You Don’t Have to Be a Brain Surgeon 

Growing up, I felt I needed to do better than I had as a kid. We did ok for ourselves on the surface, but I never wanted to struggle like my parents appeared to. I hoped one day I could take care of them. Alas, I struggled. Eventually, I did care for them, just not in the capacity I hoped.

Fast forward, I didn’t want my kids to struggle, but they did. Struggling doesn’t mean we’re not making it or you’re failing. It means we are still evolving on our purposeful paths, making changes and experiencing growth. My kids do pretty well for themselves, now, aa adults, some with their own kids. I’m certain they are still evolving and not wanting things from their childhoods to mimic into their children’s lives. However, I hope I instilled enough good qualities to make the struggle worth it and bearable.

One thing I instilled in my kids was to just do your best, no matter the task or job. The world is full of tasks and jobs. If you strive to do yours well, you will benefit well in life. I tried to empower and encourage them, that if they wanted to be a brain surgeon, do it, and they were thusly informed of the commitment it would take to achieve such a goal. In being supportive, my husband and I worked to encourage and educate them the best we could. I think we all fared well. Alas, not everyone can be a brain surgeon. Even with the best of intentions, the strongest drive and determination, there are medical students who do not make the cut. It can be discouraging to do your best and feel you fall short of your own expectations. Even the student who graduates last in his class is still a doctor. Remember that… for what it is worth.

But, not everyone can be a brain surgeon, nor should. Keep in mind though, a brain surgeon is successful in skill, yes. Yet, behind every brain surgeon is a dozen or so people who support them in their success and efforts. They may not get the most credit for the efforts or successes, but without them, the brain surgeon would not be as successful because he or she could not do every task needed during surgery. From the general physician who refers the patient to the surgeon, to the anesthesiologist, hospital administrators, nursing staff, dietitians, cafeteria workers, pharmacists, x-ray technicians, hospital clergy, cleaning crew and more… they must all do their part to ensure success for the task at hand and the patient must be compliant and do their part, and God do His part for ultimate success in the overall outcome, and each of them measures success differently.

So you see, whether you pump gas, change oil, work a drive thru, deliver pizzas, are a chef, a mechanic, a clergy, a parishioner, a teacher, a student, a parent, a child, a factory worker, a supervisor, a police officer, a parking attendant…the list can go on and on… you and your job matters. How you do that job matters. People depend on you to be and do your best, so do it, no matter the task or job. Be proud of yourself and take pride in what you do.

If you choose to be a brain surgeon, be the best damn brain surgeon you can be. If you strive and do not make it, that’s not failure. Look at the thousand ways you can make a difference. Brain surgery may not be for you. Nonetheless, you have every opportunity to grow. You hear stories every day of one person’s struggle and perseverance amongst tremendous strife. If you are open to change, driven to work hard and do your best, you’ll go far. Life can takes us through a series of significant changes. The opportunity to learn strategies for dealing with challenges is an invaluable education. Do not be too quick to write off the struggle. It’s worth it. I promise. Life is not about the destination or the designation. It is about the journey and how you embrace it with every fiber of your being, whether in trial or triumph. You’ll make it. Keep trying.

Epiphany Is Upon Us!

According to Wikipedia, Epiphany, which begins today, January 6, is “A Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ. Eastern Christians, on the other hand, commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as the Son of God.” In the literary world an epiphany is, an “A-Ha moment” – or a moment when a character has a life-changing realization that changes the course of events. Those understanding the Christian faith can connect the similarities, as accepting Christ and honoring his life and teachings is a life-changing experience.

Throughout our lives, we can probably point to numerous events, subtle or enormous (though not likely as enormous as the second coming of Christ), which have transformed us. Maybe you are on that path now. Maybe with the dawn of a new year and it’s moniker for a new, clear vision, you see your path taking you in a different direction. Veering off the well-worn, familiar path can be scary. However, if you listen to your body, it will help guide you precisely. These steps may help:

1. Stop.

2. Close your eyes.

3. Breathe in and out slowly 3 times.

4. Ask your feet to ground you and guide you on your path. Visualize what steps you need to take to change course. Once that vision is clear, even if it is just the first step you see, proceed.

