Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Power of Joy

What would you say if I were to tell you that you possess an unlimited supply of energy, creative ideas, inner wisdom ?

Would you believe me ? Well, I’m here to tell you …YOU DO !!

You have within you the fuel to thrive and flourish, and to leave this world in better shape than you found it. Sometimes you tap into this fuel–other times, you don’t. But the sad fact is that most people have no idea how to tap into this fuel or even recognize it when they do.

Where is this fuel within you?

You tap into it whenever you feel energized and excited by new ideas …

You tap into it whenever you feel at one with your surroundings, at peace …

You tap into it whenever you feel playful, creative, or silly …

You tap into it whenever you feel your soul stirred by the sheer beauty of existence …

You tap into it whenever you feel connected to others and loved …

In short, you tap into it whenever positive emotions resonate within you.”

- –
Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D., Department of Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Joy Rituals 
It’s been found that simply by creating and incorporating Joy Rituals into your day, you will begin to see shifts in your energy and ultimately your behavior. 

“… Studies have shown that when we are feeling good, we are more creative, more inventive, more resilient, and more likely to reach out and connect with other people.”    -
- Barbara Fredrickson 

OK, OK, so what’s a Joy Ritual you may ask? 

A Joy Ritual can be anything that you add to your day mindfully … that will remind you what Joy is really all about.

Here are some examples: 

  • Taking a walk
  • Feeding the birds
  • Getting down on the floor and playing with your kids
  • Watching the squirrels play
  • Meditation
  • Writing in a journal
  • Doing Sudoko or Crossword puzzles
  • Praying
  • Practicing appreciation

There is no “right” way to do this … it’s the “Doing” of it that’s most important. To get the maximum benefits, make sure you continue with your Ritual until it becomes a Habit. Find an accountability partner and let yourself enjoy your Ritual fully. 

Notice how your energy begins to shift … and your body, mind and spirit, feel enlivened … 

And be sure to make it FUN!! 

As a gift from me to you ... to help you in your pursuit of Joy ... I want to give you a FREE Mini eBook of Play or Pay: 77 Ways to Have FUN ... All you have to do is fill out the form at the top of the right sidebar. I'll send you the link as soon as I'm notified ...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgivukkah

On the lightest note possible, I'm sharing this story and video with you ... Pay close attention ... this extraordinary event will not occur again for about 79,000 years.

Happy Thanksgivukkah: Five Things Hanukkah and Thanksgiving Have in Common ...

Here's the entire story from Time Magazine ...

Here's the video ...The Hanukkah - Thanksgiving Challenge ...

Love ... Joy ... and Blessings to Everyone !!!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mike Robbins - The Power of Appreciation

I met Mike Robbins in 2006. His name had been mentioned in an article I read in the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and I liked what I read. I contacted him and we hit-it-off immediately.

At the time I was hosting my own weekly radio show The Empower Hour and I asked him if he'd be a guest. He was more than happy to oblige.

His interview was in May 2006 and if I'm not mistaken, he been contracted for his first book Focus on the Good Stuff - The Power of Appreciation but it hadn't come out yet. Since then, he came out with a second book Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken and will be releasing his third, Nothing Changes Until You Do in May of 2014.

Mike has a fascinating story and presents a powerful message ... with authenticity and a lot of heart !
He recently spoke at a TEDx event ... here's his presentation The Power of Appreciation.

BTW - I just remembered that Mike wrote a recommendation for me on my Linked In profile ...

Monday, November 25, 2013

How Can You Serve?

You can choose to believe the stories that come from Hollywood ... the ones on screen and off ... or not.

I received an email today with a link to this video of Angelina Jolie receiving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the 2013 Governor's Awards dinner put on by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences on November 16.

She was introduced by George Lucas, who began his speech by saying "Jean Hersholt was an actor, director, writer and through his philanthropy became known as 'The Man Who Gave Hollywood it's Conscience'."

Angelina spoke at length about her mother ... "She loved art ... she loved film ... She'd support any crazy thing I did but when it had meaning she made a point of telling me 'That's what film is for.' 

... She made it very clear that nothing would mean anything if I didn't live a life of use to others ... I didn't know what that meant for a long time ..."

Synchronistically, (and you know how much I LOVE it when things occur synchronistically) the Centering Thought for today ... Day 15 of Deepak & Oprah's 21-day Meditation Experience is  

How Can I Serve? 

