God

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Being Authentic… to Ourselves and Each Other

Published May 28, 2020 by Maryanne

Being Authentic: A Memoir by Morhaf Al Achkar, MD, PhD

Review by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

While many people are complaining about being cooped up during the pandemic, I’m secretly rejoicing because I’ve been doing what I didn’t have much time for before—READING! Since the mid-March lockdown, I’ve read six books, all special in their own right.

Prior to writing this review, I questioned myself… Is it weird to say I can relate to a man who was born in Syria, two years after I graduated high school? A man who became both an MD and a PhD–whereas I struggled just to get my diploma?

First, I took the safe route and wrote the blog as a regular book review. However, after a re-read, my review appeared dull and stale. This author deserves so much more. After he exposed his deep feelings for all to read, I promised myself I should do the same. I do not see that as narcissistic, but rather compassionate. In this review I want people to see me as a person who can find something in common with almost anyone—male/female, young/older, rich/middle class/poor, black/white/mixed. Because this is what the world needs right now, to focus on what we have in common, rather than what sets us apart. (And, honestly, I’ve been quiet about politics for too long, so read on!)

Leo

Author, Morhaf Al Alchar, MD, PhD, and faithful companion, Leo! 

Morhaf Al Achkar has not reached his 40th birthday, yet he ponders death.

I question: Why is he thinking about this now? Perhaps because of his struggle with both Crohn’s disease and a stage four lung cancer; perhaps because he dealt with the devastating loss of his own mother at a young age; or perhaps because we are in the midst a pandemic, all of us facing a virus that has no cure yet. And so many people are at each other’s throats, making it political.

In his memoir, Dr. Achkar strives to be authentic—his true self. And that he is. His story is direct as he gets right to the point with no apologies. And he is vulnerable. There is absolutely no pretense. You do not feel like you are reading a book written by a doctor, with both an MD and a PhD. Instead, you are chatting with a brand new friend.

Growing up in Syria, in a family of nine children, Morhaf often locked himself in a room reading books. He was labeled the “philosopher of his family” by his father. Early on, one of his major struggles was living in a culture “with hypertrophied masculinity.” Men boasting of foolish things like beatings or shootings was the norm. There were also bullies and schoolteachers who were abusive. Wise beyond his years, Morhaf made sense of it all and did not let any of this hinder his growth as a human being. As a person who was also bullied, I relate to this.

Once I began sharing my story to others, I no longer felt shame, but rather a big relief—even empowered! When I read about other people being bullied, it’s a soft spot for me. I can’t help but get a lump in my throat. Then I immediately switch my brain to the good parts of one’s life; their triumphs!

The saving grace in this picture is Morhaf’s mother, a warm, trusting woman, but one of authority and one who greatly valued education. Reading about how his mom pushed Morhaf to take the first steps on the dance floor reminded me of my grandmother.

Grandma practically raised me since my parents were divorced and neither were around much. I think about a family reunion we had when I was about 12. My sister, cousins and I danced to the hired band. When the reunion came to an end, my grandmother encouraged me to “talk to them.” I was shy, but wanted to make Grandma happy, so with my older cousin, we went up to the stage and asked the musicians for their autographs. A parent or grandparent encouraging the kids to dance or talk to someone at a party is a great move to get a kid out of their shy shell.

Another way I relate to Morhaf is not being satisfied with religion and rituals. As a Muslim he reflects on his faith after his mother passes. I was raised without religion, so I had nothing to go by except the standards Catholic holidays that Italian families practiced. When I was 24, I met an older Filipino gentleman who became my mentor. Together we studied religions and philosophies from all over the world.

Remaining open-minded until I met some Christian friends, I decided to give Christianity a chance. But then after my grandmother died, I lost faith, the same way Morhaf felt his faith was faltering after his mother died.

I stopped going to church and celebrating any holidays that had to do with Jesus. When I returned to faith, I took it all with a grain of salt, saving the positive and discarding what seemed overbearing. I now believe in Jesus, but also Buddha, God, and The Universe.

Perhaps this is something people of all faiths go through, but not many admit. So once again, as I’m reading the book, I am grateful to Morhaf for his honesty.

Amongst his great successes, he has had his shares of disappointments too. His passion in activism inspired was an option to leave his family, but after failing a commission-based job, he returned home.

Some of the best times seem to be spent in America. At first, Morhaf lived in Columbus, Ohio with his sister and continued to study. He traveled extensively throughout the USA. In addition to his studies, he had fun adventures that young people experience like dancing, hookah nights, playing cards, consuming cheap drinks, and adopting a canine companion named Leo.

Sadly, dating was an issue, especially in Indiana, where he lived and where many women were prejudiced to his color and didn’t think twice about making racist remarks. It felt terrible to read this. I am sorry that many USA women put a bad taste in one’s mouth, but I want people from other countries to know we are not all that way.

I live in NJ, a democratic state where we are open-minded to making friends of all races and colors—without judgement. I know behind my back my conservative friends and family refer to me as a “Libtard.” It’s wrong and very hurtful.

As a spiritual person, I refuse to retaliate with words and placing derogatory memes on Facebook. Instead I pray for them. And I pray for our president, who I do not care for.

