To Bethany, With Love: Coping with a Child’s Death

“I need to excuse myself to make a quick phone call to the hotel. I’ll be right back” I excitedly told the group. I was in paradise, aka Sicily, leading my most recent Transformational Journey to Italy. We were in the middle of one of the best days we had had yet: an extraordinary cooking class with a Countess in her majestic Palazzo when I suddenly remembered I had to call my hotel and make some arrangements. Alone in one of the rooms, I picked up my phone and saw a Facebook notification pop-up; my husband had just updated his Facebook status and it read, “The Heavens opened-up today and took back one of its sweetest Angels. Took her way too early. Did not get enough time to play with her, to see her run, or to call me uncle. I hope to one day get that chance, LOVE YOU Bethany.” My heart immediately sank; I threw the phone on the bed. I could not believe it. My baby niece, Bethany, had passed away at only 9 months old from a rare disease called “Biliary Atresia” just two days shy from her liver transplant. I went into the room where the cooking class was being held and called my colleague, Dr. Sarah Larsen. “She’s gone!” I told her and I threw myself in her arms, tears streaming down my face. For the next several hours, I cried, screamed, or simply sat in silence. My heart was broken.
Having grown up in Sicily, Italy, I learned that family was everything. I watched as all of my cousins marry their childhood sweethearts, have exquisite weddings, buy gorgeous homes and start beautiful families. Their entire lives revolved around good food and family. Every weekend, we would hang out with our close and extended families. I knew that when I grew up, I wanted the exact thing. So I attracted just that: a man with an amazing family (The Gomez) and with the same set of values I have. The Gomez family is very tight. All of our kids are growing up together and we love to hang out almost every weekend. The death of one of our own was something that none of us expected, or knew how to deal with.
This led me to ask deeper questions about death. These days I’ve been reading Alan Cohen, Leo Buscaglia and talking a lot to Dr. Sarah Larsen. As a Spiritual person, I know that our soul never dies. Alan Cohen says, “There is no death. What was never born can never die. That which is truly alive lives eternally.” Our physical bodies are simply vessels, but that is not the essence of who we truly are. We have a beautiful spirit that lives on for eternity. Cohen continues, “Death has no power over the spirit. Nothing has power over the spirit. We are spiritual beings, and no matter what seems to be happening in the physical world, who we truly are is always very much alive, whole, and in love.” The sacred book, A Course in Miracles, states “Death is the central dream from which all illusions stem. Is it not madness to think of life as being born, aging, losing vitality, and dying in the end?…it is one fixed, unchangeable belief of the world, that all things in it are born only to die…and no one asks if a benign Creator could will this.”
Bethany lit up every room she was in. Even in her discomfort due to the disease, she was constantly laughing at everything. Her smile made everyone’s heart melt. Her energy and essence were beautiful.
And the best part of all: she is STILL all of that and more! She is now happier and healthier than ever, and we are blessed that she is now watching over all of us. We are fortunate to have the extraordinary medium, Dr. Sarah Larsen, in our life who was able to have Bethany communicate with her parents. They talked for close to two hours, and in those two hours, Bethany’s parents truly got that their child was alive more than ever. This brought them an enormous amount of peace and happiness. Recently at a wedding, I overheard a mother complain that her daughter was crying too much. I immediately thought of my sister-in-law, and how she would give anything to hear Bethany cry again. If anything, death should teach us to not take each other for granted. Any of us can go at anytime. Think of all the petty arguments we get into with our loved ones. At whom are you currently mad and not on speaking terms? What if you knew it was that person’s last day on this earth? What if this was your last day on earth? We often ignore this fact, thinking it won’t happen to us but guess what? It happens to all of us. It’s just not worth it. If anything, this experience teaches me to be kinder toward those I love. How many times are we too hard on our own kids? Yelling, screaming, belittling, judging them and loving them only conditionally (if they do what we say). What if today was the day we stopped all of that? What if today we accepted everyone as they are, truly forgave, and learned to love everyone unconditionally? American author, Leo Buscaglia, puts it beautifully, “Death is a challenge. It tells us not to waste time… It tells us to tell each other right now that we love each other.”
Are you ready to love – today?
Sending you lots of love & positive energy,
Connie Costa

