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Editor's Blog

2006 Editor's Blog Entries

The editor's blog appears in OfSpirit.com's Magazine that is emailed to our subscribers. If you wish to subscribe to our Magazine by email, enter you email address in the box on the left and you will automatically be entered for our monthly Free Book Give-Away.

DECEMBER 9 - DECEMBER 23, 2006

Healing The Hollow Void Of Their Absence

Iíve been receiving an exceptional amount of emails lately from people wondering about their deceased loved ones. Iím sure itís due to the holiday season, a time when many people think about loved ones lost and feel the hollow void of their absence. My emailersí questions are usually quite similar. Do they still exist? Are they okay? Do they see me or hear me? Is there really an afterlife? My answer is always a resounding Yes. 

If there is one gift I can give the world, it is the assurance from my own research and experience that our departed loved ones are still with us during the holidays - even during the entire year. Their physical presence is gone, but their spiritual presence - the true essence of who they are - never left. While we cannot hug them, breathe in their individual aromas or resonate with the unique vibration of their voices, we can feel their presence, hold them in our memories and live with them in our dreams. And, even better, we can talk to them, communicate with them, because they have never actually left us.

The first evidence I ever had of spiritual communication was the day my father passed of lung cancer at the age of sixty-three. My mother, my sister, Melissa and I were surrounding my father's hospital bed when it was time to remove his breathing tube. We had all slept in Dadís hospital room overnight, expecting he might pass on his own. He didnít. When morning came, the doctor came into the room and asked me if we were ready. I nodded. The doctor shut off the machine and removed part of the tube. 

ďHe might go in ten minutes or he might hang on for a week. Itís up to him now,Ē said the doctor as he exited the room. 

We all huddled around my father who had been in a coma since the prior afternoon. For ten minutes, but more like an eternity, we watched as he took his last few breaths. Then we listened as the monitors signaled his vital signs with an emotionless beeping that slowed in rhythm as his soul escaped the confines of his cancerous flesh. As the beeping slowed to a mere dribble, my mother burst into a panicked wailing of tears at the realization that her life-long best friend was leaving her forever, at which point the beeping escalated again as if my father was saying, ďIím sorry honey. I will try to stay for you a little longer.Ē Upon realizing that her crying was making it more difficult for Dad, my mother gained control of herself and the beeping descended once again. 

This happened two more times and, each time, my father made an obvious effort to hang on for Mom a little longer. When my mother calmed down for the last time and gave her husband permission to go, his face quickly lost all color and then turned a grayish blue. His chest, previously the only evidence of life and movement, became motionless. And when that source of energy - that which we call life - had obviously left his worn-out body, Mom hugged Dad one last time like she was never going to let him go. 

We mourned my fatherís death for two years before fate took its course and I discovered my first legitimate psychic medium. Since then, my father has shown up in nearly every reading Iíve ever had, and Iíve tested hundreds of mediums. With my work in this field, Iíve had the good fortune to learn that Dad never went away. He has told me that he was trying to send a message that day in the hospital, the message that he wasnít leaving us; he was only leaving his body. And this is true for every person who has ever passed. 

If you have lost a loved one and are grieving their absence this holiday season, just try to feel their presence in the room. There may be signs, a light flickering, a radio going haywire or your favorite bird peaking in your window to say hello. But some people in spirit donít scatter signs around like a magician at a party. They prefer you simply acknowledge the connection you intuitively feel. I encourage that you donít be afraid of this presence.  What you feel is your loved one in spirit. And they want you to know that they are with you, during the holiday season and during the entire year. Welcome them. Talk to them. Heck, serve a plate for them, if you want. But donít ignore them, because they are there and they are celebrating the holidays right along with you.

Happy Holidays, Bob Olson

NOVEMBER 25 - DECEMBER 9, 2006

Christmas At The Olsonís, 1960ís - Present 

Iím too sensitive for Christmas. I just wasnít cut out for it. The traditional songs get me misty-eyed. The gatherings get me sentimental. The end of the year gets me reflecting. But more than anything, the presentsÖ well, the presents get me too damn excited. This I blame on my parents.

You see, my parents loved Christmas, but the season had some kind of spellbinding effect on them. They couldnít help themselves but to go out and buy Bonnie (my sister) and I all the gifts they couldnít afford.

My father was a truck driver. My mother was a stay-at-home mom. And some of my most prominent childhood memories are taking cold showers in the winter, because my parents couldnít afford the heating fuel, and of my mother taking items out of her grocery pile at the checkout counter, because her grocery cart was bigger than her budget. Such was life at the Olson residence, yet you wouldnít know it at Christmastime. When Bonnie and I woke up Christmas mornings, our last name was Rockefeller. I wouldnít say we were spoiled, but I did think that truck drivers made a lot of money.

Mom and Dad struggled all year long only to rack up their credit cards in December. It took them all night just to wrap the gifts. Then, for one day a year, we spent from five oíclock in the morning to two oíclock in the afternoon opening gifts. Bonnie and I sat on the floor in a pumpkin patch of presents. And my family of four opened them one at a time, drinking hot chocolate, eating donuts and listening to Bing Crosby on the eight-track player.

Bonnie would open a doll. And she wouldnít just cast it to the side after tearing off the paper; she would take the doll out of itís box, hug it, brush itís hair, and show it to my parents like theyíd never seen it before. Next, Iíd open a shirt--a western shirt, just like John Wayne wore. Iíd try it on, making sure it fit, and then Iíd model it for my family who made me feel like the toughest-looking cowboy in New England. Then weíd move on to the next gift, as my mother carefully guided us on which one to open next. Mom was careful to alternate the socks and gloves with the toys and games the way the slow songs and fast songs on a music CD are arranged. It was Momís Christmas choreography of gift giving. And she had a knack for keeping our hearts pumping and our eyes wide open.

