Friday, June 5, 2015

Confessions of a Recovering Worrier

I’ve got a confession to make: I am a worrier. Actually, I am a recovering worrier who occasionally falls off the wagon.

The funny part is that I know how useless it is to worry. I mean it is a real waste of time! Instead of being an integral part of problem solving, all worry does is distract you from the joys that are around you now. I believe it was Wiz Khalifa who simplified the concept when he said, “Worrying is stupid. It’s like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain.”

The infamous 'lump'
This month’s Tarot card in a Fool's Paradise is the Moon (Major Arcana 18). The Moon teaches us to step back and accurately assess a situation before taking action. It requires a person to see things as they truly are, and accept the truth of the situation. The Moon card reminds us it is the truth which will set you free – regardless of the ultimate outcome.

If you will indulge me, I would like to tell you a little story.

In April of this year I went on a week’s vacation to Florida. I had been excitedly anticipating this trip since I booked it in early January. From the moment I received my flight confirmation, I envisioned myself relaxing by the pool, walking on the beach, reading a book in the sun, and strolling through nature trails in some of Florida’s most beautiful preserves. I was so excited!

Flash forward to Easter Sunday. I was in the airport sitting at the gate waiting to board my plane. I reached down to scratch an itch on my left leg and that is when I found it – a quarter-size hard lump about three inches below my knee and just to the right of my shin bone.

Holy Mother of God!!!! The panic was instantaneous. My mind immediately flew to ‘worst-case-scenario.’ I poked and prodded at the mass for pretty much the entire flight. I weakly told myself it could be anything – and did not necessarily signal the life-threatening condition I was sure, deep down, it was.

I was definitely encountering the dark side of the Moon tarot card. Things were being blown out of proportion and my worst fears were spring to life in the fertile soil of my mind.

When I arrived to my location, the lump had grown to the size of a half-dollar. Now I was really scared.  I immediately signed on to my ipad and investigated all the possible maladies it could be. At the top of the list – you guessed it – cancer. “Holy shit,” I said to myself.

For the next 48-hours, that lump had my undivided attention. Really. Although it didn’t change anymore, and it didn’t hurt, and it didn’t interfere with my ability to walk, I refused to take my focus off of it.

While it is easy to understand why people might obsess like this, looking back on this all I can think of is, “What an ass you were.” Here I was in near-paradise conditions. There was beauty all around me.  I was with people that I loved, and I was feeling fit and healthy! And, all I could see was that lump.

By Tuesday night I realized something had to give. I started to catch on to the fact that all my worry was only depleting me of the present joys. I made a decision then and there to stop worrying – both about that lump and all the other ‘lumps’ that could come into my life. I realized that worry actually weakens the mind, body and spirit. At that point I knew I had to embrace the lighter side of the Moon card. These are the concepts of intellect, intuition and spiritual awareness. I accepted that the only way to power was through an honest assessment of the situation.

So…. first thing Wednesday morning I called and made an appointment with my doctor. They said they wanted to see me right away. (Note – that was a strong test of my budding new no-worry philosophy. J) I explained I was in Florida and would not be able to come in until Monday. They scheduled me for 8 am Monday morning.

The next thing I did was go to the pool, and instead of watching my lump, I watch the children play, and I engaged in interesting conversations with the people around me. Basically, I acknowledged and appreciate all that I had in my life at that time. It was enlightening. I can honestly say I was overcome with gratitude for the simple fact of existing and being able to participate so richly in this thing we call life.

That Moon-card experience taught me a lot about gratitude, awareness and acceptance. As stressful as I had allowed the lump situation to become, I am grateful for the lesson I learned about releasing worry and embracing life.

Oh yeah… and about the lump… it was still there Monday morning when I went to the doctor. He took one look at it, felt around and said, “You can stop worrying. I am sure you are thinking the worst here.” I confirmed I had been. He told me the lump was not cancerous. Rather it was something called DVT – Deep Vein Thrombosis – and would require only a few simple tests to determine the severity of it. Even better, these additional non-invasive testing showed there was no clotting and no reason for additional treatment. He told me in time, my body would heal on its own – without any additional help, or fuss or you guessed it …. Worry.

Huh, go figure. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Here Comes the Sun...

“Little darling, it's been a long, cold, lonely winter.

 Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here.

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,

 And I say it's all right.

 Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces.

 Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here.

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,

 And I say it's all right”

And so goes the lyrics to the well-known Beatles song, “Here Comes the Sun.”

With the physical and emotional beat-down of winter behind us, most of us are welcoming  warmer weather, beautiful spring flowers and a season of hope.

