It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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Is There Proof Love Exists?

asian-mother-with-daughter-of-mixed-chinese-and-african-american-at-picture-id1169676864 Is there proof love exists?

I have great joy in being with thousands of kids every year. Some might define me as a children’s musician but I prefer the job description of, Greatness Amplifier, Engagement Specialist, Experience Generator. I like this description for how perfect it is for what I do performing music with kids, while at the same time it’s not limited to any specific skills or career.

Is there proof love exists?

Children can prove
Love is not based on commitment
It is captured in a moment

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38 Hits

Kids Have Plenty To Say

group-of-smiling-preschool-students-picture-id1168223108 Kids Have Plenty To Say

As a full-time kid’s musician since 1990, I have the blessing of being with thousands of kids every year.

Kids have never said to me directly
“Teach me something”

But they ALWAYS
Have something urgent
To tell me

Maybe one of the best methods of teaching
Is listening

Acknowledging
What kids have to say.
Seeing them
and their ideas as valuable
Interesting
and inspired

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75 Hits

The Most Precious Possession 

IMG_5664-_20201007-215134_1 The Most Precious Possession

I had just finished a music performance at a preschool in Minneapolis. The children were playing on the playground while I was loading my car. Lucy who is barely three was standing by the chain link fence with her hand reaching out to me. As I walked over to her, she gently said, “Here, this is for you.” “You can take it home.”

What else could I say except “Thank You!” Doing my best to echo the sweet sincerity that the tiny white pebble from the playground was given.

The object had no intrinsic value, but the gift was priceless.
Kings cannot possess riches as precious as the generosity of Lucy’s pebble.

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97 Hits

Revival

meditating2 Revival

I have been daydreaming about a lovely family vacation in Hawaii with my children and husband. I have also been wanting some easy travel in a hippy van with my husband and dogs. I imagine us sitting outside under the stars. Both sound really good right now! In the past, if I found myself needing a break from daily life, I would plan a trip. Maybe I would go, or I would not, but it was always an option. Currently, the thing I would like to get away from the most will join me wherever I am. The pandemic has created a shadow over the state of mind for many people and places. This is not all bad.

One of the blessings of our global health concern is a reminder of wherever you go, there you are. The only way to escape the feeling of crisis is to get comfortable with who you are and your relationship with everything. You can’t escape you or the Universe!

This outbreak could be the catalyst for us becoming a mindful and evolved species.

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380 Hits

Ego Puppy’s Tips To Taking Radical Responsibility for Your Happy Holiday

happpyholidays Ego Puppy’s Tips To Taking Radical Responsibility for Your Happy Holiday

The holidays can be so much be fun!

Trimming the tree, old familiar traditions and the warmth of our family and friends. Those are the holidays… in a perfect world.

But, how many people live in a perfect world?

During this time of year, many are overworked trying to create the perfect holiday.

Shopping, cooking, cleaning, juggling in-laws and traditions that feel never ending… and when the whole thing is over you’re left feeling tired, empty and unappreciated.

Does this sound familiar?

It’s important to remember that when family comes together, stress is often sure to follow.

Let’s put an end to that this year!

Do you know how to enjoy the holiday and remain stress free in your natural state of love?

The key is to take radical responsibility for YOUR OWN happy holiday!

Imagine what an impact that would have on your entire family.

When your spouse or love of your life sees you in a relaxed state of love, imagine what they will feel.

And what about your children and grandchildren? When they see you truly enjoying the season, imagine how much better the holiday will be for them.

Have you ever flown in an airplane and listened as they tell you that in the event of a crash, you should put your own mask on first?

The same principles apply here. If you’re not consciously living in your natural state of love, you can’t help anyone else live in theirs!

Taking radical personal responsibility for your own Happy Holiday will have far reaching effects.

You’ll feel more relaxed and appreciative of the beauty of the season and so will those you love most.

Let’s get started:

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425 Hits

How Has Your Animal Helped You?

they-just-love-christmas-picture-id1086365714 How Has Your Animal Helped You?

Animals are miraculous gifts to us. The power of an animal’s love, intuition and wisdom is greatly underestimated—whether it’s an ape that not only understands but also responds to sign language or a special cat that made the news by instinctively knowing when its nursing-home residents were about to leave this world. Then there’s the dog that helps its therapist owner detect abnormalities in her patients’ bodies and the story of the amazingly brave elephants that impulsively knew they had to save themselves by moving to higher ground when a devastating tsunami hit the west coast of Sumatra.

