The Classic Do-over

“I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.”—J. B. Priestly

When we are young, we are so full of energy, we are invincible, we think we have all the time in the world, our skin is supple—we thrive! We run carefree, convincing ourselves we can do anything, the world is our playground (or at least our back and front yards were😊). We dream worlds but somewhere along, as responsibility sets in, we tell ourselves a different story and we eject the wings that once had us flying and forget to dream. As we get into our forties it hits us: “I ‘shoulda’, ‘coulda’, ‘woulda’. But why didn’t I?” It seems life has a way of playing a cruel joke on us, giving us all the energy and vibrancy, early on in our lives when we do not know what we want for ourselves. Our stories may even take away our confidence early on, so we now have loads of energy and no confidence—bummer☹. I would say, it is around ‘forty’, and we have lived a few years, that we shift our perspectives, we gain our confidence—or we simply don’t care at this point what others think and we begin to speak our mind, and go after the things we should have when we were younger; except for most, we lack the energy or we convince ourselves “our ship has long since sailed”, we talk ourselves once again out of that ‘dream’ that must only remain…a dream buried in the ashes of the past. Life would be perfect if we could meet somewhere in the middle. To have our youthful looks, vibrant youthful energy—where there is no room for awkward and embarrassing, to relive a day, that pivotal moment in our life, where we choose different, we choose to fix problems steering our current life in a different direction. But is different better? Will it change what we see in the mirror?

Hello my beautiful souls! Welcome back! I hope you are continuing to keep safe, soon this will all be behind us, and I cannot wait to finally see beautiful smiles once more—something I deeply miss, for now we continue to do our part and keep practicing safety. So how about it? Would you welcome a do-over in your life? I do not know why this theme, kept popping up for me these past few weeks, so I decided to write about it—perhaps it may be a reoccurring theme in our collective minds, born from the darkness that is our present, these unusual times, having us locked up for too long and our wheels on overdrive, thinking, wondering, daydreaming—”what if”? I have no regrets in life. I was student council president, I was quite outgoing (and still am), I spoke my mind, always. I have always been playful, but life has a way of pausing you. OK, the personality was there, the confidence was there, but I chose to marry young, so life took my dreams in a different direction. As my perspectives shift, I see my narrative starting from the end and working my way backwards—to catch up to my past and continue where I left of—does this make sense? I did not marry young to have kids, I married my high school sweetheart and managed to get that check mark, together we worked hard and paid off our mortgage at a young age ✅ check. I eventually had the kids; two beautiful intelligent young women ✅check, I did the career thing ✅check but what is missing? Perhaps it is the fulfillment thing…that is missing. Life will have you believe, you missed out, that perhaps you messed up along the way, or if you had chosen a different path, it might have been better, but that is not always true, is it? It all depends on your expectations and your perception of what that “perfect ideal” life looked like from the perspective of your adolescent mind. What picture did you hold for yourself? How did you view your life unfolding? Is the current mundane, stagnancy in life getting you down? And you know what I think of expectations—they do not do us any good, so toss it! This is when we should get in touch with our goals once again, to offer a little inspiration and much needed motivation. Yes, we might have to rethink our goals as they might have changed since our priorities are constantly changing as we ride the wave of life, our perspectives change so we replace what no longer serves us and find a new dream! It is time to get out of our heads and think with our hearts just like we did when we were kids—only participating in those activities that bring us joy. We did not waste time thinking how we were going to spend time; we just ran towards our joyful moment only following our heart. The important thing is to work on how we wish to feel the next thirty, forty, fifty years from now. Forget your old hurts, pains, regrets and open your heart—live there for awhile. Just feel LOVE in a new kind of way, the way you dreamed it would feel. Feel JOY, be in its constant state of childish play, carefree, vibrant energy.

