and yes, lots and lots of joy—it is good for the heart and soul! As we lived through 2020, there were many words used to describe the undeniable disappointment of a year. Words like difficult times, uncertainty, challenging, tough times, have all been used in every ad during 2020, every poster, every commercial to describe a time when the world stood still. A global pandemic was not only on the agenda for 2020; unfortunately, there was much despair stemming from political battles that laid bare racial inequalities; we cannot deny the financial crisis suffered by many, a collapsed economy, record breaking climate disasters, the despair, the heart-wrenching cries all over the world; many of us watching in disbelief as we cried along suffering our own hurts. None of us were spared the cruel reality of 2020, our lenses were in full view of all there is to see when all the glitter and sparkle is shadowed by darkness. I am sorry for all your hurts; all your pain, sending you much love, healing and hope for harmony and peace.

After much reflection, and healing, we must move on. It is time to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off from the rubble, wipe the tears off our beautiful faces and follow our hearts—it has a way of knowing what is good for us. Our hearts always know how to steer us from moments of crisis and help us find the silver linings. Yes, it was painful, at times it seemed that only darkness prevailed; the good never to return. Strength, courage, resilience is what we found underneath all that rubble. Alas we made it through together, we held each other up; love our beacon of light, offering encouragement where there was none—a force to be reckoned with. For me, it was more of taking my power back. I have always been an influencer of a positive mindset (that is my tagline😊). I love making everyone around me feel good about themselves, about what they are doing, what they hope to create—I am always there to support the positive! “Follow your heart,” I always say. 2020 was about letting go of the things that no longer served me and my spirit, and more about following my heart. You see when you tune in to the news and all the negativity in the media, it has a way of playing itself in your life, in your world and if you give into it, it becomes your reality. I understand the importance of the ‘news’ and social media to stay connected to all things around the world. It is good to be informed, but are you processing the information with the right perspective? And please, I say this with great love and respect: take every news, every announcement, every message with a grain of salt. Listen to it; understand it, do your research and move on, do not allow it to consume you. Be consumed with love, good spirits, joy instead. If your occupation deals directly with the news and or has some affiliation, then, that information must have more of an impact on you; it is information you need to do something with, as for the rest of us, we are simply observers, praying, taking action if there is a call of action to be taken, to make this world and leave it better than we found it, but for the most part, we observe, we take the lessons and move on. When you have a gloomy picture of what the world looks like, you will automatically block any potential growth, you will be unreceptive to any assistance the universe may offer as a positive potential in your life. To observe, does not mean you accept the way things are, you are simply staying on your path, your journey, taking what serves you. We all have our responsibilities; we all have our endeavors; remember to always pack a lot of kindness and much love to take along on your journey(s).

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”–Mahatma Gandhi

Resilience, strength, courage, kindness, empathy, gratitude should be words going into 2021, these are the lessons learned. Our perspectives certainly took a shift as a result of 2020, some in unpredictable ways. There were many creative shifts in our work/life environments, holding meetings online, courses online, there was an explosion in online shopping more than ever—all are time saving techniques, that also prove to be economically beneficial for some. If 2020 lacked hope, it certainly offered clarity for many of us. It has taught us value to person, places, moments and services—at a time where for some, was non-existent. During this darkness, we witnessed innovation, moments of kindness, heroism, lessons of gratitude, a longing for togetherness with family—these are our silver linings. It is important that we turn our thoughts on the positive impact 2020 brought with it; that we do not forget the sacrifices, the losses, and cherish the lessons learned, take what was meant for you and start 2021 with a vision for success. Taking accountability for past mistakes is a start, strengthen your commitments to change—education is key.

So, my beautiful souls, what is it that you wish? What do you desire? During lockdown, my daughter and I watched a few shows (I know not productive, but we certainly enjoyed our time together😊); one such show is: ‘Lucifer’. Upon getting himself involved with assisting the local police in solving cases, the role of Lucifer is to essentially make people tell him their deepest desires, it is through these “confessions”; offering vital clues, that would ultimately lead to uncovering the crime. Why do I bring up desire you ask? And for forgive me, ‘Lucifer’ was the only show that came to mind when referring to stating our desires—it is practically the whole basis of the show, the context of desire is truly quite humorous, so my apologies in advance if I am offending anyone, it is certainly never my intent. You see, following your heart will never defy you, it will never let you down, it will expose your truest, rawest form—it is also what fuels you. When you have a specific wish, or hunger, an idea inspired by spirit (not thought), you are immediately lifted to a higher level. It takes over you, there is an undeniable persistence moving you toward your intended purpose. Immediately your conscious and subconscious move all events toward your intended outcome—it is to follow your bliss, a path you feel compelled to follow. Risk, fear, doubt are no longer your truths when you follow your heart. True love, true inspiration, is born in the face of adversity as a result of listening to your heart. A determination like no other; a propelling force catapulting you to your truest desire—your inner truth, your deepest fulfillment in life—your purpose.