During the month Donald Trump was elected president, Dr. Morhaf was diagnosed with cancer. As a Syrian immigrant he felt affected by the ban on Muslims, fearing he would not be able to say goodbye to his family. He wrote a letter to speak of his struggles. It was published in a Huffington Post blog, entitled “Dear Mr. Trump, You Are Cancer and I Only Live If You Shrink!” The letter explained what it was like to live with what he had then perceived as a terminal illness and as a Syrian immigrant affected by the ban on Muslims. After writing the letter, he felt empowered and liberated him to engage with the Syrian struggle.

I suppose many have friends who have immigrated to the United States and have been affected by Trump’s stance. It is absolutely heartbreaking seeing families being broken up. I know one personally, and will leave it at that to protect their privacy.

Aside from the prejudice Morhaf experienced from American women, he has decided to stay single because he doesn’t want to be a burden to someone should his health fail. I seriously hope he changes his mind because true love is mending.

I’ve shared the story many times and am happy to share it again. When I first began dating my husband I was going to many doctors because I never felt right. A few doctors feared I had cancer. After many ultra-sounds, CAT scans, and countless opinions nothing was found. Seven months after dating my husband, I had one final test that showed I was cancer-free and perfectly healthy! A week later I felt better than I did my entire life! Having a supportive loving person by my side healed me. I believe that!

So, you can see why I’ve enjoyed “Being Authentic” so much. There’s enough to relate to, but also much to learn. And, that, is what a good book should be!

Morhaf’s reflections on life in his later years, while he is now, fortunately, in stable health, we see that he is a true humanitarian and invites others to be as authentic as he is. This is what I wanted from my book, “I Don’t Want to Be Like You.” I want others to share their stories without feeling disgrace. The troubled times are what got you to where you are today. Always remember that.

When we look deep inside ourselves, and share our notions in writing, the reader gets a peek at our true soul. A reader may not “get it” entirely, but the more open an author is, the more we can learn about each other; and love each other. After all, deep down we are more alike than different. This is a book everyone can learn from. And Morhaf will be remembered for writing it.

To purchase “Being Authentic” (and have a sneak peek inside the book) please click on this link: Being Authentic

Follow Morhaf Al Alchar on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/morhafalachkar

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Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Be-Extra-Ordinary-Ways-Become/dp/1733546227

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

 

Turning My Back on Age 55

Published August 18, 2019 by Maryanne

IMG_8479Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

Today is my last day of age 55.

It’s been an incredible year. My fourth book was published and I wrote a fifth (which will be published later this year). I’ve helped two other people write their books, while I tried to help even more who have given up on the process. Yet I never give up.

It’s been another year of growth, spiritually and creatively. I joined Toastmasters to become a better speaker. I not only won a spot to present a workshop, “Be Your Own Hero,” but I’ve won “Best Speaker,” “Best Evaluator,” and “Best Table Topics.” I’ve continued to present speaking engagements in libraries.

I also started an anti-bullying You Tube channel. And blogging, lots of it for major companies and small businesses.

I’ve loved hard; and I’ve lost hard. Last summer my husband and I took in a beautiful feral cat, Bennie, who chose us to live with during the final months of his short three years. We gave him a happy last few months, then he was put down due to brain cancer. We’ve also lost some friends who died way too young. As well as some high profiles like Shakti Gawain, who has been inspiring me since I found her book in the late 1980s, “Creative Visualization.”

As always, it’s been a year of much fun. Friends, concerts, trips, and lots of laughter. And yet, another cat we adopted back in April–Sammy, with the full name, Samuel Keane Clemens.

I end the year in good health, for which I never take for granted. Young people still tell me, “You look so young” when I share my real age, for which I am always proud of. Many do not make it to 55, so I am so grateful for each day on this planet, and thank the energy we call God or the Universe.

It’s a great life and I’ve manifested it; being in harmony with the universe. Being myself. Being YOUnique. God bless everyone who is a part of my own little world.

Bring on year number 56! I am ready!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

Overnight Success Is Not a Real Thing

Published June 26, 2019 by Maryanne

Monkey AroundIs it business or monkey business? 

During my years as a journalist, people contacted me to publicize themselves. (Or just for a great story in general). It was a dream come true writing about bands (both famous and up and coming). I shared the story many times about how I interviewed The Jonas Brothers before they were a household name.  Those years were an amazing run in my life.

Then I started getting into writing books. And public speaking.

All of a sudden, publicists were coming out of the woodwork wanting to make me a “star.” Five years later, none of them impressed me.

Finding a good manager/publicist is like figuring out who to give your virginity too. It may take a long time. It may not happen at all. But whatever the case, don’t just give money to anyone.

I didn’t settle for love and ended up with a very happy marriage. So, why should I settle for a publicist/manager? In the end, I want it all — including a dream publicist/manager!

