positivity

All posts tagged positivity

20 Things I Learned in 2020

Published September 21, 2020 by Maryanne

Twenty Things I Learned in 2020

  1. Life can change in an instant; embrace NOW!
  2. Grandma was right, “When your time is up, it’s up.” But if it’s not, 2020 taught us one thing — live for today; it’s a gift.
  3. I’m not as afraid of modern technology as I thought. Giving classes via ZOOM is FUN!
  4. Outdoor dining is fun too. The wind blows your long hair in your mouth as you eat, but that’s okay. Fresh air is good.
  5. If you can change and roll with the punches, you’ve nailed this!
  6. You can eat all the kale you want, but meditation is the ultimate in feeling good.
  7. During a major crisis, you can still thrive and be in control. April 2020, I made more money than I ever did in my life.
  8. Taking in a feral kitten is love. We can’t control the world, but we can embrace what we have in our own homes. Having a little soul to feed, train, and adore is the purest your heart can be!
  9. I can sing well when I put my mind to it.
  10. I did not write that sixth book during COVID19. And that is okay. Being lazy is okay.
  11. Discovering new parks in New Jersey is fun.
  12. Social distancing at restaurants is romantic, sitting far away from everyone else is like having the place to yourself.
  13. A crisis can bring others together, but don’t be blinded by this fact. People can still be jerks fighting over politics, smoking in public places, and cutting you off in traffic. We’ve come a long way, but still have a long way to go.
  14. Being locked down was NOT boring. It was fun. I loved spending so much alone time with my husband and lots of reading.
  15. Belonging to online shopping clubs like Stitch Fix and Daily Look, and having a personal stylist, is so much better than shopping in stores! I may never shop in a boutique again!
  16. Even if you’re not a fan of phones and apps, just belonging to Amazon Prime alone is worth it. Products coming to your home within two days without shipping charges is a wow for me!
  17. Staying home more often is healthier! It was a breeze staying in shape this spring and summer because I ate out less. Even with take-out or dining out on the weekends, I managed to stay in shape.
  18. You don’t miss indoor concerts when you can see live music outdoors.
  19. I was never a gym person. Now I’m the go-to person for recommending the best online home training videos. (One example: Lucy Squad!!)
  20. Now that indoor dining is an option again, choose restaurants that are more “old school” (where the owner comes to your table, where older people go). Sports bars and trendy vegan restaurants are are nightmare during this time–short staffed, long waits even with reservations, and people smoking in the dining areas because staff is afraid to say something to them. Try places like farm-to-tables, take-out places with a few spots for dining, and even diners. During these times, in my experiences, these are the types of eateries that truly have their act together.

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. In addition to Love Cats, 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:Be (Extra)Ordinary

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You

Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: Love Cats

Visit Maryanne’s You Tube Channel here: Be YOUnique

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

95849294_2817039011678255_9072810759997620224_oBeing Authentic book cover

 

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

 

“Summit of Greatness 2018”

Published October 8, 2018 by Maryanne

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Summit of Greatness, Columbus Ohio, 2018

I was beyond ecstatic to attend the Lewis Howes’ Summit of Greatness in Columbus, Ohio. It truly was a life changing experience. (Next year’s is in September and I highly recommend going!) It was two days filled with motivational speakers, inspirational stories, and entertainment. But it was more than that. It’s one of those things that you truly had to be there. I slept so minimal because of all the excitement and the realization of life’s potential. (www.summitofgreatness.com) ‘

Here are some of the quotes that truly resonated with me over the course of the event.

“Self doubt is the killer of dreams.” — Lewis Howes

“You can’t be everything you want but you can be everything you are.” — Jay Shetty

“You’re not good enough yet. Failures do not define you.” — Lindsey Stirling

“These mountains you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.” — Najwa Zebian

Shaun T. on what fear is: False Evidence Appearing Real

“When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.” — Eric Thomas, the Hip Hop Preacher.