 It is why problem-free successful people, succeed—they have an ability to express their true desires; their mind and body go after it! Successful people only see solutions and with clear intention go after what they have expressed their true desire to be, they function at higher speed because they do not allow doubt, fear in their space, they function with extreme confidence, a burning desire to manifest their intended purpose, fueled by passion and love for their project. Following your heart is refusing to dwell on the circumstances that life has dealt, not allowing it to stop you from going after what you intended, refusing to look at life with dissatisfaction and accepting its cruel conditions as a necessary force, moving mountains obstructing your path to your highest intended purpose. Success is set in motion by clearly affirming or stating your desire, it will come to fruition if you ask (State what you want, be bold, be clear—what do you desire?), it is the intention set forth: I am passion, I am love, I am kindness, I am abundant—a spiritual path leading to your ultimate heart’s desire. When you set this intention, you could never fail!  Be willing to state boldly what you desire and ask, ask, ask; for in asking, so you shall receive, my dear one. I will always pray for guidance, for resolution, always accessing my highest spiritual guidance—my intention always for good, to serve others, always for peace. I think most are dissatisfied in their lives, because they are too busy focusing on all the materials and lacks in their own lives and mostly because they are not clear with what they genuinely want forgetting to go within. Be bold, state with clarity and the universe shall provide. This poet expresses perfectly, the importance of clarity when expressing your truest desires:

 
I bargained with Life for a penny,
 And life would pay no more,
 However, I begged at evening
 When I counted my scanty store;
 For life is a just employer;
 And gives you what you ask,
 But once you have set the wages,
 Why, you must bear the task.
 I worked for a menial’s hire,
 Only to learn, dismayed
 That any wage I had asked of Life,
 Life would have willingly paid.
 

—Jessie B. Rittenhouse

So off from your couches, get up from your messy beds, and messy lives, and set the right intention for a new year of hope. Trust that all will be well and affirm your deepest desire, listen to your heart and follow it. I assure you; joy is what will follow. Have the courage to admit that you are here on purpose. That your life has meaning if perhaps too many; or one human being whose life will forever  change upon meeting you. Know that you are who you are meant to be, and the world needs you to be where you are now—be present always. One word, one small action—has a lifetime of impact. Are you that public speaker offering encouragement and motivation? We all sure need a little encouragement these days. Perhaps you are a poet; a wordsmith, that will capture that feeling, that emotion marking a historical moment—a moment of unity. Maybe you have an idea that has not yet materialized to physical form—we all have that touch of genius in us, that gift, and sometimes it is just being at the right place at the right time offering a kind word to a stranger—whatever your genius embrace it, be bold and take action, let it take hold of you, if it is for a higher good then go after it! I am currently finding my way through writing. It is my way of offering healing to those vulnerable, to those living uninspired. You see, I worked for many years representing the kindest souls who happen on a period of darkness in their lives and it was my purpose at that time, to assist them in salvaging, perhaps, whatever hope they still had left and help them strengthen their faith. Most of the time, I would listen with my heart, put pen to paper (or maniacally type) and compose a well-written letter (usually 3 – 5 pages 😜) to insurers, and lawyers offering my clients’ stories—no battle, no argument, simple empathy and compassion, entailing a lot of reasonable requests that would assist my clients bringing them comfort in their moment of crisis. I set my message out with good intention, I wrote from the heart—I felt the words as I typed them out. What would follow, almost always would be a quick and simple resolution. No, unnecessary lengthy battles were not my style; it certainly did not do much for my clients who needed their strength to nurse their wounds; to regain their confidence; they had already lost so much. I am excellent at presenting an argument when necessary, but to be argumentative all the time, constantly bickering and quarreling is simply not me. As a side note, be mindful of what you are putting out in the world, if you are constantly arguing your way through life; life has a way of ensuring that everything you attain, must be obtained through argument that is simple law of attraction. For me, I best impress my opponent with truth, transparency and a whole lot of kindness. So, I guess I was able to finesse my skill as a writer, while keeping a full-time position; a job a took great pride in doing for thirty years. I am still on the search; I know I love helping others—serving others is my why, my motivator; to offer kindness, compassion—this has always been my truth. I don’t know where my writing might lead, the fates have taken care of that, I just have to trust, observe, always looking through the eyes of my soul. For now, I enjoy the journey. I do not need to know the how right now, just be, each day becoming a better version of myself as I follow my heart. 

If putting food on the table is what is keeping you from your passion, then moonlight—do not give up on your dream entirely. Experience has taught me that in order to live an inspired life, you must be doing the thing that inspires you. You could have a full-time position for example that pays the bills, but on your spare time, tap into your creative juices, do what fuels your passion, what creates that fire in your belly. For some, it might be taking pleasure in writing, or music perhaps, maybe you are an excellent baker, or that poetic photographer, capturing every image, every experience allowing us to take hold of a beautiful memory; a moment in history; beauty, a joyful moment, such are the works of the beautiful images I am privileged to share in this blog; from such talented amazing photographers—their work a universal language that speaks to the heart. I think that it is important for our sanity, that we continue to nurture our creativity. Do not let your circumstances dictate how your future will unfold, or how much or how less joy in life you have, be sure to listen to your heart—do what moves you, what makes you alive! We all have our moments in life when we feel stuck and although we may not be able to change our current circumstances, we certainly have a choice of how we react to these circumstances, it is in times of adversity that we must dig deep, turn to faith, trust, and always, follow our heart. I understand that this is where most of us get stuck—not knowing ‘the what’ causes worry and anxiety, when it comes to our careers especially, this is where trust is so very important, trust that you are being enough, trust that you are where you need to be—it is finding that sweet space where peace and harmony reside—tapping into your inner knowing, not thinking from your head (or ego) but from your heart. All it takes is believing in yourself, in your gifts, not looking to the outer world to provide certainty. Fine-tune the extraordinary instrument that you are, be bold in knowing when to push your own limits—ride it out see where it leads, rest assured only good will come from it. Learning to view life from the right perspective will change the way you experience life ultimately impacting what you can achieve regardless of circumstance, environment, or limits placed on us by others about what we can achieve. The unknown is where the magic lies—follow your heart.