I've said it before and I'll say it again ... when things happen like this ... It feels to me like the Universe is giving me a message ... How Can I Serve? I'll just have to see what comes up in my meditation ...

How Can You Serve? Give it some thought ... meditate on it ... and let me know what comes up ...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

All the World's A-Dancin'

It seems like I'm definitely not alone in being obsessed with Dancing. 

I just came across this picture in MSN's Must See November photos.

11/24/13  Photographer Valtteri Mulkahainen just happened upon this sight while traveling through the Finnish countryside. As he described it "A family of baby brown bears appears to be dancing to 'Ring  Around the Rosie' as their mother relaxes behind a nearby tree ... The two young males and one female bear, all just a few months old, gathered in a circle, clutched each other's hands, and began to dance.

Mulkakainen called the experience "a magical moment" and went on to say that he felt like he "had wandered into a 'magic forest in a fairytale.'"

See ... there must be something hard-wired into all of God's living creatures that instinctively knows the unbridled Joy that Dancing provides. And why is that, you may ask?

As I see it ... there is nothing in this world that so fully ... so richly expresses the Celebration that Life truly is ...
  • Joy
  • Energy
  • Upliftment 
  • Delight
  • FUN

This little video is a perfect example of how Dance can set in motion a cascade of Spontaneity ... Infectiousness and FUN!!!!  I couldn't get the smile off my face so I wanted to share it with all of you ...


Friday, November 22, 2013

The Power of Gratitude

Gratitude…is the key that unlocks positive energy in our life.  It is the alchemy that turns problems into blessings, and the unexpected into gifts.”  ---Melody Beattie

With Thanksgiving Day rapidly approaching the subject of Gratitude seems to be everywhere ... Not that it's a bad thing, don't get me wrong !!

This is an article I wrote back in November 2005 and I think it's a really good story. At the time it was titled "Gratitude Power" but now I see that I have a blog post of the same name from 2008 ... Different article ...Same title. So I gave it a new title ... and although the external circumstances have changed ... the message is timeless ... I hope you enjoy it ... Comments are always welcome!

"heART Stars 2" by Susan Schanerman
November 11, 2005

For those of us living in South Florida I certainly do not need to say one word about the challenges, great and small, that we have all had to endure in recent weeks as the result of Hurricane Wilma.  More than not, we all had to go through the experience of loss of power, phone, and in some cases water.  Along with that, of course, there was no television, no computers or Internet connections, and in some cases no cell phone.

Our daily life and our routines were completely disrupted … and as stressful and demanding as they may normally be, the disruption was even more stressful. Gratitude certainly seemed to be in very short supply for most of us.  And I think we can all agree, that after a week or so of pioneer-living, our nerves were more than a bit frayed.

But then again, like it or not, it really is never the specific circumstances we have to experience, but rather the way in which we choose to experience the experience, that determines everything, right?

For me, on my ninth day of no power, I had gone to visit a friend who had already gotten her power back.  I spent the late afternoon and evening luxuriating in the comfort of her air-conditioning and brightly lit home.  I even had the treat of watching my first television show in more than a week.

Although I had been invited to stay over, I chose to go back to my own bed.  As I approached my neighborhood, it seemed as though the areas with power had expanded slightly from the night before.  As I approached the main intersection closest to my home, the traffic light was on.  My heart skipped a little beat.  As I turned the corner, I saw the condominium complex just south of my apartment, brightly lit.  My heart skipped two beats and I felt a flutter of excitement in my stomach.

As I approached my corner, it felt like my heart leaped out of my body.  The lights were on!! The joy and excitement I felt were indescribable!! And I don’t think I have ever experienced such a sense of overwhelming gratitude!!

I went into my home, turned on every light in the house, closed all of the windows and turned down the air-conditioning, and immediately savored my first hot shower in ten days.

I’m sure I’m not alone in my reactions and experience, however, I’m not finished with my story yet. 

So here I am feeling more grateful that ever and the best way I can describe it ... was that my heart felt as though it were wide, wide, wide open … limitless … infinite …

The next morning, when I woke up, there was a message waiting for me on my voice mail.  It was from a former customer who was ready to place a huge order … the biggest order of my entire career.

So what does this have to do with gratitude? What’s the connection?  While there is no way for me ever to really know whether my sense of boundless gratitude “opened the way” for this major blessing to come through to me, in my mind it definitely did.