But  the story that truly stole my heart was that of Amy Purdy (http://amypurdy.com/). A woman who lost her legs at the age of 19 because of a form of bacterial meningitis. However, she went on to be a great success — a true Cinderella story!

I was also ecstatic to meet Mark Hymen, author of “Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?” I’m a health advocate myself, and his book inspired me to really get back on the right track. A year ago after getting a physical and blood work, finding out I was in great health at 55, I started slacking off and eating grains and sugary items again. My goal is to get back to paleo — or as Hymen says, “pagen” which is paleo and vegan because you should be eating a lot of vegetables!

In addition to the event, I was happy to explore the town of Columbus, Ohio. There was plenty to experience, like the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. There were many great restaurants, but I have to give a big shout out to The Angry Baker which was vegetarian and played 1980s favorites like The Cocteau Twins and New Order.  I had these super carrot pancakes with cashew drizzle. They also had kombucha, which I can’t live without!

There’s a possibility I may return to the Summit of Greatness in 2019. Or then again, by then I may become so great I’ll be too busy to make it! You never know what life may bring. When I checked my emails this magical Monday morning, I was bombarded with good news. My favorite was from a publishing company asking me to write another book! Coincidental or greatness manifesting?

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an international author. Her latest book, “I Don’t Want to Be Like You” (about anti-bullying and empowerment) is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

Maryanne is also available for motivational speaking events. For pricing and availability, contact her at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com 

 

Make Way for Happiness!

Published July 8, 2017 by Maryanne

SAM_2842Hello Happiness

This is why I’m more a believer in pronoia than karma …

First, I must explain “pronoia” since everyone knows what karma is. According to Wikipedia, here is the definition: “Pronoia is a neologism that is defined as the opposite state of mind to paranoia: having the sense that there is a conspiracy that exists to help the person. It is also used to describe a philosophy that the world is set up to secretly benefit people.”

Blessings in disguise are necessary to one’s evolution. It really sucks to be going through a bad time, but that’s what moves you to a better time. A quick example would be my career. Thanks to always trying to escape nasty people and office gossip, I’ve advanced myself to places I’ve always dreamed of. Starting out as a shipping clerk right after high school, I’ve learned all aspects of the working world — A/R, A/P, credit/collections — then went on to more creative venues, from typing, to proofreading, copy editing, writing features, learning design programs, and authoring three books. (As well as helping other people write their books). I am now superwoman. The more I learn, the higher my rates become; and the more I can pick and choose what work I want; and the more concerts I can go to, the more clothes I can buy, and the more vacations I can take. Go me.

Had I been someone who thrived on negativity, I would have stayed put. Fortunately bettering myself, away from back stabbers, always meant advancing in my career. Thank you Universe.

But pronoia doesn’t just work in career, it works in just about anything. A prime example happened a few weeks ago. I got hooked on a particular eatery and was spending much time (and money) there. However, I realized, being a health fanatic, the options were limited once I got bored with the dish I enjoyed most.

I also had to coach them to let them know there were certain items they put in their foods that I didn’t consider healthy, such as grains; almond or coconut milk from a brand that uses cane sugar; and bananas, which are extremely high carbs.

One day there was a new counter girl, having a hard time with my order. I was extremely patient, with a smile on my face. Fifteen minutes later, the grand finale was that she put granola on top of my finished product. (I do not like granola at all!)

I told her I was allergic, which gets you more compassion than just saying you do not like something — sometimes. But not this time. The owner was very snippy with me and said, “You’re allergic to nuts?!” as if I bothered her.

Right then and there I made up my mind that I would never step foot in that place again. I never really felt comfortable there to begin with. It was just an all around bad vibe as they tended to cater to people they knew personally, making it clique-ish. Plus, that day I saw fruit flies on their samples. It was no longer an inviting place to eat.