5. Ask your gut to signal your inner instinct. Your gut is the center to balance your emotions so you act justly, instead of emotionally. Once you feel your decision is grounded in the first step(s) and your gut signals it is the right move, proceed.

6. Ask your heart, what are my reasons for making this decision, are they for the betterment of all involved? Likely, the answer will be yes, or else your gut would not have signaled you to move forward. Remember: You are only responsible for your feelings. If you lead with compassion as you take those first steps, all will be well.

7. Ask your mind to align to the heart, gut and feet, in order to make decisions along the path which are rational and just. Once you do, the rest will fall into place.

If you get to step 4 and your epiphany waivers or you lose focus, it may just be poor timing or could be a sign you need to clear other obstacles before proceeding on this path. Stop again and start over, should the epiphany return. If the epiphany keeps appearing, it is a signal you need to pay more attention to it. So go back through the steps, working to clear the mind and focus specifically on that epiphany, idea or A-HA you experienced. If you can follow through, do so. If not, let it go until you can. It really is that simple.

It is important to practice the pause before leaping blindly down the path. Even those with the best instincts can become misguided. If you practice the pause and it aligns with your epiphany, then you can be certain the course is right. Allow your Divine intervention and intuition help you gain a clearer vision and perspective. With the Divine shining the light on your path, perhaps today can be a baptism of sorts for you and the next leg of the journey of your life.


Eating Mindfully

What a difference a year makes!

#mindfuleating #havenhypnosis

Picture #1: A year ago. Hospitalized due to RA stress issues, that I thought I had a handle on, until I didn’t.

Picture #2: Taken June 15, 2019 – My beloved Christopher and me – after his birthday dinner at Copper Mug in Loudonville, Ohio.

Picture #3: Taken June 22, 2019 – Me – taken by a Sandusky Register photojournalist at Sandusky PRIDE

Indeed, what a difference a year makes, but holy moley – what a difference a week makes, right?

Why the drastic change between pictures? (Besides good lighting and different photographers) One reason is mindful eating. In the spirit of transparency, notice pictures 2 and 3 are a week apart. Notice the difference? Aesthetically/physically, it is astounding! Today, I was able to pinpoint the other difference. (No, not my hair!) Gluten and alcohol, intake. Not done mindlessly, mind you. I was aware of my intake and aware of the consequences. I will explain below. Bare with me.

I was told I have the RA factor in 2009. Fortunately, I have never had full-blown RA symptoms, but I have RA flares. The flares happen every so often, usually with little to no warning. Several years ago, my family doctor and my rheumatologist suggested going gluten free, or lowering my gluten intake. Doing so would reduce joint flare up and likely stave off RA symptoms, in general. And it has. I have an intolerance to gluten. For me, gluten throws off the natural flora levels in my gut, causing a flare in symptoms. When you add alcohol, depending on the type and quantity of alcohol, you can actually cause bad flora to ferment and flourish.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information and Health Line Magazine – “red wine actually increased the abundance of bacteria known to promote gut health and decreased the number of harmful gut bacteria.” You can also not drink and/or add probiotics to your diet, under the supervision of your physician, which is what I do, daily.

A year ago, even with my fantastic stress reduction skills and under the watchful eyes of my doctor and specialists, RA flares were out of control due to not being able to manage my stress to the best of my abilities. I got mad at the illness and we both took it out on me. I spent the night in the hospital to ensure all was well. Once I was released, I took myself to task on improving my health and taking back control. I quit my job as a writer for a publishing company two days later. Since then, I have been able to eliminate the stress and live the life I deserve. My health drastically improved. I also meditate daily, do yoga and just work to reduce the stress I can control and let go of what I cannot. So far, it has served me well.

A week ago, we celebrated my husband’s birthday. I indulged in desserts, a glass of wine, (I cannot do more than 2 glasses of wine, anymore) and other foods, with semi-reckless abandon. I was mindful as I made my choices. I chose to indulge against my better interest. One glass of wine, bread before dinner, a sensible entree and cheesecake for dessert, on June 15th… when I was already having an “RA Day” – left me very puffy. (And the rain and humidity did my hair no favors!) Let me say, I have said more than once to my husband, “That picture of us is not my favorite.” -because my inner critic and truth teller knows I do not look healthy!