Thatís still how we open presents today. However, we now do it on Christmas Eve, amidst the gaping absence of my father whoís last Christmas was almost a decade ago. And there are a lot less presents today, but we now have piles of memories that we open up and pass around, sharing with one another like weíve never seen them before.

So I blame my parents for my increased blood pressure during December. And after spending twenty-seven Christmases with me, Melissa now understands why I have to go shopping every Christmas Eve just to get ďa few extra things,Ē in spite of the fact that weíve already bought more gifts than necessary. Sheís also used to my near-depressive disappointment at the end of each Christmas day, because I wish I had bought just a few more gifts. And this is why Iím too sensitive for this season. Iím telling you itís a sickness, and I inherited the disease from my folks. But I wouldnít heal it if I knew how. Itís the one time of year that I donít think about money, about my future, or about anything other than that one nagging thought, ďDo you think we bought enough gifts? Maybe we should get just one or two more.Ē

Warmly, Bob Olson

NOVEMBER 11 -  NOVEMBER 25, 2006

Doctor Knows Best? 

This week, my three-year-old dog, Libby, had some x-rays on her hind leg. It turns out she has a partially torn ligament in her right knee due to a bone malformation. The veterinarian wants to perform a rather new surgery that removes the top of her knee bone, shaves the existing bone down to make it level, and then replaces the top piece using pins to keep it in place. He says it requires a four-month recovery, which I canít even imagine. If Libby misses her walk for a single day, sheís chasing dust bunnies and barking when my eyes blink. 

My parents grew up in a generation when you didnít question your doctor. How simple was that? There is no dilemma when taking the advice of your doctor without questioning it.   

ďWe need to remove your head, turn it around backwards and replace it.Ē 

ďGreat Doc, whatever you say. Itíll allow me to watch the kids while I wash dishes.Ē 

We once had a veterinarian we named Doctor Kevorkian because he was so quick to recommend euthanasia. ďEar mites? Put Ďem down. Itís the humane thing to do.Ē I can guess what heís going to be in his next life. And I have a few pets from my childhood who are undoubtedly signing up to be veterinarians in theirs. 

We no longer have the luxury of the 1950ís ďdoctor knows bestĒ mentality. We now have to choose the diagnosis we think is correct. And, quite frankly, it often feels like our odds are better in Vegas. How often do people go to three doctors and get three different opinions? Now we have to predict which doctor is making a diagnosis in our best interest and which is trying to meet his quota for the pharmaceutical cruise (damn those 60 Minutes consumer awareness exposťs). 

On the other hand, thereís a bright side. Weíve become less like robots and have learned to make informed decisions based on the advice of however many doctors weíve consulted. So Melissa and I simply have to ask ourselves how much we trust Libbyís vet. And if we have any doubt, we seek a second opinion and possibly get more confused. In the end, however, it is us who makes the decision that will affect the life of this sweet selfless soul who has brought so much light into our lives. No pressure there.

Warmly, Bob Olson

OCTOBER 28 - NOVEMBER 11, 2006

Do You Know A Control Freak?

In order to finish a project, I needed to learn the story of a book titled A Razorís Edge, but I didnít have time to read the book. I learned that there were two movies made of the book, a 1946 version, with Tyrone Power and Gene Tierney, and a 1984 version, with Bill Murray and Theresa Russell. I decided to watch the newer version. Newer is better, right?

So Melissa calls all the video stores in our area (which means she made two phone calls since we live in Maine), but neither store has it. So we drive all the way to Borderís Books & Music in Portland (a 40-minute drive each way), absolutely sure that theyíll have it. They donít. They usually do, but not on this day.

I then check Amazon.com and notice that the 1946 version is selling much better than the 1984 version. Hmmm, youíd think this might mean something to me, but no; Iím thicker than your average guy. In fact, I donít even buy the Bill Murray version from Amazon.com because Iím too impatient to wait for it. ďIíll find another way, a faster way,Ē I say to myself.

That same week, our Tivo DVR recorder takes it upon itself to record A Razorís Edge, the 1946 version. One of the cool features of Tivo is that it records programs that it thinks you might like based on past TV shows and movies youíve recorded on your own. Donít brush by this quickly. This is the equivalent of your neighbor handing you a book youíve been wanting to read even though you never mentioned your desire to anyone. This is an unbelievable, major coincidence. Did I get it? No way. I saw it as a really cool reminder that I wanted to buy the 1984, Bill Murray version. 

With the movie still recorded on my Tivo, I call Borderís again and, voila!, they now have the Bill Murray movie in stock. Iím feeling smug about my power of persistence. Melissa and I make the 40-minute drive to Portland, buy the movie for $20, and turn around for the 40-minute drive back home.

That night, even though Iím watching the movie for my project, Melissa and I are excited about watching it because of its spiritual message. The book is about a manís spiritual journey in search for meaning, set within a story about human struggle. So we sit in our special places on the sofa. Our older cat cuddles up in Melissaís lap. Our dog curls up by my feet. We start the movie and prepare for a spiritual lesson. Itís all good, right? Wrong. The Bill Murray version of A Razorís Edge did what Hollywood has done all too often: it missed the point. The movie was virtually wiped clean of any spiritual message, leaving mostly the story about human struggle to stand alone.

A few days later, Melissa and I decide to watch the 1946 version of the movie that Tivo so gracefully provided us. It was exactly what we wanted. The spiritual message of the story was loud and clear.