How to Live a Healthy Lifestyle

In the United States, we have many issues: obesity, diseases, autism, depression, cancer, etc. Most believe these issues arise due to genetics or “just because,” but what if I told you that despite genetics and “bad luck,” these could be prevented and even cured in a natural and safe way? Harmful chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis and foods are major players when it comes to our health. Yet, most Americans don’t know the basics of eating healthy and protecting their family from harmful chemicals. Although I could write an entire book on this subject alone, I will give you the very basics that will dramatically change you and your family’s life.
One of the most powerful books out there is, Natural Cures “They” Don’t want you to know About by Kevin Trudeau. Do yourself a favor and go to his extraordinary website http://www.naturalcures.com . One important chapter is, “How to Read Food Labels.” Before you purchase any food, read the label and do not buy products with the following: 1. anything you can’t pronounce 2. Monosodium Glutamate 3. Aspartame 4. High Fructose Corn Syrup 5. Hydrogenated Oil or Partially Hydrogenated Oil 6. Sugar 7. Natural & Artificial Flavors 8. Spices 9. Artificial Color 10. Palm Oil 11. Dextrose, Sucrose, Fructose 12 .Sucrulose-Splenda 13. Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour, and Enriched Bleached White Flour 14. Soy Protein Isolate.
You’ll notice that most of your current food contains these ingredients. So what should you do? Trudeau, like me, doesn’t shop at regular supermarkets and never buys brand names. The bottom line is that they’re trying to make a profit at all costs, thus use the cheapest products that aren’t good for you. Personally, I only shop at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and farmer’s markets. And even at these amazing places, I read labels and make sure I’m buying organic. Whole Foods can be quite expensive and not available in all areas. Fresh & Easy is a great alternative, but once again, you must read the labels regardless. If I had more space, I would go into detail as to why all these products are harmful, which means you have homework to do.
According to the Holistic Medical Doctor, Dr. Sarah Larsen, (www.drsarahlarsen.com) “since 1940, over 75,000 chemicals have been created and added to our food chain.”
Here is another tip that will save your life: stay away from fast food- period! Please google revolutionary Chef, Jamie Oliver, who is 100% committed to educating the U.S on healthy eating. I recently read about a campaign Oliver is heading to change McDonald’s recipes. The documentary description states that, “according to Oliver, the fatty parts of beef are “washed” in ammonium hydroxide and used in the filling of the burger. Before this process, according to the presenter, the food is deemed unfit for human consumption.” Oliver says, ““Why would any sensible human being put meat filled with ammonia in the mouths of their children?” I ask the same question. We claim we are “treating” our children by taking them to fast food chains, but how is poisoning them a “treat?”
One of my biggest pet peeves is when I see people just following the masses. When I ask people why they make certain choices, I often hear, “because that’s what everyone else does,” or “I saw it on TV,” or my favorite- “because my Doctor said so.” My question is, “who cares?” Just because a Doctor said so does not make it true. Listening to your Doctor, old wives tales, the media, or the masses can be extremely dangerous. Do the research. With the internet at our hands, there is no excuse. Educating yourself on health is one of the most important things you will ever do. Dr. Larsen says, “one small step you take today can have a massive impact in your life. Switching soda to water, fried to baked, or from bread to brown rice can add years of vitality to your life.”
My favorite health expert, Arnoux Goran’s advice is, “don’t believe what your doctor says. Their information is at least 40 years old. There is new information that doesn’t get into medical schools fast enough that can save your life.” (http://thmastery.com)
Homework and tips:
-Do you vaccinate your kids? Why? Because a doctor said so? I strongly recommend you review this website: http://vaxtruth.org
-Cleaning products: go green! It’s not only extremely bad for the environment, but the fumes are terrible for you and your baby: http://healthychild.org. Check out Jessica Alba’s line of products for your house and baby, which in my opinion are the best: https://www.honest.com
-Purchase deodorant, toiletries, and make-up, at a health store.
-Sick? Don’t run to the drug store. I go to Whole Foods and they recommend the best remedies. They are more powerful than drugs and have no side effects.
-I don’t recommend flu shots or mammograms. Instead of mammograms, (which can be dangerous) I recommend BREAST THERMOGRAPHY. More info: http://www.thebreastthermographycenter.com/
Don’t take my word for it. Do your own research; it’s so much more powerful. Hopefully I have at least sparked some interest. Start by checking every single website listed above.
Are you ready to start leading a healthy life?
Connie

How to Become Successful

“Rich and famous, I AM success!” is a verse from one of my favorite songs called We Run LA by Doc Hollywood. What does it mean to be successful? Does being rich or wealthy automatically make you successful? How does one become successful?

When I first started my coaching practice, I was hardly making any money. It would have been easy to blame all of my financial woes on the economy, destiny, or bad luck (afterall, I was working really hard), but could I have been the culprit  of my own misfortune? I became obsessed with reading books, going to seminars and learning from teachers topics on wealth, money, success, abundance and prosperity. The more I learned and applied the information to my life, the more my life began to change dramatically. Want to know some of the secrets to success?

