Category Archives: The Power of Positive Thinking

Do you believe in New Year’s Resolutions?

Do you believe in New Year’s Resolutions?


One wouldn’t get in a sailboat without a compass or embark on a grueling scenic hike without a map.

Or would they?

Myself? I have a tendency to get lost.  Lost on a trail.  Lost on the freeway.  Lost in my thoughts.  A good plan keeps me focused and on task.  Goals help me to breakthrough inertia.  A map helps me to reach my destination.

So I plan.  And I plan.  And I journal.  And I plan some more.  And I re-read my old journals to see if life has deposited me somewhere close to where X marks the spot.

How about you?  Do you know where you want to go in 2017?  Do you have a hankering for something different?  Are you ready to change things up and see what sticks?  Or are you plodding along the same path.  Waking up to the same job.  Shopping at Target and getting take out from the Chinese restaurant on the corner.

Benjamin Franklin once said “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”.  Winston Churchill said this- “Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it”.

In either case, some self reflection seems to be in order as we embark on a new year.

Your thoughts?








photo (41)

Imminent- about to happen, close at hand, forthcoming, in the offing, on the horizon, expected, anticipated, looming…

It’s like waiting for the wedding to begin.  Everyone is giddy with excitement and suspense.  Or waiting for a baby to be born where there’s a conglomeration of anxiety, longing, and hopefulness.

We spend so much time in our lives waiting for something to happen.  My friend, Tom, calls it “waiting energy”.  We wait for the clothes to be dry, for the turkey to be done, for the pudding to set, for the tomato plant to produce for us a bumper crop of sweet fruit.  We wait for someone to “pop the question”.

We wait for the mail to come, for a phone call from a significant other, for the car to warm up, for our guests to arrive, for the guy from Home Depot to deliver the new refrigerator. We wait for the test results, for some good news, for a loved one to pass away from their pain and suffering into relief and peace.

And then we wait for our grieving to end.

I’ve been waiting all summer for my townhouse to be finished.  But it’s really not about the townhouse.

It’s about me.

What is it about “waiting energy” that zaps our lives and renders us immobile, unproductive and frozen in time and space? Why can’t we stop waiting for something to happen and just start living our lives in whatever space we dwell in.

Physical space.  Psychological space. Spiritual space.  Inner space.  Outer space.

What have you put your life on hold for- and why?






25 Things I Learned from my Dad…

25 Things I Learned from my Dad…

1. How to swim in the ocean.

2. To always take my vitamins.

3. How to use a thesaurus to improve my writing.

4. Army songs… (I left, I left, I left my wife and a 15 kids, over there, over there…)

5. That a freshly showered man in a nice suit is something to behold.

6. To smile often because I’m pretty when I smile.

7. That daily exercise is an important part of keeping fit.

8. To honor my mother.

9. That it’s perfectly acceptable to break out in song wherever and whenever.

10. The gift of hospitality.

11. To always be optimistic, dash negativity, visualize the life you desire.

12. The fine art of networking.

13. How to underline meaningful sentences in my personal books and read them again and again.

14. That everyone I meet is a potential friend.

15. That I am actually a princess.  (Didn’t you know?)

16. That fresh figs are God’s most perfect food.

17. How to write a love letter.

18. That people make mistakes and need forgiveness.

19. That real men cry.

20. Passion

21. How to let a man lead on the dance floor.

22. That ” it is what it is” and “that’s a crock of bull”!

23. To say I love you always and often.

24. To never give up.

I had a different relationship with my dad than my five older brothers had.  I’m sure their blog about Edmund Francis Shaheen Sr. would be quite different.

Therefore the twenty fifth thing I learned from my dad..

25. There is no denying the special bond  between a father and his little girl.


Love you and miss you, Dad.






As a Man Thinketh in his Heart…

As a Man Thinketh in his Heart…

…so is he.  These are the words of James Allen.

I inherited this little book of wisdom from my father.  As you can see he felt comfortable enough to scrawl his name across the front of it…  Edmund F. Shaheen.  I suppose that was his stamp of approval or perhaps his round of applause after reading and digesting its life changing content.  With that endorsement, I decided to read it myself.

