Detach from Your Past… Attach to Your Future

I awoke at 3:00 AM. As I lay there in the stillness of the night, a small streak of light came through the window from the streetlight. I gave a long stretch, let out a sigh, and whispered, “Let the journey begin.”  As my feet touched the floor, I had peace in my heart. It wasn’t about where I had been in recent months, but rather I had peace about where my life was headed.

I jumped in the shower, made my coffee, fed the cats, packed the rental car with my luggage, keyed in my destination address to the GPS, left a note for my house sitter, and was on the road at exactly 3:59 AM. As I drove the car Southwest on I-44, there was peace in my heart that I had not felt for quite some time. I had someone close to me accuse me of “running from something,” when in reality, I was running towards something. I was leaving the toxicity in my life behind, while heading forward to create a wonderful life for me and my children.

buryingmypastTwenty-three hours later, I arrived at my first stopping place. As I pulled into the mountains of Sedona, Arizona, I still had peace. It was 6:00 AM on December 31, 2013. I sat on the top of a mountain vortex bundled up with my favorite yoga blanket, sipping a delightful cup of coffee, and watching the sunrise over the Eastern sky. It was beautiful, peaceful, and it represented the dawning of a new day…a day that had been long overdue. As I sat on the top of that red rock mountain, I heard an audible voice say ever so clearly, “Detach from your past so that you can attach to your future.”  Upon hearing those words, I had a chill run from the bottom of my feet to the top of my head. It felt like a vacuum was sucking all stale energy out of my body. Immediately, I knew why God had led me to this mountain…I knew what my day was about to consist of…A funeral would take place before the sunset on that same day, the last day of 2013.

After hours of contemplating and reflecting on pivotal circumstances in my life, I realized that a great and wonderful life was waiting, but God couldn’t deliver it to me until I buried my past. That afternoon while hiking along a ridge, I did something I should have done years ago. I wrote letters to my abusers, and I buried them in a small grave. I spent hours on that mountain writing, reflecting, purging, crying, and screaming. At the end of the day, I found the same peace that I had found while watching the sunrise that morning.

As I woke on January 1, 2014, a new life began. I didn’t look back. I was only looking forward. The entire day was spent with a man by the name of Yogi Blair that I met on my journey. We spent 6 hours hiking through the Vortexes, meditating, talking, and doing yoga on mountain tops. It ranked as one of the most amazing days of my life.

After four days in Sedona, I drove up to the mountains of Ouray, Colorado, where I spent three days receiving great clarity for my future. I stayed in the most amazing Bed and Breakfast, bathed in the hot springs, drank at the brewery every night, sat by a fireplace, wrote chapters for my next book, and walked the snow covered streets of the rustic town that had a 360 degree view of the snow covered mountains.

I left Ouray for the final leg of my journey, which was about to take me back to a place that I had not been in 43 years. I drove through the final night to arrive in a small town in Eastern Kansas. It was somewhere I knew I had to return to in order to move forward. Ever since I opened “The Box” on October 4th (you can read about it here), I knew I had to return to where my abuse started at the age of three. This was the day. As my car pulled into the outskirts of Clay Center, Kansas, I felt my pulse start racing, chills went up my spine, and I felt a cloud of darkness cover my soul. My initial instinct was to turn my car around and race away as fast as I could. However, the strength inside me knew I had to finish this leg of my journey. That day, I did something that was long overdue. I faced my demons for the final time.

These are just the highlights from my incredible spiritual journey. It is is written in much greater detail in my upcoming book trilogy about the story of my life.

What are your demons? What part of your past is holding you from receiving the blessings of your future? Remember, in order to move forward, sometimes we must look in that rearview mirror. I spent decades of my life letting my past define my future. Don’t make the mistake I made. Instead embrace your past, face your demons, bury the hurt, scream out the anger, but most importantly, find peace from within.