Is this the universe speaking? You bet! Read on …

I spent 45 minutes on the internet looking for another healthy place to eat in the area. Well, I found one that was much healthier — all raw vegan foods with no processed sugar, no grains, and many items minus bananas! I’ve been going every day since. The service is better. The owner even came out to shake my hand for writing a good review about them. That’s the way to go!

But wait, there’s more!

You get “points” for your purchases! Now, not only is this place, healthier and friendlier than the first place, but less expensive. And with the points, I’ve already had two free healthy desserts (made from natural, organic fresh fruit and cacao).

Then the real reward is that going to this place takes me through the back roads, avoiding all traffic. So instead of just looking at cars, I can see deer (and fawn!) romping, rabbits, swans, etc. It’s an all around prettier trip.

If you pay attention to pronoia, you will see how it happens often. Bad things almost always push you in a better direction. If you feel uncomfortable in your place of worship,  job, or the person you are with, it’s definitely the universe (or God!) telling you that you belong somewhere else, or with someone else.

While “pronoia” is the official term, I like to call these things The Parable of Sonny & Cher. As the story goes, Sonny and Cher were so down on their luck, they had to sell all the furniture in their home to make ends meet. This is when Sonny Bono wrote their hit “I Got You Babe.”

Did you ever lose it all, then get your dream job? Or win the lottery?

Did someone you love deeply die recently? If so, watch how many great things start happening to you almost immediately afterwards. Whether it’s the universe repaying you for your loss; or your loved one, now in heaven, taking care of you from above — it’s a given that tragedy leads to precious gifts.

Did you ever have a horrible day, followed by a fantastic evening? That is also pronoia at work. Bad things motivate you to grab the good. It’s a survival mechanism.

How has pronoia worked for YOU? Feel free to share your stories; I’d love to hear them!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of three books, including “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” available on Amazon. If you like positive, fun, silly books that don’t go in a downward spiral, this one’s for you: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

Her third book “The Gypsy Smiled” will be published by GenZ later this year.

 

 

 

 

Guest Speaker on “Bright Side with Tekneshia”

Published March 23, 2014 by Maryanne

TekneshiaBlog radio host, Tekneshia Day

I’m honored to be a guest on blog radio show, “Bright Side with Tekneshia” tomorrow, March 24 at noon, EST. 

Here’s the link for those who would love to tune in: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/tekneshiaday/2014/03/24/on-the-guest-list-adventures-of-a-music-journalist-with-maryanne-christiano

 

 

By Request, 10 Ways to Heal a Broken Friendship

Published June 17, 2013 by Maryanne

quote

When I wrote of a broken friendship a few days ago, a fellow blogger asked if I’d write a post about how I’m dealing with it, as a way to give advice to someone she loves who is dealing with the same thing.

I said that I’d write something once I heal a little, but truth be told, once you care about someone deeply and that bond is broken, you may never heal completely. But you can do things to make yourself feel better (as well as things NOT to do because they will make you feel worse). So, here is a little list of I’ve come up with. If anyone wants to share their ideas too, please do so.

1. Be honest, if you need to break away, do so, but do it gently. Everyone likes to end things differently. Some like to fade out of a friendship that may have become toxic. Me, I like closure, so I went for it. But do so in a loving way. Let the person know that you care and always will. Leave the door open for reconnection if it’s meant to be. People do change for the better. If something isn’t working out right now, there’s always hope that it can again someday. If not, you will just have to deal with it as a way of life, as some people are stubborn and not very forgiving.

2. Get your feelings out asap. After you let your friend know why the relationship needed a break or wasn’t working anymore, do share with a few close trusted friends, as well as your partner or significant other. Now, this does not mean gossip. It just means that you need to vent, that your side of the story needs to be heard by someone. Get it out, and trust me, you will feel a lot better. Especially when your other friends see your point. And that there is nothing to feel guilty about. You aren’t a bad judge of character. Your friendship was once a good one, you’re both just in different places right now. Hey, it happens.

