Stefanie Hartman In The Press

What to do if your New Years sucks!

Posted on 06 January 2010 by Stefanie

Ok, this is a strange blog post I know, but hey- sometimes it happens – and this year – boy did it ever happen to me.  So I’m figuring that you may have had a similar bad start to the year – maybe not this year, but at least once in your life – and if you did – please share it with me and if there were any lessons learned.  And I tell you what –  the best 3 stories will get a special prize!  But – hey I may win my own prize.

But I figure if my first day was this bad in the New Year, then the rest of the year should be GREAT!  Just getting it all out in the beginning.

So here’s what happened…

December office was busy, trying to shut down for the holiday plans, the “holidays “(really we need another word here) were also at a fast pace as my family chose to split up the festivities this year, so it was 3 days of prep and 5 days of different cities and celebrating (not including new years).  But I love the holidays, giving presents and feeling all the warm vibes of the season, so I was tired but enjoyed it.  But I did feel I was trying to make everyone else happy and exhausted myself in the process. That’s sign #1.

But then I came down with a 2 week sinus affection that didn’t allow me to sleep, eat or breathe properly.  I had black eyes from this infection. And I am the person who doesn’t get colds even when I have sick people around me, so it was surprising.  Perhaps a sign to slow down.

During this time I also found out that a good friend of mine died and I attended the funeral and Shiva.  So that was a hard reminder that love and friendships are precious.  It was also a reminder that we’re all on a silent egg timer and we never know when the bell will ring for us.

A few days later I return to work and a business deal and relationship I am deeply involved in (and really enjoy) seems to have gone to hell in a hand basket (who made up this expression, it’s really good).  I am hoping this will end on a positive note, but the journey to get there is really horribly difficult, time costly and dragged me down emotionally for 3 days where I couldn’t even move – which is weird as I am typically the girl you call in any traumatic experience.  I am a rock and a strong guide in tough situations.  I was a crisis manager for pete-sake!  I can handle pressure.

But I must have been so sick, so exhausted and overwhelmed by the feeling of being let down, that it contributed to my emotional state.   In fact I almost missed New Years over it because I was so devastated by their actions.  Mostly because when they were really making big mistakes and I covered for them and was as forgiving as Mother Theresa.  Why don’t people appreciate or remember those things?  Do we have to be feared in business to get respect and appreciation?   I should be furious but I mostly feel disappointed.  I rationalize it thinking that even good people can do strange actions when they are emotionally or financially struggling, it helps people act from fear and lash out at others.

That same day (my first day back to work), my staff accidentally erased 3 of my main business websites.  Thank god for back-ups!!  This has created a few days of me trying not to panic, but it is slowly being resolved as we speak. But I couldn’t get mad because who can get upset at someone who is more upset at themselves, than I could ever be?  Mistakes can happen.

Then for some strange reason my outlook refused to open, so I had no way of looking at past, present or future emails.  Weird.  It later repaired itself.  It may have been a sign to walk away.

Did I mention that my grandmother is ill?

Seriously, I’m not sure you can top 8 years of work being wiped out in 1 day, a death of a friend, a possible end to a part of a business I enjoyed, computer failures and feeling like crap? – but hey you can try.  Be my guest.

So what do I take from all this????  Well you may have more enlightening answers (and if you do please send them my way).

Here was my thought process:

Ok, someone cursed me.

Ok, everyone but me is crazy.

Ok, I must suck at business.

Ok, I must be the crazy one and don’t see it.  Well, I am talking to myself here.

Jeez, I am dehydrated from crying.  Can someone get dehydrated from tears? 

Ok, maybe a possible (hopefully not) end to a partnership deal, my business being deleted is a signal for me to become a vet.  I love animals – but no, can’t operate on them.  Vet is out – plus I don’t look good in white, I need more color. 

Hmmm, Ok, I should go back to bed, and hide under the covers until I can smell tulips in March.  Hopefully my husband will remember to keep feeding our dog.  He probably won’t. Damn!  I have to get out of bed.

Ok, am I going to let this get me down???       Hell yes! 

……Ok, try again, am I going to let this get me down and quit?      Well, maybe I can look at the positives; maybe SOME people still love me.  Maybe I shouldn’t take this one weird week as the representative of my 8 years of doing good work on the planet and helping so many people find their way and reach for more.    Ok, feeling better.

Getting Proper Perspective Back
Why is it I pay more attention to negative actions of a few, than the many more positives?  I know why, because I try so hard to please everyone, and it just doesn’t work all the time.

Maybe the world has better things to do than single me out for a take-down, after all, I’m not one of the bad guys – just an imperfect woman trying to be perfect 24/7 and make the lives of others a better place.  Bound to make some errors, maybe I have.  Maybe I should forgive others and forgive myself.  Hmm, good start.  That feels better.

Next – look at the bright side:  Ok, I have my health back, which is so important.  My personal relationships are great right now.  My dog is super cute and definitely still loves me.

I have incredible circle of people in my group this year – really top notch and include some of my favorite people.  I am also looking forward to seeing my new MIT members change & grow and helping them along the way like a proud mum.

I may have lost 3 pounds from my cold, which makes up for the chocolate binge on the 3 days I was feeling sorry for myself and not getting off my sofa.  Ok, I’m on to caramels now – and I am currently accepting chocolate or caramel donations.

I am also reminded of an email my good friend, our fabulous MIT coach and circle member Nat said to me last year.  He said his computer froze, and at first he panicked – but then he sought to see the beauty and positive in his situation.  He realized that all he needed to do was do a “de-fragmentation” repair on his computer – this also mirrored his office.  So he took this spare time to clean up all the bits of paper and stuff cluttering up his office and felt a weight lift.  Both he and his computer got a clean-up that day.

So taking Nat’s advice (after all not only is he a rocking MIT Coach, but he is also a Buddhist monk and entrepreneur.  That’s a strong combination) I reflected …

… And thought- if my whole business disappeared (which it did temporarily) – would I be ok?   Yes, I can rebuild.  I would find a way.  Or maybe this is a wake-up call that I should look at changing the program and starting with a fresh perspective.  I have been meaning to do updates.  Or maybe start something totally new.  Is there something else I have been meaning to do?  Is there a new path?

Regarding the deal and partnership that I so treasured… I will keep in my thoughts that both my partner and I will be very happy with whatever the outcome or resolution may be and remain friends and still send each other business.  Perhaps letting go is good – even though it scares me and fills me with unanswered questions about the future.