The story you have just read is about controlóme trying to control the flow of life, yet totally getting in its way. The movie that I needed to watch metaphorically fell into my lap. A machine ďcoincidentallyĒ recorded it for me. It was instant. It was free. It was effortless. Yet I took it upon myself to choose struggle over flow. I chose to control and drove 160 miles, spent $20 on a DVD, $7 on gas and $2.40 on tolls, entirely without need. And Iíll do it again, Iím sure of it. After all, as I said before, Iím thicker than your average guy.

Warmly, Bob Olson

OCTOBER 14 - OCTOBER 28, 2006

Law Of Detachment or Law Of Attraction? You Decide

Here is a mind twister for you, a real-life metaphysical conundrum. There is a woman who learned about an Eastern-religion Master who was so detached from this world that he thought of his abundance, his relationships and everything he held precious as a temporary gift from God. In practice of his detachment, he did not allow himself to expect these gifts for another day, and so with each new day that he awoke with these gifts in his life, he felt immense gratitude.

So this woman, an American practicing the Eastern philosophies, made an effort to practice this concept of detachment. Accordingly, as a nightly ritual, she thanked God for all that she held precious and imagined that this was the last day she would have these gifts in her life. Then, each day that she awoke and saw these gifts still in her life, she was grateful. She continued this practice for a few years.

One day, the woman's house burned down, taking with it all her material possessions. A short time later, the woman's husband of many years left her. Then, not long after that, the woman's business went bankrupt. The woman was devastated but also glad she had practiced this nightly ritual of detachment. She believed it helped her to cope with all the loss. Years later, she wrote a book, teaching the concept of detachment.

I have to wonder if this woman did not misinterpret the Master's daily ritual of detachment. To me, his focus seemed more on gratitude and less on loss. To me, he did not allow himself to imagine that he would still have all his gifts the next morning, yet he also did not imagine their loss.

There are other spiritual teachings that seem to be relevant here, such as 1) that which we focus upon expands, and 2) the concept that our thoughts manifest our reality (the law of attraction). Visualization is known to be the most potent power of intention, which is why teachers of this concept recommend thinking about what you want in your life versus thinking about what you don't want or don't have.

The conundrum at hand is if the woman did, in fact, fortunately prepare herself for her streak of loss, as she sees it, or if she actually attracted it into her life after years of imagining it. It's a great topic of discussion, which is why I've presented it here. Yet if you solve the case, I strongly suggest you begin working on the great mystery of which came first, the chicken or the egg.

Warmly, Bob Olson

SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 14, 2006

Three Stories To Die For

Story #1: Although Iíve been writing books for other people as a ghostwriter, I havenít written any of the books Iíve wanted to write for myself for years. Even though I have been gathering information and working on outlines for three books that I want to write, I havenít chosen which book I want to complete first. Yesterday I realized that in the same amount of time Iíve been thinking about these books, one of my closest friends has had four books published. The thought sent a wave of dismay over my body.

Story #2: I watched a TV show the other night called Studio 60. Itís a behind-the-scenes drama about a Saturday Night Live type of show and the issues the creative team endures. Well, in this one episode, the show has hired a new head writer. When he moves into the office of the old head writer, he notices a clock-like apparatus on the wall that counts down the days, hours, minutes and seconds left before the next Friday-night show begins. When this new writer sees the countdown clock, he immediately dislikes the pressure it makes him feel. Nevertheless, throughout the week prior to the show, he continues to look at it. Despite the clockís reminder that his time to create a new show is short, he develops a love-hate obsession with the clock. There is something about the clock that encourages him to make the most of his time.

The Studio 60 episode got me thinking what it would be like if we each had a countdown clock that counted down the days, hours, minutes and seconds that we had left in our life. Imagine waking up every morning to see that you only had 14,623 days left to live. Even though that would indicate that you still have over 40 years left to live, watching the clock quickly descend in seconds, minutes and hours might change the way you do things. The daily reminder that life is finite and passing might influence you a little more to make the most of each and every day.

When we are born, we seem to be programmed with a deep, underlying and unspoken belief that we will live to a ripe, old age. This is probably why we stop to contemplate life whenever we have a brush with death, go to a funeral or celebrate a birthday that marks another decade of our life (age 30, 40, 50 or 60). Hence, the mid-life crisis. When these events occur, they remind us that death is undeniably imminent--apparently much closer at age 50 than it was at 49. But then we get used to being in our 50s and, once again, live in denial of our death until we hit 60.

I expect that if I had a countdown clock in my home, Iíd make decisions faster and prioritize my time according to what brings me more joy. Iíd call old friends from my childhood rather than just think about calling them. Iíd do fewer things out of a sense of obligation in order to make more time for things I love to do. And I might even take more vacations, whether I feel I can afford to take them or not. But, sadly, I donít have a countdown clock. I donít know when Iím going to die. So my internal program moves me to believe I will live to an old age. And even if I donít live to be elderly, Iím convinced that Iíll at least live another day. Consequently, I'm inclined to live by the philosophy of a comic-strip cat named Garfield, "Why do today what I can put off until tomorrow?"

Story #3: When my father was in his 50s, he had half a lung removed due to lung cancer and a quadruple bypass due to clogged arteries. His doctors told him that, due to his surgeries, his expected lifespan was only 8-to-12 years. So when he was 58, my father and mother bought an RV and traveled the country. They really couldnít afford the RV or the traveling, but they found a way to make it work; and for two years they did something that they had dreamed of doing for years. The doctorsí predictions of my fatherís remaining lifespan became his countdown clock, and the thought that he might not live to be an old man motivated him to live his dreams rather than postpone them. My father passed at the age of 63.

PS, For your own amusement, you might want to check out a prediction of how long you will live: www.deathclock.com

Warmly, Bob Olson

SEPTEMBER 16 - SEPTEMBER 30, 2006

Six Insights On Life After Death To Ease Your Grief

A friend of mine recently lost a relative in a plane accident. She emailed asking if I had anything I could share with her that might ease her burden. Here is the gist of that email.