How do you get peace? You bless your curses. It might sound odd, but in order to find peace, you have to turn them into blessings. For years, I spent my time hating people, places, and things. Now, I look at them as if I am a third party looking from the outside in. I have been able to detach from them enough to say, “That is not who I am now.”  I find blessings in my child abuse years. Why? Because it molded me into the strong, beautiful, sexy, loving, passionate woman I am today.

EXERCISE FOR DETACHING FROM YOUR PAST

Take out a piece of paper and write out the things in your past that keep you from moving forward. Be honest with yourself. For each item it keeps you from moving into your future, write out three blessings for each item. As an example, if you are bitter over a divorce, you might choose three things such as: 1) I am blessed that I have my wonderful children as a result of that union, 2) I am grateful that we got to build a house together, that I still find love and peace in, and 3) We traveled to some wonderful places that I got to experience. It doesn’t matter what the items are, as long as they are true in your heart. You can’t just say the blessings. You must FEEL the blessings.

Live with passion,

Laurie Calzada
-Author and Motivational Speaker-

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You are Beautiful… Now believe it!

During my 25-year career and international travels, I have had the wonderful opportunity to meet thousands of people throughout the world from all walks of life.  The older I get, the more intrigued I become with people’s self-awareness or the lack thereof.  Have you ever met someone who thought they were unattractive, but they were absolutely adorable?  Or perhaps you have met someone who thinks they are “it,” and yet everyone around them is talking about how much they are disliked?  Have you met someone who doubted their skills, but yet you knew they were one of the best at what they do?  Have you met someone who was so arrogant and confident that when a mistake was made, they wouldn’t take the blame?  Have you met someone that was absolutely lovely from the inside out, yet when they speak they lack confidence?

In my younger years, I was overly confident and could be quite cocky when I wanted.  Yes, I admit it! I was young, attractive, highly intelligent, had a photographic memory, and possessed an extremely outgoing personality.  I could be extremely arrogant in many situations. It took me a decade to outgrow that stage, and I am grateful for the humility I have learned along my journey.

I lived in Oxford, England in the late 80’s, and I had a fabulous mentor for three years named David.  We were taking the train back to our offices in Oxford after a meeting I had in London.  In the midst, I was trying to cram for an exam that I had at the University the next day.  I can’t remember the exact context of what we were talking about, but I remember feeling pretty puffed up about how this little girl from a child abuse background in Kansas City was sitting in Europe at the age of 19 ready to take on the world and doing it quite well.  I was rambling about something, and he was just staring at me.  He gave me a quizzical look as he took a sip of wine from his glass.  He placed his glass back down on the train table that sat between us, and said, “Just remember that if you are really good at something, you will never have to tell a soul.”  Wow… What great advice at a young age!  He taught me more in 3 years than anyone has taught me in a lifetime.

In business, I work with many types of people every day.  When I see the peacock employee walking around with their chest all puffed up, I want to say, “Get out of the open field and hide in the woods before you get shot!”  Arrogance will always bring demise.  It might not come today or tomorrow, but it will come.

On the other end of the spectrum, I am amazed at the people I meet that are brilliant at what they do, but have no idea how great they really are.  They look in the mirror, and they don’t see what I might see… someone with great potential and a great future ahead.

I am a huge advocate of Dove’s Self Image campaign.  It is a great representation of how most people view themselves. In this video, you will see how people view each other.  A sketch artist draws a picture only by words and descriptions… The results are staggering.  Take a moment to watch it.  You will truly be touched!

RealBeautyCampaign

EXERCISE FOR SELF IMAGE

Pick three friends, and ask each of them to do an exercise with you.  Write out a paragraph of yourself and how you view yourself. Now, have each friend send you a paragraph of how they would describe you to someone else.  Compare the 4 paragraphs.  Find the greatest virtues that others see in you.  Now every day, remind yourself of those virtues, because they are what make you beautiful!