Animals have been our spiritual companions since the dawn of time. Humans have honored them throughout history, as can be seen in those early drawings on the walls of caves—man and dog hunting side by side. Egyptians have treated cats like gods, American Indians have honored many different animals on totem poles, and the elders in the tribe would teach the children about the importance of each living thing.

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A Season of Giving

creative-turkey A Season of Giving

I've Been Thinking...

I’ve been looking forward to Thanksgiving all year. In fact, I’ve been counting down to it every day since it happened last year. Why? Well, as anyone close to me knows, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

I love the days leading up to it. I love the atmosphere surrounding it. I love that it’s a holiday all about gathering around with family and friends for food, football, and faith. I love that it means my house is full of laughter, and that my table is full of people expressing gratitude for this moment in their lives. I love that friends find comfort and a sense of belonging and home at my family table on Thanksgiving each year.

I also love that Thanksgiving isn’t about going out and buying gifts (which I’ve come to realize just stresses everyone out, anyway). No, Thanksgiving is about celebrating the gifts that are within us. It’s a holiday that’s about honoring the gift of friendship. It’s about recognizing the gift of family. It’s about opening your heart and your mind to the larger picture of family. It’s about reaching out to those who might not have a family or a place to go and inviting them to the table.

I’ve written many times before about our collective need to belong, and how we all feel a need to be invited and included. Thanksgiving is an opportunity for all of us to recognize not just our own internal need for those things, but the need that our loved ones and neighbors have for it as well.

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The Gift of Caring

firefighters The Gift of Caring
“It is not how much you do, but how much love you put in the doing.” — Mother Teresa


I've Been Thinking...

November kicks off National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness and National Family Caregivers Month. For us here at The Sunday Paper, it's an opportunity to focus on the huge issue of caregiving (in all its forms), as well as on the value and importance of care. 

My mission is to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and I’m relentless in my pursuit of it. That's why you often see curated news from the Women's Alzheimer's Movement (WAM) featured in this newsletter. My father passed away from the disease in 2011, so I know first-hand what a toll it can take on families. That's why I'm determined to do everything I can to stop it from happening to others.

Yesterday, WAM held its big annual event Move for Minds, which works to educate and empower you with the information you need to care for your brain health and prevent or delay Alzheimer’s. It’s also a chance to raise funds for much needed women-based research, and to honor the work of those caregiving for someone with this mind-blowing disease.

Caring for another human being is God's work, and how one cares for another person tells you a lot about them. It tells you whether or not they value the concept of care. 

Care can be exhibited in so many ways, but what I know to be true is this: when a person feels cared for, the world suddenly feels a little less scary and a lot more OK. When you feel cared for, you feel soothed. You feel secure. You feel safe. And trust me, feeling safe is huge.

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A Meaningful Conversations Moment

conversations A Meaningful Conversations Moment

I've Been Thinking...

At the Democratic debate last Tuesday night, the final question posed to the candidates was one about friendship.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked each of them to describe a friendship they’ve had with someone who has different beliefs than them. The question came in light of what I wrote about last week, which was the uproar over comedian Ellen DeGeneres sitting next to former President George W. Bush at a Dallas Cowboys game. Lots of people seemed to be upset by the debate question, but I found it revelatory in terms of how the candidates answered it and how they didn’t.

Having the question come up in a presidential debate at all tells us that there is a prevailing feeling of fear in our country. There is a fear that people don’t want to be, or are too scared to be, friends with people who have different beliefs than them.

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Ringo and a Lesson in Grief

ringo-4 Ringo

I was raised with cows, horses, goats, dogs and a couple other species of animals.  These creatures and our very large garden, taught me at a young age, about the time and energy involved in animal and garden care.  I love plants, but choose to not commit the time to growing them.  For many years that’s how I viewed animals.  I love animals. I even eat a plant based diet because of my spiritual beliefs that acknowledges the sanctity of animals.  Still I didn’t have the time needed to properly care for an animal.

When my children were no longer babies I finally decided I had the energy and resources required to care for a family dog.  This is after years of our oldest child asking for a puppy.

My husband was shocked when my stance of no, no, never..  changed to, “ lets get a poodle.”

That is how Ringo came into our lives.  We bought him from someone out of state.  She claimed her poodles had service dog dispositions.  Ringo was born in December and he came to us in April.  We picked him up at the airport in the evening.  When we opened the crate he was all legs.  He looked more like a young horse then a dog.  He quickly became part of our life.  For the first few years our oldest was the person that slept with and helped care for him.

