Minutes from my house, I have my favorite lounge to relax in; it’s called Parq at The Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills. This is where I meet several of my clients, business colleagues, and all my new prospective clients. What they don’t know, is a little secret I am about to reveal; One of the reasons why I chose The Montage as my meeting point (besides conveniently located and just aesthetically beautiful) is because I observe my client’s reaction to The Montage. Parq is extremely luxurious, and the clientele is anyone from rock stars, actors, celebrities, CEO’s, wealthy business folks, etc. The place smells of money. Over the years, I have enjoyed the various reactions. It is clear that many of my clients feel very comfortable in that type of setting, while for others, it is clear they would rather be anywhere but there.
Amongst the goals they want to achieve, most of my clients have “make more money” at the top of their list. My prospective clients are very eager to tell me their woes about money and how they don’t understand why they are not making more. More often than not, these are the clients that are extremely uncomfortable at Parq. They are the ones making the negative comments about the rich that surround them. So I ask them, “what do you think about the rich?” and I usually get the same responses, “snobby”, “thieves”, “obnoxious”, “greedy”, “show-offs” etc.. In one of my all-time favorite books, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, by T. Harv Eker, he says, “you have to realize that if you view rich people as bad in any way, shape, or form, and you want to be a good person, then you can never be rich. It’s impossible. How can you be something you despise?” Eker continues by saying that growing-up he had the belief that rich people were “snobs and greedy” but that he then noticed that this wasn’t true at all. As a matter of fact, the richest people he knows, are also the nicest. This is very true for me as well. The wealthiest friends that I have are extremely nice, loving and generous. They are also the most Spiritual, creative, and inspiring. Yes, I said Spiritual. This brings me to my next point. Do you believe that in order to be Spiritual, you must be poor or middle class? Another one of my favorite books is The Science of Getting Rich, by Wallace Wattles. Wattles says, “you must get rid of the last vestige of the old idea that there is a Deity whose will is that you should be poor, or whose purposes may be served by keeping you in poverty.” I completely agree. I am very spiritual, and I believe that God wants us to live in abundance and not lack. Wattles continues, “It is the desire of God that you should get rich. He wants you to get rich because he can express Himself better through you if you have plenty of things to use in giving Him expression. He can live more in you if you have unlimited command of the means of life. The universe desires you to have everything you want to have.” Yes! I believe this 100%. What type of God would want his beloved children to live a life of sacrifice and struggle? In the book, Spiritual Economics, Eric Butterworth says that this notion that being Spiritual means to be poor, “is a doctrine that has had a tragic, repressive influence on millions of people through the ages of Christian history.” I can’t tell you how many clients I have spoken to that believe money is the root of all evil. They have the belief, that money turns you into a nasty person. So untrue! If you are a nice, generous person, more money will only make you an even nicer and even more generous person. If you are a jerk, more money will make you an even bigger jerk. The point is: there are nice people that are poor, and there are nice people that are rich. Just like there are jerks that are poor, and there are jerks that are rich. If you know rich people that are jerks, trust me that just means that they are extremely insecure. That has to do with their character, not their money. The more money my husband and I make, the more goes to charity and to volunteering, it is that simple.
So here are a few tips on creating more abundance, wealth and money in your life:
Be grateful- now! Butterworth says, “As you feel grateful…you release a vital energy that draws to you opportunities, employment, and a secure flow of substance. Everything begins to work in your life in an orderly and creative way.” This is one of the most important laws of life: be grateful for what you have now. Stop complaining. How many people do you know are constantly complaining about what they don’t have, and are not grateful for what they do have?
Be generous and giving. Most say, “once I am rich, I will give money to the poor. Right now I can’t!” but they have got it wrong. By being extremely generous and giving, we receive abundance in our life. But here is the catch: we cannot give only because we have an agenda to receive. It must truly come from our heart. Butterworth says, “if you give, really work in a giving consciousness, you must receive.” And in the book, Wealth Warrior by Steve Chandler he says, “A life based on giving becomes a life that produces wealth. A life based on getting is a life of anxiety and money problems.” Here is an example; are you a good tipper? Do you leave 20% or more? Or do you just leave a few dollars no matter how much the bill is?