Life may not offer us a do-over, and as for a reset button we can only keep looking, but it certainly offers us plenty of opportunities to make better tomorrows. That is the beauty of life—you get one!  There is no wrong or right way, you are meant to experience it all! Mistakes, embarrassing moments, moments of sadness, failures, joys, laughter, success to experience it fully! As we participate, as we embrace, we learn, we grow, with each experience, we become a little wiser, knowing what we like or don’t. When we experience it fully, we learn to embrace the moment, embrace change, learn from it, and move on—this is how emotions come to be. As our perspectives shift, we start inviting into our world different things, different experiences, stirring up different emotions. By nature, I am an individual who rarely tries new products, I am a: “Why fix what ain’t broke”, kinda person.  Do not get me wrong, I am very open-minded to experiences and things, but when it comes to products, maybe it is something I cannot bother to try the alternative. Maybe some things are meant to remain, and that is my thing—my version of permanence in my life. I am ready to go off into the world and experience it all but leave my products alone😊.  My husband on the other hand loves trying new products and on the rare occasion he goes grocery shopping, he will come home with a new product…what?? In most cases, I will like the product, but I will continue to buy my old brand and combine the two—that’s me 😜. Is it the familiar thing? Is my mind not ready to let go of the old? My husband, will however, have a hard time inviting new experiences in his life, he has difficulty with change in that respect—do not invite new emotions it does not go well with his anxiety, but he is learning to allow and accept change and understands that it is good. So maybe, it is a good thing that for most of us, we get to make the bigger decisions later in life, when we know better (at least we think we do). There is that contradiction (in life) I talked about: “Follow your heart but don’t give into emotion when making a decision;” “Go and make your tomorrows happen but be patient, be still and allow the fates to intervene.” Huh? I know, no wonder the majority feel lost—not knowing which way to go. I guess what I am trying to share with you is that the best decisions are made with an awareness of what you are getting yourself into, patience with yourself and a whole lot of accountability. To tackle life and go into it knowing the repercussions of some of those decisions and be willing to accept them as experiences necessary, be ready to hold yourself accountable for those repercussions so that if something does not turn out, you are not blaming everyone else but yourself. And by “knowing better”, I am not necessarily referring to, intelligent decisions (that’s boring), no what I am referring to is: the feeling behind the task at hand. Think about it: if you have lived forty years of your life and you have engaged in personal, and professional relationships, you have engaged in life in general—you must have a fairly good idea of what you liked or did not like from those experiences—so why repeat it?  Embrace the perfections and imperfections—it is all relevant, it all has a purpose. How would you know to not want relive a moment or want a particulare thing in your life, if you did not already live it, if you did not already experience it?

“The more value you add to the lives of others, the more valuable you become to them.”—Hal Elrod

When you make it your mission in life to fill yourself up of all that is good, a good heart, kindness, love, peace, joy, then your outer world will only reflect that which you have inside. It is not the other way around.  You must never think that once your outer world changes, then you will start feeling better about yourself. Do not fall into that misguided perception that you will only feel good, that you will achieve happiness when your outer world is good. As we get to experience the “good” and “bad” moments in life, the emotions born from those moments and we become a little wiser, we start filling our shopping carts with things that are of more value instead of things that temporarily fix our mood. Our younger selves loved filling our carts with ‘crap’, with senseless ‘stuff’ we thought would fill our hearts and would make us happy. Now we are a little older, much wiser—all that stuff no longer serves us. We begin to understand that materials are wonderful to have but they certainly do not fill us, they keep us wanting and needing more, always. As we acquire our large and small ‘stuff’, we forget to be grateful along the way.  Forgetting this small but impactful practice of expressing gratitude and appreciation for all experiences including the smallest of moments, is what keeps us in the ‘need’ always striving for more in our lives, that is not always on the positive. When we fill ourselves with love, peace, joy and feelings of gratitude, that can only come from loving experiences, family, loving friends, that add value to our lives, then the materials become less significant—your narrative then becomes more of, “How may I serve? How may I bring more value to my life, and those I love?” When you are full of love and gratitude, your heart is open—you become a magnet attracting more of the good that is currently filling you; abundance, love—love for yourself and your loved ones. Many aspects of life can leave us feeling overwhelmed, trapped at times. When we pivot our thoughts, and learn to stay the course, trusting the process, allowing life to do its thing, always participating, embracing the flow, we learn to enjoy doing life, no matter what it has in store for us. Remember life happens for you NOT at you.

