New Awakenings
Humility

Humility

Within the 10 day period of Rosh Hashanah, Jews are asked  around the world to reflect upon repentance. It is a powerful thing to make amends, to forgive. But first,  I believe, it begins with the humility to  honestly admit our shortcomings, own them, and let that be O. K. It means looking “inside” ourselves, evaluating what is working, what was a mistake, what could be better. To me, failure is the teacher. Success comes from  the perseverance  to continue and the humility to accept that  you can do better without pointing fingers, without judgment, without shaming and blaming.

Some decisions feel right at the time, and hindsight is our best teacher.  I come from trust and I am adventurous. Many times, my impetuous behavior got me  in  musky waters. I could have walked away, blamed others, but thank God, I had the humility to accept that I messed up, was depressed about it,  until it I realized that wasn’t going to solve the problem. I had to find a solution and know that I wouldn’t do that again.

It takes courage to face reality and admit to yourself that I am settling, that  the relationship is not working, the investment isn’t sound, that I am overwhelmed, that  I am overreacting. I had  to look at shortcomings ie, procrastination,  lack of focus,   being too emotional or too scared, and the big one, not pausing to  take the time to do the homework needed before making important decisions.

 Bit by bit,  new behaviors got  me to a better place.  Humility gave you the inner peace to know that it will all work out, that I don’t need to know all the answers. I don’t need to be perfect. It is the”human factor” that God wants us to pray and meditate about. We are all “humans having a spiritual experience on this Earth” is how Ms. Oprah so aptly says it.   All God asks of us is to suit up and show up and do the best I can every day.

So here’s to having the  humility to be repentive, and to have it be O. K.

The Way it Is

The Way It Is

We are all dealt a certain hand in this life. Can’t really question it, can’t really change it, it is “the way it is”. So we have choices. We can moan and groan and feel sorry for ourselves or take that hand and work it. What happens is usually amazing. Not easy to do, but what truly meaningful task isn’t.

I had a dream that I would finally have relationships with my two sisters. We were three sisters born in Brooklyn, New York to parents that had “issues”, as Jo, my beautiful daughter, would put it. Now those “issues” are generational. They are” passed forward” because no one stops to address them. There was no therapy in those days. You simply drank over it, ate over it, denied it, and like a cancer, it grew and grew and spread to their children and their children’s children.

  So at an early age, I had this intention.  I wanted more, I wanted different, I wanted better. Inch, by inch, I shed the past scars, found compassion for my parents, forgave them, not for them, but for me. Because without that, I knew I could not “go forward”. I left a lot of grief there, but that’s O. K. The thread can start again with a deeper understanding, new insights, new attitudes, a renewal that built from a different fabric.

So with prayer and meditation, I released those two sisters  and adopted new ones.  Miraculously, here I am, years after my parents’ passing, having a new relationship with both sisters.  One, with limited mobility and health challenges, took a train to be with me to help celebrate my special birthday last year. This year, the younger one came from Texas by herself, the first time flying since separated from her husband of many years.

Both of them finally shedding their hurts, their resentments, their disappointments, and recognizing that underneath all that, is love. It is the enduring factor. It is all that matters.  And so it softens the pattern a bit for the next generation and a life filled with a new purpose appears. Because that is what is about, this life right now, and what we do with “what is”.

 

Purging

Purging

It has been a year of purging, cleaning out. Out with the old and in with the new. It started with a tenant who thought she had mold in one of my apartments. As of realtor of many years,  I have seen instances of mold, and there have been some rare ones, where they were a health problem.  This was not one of them. It was strictly a way for her to get money. 

But I saw it as another one of those life lessons.  Maybe it is time to get rid of the “mold” in my life, the stuff that has gotten “moldy” over the years, old, worn out, toxic, be it the stuff of my soul or the tangible stuff like old clothes, papers, or perhaps, relationships that no longer are working.

So I decided to do this clean sweep. All new pipes in my old 1930’s apartment building and a whole new look in my home. Someone may think it is a bit radical but I stripped my apartment of everything, my grand piano, etc. The only thing that made it through the redo was my armoire and dressing table. It was the perfect opportunity to have new hardwood floors. Out with the old carpet. It brings new life to my beach home and new meaning to a place that was so dear to Harold and I for many years. It feels like I moved out and are moving in again. It is an empty slate and  I am still working on the vision I want for this new space but bit by bit the pieces will all fit. But for now, it feels so clean.

Now all this is contrary to me, for I came from a home and a generation that saved everything.  After all, you never know when you would need it,  thousands of papers, unread books, new things that were never opened, shoes that are tattered, clothes that are dated, etc.