My goal in finding one would be:

  1. Someone who doesn’t lead with money. When someone (like the last scam artist) suggested that I create a Go Fund Me page in order to use her $7K per month services, I ripped her. I told her, if I was interested, I’d pay CASH in PAYPAL. And that Go Fund Me pages are to support those in real need, like people with cancer or hurt animals … Not publicists. Her plea of desperation for money was a major red flag. She spoke about money before she spoke about what she could do for me. Our phone consult lasted a mere five minutes while she put me on hold several times to talk to her friends at the restaurant. How can you ask for money when you barely spoke to someone? She didn’t even purchase one of my books, so how could she promote me? SCAM ARTIST ALERT! Another one said he could get me to warm up for Tony Robbins if I paid him $50K. He said Tony Robbins always wants him to be his opening motivational speaker act, but he’s too busy with his own stuff. I researched, and asked around. Nothing told me there was any truth in this man working with Tony Robbins.
  2. Someone who believes in me. Several years ago I exhausted myself interviewing potential managers. During one interview, a retired guy said, “Are you any good?” I ended the interview quickly. Why? Because he didn’t do his homework before the interview. If he read my newsletters and saw that I was consistently working for myself since 2009, he’d KNOW I was good. To me, being at the top and not lasting isn’t a good thing. But being somewhere in the middle and having longevity IS! I interviewed a woman who was putting me down while wanting the job. It reminded me of the “Sex and the City” movie when Carrie Bradshaw is interviewing potential assistants and asks, “So, why do you want this job?” It’s mind-blowing that people would want to work for you, but don’t get you. It makes no sense and is sure to go nowhere fast.
  3. Someone with a great track record. Yes, I know a few people like this. They are so good they don’t have time to work with me — yet! I say YET in high hopes that someday these women/men may have a window of opportunity for me. This could be another pipe dream–kind of like how some women wait for their dream guy to divorce his beautiful wife. But when you have in mind something special, it will manifest. It always does. Just don’t force it.

The thing is, when it comes to publicity, just like anything else that is good, stable, and successful, I say, do not rush your muse. Cherish your precious creative talents like you would your body and soul. Do not give them up to just anybody.

What you have is a GIFT from God and the Universe. Slow and steady is the key. Overnight success is not a real thing.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

 

In God We Have Got to Trust

Published July 16, 2016 by Maryanne

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Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

God is real. God is all things. God is one.

If this is the truth, you will find God everywhere when you seek Him; like in your home, or better yet your heart.

I officially became a Christian in the early 1990s. And it’s no secret that I also respect other faiths, especially Buddhism. (Other Christians seem to have an issue with that, but it’s their problem if they choose to be judgmental).

Other Christians may also have a problem with the fact that I go to more than one church and I do not go very often. Yeah, I’m “one of those” (that’s how a pastor, who I’ll refer to as “Pastor D,” phrased it).

You see, I had a “favorite” church for sometime. What I love about this church (where I’m a member, but still do not consider it a “home church”) is that they have services on Christmas Day unlike many other churches. Also, they have the best Good Friday service. These are the times when I truly love to praise Christ in an open-setting.

But my “favorite” church is missing a little something. I can’t quite pinpoint it, so I continue to seek. A few months ago I tried a new one. This is the one where Pastor D speaks. The first time I liked it. They had a great live band. It was low-key, as in people and the pastor wore jeans, and I really did enjoy the sermons.

Pastor D said that if I came to the church three times I’d get a t-shirt; which I never did receive after my third time. Then I missed a few weeks, because as I said, I’m not a frequent church goer; especially after the last service which happened to dwell on giving 10 percent of your salary to the church. Big turn-off.

Even without church I have a very close relationship with God. I pray a few times a day. In fact, it’s the first thing I do in the morning. My husband is equally as spiritual. We pray and meditate together, regularly. My husband goes to my churches with me on occasion; as I go to his on occasion. He still goes to the same church he did growing up.

In addition to going to my “favorite” church and the Pastor D church, I sometimes visit others, as well as the Dharma Buddhist Center. But all of this is no one’s business except God’s. 

So, for a few months after trying Pastor D’s church, every week I was hounded by him via FaceBook e-mails. “Are you and your husband coming this week?”

The answer was often a polite, “No, not this week.”

In addition to the emails, Pastor D also put me in two prayer groups on FaceBook and would message me on a regular basis. At least three of these messages were what Pastor D referred to as “butt calls” where he sat on his phone and my number dialed accidentally.

Pastor D was overwhelming. It seemed like I was being forced to go to church because every week I had to come up with an explanation as to why I wasn’t going. If I said, “I’m just not feeling it,” I’m sure that wouldn’t sit right with him and I’d have to explain further.

Truth be told, if I go to church, or any spiritual/religious organization, it’s because I want to go, not because I’m guilt-ed into it.

A few nights ago I was watching an episode of “Dating Naked” and the two main contestants had to let dates go because they were too possessive. This reminded me of when I was single. I never liked boyfriends who made me feel trapped or smothered; those who would pout and call me names if they didn’t get their way.

The way Pastor D was behaving in his emails brought back those ugly memories of relentless boyfriends and I felt so pressured, I couldn’t hold back my feelings anymore. I told him how I felt.

Like a spoiled child, he defended himself by writing, “Shut up! I’d rather be overbearing than have someone feel like they are unloved because no one is reaching out to them.”