3. Do not slander. Don’t trash your ex-friend on the internet using her name. Someone did that to me once, years ago, using my full name, and I haven’t had the heart to face this person again even after she apologized. I forgave her. I’ll chat with her on the phone. And who knows, maybe some day I will see her again. But that is something that is pretty unforgivable. So don’t do it to someone else. It may feel good at the time, but please keep it in the back of your head, there is always the chance that you may become friends again, so keep the hurt to the other person as minimal as possible. Plus internet slander is libel and it’s considered cyber bullying. Don’t be an asshole, no matter how much you are hurting.

4. Embrace your other friends. While the loss of a friend, especially if it was a best friend and she was around you a lot, creates a void in your life, pay attention to how God (or a higher power or the universe) is opening other doors either to make new friends or strengthen the bond of your other friendships. Interesting, two days after my friendship ended, I heard from another friend I broke up with about six months ago. I also got some really great surprises that made me smile to high heavens. There are a lot of great people out there! And me, I’m not a people person. I truly believe that 90 percent of people I meet in the course of life are boring, rude, self-absorbed and not worth being friends with. Perhaps one percent of people I may like but they don’t like me. So that leaves me with nine percent of people that I DO like and that like me back. That’s a pretty small percentage of people — but WOW, what a percentage they are! Those I connect with never cease to amaze me in how great they are! And I thank God for them on a regular basis. Whenever I am totally down, I think of these nine percent of the population and it immediately lifts my spirits!

5. Do something really nice for someone and don’t tell them. When you do something nice and keep it a secret, you’ll have this incredible high inside you that lasts for days on end. I’m a reporter, so it’s unnatural for me to keep quiet, but when I do, it’s incredibly precious. A few times I came across, by accident, nice things that were written about me on the internet. A few times before I had my own business, people in work left presents on my desk over the years and I never found out who they were from. A few times, I heard through the grapevine that someone I admired defended me for something. No matter how much you are hurting over a lost friendship, the worst thing you can do is believe all people are evil. Just continue being the amazing person you are, it will help you move on. But definitely do this secret thing because there’s some special magic in doing good for another without telling them.

6. Look forward to making up. A true friendship can survive a rough patch. I am friends with a wonderful girl that I’ve known since my 30s. We once had a misunderstanding, didn’t talk for months, then all of a sudden I received a most beautiful letter from her in the mail. She was willing to give our friendship another chance and to this day we are still friends. In fact, now our friendship is better than ever because we are both in such a great place. Perhaps that can be you and the friend you just broke up with. Life is amazing in it’s possibilities and miracles.

7. Was it Buddha or Confucius who said it? I don’t know someone said it … “It’s better to walk a lonely path than be in the company of a fool.” If you’re in a predicament where no one else can take your ex-friend’s place, perhaps it’s time for some alone time. I spent years alone without a good friend, without a love, and believe me these times were super fun. I used to have my Maryanne Days where I’d spend an entire Sunday in NYC, eating in healthy restaurants, buying clothes or CDs or art, going to movies I wanted to see, plays, concerts, etc. Being alone does not mean “loser.” It means the opportunity to fall in love with yourself! I always loved walking many blocks through NYC having these awesome conversations in my head. Sometimes I’d come up with comedic routines I do not have the guts to share with anyone (except maybe my husband). Do not underestimate the power of being alone, it’s a time for major growth. Go for it!

8. Do acquaintances. I used to have a saying, “I don’t do acquaintances.” Which meant that if a friendship wasn’t deep, it wasn’t worth it. I changed my mind. I’ve learned to embrace acquaintances. While a best friend may be a diamond, several acquaintances can be a bunch of little gems in your life that fill a void from time to time. They might not be there through thick or thin. They might not get you completely. They might be annoying. But they do like and enjoy you. And who knows, maybe someday an acquaintance can turn into a friend.