This also made me realize – when things went – poof! Gone!  That we have a CHOICE to be here.  We have a choice to keep offering the same programs or start again from scratch or even change what we do every day. No one is forcing you to stay at your job, even though it may feel like that sometimes.   We always have a CHOICE to look for new solutions or not. 

It made me remember that in ANY industry you will meet villains, saints and people who do things you just don’t understand (out of fear, jealousy, negative belief systems or desperation), so accept that.  There will be people you help who may resent you for your help later.  I think dogs are the only animals that won’t bite you after you feed them.  People unfortunately can sometimes.  What’s with the dog theme here?

Letting Go Of My Maps
I don’t have everything planned to perfection as I typically do at this time of year.  I choose to not feel panicked about that.  Ok, I repeat, I choose not to feel panicked (I feel like Dorothy clicking her heels and deeply concentrating here – this is hard).   After all I think if there is one life lesson Stefanie Hartman is supposed to learn it’s that you can TRUST life more.  Life has a way of working out.  Life has its own map & timeline.   I hate not having full direction by now, not seeing what is to come.  I can adjust plans, but I typically need to have some direction.  I love maps!  So I’m easing up on that somewhat.  Yes I will identify a few goals, but if I don’t know where my next income is going to be made I will TRUST more that it will (back to the shoes clicking).

Letting Go & Taking a Stand for Me
I will not compare myself or my progress to others as that only ends badly.  I just realized that when I compare myself to others, I never compare to those ‘below’ me, just ‘above’ me (basically whoever has something I would also like to have)?   Really this is not a fair comparison without the two perspectives.   While there will be people smarter, more successful, “luckier”, prettier, taller, whatever, there will also be people whose life you would never trade for.  Many people have greater challenges and discomfort or pain.  I will remember the bigger picture and be grateful every day. 

There are very successful people who can feel like failures because they hold themselves to ridiculous standards or ‘fail’ their own self-imposed timelines.  I do not want to be one of them.

I will also retain my own successes in my mind and heart with personal pride and not let my achievements diminish as soon as they are accomplished for fear of being egotistical.  Being happy for myself is not a negative thing, especially when I am genuinely happy for those around me too.  I will no longer put my own happiness in second, third or fourth place.

I will continue to run my business in a way I am proud of, even if others are “getting ahead” faster through not so pleasant methods. 

I will be proud of myself and TRUST that my life has its own timeline and I cannot plan everything.

I will stretch time and spend 8 hours a month connecting with a business & personal relationships – out of the blue.  Telling them how much I care for them.

I will not hold onto what I think ‘should happen’ with a tight grip, even if I am sad or have fear – as I will trust that if it is not meant to work out (no matter what it is), gripping it will only give me a hand cramp and waste time and energy.   Letting things fall where they may, makes room for something better that I may never have even imagined.

It is possible that the plan I have is not as great as the plan the universe has.  I am betting on you universe – so now’s your chance. 

I will do more things in love of life and in spite of fear.

Humanity has gotten me down a bit this past year, so maybe I should add a project that will show the charitable and unexpected sides of people, or do something to help rescue distressed animals.  I will meditate on this.  Having a positive project may be good for me.

I will learn how to meditate.

I will continue to take the risk of opening myself up to the world (and who ever reads this, thank you), keep being transparent, VULNERABLE and real – and hope that I don’t need to be ‘perfect’ and a shark for others to see that while I have vulnerable moments I have many more moments of great strength, that in fact being vulnerable, not putting on a persona in public takes great courage and strength. 

I will try not to take to heart the 1 or 2 negative emails I get from people every so often.  I will instead put more weight on the hundreds of positive ones.

I will let myself be wrong occasionally and forgive myself.  I will forgive others as well.

Whenever I feel fear, I will remember its ‘made up’, not real, and I will trust more.

I will work on getting my body into a gym, and getting my mind/soul into some fun activities as well as some soul searching.

I will go and get some more chocolate caramels because I just missed lunch.

I will not be so hard on myself.

I will keep my sense of humor…it may be the last thing I take with me on earth.

Foreshadow: I‘m thinking my next year’s blog post may be about visiting the dentist from all these milk duds I am eating.  Ok I’m done with eating chocolate – free milk dud boxes for those who think they can top this!

Maybe if I keep saying MILK DUDS the company will sponsor my blog, milk duds, milk duds, and no calls yet…I will keep trying later.

Thanks for listening…..

Your friend, mentor (hopefully still after this crazy blog post) and person who may be YOUR biggest fan and cheerleader,

Stefanie Hartman

PS – Please post your proper email address as will will be contacting the winners!

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What to do if your New Years sucks!

16 Comments For This Post

  1. TH Says:

    You are a great writer, you make me laugh and cry at the same time – quite a feat!

  2. Valeska Says:

    Hi Stefanie:

    I’m very happy for you. You are exactly where you need to be. It may sound strange to you. You’re doing really well. And yes getting sick and all is definitely a sign that you need to slow down. Remember you can only help all those wonderful people out there if you help yourself first. The famous oxygen mask on the plane metaphor. ;-) Fear is also a sign that you are on the right track. As you know the primal brain does not like change. Celebrate girl!!! You so deserve it. You don’t need to prove anything to anyone other than living your life fully and enjoying it every day. So all this is definitely a blessing in disguise for you to refocus what is important in your life. By the way, I highly recommend the Wii Fit for fitness, way more fun than going to the gym and it tracks everything and you can buy software from aerobics to pilates to boxing etc. Wishing you an amazing year being true to yourself and your happiness. Shout it from the rooftoop! Lots of love and light.

  3. Nat Says:

    Hi Stefanie,

    I always love reading your blog posts. You have a way of drawing me in with humor and honesty.

    I think it’s absolutely courageous of you to write about your experiences. Something so nice about being transparent. And by sharing, you help us put our lives in perspective.

    Often we can idolize a mentor, public figure, celebrity, etc. and want what they have because we think their lives are perfect and ours are not. But your story shows me that no matter how successful/wealthy/connected/etc. you are, bad stuff still happens. We’re all human. There will always be a time when things don’t go as planned. What is important is how we respond to these situations and what value we derive from them. No matter how painful or hard an experience is, it suddenly isn’t ‘bad’ if we can gain something from having experienced it.