To lead a successful life, a bountiful life, you must first understand your external influences (how or why you were taught to view life a certain way, or what you see yourself capable of achieving), expectations set by family, society, mostly ego. Thinking with your head is never the way to success, it might be why you have not yet found that ideal partner, the promising career, it might be why you have not achieved peace in your life. It is good to set goals, but all potential, your purpose comes from dreaming the ideal life for yourself, first—so, dream. Once that spark sets off, and you feel it, there is no stopping you. No, you see your heart, is made up of all the beautiful things you put in it, love, compassion, beauty—its originating source constantly giving. You attract into your life what you feel from within. When we think with our hearts, and if we know we are love; a divine creation, there is no room for all the gloom-and-doom naysayers—they will have no impact on the vision you hold for yourself and intentions you set for your life and that will be reflected in your physical outer world. The universe is filled with abundance and prosperity, it is limitless, when you draw from the universe, this space of love, kindness and beauty you set an intention of harmony to the highest level, the highest creation of infinite possibilities. When you follow your heart, you tend to look past judgments, failures, instead by extending love and respect, that energy will return to Source, it will return to you. I may have strayed a bit with my writing, but that is what writers who write from the heart, do😊. We have so much to share and express, it may come out all convoluted at times, but you get the gist. It is not organized thought, it is emotion we feel, we express through our writing, we hope, we dream—our goal: to reach to as many with our message and in this case my message is love—follow your heart.

“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion. The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”—Wilma Rudolph

I will get personal right now: Listen, you can argue all you want, create excuses as to why you are failing at life, blame social issues, politics, conspiracy theories, etc., you need to take a closer look at your inner self, tap into awareness, an awareness that allows you to shift your focus from thought to feel. Once you understand fully that what you think about is what expands, you start selecting your thoughts carefully.  It is why I surround myself with beautiful books, I feed my mind and soul with peaceful messages and it is all I can think and speak about, regardless of what is going on in the world. You learn to feel and become that which is persistently in front of you. Following your heart is why we get to experience such beautiful art, music, enjoy the blockbuster films, or that song where the lyrics, music and performance perfectly combined, express that magical feeling touching us all deeply. Following their heart, is why these individuals master their craft and pursue their dreams—not allowing anyone or anything get in the way of that dream. And no, I am not referring to following ‘one’s passion’, everyone one of us can develop a passion for any field we have profound expertise in and make excellent money at it. No, what I am referring to is that little tug you get on a daily, that fire in your belly when you speak of something that you know so much about, or when you get that flood of euphoria and you start writing and writing to your heart’s content—you work on something that gives you pleasure, most importantly gives you joy. To do or create something to the full extent of your desires, to experience full joy while you are creating is following your heart. So, while there are many articles and blogs out there expressing views on why pursuing one’s passion may not be advisable to the masses when putting food on the table is a priority, I am merely here to express that following your heart on a daily is the way to living an inspired, peaceful, joyful life! I too, had a career in law, which I was passionate about, offering guidance to clients, writing often, mastering my craft, fine tuning my skill—a skill that now has found its way to how I express my love for life. So, while you are out there working away, paying your bills, perhaps you pick up that guitar on the weekend and finally write that song that the world is waiting to hear, or finish that book that has been sitting in that laptop screaming finish my character composition already! Life has a way of expanding our vision, broadening our horizons often teaching us the necessary skills, developing our passions, fine tuning our craft, then topping it off with magic! Don’t worry it will come to you, just follow your heart.

“Let your desire for pleasure and your desire for feeling good, be your only guiding light.”—Abraham Hicks

If you are feeling lost; unfulfilled, it is probably because you are not following your heart, you are too caught up on following the crowd—following someone else’s dream. Do what inspires you, do what lifts your spirits. Close your eyes and feel what you wish to experience in life.  That is the beauty of yoga, the practice is to quiet the mind and feel your pose.  If you think about the pose you wish to achieve—it will be difficult (and yes, painful ☹) but when you feel, let your body flow, with breath, you relax into your desired pose—all is achievable! I will often play music when I am feeling a little uninspired. Usually, it will be all music by Marc Anthony—salsa is my jam😊! Somehow, the universe has a way of ensuring I hear the right song when I most need it. Lyrics in a song often have a way of transporting you to the feels, the emotions, not necessarily the artist was hoping to inject, but what you; the listener, depending on what you are living, is willing to take from that song, that lyric, maybe even that famous quote from a movie. A few days ago, it was that kind of a day and I came across a song by ‘New Radicals’, the song is: “You Get What You Give.”  It speaks to having the music in you and not letting go of your dreams. The most impactful lyric in this song for me was: “This world is gonna pull through…Don’t give up you’ve got a reason to live…Can’t forget we only get what we give…This whole damn world could fall apart, you’ll be okay, follow your heart…you’ve got the music in you…don’t let go…you’ve got the music in you…” Again, I ask that you take what is meant for you—that is the beauty of perspective! Listen with your heart. We only get what we give; so, give with all your heart, life has a way of giving back plenty fold and if you have hit rock bottom—I know you still have a heart, so give kindness, give love—follow your heart.

Looking for a little inspiration, a little motivation (hey who isn’t these days) take some time to yourself, maybe an hour or two and…

 Follow Your Heart…
 Take a walk on the beach if you are fortunate enough; take in that ocean breeze and dream;
 inspiration will find its way—follow your heart;
 For us northerners, we might settle for a brisk walk in that freshly laid snow (there is something about that crunchy snow I love), just you and your thoughts in that cool brisk air;
 a peaceful mind, a peaceful heart;
 surrender to the flow of possibilities—follow your heart;
 For those of us who seem to love the indoors and hide from the cold, sit by the fireplace, drink hot cocoa or coffee, read to your heart’s content, look for the wonderful in everything;
 the world is filled with beauty—follow your heart;
 Dance to your favorite jam, rock, jump, it’s all good—follow your heart;
 If you are a painter, a creator of beauty; digital or other, take out your paint brushes, your easels, your pencils, your laptops, your musical instruments, and create;
 step into your power—follow your heart;
 For love is best enjoyed when it is unexpected, unpredictable, and spontaneous. What you intend in your thoughts with passion,
 you will act upon and ultimately create—follow your heart;
 You see, it is not about the challenges, the struggles, the dark moments,
 we experience when we are led by passion;
 It is knowing we no longer wish to be unhappy; it is by following our hearts’ truest desires, that we spare ourselves the regrets, the “what ifs”, the anxieties;
 it is taking that leap of faith to a life beautifully lived when we,
 follow our hearts. 