9. Write tips on how to heal a broken friendship. Put your thinking cap on and think of creative ways how you can heal the broken friendship, and then share the tips with others. It’s a win-win!

10. Cry about it. No shame in that. Healing begins once you start getting it out. A good cry is healthy and healing. No need to be pseudo tough — that’s goofy anyway. Whoever said tough is cool was wrong 🙂

The Spine is Your Lifeline

Published January 17, 2013 by Maryanne

The Water's Edge 2011 - for face bookPhoto of me by Darlene Foster, 2011

female spine

Monday night, after dinner, all at once I felt absolutely horrible. I thought I had food poisoning. My head got all congested, I was wiped out, had a horrible migraine, it felt like I was coming down with something. (I mentioned when I wrote about The Carrie Diaries I couldn’t even stay awake for a show I looked forward to for weeks!)

Tuesday, I struggled through the day, booking my music clients (but I did get bookings for all of them!) Near the end of my work day, I could barely work. My eyes hurt so much when I looked at the computer. It was another night of being in bed early. And another night of having a migraine.

By Wednesday I was going to work onsite for two chiropractors that I promote with marketing services. I was so out of it, it was torture leaving the house (and from me — a person who loves to work, this was just not right!) I woke up with another migraine.

My husband expressed his concern. He said, “I’m worried about you. You’re not used to being sick.”

I said, “I’ll be alright. If anything I’ll come home early.”

So I was at the health care center, trying to promote. But I was really struggling, afraid I wouldn’t do a good job, afraid I’d fall asleep, wondering if I could just make it three little hours until lunch. I hadn’t even eaten breakfast. Whatever was in my system made me lose my appetite. And I was starting to feel very weak. It was painful to look at the computer, my eyes were so heavy.

Then I had an a-ha moment … perhaps a chiropractic adjustment would help knock whatever it was out of my system?

Dr. Bob White gave me an adjustment. “Adjustment” is the word chiropractors prefer to use. They don’t like to say, “crack.” But damn, that was the biggest crack I ever heard in my neck and instant relief! INSTANT!

I was like, “Whoa, I feel so much better!”

Dr. Bob said, “Magic, right?”

My whole sinus area cleared up and I felt like I had a brand new head.

So I go upstairs to work and started feeling better by the minute. Happy. Healthy. Positive. Even euphoric.

My migraine went away, my vision was sharper, my eyes didn’t hurt anymore. Then as the day went on I got my appetite back. And so much energy! I woke up this morning so refreshed and back to my normal happy Maryanne self!

I asked the other doctor, Dr. Jason, why a chiropractic adjustment could help my eyes feel better. He said before the adjustment there could have been pressure on my optic nerve.

Fascinating, right?

I’ve been going to chiropractors for years (on and off) and getting back relief and that is expected, but having a horrible common cold cured right before your very eyes is downright miraculous! This is definitely a first hand testimony to the benefits of chiropractic care!

If anyone reading is in the New Jersey area, here is the website for Dr. Bob: http://www.advancedintegratedhealth.com/

In addition to chiropractic care, they have other natural options for hypothyroid, type II diabetes, weight loss, etc.

It’s just amazing how the body can heal itself naturally! No need for pills or drugs.

La-la-la-la, let’s all have a great day today!

In Praise of Positive Women!

Published January 10, 2013 by Maryanne

Women and Stars by George MatteiPhoto I modeled for called “Woman and Stars” by George Mattei

Today I ran into two different types of women. One was one of the most positive women I ever met in my life; the other was similar to many women I know — a Debbie Downer — the kind of person who can take any conversation and turn it into a negative. Even when I said to this woman, “Please shut up — there are positive forces that can hear your negativity and make life not so pretty by focusing on this stuff,” she continued with her negative banter.