Our thoughts have a way of creating an illusion, often fear based—a way ego keeps us from realising our potential, our body soon follows and begins to operate from a survival mode, the body then becomes the mind and emotion. As we live the mundane, the responsible life, we forget to feed our minds new dreams, new thoughts, new emotions—we get stuck, our bodies then work from reaction mode, the subconscious level of whatever emotion you fed it in the past: anger, frustrations, fear, resentment, pain, suffering. If your body continues to function from this subconscious level long enough—this is when illness materialises into your present. Bitterness is what keeps you from flying. It is also, what keeps you living in the past—an illusion you created that was probably your perception of a “better life” than the one you are currently living, or a memory of a made-up future you thought was right for you. When we remove the imaginary constraints, we ourselves create, we no longer feel beaten, we remove the walls around us, we worked so hard to put up because of fear, because we gave a person, place, or a moment (high or low) more credit than ourselves. It is time to break that fictitious ceiling, do not give it power in letting you believe what you do not deserve, what is rightfully yours—that something is beyond your reach, be “the more” in your life. Do the deed, be fully present and detach from outcomes. Instead, let constraints be the force that drives you to your next dream, your next goal.

Allow me to continue with our shopping cart analogy, what shall we fill it with? What will make me happy right now? As I navigate the streets of my little town, I realise I am not driving a ‘G-Wagon’, but I have a car ✅check. I have never been a Mercedes-Benz ‘kinda gal’, but that ‘G-Wagon’ sure looks sweet! No, it will not bring me joy, but it will put a smile on my face as I take a drive around the film district in Toronto, with all their high-end boutiques and fine dining😊. Something to work towards, maybe my taste will change in the next five to ten years.  I mentioned I have a mortgage-free house, that certainly is sweet. I have done some traveling, mostly the Caribbean. I know, I know right…not a bad life. My shopping cart is still empty except for the G-Wagon that is perhaps a maybe, but my heart is full.

Throughout, I have kept my body somewhat fit. I have never made weight an issue, so it is not. My health is optimal because what I put my attention to, I will attract in my life. Whatever I give energy to and attention to will come back to me. Why give what I do not want, energy? My experiences create emotion, and I know emotion is energy in motion, it is fluid—it is energy moving through my body, meant to be felt and released, so I stay focused on the good.  My positive outlook on life takes care of that for me. I am always full of positive energy, and I am convinced that this energy is what keeps me healthy and fit, always burning the excess I do not need in every aspect of my life that includes stress. I exercise in the morning releasing all the good endorphins and dopamine elevating me to my highest good, and I eat what I want. I could enhance my diet with some healthier choices. I am working on it. I recognize that I want this body to last me for many more years to come, so I must do better—accountability ✅ check. My body is my vehicle that keeps me mobile, taking me wherever I need to go, independently, so I must keep it in check. I gain a healthy check mark on health and fitness although I will ensure to do more—there is always room for improvement! Holding yourself accountable for your choices in life is key. Do the deed, recognise it needs to get done, and enjoy doing it! When you learn to view limitations as a driving force, striving for success in whatever you choose to do, giving up is never an option. Let’s not stop at fitness goals, what life goals do you have? Not having money is no excuse—make your miracles, opportunities are always surrounding us to make us better in business, as individuals, you just need to decide that you want them, failure is the opportunity to begin again—reach beyond your grasp—life certainly has a way of rewarding you.

