The Great Kindness Challenge

This project warms my heart.  

It is obviously crucially needed and “on target” in today’s world plus it resonates with the message that boomed into my head as they pulled me out of my wrecked car after the tragic car accident that took my beloved husband Saul’s life:  


I have also learned that this message, to be loving and kind to everyone, also includes to “Be loving and kind to yourself!”

I hope everyone reading this post, especially those with school age children, will go onto this FB page and check out the video: https://www.facebook.com/The-Great-Kindness-Challenge-109624066267/ 

And remember, ATTITUDE is everything.  Choose to be loving and kind, both to others and also to yourself. Give toxic people and their dramas as little oxygen as possible in your life, suspend judgment and learn to forgive, and pass the loving kindness shown to you in your own life forward to others whenever and wherever possible!

From my heart to yours, in loving kindness and with gratitude, Irene

Cover Image Credit: Fastcompany.com

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The Age Of Aquarius

The hate and bigotry that fueled this election has found its positive mirror in the love and kindness being expressed by people who are becoming active in their local communities and also nationally, banding together to form groups that are standing up for what they believe in and actively defending those in our society who are vulnerable.

The Women’s March on Washington is a perfect example of this.  Hundreds of thousands of women of all ages will be marching, many for the first time in their lives, to protect both their rights and the rights of others.  These women are an inspiration to us all.   And this is just the beginning of their movement!

I have learned that the only thing any of us can truly control is our attitude.  Instead of choosing to respond to fear and hatred with more fear and hatred, let’s focus on those things we can control and what we can choose to do in any moment, which is to be loving and kind and tolerant of others, helping to manifest the reality we want to see in the world.  

This is a golden opportunity to rise above the hate filled rhetoric by taking the high road in our words and actions. When someone on the low road chooses to taunt you or bully you, don‘t take the bait!  Don’t jump into the swamp with these people.   Every so often, by being loving and kind and tolerant, you may get a chance to gently educate a person, to change his or her point of view.

We are newly in the “Age of Aquarius,” believed by some to signal a period of peace and harmony. Could it be that we have begun journeying towards an awakening throughout our land, a new level of consciousness?  Let’s look on the bright side and consider that this new awareness is the beginning of surprising, miraculous changes to come, fueled by kindness, tolerance, and love.  

Kindness As A Magical Tipping Point


Jamil Zaki, director of the Stanford University Social Neuroscience Lab, is studying positive conformity and the spirit underlying it. This study is in sync with the message I distinctly heard just after my husband died next to me in a tragic car accident:  

“Next, the two strong arms of an EMT were reaching in through my broken window, grabbing me by the shoulders, and beginning to pull me out.  It was then that I heard a third and final message that confirmed the other two messages for me beyond any doubt.  This one I just knew was the voice of God, our true source, saying to me:

“Be loving and kind to everyone.”

“I had just lost the love of my life.  I was battered, cold and bleeding profusely, but these words managed to fill me with love, compassion and a profound knowing.  I knew I was being given a directive from heaven itself.”

As a result of that third message I received, “Be loving and kind to everyone,” I now strive to be more present to how my daily choices affect others as well as myself. Living my life consciously has made me a better person to be around, not only for the benefit of others but for my own benefit as well. I’ve learned that in the same way nuclear radiation resulting from the tsunami in Japan spread and affected the world, kindness passed forward to many others reaches a magic tipping point that results in less violence, which energizes and enables people to live in a space of joy instead of a space of lack and disappointment.

“The battle between dark and light conformity likely depends on which cultural norms people witness most often. Someone who is surrounded by grandstanding and antagonism will tend towards hostile and exclusionary attitudes herself. Someone who instead learns that her peers prize empathy will put more work to empathize herself, even with people who are different from her. By emphasizing empathy-positive norms, we may be able to leverage the power of social influence to combat apathy and conflict in new ways. And right now, when it comes to mending ideological divides and cultivating kindness, we need every strategy we can find.“ – Jamil Zaki

I’ve seen firsthand how living love and kindness as a behavior has made an indelible, lasting impression upon lives I’ve touched. It’s also made an indelible, lasting impression upon me. As we develop awareness and a willingness to impact others positively, we can consciously choose to be loving and kind. The recipient of love and kindness derives a sense of worthiness and validation as he or she receives the blessing we have chosen to give. Likewise the one who has given love and kindness derives a sense of joy and satisfaction for having nourished and empowered another’s soul.