This was not a friend of mine, but a cashier at the car wash. The time before this time she was upset, crying over something and I had to console her. I’ve yet to have a positive conversation with this person because no matter what you say she’ll put a bad spin on it. Each time I go to this car wash I put an invisible shield of white light armor around myself so I’m not hurt by her adversity. And it’s a shame because she is always full of smiles. She’s not a snob, a gossip or an anti-social person. She just needs to up her game, big time, and get some sunshine in her life.

But then I thank the universe for the positive women. Positive women are fewer to find, but they have so much grand energy that it can keep you on an up beat for hours on end!

The positive woman I met today is someone I’ve been doing business with from when I was still a writer at Montclair Times, then on a freelance basis and now someone I will be working with again with my Pear Tree company next month.

I love being in this woman’s company so much because her energy is so positive and she lets God lead her life. leaving the positive things to the universe.

One time someone told me that I should know what I want in life. But I think I’m a happier person for not knowing EXACTLY what I want and letting God choose for me because ultimately I want to utilize my God given talents for his glory, not mine.

Actually this woman was the person who inspired me to start my own business.  When I was unhappy at a newspaper I worked at after seven years and ready to move on, she shared about a time she came to crossroads in her life and said to herself, “I don’t know where I’m supposed to be, but it’s not here.” And then she left a cushy corporate job to start her own business that has massage and facials, but with a very spiritual tone. You walk into her place and you can feel the euphoria of love and caring.

And that’s exactly my state of mind since I’ve started Pear Tree in 2008. I left it all up in God’s hands and it never ceased to amaze me how the best people to work with came into my life. Yes, having your own business is not always stable. It’s like riding a wave. From last summer until Hurricane Sandy, I was so busy I didn’t have a chance to breathe, but when I took long weekend vacations I was so happy that I had a ton of work to come back to. Now I am going through a sadly slow period, but I love that I can now have some free time to do things with friends and make the effort to seek new clients and dream about what God has planned for me next. Trusting in God. Trusting in my faith. And trusting in myself and my talents. What a beautiful way to live. It’s like being a child who has nothing to worry about because of the love of a parent. That is how God loves us. Wouldn’t it be great if more people trusted him?

So to answer the question, what do I want? I just want more of the same, to write, to promote, to be of personal assistance. I think those are the top three things that I do best and I just want to continue to have Pear Tree.

Another very positive woman in my life was an older lady I once worked with. A couple years before starting my own business (and before meeting my husband), I was a single woman living in an amazing rent control two bedroom apartment with a kitchen, dining room, living room, bathroom and two bedrooms, plus a ton of closet and cabinet space (even more so than the house I live in now!) When they decided to up the rent three times what I was paying, I decided to no longer live there. If I was going to pay crazy rent, I was going to move to an area I loved, so I moved to Montclair — in an over-priced studio (which meant getting rid of so many of my possessions, including a hope chest filled with publications my articles appeared in). But for those who know Montclair, it’s like living in a mini-Manhattan (circa 1990s before it became so homogenized). You could walk to art galleries, movie theaters, health food stores and boutiques, so it was a dream to live there.

But how was I going to afford to live there? How would this work?

This lady I was friends with said, “Make it work.” And tah-dah, I did make it work!

I am always secretly thanking the universe for these two positive women, whose words of wisdom keep coming back to me over and over again.

And just like them, I want to be the positive woman who inspires other women. And it is so easy when you are working with women who are pretty positive to begin with; with negative women, it may not be so easy! But I’ve tapped into a way to help women who aren’t so positive, I just keep giving them more and more love because they need it more. And someday I am sure they will change for the better. We all can and do. We are not fixed.

Is there a positive woman in your life who has inspired you? Please share your stories, or feel free to comment on mine!

We women have to stick together, let’s continue to inspire each other! And if we know we are not very inspiring, let’s pull ourselves out from that Debbie Downer down swing and get up out of our slump and be the woman we were meant to be!

Happy New Year!

