I honestly didn’t think he was going to make it…
Last June, my Dad’s health took a major turn for the worse. My sister and I didn’t honestly think Dad would make it to see Father’s Day. My mom, sister, and I started planning for what seemed to be the end. It was excruciatingly painful.
But in classic Dad fashion, he found the strength to keep fighting and continues to grace us with his presence. In fact, Dad and I were even able to make our annual Christmas bread this year, something I honestly believed I would not get to do.
Making our Polish babka has been a tradition for decades. Dad learned the recipe from his great-grandmother and it has been passed down through each generation. When I was little, I would wait eagerly for the day my dad would finally make this delectable treat. Most of the time, I would just watch him and marvel at his concoction. And then as I got older, I assisted him with the baking. And now, because my dad is so weak, I have assumed the role of lead baker while still under the watchful eye of my dad.
The precision required for this bread is nothing short of an advanced chemistry experiment that you can eat at the end. As a scientist, this always appealed to my father. Scald the milk precisely to this temperature, set the proofing oven precisely to that temperature, and not a degree more or less, let the dough rise two times, and on and on. The details are exact, and the finished product is the most delicious bread I have ever tasted.
But this bread is more than just something tasty to eat for me. It’s family memories. It’s tradition. It’s the spirit of the Holidays. It’s joy, laughter, and happiness in every loaf. But most of all it’s LOVE. Love of family. Love of giving. Love of helping and serving. Love of tradition. Love of life. And the love between a father and his little girl…
I fear this was the last time I got to experience this magic with my Dad. Who knows, I hope I am wrong about this, but I don't think so. But no matter what, these memories with my dad will last a lifetime.
And so, during this Holiday season, whatever it is that you celebrate, I hope you will celebrate LOVE most of all.
Thanks, Dad. I love you more than you can possibly know.
Family dinners. They are a thing of nostalgia. They are revered by many yet practiced by few. They remain a romantic vision for most, even those of us for whom they are a regular occurrence.
What I mean is that even for those of us who understand the importance of family dinners – and have a beautiful picture in our heads about what they entail – the reality is often far less than the dream.
With two children, a husband, and two businesses, our family dinners are often rout with fret about who is going where, which activities we have coming up, deadlines we have, projects the kids have, and the usual craze that plagues most modern American families.
That said, one tradition I have instilled on my family for the past couple of years is a moment of gratitude. Before eating, each of us has a turn to say what it is we are grateful for. I began this practice when I started learning – and teaching about – the power that comes from living a life of deliberate gratitude, being thankful for the everyday miracles most of us take for granted. Stopping each day and reflecting on these helps to rewire our brains so that we become attuned to them and ultimately become acutely aware of the miracles that surround us each and every day, thus bringing more of them into our lives.
And tonight was no different, we did the same thing.
But then, something amazing happened. Something unplanned and spontaneous. My youngest daughter who is no more than five had a suggestion for a twist on our daily gratitude ritual. She asked if we could each go around the table and say what it is we loved about each of the other family members the most. Excited and eager, the other three of us quickly obliged.
And what happened next was nothing short of a miracle in and of itself.
We each took a turn. We looked at the family member we were speaking about and told that person what we loved – what we adored – about him or her. And the words that came out of our mouths – especially my children’s mouths – felt like Divinity was flowing right out of them, as if they weren’t even in charge of their own words.
“I love your kindness, your big heart, your silliness, and how much you love life,” my older daughter said to my younger daughter.
“I love how you dance, how smart you are, how you love to help other people, and when you play with me because we always have so much fun,” my younger daughter said to my older daughter.
Tears welled up in my husband's eyes as he listened and then went himself.
For a moment, time seemed to stop. The bliss, the joy, and the love I felt was palpable. “This is what happiness is,” I thought.
So while all family dinners won’t be void of kids fighting, adults rushing, the dog barking, the food burning, this one was. And I was so grateful for every single second of it.
So I encourage you to try it. Incorporate a gratitude ritual into your evening dinners. Have family members say what they love about each other. Or come up with your own spin on bringing love and grace into suppertime. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed,
Do you and your family have your own family dinner customs or traditions?
I’d love to hear from you, as would your other Shifties!
Who knows? Maybe we can all help enrich each other's lives easier and more quickly than we ever imagined. That’s what our tribe is all about after all, right?
Sending much love and gratitude from me to you.
Chances are you've heard the term “God-conscious” before. It’s used throughout spiritual, religious, and even some scientific teachings. But even if you’ve heard it before, have you ever stopped to think about what it really means?
First of all, I believe God-consciousness is a way of life. In fact, it’s something I deliberately strive for each and every day. It has become the barometer for my actions every day. Second, I believe it is a state of being that gets stronger every day. Third, I do not believe it is a destination that is ever actually reached. Rather, I view it as a path, something I walk towards but never reach. Reaching it would imply an end and God has no beginning nor an end.
But even if we can’t get there, it’s still a way of life worth pursuing for everyone and it’s blessings become the miracles that show up time and again.