    The great thing about when things don’t go as planned is that they get our attention. So the downed server, the sinus infection, the business partnership break-up seemed to get your attention quite well. They’re meant to get your attention so you can take care of yourself and get clear on what you value, and get clear on what even better things you’d like to have in your life/business that would support you and inspire you.

    I am grateful that our paths have crossed. You are one remarkable individual who has made such a difference in my life and likely thousands of others.

    Having had the opportunity to work with your MIT students and see how amazing they are validates my opinion of how wonderful you are. Everything is a reflection. We attract people into our experience who are similar to us. These caring, creative, supportive, inspirational, bright, fun, thoughtful students all want to make a difference in the world… just like you are.


  4. Desiree Thompson Says:

    Hi Stefanie,

    Thank you for being so transparent and vulnerable in a time of reflection. I really believe that your vulnerability breeds the strength you have. This is what is most scary for most people, and I am talking about myself here too! Letting go of that perfectionism, that facade that we are so used to presenting to others, which is entangled with a lions roar, is something really hard.

    Your words, that I copied and pasted below, completely resonated with me, so again thank you for being so authentic!

    “I will continue to take the risk of opening myself up to the world (and who ever reads this, thank you), keep being transparent, VULNERABLE and real – and hope that I don’t need to be ‘perfect’ and a shark for others to see that while I have vulnerable moments I have many more moments of great strength, that in fact being vulnerable, not putting on a persona in public takes great courage and strength.”


  5. Carole Says:

    Hi Stephanie!

    You are awesome! And I love your sense of humor. You always comes out ahead when after the tears, you can laugh at yourself. That shows the incredible strength you have.

    I am with Nat in that I believe that some of the things that happened to you (and me, and so many others) are means (although sometimes not the means we would choose) to get our attention on matters that were neglected from our furious pace and/or trying to be such super achievers. Maybe there were little signs earlier that we were too busy to pay attention too; so small that they they didn’t even register on the radar. Those signs just have a way of growing bigger until they scream “Do I have your full attention now!” Sometimes it is time to adjust our journey, and from that change we grow.

    Thank you for sharing your very human story – can so relate to the chocolate and when everything starts cascading like a line of dominos you just want to hide. But in your story you also used the same key principles of bouncing back that I have mentored for years; and as I am seeking affirmation for my new transition for my ebook, seeing you words really helped cement that I was on the right track! Thanks.

    My New Years story can not in anyway compare to yours, however by the end of the first working day of 2010, I gave up and just laughed. Too many things going wrong in one day and if this was a sign of how 2010 was going to be, I am in for a shock!
    First – I had gone to great trouble to ensure the successful conversion of a large portion of my IRA into a Roth IRA. For 2009, as a student I had almost no income and what better opportunity than to take advantage of being in the lowest tax bracket. Imagine my horror when I checked the brokerage website to discover no evidence of the transaction! Lots of phone calls over the next 3 days proved that despite an error in the brokerage trading/mailing process there was nothing that could be done to rectify the error. It was certainly costly in some respects but I was able to have the transfer remitted back to the original state with no transaction fees.

    Then I found out that my university’s bursar’s office had not only received my loan payoff for 2009 but also one from Americorps. Without consulting me they decided to choose the Americorps payment that was supposed to have been applied to another education loan at a different institute. Again, another tax deduction implication! But my check can’t returned to me until 30 days have passed since the university deposited it! Those are the rules.

    Then the health insurance company lost me in the computer. At that point I told them tomorrow was a better day to discuss this issue. Oh and I found out I couldn’t pay my rent with a check (hate checks – like everything online) because since I use them so seldom, I had failed to notice that I had run out of checks!!! The same box of checks that have lasted me for 5 years!! Maybe I thought they’d last forever using only about 2 a month.

    So I am figuring, being an MIT mentee, that there is only upside for the rest of the year!!!! The best of the year is yet to come!


    On Wings of Trust

  6. Leslie Says:


    WOW…….really really WOW! Bless you for still breathing, walking and talking – that’s all I can say! And how brave you are for dragging yourself into self reflection and trying to find the “lessons” in all of it. I am impressed by your devotion to your own growth and evolution!

    Truly, feeling so moved by all that you have gone through, I just want to put my arms around you to shield you from any further blows. You’ve had enough. I asked God to send only angels and archangels to embrace you in love and gentleness for now.

    I don’t know if you are astrologically inclined, but I’m sending you this link to Susan Miller’s website:

    She is a very gifted astrologer who does monthly forecasts for each sign and, although she does it simply by the sign, and not tailored to individual charts, she is amazingly on target – every month. I encourage you to go to the website, click on your sign, then scroll down and find the spot that allows you to go to the previous month (December) and read it. I think it will help you through the process you are in.

    As well, there was a full moon eclipse on December 31st that affected everybody powerfully and one of the effects she spoke about was ending one’s current source of income, business, relationship, etc., varying on the sign she was addressing. She also talks about this and the effects of the lunar eclipse in the January forecasts. It is worth a read – truly.

    Given that I know myself to be an extremely reverent, spiritual and loving being, I reserve the right to be quite irreverent when life renders me to my knees. For me, this entails shouting a “mantra” that I created many years ago that involves a four letter word attached to the person whose name I feel deserves the honor. It sounds something like this: “F….. you, Gertrude!” I shout this mantra as many times as I need to, until I feel better. I realize this is somewhat UNspiritual, however it really works for me! And once I feel better, I can resume a certain level of sanity, compassion, wisdom, kindness and presence once again. I have another emotional “weapon” I use for myself as well, but that one will have to remain “unspoken” for now. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to get through those times when people, who you never thought in a million years would do what they ended up doing to you, and you are so deeply devastated. You just have to move the energy OUT of you however works best for you, knowing fully that those “irreverent” moments are simply rights you have reserved, and that God is in full support of, for your therapeutic process to get through the pain. Trust me – I’m sure of this. I was a psychotherapist for many years. Although quite unconventional, this method was very successful for not only me, but my clients as well.

    I have never met you either by phone or internet, but I know you are a great lady, and a truly warm, generous, gifted and caring being. I feel it. You simply got hit in the heart with some hard balls and had no armor in place. Be sweet with yourself. You so deserve it. We heal so much faster when we allow ourselves to love on our wounds – and ourselves.

    One more thing – I deeply love animals as well – more than I have words to say. I am devoted to them Heart and Soul. I have some truly gorgeous and inspirational products that I have created. These products honor our companion animals for who they truly are on the planet and in our lives. I would love to talk with you and share more about them – if you are interested. If so, you can email me at the address above and I will be so happy to respond.