Live with passion,

Laurie Calzada

Letting Go… One Glove at a Time

A few weeks ago, one of my favorite Yoga Instructors, Emmet, told a true story at the beginning of our yoga class.  It went something like this:  

There was a woman travelling home from work on the New York subway.  It was a crowded subway, and she was doing her normal routine on this winter day.  During the subway ride, she had taken off her gloves.  The train pulled into her station where she needed to exit.  She collected her belongings, and hustled through the passengers to get off the train.  Just as she passes through the sliding doors, she notices that she only has one glove in her hand.  As she turns back toward the train, the doors are closing.  In an instance, she realizes there is no way she can retrieve the other glove.  She takes the glove in her hand and throws it into the train, just seconds before the doors finally shut.

I wish I could meet this woman.  She “gets it.”  She understands the value of letting go with no hesitation.  In that brief moment of time, she realized there was no way she was going to be able to retrieve the other glove, which probably was sitting on her seat or had dropped on the floor during her exit.  Keeping the one glove she had would be of no value.  Therefore, she instinctively tossed the second glove into the train, making sure the pair would stay together.  I truly believe that her unselfish and unwavering actions benefited someone else on the train down the line.  Perhaps a homeless person who had no gloves discovered the pair.  Or perhaps some starving artist who was barely surviving in the NY economy found them.  Regardless of where the gloves ended up, the woman “Paid It Forward” without hesitation.

Could you have done such a thing?  Could you let go of an item or a situation that you knew would not benefit you in the future?  More importantly, could you make the right decision in a fraction of a second?

Sometimes letting go is the easy part….. Not regretting it and moving forward is much harder. 

After hearing this story, Emmet said he returned home to clean out his sock drawer.  He had been saving all these single socks thinking the other one would just magically appear!

Can you clear out whatever you are holding on to needlessly? Are you trying to change your life and let go of certain things to move forward to a healthy and prosperous future?  So many people have difficulties letting go.  It can be letting go of relationships, material possessions, careers situations, etc.

EXERCISE TO LETTING GO

The easiest way to start letting go is with the physical things.  Start by cleaning out your sock drawer like Emmet did. If something doesn’t have a match, get rid of it.  Then move to your closet.  If you haven’t worn something in the past 24 months, donate it to Good Will. Clean out your car, and get rid of anything in it that isn’t a necessity.  Perhaps purge your kitchen of the half existing Tupperware. By getting rid of the physical things, it puts your mind in a peaceful place to deal with the next items…

Next, consider the non-physical things.  As you find yourself in a situation throughout the day that doesn’t make you feel good, change it.  For instance, if you are sitting in the lunchroom with co-workers and it doesn’t feel right, excuse yourself and go eat at your desk. If you are in a meeting with bad energy and a lot of confrontation, write on your pad of paper, “Let it go.”  Then, if you feel yourself getting upset or confrontational in the meeting, look down and read those words.  I find this keeps me focused and helps me stay out of the firing range. If you are in an argument with a loved one at home, ask yourself, “Is this getting us to a positive end result?”  If you are upset after an argument, go for a walk alone.  With each step, say, “Let … it… go…”   

I have the privilege of raising two Middle Schoolers right now, so you can image how many “Let it go” walks I take in a week!  I tell my kids all the time, “You can’t control what others do, but you can choose how you react to it.” 

Remember, good choices make for a good life!!!

Live with passion,

Laurie Calzada

Author, Speaker, and TV Host

First Impressions Can be Toooooo Good!

One November evening years ago, I had the privilege of speaking to a group of retired executives and their spouses in Myrtle Beach.  At the end of the event, the hostess asked me if I would be willing to do a Q&A session.  I cordially stated that I would be delighted to conduct one, and the hostess opened the floor to the audience.