If he actually took the time to READ my FaceBook page, he’d know how busy and how loved I feel. I have the greatest husband in the world. My friends are incredible. And I’m so blessed by God to have a career that I love so much I never want to retire!

Making someone feel suffocated isn’t “caring” — it’s obsessive. It’s manipulative. And it’s scary. It doesn’t bring someone closer to you (or God), it pushes people away. It’s like the telemarketer that never takes your name off the list. When someone or something is always in your face, you feel like puking your guts out. It does not feel good at all.

You have to let people be! God knows their heart and why they may not want to go to church. The best things in life take time to grow. You can’t expect someone to fall in love with a certain church overnight!

I felt so judged by this pastor and was very disappointed. I felt that him writing “Shut up” to me was so cruel and unprofessional.

I tried to rationalize and told him he wasn’t being very nice to me.

And again, like a cry baby, he overreacts and sends me a photograph of a dolphin’s tail waving “good-bye” to me. Very un-pastor-like!

Then faster than a greased rat’s ass, he unfriended me and took me off all his prayer groups on Facebook.

I was shocked. That was definitely was a first! I never in a million years would expect to be fighting with a pastor on a beautiful afternoon.

God gives us free will to choose and pastors should too. If pastors can’t trust in God and have to unfairly control people to go to church, they do not have good leadership qualities.

I’m hurt, but not broken. Behavior like this is exactly what turns people away from churches and Christianity in general. It’s so sad that Pastor D missed the point of what God is — free will.

Nevertheless, I stand strong in my faith and will continue to pray for God’s guidance. I trust He will let me know, whether He wants me in a church, or to pray from home as I’ve been. It’s His call, not mine. But it’s God that I trust. Not man. And I will continue my Christian practices, with my Bible  … in my home and in my heart. ❤

As for the pastor, I hope he’s asking for God’s forgiveness not only for the pain he caused me, but because had he done this to someone who wasn’t as strong in their faith as I am, he would have turned that person far away from God. This is the exact reason why people hate Christians. And sometimes you can’t blame them.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” — a POSITIVE rock ‘n’ roll memoir available on Amazon in paperback only: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

Your Own Personal Caring Ministry

Published February 3, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_9489Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

This morning in my moment of prayer, I was looking back to a few years ago when I spent more time at church. I really wanted to be a part of something special, for God, and was trying to get involved in everything. I voluntarily wrote for their newsletter. I participated in activities. And I even volunteered to be on the Caring Ministry, where I’d go to the homes of those who were bedridden and give them communion.

Then things just didn’t work out. No one’s fault, but that’s just how life happens. New people came on board. I wasn’t asked to write anymore. The woman who was supposed to train me for the Caring Ministry wasn’t available to train when I was available.

So, time went on … a lot of time. Then one of my favorite people in the church passed away and I couldn’t bring myself to go back as often as I once did. It was too painful. I remember driving to church, then feeling so uncomfortable that I turned around and came right back home.

While some die-hard Christians may suggest Satan was keeping me out of church; I have to disagree. There’s a saying, “The Lord works in mysterious ways.” I was always of the mindset that when something is right for you, you know it. And what has been right for me was going to church less often, because I felt so much more comfortable (and right with God) by practicing at home — every single morning. I’ve been reading the Bible more and working consciously on my well-being by praying for opportunities to help others.

Then it dawned on me … God is using me, via my business. I’m a full-time, self-employed author and journalist. I am also a ghost writer and book editor. I’ve helped countless people get their books written and published. I make dreams come true — and everyone needs a dream.

Another way I make a living is by public speaking. Two years ago, I started a library series called “Learn and Listen.” I present a half-hour biography on a famous musician, followed by live entertainment by local musicians. Through this series, I am helping to employ musicians — excellent musicians who are top of the line. Being a musician is a tough, competitive business and via this series, I am helping the ones I employ get more work. I’ve also helped an artist friend get work when I created a children’s recycling series. Getting work for people and helping them is what I do best, so that’s the way God uses me. I’m excellent at booking gigs, follow-up calls, organizing dates, and so on … That’s what I’m good at.

But what I’m not so good at …

Though I’m a very good listener, I can’t listen to people’s problems without feeling drained and depressed myself. Some people have the gift of resolving other people’s problems by listening to them complain. I do not have that gift. Nor do I have the gift of singing in a choir. Or counting money for a church. Or organizing big events. These are talents other people are so much better at.

While I was more than willing to let the church dictate how God would use me, I feel God went directly to me. Because these are the people who relate to me — the creative types, the musicians, the writers, the artists …

Idle hands are the devil’s workshop and I’ve been so incredibly busy these days; business is the best it’s ever been. Today is the first day I was able to take a breather and write a blog in a over a week. And to think, I used to write in my blog every single day — sometimes twice a day.

So when I take such joy in my career, I’m also taking joy in the fact that it’s not just about me. We’re all part of this great big chain connecting each other, working together, inspiring, and forging ahead, using our God given talents. Every day is beautiful and meaningful.

God knows where to place us. You’ll know when He’s there because, while it may not always be easy, you’ll just have that gut feeling of “This is where I belong … and who I belong with.” And you will feel God’s presence.