After studying life after death for the last seven years, there are a few things that I "know." Please note that my spiritual explorations in this area helped me to grow through three stages: skepticism, believing and knowing. As a skeptic, I was unsure of the afterlife but curious. As a believer, I took the word of others that an afterlife exists. And as a knower, I am now without doubt that there is life after death; I have accumulated enough evidence through spiritual experience to know that everyone continues to exist in the spiritual plane once our existence here on the physical plane expires.

After having over 300 readings with psychic mediums and watching hundreds of other people have readings, as well, I have learned a few simple truths about life after death, which will answer some of your questions about your recent loss. Here are six of the most important insights:

One, your loved one likely did not suffer prior to his death. In most tragic cases involving automobile and plane accidents, as well as other related sudden tragedies, the spirit leaves the body before the crash ever occurs. Even if this is not the case, spirits on the other side have reported no memory of any horrible pain or suffering; they normally only recall a bump on the head or pinch on the neck or the smell of smoke, et cetera. Once the tragic accident is over, the person discovers they are in the spirit world, or find themselves on their way there (read the stories of Near Death Experiences to learn more, read Life After Life by Dr. Raymond Moody).

Two, your loved one is currently without pain and is actually filled with the most intense sense of peace and love (the love and light of the Divine), which is apparently so incredible that it is indescribable in human words.

Three, your loved one is aware of all his loved ones here on the earth plane. He is watching over all of you. He is able to be in several places at one time, so he is able to be with all his loved ones without having to choose. Consequently, he was at his wake and funeral watching over all of you. And since he is not suffering in any way, but is actually filled with the joy of being back home (heaven), his greatest pain was witnessing the grief you all felt for his loss. He was likely trying to do what he could to ease your grief, which included trying to send you all little messages to prove to you that he still exists--that he did not die. We call these ADCs, or After-Death Communications.

ADCs include dream visitations, blowing out candles, flickering lights, TVs or radios, calling your name, having the telephone ring once (but nobody actually called), placing feathers in your path, or placing other reminders of him in your path (pennies, buttons, whatever might remind you of him), even arranging certain songs to be played on the radio while you are listening. Butterflies and birds are excellent totems of which he may have the ability to place in your path to gain your attention (or he might gain the assistance of other spiritual beings to assist him in this). A great book on ADCs is titled, Hello From Heaven by Judy Guggenheim.

Four, your loved one was immediately greeted by loved ones who passed on before him. In fact, there was likely a homecoming celebration for him at some point after his return to spirit. Relatives, friends, even pets who returned to the spirit world prior to him where all there to greet him.

Five, since your loved one's return to spirit was sudden and unexpected, as opposed to a long-lasting illness, it may take him some time to fully regain his full spiritual memories and power. Therefore, special spirit guides and angels have taken on the job of helping such people make their transition smoothly and peacefully back to the spirit world. As a result, your loved one might spend some time in this healing level of the spirit world where he is resting and remembering his spiritual self. Even though he is able to watch over his loved ones from this place, these special guides and angels often assist in the process until the newly returned have regained all their strength and memory.

Six, death--more appropriately called "crossing over"--is not an oversight by God. The questions of "How could God allow him/her to die so young?" or "Why did God take him/her with so much more life to live?" are questions based on a lack of insight about life and death. Too many people believe that death is bad and life is good, or that a longer life is a better life. However, once one has accomplished what they set out to do in their lifetime, it is time to leave. In essence, they graduate and get to go home. In this way, death is a reward, not a punishment or bad luck. Since we can not know what each soul came here to do, we can never know when it is time to graduate and go home. For some, it is at the moment of birth. For others, it is at age two or five or ten. For others, it is at age thirty or sixty or eighty. All we can do is trust that God knows what He is doing and remember that going home to heaven is a wonderful end to a life, no matter how long or short that life may have been.

I hope that by sharing these insights with you in this blog, it will ease some of your pain the next time you experience a loss. It is one of the most difficult experiences we can endure in our lifetime. For more information, please visit my website appropriately titled Grief And Belief at www.griefandbelief.com. On this site, I have listed some of the best resources for bereavement, including books, movies and links to other websites.

Warmly, Bob Olson

SEPTEMBER 2 - SEPTEMBER 16, 2006

How One Brief Comment Can Affect Us For Decades!

When I was a teenager, my parents made me go to Catechism classes once a week after school. It wasn't all that horrible, since half the kids in my high school went, too, and it became a bit of a party more than anything else. However, for almost 30 years now, there is one lesson that I learned in these after-school classes that I still remember; and I just had a revelation about this lesson, which I want to share with you.

My teacher didn't show up one day, so my class had to cram into another class like toothpicks in a box. For some odd reason, I still remember the teacher's name; it was Mr. O'Neil. Well, I have no idea what else Mr. O'Neil taught that day, but I do remember this one side comment that he made: "If you are going to do a good deed, do it in silence." He went on to explain that if we tell other people about our good deeds, then our announcing it "cancels" the good deed out because we are now getting the reward in the form of praise and applause.

Well Mr. O'Neil's rule stuck with me for years. And whenever I witnessed someone else making a public announcement of their own charitable giving, and then watched them get the acclaim they expected by announcing it, my knee-jerk reaction was to judge them according Mr. O"Neil's principle. Recently, however, something shifted within me and I began to question this ideology.