Hope is a beautiful thing. It is what gets us through our darkest hours, and leads us to a brighter tomorrow.

In last month’s Fool’s Paradise blog, I wrote about The Tower tarot card (Major Arcana 16). It is one of the most feared cards in the deck because it heralds complete, and often catastrophic, change in the way an individual lives their life. When The Tower shows up in a reading, life as it is known is about to change.

I didn’t write a blog last month for A Glass Half Full because I felt as though I was experiencing my own personal Tower moment and was struggling to connect with my own light of hope. I felt as if I was in a deep, dark winter, and frozen in unhappiness because of my fear of change.

While I wanted to fight this difficulty, I knew I couldn’t. There was no denying that change was imminent and necessary in my life. So instead of battling the challenges of the Tower, I chose to surrender to them. I decided to see these issues for what they were, and decided to have several much-needed conversations.

Was it easy? Hell no! I knew I was putting a familiar and safe existence very much on the line. However, I also knew I was at a turning point. I had to initiate a change – if nothing else a change of attitude about how I was going to live my life.

I knew I had to:

Established clear boundaries.

Clearly and respectfully speak my mind.

Step back from people and situations I felt were unhealthy.

Take time to hear and then silence my inner critics.

Prioritize my health and wellness needs without feeling guilty.

It wasn’t easy, but I knew I had to do it. And, do you know what happened? I started to feel like myself again.

Like The Star (Major Arcana 17) rising out of the ashes of ruin of the Tower, I too felt that many unnecessary burdens had been lifted. It was liberating. It was peaceful. It was emotional sunshine. That’s when I started to notice that as the long, cold, lonely winter dissipated, contentment began to fill me, and a smile returned to my face.

And I say, it’s all right …..

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

One Healed Soul at a Time…..

At the end of most of my newsletters, I write a little blurb about myself and my mission in life. The write-up starts off with some background information and then shifts into what I hope to leave behind in this world when I make my final departure at the end of my life.

Here is the tale-end of the write up I put in my newsletter, “Joan is an Authentic Life Mentor who believes the only way world peace will happen is when the people of this world find peace in their souls. And, that is her mission - to make the world a more peaceful place - one healed soul at a time.”

I truly believe it is my mission to connect with individuals and help them find their way back to the path they are supposed to be on.

Now, I am not necessarily a ‘go-large, or go-home’ kind-of-person. As a result, I tend to be an individual who connects best on a 1-1 or small-group level. I feel it is more personal, and I feel less hesitant to be vulnerable and show who I truly am.

That is one reason why I have begun to incorporate workshops into my regimen of services. While Tarot and Numerology readings are a great way to check in and get direction, they are not the complete solution to a person’s problems. The readings are one path to the answer, but you can’t stop there.

 In order to get where you want to go, you must take action. Don’t wait for the Tarot predictions to come true. If you wait without action – without helping yourself – nothing will happen.

In this month’s A Fool’s Paradise, we encounter major arcana card number 15 -The Devil. As you can see by the write up (http://joanscannellafoolsparadise., this card is not about the evils that exist in the world around you. Rather, this card represents the evils that operate from within – those mental, emotional and physical vices that cripple us and interfere with our ability to become who we are truly meant to be.

These vices make us think we are not good enough, smart enough, strong enough or brave enough to take control of our lives. Left unchecked, these weaknesses have us behaving in ways that damage the soul during its journey through this human experience.

And, these are the issues about which I am referring – the ones from which our souls need to be healed.

Unfortunately, many people don’t free themselves from these bindings. I am sure you have heard the phrase, “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.” That is just a really poor excuse that people use when they are afraid to initiate change.

It is time to break free NOW. You CAN control your life. You CAN move it in the direction you want it to go. Whether you attend one of my workshops or not, you must start taking action TODAY. Shut out that inner demon by ‘feeling your fear and doing it anyway.’ Surround yourself with people who think in a positive way. Connect with groups who are moving in the same direction you want to go. 

And if you think you might benefit from a workshop designed to empower you with the tools you need to succeed, check this out:

Friday, February 6, 2015

Don't Be Afraid of Mercury Retrograde

As I write this blog, we are sitting squarely in the middle of a Mercury Retrograde cycle that is playing havoc with my emotions regarding progress in my life’s goal areas. I am feeling this overwhelming urge to get things done – as of yesterday.

Yes, there are the usual Mercury Retrograde headaches – issues with electronics, unanticipated disagreements with friends and family, and scheduling glitches that create frustration.

But the angst about which I am referring is more a feeling of impatience and desire. It is being fed by the feeling that change needs to happen sooner – and in the manner in which I want it to occur.