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Pizza Girl’s Dad Gets His Wish

pizzagirl Pizza Girl’s Dad Gets His Wish

Growing up half Italian and eating my mom’s cooking, I’m always up for a good pizza. One night, I met some friends, and we found the perfect spot for the “best pizza in town.” I think we all drooled with expectation as our lovely waitress came to take our order.

As she came back with a full tray of drinks, she looked directly at me. “Oh my God! It’s you! I have to tell you what happened when you gave me a message. Would you mind if I talk to you when you’re finished eating?” After my friends and I said our goodbyes, I headed to the kitchen to find my rather nervous waitress Sandy. “Some years ago, I was at the bookstore and heard you were going to speak that evening,” she explained. “I was lucky enough to get one of the few remaining tickets."

“You pointed straight at me and said, ‘This is for the young woman in the back row. I have your father here and he’s asking for forgiveness from you. Do you understand that?’”

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450 Hits

How To Transform Your Relationship With Your Parents

relationshiptransformation How To Transform Your Relationship With Your Parents

Your parents may not be perfect human beings, as they too are souls on this journey of life and are here to learn lessons like you.

But what if you have the perfect parents for your soul’s growth and evolution in this lifetime?

Relationships with parents can be some of the most challenging and difficult to navigate.

Ask yourself: What are the lessons that your soul is seeking to learn with them?

They give birth to you, raise you, and impact so much of who you become.

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429 Hits

Rewriting Your Own Narrative

rewritingyourownnarrative Rewriting Your Own Narrative

“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” – Deepak Chopra


Dear Friend, 

How are you? I hope that you were able to take some time away this summer to rest, reflect, and recharge.

My August break abruptly began with a death in my family. It was sudden and heartbreaking, and it stopped everyone and everything in its tracks.

As I flew back to LA after the funeral that was held for my cousin’s 22-year-old-daughter, I thought a lot about the fragility of life. I thought about the suddenness of death, and how it upends us in different ways.

When I got home, I looked at my calendar and, for the first time all year, it was clear. I breathed into the emptiness and didn’t allow it to make me feel empty, invisible, or irrelevant.

Before my August break, people asked me, “Maria, aren’t you worried about losing your momentum on social media, with your Sunday Paper, and with NBC?”

“Yes and no,” I replied. “I’m sure I’ll lose some momentum, but I’m certain that what I’ll gain in return will be more meaningful and more profound.”

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393 Hits

Living Life in Full Bloom

Blueiris Living Life in Full Bloom

I love finding symbolism in life while honoring practices. Both of these actions have helped me experience peace in times of grief, stress and loneliness.

About 16 years ago my husband and I were trying to complete our family with a third child. My other two pregnancies were moderately smooth, so I was shocked when I suffered a loss. This miscarriage kicked off a couple of very stressful and grief filled years. I remember after one of the three failed pregnancies, sitting on the kitchen floor crying. I felt completely lost, even shattered. I tried to keep it together for our two daughters.

My life became filled with blood tests, doctor’s appointments, hope and stress. It was also during this time that each Fall I would plant some flower bulbs. This is truly out of character. While planting the blue Iris bulbs I found a little symbolism. The bulbs go thru a very long, dark and cold winter and magically in the Spring new life shows up. If you are lucky, that new life will be in full bloom in the early Summer.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: In Our Nature

orchidslipper Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: In Our Nature

As skin will stretch and mend a cut, kindness will heal all our divisions in time. Just as something cellular and internal causes trees to grow and fish to develop fins, something equally cellular and internal causes the heart to open. This openness is what releases the enzyme we know as kindness. And while being vulnerable opens the heart, that earned tenderness yields a wholeheartedness that reveals all forms of kinship. It’s how Grandma Minnie made her way from Russia as a girl and became a strong weed growing in Brooklyn. I will never forget her broken-English dignity, sitting proudly on her stoop, no matter what came her way. She was always ready to weather the next storm with kindness, ready to welcome the needy and to speak up against cruelty. I don’t think she thought of this as brave or altruistic. It was just part of her nature, part of our nature as living beings. Her innate kindness helped her endure. It is the strength of our kindness that roots life in the world. It is our initiation through kindness that lets us grow from I to we. I only know that every time I give, I receive more. Every time I give, the act illuminates my soul and I am enlarged out of hiding, the way an orchid opens to arrive as itself. So, when in doubt, give. When dark and confused, give. For your doubt and darkness and confusion are cuts that reaching out with heart will mend.