What is your Caring Ministry? Share your stories! Post them here, or email me directly. 

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

Her “Learn & Listen” series is available to libraries, churches, assisted living facilities, Jewish Community Centers, Rotary Clubs, and senior centers. “Learn & Listen” features the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley, David Bowie, John Lennon, Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra.

Intuitive Energy Healing with Dr. Robert Kandarjian

Published January 5, 2016 by Maryanne

Robert KandarjianDr. Robert Kandarjian

Before the holidays I had the honor of meeting intuitive energy healer, chiropractor, and author, Dr. Robert Kandarjian, at a health fair. He gave me an autographed copy of his book, “The Masculine Heart,” a sensitive, poetic book about the true masculine personality and emotions.

In writing “The Masculine Heart,” Kandarjian’s inspiration drew from his frustration in seeing his male patients struggle with trying to find out what manhood is and what success is. Kandarjian explained that in regard to macho-ism, not all men are made of that cloth. Even from his own personal experiences, he shared, “I wanted to live in a culture that is more cooperative than competitive.”

“Sacred Intentions,” another book by Kandarjian, is about using intention as a “wish list” and then manifesting it.

He said, “It’s key that our intention is aligned with our soul’s purpose, not with our unhealthy desires. If your soul feels you need to go somewhere else, you have to honor that. A lot of people don’t know what their soul wants. Most people are lost in their personality desires. That’s why they are unhappy. It’s really important to go in and connect what it is that the soul wants.”

Inspired by his father’s death, and death in general, Kandarjian wrote “Life and Afterlife” to address the question, What happens to us when we go to the afterlife with unfinished emotional baggage?

He said, “What happens once we’re up there and we want to come back to earth? Souls have to learn and grow. A lot of us want to come right back and reconnect to our family tribe. We miss them, we love them. What happens when we go to the afterlife when we go with feelings of unhappiness and unfulfilled desires? I wanted to focus the book on that. I wanted the reader to understand that there are angelic beings and divine forces that are there to help us.  We need to take advantage of the help offered to us. It’s always about evolution. It’s about going back to the source, the God, the oneness. ‘Proof of Heaven’ is a great book by Dr. Eben Alexander, who discusses that so well. It explains it in a wonderful way I haven’t seen before.”

Continuing about the afterlife, Kandarjian said, “There is free will. We don’t have to come back. Interestingly, most people wish to return.”

When asked if he’d like to return, he said, “Probably not. The way it stands now, I would like to stay in the afterlife longer than I have in previous times. I want to come back to help others move to a higher place. To me, it’s the goal of our human experiences.”

In his holistic journey, Kandarjian started out as a chiropractor in 1983. Prior to that he studied nutrition. By 1995 he felt he needed to bring more spirituality into his career. “I kind of evolved into it,” he said. “It just felt right. I wanted to work with more than the body; I wanted to bring in their soul healing.”

Working as an energy healer, Kandarjian uses his psychic ability to recognize where a patient is holding a block — or “tension” — or their historical stress. “It could be from childhood,” he said. “It could be a trauma. It could be physical, a digestive disorder. Is it coming from poor diet? Or is it totally emotional? A break up, a divorce, loss of a job? As long as they work through it, they feel better. They feel stronger. They feel clarity about what they need to do for themselves. They become clear about their direction.”

As a person who lives a healthy, spiritual lifestyle, I was curious to know if people achieve faster benefits from energy healing if they are positive and in good health.

Kandarjian said, “Motivation is an enormous help to recovery. When they’re motivated that means they’re open to hearing what I have to say. An openness is really crucial. When they come in close-minded, there is only so much I could do. I can’t access them as well. I can’t read their energy and where the blocks are. I can do it to some degree, but it’s a lot of work; it’s very hard, I don’t enjoy it.”

When I asked Kandarjian to share a patient’s success story, he hesitated saying, “I’m definitely not one who brags.” And after some thought, shared a story about a woman who suffered with migraines from the age of 13 to 47.

He said, “She has been to, without exaggeration, over sixty neurologists in her life. With bills in the hundreds of thousands, medications, MRI scans, she came to see me last year. When I assessed her, I felt there was a severe fixation in the upper part of the neck area. I asked her if she ever worked with a chiropractor.”

“She said, ‘No.’ It [her upper neck area] felt so tight, so blocked.”

In addition to migraines, which the patient had EVERY DAY, something was off with her hormones, and her digestive tract was off because of strong antibiotic use, from the age of 7 or 8 because of ear infections.

“This was one of my toughest cases,” said Kandarjian. “The medical community failed to help her.”

The final piece to the puzzle was that the woman had a block in the heart area. She needed to cry about something. She had suffered from the age of 12 and never really lived a fulfilling or playful life. She needed to go to that and cry for a life that had been so serious and painful, rather than playful.

Kandarjian corrected the spine and upper neck area, put her on probiotics to correct hormones, and then let her cry, within three weeks she was 60 percent better. From their last conversation she was 75 percent better. “My intuition told me something was off,” he said. “I needed to open her heart more and she needed to cry. I’m just removing blockage so she feels more free with her emotion.”