I have a friend who recently came into some money. So he has taken his millions and has occasionally helped out a charitable case: a woman who was injured in a car accident, a 3-year-old boy who was shot in Iraq, and some relatives who needed a financial hand. It was nice to see his money going to good use, but he violated Mr. O'Neil's principle of "doing good deeds in silence." Instead, my friend literally made a public display of his charitable giving. He sent out a mass-email blast to tell everyone about helping the Iraqi boy. He told everyone he talked to about giving financial assistance to his relatives. And he even called the media and made an event out of his gift giving to the girl in the car accident - the event was announced on TV and in the newspaper.

My first reaction, of course, was to judge my friend. (Hey, beliefs learned in religious settings are hard to break.) Then, my second reaction was, "So what if he makes a public display of his gift giving? At least he's being charitable with his abundance. What really matters is that he's helping people. Moreover, maybe if he's public with his giving, he might encourage someone else to do the same."

After nearly 30 years of accepting Mr. O'Neil's belief system as my own, I have finally broken free of a judgment that I didn't even recognize was there. Now it's so obvious that the true lesson here is that we need to pay attention to our feelings, even if they are subconscious, knee-jerk reactions. These below-the-surface criticisms and judgments of others are our red flags that indicate room for improvement. Now this is not a principle to begin judging people who judge people. For me, it's just a reminder that we can still be a product of the beliefs taught to us in our youth. Regardless of how much work we have done and growth we have accomplished, we still carry around fragments of the beliefs, perspectives and dogma of our parents, teachers, mentors and spiritual leaders. And with this awareness, we open ourselves up for a deeper level of inner peace than we previously thought possible.

Warmly, Bob Olson

AUGUST 26 - SEPTEMBER 2
, 2006

Childhood Rebellion Results In Life-Lasting Consequence

In 1979, a 12-year-old girl by the name of Missie saw a note on the refrigerator door that her parents wrote. It read, "Tonight's curfew is midnight." Well, Missie had 3 older siblings who were 2, 3 and 5 years older than her and the note was meant for them, not her; but she conveniently assumed that it was meant for her, too. So Missie went out with her friend, Debbie, and they left the safety of Missie's neighborhood to visit another neighborhood about 8 miles away.

Debbie's older sister, Linda, had friends in this other neighborhood, so she was heading there when Missie and Debbie tagged along. The problem was that all the kids in this other neighborhood were much older, and these 12-year-old girls really had no place being there. So when the teenage boys in that neighborhood asked the girls how old they were, they said they were 16 in order to fit in.

One of the boys in this neighborhood was a 15-year-old who everyone called Gandha. His friends had heard the name Gandhi in a Bob Dylan song when they gave him the nickname, but they mispronounced it and began calling him Gandha. So when Gandha heard Missie say she was 16 years old, he took an interest. In fact, he thought she was the most beautiful girl he'd ever seen. Consequently, after some flirting between the two, Gandha got Missie's phone number and he called her the next night.

Gandha and Missie began talking for 3 hours a night, several nights a week. Once Gandha finally found out that Missie was 12 and not
16, it was too late--he'd already fallen for her, hard. The phone calls lasted for about a year before they began "going steady" and Missie began wearing Gandha's high school ring around her neck on a piece of rawhide--very cool. This all just happened to occur around the time that Gandha got his driver's license.

It wasn't an easy relationship since Missie was in middle school (8th grade) and Gandha was in high school (11th grade) when they first began dating. But they survived and, soon enough, they got to spend the next year going to the same school. However, after that joyful year, their love was tested again when Gandha went off to college. Lucky for him, his college was only 90 minutes away, because he drove home on Wednesdays and weekends to spend as much time with his childhood sweetheart as possible.

Gandha and Missie fell more deeply in love with each passing year and they finally got married in 1986--7 years after they first began dating. Missie was only 19 years old. Today, it's now been 27 years since Missie began wearing Gandha's ring, and they'll be celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary this August 30th. Of course, today they go by the names Bob and Melissa, but little else has changed. They are still just as crazy in love as the day they began going steady--even more.

Thank God my sweet Melissa pretended the curfew was meant for her, left the safety of her neighborhood and lied about her age. Who says a little rebellion, risk and lying can't result in something positive?

Warmly, Bob Olson

AUGUST 19 - AUGUST 26
, 2006

Let's Have More Fun!

I have a friend who used to get laughing in such a fit that he giggled uncontrollably like a teenage girl. Once he got started, he couldn't stop. Then he'd giggle and laugh for 20 minutes straight, making everyone around him giggle and laugh, too. It was contagious. It was joyous. It was great.

At some point, around the age when my friend began working after college, I saw less and less of his lighthearted side and more and more of his serious side. He became so no-nonsense that I began to wonder if he didn't like being around me anymore, until I overheard someone else ask, "Does he not like me?" in reference to him.

I recently recognized that I miss, even grieve, that fun and giggly guy. Yet the lesson wasn't lost because it got me thinking that I, too, take life too serious more often than I should. I get business focused and forget to play. And because I work so much, it's sometimes difficult to make the transition from serious to fun-loving.

This got me thinking about another friend.

I used to have a buddy who liked to say, "We're here for a good time, not a long time." Simple, yes. Deep, yes again, if you allow it. Of course, he also liked to say, "You're either with us or your a Guinness" (the beer), so I guess we have to pick and choose what we learn from people.

All the same, my friend with the whimsical wisdom was light, carefree and filled with joy. Everyone liked him and he liked everybody. Life to him was fun, not serious. And this was while we were in law school to boot! Moreover, from what I know, he never changed even after he became a lawyer. Now that was a test.

Recently, I've been hooked on these awesome Dove dark chocolates with fortune-cookie messages on the wrappers. I keep getting the same message that says, "Don't think about it so much." Therefore, since I've made my point, I'd better not think about it further. Take from it what you will. After all, as a wise man once said, "You're either with us or you're a Guinness," whatever that means.

Warmly, Bob Olson

AUGUST 12 - AUGUST 19
, 2006

How Open Minded Are You?