    I remember a couple of years ago you put a “call” out for people who might want to co-create, with you, a website for animals – I don’t remember what the theme or mission was for that one. I remember at that time being drawn to respond, but the timing wasn’t right for me and I hadn’t developed these products at all at that time. They were simply an idea in my mind. Anyway, enough about this for now. If you are interested in knowing more, I will joyously share more with you.

    Whatever is next for you, I KNOW it will be grand because you are a woman who loves to contribute to the quality of people’s lives. You are a woman who’s devoted to causing people to thrive. You are a gift to all whose lives you touch. This I know. And so is Tania. I have spoken to her personally. Clearly, it must run in the family.

    With all my heart, I place a warm hand upon your heart in love and healing.

    With love…….


    Stefanie Reply:

    Wow. THANK YOU Leslie. Your words have really landed with me and I am in gratitude and awe that you would take hte time to write these things to me and even to feel them in the first place.

    It is a true gift. Everyone who has written has made my going through this and revealing this, worthwhile. I have renewed my faith in others, my faith in revealing myself as imperfect, and that even sharing small things can impact so many people in unexpected ways. That is a great lesson for me but also anyone reading this I think. I coul dhave just as easily stayed withdrawn or hid how I was really feeling. By releasing it I let it all go and felt INSTANTLY better – all good for me. But then by putting it out there to the world – other people have felt comfort, and 1 person even solidified her idea for an e-book. That is amazing.

    I am truly grateful.

    thanks for all the love and hugs!

    thank you again.


  7. Sabrina-Marie Says:

    I will be praying for your grandmother’s recovery . I sorry about your friend. I wish you also a speedy recovery. Please REST Up & Take care of YOU so you can heal!!

    I feel grateful after reading this post. I only have 2 setbacks: A bank contact (sponsor) has closed and a clients business has gone belly up!!

    I will thrive inspite of this!! I tell my audience that “Obstacles Are Training Grounds To Greater Success!”

    God has created each of us with unique roles to fill here so to ALL be The unique YOU, God’s has an AWESOME Plan for only YOU in this life!!:)



    Stefanie Reply:

    Thank you for the prayers for my grandmum. In truth I believe she is ready to join her son and husband and friends on the other side. I will love and support her.

    Its interesting what just happened to you. May be a good start to find more clients and have your gifts spread out to more groups. Please keep me posted, I’d love to follow what choices you make.

    Many blessings to YOU. Life has a great plan for you as well.


  8. Sahana Barade Says:

    Hi Stefanie,

    I opened your blog expecting something unsual but the unusual was really unusual. I always read your emails the moment they arrive at least when I am working, this time I was doing my meditations and yours arrived I couldn’t resist opening it (have a ringtone each time mail comes in). Like you have been through it has been a tough start for me this year. I got a gut feeling that my creditor (just started resently) will call me today and was in tears, while meditating he did call. I thought of cheering myself by reading your message but when I read I couldn’t believe what you have been through. After all we are humans got to go through ups and downs!!!

    I can feel what you are going through especially when someone whom you have trusted most let you down. Similar incident happened with me the one I trusted the most let me down. More than a year ago when the financial institutions closed the accounts that they had lent us it was a big blow but then someone promised to help me out. Hoping they were with me all the time had my dream plans held back while I still was trying hard to find many ways to fund our business. Nothing materialized till now, I was let down still recovering from it. Now the creditors are calling me (well it’s a small amount but due to hardship it’s been difficult to pay off).

    Other big blow was when my grandpa died in December who was so near and dear to me. I had plans to spread my business but then I was depressed, was in a state of denial that he passed when I had grand plans to be with him in the coming summer holidays to celebrate his 100th birthday. Not being with him in the final days has hurt me more than anything else I have come across. Naturally have black eye bags now it is worse!!!

    I know exactly how you feel. My computer was acting strangely and had to back up (never had done it till now) and have decided to clean all files and emails till week end including my office (not too sure about it) so as to lighten myself.

    My thought process was the same as yours well lot more than that!!! My health is getting better ..well trying not to fall sick. My relationship is getting better, now I have good friend and family circles.

    I was upset last spring when I planted a plant and it died shortly. I got mad and looked above in the sky and asked in anger to take care of this flowering plant. In summer it came back to life and still standing in cold frigid weather (they die at winter especially NJ). It was planted next to the stairs going towards the main entrance of the house. That’s the only plant we see everyday with the flowering bud protruding (thought it had dried out) right on the stairs to get its attention. Well I couldn’t hold it any longer so yesterday I stood next to it as I climbed the stairs looked around if no one else was looking at me then bent and kissed the plant whole heartedly and touched and felt it for a while. To my amazement the flower buds including the leaves were fresh as if it was spring or summer season. We’ll now I know at least this plant loves me.

    Dogs do bite I am talking about the ones in India :-) plants don’t :-)

    Life is like a puzzle. To make our life a whole we need to put the puzzle pieces in the right spot. Each piece will serve its purpose when done it falls apart and a new better one will replace it. Each new piece only makes you more connected so hold on tight I have my spot right there next to you.

    I thought I had my spouse (the better half or the bitter half) being my biggest fan and cheer leader along with our little ones 8 and 9 year old. Now I have you too …do wonder what a crazy family and friends I have….good at least I don’t have to pay you four (I guess it’s ok with you not being paid…come on I am broke) at the trade show booth that I’ll rent in future :-) of course with your help!!!!!

    I will never give up on my sense of humor they come handy at times when I don’t use my mind.

    It’s getting long let me end for the time being. I have a dance class to attend and have to take the test today. I will now dance to the tunes of universe what better I can ask for, start dancing!!!

    To cheer you up here are some links below (free only for those who read your blog and my comment, rest just grab it)

    15mins Steve Jobs, CEO and founder of Apple and Pixar talks at Stanford University on pursuing our dreams even in life’s set backs.

    5 mins a day, click on “oneness experiment” and you will be directed as what to do. The main purpose of this site is to open your hearts which is tapping into your soul with simple exercises hardly few minutes a day; can’t describe the feeling. Anytime I hear the daily audio I can feel a sensation especially at the heart chakra and the ones below it.
    (On January 1, 2010 will begin The Oneness Experiment! Imagine devoting the first 40 days of the New Year to praying and practicing Oneness with thousands of people from around the world. You are invited to join us in this powerful and profound journey, engaging in a simple meditation every day for 40-days and tracking your experience through a simple survey scientifically designed to demonstrate that we are not separate and alone, but ONE! – from the website)

    Let’s hold hands together and pray for each other in the group to recover.