However, as we know, life happens at its own pace. Our only control is a commitment to stay the course and follow through on the plans that we have made. Sometimes the stars are aligned in our favor and we experience smooth sailing in the direction of our dreams.

Other times, our life seems to be one big Mercury Retrograde imploding on itself regardless of who hard we attempt to stay in the flow and fight the good fight.

Ironically, that Mercury Retrograde period of our life is often just a blessing in disguise. In short what appears to be chaos can actually be an opportunity to slow down, look around, and do a little course-correction.

If you will allow me, I would like to tell you a brief story from my past that I feel effectively illustrates my point.

The story takes place in 1992. I was three years out of college and 25 years old. I was working for a small daily newspaper, but wasn’t loving my job. I found myself in an industry I felt was hypocritical and vindictive. The scary part is that I knew if I was going to make it in that field, I too would have to embrace these qualities.

I had great inner turmoil going on.

Fear of change told me to stay put and stick with what I knew. “The hours may suck, and the people with whom I have daily interactions can be assholes, but I can do this job with my eyes closed,” is how I rationalized my decision.

Keeping my focus in this direction, I stayed in that job for a while – a lot longer than I should have.

But, I couldn’t help the growing feeling of discontent that was welling up from inside. I didn’t want to admit that I was too much of a coward to enact a necessary change in my life. Even more so, I was angry at myself because I knew I was lying to myself and the world. I was becoming the very thing I despised about the business in which I worked. I was a hypocrite.

I toyed with the idea of going back to college for my master’s degree. I even applied to a couple programs. I was accepted to all of them, and was given the green light to start during the upcoming summer session. Despite this, I kept rationalizing to myself how things weren’t that bad and it was better (okay … safer) to stay put.

But the inner noise only got louder!!!!!

As is the case when one has inner challenges, I struggled to keep a lid on my feelings. My body language screamed volumes and my unconscious mind often allowed slips-of-the-tongue that angered the wrong people. “I didn’t care,” I told myself. And to a large extent that was the only truth I was speaking.

Eventually, my mood affected my effort and attitude. Not surprisingly, this affected my ability to keep my job (Hmm… Imagine that J.) In June of 1992 a metaphorical Mercury Retrograde descended on my life.  

I was called into my editor’s office and given a sheet of paper listing the multitude of concerns that the ‘powers-that-be’ had with my work. I was told I had 30 days to either shape up or ship out.

I gave my notice that day. And, oh, it felt so good. You know the feeling – it is the one that comes when you finally take a long-overdue action designed to release yourself from an unhealthy or counter-productive situation.

Three weeks later I was actively pursuing my master’s degree in education and began my first graduate-level class. It was so refreshing and so invigorating to be around people who welcomed new ideas and shared in the belief of a brighter tomorrow. Hands down, it was one of the very best decisions I have ever made. It was what I would call an example of a positive course correction.

Just like Temperance, the Tarot card we discussed in this month’s Fool’s Paradise, it is important that we realize that harmony in our life comes only after we have exercised the courage to honestly evaluate our lives and nurture the seeds of healthy progress. These seeds don’t grow over night and we often don’t even realize the need to plant them until we have wandered down the wrong path in life.

So when we encounter our own personal Mercury Retrogrades in life, it is important to look at them from the attitude of Temperance. Rather than turn and run or cower in fear, we can use these periods to correctly identify and pursue the course of action our higher selves want us to follow. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

You CAN Do It This Year

For most people, the New Year is a time of promise and hope. It is about starting over and getting it right. There is a ‘clean slate’ undercurrent that permeates people’s philosophies. It is one of those rare times when you see large numbers of people advocating a hopeful attitude and enthusiastic approach to change.

This is a time when many people set resolutions to implement some sort of positive adjustment in their lives. Some of the more popular ones include weight loss, better eating and exercise habits, financial goals, and improved attitudes. Unfortunately, by mid-January, a lot of those same people have either forgotten or are struggling to honor their targeted intentions.

As a result, these people get frustrated by their lack of progress and ‘beat themselves up’ or become depressed.

Rather than get down on yourself two-weeks into the year because you are hopelessly experiencing failure in your resolution attempts, make a decision to really commit to the process of change. Realize that in order to have different results, you must have a different approach.

In order to do this, you need to bring a new swag to your game.

Now, if you are one of those people who have already given up on your resolution, fear not. This is a new you, and the new you says, “You can always start over – even if it is not the first of the year.”
With that in mind, here are some tips to help you accomplish your deepest desire in 2015.