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476 Hits

5 Parenting Tips to Raise Your Children for Success

balancing-work-and-life-picture-id603995942 5 Parenting Tips to Raise Your Children for Success

Success is no accident, it takes hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.

For parents, success is something that children should be encouraged to achieve. However, in order for children to be successful, they must first be given the tools and habits that they need to benefit from the advice and words of wisdom from their parents.

Here are five parenting tips that will give you the guidance that you need to help your children be more successful in their current and future endeavors and it can improve your relationship with your child.

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

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522 Hits

Manifest a New Future by Revisiting the Stories of the Past

familyhistory Manifest a New Future by Revisiting the Stories of the Past

This week’s reading brought two goddesses together that inspired me to talk about how the stories of the past inform what we manifest in the future. I was going to wait a bit but when the Greek goddess of memory and the past and the Norse goddess of the future showed up in the reading side by side, they revealed to me that perhaps the time to share is now.

I took a DNA test that rocked my world. Forgive me in advance for not giving you the full details just yet as I have some more digging to do and intimate conversations to have with family first. Suffice to say that my results were not what I expected and has led me to question so much. I’m still digesting and integrating the information. But here is the gist of it.

The core elements of the story that defined my mother’s life, her deepest fears, traumas, guilt and identity and consequently what has defined my identity and the story I’ve come to believe, tell, and act from is something very different than what she believed and I was told. I know that sentence is a mouthful. But if what I have discovered is the real truth than much of the story that has defined me is not a true story.

Have you ever considered or even questioned your history? I am doing that right now and it’s astounding to consider that many of our choices may be based on false information.

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457 Hits

Love Is Truly Ever Lasting

sunflowers Love Is Truly Ever Lasting

As a tribute to all mothers, whether they are here or watching over us from the Other-Side, I’d like to share a special story for Mother’s Day, just over a week ago!

A few years ago, I was in Seattle, Washington for an event and took a stroll along the city’s famous landmark, Pike Place Market. As I passed by a floral shop, a certain bouquet of sunflowers drew my attention. I couldn’t take my eyes off them. I knew I wasn’t about to purchase them just to take home on the plane the next day! Still, I felt this overwhelming urge to buy them. It was a clear signal.

Over the years, I’ve learned it’s best to just go with my gut at times like these. Of course, I purchased the sunflowers right away. At the conference center, I asked the organizer to have them put on the stage with me.

When I walked onto the stage, I launched into my introductory lecture and explanation of how I work. All the while, I was aware of the mass of yellow sunflowers on the table beside me. I had barely finished my lecture when I felt the presence of those on the Other-Side draw close. Today, they were lining up as though waiting for a Black Friday sale! It was going to be a busy afternoon.

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Is Addiction Your Family’s Fault?

addiction Is Addiction Your Family’s Fault?

I’ve written here before about my conversations with Dr. Gabor Maté, and his life-changing book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, a comprehensive exploration of what addiction is, its causes and consequences, and much more. As well as being a bestselling author, Dr. Maté is a renowned speaker, highly sought after for his expertise on a range of topics, including addiction, stress, and childhood development.

I was curious about family members who are dealing with a loved one’s addiction. What can they do for those who are caught in the grips of active addiction? It mattered to me because when people are that deep in addiction, they’ve lost themselves—they’re gone in a way. I know I was. I know there was nothing my family could have done no matter how much they wanted to help me.

Gabor didn’t agree with me. According to him, “You don’t know that. What you do know is what they tried didn’t work, but you don’t know that there’s nothing they could have done. In one sense, you are 100 percent right: There’s nothing they can directly do to change your mind. There’s nothing they can directly do to change your mental status. There’s no way that they can talk to you, advise you, control you, beg you, accuse you. That does not mean there’s nothing they could have done.

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The Spirit of the Holidays: 10 Tips to Dial Down the Drama

embracingsnow The Spirit of the Holidays: 10 Tips to Dial Down the Drama

The holiday season is upon us- and no matter what and how you celebrate you’re likely going to face some family stuff! And, while this time of year is meant to be full of joy and excitement, for many of us it’s also the harbinger of family tension, stress, weight gain, and emotional upheaval. So much gets triggered at this time of year, especially for those of us who are empaths and feel all the subtle forms of energy around us, and the obvious not so subtle energy as everyone behaves in extremes.

Over the past week, it seems everyone I’ve talked with is on edge about the holidays. So, I’m going to share how you can create a better experience for yourself this holiday season, and any other stressful time for that matter. First, let’s talk about the joys of family gatherings.

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