—Ana Spano

So, my beautiful souls, as I sit here typing away on my kitchen counter, looking out my window watching the gentle snow coming down, dreaming and following my heart, it is my wish to bring you hope, to offer some cheer and light to your temporary darkness through my writing, my words, my wishes, my prayers. Hope lies in dreams—never forget that.

Dream, desire, ask, pray because life has a magical way of getting you from here to there, always remember to ask and state with clarity your deepest desires, by following your heart, you will get to where you need to be. We are magnificent beings, equipped with all we need for our many journeys in life, to live rich, wonderous, beautiful lives—we need not look far, for everything is already within us. I will leave you with a beautiful quote I came across by George Burns, “The heart is a temple wherein all truth resides.”

Your life is beautiful, make it spectacular—follow your heart!

Remember to offer love to everyone, with Valentine’s Day around the corner—please give extra love! Offer much love to your families (everyone is extra hurting), give love and more love always, including your loyal and faithful pets!

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

To the beautiful powerful you,

Ana Spano

P.S. If you enjoyed this post, I would be incredibly grateful if you would help it spread by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on Twitter or LinkedIn. And now I am also on Instagram. You can follow me there! Thank you!

My Wish…

“The Most fantastic magical things can happen, and it all starts with a wish.”—Pinocchio

I love words just as much as I love wishes. Words have energy and power, they can heal or hinder, we have the choice to use them for encouragement or despair. They can humble us and offer strength in moments when we are most vulnerable. “…Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small…You never need to carry more than you can hold…” These are the beautiful lyrics of a song by Rascal Flatts in a song simply titled: “My Wish”. This entire song holds such beautiful meaning that goes beyond lyrics and a pleasant melody, and if you have not had the pleasure of listening to this gift of a song, I urge you to do so as soon as you have the opportunity. This beautiful song encapsulates the simple wish of love to those we hold dear to our heart. This is the song I dedicated to my beautiful sister-in-law a few months before her passing, it is a song I will always hold dear to my heart and I cannot not think about her and picture her beautiful smile when I hear it. I even found it in one of those musical cards just a few months after her passing (not by coincidence), I am most certain my sister-in-law meant for me to find it, to let me know she was nearby. There is something so comforting knowing that our loved ones who have passed on are always around holding our hand when we need it. This is the gift of faith, to believe in something grander, to engage with Spirit, our ultimate Source, divinely guiding us in some way, helping us regain our awareness of why we exist, what our purpose here on earth is. An awareness that shifts your perspective from blaming your circumstances and blaming others, to holding yourself accountable for your experiences learning to embrace whatever shows up in your life as part of this master plan, this perfection that is you, that is your life, a life you created.

Hello beautiful souls, I wanted to end off the year with one last message before we embark on a new year, one of hope and much promise. This past year has been a hell of a roller coaster to say the least! One that has left us feeling many emotions, unfortunately that might include painful losses for some of us, but here’s the thing about a ‘New Year’, it’s that we get to say good-bye to the past and welcome a brand New Year full of hope, one that includes many more happy moments, and I am here to ensure that cheer carries through to keep your spirit alive and help you see that all that pain you suffered resulting from the disaster that was ‘2020, will only serve to have you appreciate the smallest of joys (that are sure to come your way), that much more.

“A day without laugher is a day wasted.”—Charlie Chaplin

My wish for you is that you laugh more often. There is nothing more beautiful than the sound of a child’s laughter, do you not agree? I absolutely love when I hear my girls laugh out loud as they watch their favorite movie or show or laugh at something they shared. I could be anywhere at home and when I hear that laughter, it is the most beautiful music to my ears, it is so contagious, and I feel my heart stop for a little while just enjoying their good cheer. My girls are now 23 and 19, I will never tire of hearing their sweet laughter. So, my plea here is: no matter what is going on in your life right now, promise yourself to make it a point to laugh—I am sure anyone nearby will certainly appreciate that contagious good vibe. Laughter is so good for the soul!

When you surround yourself with things you love, your life will mirror it.

Surround yourself with beauty. Surround yourself with people and things that inspire you. Look around, there are so many beautiful things to love and appreciate in this world, in your world—the one you create, sometimes you might need to look a little harder, but it is there, I promise. My wish is that you lift your head, look up and see the beauty that currently surrounds you. As I was carefully venturing out in my neighbourhood, buying my groceries during the holidays, I noticed such beautiful flower arrangements, Christmas poinsettia, roses (I bought for a friend), just a lot of beautiful colour; an attempt by our neighbourhood business owners, to put a smile on our faces, if only for a moment allowing us to forget our sorrows. I noticed these beautiful colours and gave my praise of gratitude for my eyes to see. For some, maybe you were recently blessed with the good fortune of seeing the beauty found in the face of a new-born child—oh how sweet it is to look into the eyes and faces of a new-born, and let’s add smells to this as well, a new-born’s scent is so sweet. Perhaps you witnessed a rainbow in your part of the world or the beautiful light snow fall; one that I was so fortunate to witness at midnight on Christmas Eve, while driving around with my youngest just for the heck of it. There is much beauty that surrounds us, we need to learn to celebrate it and be grateful.