Published January 4, 2013 by Maryanne

Happy New YearRetro image swiped from Google

Okay, let’s try this again!

Two days ago I wrote a Happy 2013 but it didn’t turn out as positive as I normally am, which is good in one way because life isn’t always peaches and cream and I do like to “keep it real,” but bad in another way because I am not one to dwell on the negative and I think even when venting (which is healthy in some ways) getting responses to negativity only snowballs it and that is not what I am about. Moving forward I should only vent to my husband or trusted friends/family.

So I deleted that entry.

My negativity was on my business. After Hurricane Sandy, business took a nose dive and I wasn’t a happy camper. My webmaster also had a problem getting my site going because of some technical problems, which magnified my woes and since I am a perfectionist, it was like the world falling apart for me. I wanted my website to look perfect when I sent out my “Happy New Year” email and it took longer than expected to get it to my high standards.

Then once the website was fixed — miraculously so was my business! The updated website went out in my mass email and THREE old clients came back — two within minutes of the email going out!

THAT, dear readers, is the power of positivity! (My home-based company Pear Tree Enterprises website, www.peartreeenterprises.com always offers good words to my clients and readers — and whenever I am down, my husband says, “Get some of that Pear Tree spirit!”)

Needless to say, I am so busy I am turning down work again for next week!

So aside from my business being back on track, I had a few wonderful days during the time between Christmas and New Year’s. On Sunday, the first day my husband and I had together in a long time that didn’t involve holiday shopping or house cleaning, we took a couple long rides. First to a restaurant called Cracker Barrel where they have lots of retro goodies. It was a bit of a challenge eating there because there weren’t many vegetarian options, as even many of their vegetables are cooked in a meat broth, but the waitress was wonderfully patient with me and we had a super romantic time dining right in front of the fireplace.

As we were leaving, we spotting an adorable Teddy Bear that sang, “Twas the Night Before Christmas” in a children’s voice. Dennis and I fell in love with the bear and just couldn’t bear (pun intended!) to leave him behind! He was just so cute.

New Year’s Eve we went to Imperial 46, a wonderful Japanese restaurant in West Paterson — er, excuse me Woodland Park (the fancy new name because residents didn’t want to be associated with the negativity of Paterson due to the high crime rate, but screw you imbeciles who voted for the new name, Paterson is an amazing town with so much culture, museums, great schools and a grand falls — just 15 minutes from NYC! You are totally FOOLISH for not wanting to be associated with it!) ANYWAY, Imperial 46 is special because they serve sushi with brown rice. I was so happy I got to use a little Japanese which I learned several years ago while planning a trip to Japan that I never quite made.

After that we visited my Mom, sister, nephew and their doggies and had a blast. Then rang in the New Year with Dennis’ father, brother and his girlfriend. We had so much laughs.

The next day we went to a party that our friends Daniel and Patty had at their home in Neptune (Jersey shore) which was spared from the storm. After the party we took a ride to the beach, which looked like a war zone.

New Jersey beaches are so gorgeous in the winter and you’ll always see people walking on the beach with their dogs no matter what season it is. But the entire Belmar boardwalk was demolished. We saw homes that were destroyed and evacuated. It definitely put a sad tone on the day.

The streets nearest the beach were blocked off and only residents were allowed to drive on those roads. We took a walk and it was just too depressing. I said it reminded me of two things: 1. The devastating ending of “Planet of the Apes” where everything was destroyed and 2. 9/11. The exception was that Mother Nature did this, not man.

So that was my last few days in a nutshell.

In spite of all the fun I was so downhearted because of my business being slow. I felt de-energized and so exhausted. I also had some sciatica which I am sure was due to stress. So I went to acupuncture last night and slept almost around the clock. My sciatica is completely gone and I am coming to life! I was starting to feel a little positive with two new clients coming back, but then I went through the roof when the third one called today!

Next week it will be a typical Pear Tree week. I am happy beyond belief!

I wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013!

I am especially excited because this year is a milestone for me, as I will be turning 50 on August 19!

Best Lesson of 2012

Published December 18, 2012 by Maryanne

MARYANNE -- Early 30sMe, in my 30s

“It’s better to walk a lonely path than be in the company of a fool.” — Buddha

In the past, I’ve been such a sucker when it comes to friendships. I’ve  hung on to debilitating friendships. I’ve been known to be too nice, give in too much and be too forgiving. I’ve let people who have hurt me in the past back into my life, only to wind up getting hurt over and over again.

But 2012, I’ve learned to  put a stop to all that.

My days are so much happier because I’ve been practicing (and succeeding) a very important lesson:

WHEN TO LET GO!

To me, these are the top three reasons to let go of a friendship:

1. When it’s exhausting. When friendships are too trying because a certain friend is too selfish or too self-centered or jealous; when you are getting tight pains in the chest just thinking of the drama a certain person causes in your life, it’s time to let go. When you are no longer excited about seeing that person and more worried about how your health will fare because he/she is too exhausting.

REMEMBER — YOUR HEALTH SHOULD COME FIRST!

2. When a person resorts to insults or digs. When a friend uses put downs during a disagreement (or worse, just in general!) Friends should never hurt each other verbally. You can agree to disagree, or avoid topics you disagree on, or just let something go. There is no reason to resort to put downs or name calling. We are not children and if you can’t have an adult friendship, it’s not worth it.

It also sucks when a person has to throw in a wise crack or dig to make him or herself feel better. I’ve felt myself falling prey to their jerkiness only to try even harder to get this person to like me more. This is not a healthy friendship and needs to be let go of. It’s devastating to feel you have to try to win someone’s approval.

A real friend will accept you as you are and be supportive of who you are, not belittle you!

YOU ARE SPECIAL — DON’T LET ANYONE TAKE THAT FROM YOU!

3. When someone isn’t there for you. When one person is always calling the other one it really sucks. Friendships are give and take. If you feel like you are doing all the calling, all the emailing  and always making suggestions to get together, just let it go, this person is obviously not that into you. Move on to someone better, who can share your successes and be there if you need a shoulder to cry on! A former friend of mine always seemed to disappear whenever something really good was happening in my life because she was jealous of me. My husband picked up on this, but I gave her chance after chance after chance. But mind you, if someone is jealous, unless she/he gets counseling, there will never be a true friendship. Jealousy is an ugly disease and a jealous person does not make for a good friend.

All this said, my life is now filled with amazing people — 2012 was the BEST year for friendships!

Whenever you are brave enough to let go of something that is not a positive in your life, the universe opens up so many doors for either new good things, or more good from the old!

Since I dropped a few negative people from my life (some in horrible, ugly ways because I just could not stand it anymore and not only had to close the door, but SLAM it shut; and others in a more subtle drifting apart kinda way — mainly because I feared the psycho drama that would occur if I confronted a certain person).

It’s such a relief to let go. There is no need for friendships that are ego-driven or happening because a certain person calls you only when he or she is lonely and has nothing better to do. Or if a person makes it known that he or she is so BUSY and you are resorted to feeling like an obligation!

There may be another reason to let go that isn’t so drastic. Perhaps you and a friend are just going in different directions for a brief period. If there is no exchange of bad words and if you really like a person and know that that person really likes you too, the separation period may be brief and he or she will return to your life when the time is right. In these situations it’s not really letting go, but perhaps merely going with the flow, like the tide of the ocean. And that is a good thing!

The final result of letting go is a beautiful inner peace,

Knowing that ALL the people who remain in your life really care about you and love you.

Thank you to God and the Universe for giving me the tools to make the right decisions when it comes to friendships. And thank you for bringing all these amazing people into my life that I can truly call friends!

Thank you to all my friends for loving me and caring about me!

Know how very important and precious you are to me!

I love you!