He said, “I was so happy to see this woman come back to life, where she could engage in her marriage and engage in her work. She is living her life again.”

Other success stories are with children. Kandarjian said, “I love working with children, must correct their diet. Whether they have ADHD or depression, we get them off bad carbs and processed sugars and make sure there is harmony in the house and school. Children’s energy is not going to improve when they’re not in a harmonious and loving, playful environment.”

Working with people is inspiring to Kandarjian. He said, “When I look at people, I do my best to see and recognize and feel their divine nature. Having said that, “I also recognize when they are not in their divine nature, meaning that they are hurting, that they are blocked. What inspires me is that I know a way they can move closer to their potential.”

Dr. Robert Kandarjian has offices in Oradell and Morristown, New Jersey. For more information and free E-book downloads, visit: http://drrobertheals.com/

Time, God, and Patience

Published November 17, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_7832Nature’s Timing is Impeccable

Yesterday I was on the phone making an appointment to see a woman I highly admired and couldn’t wait to see. As an author, public speaker, book editor, managing editor of Dining Out magazine, wife, and kitty mom, you can imagine how busy my schedule is — as I imagine how busy everyone else is in this day and age. I squeeze as many things in as possible to have a beautiful, happy career and am as equally precious about my down time. In other words, I know what works for me and what is right for me — as should you!

Because I couldn’t squeeze this person in when she wanted me to, her words to me were: “What I’m hearing is you’re not interested and you’re not flexible. When a person wants to do something, they will make the time.”  Then she went on about how busy she is

I corrected her.

“No, what you’re hearing is I know my limits of what I can and can’t fit in. Yes, I am interested, but sometimes the best things in life you have to wait for!”

That stopped her dead in her tracks and she realized I was right. I told her I adored her, but what difference did it make that our appointment would be later than sooner?

As a late bloomer, I am used to waiting. I’m not the most patient person in the world, but when you are patient, good things are well worth it. As I’ve said before, I had my first article printed in my mid-20s, but didn’t make a career out of writing until my late 30s. I married in my late 40s. And had my first book published the year I turned 50. What is wrong with that? NOTHING!

Isn’t it better to do things when the timing is right? I’d rather wait to see this person, when I can focus on her 100 percent and be bright-eyed and bushy tailed, rather than go in a rush and watch the clock.

And in my heart, I feel that when God wants something for us, it’s in His time. Not ours. How do we know it’s His time? When it’s easy and it feels natural. Just like animals in nature; they know when to rest and when to come out of hibernation. That’s why I love the saying about God having three answers, “Yes” “No” or “Wait.” Waiting ain’t that bad.

Two years ago, I had a lecture in Pennsylvania and I had to cover a story in Paterson and somewhere in between I had to eat and attend a funeral. It was a very crazy day to do all that. Luckily the weather was nice for all that driving. My regular life isn’t too far fetched from that day. It’s fine because I live a comfortable life, making my down-time all that more enjoyable. But when someone suggests for me to drive somewhere that’s two hours away from where another appointment is, I have to put my foot down, when something can simply be scheduled on another day.

Life is meant to be enjoyed. Every blessed moment of it. Whether it’s your career, your friendships, your marriage, your family and so on …

Sometimes our priorities have to shift because of death or illness and we have to make sudden changes and choices over what needs to be done pronto or what can wait. But most of the time, a happy, well organized person knows his/her limitations. And if we have to book events well into the future, we (and everyone else) needs to be okay with that.

Like the old saying goes, “Tomorrow is another day.”

So get a good planner and look forward to many tomorrows! ❤

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an author and public speaker. For more information visit: https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/

Smart Phones Will Not Change Destiny

Published June 9, 2015 by Maryanne

The ConversationPhoto of Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta by Darlene Foster

This modern world we live in, with everyone on cell phones and Smart Phones … I hate it. Always did.

I was forced to get a cell phone back in 2001 when I became a certified legal proofreader in New York City. The agency I was with told me that if I wasn’t near my phone when an assignment came in, they’d go right to the next person. (Kind of sounds like dating in high school in the 1970s … if you’re not around for a phone call, would the guy call another girl? Is that why back in the day so many young girls waited by the phones? Sigh … even back then we were ball and chained.)

Well, let me shed some light … even with a cell phone, I did not get the assignments.

Here’s what happened … I missed all the assignments. Even with a cell phone, I was not the type of person to be balled-and-chained to it. I’d hear it ringing, but by the time I fumbled through my purse to pick it up, someone left a message already. By the time I called back, yes, they had given the assignment to someone else.

I had words with the agency, like, “C’mon, this is ridiculous.” So then the agency promised, the next available job is YOURS. All I had to do was go to a company to meet the person in charge and I’d have my first assignment as a legal proofreader in New York City.

I went and the receptionist didn’t let the manager know I was there. Instead she gave me a ton of forms to fill out. By the time I finished, the manager went out the back door and never even knew I was there. I lost out on the job (in NYC).

Now, here’s the catch … THANK GOD, THE ANGELS ABOVE, BUDDHA, THE UNIVERSE … because here’s what happened … the Tuesday that I WASN’T at the job I was supposed to be at because the receptionist screwed up …. our country was attacked. It was 9/11. Not a day you want to be stranded in NYC.