Create a clear goal that is easy to track

One of the main reasons people fail in their attempts to make positive change is because they don’t have a real clear goal in place. For instance, they might say, “I want to lose 50 pounds,” but that is too general.

In order to be successful, you need to have your resolution listed as a goal with a time-specific plan to accomplish it. Using the same weight goal, it might be better to word it this way: “I plan to lose one pound a week for the entire year.”

By breaking it down, it seems much more doable. After all, a pound a week is a manageable goal. Plus, you see the results right away.

Create a plan that is easy to follow

Once you have your goal, it is important to decide what supports you will put in place to assist you in the process. Identify what help is currently available and what help you will need to seek out. Develop a timeline as to when you will put these helpers in place.

For a weight loss resolution, you might want to ask yourself the following questions:

·         “Should I join a gym?” Or if you already have a membership, “How often should I go to the gym?”
·         “Should I consult a trainer to help me?” Many gyms have free trainers or very affordable fees associated with trainers.
·         “Should I consult a nutritionist or dietician to help me facilitate a permanent life-style change?”
·         “Should I join a group where I can feel supported and experience the benefits of accountability?”

Remember, it is important to identify what help is available to you, and target a schedule for implementing these supports.

Celebrate your successes

Design a method for tracking your progress. It can be as elaborate as a chart or graph that you attend to regularly or it can be as simple as a small spiral-bound notebook you keep in your purse, backpack or computer bag. Pick whichever way works best for you. 

When you hit a milestone on your journey, share the good news with family and friends. Don’t brag or use this as an opportunity to rest on your laurels. Instead, thank those who have been supporting you and share the next phase of your plan.

This doesn’t mean you become one of those annoying social media posters who air all their laundry. Rather, offer a few well-timed and sincere posts expressing enthusiasm and gratitude for your progress so far.

Remember, it is important to share your journey with others. By making your intention public, you add a layer of accountability to it. You also let the Universe know you are serious. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Peace on Earth Begins with 'Me'

Oh, the holidays…….

Never has there been such a mixed can of nuts as the events, activities and emotions that arise during the holidays.

Having a few dozen seasons of experience behind me, I’ve come to learn a thing or two about this special time of year.

In no uncertain terms, I would describe the holiday experience as both a blessing and a curse. Now, before you start throwing rotten vegetables, and calling me ‘Mr. Scrooge,’ let me explain.

For the record, I love the holidays for all the good it brings. We have beautiful music and breath-taking decorations. There are gatherings, and contact between people who have not seen each other in a year or more.

Overall, people are more generous at this time of year. They are more willing to go out of their way to help someone, and they also tend to be more reflective.

I have to say I love all these things.

What I don’t like with the holidays is the fast-pace, go-go-go, ‘have-to’ atmosphere that accompanies it.

You know what I am talking about. It’s the scheduling and the demands surrounding the responsibilities of the holidays. They sound something like, “I have to get so-and-so a gift.” It could be, “I have to attend so-and-so’s party.” Perhaps it is, “I have to do such-and-such because it is a tradition.” Trust me, there are lots of them. And, I can’t stand it. Yes, as the length of my to-do list gets longer, my ability to see the wonder of the season decreases.

Despite a not-so-subtle undercurrent of people who recommend a boycott-mentality of Christmas, I don’t think that is the answer. Doing so is like throwing the baby out with the bath-water. Christmas and the holiday season are beautiful, wonderful events.

I love the generosity of people this time of year – whether it comes wrapped in beautiful packages or appears as time well-spent during a visit with dear friends. I don’t think we should ever lose that, and I believe we need to let people share their ideas of the holidays in the ways they see fit.

In this month’s A Fool’s Paradise, we encounter The Hanged Man in all his glory. The Hanged Man represents an individual on the cusp of evolution. He is like the person who has grown from the child in awe of the splendor of the holiday season, to the behind-the-scenes adult who serves as an integral part of the magic-making.  He moves forward physically in these tasks, because he understands logically this is what he is supposed to do. But spiritually, he is struggling because he realizes perhaps some of these traditions no longer suit his purpose. The Hanged Man knows something needs to change. He is just trying to figure out what it is, and how he can make it work for his higher self.

And that is why we are here on this earth plane. This is a beautiful place to be, and there is so much to experience and enjoy. It would be a shame to waste this opportunity. However, our souls know we are here to use these experiences only temporarily to learn and become more enlightened. If we stay in a situation that no longer serves us at a soul level, our growth slows to a crawl and we can even backslide. This explains that nagging feeling we get in our chests that urges us on when it is time to make a change. Even though it might be familiar or comfortable to have things stay as they are, we know that can’t happen if we are to evolve from one season of our life to the next.