I have heard, read and studied about the power of gratitude for a long time.  And despite that fact, I have to admit that it still can be an extremely difficult attitude to embrace. 

But, right here, right now, on November 11, 2005, the connection is clear … my gratitude produced an extraordinary blessing … and what is even more amazing, is that in this particular instance, the blessing was almost instantaneous … appearing within less than 12 hours!!

Keep up to date with Announcements, Discounts and FREE Stuff ... Just go to the orange box on the upper right side of the page and leave your Name and Email Address.

To see the entire heARTmatters And More Gallery exhibiting a broad range of more than 100 Original Watercolor and Acrylic Paintings, Original Drawings, and Prints CLICK HERE
Keep up to date with Announcements, Discounts and FREE Stuff ... Just go to the orange box on the upper right side of the page and leave your Name and Email Address.

To see the entire heARTmatters And More Gallery exhibiting a broad range of more than 100 Original Watercolor and Acrylic Paintings, Original Drawings, and Prints CLICK HERE ... - See more at:



Thursday, November 21, 2013

Depression, heART and a New Understanding

I had all good intentions (you know what they say about good intentions, don't you?) of writing today about Decision-Making, Persistence, Patience ... something "Rich with Information and Packed with Value" ... in other words ... Boring !!

Can we all agree that nothing ever does happen by accident? OK ... so I was just checking out my MSN Home Page and I spied this headline ...Artist Uses Comics to Fight Depression ...  

"Popular blogger Allie Brosh shares about how her "Hyperbole and a Half" comics are therapeutic for her and the thousand of fans who follow her who also suffer from depression."

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Great video ... Great story ... Great example of not only the healing power of art/creativity but equally as much the Healing Power of Authenticity ... 

It's my firm belief that people today are Starving for Authenticity and this story is a perfect example of that ... Everyone just wants to know they're Not Alone ... That someone else has felt the way they do ...

I relate on a very deep level to every bit of this story ... From the artist part to the blogger part to the depression part. I know how it feels to have only a handful of people reading what I have to say ... and wanting to make a greater impact.

I know the frustration of not earning a living at what I love to do ... I know about disappearing for long stretches of time. (Take a look at her Blog Archives compared to mine ... similar pattern, don't you think?) 

2009 - - 79                                   
2010 - - 78                                     
2011 - -  5                                   
2012 - -  0                                    
2013 - -  3                                    
2008 - - 26
2009 - -  2
2010 - -  0
2011 - -  5
2012 - - 11
2013 - - 18 +  91 posts for Empower Network blog.


I know about being totally embarrassed when asked "And what do you do?" I know how it feels to think one is unemployable ...

But I'll tell you this ... when someone ... anyone ... has the courage to step out ... (or is it step up?) ... the way is made just a teeny, tiny bit easier for those who follow. Sort of like Roger Bannister and the 4-minute mile. 

Or as Ralph Waldo Emerson put it:

"The mind, once stretched by a new idea, will never go back to it's original dimensions."

I don't draw comics but I do draw Doodles and heART people and off-the-wall collages (that I love.) Be sure to visit heARTmattersAndMore to see all of my heARTwork. Why do I capitalize ART? That's another story for another day ...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Forever Free - Conclusion


"Dark Days" by Susan Schanerman
The physical challenges crept up on me so gradually that … All I know is that my energy, ability to walk and be active has progressively diminished … especially since 2006, when I left FL. and moved to GA.

Part of the problem is that in this state everything … everywhere … is on an incline or decline … Florida was so flat that it could bore you to tears … but it was much easier for me to navigate.

I’ve also not really established a circle or community of friends here and I’m here 7 years already!!

I don’t seem to do very much and yet everything feels like a huge effort.

I sobbed thru the entire video about Steve Gleason (remember … that’s where we started.) I don’t know whether I was empathizing with him or it was stirring up my own suppressed pain … or maybe both.

Yes, I’ve had more than my ‘fair share’ of limitation in my life but nothing I’ve experienced could possibly come close to the devastation this man has to live with.

As a brief aside … Don’t you think it’s wildly ironic that this story is so much like that of Christopher Reeve … but even worse. Steve Gleason wasn’t Superman but he was a football star … and now is unable to move … or speak.