You have probably noticed I use stories of my children a lot when I write and when I speak.  Why?  Because I believe we can learn so much from the openness of our children.  They view the world with eyes wide open and fear so little.  As the questions started, there was one woman in the back row that asked me, “I noticed you talk a lot about your beautiful children, but you never mention the father.”  I answered, “Well, interesting you should ask. We are actually in the middle of a divorce, but it is a very amicable situation. Over the 12 years we were together, we became two ships in the night, headed in different directions.”  Then she proceeded to fire question after question at me such as: what business do you own, where do you live, and how much do you travel? The questions went on and on…

Finally, after several responses, the elderly woman next to her nudged her and exclaimed, “Martha, quit asking her so many questions!”  Martha didn’t miss a beat by replying in her deep southern accent, “Well, I just thought I might have a daughter-in-law here!”

Wow!  Now, there’s a first impression that was too good.  I had met this woman in a literal brief moment in time, and she was ready to marry me off to her son.

Every day, you make spontaneous decisions about people and circumstances.  Studies from NYU found within the first seven seconds of meeting someone, we make eleven major decisions about that person, both good and bad.  If that first impression is not a good impression, it can take numerous follow-up meetings to change a person’s perception.

Having spent most of my professional career in the training, coaching, and speaking world, I have met so many different types of people. Some days it is difficult when people are whining about their life to not want to say, “Look where I came from… suck it up!” However, I try to step back, look at their situation, and see it through their eyes.  When it is difficult to see it through a person’s eyes, then usually I find I need to walk away.  I truly believe that perception is the beholder’s reality, and if I can’t either see it as they would see it or try to assist in changing their perception, then often it is time to walk away.

Now, I know without a doubt that there have been negative impressions that I have left in my wake during my 44 years on earth.  However, I know there are thousands of positive impressions I have made, too.  You cannot be a “total you” without the evaluation of all aspects.  Over the years of owning multiple companies, I have interviewed hundreds of applicants for different positions, from receptionist to director level. I never believe in asking “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”  Rather, I believe in asking “In what areas do you excel, and what are your challenges with which you would like help?”  In other words, we ALL have challenges and hurdles to overcome… Yes, ALL of us.  Sometimes, people will state a weakness that is only a weakness in their own mind’s eye.

 

If you love what you do, and do what you love, people will know the instant they meet you that you are someone they want to associate with in their dealings, whether personally or professionally.

 

 

EXERCISE TO HONE IN ON YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION

 

Pick 5 people that admire you, and request a meeting or phone call with them. Ask them to mention the 5 things they admire about you the most.  Also, ask them to mention 2 or 3 challenges that perhaps you should consider.  Then, if you are truly committed to evaluating your first impression, request a meeting with two or more people that you have struggled with in your relationship, such as a boss, employee, friend, someone in a social setting, etc.  Ask them for two things they think are your strengths, and ask them for two things they view as  challenges in dealing with you.

Now, to do this, you have to have thick skin, take it seriously, and realize that this is to help you be a more well-rounded person. Several years ago, I had some people running my businesses that lied to me and stole from me.  After months of bitterness and anger, I went through this exact exercise myself.  I took over 10 people that I had issues with in my life and requested to meet for breakfast or lunch with them.  Do you know how many did it?  Only three… All of the others came up with excuses, and one emailed me stating, “I don’t want to meet you.  Just email me, because I am very curious in what you have to say.”  If she had been interested, she would have met me.  I kindly thanked them for their consideration and wished them luck.  The funny thing was, once I did this exercise, these people no longer crossed my mind or came across my path.  They were removed from my life as a barrier to my personal growth.  It was exhilarating!!!

You might be thinking why on earth should I put myself through the confrontation?  Believe me, it was difficult.  It took a humble spirit and a determined mind!  Why do it?  Because, in order for me to help others, I had to help myself first!  Going forward, I had evaluated my lessons learned, and I have found that my new first impressions would be a more positive fingerprint left on lives.

Live with passion, and always make a good first impression.