One day, I told a famous psychic medium that another medium claimed she was being visited by extraterrestrials in her dreams, and I asked what he thought about that. His answer? "Oh, please. That's ridiculous," he said. "She'd better not reveal that to anyone else. People will think she's a nut."

My response? "But you tell people that you talk to spirits! You don't think that some people think you're a nut?" He didn't see the parallel or my point. This is the day I recognized that we all have limits to what we believe. And I wondered just how deeply that affects us.

Some people don't believe there are really people who can talk with the dead. And now here is a medium who knows he can talk to spirits, but he doesn't believe in beings from another planet. Yet human beings have already traveled into outer space. So how far of a stretch is it to think that beings from another planet might exist that already have the technology or conscious capacity to travel here? I certainly don't know. But I'm open minded to it.

And I think that's the key to new discoveries and new growth: to keep an open mind. Because what possible breakthroughs might be made, both personally and collectively, by allowing ourselves to be open to new possibilities?

We have varying degrees of beliefs, even if we don't realize it. Some people think they are open minded, but what ceiling do they wear on their beliefs? I expected this famous medium to be very open minded considering he talks to spirits for a living. But he draws the line at beings from outer space. What lines have you drawn?

It's something to think about. I was once a cynical skeptic about spirit communication until I had my first reading with a "legitimate" medium. I didn't believe I could travel into past lives until I had my first past-life regression. So what's next for me? Talking to ET? Having an out-of-body experience? How about enjoying Swiss chard in my salad? Oh, please. Now I'm just getting ridiculous. If I ever told people that, they'd think I'm a nut.

Warmly, Bob Olson

AUGUST 5 - AUGUST 12, 2006

We're Worried You're Getting Too Healthy!

We, as people, are a curious bunch. Aren't we? Here's something curious I recently noticed.

For ten straight years, I had a coffee permanently affixed to my lips. I liked hot coffee, iced coffee, even chocolate covered coffee beans. I was addicted without question. I couldn't write without a coffee. I couldn't socialize without a coffee. Heck, I used to take my dog for a walk with a coffee. Did anyone say anything? Nope. Aside from Melissa, most people thought it was funny that I was scoffing down coffee at ten o'clock at night. All they usually said was, "Wow, I can't do that. I'd be up all night."

My other vices were chili nachos, chocolate and hot fudge sundaes with mint chocolate chip ice cream and lots of whip cream. Nobody ever said anything negative about my eating any one of them either. So why, I ask, do people suddenly chime up when they notice me and Melissa eating lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds? It's a mystery, a true conundrum wrapped in a riddle.

In the three weeks that Melissa and I have tried to stick to a raw food diet, we've got all sorts of comments from concerned people. "I'm worried about you getting too skinny," someone tells my wife. "Where are you going to get your protein?" another person asks. One person even said, "I went on a 30 day soup diet and did some serious damage to my body." Well, yes, I thought, I would imagine you would. But we're not on a one-month soup diet. We're eating fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, sort of like gorillas, one of the largest and strongest primates on the planet.

Hey, I'm as guilty as anyone when it comes to this curious behavior. But my point here is not so much that we shouldn't be concerned about our friends and loved ones when they do something that appears radical, even for healthy reasons. My point is that perhaps we should be just as concerned, and vocal, when we see our friends and loved ones abusing food, cigarettes, alcohol or drugs. But too often we don't. Don't they deserve the same expression of love? Of course they do.

It's just something I noticed that got me thinking. So I thought that maybe someone else would think it's curious, too. And I guess that's what a blog is all about.

Warmly, Bob Olson

JULY 29 - AUGUST 5
, 2006

Wake Up The Divinity Inside You!

When I was younger, I suffered with a brain disorder that caused me to have experiences that would affect the rest of my life. For occasional brief moments, I was given the gift of witnessing true human potential. My brain was altered so that I knew no fear and no limitation. My creativity peaked and my ability to attract what I wanted into my life reached unprecedented heights, my parents called me lucky. And on occasion, for fleeting moments, I felt at one with the universe. I felt immense love for people, even strangers, and I felt as though I was able to read people's minds, adults believed I had a good intuition.

I share this story with you because what I experienced is as much about you as it is me. What I witnessed in those temporary moments of awareness is the true potential of every human being, that is, beyond the confines of the intellect. You see, it is our thinking mind that is filled with the fears and limitations of the generations before us. And like the many teachers in our life, by both word and example, we unconsciously play these fears and limitations out in our actions and choices, causing us to be lesser than our potential.

You don't need to have a brain disorder to recognize your true potential. Nor do you need a fancy gizmo, a gifted psychic or a spiritual guru. You already are the embodiment of unlimited potential. If you could grasp a fraction of the power you have as a spiritual being having a human experience, it would blow your mind. Perhaps this is the reason we don't recognize it. For most of us, it might be too scary. As Marianne Williamson stated in the speech she wrote for Nelson Mandela, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure."

I encourage you to overcome this fear and contemplate the evidence of your power. Think of the times that you attracted things, people or circumstances into your life. Consider the twists of grace that impacted your life, especially those that are simply too amazing to chalk up to coincidence. Remember the number of times you thought of someone and they appeared in person or by telephone. And reflect on the many miracles you have witnessed in your life or another's.

None of this is happenstance. It is all evidence of your God-given power to create your world through thought and action. Isn't it time that you recognized this power within you to fulfill your greatest potential? If something inside you is screaming, 'Yes! Yes!," then it is time to wake up the divinity inside you. I've seen it. It is beautiful, wonderful and wise. Now it's just waiting for you to acknowledge it.