But his spirit continues to shine through … intensely, I might add …

I can relate … in my own way … I know what it feels like to have a vibrant, creative, mind in a body that is severely damaged ... maybe not quite “Imprisoned” like Gleason … maybe more like Limited … or Held-Back …

But back to where I began when I started writing the other day, relatively speaking … my problems pale in comparison to Steve Gleason’s …

A caveat is necessary here … I have to be careful … It’s always been my tendency to invalidate my challenges (which are many and very real) and my feelings when I compare …

Now there’s the culprit right there … Comparison … My life and my challenges are and have been severe … and have been with me for about as far back as I can remember …

But they are mine … NOT to be compared with anyone else's. And my feelings about them are valid …

Steve Gleason’s story made me feel very sad … and obviously inspired me to the point where I’ve been compelled to sit down and write this personal expose …

Everyone has their story … their personal tragedies … triumphs … things they need to accept as “just the way they are ” … but then again we all have the ability to summon the “courage to change the things we can” …

It’s only my ego that wants me to either feel sorry for myself or inflated to the point where my problems have to be far worse than anyone else's.

When we can finally reach the point where we Quiet Our Minds … Surrender and Let Go … I think then and only then can we truly be Forever Free …

Keep up to date with Announcements, Discounts and FREE Stuff ... Just go to the orange box on the upper right side of the page and leave your Name and Email Address.

To see the entire heARTmatters And More Gallery exhibiting a broad range of more than 100 Original Watercolor and Acrylic Paintings, Original Drawings, and Prints CLICK HERE ...


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Forever Free - Part 2

After seeing the video of Steve Gleason and Pearl Jam yesterday, I was compelled to write … Here goes ...

I wrote something recently on the subject of relativity … and weeks before I wrote about my close encounter with death when I was seven …

The event was a big deal, in and of itself … however, I rarely if ever go into all those minute details of that catastrophic encounter. What I didn’t touch on was the fact that from that moment when I fell down and couldn’t get up, I never again had normal functioning of my body. 

And my life was totally different than any other child I knew ... I only went to school for half-day ... I had to lie down the better part of the time ... my walking was purposefully limited ... (my doctors wanted to protect me from scoliosis or uneven legs) ... 

I had had what was called a "Spotty" case of polio. What that meant was that I had stronger and weaker muscles scattered throughout my body ... unlike most others who had some kind of symmetry to the way the disease impacted their bodies ... like having paralysis of both legs ... 

The good news was that I was ultimately able to compensate (I still am a Master of Compensation) and manage to live relatively "normally" ...

Unfortunately, what was never addressed in those childhood years was my emotional state ... I’m sure I spent more than my “fair share” of time being angry, frustrated, lonely, depressed, etc. (What on earth is a ‘fair share’?) But I never showed it ...

By the time I went off to college all I can remember is that physically I seemed to manage quite well. The college campus was spread out … hills and flights of stairs everywhere … and we even used to sneak out late at night … drive into the City (N.Y. of course) and dance all night at Trudy Hellers. (Does anyone remember that place?)

Somewhere in the 1980’s articles started to come out describing something they were calling Post-Polio Syndrome. They were finding that people who had had polio 30 to 40 years earlier were beginning to experience symptoms reminiscent of the original onset of the disease … muscle weakening, loss of mobility, severe fatigue and pain. It seemed to be affecting those who had been most severely impacted by the initial impact of the disease.

I can remember some of my more metaphysical friends telling me to ignore the articles … You know, “What You Think is What You Get” … so I did. Time marched on and I don’t think I noticed any real changes … or if I did, I wasn’t admitting them even to myself.

I’m not sure at what point but I can remember starting to take advantage of “Wheelchair Assistance” at airports. Maybe that was the ‘mid to late ‘90’s … Can’t really remember …

In Oct. 1996, I had a bad slip & fall and fractured my left ankle (the weaker of the two) and was in a cast for 3 months. My mobility was severely affected …

I was able to walk around my apartment but couldn’t manage on my own outside of the house and needed to use a wheelchair … I also needed help maneuvering bathing because I couldn’t get the cast wet and wasn’t able to straddle the tub alone … After the entire episode, I was advised to begin using a half-brace on my left leg which I didn’t fight.

To my best recollection, that was the first time since childhood that I once again found myself in a “helpless” condition … not able to even take care of my own basic needs …

Almost a year-to-the-day later, I fell again and this time only gashed my eyebrow open requiring a few stitches.

Curiously enough, on both of these occasions, I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance, which I hadn’t experienced since that fateful night so many years earlier … it brought up some very vague, strange but yet again somewhat familiar feelings ...