I sighed with relief, not only that I didn’t get that job, but all the ones before it that I missed out on, because I would have been working in NYC and stuck there during the most devastating tragedy that happened in our lifetime. I’ve been spared by a higher power not to be a first-hand witness to that. (Though I did go to NYC a week later to make peace with it … somehow).

How crazy that I had been working in NYC for the past three years prior and made one wrong move to another job in the Hell’s Kitchen area that didn’t work out and I was unemployed for several months and during that time is when I became a certified legal proofreader in NYC.

All that time I was working and playing in NYC, constantly, even house sitting … and then the worst day of the life of a New Yorker, I wasn’t in the city at all.

ALL BECAUSE I AM NOT CHAINED TO A CELL PHONE!

So what was my destiny?

While I give major kudos to each and every New Yorker and everyone who continued to work in NYC after 9/11, I chose a different path.  I decided to find a job in New Jersey. One month and a few days after 9/11 I was hired as an editorial assistant for The Montclair Times, stayed there for eight years, became an award-winning journalist, interviewed many famous people and worked for other magazines and newspapers while I was there. And even ended up writing a book about my journey: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X

I’m sure many people will read this and think nothing of it and still continue to live life with their noses stuck in their phone and their fingers prancing on super high speed like a prima ballerina on crack … BUT if I can change ONE life with this message, my work is done.

If just one person reads this and says, “Hey, let me spend some quality time with my family and put my iPhone away” or “There’s more to life than what’s inside this ugly little device” my work is done.

Now, you tell me, what is more important now? Being the first to find out about a party via your fingers talking? Or letting the angels guide you to something much more thrilling than you could ever have imagined?

If I answered my cell phone like most people, I would have never became an award winning journalist, I would have never wrote my book (and now a second one) and I would have never started my own business.

SO PUT THE SILLY LITTLE PHONE DOWN AND LIVE!

And I promise you a miracle will happen, like it did to me!

Does God Speak To Us Through the Chain of Coincidence?

Published April 29, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_5579Me and my Grandmother, 1994

Springtime is always magical and exciting. Your friends share about their new opportunities. Everyone is motivated to do something different. People feel alive, stay out later, start health/exercise programs. It’s a beautiful time of year.

It’s also a time for omens and messages and connecting the puzzle of life.

Originally I had planned on publishing my second book “Love Cats” the same time my first book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” was published — during the cycle of Aquarius. “Aquarius is my favorite sign because some of the nicest people are Aquarius. (My husband is Aquarius). I was thrilled that my first born book was Aquarius.

“Love Cats” was ready for publication a long time ago. It could have been an Aquarius, but wasn’t. I kept stalling and Aquarius passed us. So did Pieces and Aries. Now “Love Cats” is with the publisher and will definitely be a Taurus when it’s officially published in a few weeks!

How could that be? It didn’t make sense until I put together the Taurus Connection of “Love Cats” which you can read about here: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/bizarre-taurus-magic-and-numerology/

And now the coincidences are getting more bizarre.

In addition to being an author, I am also a public speaker. I have a wide variety of topics I speak on in assisted living facilities, libraries, Jewish Community Centers, etc.

I’m often coming up with new ideas to keep me coming back to my favorite places, and to open doors to new places. I also love working with amazing people.

One of the coolest people I know, an Aquarius, named Carol Erickson, has become a good friend of mine over the years. She’s a beautiful songstress and her favorite performer is Ella Fitzgerald. I decided I wanted to work with Carol so I put together a series called “Learn and Listen” featuring the music of Ella Fitzgerald. (I also put together on featuring the music of Elvis Presley). The program entails a half hour bio on Ella, presented by myself, then a half hour of Ella’s music, sung by Carol.

Last night I started writing the Ella bio and was blown away by the number connection she had with my beloved Grandmother.

Check this out:

Ella was born in 1917. My Grandmother was born in 1918. My Grandmother died in 1995 of diabetes. She lost one leg. And had cataracts in both eyes. Ella died in 1996 of diabetes. She lost both legs. And had a cataract in one eye.

That’s where the Grandmother connections end, but then we go back to the Taurus connection — Ella Fitzgerald was a Taurus. And my first presentation of the Ella program with Carol will be on Monday, May 4, during the cycle of Taurus!

[And an interesting side note: Ella was born in Newport News, Viriginia. I had traveled there, alone, in the 1990s, two years after Ella died, to visit the Peta House, where I considered taking a job as an animal rights activist].

What does this all mean? I am not sure, but I am always open to interpretation. Today I have an exciting meeting that could change my life. Even if it doesn’t work out, the fact that I was considered for this meeting has my husband super duper high on the fact. He even told his brother about this meeting, he’s so proud of me!

Me, on the other hand, I am afraid to drive to the meeting, as it’s in the Pulaski Skyway area and I’m afraid of accidentally driving over the Skyway again. I was so nervous thinking about this, instead of going to bed last night when I was supposed to, I was sipping organic wine and researching about Ella Fitzgerald.