 I had to give myself permission to sort through all these things. At first, it was overwhelming. Where do you start? So I started with one box, then the next,etc. It took a while but I did it!

The maybe pile when into storage. That’s next. Then the thousands of emails, and  volumes of documents in my  computer.

 I truly believe that we cannot bring new life, new ideas, new aspirations into the fold if we are carrying all this excess baggage.  The more that gets deleted, the more room we have to bring in new “stuff”.

So  what pile of yours is in saves,  maybes or delete?  That could also hold true for our relationships, our habits, our attitudes. It is only when we purge that we let the sunshine in.

So here’s  to  shiny new starts.

Being the Best Mother to Ourselves

Being the Best Mother to Ourselves

I have learned to be a mother to myself. It was contrary action. Others always came first.  In my busy hectic work, there was no “me” time.  My wake up call were the sudden deaths of loved ones. Slowly I made a commitment to myself to pause and trust that the universe would survive if I took a bubble bath, got my nails done, took a nap, took a long walk, bottom line, nurtured me.

I have learned I cannot be the best version of myself if I am not nourished. That means taking time to eat properly, getting enough rest, giving myself enough time to make appointments on time without rushing, taking deep breaths when I catch myself stressing. Bottom line, being easy on myself.

At first, I felt guilty. That chore on my long list would not get done.( I would make these long lists and felt compelled to do everything before the day was over. ) Today, I make a list of perhaps six “must items” I need to accomplish for the day the night before.

 I pace myself throughout the day. That means a morning ritual that includes a good breakfast, exercise, a bubble bath and then, many times, a 20 minute nap at mid day to recharge.  I have learned that bit by bit everything gets done. The difference is I am not spent, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. In fact, I accomplish more.

It has been a process but I love the results. Today I live in a calmer world. I used to think of that as boring. Today it is O.K. I have also learned to be in the present.  In this world of multi-communications, I turn my cell phone off when I am with clients, friends, or family. I want to enjoy that moment. Because, really, that is all that is real. That is all that matters.

I took this nurturing a bit further by giving myself permission to take 9 days off and re-visit Europe. Went to the Netherlands and Belgium.  I observed that the people there learned my lessons. They pause. You don’t see people, especially young ones, on cell phones. Instead they are on bikes, not cars. They are having tea with a friend, strolling hand in hand on the cobbled stoned walkways, enjoying a beer and French fries, watching people. They got that this time on Earth is not a dress rehearsal.

So here’s to mothering ourselves on Mother’s Day by indulging in a favorite past time.  Be it, taking time to read the paper with a cup of tea, watching an old movie, making a phone call to an old friend, taking a sun bath.  Embracing the day and knowing that everyone and everything will be O. K. without me. Let every day be “Mother’s Day”!

Happy, Happy Mother’s Day

 

                         

 

Passing Forward

Passing Forward

 How I want to be remembered is becoming more and more important to me. What am I doing today that I will be able to  pass forward? What kind of role model am I?   Because at the end of the day that is all that counts. Sure, the money is great to pass forward, but the values, the strength, the character building, the perseverance, the passion, the purpose, the calm,  the reason, the attitude,  that is what prevails. That special feeling that gives future generations  the courage when they are challenged, to know that Arlene got through it, and they can too.  

 To me, we are here for a reason.  We arrive with special Divine gifts that God wants us to use to help others.  It means being still enough to hear God’s voice inside of us, guiding us, giving us direction.  Sometimes it is a whisper, sometimes it is a roar.  I came to know that voice and accept it, because when it feels good, when it is easy, its God’s Will, not mine. For years, I didn’t know that and consequently I was in a lot of pain going away from the Light instead of towards it.

Besides listening to God,  I choose to  practice truly listen to people tell their story,  the bad, the good, and the ugly, and my intent is to quietly listen with no judgment, no comments, no fixing, just listen. If they are open to a solution, I am there to share my remedy with no expectations.   Maybe they are not ready to implement the solution, and that’s O. K.  At least, they know that I can relate to their pain, and their angst.    You see, someone lovingly listened to me when I was in that painful place, and gently guided me to happier place and I want to pass  that forward.

Passing forward the best version of myself is very important to me.  It has been a journey. Because it is like an onion skin, as soon as you finish one layer, another layer is right behind. But that is what growth looks like. It never ends. So I show up, I do the best I can, and ask God for the willingness to be teachable and when that happens, teachers and lessons appear and that there is another opportunity to pass forward.