In order to give love and kindness, one must first have love within himself or herself. The choice to give love generously serves to raise the vibration of the giver as well as the receiver, allowing for both to share and experience the highest frequency that exists, which is love. When an individual resonates with love, baser emotions and negativity cannot easily co-exist within that being; therefore love elevates us and purifies us as we are purged of our less-desirable traits. To exercise giving love is to heal oneself as well as others.

The benefit is mutual. Have you been loving and kind today?  And has someone been loving and kind to you?

Pass it forward!

Toxic Family Members


“Negative family members are more often than not jerks and it is important to keep this in mind when you are trying to handle a situation.

They will try to bully you, pick on you for any reason they can find, and also belittle you for those reasons. You do not have to stand around for this person while they insult you.

You can try to combat this negative behavior by killing them with kindness, being polite, and never giving into their selfish actions. You are a much better person than they are just by avoiding harsh words and playing their petty little games. “

Getting along with the people in our lives – especially the ones we’re really close to – can at times be a nightmarish road filled with potholes, bumps, and red flags.

Conversations  with therapists and healers have taught me that you don’t have to suffer from those toxic people in your world who make you feel small or stupid, who are judgmental, or who are unaccepting of who you are.

Unpleasant, negative drama is often brought about by the toxic people in our lives, and sadly, the toxic person is often a family member. You owe it to yourself to separate from relationships that are bringing you down in one way or another.

Try not to interpret toxic affronts as personal attacks.  These assaults usually come from unhealed issues within the person that you may have triggered in some way.  

Consider letting go of and forgiving those toxic people in your world, especially if they are family members. It is best to detach with love and simply not include the negative person in your world anymore.

You can still wish the person well, but you have the right, indeed the responsibility to keep the toxic drama out of your life, because toxic drama can inhibit your own soul growth.

Do We See Our Deceased Loved Ones Before We Die? And What Comes Next?


“People think it’s just confusion or the drugs,” explains Maggie Callanan. As a hospice nurse for more than 27 years, she has helped more than 2,000 dying men and women in their last days. “But frankly, the confusion is ours. The patient knows what is going on.”

Hospice workers often speak of dying people seeing their loved ones just before they die. This helps to ease fear and anxiety, preparing the dying for their coming transition from human back to spirit. They are getting ready to go home. Our deceased loved ones also greet us after we cross over.  There is no special protocol to this; it could be one person with others soon following, or it could be a few people doing the greeting.

There is a wonderful example of what it is like to be met by your loved one just before you cross over in They Serve Bagels in Heaven. In it, Saul describes some of the past lifetimes we have shared as husband and wife. One of those lifetimes took place in Italy in the early 1500’s, when Saul’s name was Luigi and mine was Maria. Here’s how Saul described my death that time around:

“As she lay in her bed, looking out the window, she saw me coming across the field with one of my scythes. It was a gorgeous spring day, and as Maria reached for me her soul lifted right out of her body. I took her in my arms, then carried her across the fields and home. “

When Saul crossed over this time, his mother, who died when he was sixteen, was waiting for him with open arms:

“I saw that famous white light and was carried toward it positively bathed in love. I surfaced as if from the bottom of a well into the light of heaven. The first thing I saw there was the warm, almost desperately happy, and unbelievably welcoming face of my mother, Belle…..”

After we arrive home in heaven, we review our behaviors and choices and how they affected others. This is called the Life Review. Saul’s description of his Life Review, as well as his depiction of what heaven is actually like, heavenly healing, and what heaven does about those who have done evil acts, is informative and fascinating.

Also by the way, I’ve learned that there is no need for concern should you not want someone who was unkind to you or abusive to you greeting when you make your transition. That person will have to wait for your permission to approach you!  

When Do Souls Leave The Body?