    Hope this will be of some help to you. Keep up the good work and have a Great Year.


    Stefanie Reply:

    Sounds like a cool experiment! I’ll check it out.

    Thanks so much for sharing.


  9. Sue K. Says:

    Hi Stefanie,

    What a memorable start you’ve had to what’s going to be an amazing year! While mine wasn’t quite as noteworthy as yours, I’ve been wrestling with some attention-getters myself.

    For the past month now, the tendons in my left forearm have been inflamed and painful. It’s almost as if I have tennis elbow, but I haven’t done anything that I can think of to cause the injury. So the question I keep asking myself is this: What is this pain trying to tell me? What is it that I’m holding on to so tightly that it’s causing me pain? (I think I’ve reached the conclusion that it’s time to let go of past perceived hurts and transgressions. It’s time to forgive and let go.)

    The traditions of our Christmas celebration were modified by heavy snows this year. Typically, we drive 60 miles across town to celebrate my oldest son’s birthday (Dec. 23rd) and Christmas with my parents and my sister’s family on Christmas Eve. We usually make a day of it, attend Christmas Eve mass together and then exchange presents. Heavy, blowing snow made the prospect of a 60 mile drive less than desirable – so we opted to spend Christmas Eve at home. While it was quieter and felt less festive, it was certainly safer. In hindsight, it was good that I didn’t open my gifts in my family’s presence.

    My husband was able to drop presents off a few days later, and at the same time, he picked up their presents to us. Because of company, we didn’t get to opening these presents until the next day.

    When I opened my presents, one was a book titled, “23 Minutes in Hell.” This book supposed documents one man’s literal visit to hell. To say I was taken aback is a major understatement. Let me give a little background info here…

    This past year has been one of great spiritual growth and expansion for me. I am now incorporating Intuitive Readings and Counseling to the services I am offering through my business. This is a large shift from the scrapbooking focus that I’ve been pursuing the past four years. I have embraced the idea that all of life is energy based and that we are each Divine Beings having a Human experience. I believed that my sister, who has always been a confidant and supporter, was on board with what I was trying to do if not also agreed with my new belief system (I’m a “recovering” Catholic). Receiving this book completely pulled the carpet out from under me.

    I was unsure of how to take this “gift”. My sister and I had not discussed religious or even spiritual beliefs in a long time. I wasn’t sure what the underlying message here was supposed to be. How was I supposed to take this book? Was she trying to tell me something?!

    After pondering (okay, obsessing) about the meaning of this gift, I finally called to ask her about it directly. She didn’t seem to want to confront any issues head-on (my typical style), so I asked point-blank questions about her current beliefs. In a nutshell, she is back to fully embracing the Catholic Churches teaching – which is fine if it works for her. She seemed very uncomfortable by my current spiritual understandings. Obviously, we’re no longer on the same page.

    While her gift certainly got me thinking, I finally took it as her way to try to dissuade my current beliefs without out-and-out confronting me. So now the joke among my friends is that it’s my “travel guide”. LOL – how else can I take it?

    Add to this emotional upheaval another friend who has been going through an intense growing period in her life and claiming large chunks of my time and energy. She has been my “drama queen” in the past – popping into my life with great drama, then leaving again once things are quiet. She’s learning and assimilating a lot of information quickly, expanding her spiritual beliefs and taking charge of her life – but I think she’s acquired a false sense of mastery. She will spend hour upon hour at my house when she’s getting something she needs – attention, support, compassion, counseling, etc. Then I won’t hear from her for many days at a time.

    As part of my new spiritual focus for my business, I’ve started a women’s life enrichment group to create a forum for spiritual growth, support and mentoring. This particular friend has been VERY enthusiastic about this group and even brought another friend to participate. Last night was one of our meetings – and this friend in question didn’t show up and hasn’t returned my call asking whether she was coming.

    A similar situation happened a couple weeks ago – and she let the distance creep between us because she’d done something and she didn’t want to hear my disapproval. (I’m not known for keeping my thoughts to myself.) So I know she’s again done something she’d rather not hear my comments about, but I’m torn. I THOUGHT we were friends – not that I was an accountant keeping tally of her successes and failures. What about my needs? She seems more than happy to appeal to my desire to help her find herself and create her own success, but where’s the give-and-take? It’s beginning to feel completely one-sided. (I almost ended this relationship months ago because she had become an energetic vampire.)

    SO – while I’m completely optimistic about the huge successes that 2010 holds in store for me, I’m struggling with the emotional upheaval that has plagued the New Year thus far. Like you, I’m trying to view this from the “what’s to be learned” perspective. Some times it’s so much easier said than done.

    I think I’ve concluded that in fact things are NOT as I presumed them to be with several of the relationships in my life. And as 2010 is ushering new energies which are necessary to replace the old, stagnant and no longer useful energies of the past, it stands to reason that what’s not working MUST fall away to make room for these new energies. As much as it pains me, my attachments must be let go of. (HUH – maybe THAT’s why my arm hurts – holding onto attachments. Hmmm.)

    I’m staying open to the lessons that the Universe is bringing me. However, I keep getting surprised when they hurt! Thanks for creating the opportunity for me to process and record my momentous entry into the new year of 2010. I too believe things will only get better from here!

    Many blessings,

    Stefanie Reply:

    Wow, Sue. What a great read, I was hooked to your story. i see many similarities between you and I. I too come from a catholic background. My father studies to be a priest, and grew up in catholic schools. Luckily I was surrounded (including my dad) by awesome Catholics who cared more about spirituality and welcoming all ways to communicate with God than the church views. As a result I respect everyone’s ways. I have friend who have very different religions and views and we all respect each other and don’t try to say ours is right. I believe religion and faith is a personal thing. So today, I go to Eve mass, but also next day celebrate Hanuka with my husbands family, and all year round have conversations with my god in more private ways at home.