It is at these points in our lives, we become The Hanged Man. Just like a child’s experience as he matures to see the real magic of the holiday season, we must mature on our paths in life. If we don’t, we cannot grow and we will never assume our true power.

As you head through the holidays and into 2015, use the reflective energy of this month to see exactly where you need to grow, and identify ways to become an active participant in your progress so that you can reach greater heights, and can live the live you were truly meant to live.

Happy holidays! Blessings to you so that you might experience a healthy, positive and powerful 2015. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Keeping it Simple during the Holidays and Beyond

I had planned to write a special column all about gratitude for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. I had great ideas, too. I would cite the wisdom of ancient sages and modern mystics. I would add profound quotes and detailed segues with enriching examples of the value of appreciation. Ah, yes, I had it all mapped out in my mind.

Don't take anything for granted
But then I gave it more thought, and decided in keeping with the wisdom of this month’s Tarotscope and its warning about not getting lost in the grandiosity of our ideas, ADD LINK HERE a less-is-more approach would be much more effective - especially at this busy time of year.

So instead of adding a bunch of superfluous and unnecessary fluff, I will very simply provide an explanation of the importance of expressing gratitude as well as some easy ways to do it this season and throughout the year.

With that in mind, here goes:

Why should we show gratitude all year - throughout the good times and bad?

1. Regardless of how bad things are, there is always something for which to be grateful. Don’t believe it? Look around. You may think you have it bad, but chances are you would not change places with 95% of the people whose life you observe on a daily basis. Why is that? Most likely it is because at some level you realize the extent of the blessings in your life.

      2. Studies show that people who express gratitude regularly are better able to handle stress, have healthier immune systems and feel mentally more alert. So, if you can’t be appreciative for simple reasons, then do is with selfish motives. I have faith that eventually, you will start to feel its power.

      3. Gratitude activates positive thoughts within us and raises our energy vibration. When we elevate our energy, this allows us to attract better situations into our lives.  It’s a positive revolving cycle.

      4. Gratitude pulls us away from a “me-centered” approach to life and into an outwardly-focused life. When we are grateful, we realize life isn’t all about us, our wants and needs. We then connect with a reciprocal energy that shows us how others experience gratitude, and reminds us of our power to bring happiness to others.

      5. It’s just the right thing to do because it connects us with the productive energy of the Universe.

How can we connect with gratitude in everyday life?

      1. Remember the little things are really not that little in the big scheme of life. We tend to prioritize our careers, our possessions and the things we think we need to make our lives better. We forget that the real reason we want these items is to enhance the true gifts of life – our family/friends, our inner spirit, and our health.

2.  Create gratitude moments throughout the day where you stop what you are doing and thank the Creator for the things in life you often take for granted. These can be big things like our well-being and our loved ones. It can also be less-obvious things like a safe trip to work, a warm-bed to sleep in or a walk on the beach on a pleasant afternoon.

3. During stressful situations, attempt to shift your focus to any possible underlying gift this issue may bring. For example the loss of a job could be an opportunity to begin a new career path that fuels your true passion. Or, helping someone combat an illness may allow you the chance to slow down and really get to connect with that person on a deeper and richer level. This is not meant to be a ‘Pollyanna’ and unrealistic approach to dealing with a problem. Instead, connecting with gratitude this way allows you to experience some control over a situation that may cause you to otherwise feel very powerless.

      4. Remember the Law of Attraction tells us that we attract that which is like ourselves. In order to attract ‘good’ things, we need to stay positive and show appreciation for something – anything - regardless of how horrendous the circumstances may appear. Our ‘attitude of gratitude’ is exponential, and is a powerful tool for bringing promise into our lives.

      5. Contact someone who needs a pick-me-up or who would benefit from kind words, and tell them how much you appreciate them. It could be as simple as a text, a phone call or email. If you want to be extravagant, go to the store and grab a card. When you talk, give a specific example of something they did that meant a lot to you. Your sentiments will be a nice surprise and are sure to produce a ripple effect in the world.

      6. Create a gratitude jar. Everyday list one thing for which you are grateful and put the paper in the container. At the end of the week, review the comments and feel a renewed appreciation for all you have been given.

      7.  Be open to the wonders of life, and observe things from a new perspective on a daily basis. Allow a childlike enthusiasm to swell in you as you look for, and discover situations you have never experienced before.

      8. Make every stranger a friend. This does not mean letting your guard down and walking blindly into trouble. Rather it means to greet people in the eye. Smile at them. Say hello. Realize that the vast majority of people are just like you – trying to make their way through the struggles of the world; grateful for any kindness and assistance that is offered to them.