So that is why my work as the Real Estate Mom is more important than ever. I keep changing lives in a positive way with God’s help and it feels good. That is why I need to complete my book. 

I love this time in my life. It only comes with age and experience and I get to share my hard earned wisdom every day.  That is the legacy worth living for. I am going to practice it every day until I die.

 Love and blessings,

Your Real Estate Mom

On This Course Called Change and Expand

On this Course called Change and Expand

Here it is Valentine time and I feel so blessed.  This is going to be a year of love. It began with my quarterly meeting with my wonderful business coach, Joe. His personal growth assignment was to awake the super servant in us by embodying compassion, gratitude, patience, forgiveness, truthfulness, acceptance, and humility. So  here’s to heightened awarenesses with all of them.  Without them, love cannot bloom.  Since it begins with me, I have to look at my relationships and honestly assess where I am at with all.

So I am practicing. Wrote a  Gratitude letter to the one on the top of my list, Jo, and read it to her. That was good.  Have this challenging tenant, and Compassion helped with her. What would I do if I was in her place, does anything about her actions and attitude make sense? Maybe, not, so Acceptance, and Forgiveness comes next.  I had to be Truthful with myself, what could I do differently, what could I do better, what more could I do? So I am taking the actions to mitigate. So, first I have to Forgive myself, and then take the actions to remedy things, with the least amount of angst as possible. Hard to do, that’s where Patience comes in. I once again have to accept what “is” and have the Humility to learn from it.

  So here we are approaching the day when we acknowledge Love, the Big ingredient under all of them. I celebrated  Love last month with my annual Love Fest at Maggianos. My client family and I celebrated my making a difference in their lives and inspiring them.  This “Real Estate Mom” gets to see my real estate family growing  up.  One of Real Estate kids I have known since 1982!. What a blessing!

So I want to continue to inspire and count my blessings. Today, blessed with  good health, I walked 15 miles, preparing for my second  L. A.  marathon on March 9th.  I am blessed with this wonderful mentor and best friend who is training me to achieve this goal. I am blessed with my grandbabies, one who at eleven years old is the only singer in a rock band. The little one, Carly, grows prettier and smarter every day.

So love is blooming in my home. What about you? How would you score yourself  with these seven qualities?  Here’s to new awarenesses and practice.

Love and blessings,

Happy, happy Valentine’s Day

Your Real Estate Mom

My Gratitude Note

                           A Gratitude Note

 Author Elisabeth Kubler Ross reminds us “should you shield the canyons from the windstorm, you would never see the beauty of their carvings.”

I’ve learned to bless and give thanks for the windstorms that have shaped my life.  For me to be able to do so, I needed to trust that everything happens for a reason and it is for my Highest Good. 

You see, to me, life is a series of lessons and I can choose to bless my life just as it is, with its triumphs and heartaches, or own the alternative, anger, self pity, and resentment.

Looking back over my life, I can now see the beauty that the windstorms carved. My heart is filled with gratitude for all the people and events in my life because I grew to understand their Higher Purpose.

Thank you God for all of it. Without it all, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.


 

February 9, 2013

                                         Love

Love

Some thoughts about that wonderful word “love”. So what is love? The dictionary describes it as “affection”. To me, it has a much deeper meaning. It is the feeling that binds us, that heals, that makes us feel wanted, appreciated, accepted for who we are right now in the precious present, not in some distant future when all conditions are met to qualify you to receive my love.

Kahlil Gibran speaks of love in his beloved classic, The Prophet.

"Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.

Love possesses not nor would it be possessed.

For love is sufficient unto love.”

I believe Gibran is saying, that giving love is a fulfillment in itself. It doesn’t matter whether it is returned or not. If I give it only to get a response on my terms, it doesn’t count. My capacity to give love is reward enough. It has to be given freely without any expectation. Easily said, hard to practice.

Thomas Merton wrote in No Man is an Island” The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”

In the beginning of my long journey to find “ my highest” self, I took a seminar where I learned that love was “accepting someone just the way they were”. I discovered much to my surprise, that I didn’t love anyone, most importantly, myself, my daughter. There were all these conditions.

 I were never taught  “ unconditional love”. We were  taught that love had conditions„ “ I will love you but you need to “do”. You couldn’t just  “be”  I loved you “but”, not I love you “and”. A big awakening for me.

 One of the ten Commandments is” Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself. “ Self love is accepting myself for without that, the good in me cannot grow. Unless I am at peace with the child of God inside of me, I cannot love and help my neighbor.