    I also had a ‘drama queen friend’, and she acted in very similar ways. I was always there when she needed me, every day there was a crisis, I even solved her income problems by teaching her how to JV and then got her a client who paid her $5,000 US a month (in cash) on-going. When the energy sucking and drama of making up stories from any email that was sent to her or voice message became too much for me, I tried to talk to her about it. She cried said she knows she does this, even her husband and her have had many fights about this over the years and she apologized and said she would stop. She even thanked me for being truthful with her. 2 days later, she reverted back to her old ways, sent me a bridesmaid dress in pieces (she was to be part of my own wedding), and a letter saying she could not be a friend to me. She then said shed be open to talk, yet never took my calls. She was obviously not ready to stop being the star of her own soap opera and maybe I threatened that.

    While it deeply saddened me to lose a friend. I realized later that we think so differently, while I want a joyful peaceful life, she thrives on creating chaos, so it was natural to move on.

    Sometimes in business and in life we should release those people who are big drama queens (men or women) on a regular basis, and constantly suck our energy.

    I have done this analysis with my circle group members. We look at who are our best clients and who are our clients who take up the most time, make continual and unusual complaints, make us feel like crap, are high drama or always the victim, never do what we teach them- and funny enough those are usually the people who spend the least on our products – yet cost us the MOST energy and time wise. At this point we can choose to let them go, and go find our ideal clients, people more suited for our path, or place some guidelines or buffers.

    Taking a stand to release high energy sucking people out of our life, is about self care. After all if we’re just spinning our wheels – are we honoring ourselves, our work, our purpose or even them?

    Its hard for me cause I always want to ‘rescue’ people. But I have learned that unless I can truly help them (and only upon their request), and they are truly ready to be helped, then helping those who aren’t just serves my need to save others from pain or anxiety -not them. So I either have to wait patiently till they are ready or reposition my need to help them.

    For example, A woman I know traveled to India, she saw starving children and gave her money as she felt such anguish at their pain. Moments later she saw these children giving the money she gave them away to a fat man (essentially their pimp). So in reality these starving kids only got enough food to barely stay alive from this well fed man, while he kept the rest. If she continues to give to these kids she wouldn’t be helping them at all. As painful of a reality that was, she then researched charities that really help the poor there and donated with them.

    Keeping that in mind, we sometimes cannot ‘rescue’ every one we meet. I have come to terms with that for the most part – which took me years. I now respect everyone’s own path, and realize that they have their own journey – even my old friend, and maybe they will learn what they need to learn in life in another way. Besides, who am I too judge what they SHOULD be learning or not? So I try not to anymore.

    Reading everyone’s post, this may be a year to release people, products , deals, ways of thiking – ANYTHING that is not serving us to go where our heart and souls and life want us to go this year and beyond.

    Maybe we are just stepping into a new wardrobe in life. We need to de-clutter what no longer fits us or makes us feel ad about ourselves.

    Lets all get an energetic make-over and bring out our true beauty and true gifts to the world for others and ourselves.

    OK, I’ll get off the soap box now. ha ha.


  10. Pat P Says:

    Hi Stefanie; I hope this Blog Post finds you well. The following are some memorable ones

    I remember going out on a blind date with one vendor’s at a very exclusive restaurant with another couple. The beginning of the evening was OK, but as it progressed it became very interesting. The topic of discussion became relationships and why men become warm and fuzzy around the holiday’s. Apparently the date I was with had a very bad break up from a previous relationship. Both myself and the other couple were not ready for what was about to unfold. She stands at the table an announces the ONLY THING MEN WANT FROM WOMAN IS SEX AND A ————-. There was approximately 300 guest at this restaurant
    and as I later found out some were my clients. Lesson to be learned. Resume and Doctor’s certification before you commit to a date.



    Stefanie Reply:

    Thank you Pat for your comments.

    Your blind date story made me laugh!

    And my own situation made me laugh as well. I think when things like this happen – something is trying to get our attention. In the end, there is nothing to do but laugh and appreciate, take our lumps, and lessons, let go and move on.


  11. Barbara J. Semple Says:

    Hi Stefanie,

    Yup, every so often in a person’s life the “doo doo” hits the fan. Makes one really appreciate the good days, and every moment that life and love are good. It’s a person’s Spirit that carries her through the challenges, and it’s the experience of Spirit carrying her through that deepens her relationship with It every time the person arrives on the other side of the disturbance alive and able to choose life and thriving again and again.

    New Year’s Eve I had my first experience with Zen meditation, the kind where you look at a blank white wall with your eyes open and watch your thoughts come and go. That caused some new neuronal pathways to be created. I kept wanting to close my eyes. And I did get “there” to a place where I felt something really cool was happening, and then I lost it. And it was really quite a rush to experience that shift in awareness for even a few seconds. It felt very visceral.

    Why am I mentioning this? Because the monk who gave me the tutorial before I did the meditation said this: “Thoughts rise, abide and pass. Most people follow their thoughts. Meditation is an opportunity to NOT follow your thoughts. Simply let them rise, abide, and pass.”

    I felt calm for three days after that 35 minute meditation session.

    I am envisioning your wholeness with ease, grace and joy through a transition period of releasing whatever no longer serves you being your highest, best Self. Many blessings, your friend, Barbara

    Stefanie Reply:

    Your meditation sounds interesting. I will have to try it one day soon.

    Blessings back to you my friend.


  12. Richard Smith Says:

    Hi all,
    I agree with everything that has been said before! A lot of the time when we get sick it’s because our bodies are trying to tell us something.
    I quess my worse starts to the New Year’s is actually made up of three different New Year’s. Some how, I’ve managed to be downsized out of 3 different companies during the last 8 years! The first time I was downsized, almost destroyed me. The second time hurt but not as bad as the first and this last time was a blessing in that the stress of the position was making me very sick. Though it would be nice to find a great job, especially since my unemployment runs out next month!

    Stefanie Reply:

    Isn’t that the truth?

    I am better now, not sick. I think writing out what I was going through and all my crazy thoughts seems to have cleansed me.

    I feel renewed now.

    Thank you for sharing your story with me and the readers. You have awesome insight into your own situation.


  13. Vickie Says:

    Hello Stefanie

    I thought and I thought, and I thought a lot.
    I even tried to remember what I may have forgot.

    And still yet too, my memory past and new,
    remembered nothing as horrible as what you went through.

    So instead of a Jingle or a story or two I recite a poem;
    an ode and a thank you, to what you do.

    The recipe for lemons to lemonade was demonstrated here
    By examining your thinking and drinking some holiday cheer!