Spirit After Crash Saul Vasquez_1468507470923_1622625_ver1.0

Photo Credit: Saul Vazquez via Facebook

Powell County, Kentucky – On July 13, 2016, a motorcyclist was seriously injured during a crash and subsequently died in the hospital.  The photo above, taken by Saul Vazquez, has sparked much conversation on social media, because people believe that it shows the motorcycle driver’s spirit leaving his body.  

Look closely at the photo! I agree that we are looking at a soul leaving the body and what a blessing for this man, because the instant a soul leaves the body, suffering stops.   

I have learned that souls leave the body at different points during the physical death process, depending on the choices made by the soul. These choices can be made during pre-birth planning on the Other Side.

According to Bob Olson, author of  Answers About the Afterlife, “many people in spirit have communicated through mediums that their spirit left their body before the airplane or automobile crashed, before the bullet hit their body, and before the pain of the death experience got unbearable. When this occurs, we experience our death while out of our body, yet we are still connected to it spiritually.”

There are also times a soul chooses to suffer through the death experience.  Though this makes absolutely no sense to those of us in physical form (who would want to choose to suffer?), on the soul level, consciously choosing to experience a difficult physical death can be for the purpose of teaching the soul a valuable lesson which will  help the soul grow and evolve.

Like the motorcyclist in the photo, my husband Saul, who died next to me in a tragic car accident, apparently did not suffer through his own death experience:

    “I think my soul left even before my body died. The pain of living, especially over the last eight years, had become such a burden that this sudden moment filled me with profound relief.  My last earthly recollection is driving, and then…this immense loosening and lightening.”      

    “After the accident, I left my body and was outside the car. From where I stood, I could see my body slumped over the steering wheel.” – Excerpt from They Serve Bagels in Heaven: One couple’s story of love, eternity and the cosmic importance of everyday life.

Take another look at the photo.  The motorcyclist had not yet been taken to the hospital.  His body was still at the accident scene, yet there was his soul, outside his body, and, like Saul, he most likely was a witness to all that was going on before he crossed over to the Other Side.

What a tremendous comfort to know that our souls do indeed survive our physical deaths!

Sheryl Sandberg Attitude

“It is the greatest irony of my life that losing my husband helped me find deeper gratitude—gratitude for the kindness of my friends, the love of my family, the laughter of my children,” Sandberg said. “My hope for you is that you can find that gratitude—not just on the good days, like today, but on the hard ones, when you will really need it.”

I am deeply touched by what Facebook Executive Sheryl Sandberg had to say to Berkeley graduates about the profound ways she has changed since her husband’s sudden death a year ago.

Like Sheryl Sandberg, I too had a deep change of attitude after my husband suddenly died next to me in a tragic car accident. Mine sprang from three completely unexpected messages I received before, during and just after the accident that led me to a profound spiritual awakening.

The third message was conveyed by an unemotional male voice that told me to “be loving and kind to everyone” as I was being pulled through the window of my car, which was a total wreck. That message immediately transformed my normally self-centered attitude to a more positive, embracing one – towards the helicopter crew that flew me to the emergency trauma center, to the emergency caregivers who tended to me at the hospital, and even towards once estranged family members who came to visit me in the hospital.  After the accident, I found myself reacting in a whole new way. Even though my husband had died next to me, I was strangely at peace because of the three messages I had received.  

This is not to say that I did not grieve very deeply as Sheryl does now. I most certainly did deeply grieve, but that third message made me conscious of everyone in my life in a whole new way. I became more receptive to the loving kindness of others and I was much more conscious about how I spoke to and treated others, and I also became more aware of the love and kindness I was extending to myself.

Sheryl Sandberg’s loss has led her to sharing profound lessons about gratitude and not taking love and kindness for granted. This has given joy and new meaning to her life. Likewise, losing my husband led me to sharing the lessons I learned from my spiritual awakening, which includes treating ourselves and others with love and kindness, and in my case, also sharing my newfound knowing that we do go on after our physical deaths and that there is a cosmic importance to the actions we take and the words we speak in our everyday lives.

Devastating loss most definitely leads to tears of deep grief but, with positive attitude changes, it can also lead to tears of joy and gratitude. Like Sheryl, I will always miss my husband, but I am now also grateful for the ways his sudden death became a catalyst for greater meaning and passion for life.