Do you help others? If money is truly an issue and you are unable to give money to charity, then give your time and volunteer. There is always someone less privileged than you, so help them! Instead of doing pointless activities such as watching television, get out and help those in need. Become obsessed with giving, not getting.
Steve Chandler believes we must tap into our “creative side” and start creating. He asks, “What will you create that produces wealth? What product, what skill, what talent, what entertainment, or what service?” We all have a life’s purpose. And if you are still wondering what yours is I am going to lovingly tell you to stop pretending you don’t know. We all know what we love to do, it’s just that most of us are too scared and don’t believe we can make money by doing what we love. Society did not raise us to believe this. If there are several things you want to do, Steve Chandler suggests to just pick one and go for it. But if you just sit there and wait for your life’s purpose to come knocking at your door saying, “I’m finally here!” you will die waiting. Just get up and do something now.
Create something that inspires you. Figure out what skill/talent you have that people need and are willing to pay you good money for. Then, be committed to constantly serve. Chandler says, “To understand why you are not making the money you want to make, I first want to see where you are not serving…Businesses fail because they do not serve. Individuals too.”
Stop wasting time. Steve Chandler calls it “drifting”. Sure, we are really great about complaining about our life but how much time are we spending trying to change it? What takes up most of your time? How much time do you spend working on that business idea, your life’s purpose, or your path? No one is going to do it for you and you are not getting any younger. What are you waiting for?
Act as if you are already rich. Have you ever heard the saying, “fake it until you make it”? I am certainly not implying that you lie to people and tell them you are rich when in fact you are negative in your bank account. What this means to me is that you start visualizing the world around you from an abundant place rather than a place of lack. Are you always going around saying, “I can’t afford that?” or “one day I will win the lotto and then I can do what I really want!” Stop acting poor and start acting rich. It’s not fun when people constantly complain about not having money. This victim mentality will not get you anywhere. It has been proven that there is a direct correlation between positive people and success, just like there is a direct correlation between negative nellies and failure. You want to be around people that are happy, friendly, and have an overall positive disposition. It’s no wonder why big things happen to these individuals. People love working with them. Who wants to be around someone that is constantly complaining about their job, the economy, and life in general? Or around someone that is always frowning and doesn’t have anything nice to say? Think about when you walk into a store or a restaurant; how would you like to be treated? Those that give exceptional customer service truly understand what serving is all about.
Still convinced you have no idea where to start? Chandler tells an interesting story about a man that could not figure out that he wanted to do, so he grabbed the Yellow Pages and went through each page as if it were a life purpose menu. He narrowed his choices down to three and became highly accomplished in all three areas. The point is, he did not let the excuse “I just don’t know what I want to do” get in the way. He just chose. The most important thing you can do is choose and start right away. We are blessed to live in this amazing country where anything is truly possible. Stop waiting for things to happen to you and make them happen now.
Trust me, one of the greatest feelings is figuring out what you love to do, serving others, and making great money from that. Just as Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Sending you lots of love and positive energy,
“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,
Once upon a time I had a boss who owned a multi-million dollar company and worked every day from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. (yes, you read that right). All day I witnessed how hard this man worked and how he constantly pushed himself. Although he had millions, it was never enough. What was even more disturbing was his uncontrollable anger. Anything would set him off and what followed was screaming, nasty emails, or simply, the silent treatment. After I quit, I came to learn my former boss had died of a heart attack. I was very saddened, but not surprised.
If you believe that emotions and feelings such as depression, anger, resentment, and bitterness do NOT affect your health, think again. High blood pressure, ulcers, cancer, or any “dis-ease” of the body is a consequence of negative emotions. And negative emotions are consequences of our thoughts.