Laurie Calzada

Voices from Within

(Written Friday, July 22nd)  Today was one of those days I’ll remember forever.  It was 7:00 AM, and I was having my morning coffee on the porch. All of a sudden, I became overwhelmed with this feeling that I should attend an 8:00 AM Hot Yoga class.  I used to take a Friday morning Hot Yoga class every week, but for months I attended the Thursday evening Power Vinyasa class instead. I was already buckled down this morning to do some writing, so I pushed the thought away as I poured my second cup of coffee and checked my phone. Why would I go to yoga again when I just went to a class last night?  By then, it was almost 7:25 AM, and the anxiousness was growing very strong. My internal voice was telling me to attend the class, and I learned years ago to never ignore that little voice. Therefore, I put down my coffee, raced upstairs to throw on some scruffy yoga pants, and headed out the door.

I arrived at the studio at 7:45 AM, and the instructor was not there yet.  So, I waited in my car on the curb.  As I watched the traffic, I distinctly remember getting this edgy feeling in my stomach and thinking it was a dangerous entrance.  Not 60 seconds after that thought, I heard a screech, a huge thud, and the sound of clanging metal. One of the drivers was an elderly gentleman. He got out of his car, and blood spewed from the middle of his bald head.  The other driver was a young girl in her 20’s, and she jumped out of her Volvo, exasperated by the accident.  She looked bewildered and dazed. Another car had waved her to turn into the parking lot, but she did not notice the man traveling in the outer lane.  Her bumper and parts of her car remained a hazard in the road.

The next hour was an activity of events. I jumped from my Lexus, and pulled my First Aid Kit from my trunk.  Several others came to aid, and it appeared there were no life threatening injuries. The minutes following the accident were a fog to most people, but I vividly remember the girl named Rebecca.  Another woman and I were helping tend to the elderly man, and I turned to find Rebecca kneeling right in the middle of the sidewalk crying profusely. She kept asking, “Is he okay?” and running over saying she was sorry.

I noticed her car was leaking fluid, and I went over to verify it was transmission fluid and not gasoline.  As I walked to her car, I noticed the New York State license plates and a Wash U Student Parking sticker in the window.  It didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to realize this was a young college student thousands of miles away from home, who just wrecked the car given to her by her parents.  I think she was talking to her Dad on the phone at first. Moments later, I heard her sobbing on the phone with her Mom. She was supposed to be on an 11:00 AM flight home to New York for her Grandfather’s 80th birthday. She kept repeating to everyone how sorry she was.

In the middle of the chaos, the yoga students were arriving for the 8:00 AM class. Within minutes of the accident, there were sirens whirling all around us.  The ambulance was first on the scene with two fire trucks and a police car not far behind.  The paramedics immediately took her blood pressure, and I was rubbing her back as she sat on the bumper of the ambulance.  Again, she kept asking the paramedics, “Is he okay?”  They reassured her that he was fine.  At one point, she looked up at me with huge swollen eyes and alligator tears streaming down her face and stated, “I really am just so sorry.”  A lump formed in my throat, and I fought back tears.  At that moment, Rebecca touched my heart. She was not worried about her own dire circumstances, but only concerned for the gentleman she had hit.

As the firemen were putting sand on the fluids, the police were taking statements and the paramedics were tending to wounds. There were tons of bystanders, including many yoga students and the yoga instructor.  I told the yoga instructor to go ahead and start the class, and I would stay with Rebecca.  One by one, things calmed down.  The fire trucks left, the paramedics did some final checks before leaving, the witnesses left after giving their statements. Everyone came over to check on Rebecca before they departed.  Even the elderly man came over to make sure she was okay, and he gave her his card in case she needed anything.  Again, my heart was touched.

How many times do you see an accident with people yelling, cursing, and pointing blame at someone else?  This Friday morning, I witnessed compassion and understanding.  I heard only words of encouragement and love.  I witnessed teams pulling together to fix a problem for the better good.