I not only try to watch what I take in, but how much. Even I do not get it right every time. Sometimes my body will throw me a curve ball, just when I think I am on top of my game. Such is the case on June 15th. Even a little bread, mixed with white wine, was less than beneficial to my system. Notice “try to?” When you try to do something, you are not really doing anything. To try automatically sets you up to accept that failure is a possibility. Today, I learned I owe it to myself to do better than to try. That does not mean I must go without eating or drinking what I love. It just means I must be more mindful and even more moderate in consumption. So perhaps I switch to red wine, rather than white…

Many can enjoy life’s indulgences in moderation. Many cannot. It is your responsibility to know and understand your boundaries and limits. Nothing wrong with living at your level and working from there. Stop comparing yourselves to how others perform or respond. You’re not them. They are not you. If you slip, catch yourself before you fall. You choose by your choices which direction you spiral. Continue to spiral down until there is only darkness and no light or continue to spiral up, enlightened every day, reaching and achieving.

Mindful eating is the practice of being aware of what you put into your body and the awareness on how your body responds. Mindful eating is why I only enjoy a half of a glass of wine, rather than the entire bottle. It is why I only had a few small slices of bread. But seeing the profound changes, physically, makes me MORE MINDFUL and thus, preparing me to take even better care of my body. These daily reminders, sometimes hourly reminders are so profound. My husband and I like food and we like dessert. We now challenge ourselves to find tasty, gluten-free desserts, healthy meals with portions right for us. Which is what Christopher did this weekend when challenged to make not only healthy doughnuts, but healthy strawberry rhubarb pie – and he succeeded, hence the cover picture. It was delicious! Using stevia, honey or agave, in place of sugar, has taken some getting used to. But I remind myself that I once did not like the taste of tomatoes as a child and can now eat them, so this too shall pass. The taste was just different, but not noticeably.

Know this: while there is a lot of vulnerability in me disclosing my truths in this blog post, I make zero excuses. I own my missteps. Acknowledgment and awareness keep my momentum moving. Vulnerability allows me to grow. No one grows in their comfort zone. Step up and stand up! Own your choices and then keep moving forward, so you do not fall backwards into the rut. I am human and work at being the best human I can be, daily. And humans make mistakes. I have no regrets, though. Every misstep is an opportunity to grow and learn something about myself. Dwelling and wallowing in self-pity and excuses does nothing but send you spiraling downward.

It is so easy to get off track. It is easy to get back on track, staying on track takes work. Everything worthwhile usually does. So, as I work to walk my talk, mindful eating is always a part of my life plan. Even I slip, from time to time, and I KNOW exactly what I am doing, when I do it. I refrain from beating myself up. I live, learn and move on. We all have slips. Some are costly. Others just make us look bad. So, as I vow to make better choices today, I vow to increase that throughout my day. No pressure! Because today is all we have. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.

So be your best you, today. Perhaps the momentum will carry you throughout the day, into tomorrow and for a lifetime.

Yours in wellness,


The Face of Happiness 

People might be surprised to learn I would not describe myself as ‘a happy person.’ I am a surviving person. For years I battled the results of a traumatic childhood, then a traumatic relationship and other trauma-laced events plagued my life. In spite of it all, I pushed through barriers from self and others to achieve my goals and dreams. I wanted so badly to be a writer when I was a kid. One neighbor man said to me once, “you’ll never be good at it and you’ll never make any money, kid.” He was wrong. I went on to be a published author and a selling artist. Today, I write scripts for my Hypnosis practice and am successful there, as well. But happy… well, no. Not happy. Surviving.

From the outside and from the keyboard, my cheerful persona rises above all that aches inside me. Even on my worst days I try to find the rainbow through the clouds. This is how I survived 100% of my days, thus far. Choosing to put on the happy face ESPECIALLY when I feel like sulking. I choose to portray happiness, especially on days when I have trouble feeling it.

One day, I will be on a stage telling the details of this story called my life. People will be amazed at how I survived, let alone still smile. Hell, I am amazed.

I am not perfect, by any means. I work to right wrongs whenever possible or warranted, largely because I never, ever want to intentionally make a person feel as I grew up feeling.

