New Awakenings
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?

                             The Best Time of My Life

What, me grow old? No way. I am going to do a 5K this weekend. I want to beat my personal best.  I walk about 12 miles a week. Do yoga at least twice a week. I weigh as much as I did in college.  I truly believe that the best is yet to be. I am so much freer, the worries of raising an only child are behind me, it is  “my time”. 

What do I really want to do? I love being the “real estate mom” and passing forward what I have learned for over 30 years.  What really counts is having lunch with a  kind friend, a walk along side the ocean, hugging a tree, watching my little grandbabies sing at a “mini Pop festival”, spending the best birthday of my life in my favorite city, New York, with sixteen people coming together from across the country, to celebrate with me. I want to publish my book,” Awakening from Grief”, I want to play classical piano again, knit beautiful blankets, read the latest Oprah Magazine, spend time with my clients sipping tea in a fancy hotel . There is so much to see and do. Next year we are going to Holland and Belgium on a river boat.  Bottom line, I want to live each day as if it was my last.

 I feel empowered in ways I never felt before. With aging comes working through grief, losses, hurts, anger, building a psyche that is strong.   I catch myself having negative thoughts, and immediately change the course. Time is too short to worry about it.  It will all work out. If it’s a money thing, which is usually is, it is just money. I know who I am and I have replaced timid, insecure, shy, with being bolder.  I no longer do most things to be polite. I pause, and say”no”. What a great word! Some days I have to practice my “nos”. It is so powerful. I’m not as afraid. Faith is primary in my life. Without God I wouldn’t have all this. I thank him every day.

I stay constantly in a state of grateful because I am so blessed! Mental and physical health is #1. It is high maintenance. I watch what I eat diligently. Sleep well.  Go for regular check ups.  Love looking good all dressed up with my hair and nails looking perfect. Kind of like a car, keep me tuned and I am on fire.  I am committed to living until 120!

They always called me “nutsy or gutsy” while in college,  but with age, comes different risks, confronting a person to tell them my truth in a gracious and dignified way, taking contrary actions like making those phone calls to clients I haven’t spoken to in 10 years, embracing technology and giving up being overwhelmed. Getting finally that IPhone and IPad, getting my web site updated, my brand of Your Real Estate Mom out there for the world to know. I challenge myself to do scary things, uncomfortable things.  All this makes me feel ageless.

If someone asked me what is the happiest time of your life. I would say without hesitation, right now. My dream is give the same answer 20 years from now!

Reframing Our Lives

Reframing Our Lives

 

The hardest thing to do is to change the things we can. 

This Poem by Portia Nelson reminds me to appreciate all of life’s lessons and to constantly look at reframing.

 It may take what it takes but ultimately with enough pain, I slowly do better once I know better.

I thought you might enjoy it.

 

I walk down the street

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in.

I am lost… I am helpless,

It isn’t my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.

 

I walk down the same street,

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I am in the same place.

But it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

           

I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there.

I still fall in… it’s a habit.

My eyes are open.

I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

I walk down another street


Memories of a Great Father

Memories of a Great Father

Just came back from New York. It was an amazing experience. Connected with family members I haven’t seen for years and went back to see my little apartment in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn where I lived until I was eleven, and then from there, we went to see the farm in Squankum Road, Farmingdale, New Jersey.

Yes, when I was eleven, my dad made the decision to move us to a Chicken Farm, and in our family there was no discussions. We were off to the farm. It was really going back to his roots in Europe growing up on a farm, a self contained unit where you grew fresh vegetables, the air was clean, we had plenty of eggs and chickens. It was private, it was safe, and it was fifteen miles from my Regional High School. I immediately figured out an exit plan, to study, study, study until I went away to college, which was my father’s dream, and I did.

During that time on the farm, I saw my father accept the loss of the farm. He had trusted the wrong people, but he never became bitter. He just learned not give his trust away that readily. He did mourn the loss, but soon picked himself up, commuted back to New York and returned to being a fur cutter. His main purpose in life was providing  for my two sisters and I and that he did. He accepted adversity as a lesson and regrouped. Started investing in stocks, $2.00 for one share of Coca-Cola, $2.00 for one share of Exxon, and kept doing it and retired living on the dividend income of those stocks. Not bad for an immigrant man with no formal education, orphaned at eleven!

He was kind, and as little as we had, he was always happy to share with someone less fortunate than him. He had faith, he had a confidence that no matter what we were going to be O. K.  He loved people and he loved life.  He loved learning and he loved teaching. He read the Ten Commandments to us every day and constantly reminded us the importance of the Golden Rule. These were his core beliefs.

Looking back, I see so much of who I am today in that man and I am so grateful. So here’s to all Fathers making a difference in their children’s lives, giving discipline, building character, and being an example of strength and wisdom in the face of despair and adversity,  being humbled and vulnerable by life lessons, learning from them, and constantly growing.

 For most of my daughter’s life, I was both Mother and Father and it was these core values that prevailed. That is his legacy, that was his dad’s legacy, and that will be mine.

Happy, happy Father’s Day

 

The Mayonnaise Jar

The Mayonnaise Jar

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day is not enough, remember the

mayonnaise jar and two cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.

When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and fills it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured it into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “YES”.

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things - God, family,

Children, health, friends, and favorite passions. Things, that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the things that matter like your job, house, and car. The sand is everything else — the small stuff.” he said.

"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "There is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you…" he told them.

"So… pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Worship with your family. Play with your children. Take your partner out to dinner. Spend time with good friends. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the dripping tap. Take care of the golf balls first — the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled and said, “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.