Having grown up with these concepts spoon fed to me, I was somewhat cocky in my approach.  Oh…  I felt I knew it all, had heard it all, and there was nothing new under the sun.  However, I was in for quite a personal challenge. With pen in hand I enthusiastically underlined my own favorite phrases and scratched my own personal notes in the margins.

The first show stopper was this: “A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild: but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth.  If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind. Just as a gardener cultivates his plot, keeping it free from weeds and growing the flowers and fruits which he requires, so may a man tend the garden of his mind, weeding out all the wrong, useless, and impure thoughts, and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts.”

As a woman with a passion for working outside in her garden, this passage spoke volumes to me.  In summary good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bad fruit. It appears so simple but do I really grasp the ramifications of it?

In The Seven Day Mental Diet by Emmet Fox, readers are challenged to “make up your mind to devote one week solely to the task of building a new habit of thought, and during that week let everything in life be unimportant as compared with that.  For seven days you must not allow yourself to dwell for a single moment on any kind of negative thought.”

Fox defines a negative thought as “any thought of failure, disappointment, or trouble; any thought of criticism, or spite, or jealousy, or condemnation of others, or self-condemnation; any thought of sickness or accident; or, in short, any kind of limitation or pessimistic thinking.  Any thought that is not positive and constructive in character, whether it concerns you yourself or anyone else, is a negative thought.”

This is a tall order…

I am humbled at the percentage of my daily thoughts that can be considered negative. As I become more aware of my negative thinking, I realize the huge challenge of staying the course of positive thinking.

It’s difficult.

Try it for 24 hours.  When a negative thought crosses your mind say silently but firmly to yourself “cancel”.  Or you might want to put a thin rubber band around your wrist and give it a light snap when pessimism prevails.

And what is the potential outcome of this little exercise?  Here is some food for thought so to speak:

  • A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the sum of all his thought.
  • Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are.
  • Suffering is always the effect of wrong thought in some direction.
  • Cherish your visions; cherish your ideals; cherish your music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts, for out of them will grow all delightful conditions, all heavenly environment; of these, if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built.

and finally…

  • Into your hands will be placed the exact results of our own thoughts; you will receive that which you earn; no more, no less.

As A Man Thinketh was published in 1902.  Since then there have been many modern writers reciting the same principles- Louise L. Hay, Wayne Dyer, Jack Canfield, Tony Robbins, and Jose Silva to name a few.  It is a challenging practice that reaps enormous benefits.  In a world where violence, retribution, litigation and harsh punishments prevail, this quiet practice can provide a haven of peace in one’s life and a calmness of mind that is profitable and potentially contagious.

My Dad.. The Eternal Optimist

My Dad.. The Eternal Optimist

My father always said that he had missed his calling.  He fancied himself a renowned psychologist existing inside the body of a real estate investor. He was a follower of Timothy Leary in the fifties, practiced Silva Mind Control and psycho-cybernetics in the sixties and seventies and was a charter member of Optimist International. When I was a teenager he bought me books to read with titles such as You Are Not The Target by Laura Archera Huxley and The 7 Day Mental Diet by Emmet Fox.  I grew up knowing what an “affirmation” was and had several taped to my bathroom mirror.

When I was first married my dad mentioned to my new husband that he was planning on purchasing the latest model Cadillac and in the meantime had placed a picture of it on the refrigerator where he could see it every day and visualize himself driving it.  This gained him quite the reputation with my very conservative Irish Catholic in-laws.

But I understood him and was one of his faithful disciples, standing by his side and believing in his seemingly far fetched ideas throughout my childhood.  In my teens his advice and wisdom elevated me out of the insecurities and doubts other adolescents experienced.  As a young adult I looked to him for confidence and support as I discovered how to be a good parent to my three sons.

My father was probably the biggest influence in my decision to study the field of psychology.  To this day I find such wisdom in books that I inherited from his bookshelf:  among them The Greatest Salesman in the World by Ogden Mandino, As a Man Thinketh by James Allen, Born To Win by Muriel James and Dorothy Jongward, and The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran…  all replete with his personal thoughts scratched in the margins and noteworthy sentences underlined.

His legacy lives on in my heart and on challenging days when I am dealing with seemingly rude and obnoxious people I still hear him saying to me “Sis baby.. you are not the target!”

Happy Father’s Day to the first significant man in my life, Edmund Francis Shaheen Sr.