Some of my past is foggy, at best. So there are days I am uncertain if something I recall happened the way I perceive it. Largely because my subconscious, I believe, is still trying to protect me from the horrors I faced. Because the stuff I do recall in vivid detail which I know to be true, are horrific. Still, I survive, so I smile.

Smile. It might not be the face of happiness you are portraying. Perhaps it’s the face of survival.

Our Vain Existence 

Our vain existence mocks us and others who conflict and confront the pompous realities. Despite the mocking, I persevered.

I have always been unapologetically outspoken and passionate. For as long as I realized I had a voice, I have used it. Sometimes my tone is perceived as harsh. Anyone who truly knows me knows empathy is practiced, as is being straightforward, blended with asking poignant questions to guide people to figure out their paths. Years ago, I began practicing forgiveness and peace through meditation Those characteristics are a foundation for my core values. Occasionally, I am required to speak with appropriate restraint, and do so within boundaries of those values. In a few instances, when speaking from that core, some question my intentions, integrity and ability to emote empathy. In case you are one of those people who question if my values are in line with actions of putting toxic people curbside, this is for you. In striving all my life towards a peaceful existence, I have, in the historic and recent past, purposefully removed myself from parents, family, friends, an ex-husband, former co-workers and siblings, all of whom exuded toxicity and of which I take my share of responsibility for not understanding how to be my best self while presiding within mutual company. I post about my personal and professional lives, which brings opinions of my life that I am somehow held to an unrealistic standard of perfection because I work as a healer. News flash: True healing is often necessarily uncomfortable for true growth to emerge. This lack of comfort is why there are people such as me to guide people through their fiery baptisms. If life was comfortable no one would need healers because their would be zero pain. Some people have suggested in the past and recently that my sometimes lack of tact is less than professional or empathetic. Another news flash: business is fine and I have plenty of friends. So if my light shines too bright or, if in your process of life you advise me to tune down, back down or stand down and masquerade through life in the masks you wear in order to continue to prevent looking at your true self in the mirror, I have a response: Nah, I’m good. Unfriend me, as my friend Dan Lorinitis would say. I am grateful for the opportunities presented me to speak the truth, have a voice and unmask injustices. I am beyond grateful to be entrusted with confidences, life stories and will continue to lead my family, friends and clients with the integrity, compassion and lack of tact they’ve come to expect of me. Self included, none of us are perfect. I forgive those who have belittled, betrayed and begrudged me. I apologize when appropriate. When I feel you are misguided, I will tell you so. I take very seriously the responsibility of a public platform, especially the social media age, where court of public opinion holds much weight. I take very seriously the responsibility bestowed upon me as a healer, mom, wife, friend and confidant- in no particular order. It was from this code of integrity that I once surrendered to have the backs of others, vowing to have my own back, first, so I can carry the torch and lead the way to help others find their lights. I have not always walked in the light. Having told my own suicide story, many know for many years I was blinded in the darkness intensely curated at the hands of those I was dependent on trusting most. Within that leg of the journey, my fight to fiercely protect a defensive structure that protected me from my own fears, guilt and patterns of self destruction. It was a necessary shield to bare for survival. The war I fought for years was to plant my feet firm in existential existence. What I know now that I didn’t know then is, it was and is a war with the self. War, as we know, can never be won. The end result is self-loathing, pity and mortal destruction of the mind, body and spirit – and sometimes soul. My own fiery baptisms taught me to quickly put out fires before the cinders of the soul perished. Much time spent in self-love and appreciations, meditation and care are the only reason I still exist in this form today. This healing has intensifed through mutual support of family and friends who time and time again, sift through the embers to restore me anew. The connection to my community I continue to nurture, continues to allow me to serve them justly and provides a collective embrace which echoes into my Divine-driven purpose. For the few who my brand coexistence fails to please, I forgive you, too. I am not for everyone. Neither are you, but you are to your people and I am to mine. There is enough love for us all. To appreciate that love you must first love yourself. Love is that light I speak of. We can shine a light and hold a hand and sometimes carry people through the fire. We cannot make them heal. That is on them. If your first aid and assistance is met with disappointment, lack of compliance and distress, these aren’t your people or you’re not theirs. If you are with your people and you EXPECT them to save you, you’ll never make it out alive, until you resuscitate your soul. The trials and tribulations of my life have been plentiful. Some years, it’s like they never end. My ability to focus on the three gratitudes, daily, set the tone for each day to shine with the light I need to see myself through the darkness. Yes, I am human. I still have days which darkness shows in the horizon. I no longer beckon and will it. I work daily to be of light. Fun fact: Nora means light in Greek, Arabic and Aramaic. I was born to be who I am today. Make no mistake, I maintain boundaries amidst transparency. I hide nothing from myself, or from others. I show up real and long for the connection and humanization which exists beyond the fears that leave us stagnant in the comfort zone. When I become defensive it is driven from a place of experience that not everyone is trustworthy. I will always respond with empassioned empathy or raw realism, depending upon what is warranted. I see now, so very clearly, this is the path for me. It is born of love of self, family and community. This capacity for love is and was my vulnerability. I believe that this is ultimately what awakens the soul to its existence, enlightenment and relief from suffering. I understand that there are some of you that feel uncomfortable with who I am and with the choices I make…it is the part of you that seeks to impose your views as THE WAY. I completely relate to this part of you. For years t could not see past my pain and see my oart in it, hence my past suicide attempts. I also have come to understand that I have no way of knowing what is right for anyone else, not for anyone beyond myself. I do my best to constrain my guidance, then, to those who request it, engage in potential life-changing dialogue. Everything feels far more peaceful this way. It’s how it should be. It is precisely why I am successful. Now that you understand my rules, proceed to like, love, laugh, be angry or in aww or unfriend/block, or book an appointment, if so moved. I will never promise you desired results. I will lead and support you as you venture into your own fiery baptism, remove your masks and prove to yourself you are worth the effort. And I will do so with the appropriate real and raw empathy I see fit, despite either’s vain existence.