Having a corporate life was fun and I was deep into it for over thirty years. I learned a lot, my bosses were never my mentors as it turned out, but they certainly made work life interesting, and that’s OK, life is my eternal mentor. Always revealing itself to me, teaching me to put in the hard work, keep planting seeds and you will get rewarded, life tells me. Life has taught me and continues to teach me that kindness will open many doors. All you must do is show up every day, support others, surround yourself with good people, and the universe will be kind and generous with you. Never take anything personal, we are all learning here, take the lesson learned and move on. I will say with certainty that I gave my 1000%, always gave more value than my worth, I have no regrets, I stayed in the corporate scene until it no longer brought me joy. Love is the secret. Love for your work, love for your peers and love for yourself, loving what you do, loving life and who you are in it, that is the engine that will keep you going full steam ahead. Working in the legal sector had its challenges but nothing compares to married life. Now marriage is hard work—no one said it would be easy, nurturing your relationship is key, pour a lot of love into it, and it will not disappoint. Life throws many challenges, you must learn to keep your head above water, grow from the punches, face it full force, just learn to breathe and together—enjoy the ride, enjoy the journey! I should know, I have enjoyed thirty wonderful years with my high school sweetheart! Sure, it was hard in the beginning, with our different views, different cultures and it got even messier when we threw kids in the mix. But here we are with two beautiful girls, one graduated ‘with honors and distinction’ and her younger sister, on her way there, having made her way on the Dean’s list already just entering her third year of university. This is our pay off! This is what we put our heart, sweat and tears and the universe has a way of rewarding us! Nice fat check mark under family ✅ check! So, nothing to add to my cart but the G-Wagon so far and my heart continues to be full.

I may not have all the zeros in my bank account as I would hope for, but I have done quite well for myself, and I still have my sanity—that is a big fat ✅ check! So, what is it that most of us look for? Why is it that most think they have missed out on? What are you hoping to find in those finance magazines? An even better question to ask is: “What will you do when you accumulate all the zeros in your bank account?” Do not get me wrong there is nothing wrong in going after financial abundance, heck it is wonderful to attain financial freedom but who do you hope to become? Do you love who you are now? Do you hope to love yourself even more? Do you hope to love more?” So, maybe you do not own a car, but you are able to get around, and maybe you have money for transit or transportation in whatever form (Hey it beats paying for gas, insurance, and maintenance.).  If you wish to join us insurance payers, don’t worry you’ll get there just set the right goals, it is never too late😊.  Maybe you are married, you are busy being mommy, caregiver, balancing a job, and you somehow forgot yourself along the way. You became mommy to everyone including your partner, what happened? Or maybe you married your sweet-heart that stole your heart all those years ago, which is great, you lost your nerve along the way and now you are 40, 50, still sitting in that cubicle—not the expectation you had for yourself, huh? What happened? You both forgot to continue to dream, to re-draft your goals, and map out new ones, but there is still time. There is always time to become more, to add more value to this hurting world. The universe always offers an opportunity to check-in, checking out should never be an option. Familiar is wonderful. To have a life-long partner, someone that knows all your quirks, who makes you laugh, and is there to hold your hand and catch you when you fall. Why would you give that up? Because guess what? when you finally make it—it will all be worth it in the end. The late nights, the tears, the hurts, the sacrifices, the pains, the bumpy roads, all shared together as family—the value of family is priceless! Marriage should never be about losing yourself but becoming more together, it is about finding more of ourselves.  But this is where familiar should end. To live a fulfilled life, different must be your new norm—to think greater than how you feel. You see what I mean about contradictions—you must learn to navigate through them, knowing when to apply, when to sail, when to change course. Stop being addicted to the same emotions, the same experiences because you will only continue to create the same predictable future. Do not wait for tragedy to strike before you decide to begin to make necessary changes, invite wonderful challenges, invite different, to live a joy-filled and inspired life.