Life has a way of coming full circle, every feeling, every emotion, every thought, every spoken word, returns to its intended recipient—you. It is a boomerang ready to be returned to you with astounding accuracy—so give it a lot of love, joy, happiness, hugs, smiles, comfort, support, empathy, compassion, kindness, patience, give life all that is good, and the Universe will do its part in returning it to you many fold! It is my wish that you receive more love, more happiness, more joy…more of all that is beautiful. You see, you only get one life—make it good. Life is not a sprint, take it all in, the good and the bad—sometimes the best things in life take a while, have faith, watch it unfold without judgment, it will not disappoint. Trust that there is plenty of good still in this world, to offer kindness and compassion to a stranger and of course to your loved ones. My wish is that everyone learn the power and the gift that is: ‘forgiveness’ in this lifetime. I believe that when we have ‘unforgiving’ energy it manifests outward in some way into our physical world. When we learn to forgive, we allow the healing to begin, our soul begins the healing on an external level and we begin to witness the many little miracles that surround us, making room for new beginnings. My wish is that you find the gift of forgiveness in your lives, and in your hearts, and make room for passion, faith, hope, inspiration, love; feel the warmth, that is hope—gain a greater sense of freedom. It is in forgiving that we find strength and courage. Do not live, in regret, resentment or fear, instead invite peace, love, joy, let go of selfish demands of ego and look for the good in everything and everyone. I look at the behaviours of others that do not resonate with my wish for peace and I send them love. My experiences have taught me that I cannot get angry enough to end any war on violence, discrimination, social issues, that I cannot feel enough pain and sorrow for all the hurts in the world (it certainly will not offer healing) so I choose to stay in-Spirit because my heart tells me that where I place my attention, my intention will set me on a path of possibilities and openness to a life of miracles! And although it feels we have been at a standstill, I know this is temporary and a better tomorrow awaits, one filled with hope and prosperity and much peace. This is my wish for you.

May you dream yourself a life where you work hard and allow yourself to play even harder, that you do meaningful work, work that gives you joy and gives you purpose. Say yes, often, giggle a lot, sing to your heart’s content (preferably in the shower 😊), keep the sparkle in your eyes, encourage silly, run barefoot on the grass or in the rain (I have done this with my sister!), lie down and watch the clouds or the stars, whichever—they are both equally fascinating. Simply be. Life is meant to be lived, to feel, to be, to experience. Give yourself permission to dream big, love deeply, cry if you must and have the confidence to carry you through—have faith always. My wish is that you live an inspired life, a life of clarity, a passion filled life, surrounded by much kindness and compassion. Nurture the child in you, find people to love unconditionally, may you find friends who make you better, and may love, peace, joy and kindness always find its way into your heart, it’s the ultimate truth, it is your truth, love is what makes all things possible, never underestimate its power. You are here to inspire or be inspired…which do you choose?

This is me on my comfy couch reading a book, enjoying my fireplace

We were all sentenced to one year at home without access to our friends and loved ones for some of us. Hopefully, many of you used that time to reflect, to find time to figure out what makes you—you, what is your story, what makes you shine? For me, it is just this, to spread love through my writing, my words, to speak love and kindness to all those I meet, to those I share space with. Hopefully, you will have spent quality time with those currently in your living space and have learned a lot from one another, building solid and beautiful foundations that will help you when you go off into the world understanding that every word, every touch, every thought has an effect, it impacts all those around you as we are all connected. I know when the world once again opens up, I will make it a point to hug everyone that much tighter, smile even more than ever, laugh at everything, spread love, compassion and kindness at every opportunity. I will say good-bye to my comfy couch that has been my friend and support for seven months (oh who am I kidding, I love my couch!😊) and run the streets with open arms, dance as I did whenever I heard music in a store (if you know me you know this is true for me). I urge you to dance like nobody’s watching—it is so liberating. It is how I spent most of my high school years while roaming the school hallways or in the cafeteria (man, the 80s were fun!😊). It will be the day you get to go and make up time for precious moments lost and spend it with your loved ones, except this time around you will enjoy it that much more, you will love that much deeper. I hope that this is everyone’s plan, I hope that this is a wish we all share for this new world we are about to embark. This New Year’s Eve, it is my hope and faith, that everyone will join in and share their wish for a kinder world, one filled with optimism, confidence, courage, that your days be described with words like: exhilarating, enthusiastic, breathtaking, exciting, hope, humanity and selflessness. Whatever your journey, wherever life takes you or throws at you, know we are all connected, every experience leading us to one path and that is love. My wish is that you live an inspired life (in-Spirit) otherwise you are just living. And in this inspiration, you are awakened, you see things with clarity; with your spiritual lens now intact, you notice the world has forever changed bringing growth, placing you on a path of your heart’s truest desires, compassion and kindness as your guides holding the key to successfully manifesting your dreams. The meaning of life is to have faith, to believe you deserve life’s best gifts, to hope for better tomorrows but enjoy the gifts of today in whatever form simply to love that much more, to laugh that much louder, to have that much more compassion and empathy.

As we enter this new world, our perspectives must shift. Our old ways of thinking and doing things no longer serve us. This new world no longer has room for hate and judgment, instead it is one filled with optimism—which is key to overcoming all obstacles, overcoming anything, but that we do it together. Let us not look at the past, except to learn from our mistakes and to mourn for those we have lost, together let us wish for a beautiful today, one filled with humility, laughter, acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, generosity, love, joy, humanity and kindness always. Let us pray for some healing, we are all in need of it. Each of us have the power to choose our thoughts align them with love, peace, harmony and good will. Together, we can create our present and future moments at the highest possible level, your heart is the center—allow yourself to feel peace and harmony. Rejoice, celebrate, be grateful, let the power of a smile melt your heart and influence happiness that has not been around for quite some time. Gratitude connects us all—it is the medicine our world needs today. This is my wish for you.