One of my all-time favorite books is called “Supercoach” by Michael Neill. Neill explains that “every emotion you experience is a direct response to a thought, not to the world around you. The more clearly you see that your emotions are always reactions to your thoughts, not to the world, the easier it is to simply feel them and let them go. And the gift of that insight is that you stop needing to change the world in order to change the way you feel.” We have thousands of thoughts a day. Expecting us to have only positive thoughts everyday is silly. But what do we do when a negative thought presents itself? I like to compare it to a negative, pesky neighbor knocking at your door. You can’t control the neighbor knocking at the door. But rather than just not answering the door, thus allowing the neighbor to leave, we open the door, invite the neighbor in, offer them tea and have a full-blown conversation! In other words, rather than just noticing our negative thoughts, “he doesn’t love me!”, “I will never amount to anything!” or “no one cares”, we entertain our thoughts for a long time, and so the thoughts become stories, the stories become screenplays and next thing you know, we are watching a horror movie in our head.
Neill continues by saying, “Your day doesn’t create your mood; your mood creates your day. When your mood is low, the world looks bleak; when your mood is high, you feel as if you can take over the world…The difference is, as always, not in the world, but inside you. And a deeper understanding of how it’s being created will give you a whole lot more options about what to do about it.”
How you start your day is crucial. Personally, I start my days with a long hot bath while reading inspirational and personal development books for one hour. I then pray and get into a positive, relaxed mental state. Then, I have a healthy breakfast and I am ready to start my day from that state. I do not touch my phone or computer until after that. How do I avoid getting into a negative state? First off, I don’t watch the news nor do I watch any form of violence. You might ask, does that really affect us? Absolutely 100% yes! I don’t care if you say it doesn’t, it totally does. It always baffles me to see parents cover their children’s eyes when a sex scene comes on, but when there is atrocious violence on, they don’t even flinch at their kids watching it.
Lately, I have been working on observing my thoughts more carefully. Neill says, “If you’re feeling bad, that’s like a red light warning you to disengage from whatever toxic thoughts are in your mind. You don’t have to try to stop thinking altogether; just don’t climb on the train and don’t fall for the sense of importance and sudden urgency your thoughts may seem to have.”
It wasn’t until much later that I realized it didn’t matter if my boss made 10, 20, or 600 million; the money did not make him any happier. He allowed his emotions and feelings to take over and in the end, the anger killed him. Neill states, “All happiness, well-being, and wisdom come from within. They aren’t the fruit of something you do; they’re the essence of who you are. And there’s nothing you can ask for and be given from the outside that will fill the hole you’ve been digging for yourself on the inside.”
Are you ready to be happy, now?
Sending lots of love & positive energy,
“I take thee, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; and I promise to be faithful to you until death do us part.” Or until divorce do us part. With divorce rate being close to 50% in the United States (divorcestatistics.info), these romantic wedding vows seem harder and harder to achieve. Divorce can be amicable and easy-breezy. It can also be extremely challenging, confusing and gut-wrenching. This is especially true when children are involved. However, we are adults, and as adults we make choices. We must face our choices and live with the consequences. When it comes to divorce, our children are not the ones making the choices, and yet, must live with the cost, which more-times-than-not affects them for the rest of their life.
Throughout the years, I have asked several divorcees, psychotherapists, child-experts and lawyers what is the best advice for couples with kids who are getting a divorce and here are the top three:
Don’t bad mouth your ex-spouse to your kids
You are hurt. You are angry. And you might even feel justified for feeling this way. For example, “she cheated on me” or “he took all my money” or “he was abusive.” Understood. My suggestion is definitely to go and process this with a life-coach, spiritual advisor or to whomever you are drawn. But no matter how “horrible” you believe your ex is, never, ever, ever tell your kids how awful their parent is. Think about it: your children are half you and half your ex. On a psychological level, your kids will grow up believing that half of them is bad and rotten. Besides, they love their parent and the last thing they want to hear you saying are really nasty things about someone they love.
Stop using your kids as tools to get back at your ex. Your kids have feelings and these types of actions affect them for the rest of their life. If your ex is a good parent, then be happy about that and let him/her be a good parent. Being a good parent has nothing to do with being a good partner. Perhaps s/he was awful to you, but that has nothing to do with your child. Treat the relationship between your child and your ex as sacred.