So, maybe there is no reset button, but we could all benefit from a little pause, take the time to reflect, inspect our wins, our losses, our triumphs our mishaps, take the lessons learned and look forward to better tomorrows. That is what COVID did to us, it offered us a moment of ‘pause’. To take a moment to think about what you were doing right before the world stopped. What were you doing, where were you headed? What did you think was happening at you? Maybe you were in a dead-end job, hiding behind a pile of paper, never allowing yourself to realise your true potential. Maybe success got all the checks, but you were not allowing for the necessary pauses in life, to check in with yourself, to appreciate the little things, including family. As we go about our lives, we tend to tell many different versions of our stories—those we tell ourselves and those we tell or show others. These pauses in life, show us to embrace all the imperfections in our lives, perfectly woven in our stories that only serve to add more value to our experiences here in this lifetime—to be more than you were. Our losses, our challenges, perfectly placed, divinely timed, to offer us strength, light after dark. Learning to love ‘the you’, after darkness, after challenges, after brokenness. We only gain the gifts of trust, faith, love, humility when we experience life through our authenticity and in this authenticity, we experience life in its truest, rawest, form embracing its imperfections never questioning it. When we learn to live our authentic lives, we experience exponential growth, a growth that only comes from trusting the flow. You stop resisting life, resisting change, taking on the challenges as badges of honor to be worn, unveiling a better version of yourself—one of more value, always.

You get one life, live it fully and completely! We have choices in life, learn to lead with your heart and fill yourself with beauty, love, peace, kindness. Your soul has the map to your destiny it will only reflect to you what you put into it. What was meant for you will always be there until you are ready to tap into it—opportunities will never pass you by. When you look for wonderful things, you will only find more of them. Your inner world must be filled with what you want to see in the world. Learn to let go of the chaos that surrounds you and go within. Learn to let go of illusions placed there by your material mind, by ego, and learn to listen to your heart. Do not go chasing success or a version of success because you feel that is what you should do or because society says so or because of a false perception says it’s the way. Breathe, dig deep connect with your heart and do what you love, success is a by-product of that love, of that force. When I have a pressing question and don’t know which way to go, I will close my eyes, and listen to my heart. I will ask the question and feel what is right for me. If feelings of frustration, anger, feelings of being overwhelmed come forth, then I know that it is not for me. If faced with a new experience and feelings of peace, joy, butterflies, fire in my belly, excitement overtakes me—then it is right. Life gives you plenty of opportunities to re-invent yourself, pivot, and live your best life in the truest form. Live it for you, not for everyone else. Life has taught me that I must like my own company, I like to sleep with the person that I am, no matter who sleeps beside me. I laugh, I love, I give more of myself, always.

Maybe now is the time, you take that leap of faith into that relationship you longed for, or that career opportunity you thought you were not good enough for, maybe today is the day you learn to look past your selfish needs and go after your true desires, that dream that keeps you up at night, learn to let go of needing things into your life and place your focus on your wants, dreams, desires that fill your heart and soul! You see, it is never about a do-over, it is about seizing moments. There is no right or wrong, if it was meant for you and you dreamed it, it is never too late—your dream life is simply waiting for you so step into it! So maybe you did not get to publish your first book at the age of 20 or even 30, perhaps 50 or 60 is more of what the universe had in mind for you. Ronald Reagan best said it in his quote: “There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.”  Stop spending your days chasing your moments, be in the moment and let your moments, your successes chase you. There is no other place to be, then here and now. Embrace it! Recognise that whatever happened in your life or is happening, needed to happen and unfold in the manner that it did. If you are not feeling joy right now, it is simply time for you to go back to drawing table and re-draft a new dream, shift your perspective, and see what the wizard has in store for you! Enjoy your freedom if you have it, read, write, dance, create! Enjoy your children, partners, pets—it’s all good😊, but the secret to a well lived life is that you enjoy whatever you have the privilege and opportunity in life to do!  Do not get lost in your head, with thoughts of “what-ifs” and “needs” or perceptions of what you think the “perfect” life is; visions placed by your inexperienced mind. You have lived a few moments since then, a few tears, a few joys—so what do you want to feel right now? How has your life experience enhanced that future joy, that future love, has it added value to your life?