In the final moments, the tow truck pulled away with Rebecca’s car on a flatbed, the police left, and there we were… just Rebecca and me.  She was going to call a taxi, but I offered to help.  I took her by her home to get cleaned up and get some aspirin.  Then, I drove her to the airport.  During our journey, I found out she grew up in Manhattan, but is here for her PhD in Psychology.  She lives with her boyfriend, who just happened to be out of town for a month.

As I pulled into a parking space at American Airlines, I gave the cute curly headed Rebecca a hug and told her to enjoy her trip home.  As I left, I understood why my little internal voice had made me so anxious to go to the yoga class. It wasn’t for my body, but rather for my soul.

Many would say destiny took me there that morning to be there for Rebecca, but I believe it was Rebecca that was there for me.  She touched my heart and reminded me of a valuable lesson- in times of crises, focus on others and your own needs are met.

EXERCISE TO HELPING OTHERS

Put a post-it on your bathroom mirror or nightstand that says “What did I do for someone else today?”  Read it every morning when you get up, and read it every evening before bed.

Live with passion,

Laurie Calzada

Pinky Swears and Promises

Yesterday, I was at the pool with my munchkins. As I watched the kids playing in the water, it reminded me of so many stories I have told over the years.  As I went to write my blog this morning, I kept thinking about a promise that someone broke with me recently.  The combination of these two events made me think of an article I wrote a couple of years ago.  Here is how it goes:

So many times, I wish my greatest stress of the day was like that of my children, making decisions like which magic marker I will use to draw a picture or which toy I want to take to the beach.

Then something happens in a moment of time that makes me stop, evaluate, and learn a lesson that makes me appreciate the value of life and the complexity that goes with it.

Today was one of those days…

This afternoon, I spent a beautiful summer day at the pool with my children. As my little bambinos were frolicking in the water, I was enjoying a cocktail, talking with a close friend, and enjoying the heat of the sun, all the while keeping an eye on the kids. At one point, I sat observing them as they stood at the deep end of the pool. They were getting ready to throw a water toy into the pool and race to get it as it sank to the bottom. They were standing at the edge of the pool holding hands and having some conversation that I could not hear from my distance. My assumption was they were discussing the rules of the race that was about to occur.

All of a sudden, she turned to face Austin and let go of their hand-in-hand embrace. She held up her right hand in a fist, while sticking her pinky finger in the air. Immediately, Austin mirrored her image, embracing in the ever bonding pinky swear that is so greatly treasured amongst our younger generation. They had just made the Ultimate Binding Promise!

As my kids were finalizing their pinky swear, I noticed a slight motion of Angeles’ other hand. She had gently placed it behind her back, and as I looked closer, she had crossed her fingers ever so slightly. She was trying to undo the promise of the race she had just made, now turning her promise into the Ultimate Pinky Swear Betrayal.

Isn’t life interesting? It can take you in one direction, and within a fraction of a second, it can take you somewhere else. Many times it will take us to a better place, sometimes to a worse place, and other times somewhere different altogether. My question is, “who is along the journey with you?” Do they keep their promises, or do they betray you?

Don’t you wish life was as simple as a pinky swear? As we go through our journey in life, we should try to find those people that know how to make a Pinky Swear Promise and keep it!  How many times do people hold to the promises they make, as long as things are going their way, and as soon as there is a bump in the road, the promise no longer matters to them?

We can make it through life alone, but as God found with Adam in the beginning of time, we are better with a mate. We benefit in having someone with whom to laugh, to dream, to cry, to dine, to dance, and most importantly, someone to keep their promises through blessings and trials.

As I sat there basking in the sun, I thought how lucky I am to have a few close people in my life that have taught me the value of the Pinky Swear!

EXERCISE YOUR PINKY SWEAR PROMISE

Make it a point this week to make a pinky swear.  As you go through your week, look for at least three opportunities to say, “I am going to make a binding commitment or promise.”  Do it literally, not figuratively.  For example, let’s say you make a commitment for a work deadline this week. Literally, hold out your hand and pinky swear to the deadline.  I did this recently to one of my clients. They busted out laughing, relieving some tension after a rough meeting.  The smile on her face was as valuable as the pinky swear itself. If your partner in life asks you to mow the grass, take out the trash, or another type of commitment, pinky swear to the time it will be done.