Do You Have the Time? 

Time exists in courage and in fear. We can feel paralyzed and stuck in time, but time still moves on. We still age. Life progresses, even if we don’t. This paralyzing feeling is fear. This doesn’t mean your courage fails to exist. Fear is the voice that tells you that you will fail no matter what you do. Courage is being scared and doing it anyway. The moment our inner voice says: IF -BUT – WHAT IF- SHOULD OF/COULD OF, that’s fear. Tell that voice: Stuff it! We all have these moments, these voices, these feelings, thoughts, angst. We feel stuck, scared, angry and lose faith and confidence. People will tell you that you will fail.
People will tell you that your dream is impossible. People will tell you that you’re too old or too young to start a new career or live a dream. People may tell you that you are stupid for trying. You may think it’s too late.
You may not always see the vision clearly.
Your heart may not always be in it.
You may stay stagnant and still find happiness. However: You may wake up.
You may realize it’s now or never.
You may feel in your heart, your gut, your head and your feet that no matter how it goes, it will be worth it. You make wake up and realize YOU are worth it. Or you may not. You may not wake up. That’s the thing about time.
Eventually, it runs out.
What will motivate you to move beyond the comfort zone?
How will you aspire to be inspired?
Will you seize the chance to make the most of the time you have? Or will you squander the time you have left? You CAN change.
You CAN stay the same.
Your time starts before you breathe your first solo breath.
When you realize time is running out, you have until you take your final solo breath to make a change.
You’ve heard it said: “I have nothing but time.” However, quantity is not guaranteed. Time will pass no matter what you do. Whatever you decide to do with whatever time you have left, do you want to spend it facing fear or facing courage, daily? Remember: Time exists in courage and in fear. You get choices no matter what you face. Time does not stand still. It matches on whether you are stepping with time or off time. You continue to walk the path, no matter how staggered the step, how fast or slow you go. Time does not wait for you. So, what are YOU waiting for? If you’re saying: What if I fail? I ask you: What if you don’t? What. If. You. Don’t? What if you don’t wake up?
What if you don’t make the most of your time?
What if you don’t fail?
What if you don’t succeed? Are you ready for the consequences? What. If. You. Do? What if you wake up?
What if you make the most of your time?
What if you fail?
What if you succeed? Are you ready for the consequences? Start living the life you deserve. Are you ready for the life you deserve?
What are you waiting for?
Now is THE TIME!