When I finally did go to sleep, I had a beautiful dream about my Grandmother. In the dream, I knew she was dead, but I was able to speak to her briefly. It was so surreal. And it made me realize that it’s not just about life after death — but life after life and life during life too.

I rarely dream about Grandma and I have to ask myself, is this an omen the meeting will be a success, or that just my drive there and back will be because she’s watching over me?

It could be her blessing for doing the Ella program. And to show that the tragedy of diabetes can happen to anyone, rich, poor or middle class.

When I read about Ella’s last day on earth, she just wanted to go outside in her wheelchair and be with her 12-year-old granddaughter. How significant, the dynamic of the love between Grandma and granddaughter.

We may not always know the answers, but with little signs God gives us through Astrology, numerology and coincidences, it shows many things that are pretty cool when we open our minds to interpretation. It’s His way of showing how our loved ones speak to us. Or how even God himself speaks to us — as He knows what is important to us and He gets us!

Ella Get HappyBeautiful Ella “Get Happy!”

Nailing the Last Four Commandments with Common Sense

Published April 4, 2015 by Maryanne

10 CommandmentsCharlton Heston as Moses

While Easter weekend is a time to honor Jesus Christ, it’s also a time to reflect on God and the Bible in general. I got to seriously thinking about The 10 Commandments and how easy it is to follow the last four if you simply mix psychology, common sense, and love for your fellow man.

7. You shall not commit adultery. There’s an old saying that when you cheat you cheat yourself. This couldn’t be more true. Whenever someone confesses to me that they are unhappy in their marriage and thinking of cheating, I remind them of the consequences. For example, if you already have a partner who is jealous, imagine how much more tragic your situation would be if you got caught cheating? Especially in divorce court!

Before you even THINK about other people, it’s best to end an undesirable situation first. Cheating is always a lose/lose. When people start putting others (and themselves) “second” nothing good ever comes out of it. Sneaking around isn’t “real” just a mere fantasy. When you cheat, no matter how much you think you’re “connected” you’re not. And while there’s the possibility that one party could decide to make it “real” and leave one partner to go with the other — the other will most likely lose interest because he/she didn’t really want you, he/she just wanted to play.

Cowards lie, sneak and cheat. Adults discuss things and find solutions to problems. If leaving is a solution, go for it; don’t drag an unsuspecting party into your mess because karma is a bitch and the truth always comes out.

When I met my husband, we were both available. No sneaking around, not hurting others, and no baggage! Just being together as much as we wanted was heaven. Almost 10 years later and we’re still so in love! And that’s about as real as you can get!

Mind you, we’re no better than anyone else; people fall in love every day. But you have to be in it to win it, so be a winner by starting with a clean slate.

8. You shall not steal. Of course if you steal goods and get caught, the law will take care of that. But what about stealing other things? Like time.

I’m a stickler for being on time. It says a lot about a person’s character. It says that you care about other people’s feelings. It says that we’re all equals and no one should wait for another person — not even a doctor. I’ve walked out of doctor’s offices if they made me wait too long.

Life is short and while you can do some amazing things while waiting (perhaps for some, finding comfort in their own thoughts or reading a book; perhaps for others, texting) it’s the most awesome feeling in the world when things run smoothly and on time.

I don’t like when people have to wait for me, it’s embarrassing. And when I wait for others, it makes me question how they feel about me: Does this person really want to spend time with me or am I a chore to them? But no matter how much others make me wait, I will never steal time if I can help it. It just feels like good karma! So I love this commandment. Thank you God!

9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Gossip and storytelling never sat right with me. So much so that I created my own business just to get away from that.

When I was still on Face Book, I had a musician friend who was having a hard time with an ex wife who was bearing false witness against him. My heart truly went out to this man and his wife for having to deal with such garbage, in and out of court. I was once acquainted with another man who went through something similar and it was hell on earth for him. My heart bleeds for those who have had false witnesses against them. I couldn’t imagine ever doing such horrible things to an ex. Trying to destroy someone’s life, especially if they are no longer in yours is the most psycho thing ever. Man, I had some disturbing exes, but my best revenge was that I married someone a billion times better! And the exes that were good ones, I always wish well and have nothing but kind words for them.

But as I said earlier, the truth comes out and the good guy always wins. So if you can’t love one another, at least mind your own business and don’t start trouble.

10. You shall not covet. I’m nothing special, nor do I have much, so it hurts me deeply when others covet the little I have. I always said jealousy is an ugly disease. So is begrudging. When someone has something you want, don’t be jealous or begrudge — be HAPPY for them. This is the greatest lesson in life my Mom taught me early on. So many people struggle with jealousy, so I feel blessed that I’m not a jealous person. But honestly, not being jealous is the easiest thing to do. Just live in a state of love, where you like to see good things for others because that is when others will be best for you — when they are happy! It’s just a win/win. Not everyone has the same path in life and we can’t always be on top. While many people insist misery loves company, I’m the opposite. When I’m down, I want my friends to share their good news with me — because that always makes me happy. And, hey, isn’t happiness better than war?

Happy Easter!

Whether you celebrate or not, embrace the contact high,

for He has Risen!

Jesus LambJesus Christ, the Lamb of God