Make the transition as easy as possible for your kids
A teacher of mine once pointed out that prior to divorce kids say, “this is my house.” After divorce, kids say either “I am going to mom’s house” or “I am going to dad’s house.” Suddenly, they no longer have a house of their own. The most ideal situation I have ever seen was that the kids never moved out of their home; mom and dad would move in and out when it was their turn. Naturally, most are unable to carry out this type of arrangement. The best family law attorney I know is my dearest friend, Araceli Lerma, and she suggests that each parent work on creating the best home environment possible for their children. This does not mean the biggest or most luxurious home, but a loving environment, where meals are cooked together and children have a space, even if it’s a bookshelf or a play area, all for themselves. In that way, they will have two homes that they equally enjoy and in which they thrive. Whatever you decided to do, please keep this in mind. It really does take a toll on children.
Do not force your children to take sides. You are the one getting divorced, not them. Your children should never have to choose between mommy and daddy. Put yourself in their shoes: it’s simply not fair. Healer Achaessa James says, “let them know that they can love both of you and that your feelings won’t get hurt.”
Don’t make your children feel guilty about liking their parent’s new partner. So your kid likes their parent’s new partner, be happy about that! Yes, that new partner may even be the one for whom your spouse left you, but that has nothing to do with your child. Your child just wants peace, and quite frankly, deserves peace. They have nothing to do with your battles, so don’t involve them. If your kids want the new partners to be at special events, honor your child’s feelings.
More importantly, if you are the one with the new partner, pay very close attention to the way your new partner interacts with your child. As a life-coach, I have had many clients tell me they were abused both physically and sexually by their step-parent. They are not your child’s parent; they already have a set of parents. I am all for the step-parents providing extra love and attention, but not to act as the disciplinarian. Many parents get so excited that they have found a new partner that they quickly want to “force” the relationship onto their kids. Give your children some space and respect their feelings. Don’t force your child to spend “alone time” with their new step-parent. This is often when my clients suffered the abuse. Finally, if your new partner is nagging you about spending too much time with your child and is asking you to choose between your child and him/her, you should definitely reconsider your choice in partner.
Set an example of love and forgiveness
You say you love your kids, prove it! Actions speak louder than words. Do you want them to be healthy adults? Do you want them to enjoy a healthy loving relationship? Children learn by example. Consider this: Karen’s parents get a divorce. But her parents never fight in front of her, and never bad mouth the other parent. They are amicable and very cordial to one another. Visitations are never an issue; they are both respectful of each other’s time and understand the importance of their child spending time with both parents. Now, let’s look at Jensen’s situation. Jensen’s parents are constantly yelling at each other in front of him. The parents are repeatedly telling Jensen what a loser the other parent is. His parents are always fighting about who gets to spend what weekend with him, holidays are always a nightmare, so he starts to feel like he is in the middle of a tug of war. Now tell me, who do you think will grow up more balanced, stable and with a positive view on relationships? Despite her parents getting a divorce, Karen will see it’s possible to not be in a relationship, but to stay friends.
The most important issue here is: do you want your children to grow up with love in their hearts or anger and bitterness? Do you want them to be able to forgive quickly, or have so much resentment that they are unable to have long-lasting, healthy relationships? What are we teaching our kids? Consider the long-term effect we are having on our kids. It’s simple: the more unhappy we are as parents, the more unhappy our kids will be. Would you rather be right or happy?
Araceli Lerma’s rules when getting a divorce are simple. She calls them the 3 C’s: common sense, civility and cooperation. Araceli & I will be leading a workshop on this very subject. For more information please contact me.
Are you willing to teach by example?
Sending you lots of love and positive energy,
Connie Costa is a Writer, International Speaker & Transformational Coach
“Women who stay in physically abusive relationships like to get hit, otherwise they would leave! Isn’t that right?” Believe it or not, I have been told this several times. When I first was asked this question, I never really knew what to answer, although I knew it did not make sense that women would stay because they “enjoyed” getting hit. The domestic abuse professor in my clinical psychology program didn’t help answer this question either. “We psychologists don’t really know why women take physical abuse. There is no common thread between these ladies. They can be poor, rich, lawyers, waitresses, educated, non-educated. There is no correlation between these ladies”.