Warmly, Bob Olson

JULY 22 - JULY 29
, 2006

The Sofa Story, Part II

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about a little incident with our sofa. Let's just say that it needed cleaning, which it got. However, Melissa and I decided to change the foam inside the 2 cushions just to be sure. It sounded simple enough. The foam store was just 45 minutes away.

So we take our foam cushions to the store to get new ones. "Sorry," they say. "We only keep 5-inch wide foam in the store and yours is 5 1/2 inches. You're going to have to make a special order. It'll take a week." Since we'd waited 2 weeks already for some guy to spray the covers down with a cleaner, we figured, "What's another week?" We ordered the foam which was due the following Friday.

Come Friday, we call ahead and they say, "Sorry, everyone else's foam arrived but, for some unknown reason, yours didn't. It might arrive tomorrow.? A week later, I call and still no foam marked Olson. "Is it possible our foam got lost?" I ask. "Oh, that's a good question. I'll look into it," they say. Half a week later they call, "Your foam is on its way today." Celebrate! Celebrate! Dance to the music. We are sooo ready to have a couch again. Wrong!

A few hours later the phone rings, "Ahhh, sorry, someone shot at our truck with a bb gun and the truck's no longer coming. The police are doing an investigation." My response, "Someone shot at your truck? That's awful. I fully understand." Then I get off the phone thinking, A bb gun? How would you even know? I have rocks and acorns hit my wimpy little car all the time and I just keep on driving. Oh well.

Another half week goes by, "Hey, your foam cushions are in. Come get 'em." I drive 45 minutes to pick them up, and drive them home with anticipation of watching a movie or taking a nap on our sofa. Melissa takes one look at them as I walk in the door and says, "Those are the wrong width. They're only 5 inches wide. You have to bring them back." I decide to wait until the next day.

I've now waited 2 weeks for the cleaning guy and 3 weeks for new foam and I still have no sofa to sit on. Is the Universe telling me to watch less TV? Get a new sofa? Start napping on the floor? Who knows? All I do know--and this is my lesson for the week--is that you can actually live without a sofa for 5 weeks. If we can do that, what else is possible? No television? No computer? No telephone? No coffee maker? Okay, let's not get carried away.

Sure, it's a weak lesson. But don't blame me. I've been without a sofa for 5 weeks. Have a little compassion for crying out loud. Next week's blog is on the new Support Group for the Sofa Deprived.

Warmly, Bob Olson

JULY 15 - JULY 22
, 2006

Do Pets Go To Heaven?

A friend of mine, who just happens to be a psychic medium, recently told me this true story. I'd thought I'd share it with you. I changed her name to respect her privacy.

My friend, Cindy, lost her dog, named Kirby, three months from last Sunday. The day before, Cindy was looking at Kirby's picture and asked him to give her "a real strong sign" that he was around, something to validate without a doubt that he was with her in spirit. (Yes, even mediums need a sign that their loved ones in spirit are with them.)

After making this request, Cindy took a shower and was blow drying her hair when the phone rang. The caller ID indicated that the call was from New Hampshire, which just happened to be where Cindy was going to give a medium demonstration that afternoon. Although she usually lets her voice mail take the message on weekends, she answered it in case it was connected to the event she had later that day.

The call turned out to be from a man who just wanted to set up a reading with Cindy. However, this was not just any new client; the man's name was Kirby.

If we ask for a sign, we often get it. But we have to be aware of the possible signs. For more info, read Hello From Heaven by Judy Guggenheim.

Warmly, Bob Olson

JULY 8 - JULY 15, 2006

From Skeptic To Inner Peace

Seven years ago, I ached with a deep spiritual hunger that I did not know how to feed. Inner peace was a state of mind that seemed unattainable, the equivalent of walking on water or reading minds. I read multitudes of self-help books, but my spiritual hunger was left unsatisfied.

At the age of 27, I fell into a 5-year chronic depression. It was a hand-me-down from my father's genetics. For the first time in my life, I began to wonder about spirituality. Where did I come from? Why was I here? What's the purpose to life? Is there a God? Although I never had the term for it, I was having a spiritual crisis, a deep longing to know and connect with a power greater than myself.

A few years later, when my father died in his 64th year, my questions took a new turn. Is there life after death? What happens after we die? Why does God allow innocent people to suffer, children to die, and bad things to happen to good people? With each new question, I found myself more confused. And with my added confusion, I ached for spiritual insight more than ever.

By the time I was 35 years old, I was feeling lost in a world filled with people claiming to be either a spiritual guru or spiritually gifted. I believed in neither. I was a skeptic, although I had no context from which to wear such a label. I saw myself as a realist. Yet there lied my conflict, since I wondered if the gurus or the gifted could help me find the answers I sought.

In time, my protective wall of skepticism cracked from curiosity, and in that hairline crack was born an open-minded skeptic, protected, yet admittedly without all the answers. Thus began my spiritual exploration.

The starting gun fired the day I met my first legitimate psychic medium, a person who communicates with the deceased in spirit. A 3-hour reading provided me with so much evidence that my wall of skepticism now crumbled, one undeniable message at a time. I knew my life was never going to be the same. I was correct. This one reading sent me on a journey of spiritual investigation for the next several years.

Following that reading, my life became one big spiritual adventure. I set out to research a variety of spiritual, mystical and otherworldly experiences that provided me with the answers for which I once hungered. Of course, I don't have all the answers, as I continue to learn new ones all the time, but I have enough to no longer feel lost and confused. And at some point along the way, I gained the gift I once believed to be unattainable: the gift of inner peace.

Warmly, Bob Olson

JULY 1 - JULY 8, 2006

The Sofa Story, Part I

A couple weeks ago, while Melissa and I were gone for a few days, our six year old cat, Max, urinated on our two year old couch. Ouch! We didn't see that coming. He'd never done it before.