In writing this blog, like many writers, you experience moments of enlightenment, that help elevate your writing with that personal touch so that your audience is so much more engaged, intrigued by your personal experiences allowing for that connectedness that I often talk about. When you begin to view the world from this perspective, connecting to person, experiences, places, it is when you learn to act from compassion and empathy, you no longer view yourself as separate. You embrace all moments as experiences necessary for your growth. On this very writing journey, I had a moment of pause, my peace was interrupted with a moment of bringing awareness to my present being. As my town began to re-open businesses that had been shut for a few months, I decided I wanted to venture out of my cave and safely allow myself for what I thought was much needed shopping time (mostly for my girls) having summer upon us it would be nice to embrace it with summer dresses and to also offer my support to the community. It turns out, the universe had something else planned, and what should have been a joyful shopping spree, turned out to be a painful afternoon of licking wounds and an inability to sit, sneeze or laugh.  I suffered a significant fall on my way, knocking the wind out of me and leaving me incapacitated for more than a week. Suffering significant bruises as my patches of honor, on my upper thigh, contusions to my ribs and my entire upper left side including lungs were inflamed and unbearable to touch. Oh yeah, it was pretty bad; a senseless fall, its ramifications begging for my attention.  This was my pause; this was my moment to learn to sit still and allow others for once take care of me—something I seldom accept. To put myself higher on my list of priorities.

Canada is said to have two climates when driving, the challenges of winter driving and construction season☹. Summer is here and construction begins. I may start on one road, but ten minutes in, be told, you must detour. So, I pack a lot of patience, water, and wonderful music to enjoy my unplanned excursions. As I drive along, I notice some beautiful homes I never seen before, maybe some parks and wonderful people walking their pets—a wonderful site. Once you learn to relax and become ONE with life, the unraveling will stop and you will soon realise that all the hiccups, the missteps, the aches, the tears were necessary to bring value, to make you more valuable—a sacred loving nurturing gem, to appreciate moments that much more. You see, it is never about what you think you missed out on, but what you found instead. Choices made by you, a path leading you to more value, more memorable moments. If you had a different vision of what you currently see in the mirror, then pivot your thoughts, change the narrative starting from within, soon your outworld will reflect at you what you wish to see in your physical world. Once you stop the illusion of denial, lacks and limitations—stories told by you, and put on the lens that shows you that wisdom comes at a high price but leaves you empowered ready to take on life with clarity and acceptance, living in joy. If you keep looking down at that half-empty glass, you will miss out what the universe is revealing to you now! Let go of your struggle, stop living in the past and immerse yourself in this experience, be opened to receiving what is yours—you just need faith and trust in the flow!

So where does that leave my cart? Let’s just say the G-Wagon will be on my wish-list under want category and “fun I deserve” in the not-too-distant future because why not? In life, once you have done all the hard work, recognising time is the most precious gift, you allow yourself the gifts of truths, humbleness and yes, you allow your wants to become your needs because you deserve it! I don’t really need a G-Wagon but it will be a fun replacement for my past Toyota and Mazda moments and experiences. They certainly served their purpose, offering space for diapers, baby furniture and endless toys, and yes, babies, they were the smart economic decisions made by two very naïve unsuspecting parents. They housed, the joys, the tears, the “for sures” and bumps and bruises along the way, the “I’m all in” moments. This new dream—I will keep under ‘fun’, exciting, beautifully disguised and dynamic—one of value in my journey of self discovery, a decision made by a very present me.

So, it is not about a do-over or a reset in life, it is about making choices and liking the choices you make because you have to live with it. Never fall for the: “You get one chance in life so make it right”, no, you get one life—live it with all the rights, wrongs, messiness, imperfections and successes—embrace it all! Life is a chaos and amid that chaos and all the randomness; it never fails to surprise you; an unexpected event occurs thrusting you forward, leaving you breathless, just be sure to be present every step of the way—the key is having no regrets. Sometimes life will slow down just enough and remind us we are all connected fate always working its magic letting you know you grew into the individual you were always meant to be. Every morning is the start of a new day, your opportunity for a do-over, to start anew to add more value than the day before. You deserve to live a brilliant abundant life! Go live it! Invite uncondition love into your life, into your world, it will never disapoint!

Remember to stay humble and offer kindness,  elevate everyone in your life, and those you have the opportunity to meet today. Offer much love to yourself, family and friends, 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,

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!