I would like to a share a prayer with you, a prayer that made its way into my life a few years back and it is a prayer I say every morning or at least once a day. Reminding me that every day is a gift, a gift I get to share with loved ones, another day I get to impact someone’s life in the most positive way. I will share with you a part of this prayer for the sake of this blog, you are welcome to search up the entire prayer online. Its origin is of no importance, there are many versions, many stories of its authentic author, but that’s not the take away here, the message beautifully reflects a message of peace. I ask that you adapt the prayer, more importantly its message, into your life, you may change the language so that it resonates with you and your beliefs, your practices, but its modest message should remain as it is a message of peace, hope and love, one that should be the same in any language, in any corner of the world. Thank you for allowing me to share this message. With great love and respect:

So, my sweet souls say good-bye to what no longer serves you…let it go and make room for exciting new things to come, new hopes, new resolutions, new spirits. Wishing you optimal health always, and may the New Year bring us all much peace, joy, abundance and loads and loads of happiness. January 1st, is the start of a New Year, it is the day you get to write yourself a new chapter in your life—make it remarkable!

Remember to offer love to everyone, and during these holidays especially, be extra kind to all those you meet. Offer much love to your families (everyone is extra hurting this year), give love and more love always, including your loyal and faithful pets!

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

To the beautiful powerful you,

Ana Spano

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

Feel Who You Are—Joy is your Wisdom

Be still and know that you are that which you desire to be, and you will never have to search for it.—Neville Goddard

I hope last month’s blog helped brighten up your life a little more after a season of darkness. As we approach the winter months ahead we can’t help but feel a little anxious not knowing what the sunless months (the wintery stormy days) will bring but perhaps grey solemn skies to match our moods unless you are a winter lover that is. Christmas is around the corner and that should help shift our mood, but oh yeah we are in a pandemic—so life looks a bit bleak☹. This period of uncertainty has  placed us all on a roller coaster of emotions; we feel sad and angry for our losses, fear and anxious brought on by doubt not knowing what our future holds. All expectations of how we thought our immediate future would look like; a glimpse of our success, have gone out the window, we have been robbed of what we thought was our certainty, this along with our hopes and dreams—fear in its place. To this I say: cancel all expectation this year—it was not doing us any good any way. Expectations only cultivate feelings of fear, doubt, sadness, anger—all the un-wants in our lives. Instead, we should work on replacing our expectations with feelings of confidence, compassion, empathy all born from being in a constant state of joy; a joy derived from a consciousness of love. Maybe we should be intending our ‘tomorrows’ (taking action today) and allowing the flow of how that tomorrow should feel and look like rather than expecting things to be grand and then life has a way of disappointing. When we intend things (experiences into our lives), all doubt is banished—we trust. In this trust, in this flow, we have the power to manifest the beautiful life we all deserve!

Hello beautiful souls! May your mind(s) be filled with beautiful thoughts (hopefully quietness) and your heart(s) with nothing but love and joy. Where there is love fear cannot exist. Isn’t it wonderful knowing that when you choose to feel love you will live in the absence of fear? Is it that simple you ask? Yes, you just need to commit to love. It is the difference in choosing to feel secure, confident, you start feeling enthusiastic about life, about your next move. So, what will you choose? Will you choose to feel fear in your life followed by all other negatives that sadly include manifesting illness? Perhaps you will consider choosing joy and receive your daily dose of friendly neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin? Lately, I have noticed a lot of talk of neurotransmitters; chemical messengers and receptors—fancy science terms that help us understand what is happening inside us, particularly what keeps our brain functioning and a variety of psychological functions monitoring levels of fear, mood, pleasure and joy. Neuroscientists have done the lovely work for us and have shared their scientific perspectives on the chemistry affecting our biology that trigger happiness. These neurotransmitters have a wide variety of functions in the human body. Either way both  require work (unless you set it as your default emotion, in which case good for you) I cannot help but wonder however, why it is that choosing to feel ‘joy’ requires work and for some a lot more than others. As I do my research on the  positive impact of joy in my life I discover that serotonin; a chemical produced by nerve cells, is more of a free flowing neurotransmitter triggered by how others value you and the awesome feeling you experience when getting exercise or a massage—it is at times referred to as the happy chemical as it contributes to wellbeing and happiness. Healthy levels of Serotonin regulate anxiety, happiness and mood.  Another famous neurotransmitter I read about that our body also produces is Dopamine and it offers us that ‘feel good’ and happy feeling released as part of a reward system (reaching that goal), upon achieving an objective—often flooding your body with high energy that leads to happiness, even shopping help raise levels of this ‘good feel’ miracle transmitter or sex (whatever brings you joy 😊). It is what helps us to strive, motivate, focus, affecting our physical function.