    Forgiving is a virtue and gives good vibes through
    It helps a girl think about the strength she once knew

    Then she can stand up and brush herself off
    And remember all the students, “SHE’s” helped to lift off

    But in case of emergency you must have in your possession
    Some chocolates and caramels, there better than any therapy session!

    Thank you for sharing your story. I laughed and cried and wish you a stellar year.

    Vickie Jimenez

    Stefanie Reply:

    Thanks Vickie, for your kind words. Hearing from you always lifts my spirits!


  14. Brenda Says:

    Stefanie, my thoughts are with you. I have confidence in you and maybe there is a bigger purpose to why we connected. Here is my story:

    My tradition for ending one year and starting another had become to go skiing and avoid the commercialism and family guilt trips of the season. But a couple of years ago, instead of enjoying the slopes of Silverstar and Big White, we both got sick and spent our time as couch potatoes watching TV and filling up the waste paper baskets with tissue. So the weight I gained from some eating excesses did not come off again right away from the long ski days. Not a great time so far but then it got worse. Much worse.

    Jan 2nd the phone rang. Robert called to me to pick up – it was my sister. Hmmm, my sister is an emotional vampire that I have chosen to stay away from for many years now. She was more hysterical than usual and it took me a while to get her to calm down and tell me what happened.
    Our mother fell down the stairs and landed on the concrete floor on her head. She broke her neck and was being rushed to the hospital.

    I remained calm and spoke clearly with my sister, asking for details and convincing her that our Mother was not going to die. Our Mother was too stubborn to die, I said emphatically over and over again. Somehow I felt that she was not going to die. When I got off the phone, a strange calm came over me and I sat down. We all know that our parents are going to die, and I wondered if this was going to be how it happened. Upon reflection, it did not seem real.

    The phone rang many times that night and I received updates on my Mother’s prognosis. The admitting Doctor did not think she would survive the evening. She hit her head hard enough to break facial bones on the opposite side of her skull.

    All bad news, but I remained calm until one last thing happened. Stunned, I sat in the dark in silence, reflecting on what was to come.

    My earliest memory of my Mom is from when I was 5 or 6. Somebody thought that I should be taken into the hospital to see my Mother immediately after she had undergone shock therapy. As a little girl I was led by the hand through the hospital to the psych ward, past the zombies in housecoats to visit my Mother the zombie who was lying on the bed with motionless eyes.

    Now, after all these years I would have to go to that same hospital and visit my Mom who will be lying on the bed in a coma.

    Unbelievable. The depths of despair and anguish hit me and dropped me to the couch. I sat unmoving for 3 days. It is difficult to describe. There are no words.

    I knew that I should fly back to the city to see her but I could do nothing. My pets felt the vacuum that had emerged in my spirit and sat with me, loyal and with unconditional love. I felt and needed their strength. My hero was my life – business partner Robert who was my rock and knew my needs before I did. My sister screamed at me and told me to get myself there.

    In my business life I was very successful managing immense change and difficult high pressure situations and to say that I remained calm in the face of stress and disruption would be an understatement. Somehow in this strange situation I managed to get to the business meeting I had with a brand new client, and sitting there I could see that words were coming from his mouth and I heard nothing. Finally, I confessed my situation and asked for time. I am human. It was OK, and I left. It took me every ounce of strength that I had to drive 15 minutes and get myself back to the couch.

    This “new years” horror story continued for a very long time. I self medicated with food and chocolate, and gained back a tremendous amount of the weight I had worked so hard to lose. I felt my Mother’s resonance with me through her illness and ultimate recovery after a long coma. In my own good time I walked into that hospital and saw my Mom in a coma and the old baggage “poof” was gone. The experience with my sister unbelievably became the greater trauma. The client turned out to be less interesting than I expected.

    Important lessons that I learned include that it is OK to reach out for help. My client understood when I told him what happened, and Robert was always there for me when the panic came. I found out who my friends are.

    Don’t expect more from people than what they are able to give. My sister is incapable of thinking of anyone else but herself especially in the extremes of this situation, and now I’ve learned to accept that and protect myself.

    Trust myself and trust others as life without trust is not worth living. Asking for help is part of trust, and the circle of giving includes receiving.

    Miracles happen! My Mom is walking now (with a walker) and has no signs of her past mental illness although she is still in hospital. This accident, It was a gift. For the first time in my life I have had normal conversations with my Mom because now she is thinks like normal person. My Mother had to fall down a flight of stairs so we could have a normal conversation. It is incredible!

    Great tragedy can lead to even greater possibilities. The down times remind us of the intensity of our life and make the good times even better. Keep moving forward.

  15. Tabitha Says:

    Hi Stefanie, first of all, blessing for an awesome 2010! If it started off the way it did, it can only mean we have to stretch further and higher than ever before.

    Before I share my story of the worst week ever, I have to send a message to Sue. That book, 23 mInutes in Hell is a very real experience that for a lot of people was a real “wake up” call, given the path they were on. I considered giving this to my brother-inlaw last year but then opted for the kinder, more compassionate choice of “90 Minutes in heaven”,the true story of a man who died, went to heaven and then returned to life 90 minutes later. What your sister is going through is a “wake up “call for her own life. It is by no means the right “message” for you. I am an evangelical Christian, working in ministry, but I spent 14 years exploring and learning from all spiritual paths and I really respect and honour every person’s individual journey. We all find Truth in our own way, in God’s time. In the meantime, we are all “beings in lesson”, learning sometimes through pain and sometimes through joy. It is when we stop learning and growing that there is a problem. Maybe your sister had stopped learning and growing and going back to the Catholic faith was her way of recognising that she needs Truth back in her life. I am sure you have seen in your work that so often people proeject whatever they are going through onto others simply because they are not yet 100% at peace with their own experience and decision? I know this was the case for me when I abandoned the Catholic faith my husband introduced me to and became a born-again Christian. Now he is gradually re-awakening his faith in Catholic teachings as a path that is right for him and I honour and respect that- but four years ago I would have given him “23 Minutes in hell” too!! It would have been nothing more than a refelction of where I was in my own journey and spiritual growth… so pelase take your sister’s “gift” in this vein and thank Spirit for putting her on the path that is right for her while you pursue your own. It will mean you will grow apart and never share the same kind of connection as before but I live by my mentor’s words : “It doesn’t matter as long as we are together in heaven when all this is over”.