Soul Full Thoughts About Prince

“The key to helping yourself cross over well is living a life that’s got some level of devotion – heartfelt, passionate devotion – that gives you both discipline and delight.  Even if that devotion goes to caring for your Harley-Davidson or your stamp collection, if you live that devotion with a pure heart, you’ll be building the skills you’ll need to focus on the light and love that will carry you across the divide between heaven and Earth. “   

Quote from my book, They Serve Bagels In Heaven: One Couple’s Story of Love, Eternity and the Cosmic Importance of Everyday Life.

Based on the quote above, I have no doubt that Prince’s transition to the Other Side was a smooth and easy one. The Soul Purpose is an expression of what we know in our hearts we MUST do, what we feel compelled to leave behind so that our time here actually mattered. Prince’s Soul Purpose was surely his music and its messages, which touched millions of people.


Throughout his life, Prince lived his Soul Purpose with heartfelt, passionate devotion.

And he seemed to truly believe in an afterlife. In his song “Let’s Go Crazy,” he sings:

But I’m here to tell you
There’s something else
The after world
A world of never ending happiness
You can always see the sun, day or night.

Prince was a deeply spiritual man who studied the Bible about life and love  to keep himself grounded. He believed that studying often kept him  protected from “all the nonsense.”

Even Prince’s choice of the color purple as his signature color was a spiritual choice.  Purple, which is the color of the crown chakra, is associated with both earthly and spiritual power.

And Prince also had a Soul Mate.  She was the Vanity 6 lead singer whose real name was Denise Matthews.  Denise was one of Prince’s great loves, his former protégé and ex-girlfriend. Vanity died February 15 at the age of 57. Prince was 57 as well. They died 9 weeks apart. Coincidence? Maybe. But in the spiritual world, probably not.

Amongst other things, the Number 9 is the number of Universal love, eternity, destiny, soul purpose, generosity, romance, inner-strength, public relations, intuition, and strength of character.

It is said that the movie “Purple Rain” was about Vanity.  Here is an excerpt from the Daily Mail UK when Prince heard Vanity had passed:

“Later, the Purple Rain star was remarkably candid about his memories of Denise, saying: ‘Her and I used to love each other deeply.’ He continued: ‘She loved me for the artist I was, I loved her for the artist she was trying to be.’ 

And in her 1997 book, Blame It On Vanity, Denise claimed that Prince was the only man she ever truly loved, Jet Magazine reported.”

We souls, with the help of our spiritual guides, elders and masters, plan our lives before we are born into them.  Earth is considered school, heaven is home. It would not surprise me to find out that the Soul Mates Prince and Vanity planned to be together in this lifetime to experience what they needed to learn together, planned to separate at some point so that each could accomplish individual goals, and also planned to die around the same time, to be reunited in heaven, which is truly home for each of us.

Choosing Death By Suicide


This is a deeply controversial issue when it is looked upon from an earthbound perspective, but it is a completely different matter if looked upon from the cosmic point of view, which often provides comfort and healing when people turn to the spiritual explanations for the seemingly unexplainable things that happen in their lives.

From a spiritual perspective, a person’s soul is a loving partner that planned the current life with the input of angelic beings and spirit guides – all trusting that good choices would be made that would enable the person to grow and evolve in this lifetime towards his/her highest and greatest good. No one is expected to be perfect, and no one is judged or rejected because of mistakes made, because mistakes are considered to be the seeds of lessons learned.

There is spiritual literature that supports the concept that each soul chooses the death experience.  Here’s a quote from Bob Olson’s book, Answers About The Afterlife: “Since the purpose of life is to have experiences that can only be known in physical form – including both positive and negative experiences – our soul might or might not feel any benefit from going through a particular dying experience.  While our personal free will does play a large part in how we die, it is our soul that ultimately decides when to pull our spirit out of our body. And when the spirit leaves, the suffering stops.”

The notion that a soul may choose to experience death with suicide assistance makes sense in a spiritual context. If we can accept that life is about experiences, choosing death in this manner may be teaching the soul something that will help that soul to heal and evolve in this lifetime.  

Who are we to judge another soul’s choices when it comes to life and death?