There is plenty behind the science of happiness resulting in the release of these much needed neurotransmitters and the success of achieving such happiness is finding the right balance (ugh, more work☹) as too much of any one of these chemicals can have a negative impact. Well, how about choosing to be in constant joy instead! This should be easy (no science required), just choose to be in this constant state always. How do we do this? We must start by being honest with ourselves. Ask yourself how do I want to feel? What is my wish, my true desire? That authenticity will follow you everywhere you go. You might try to betray your feelings every now and again to please others, but God, the universe, your higher self, always know what is at the centre and according to the Law of Attraction in order to change your outer world you must change your inner world (your thoughts and feelings) every small action an expression creating beautiful experiences, that weave into this tapestry we call life—and so your mind, body and soul follow, thus manifesting your true desire outward. When we experience joy, love is a byproduct. Accepting ourselves as we are, offering forgiveness and compassion will leave us less vulnerable. Pain and suffering is part of life, and none of us is immune to it, we may not be able to control these negative occurrences, but we could certainly influence their effect in our life by adjusting the attitude we take toward them. Whenever someone comes up to me with a problem or concern, whether it be an illness or discouraging news, my immediate go-to pep talk is: “get out of your head.” So much of our suffering is caused by our wanting or expecting things to be different resulting in feelings of discontent, that lead to frustration and anger.   When my daughter comes down the stairs after a busy morning of meetings and I see her little face full of worry, I immediately tell her: “get out of your head”, we talk, we dissect what is causing the worry and fear, we poke it, we throw it around in many directions, until it no longer scares her. I often finish our talks with: “How does this experience make you feel? How do you want to feel?”  We jot down solutions, on what needs to be done or said to get back to that joyful feeling she desires—the unnecessary worrying is done with. Understand that unnecessary worrying and getting frustrated or upset is not going to give you that peace and joy you crave (if in fact this is the experience you seek in life), so why do it? If your car breaks down, well think of it as the universe protecting you from being somewhere else at that time—rejection is God’s protection.  Be honest, hold yourself accountable and accept that your actions, your words, your thoughts have brought you to where you are today. I say this with great love and respect: Is the life and circumstances currently surrounding you, the life you see for yourself? If not, change it! You have the power to change your thoughts, your view, your words, your actions that will move you towards your view of the life you want, your world, your reality—observe, accept, allow, make your next move. Every experience is an opportunity. Remember to think: Everything happens For you, not To you! The truth is that your state of being creates your circumstances, and not the other way around.

Despite what is currently surrounding your life, your world, your days, you should be in constant joy—this is my wish for you. To be in a constant state of happiness may be difficult as happiness mostly depends on external factors (happens to us). Choosing joy however, is choosing to be present, it is choosing a way of life very much like choosing a ‘healthy lifestyle’ over choosing to be on a ‘diet’. A diet is a temporary fix you can opt out of anytime as it is not permanent; it is choosing not to eat certain items until you talk yourself into doing it. Choosing a healthy lifestyle on the other hand, is a commitment. It is the difference in telling yourself: “I should not eat this,” to “I will not eat it.”  If joy is an attitude of the heart, it will not defy you, it is there to offer comfort during times of difficulty, continuously seizing opportunities with feelings of great accomplishment, vitality and strength no matter what life hands you. It is to be a blessing to others, looking through the eyes of a stranger and seeing that our existence (how we conduct ourselves in this world) affects others by what we give, what we do—so give love. You are the creator of your own life; simply be, focus on your desire and dreams. To be in constant joy, goes beyond cultivating a positive mindset (although it helps), it is to surround yourself with beautiful, kind people that support you, create precious moments and wonderful experiences that ultimately leave you feeling fulfilled. For me it is the tremendous sense of peace I feel every morning after meditation or a session of yoga. To be in a state of joy, is to look forward to and appreciate the little miracles. Enjoy the journey no matter what life throws at you. Your thought should never be: “when my life changes, I will then start to be happy”, be happy now, feel joy always, think happiness and your body and actions will follow—effortlessly.

Taking responsibility for your life is when you start creating the things that you desire rather than focus on the things that you fear. See yourself through the eyes of God (your Infinite Being); your Higher Self, with unconditional love and acceptance. Focus more on loving than on winning love. My experiences have taught me in order to live a fulfilled life it is more about doing for others than receiving. Do not search for joy, be joy. Do not go looking for love, be love. We are all beautiful perfect expressions and deserve all the ‘feel goods’ we choose to surround ourselves with. The value you give yourself is from within, not by the amount or lack of love placed by others. Only you know your self-worth—choose knowing you deserve, and we all deserve love and to be in constant joy. It is not about being good or bad, right or wrong—that is placing judgement, simply be joy, be love. Often, we exhaust ourselves searching for our purpose, we feel confused, not knowing if we belong—this is what brings on feelings of fear. Your purpose is to be where you are, to be love, to be kindness, to be supportive, to be joy! Titles, positions, amounts of money in our bank accounts, should not define who we are, and it most certainly should not measure our level of self-worth. The value a simple stranger gives to an unsuspecting homeless person, or to that disabled individual needing an extra hand opening the door, cannot be measured in dollars, in levels, to that individual you are a hero, you made their day a little easier, a little more enjoyable—and that is priceless! Again, I ask what experience do you seek in this lifetime?