    Given this theme, I am just now starting to make sense of the waful Christmas week I had. My husband and I have been spearated for 18 months but 2 months ago began communicating about ways to reconcile and put our family back together, We had help from an awesome “divorce coach” who used reverse psychology to show us both that the pain and trauma of divorce would be far worse and long-term than any difficulties we are experiencing now. I decided to surprise my husband for Christmas by taking the kids to visit him in Johannesburg. He knew that I was going to Johannesburg for business the week before Christmas and we had already discussed plans around Christmas and him seeing the kids, He had told me that becaus of 3 deaths in his family, his parents and siblings would not be having the usual large celebration and that he therefore didn’t want to plan anything for Christmas day but would come to see the children at New Year’s. Nevertheless, I thought he would be happy to spend Christmas day with our kids. Instead, he told me I was impsing on his parents at a difficult time and this was characteristic of how insenstive I always am to what other people are going through! This was so hurtful because of the breakthroughs I made in spiritual coaching and Christian marriage counseling in 2009. I never considered myself qualified or expert enough to work in these areas even though I love working with individuals in this way. The opportunity to work in these areas and get recognition for it in 2009 was really a huge blessing. It helped me let go of a lot of negative self-talk and past conditioning and pursue my passion. However, it was a tough road becuase I had to start out doing it voluntarily for my church and didn’t get paid a cent. That was ahuge investment of time and energy to make for free but it was worth it; I grew myself spiritually and in terms of character as a result, so I really felt that loving-kindness, compassion and selfless service are “gifts” I gave myself and can now share with others. Having my husband turna round and tell me I was still as insensitive and self-centred as ever was a real blow. I also made m anxious about the delicate process we have begun of moving towards reconciliation. I forced myself to control my emotions, not to get angry and to just examine my own motives and actions as honestly as possible. Then I phoned the divorce coach and had an unexpected session with her that really challeneged my perceptions and beliefs. Basically she showed me that I cannot expect everything to go as I plan it, to conform to my wishes and to revolve around my feelings and undertanding of a situation. She reminded me that 18 months is a long time of separation, in which my husband has gone on with his life without the kids and I and he probably is used to structuring his own time and activities without considering us. She showed me that if it took 18 months for him to learn to operate independently, it may take another 18 months for him to re-adjust to having his family back in his life. I wasn’t expecting that! I never considered how long it will take to repair the damage that was done so strated beating myself up for having allowed this situation to develop and be prolonged as long as it has. I also felt a lot of anxiety about what to do in the meantime- do I return to my missions work outside South Africa, dragging the kids from one place to another, developing projects that are under-resourced and do barely pay my expenses? If not, how do I re-integrate into city life and establish a spiritual coaching and counseling practice in a far more competive, sophisticated environment where my network is very small and my resources quite limited? Like you, i thought ” Have I worked hard, made sacrifices, put other peoples’ needs before my own and been charitable and giving for 4 years only to have it all come crashing down like this?” I was also dissapointed in the “divorce coaching” process- why didn’t it prepare me for this? Why do I have to do all the hard wotk and hen be forgiving, understanding and sensitive to my husband’s reality and needs ? What about my needs?

    I decided to spend Christmas day with my parents, sister and brother-in-law instead and travelled 400kms on Christmas eve to be with them. My mother has always created a wonderful atmosphere for Christmas, with a beautiful tre, decorations, loads of wonderful dishes, carols playing all day long, stockings stuffed by the fireside and the whole family gathered around to exchange gifts, eat and just enjoy the time we have together. But this year my sister had to work on Christmas day (she is a chef at a hotel), my brother-in-law decided to go and see his family in another town and my grandmother had been burgled, so my father was spending Christmas day installing burglra buars at her house. On Christmas eve, when I got to my parent’s house, my mother had my suster’s 2 toddlers in tow and was trying to cook while baby-sitting so she was tired, stressed and dissapointed about the way things were turning out. She told me point blank that I should have stayed in Johannesburg because I was just making more work for her! My own exhaustion and emotional strain from the week before took its toll, overwhelming me, and we had a nasty argument. I sepnt Christmas day alone with my kids, angry at my mother for runing the traditional Christmas experience we always created, angry at my husband for loaing up the kids’ bags with playstation games that kept them glued to the tv screen all day and seriously questioning whether God really looks after those whom He professes to love and care for.

    What I elarned from all this is that we are not in control. I had just finished writing a workbook for my spiritual coaching clients that I hope to sell, in which I share the story of how I “let myself off the hook of beleieving a mother and wife has to be manager of the universe”. My mother modeled this ideal for me and I could never live up to it. I realised o Christmas day, that my sister, who does a far better job at being manager of her personal universe, was not there to keep everything together and my mother had to face the fact that she no longer has the same energy levels as when she was young. I also had to dump whatever guilt I felt about never having followed in their footsteps by being good at cooking, decorating and creating a festive atmosphere. I missed the simple, no-fuss Christmas my husband and I always used to have, opening presents around the pool-sde while we got the barbecue going and then spending the evening with his family at a restaurant for Christmas dinner. I realised that in the absence of this tradition, my husband simply didn’t know what to do this year, just as my mother and I were at loose ends. I decided this “shift” in the pattern of our lives signals the need to shift in toher areas of life as well. So I sepnt the time between boxing day and New Year’s meditating on this shift and on what God is using it for. I know hat God always has a purpose when dramatic energy shifts occur and the best thing we can do is find the still, quiet place withing where His purpose becomes apparent. I realised that there is amjor shift taking place in the arth and it is affecting everyone everywhere in different ways. All difficulties, pain, unxpected coditions and suffering expereinced as a result are signals that we must be willing to adjust soemthing in our lives, our outlook, our beleif system or the systems we rely on to get things done.

    I’m now looking forward to sharing more of these insights and the practical things we can do to anchor our energy in “shifting” times in the workbook I am developing : Letting yourself off the hook. As soon as it’s ready, you’ll be the first to get a copy :)

    Please don’t send me chocolates- there is a global 21-day fast taking place to embrace the shift taking place worldwide so I’m “letting myself” off the hook of stressing about how to get chocolates delivered to Lesotho! LOL


  16. Shel Horowitz - Ethical/Green Marketer Says:

    I love this part: “But I figure if my first day was this bad in the New Year, then the rest of the year should be GREAT! Just getting it all out in the beginning.”

    And I’ll try to remember that when I get the occasional disharmonious convergence in my own life. I’ve noticed they don’t last long, fortunately.

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