The Tao Te Ching teaches us that there are four virtues to live from and Lao Tzu promises that if you live your life according to them you will be living a God-conscious life.
Simply stated, the four virtues of the Tao are:
- Reverence for all of life. This includes all plants, animals, and people. We must revere all life forms and see all life as expressions of God. When you do this, you instantly remove all forms of judgment from your life which blocks the flow of the Divine Spirit from coming to you. Live from a place of unconditional love for all life, including yourself.
- Virtue of gentleness. This virtue is all about being kind to everyone and everything. Kindness, gentleness, and love are at the heart of this second virtue. And when you live a God-conscious life, you will always put gentleness and kindness above all else. This means letting go of false beliefs your ego wants you to hold onto, beliefs about right and wrong, good and bad, and so on. There is no room for being right when you live from a place of gentleness so when you have the choice to be right or kind, always choose kind.
- Simplicity. This virtue teaches us to be true to ourselves. Live from a place of authenticity. Don’t try to be someone you are not, and at the same time be the person you say you are; don’t be a phony. Walk the walk and talk the talk.
- Service. This virtue teaches us to put giving and serving at the heart of everything we do. Each day, you must ask, “How may I serve?” And when you do so without expectation of reward, you are living from your highest self, and the Universe will respond by saying, “How may I serve you?”
If you look closely at all four virtues, and what it means to live a God-conscious life, it all boils down to one essential element: always choose love over fear. To live a God-conscious life according to the four cardinal virtues you must let go of your ego, your false sense of self, and connect to your true authentic nature, your Divine source, your Spirit. And when you are connected to Source Energy, you become what I like to say is a magnet for miracles! In fact, true God-conscious people actually become miracle workers themselves! They can create and manifest virtually anything they want. As Joel Goldsmith said, “In the presence of the God-realized, the laws of the material world do not apply.”
I encourage you each day to be mindful of these four virtues and live your life according to them. I promise you that when you do, your life will be overflowing with blessings!
I would love to hear what you think it means to live a God-conscious life or about how you incorporate the four virtues into your own life.
Sending much love and gratitude from me to you.
Many of us have heard the phrase, “That which you focus on expands.” In other words, “thoughts become things.”
But how many of us actually understand how and why this is true?
Enter quantum physics.
For most of my life, I was caught between science and spirituality. I wanted to believe what the great spiritual teachers were preaching — it felt so right and natural, and it made perfect sense to me. But just when I was on the verge of becoming a believer, my scientific intuition would kick in and make me want to prove it.
Luckily for me, I was raised by a self-proclaimed quantum psychics fanatic for a father.
If you aren’t familiar with quantum mechanics, let me explain. For centuries, scientists believed that the atom was the smallest unit of measure. They believed that all physical matter was made of these atomic particles. But it turns out, there is nothing really physical about anything at all.
Using particle accelerators, physicists have been able to break down the atom into subatomic particles. What they have discovered is that subatomic particles are impulses of information and energy. But what makes them fascinating is they can behave like both a wave and a particle at the same time.
Moreover, subatomic particles have the ability to be in more than one place at the same time, and that’s not all. This impulse, or vibration, of quantum energy becomes either a wave or a particle the moment it is observed by the human mind, and then attracts other impulses of energy that vibrate at the same frequency.
This literally means that we create something and it expands by attracting other things that are similar to it. Pretty astonishing when you think about it, huh?
And, when I realized this, my two worlds of science and spirituality came dancing beautifully together. Suddenly, I understood what the phrase “thoughts become things” actually meant–and why it is so.
We can use the same principles that science uses to create physical reality out of non-physical essence and use it to have, do or be anything we want and experience happiness and fulfillment to any degree we choose.
This knowledge is truly a gift for anyone who recognizes and knows how to apply it to their daily lives. With this knowledge, you can use your thoughts to become the deliberate creator of your own life experiences rather than leaving your life to mere chance, and know why it works.
As quantum physicist Niel Bohr has said, “Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real. If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet.”
A dear friend of mine once said that helping and serving others is like Miracle-Gro for your life. I couldn’t agree more.
For me, sharing my message with the world is one way that I get to serve others. But service comes in many shapes and sizes. Anything we can do each day that helps someone else, makes someone feel brighter, grateful, or happy is a way to serve. Service comes various currencies, such as your time, your effort, and yes, your money, no matter how big or how small.
Service gives each of us the power to literally make the world a better, more peaceful, more joyful place. How cool is that? We actually can change the world, and that’s why I love it so much!
But service does more than transform our world. Living a life dedicated to serving others will transform you, too. Your life will begin to change in new and exciting ways. You will see opportunities surface that would not have seen otherwise. You will notice people reacting to you differently, eager to be around you. You will carry a new aura that will become like a magnet to all good things, to the things you envision for your ideal life; and you will see them manifest right before your eyes. Finally, you will simply be a happier person. Deep in your core, you will be full of joy, life, and energy, ready to serve the world!
So, let me ask you: How do YOU serve? Let me know the things you have done–or can do–each day to help others in the comments below. Your ideas will help inspire others to follow in your footsteps. Serve us by sharing how you serve others.