There is a clear distinction between how successful people behave and think versus those who aren’t. Successful people are positive. No, they are not positive because they are successful; they are successful because they are positive. They do not go around saying things such as “I am just being realistic” since they believe that they create their own reality. The glass is always half full. They draw positive opportunities to them.

Do not talk to negative people about your goals and dreams. How many times do we have a cherished dream and tell our negative friends and family? Quickly, they deflate our dream right before our eyes. But we must take responsibility and realize that we allowed that in the first place. If we know they are going to be negative, there is no need to tell them about our dreams and goals until after we have accomplished them. There is a beautiful quote from the movie, In the Pursuit of Happiness, where Will Smith’s character tells his son “Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period.”

If you have dreams and goals you want to talk about, talk about it with mentors and other successful people. They have already accomplished great things, so they will be able to give you great advice and cheer you on. I don’t care if it’s your own mother. If she’s negative, God bless her, but don’t talk to her about your dreams.

Act in spite of fear – One of my favorite books of all time is Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker. Eker says, “Rich people act in spite of fear. Poor people let fear stop them.”

Have positive friends – Do not hang out with the negative nellies. There is a saying in Spanish that says, “dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres” which loosley translates to “Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are!” Want to be successful? Hang out with other successful people. Eker says “Rich people associate with positive, successful people. Poor people associate with negative and unsuccessful people.”

Be great at what you do right now- Are you currently at a job you dislike? Well, start liking it! Yes, you heard me. Find everything that you do like about your current job situation and be grateful that you have a job. Give 110% of yourself to your work and do it with pride. I am not suggesting you stay there forever. Eventually you will leave and start living your true life’s purpose but in the meantime, give it all you got and with a smile.

Giving and receiving– Are you good at receiving compliments? How are you at receiving gifts? Are you a generous person? Life is about finding a perfect balance of giving and receiving. In order to receive, we must give. Eker states, “Rich people are excellent receivers. Poor people are poor receivers.” One of my favorite books on wealth is called Spiritual Economics by Eric Butterworth and in the book Butterworth says “if ever there is a lack of any kind, whether it is a need for employment or for money or for guidance or even for healing, something is blocking the flow. And the most effective remedy: Give!”

 

Eat Healthy Food & Exercise– What does eating healthy have to do with success? Everything. I have never met a truly successful person that eats fast food everyday. Eating healthy is important for your mind, energy, mood and overall health. Buy organic, eat lots of fruits and veggies, drink tons of water, stop drinking sodas, and learn to read labels. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, you should not be eating it!

Exercising doesn’t have to be some difficult workout. Walking 20 minutes a day will make a huge difference in your life. There are tons of fun exercises you can discover: yoga, zumba, dance class. Get off the couch and start moving!

Be Organized and Clean – In the extraordinary book Money & Women, Financial Guru Suze Orman says “you might be reading this and thinking that cleanliness is nice but not essential to your financial well-being. I am here to tell you that if this quality is not up front and center and if you do not adhere to it, there is no way you will ever own the power to control your destiny. Wealth will elude you, and you will be left with the mess you created.” 

Commit To Your Priorities– Most of us are running around like chicken with our heads cut off, but have we ever stopped and really evaluated what we do on a day-to-day basis? How much of it is really necessary? What can we permanently cut out of our schedule in order to allow time for things that will get us closer to our goals and dreams? Because truth be told, if we keep doing what we’ve always done, we will always get what we’ve always gotten.

Be In Control of Your Life– Eker also says “Rich people believe ‘I create my life’ poor people believe ‘life happens to me’”.

Be Grateful and Be Happy- The more you are grateful for the things you have in life, the more wonderful things will continue to come your way. Make a list of what you are grateful for and add to it daily. Choose to be happy now. Stop waiting to be happy. If you think that money will bring you happiness, I’ve got news for you; it won’t. If you are an unhappy and ungrateful person, with lots of money you will just become a very rich unhappy and ungrateful person.

Love Yourself and Love Others– The meaning of life is simple: we are here to love. In her class book A Return to Love, Marianne Williamson says “Love is the essential existential fact. It is our ultimate reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life.” Forgive everyone and move on. Get rid of resentment and anger. BE love.

Have Faith- You must cultivate faith in yourself and in God. Start believing more in yourself and in your abilities. Never give-up and know that it’s not that successful people never fail, it’s that they never quit. Act as if your dreams have already come true.

Are you ready to be rich and famous?

Sending you lots of love and positive energy,

Connie

Connie Costa is a Writer, Inspirational Speaker & Life-Coach

She leads transformational events and retreats in Beverly Hills, Ojai & Italy

www.ConnieCosta.comConnie@ConnieCosta.com