So I had to learn to love.  It meant giving up judgment, accepting myself and others just the way they are right now.  It meant giving up judgment, accepting myself and others just the way they are right now. Slowly I learned to my fill my cup with kindness, forgiveness, patience, compassion and tolerance.

 To me,  God is love and we are all pieces of God. So when we love, we build ourselves spiritually. Our souls get to heal the Earth and make it a better place for all.

Life is a Marathon

October 27, 2013

Life is a Marathon

I recently attended a  By Referral Only conference with my wonderful mentor, Joe Stumpf, where I was one of the speakers. I got a standing ovation. Imagine! It was such a great moment!  I spoke about how with his and God’s guidance my business and my life has gone from survival, stability, to significance.

Today there is inner peace in my life. There is a feeling of accomplishment. The fear of financial security has discipated.  Reflecting on my journey, it happened bit by bit, just like a marathon. When I was training with the group, we would do one mile , and then the next week, two miles. Before I knew it, I was walking 18 and 20 miles.  

At the beginning of one of the eight half marathons that I completed, I fell before it started.   It was 4 o clock in the morning. They start them in the dark! I didn’t see one of the barriers. I guess it’s pure grit that drives me sometimes, but I knew I couldn’t quit.  Be it failing or falling,  it’s a bump in the road, and I knew I had to complete this task and I did. Maybe, maybe I knew I wanted to be the best role possible, maybe I knew that God was watching me and I wanted to make him proud, whatever it was, I completed that half marathon and went to Dr. Nye the next morning to get healed.

In this amazing, constantly changing business, I had to give up immediate results.   There is no way I would still be selling real estate which I have been doing  since 1979,  if I believed it was a sprint profession.   It was the slow growth of deep relationships, treating everyone the same no matter the size of the transaction, coming from the heart, and doing the best I could for them, constantly learning, and assimilating that learning experience into the next transaction. So one transaction at a time, I raised that little girl in Beverly Hills. She had the best of everything, trips to Europe, Israel, clothes, lessons  of every sort, a college education without student loans. Looking back, I don’t know how I did it. The only thing I know I did it like a Marathon, one day at a time, one deal at a time.  If I looked too far into the distance, I would get too scared, so I focused on that day and what I wanted to accomplish, constantly going forward even when I was falling backwards.

So here I am on another marathon, writing a book, and bit by bit, chapter by chapter, I am going to complete it. Love these challenges! It keeps me young and vibrant. Next, I want to play the piano again. That one is hard. I have a baby grand piano in my living room and have never played it. As a child, I played difficult classical pieces and loved it. Of course, I would love to sprint with this, and instantly play like I did when I was eleven.   Once again, its Marathon time.

Positive Thoughts, Forgiveness, and Good Health

Positive Thoughts, Forgiveness, and Good Health

A few weeks ago, Jews around the world observed Yom Kippur, this very important day when we ask forgiveness. We fast as part of the process of repentance and renewal.

But what about the sin of being too hard on ourselves? Why it is so much easier to forgive others than ourselves? There is this inner critical voice or committee of voices that are all too eager to offer negative comparisons, regrets, should haves, and not good enoughs.

 Our mental and physical health depends on our ability to forgive ourselves, giving ourselves self love and understanding.  This is all part of our acceptance that we are flawed, imperfect, and unique. We need to give ourselves permission to have that freedom to feel genuine regret, acknowledge our losses, and move forward with greater awareness of our limitations and acknowledge. After all, it is just another lesson learned. No big deal!

Research has shown that positive thoughts  lead to better health through the reduction of the stress hormones, cortisol, GH and norepinephrine.  Studies show changing the way we talk about ourselves and others, does contribute to having a greater sense of well-being. Here are some simple strategies to change those negative thoughts into positive ones :

  • Spin negative thoughts into positive thoughts and watch the energy dissipate. Instead of “I’m not very good at math,” Say “I’m better at English than at math.”
  • Use language that expresses positive instead of negative perspectives on a situation. Instead of “I can’t believe I screwed up on that project. I’m such an idiot.” Say “I can’t believe I screwed up on that project. I’m going to do better next time.” (My favorite saying is “when I know better, I do better”, and sometime it takes what it takes to “do better” and that is O. K. too.)
  • Use affirmations. Silly? I don’t know. It feels pretty good to me to remind myself that  ”Today is about being grateful and feel blessed”, Today I am showing up to  to do the right thing to the best of my ability”

I’m positive that life’s too short to be miserable! Be optimistic, forgive yourself, and have more fun!

Arlene Lafferty

P. S. What strategies do you use to change those critical voices to uplifting positive ones?