When counseling my clients who have entered my life all broken with shattered spleens, fractured knees, hips, ribs, pelvic fractures (endless list of un-wants in their lives), I carefully with full empathy and compassion assist them with putting the pieces back; not necessarily to the way it once was, but hopefully mending that torn cloth in their world and work on creating a much richer embroidered masterpiece; stitching one piece at a time, a masterpiece cultivated by new found wisdom and a road to self-love. Pieces shattered by false expectations, unfulfilled desires due to mere wishful thinking are now replaced with a desire to be present in their lives, to hold themselves accountable, allowing themselves to experience every little moment with new found enthusiasm to be observers on their road to self-discovery; inviting an awareness in their life, offering much clarity, and many  more peaceful and joyful moments. My purpose in their lives was to simply hold their hand during their season of darkness, offer kindness, empathy, compassion; to make their life a little easier while allowing them to process their setback, offering my expert legal advice and support while ensuring they never lose hope. Joy and happiness should be our constant, it is not something we earn but something we feel, it is the path to self-realization. Joy is what keeps us in a constant state of flow—moving us towards our goals, feeling every step of the way. We do not try to reach our goals with a false sense of expectation, we move, we do—motivation is sparked when we invite joy making that road to success sweeter! With joy we open ourselves up to the outer edges of the unknown we feel, see, hear, things differently and as if by magic we are healed! It is to never doubt that you are where you need to be, trusting all will turn out for the better. Joy cannot be the result of events in your life but a pure commitment in ensuring that every experience is growth, it is not dependent on thought. When we learn to view life in its wider perspective with some degree of humility and simply accept our circumstances and experiences in all its pain, imperfections and beauty—we open ourselves to a life of pure bliss, we allow ourselves to engage with life on its own terms, no judgement, no disappointments—we no longer struggle, we simply be. We experience, we allow, we live when we are in joy.  I believe this is what Tibetan teachings refer to as non-duality. To take every experience without categorizing as pleasurable or difficult, good or bad but simply as an experience. Joy has the ability to take all emotions, experiences, lessons and allow us to power through; happiness and success, is not contingent on our ability to attain it but to feel good going after it, with no attachment to outcome. With joy we learn to see the blessing in everything, the joy in every sorrow—for this reason joy is fearless. We are the protagonist in our own stories, the architects of our lives and it starts with designing our inner world. With joy as your canvas and as your core support you cannot fail at life! Your life and world is yours to direct!

I cannot recall when I first became aware of the presence of joy in my life, it might have been in my early twenties, perhaps even earlier—all my life I was pretty much an observer. I just remember not allowing anything to get me down; like a child, I was resilient to the lacks, disappointments in my life; (except in my non-duality mentality I never labeled them struggles or disappointments) they were simply experiences that helped me grow. Every day I will walk out my front door or walk into an establishment with a permanent smile on my face (granted it is a little harder with masks on, but I still do it 😊), offering a kind hello to whomever is up for it. Yes, of course there are cloudy days, and yes, my heart breaks when my daughters hurt, but we experience the pains, the setbacks, we let go of the need to control our outcomes, wipe off our tears, and let it flow through us, we move on, and accept these experience as necessary for growth. Like an old friend we bid it farewell, thank it for the experience and move on. I teach my girls there is no need to resist, no need to judge, no need to hold onto what no longer serves us. With joy at our core, we conquer all obstacles and untap the reservoir to our unlimited potential!

“Where there is Love, there is Joy.”–Mother Teresa

The season is here to be joyous! What is it about Christmas that offers hope transforming our attitudes instantly if only for a little while. It is silent, it is Spirit; we do not see it, but we certainly feel the magic of Christmas and its beautiful form no matter where we are in the world. We choose to believe in the magic of Christmas that comes around once a year offering hope, cheer and joy, simply to make us feel good if only for one day or two (for a season). It is that tenderness and warmth, courage, love cheer and hope that I wish for you; a warmth only achievable when you commit to joy, not for one season but for always. Pure joy is looking through the eyes of a child at Christmas time, with all the wonderment, excitement and innocence. My beautiful souls I am here to tell you that you have the ability to bask in that magical innocence, when you choose joy, it lives inside you, always. 2020 has been a whirlwind of emotions, and hopefully for most of us; not about alot of losses, but certainly a time for reflection. For those of you having suffered significant losses, my heart goes out to you and I extend the warmest of hugs and my deepest sympathies. But Christmas is a time to be joyous that is every child’s number one rule (or at least it should be), so hug your loved ones and be merry regardless of your surroundings. Like a toddler, run around and feel all emotions at once, wipe off your tears, feel your hurts, your pains, then laugh it out, after-all we are spiritual beings having human experiences, it is inevitable, so if you need to cry…cry, but also be joyous! Hopefully some happiness will seep in your life somehow…and it will. That is the beauty of joy, it shares the space with all emotions, so if you need to be angry…be angry, grief, be sad, but remember to be true to your core and that is to feel Joy always, be Love always. Joy reveals what we need, what we feel, what we want. When we choose to commit to joy based on love and good intentions, the Universe has a way of rearranging itself so that everything will work out fine.

You are a beautiful work in progress. You have everything you need to cultivate an extraordinary life; a life you so, deserve, so let’s focus and start building those foundations. Let’s recap what we need to start allowing Joy in our lives:

  • 1) Decide to feel Joy always. Once you commit, happiness will soon follow. Feel it! And just like that fear is gone!
  • 2) Get out of your head. Eliminate unnecessary worry. Let go of the little things. Rejection is God’s protection!
  • 3) Be present. Only this moment counts. How do you wish to feel now? Let the actions you take today ripple into your future. Create that dream, that desire, now. Own it as if you already have it and it will appear in your material world as if by magic!
  • 4) Be in constant state of allowing. You get to start again. Forgive always, let go, and move on. Closing your heart is not the answer, you have the power to heal all wounds, all illness let go of what no longer serves you, learn from it and bless it out of your life. You may not understand how a certain situation will benefit you at this moment but have faith and trust—all will be well!

Life is gorgeous, learn to embrace it, live it, allow it to flow through you with a sense of urgency—feel that love. A quiet mind, a heart fulfilled—it does not get better than this, be in peaceful harmony with Spirit, your Higher Self. Do not look to the outer world to provide certainty, allow yourself to be free from the shackles of your goals, your lists, your expectations. Be the observer, follow your heart, feel the joy of love here and now—you deserve it!

Remember to offer love to everyone, and for this Christmas be extra kind to all those you meet. Offer much love to your families everyone is extra hurting this year, give love and more love always including your loyal and faithful pets!

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

Let the magical wonders of Christmas fill your hearts with excitement and joy, always remembering to share it with your loved ones and everyone around you!

To the powerful you,

Ana Spano

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!

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!