Well, my professor and all the other “professionals” who believe this are dead-wrong! There is most definitely a common denominator: lack of self-love. These women (and men, they can get abused as well) lack self-esteem and self-worth, thus believe they deserve to get hit. They also believe that they do not deserve a better relationship and that this is as good as it gets. Plus, abusers are really good at convincing their victims it will never happen again and are great at giving them nice gifts, affection, and know exactly what to say to convince them to stay with them. The victim prefers to remember the “good times” and convinces herself that when it’s good, it’s really good and that she should be “happy.” In her mind, she’s surprised she gets attention so she is grateful to him. Thus, the vicious cycle continues.
Abusers can smell their prey from miles away. They can walk into a room and detect the women that can be controlled. You see, when you love yourself you talk different. You walk different. You look at people differently. You dress differently. You sound confident. You stand-up tall. You look at people in the eye. When people say “I’m shy” the translation is “I’m not confident.” Note: if your child is shy, please keep this in mind and explore this with them.
So what to do? The answer is simple: learn to love thyself. Somewhere in childhood, you learned that you were not worthy, and you loved yourself less and less. Perhaps you suffered abuse, or one of your parents left you, or didn’t pay enough attention to you, or perhaps they would make you feel stupid. Your self-esteem went down and you convinced yourself that you are not a lovable person.
Want to find out how much you love yourself? There are several things you can do. One exercise I do with my clients is I have them write ten things they love about themselves in less than one minute. Sounds simple? Well then, try it. Unfortunately, most of my clients write less than five things. Think about that for one moment. In one minute, most cannot write only TEN things they love about themselves. However, if I would tell them to write ten things they love about their child, best friend, or DOG I am sure they would easily come up with ten things (and then some!). I dream of a world where in our schools we have a mandatory class on self-love, just like math or English. Yes, it is that crucial. You see, when you love yourself, truly love yourself, you will never settle for less because you know you DESERVE better. You will have an amazing career, you will not put harmful substances in your body, you will eat healthy, you will surround yourself with positive people, have meaningful relationships, and you will definitely never put up with abuse. You know you are worthy to have an extraordinary life. So that’s another way you can gauge how much you love yourself. I don’t believe loving yourself is black and white, that you either love yourself or you don’t. Rather, I believe that there is a spectrum, and we will all fall somewhere along this spectrum. From “I’m madly in-love with myself” to the other side of the spectrum, “I despise myself”. I don’t know anyone who is completely on one side or the other; most of us fall somewhere within the spectrum. Question is, are you closer to the “I’m madly in-love with myself” or closer to the “I despise myself” end of the spectrum?
To find out, besides the fun exercise I just had you do, you can also answer these questions:
-Where do I work?
-How does my boss treat me?
-How do my peers treat me?
-Do I eat healthy food? Or do I mostly eat junk/fast food?
-Do I respect my body? Or do I disrespect it by using drugs or drinking alcohol?
-Do I have a constant exercise routine?
-What do I do to nourish my soul?
-Does my spouse respect me?
-Do my kids respect me?
-How are the relationships I surround myself with?
-Am I living my life’s purpose?
-Do I participate in any illegal activity?
-Do I always attract drama?
-How do I treat others?
-How do I spend my free time? TV all day? Surfing the Internet all day? Or do I do Yoga,
meditate, hike, and spend quality time with my friends and family?
-Am I happy?
In the book, You Can Heal Your Life, Louise Hay puts it very simply “the more you love yourself, the better your life works.” Makes sense to me. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s the most important thing you can work on. So, how do you love yourself more? You can start by answering the questions above and start taking baby steps on changing the answers you did not like. Stop participating in the activities that make you love yourself less and start doing what makes you feel better about yourself. Keep a journal. On one side of the page, write everything you are grateful for and on the other side, all your awesome qualities. Pay attention to compliments and add them to your list. Ask your friends and family what it is that they love about you. Add to both lists on a daily basis and read them every morning and every night. This takes discipline! If you are truly going to commit to a better life, then you must commit to this.
Are you ready to have an extraordinary life?
Sending you lots of love and positive energy,
Connie Costa is a Writer, Inspirational Speaker & Life-Coach
She leads transformational events and retreats in Beverly Hills, Ojai & Italy