This simple act from our childhood represents such a basic understanding of “a promise is a promise”!  Hmmm, maybe if Abraham would have made God pinky swear, he wouldn’t have spent 40 years wandering in the desert!

Pinky Swear with Passion today!

Laurie Calzada

Hidden Notes and Special Messages

Today, I was cleaning out some computer files, while working on sections for my next book.  Five levels down in one of my folders, there was a file entitled “Angeles Writing in Notebook.jpg” that was date stamped a couple of years ago.  As I double-clicked the file, I had no recollection of what the picture would display.  As the picture flashed across my screen, tears swelled in my eyes, and I let out an audible sigh as my mind flashed back.

It was a cold evening in 2009, and as the year was coming to a close, it had proven to be a year mixed with trials and tribulations, along with blessings spattered in between.  I was just ready for the year to end.  After arriving home from a long stressful day, I proceeded into the nightly routine as a single mother.  The kids had been with me at my office for a couple of hours after school, so we had not arrived home until after 7:00 PM.

Exhausted, but still moving, I prepared dinner for my munchkins and me, helped with homework, and then started barking orders to get baths, brush teeth and get into pajamas.  After several hours of our routine, I tucked my kiddos into bed, opened a bottle of wine, and went to soak my woes in a large bubble bath.   After an hour of decompressing, I booted my computer and started in on the dreadful inbox that was backed up.  As I reached for my task notebook that I carry with me EVERYWHERE, it wasn’t in my laptop case.  I was panicked… it was my life, and it wasn’t with me.  Fear struck as I thought, “Where on earth could it be.  I ALWAYS have it with me!”

I didn’t sleep much that night, and the morning came quickly.  Just hours later, I was up barking orders again trying to get the kids out the door, as I had a 45 minute drive to get them to school and then another 30 minutes to my office.  We left the house at 6:30 AM, and I finally arrived to my office at 8:00.  I was fatigued and stressed, but I tried to get in the correct frame of mind to start my busy day.

After unlocking my office door, I unpacked my computer bag and placed the items on my desk to start another stressful day ahead.  As I started sitting at my seat, I noticed my daily task book was over on the far edge of my desk and open face up.  The odd thing was that it was also facing the opposite side of my desk, where a guest would be seated in one of the cushioned chairs.  As I reached over and twirled the book around, tears started streaming down my face as I read these words:

You see, while the kids were in the office with me the previous night, I kept telling them to leave me alone so I could finish the proposal.   At one point, Angeles asked if she could have some paper, and I bit her head off telling her that we were leaving shortly, so she didn’t need it.  Not wanting to confront her stressed out Mom again, she must have reached for the closest piece of paper she could find on her own.

As I read those words that morning, it changed my perspective on so many things.  In the midst of my hectic life, she left a hidden message.  I made a commitment that day to find balance in my life.  And I did.  I changed so many things… I rarely work evenings or weekends.  We do Mommy Adventures all the time.  We have dinner and talk about the lessons we learned that day as a family.  And the biggest change that so many people cannot understand is that I had my email disconnected from my phone.  No more electronic handcuff!  As my clients, friends, and family know, do not expect me to answer emails late nights or weekends.  I challenge you to make such changes!

I forgot I had taken a picture of the notebook that day, but I have never forgotten the message within:

“A complex proposal will only last a day, but a simple message will last a lifetime.”

EXERCISE

Find someone you love today, and leave them a hidden note that has a special message.  It doesn’t have to be long and elaborate, just make it from the heart.

Thank you to my lovely baby girl that left a fingerprint on my life with a simple message in a simple notebook years ago.   It changed my life forever.

Live with passion,

Laurie Calzada