I was upset but really glad I purchased the extra warranty that the salesman touted as covering everything from drink stains to claw marks to holes. Heck, the salesman himself had accidentally poked his leather chair with a screwdriver and it was covered by the warranty. Good story. I was sold.

Now it was time to test the warranty myself. The company sent some upholstery service from an hour away. I made sure to stay home so they could bring in the shampoo machine, steam cleaner or furnace. Nope. A guy named Jeff showed up with a spray bottle and a rag. Huh? I grabbed a magic marker to draw a giant L on my forehead for being a "loser" and falling for the sales pitch.

Jeff turned and said, "You'll probably think I'm a nut, but we got slammed with calls for urine-sprayed sofas two weeks ago after the full moon." Melissa and I smiled at one another. If he only knew we owned OfSpirit.com. Then he asked, "When did your cat have his accident?" We told him, "Two weeks ago."

10 minutes later, Jeff had sprayed down our cushions and was walking out the door. And less than a half hour after he left, I couldn't smell the urine anymore. I gambled my life by taking a real close whiff, but still no smell. Jeff's super solution worked.

Melissa said to me, "There's something to be said for simplicity," and her words hit me like they just came from Gandhi, Buddha or The Dalai Lama. I went without my sofa for two weeks waiting for a guy with a rag and a spray bottle to fix it for me.

5-year warranty, $125. Life lesson, priceless.

Warmly, Bob Olson

JUNE 24 - JULY 1, 2006

Attitude Adjustment

What a week! Monday I lost a pair of expensive sunglasses, presumably while leaning over to pick up a case of bottled water at the store. I was so mad at my mishap that I punished myself by feeling bad about it for the rest of the day, and I told myself that I didn't deserve such an expensive luxury.

Wednesday, the lack energy I sent out into the Universe on Monday got the response it requested. A thunder and lightning storm rocked our house with one single boom. It was like a Divine voice said, "Here Bob! What you focus upon really does expand. Here's more of what you focused upon Monday night."

One flash of lightning, which left no evidence of hitting ground anywhere in the neighborhood, destroyed a pair of new speakers, our TIVO DVR unit, our VCR/DVD player, our Internet modem & our wireless router. The lesson wasn't lost on me that all these possessions held a similar price tag as my sunglasses, and they were all life enhancing luxuries, not important life necessities.

The lesson? Whatever we focus upon expands. So, now, instead of sulking about Wednesday's losses, I feel only gratitude for my good fortune: I feel lucky that everything that's really important in our life remained safe during the storm, and I feel fortunate that we are blessed with the financial abundance to replace the sunglasses and all the damaged equipment without significant financial burden.

Thanks to my new conscious focus on gratitude, I'm expecting that a strong wind will gently drop a rather nice sailboat in my driveway any day now.

Warmly, Bob Olson

JUNE 17 - JUNE 24, 2006

My Brush With Coaching

Coaching schmoaching. What's all the baloney about this coaching craze? There are life coaches, writing coaches, voice coaches and toenail clipping coaches. Okay, I made that last one up. But, seriously, there seems to be a coach for everything. Are they really that helpful?

Low and behold, they are. I recently had the opportunity to work with a life coach and after only 3 sessions, I'm blown away at the progress we've made. I'm now working toward fulfilling a life goal I've had for years, yet couldn't seem to find the time for it.

I've now made my goal a priority in my life, and I can't believe how much I've accomplished in only 3 weeks. By working with a coach, I now have someone to hold me accountable. Not by threatening to ground me or take away my iPod privileges, but by setting up an appointment at 3:00 every Thursday. Now I know that I'd better accomplish what I planned or I'm going to waste her time, my time and all the efforts we're making to fulfill my dream. And that would be downright rude and wasteful. Of course, my coach is also incredibly skilled at asking me the perfect questions that zoom right in on what will truly bring me fulfillment, and she knows what "homework" to give me to keep me moving forward toward my goal. So a competent coach is vitally important. Be sure to get a referral from someone you trust. 

So if you've been hearing a lot of talk about coaching and would like to see how it works in your life, I highly recommend it. My coach isn't taking clients right now, but I've heard great things about a personal coach named Kerri Richardson. You can check her out by clicking here.

Warmly, Bob Olson

JUNE 10 - JUNE 17, 2006

A Lesson In Communication

Blogs are supposed to be personal, so I try to let you in on what's happening in my life, especially when I learn an important lesson. This week, I learned an important lesson in communication. I thought I was a pretty good listener, but I've recently learned that listening is only half the battle. The skill of good communication is also about paying attention to our surroundings.

My wife, Melissa, and I recently purchased a new slipcover for our loveseat. While picking out the new slipcover, Melissa asked me what style I preferred. I told her I like the kind that isn't fitted to the cushions because I'm tired of tucking the slipcover around each cushion every time I walk by the loveseat. Melissa looked at me kind of cross-eyed.

"What are you talking about, Bob?" she responded. "The slipcover we have now isn't fitted. For three years I've been un-tucking the slipcover every time I walk by the loveseat!

Of course, the whole thing was my fault since the slipcover wasn't supposed to be tucked in in the first place. But at least I learned this valuable lesson in communication. Now I'm wondering if the shower curtain is supposed to be on the inside or the outside of the tub. Is it possible that we've both been watering the plants? That might explain why they're dying. And how about the door to the guest room? Maybe it isn't closing by itself after all. Could it be she doesn't want the cats in there?

Warmly, Bob Olson

JUNE 3 - JUNE 10, 2006

What Can We Learn From Unconscionable Tragedy?

If you haven't heard the story, I'll tell it briefly here. Two female friends, one 18 years old and the other 22, were involved in a major car accident. Five people were killed. One of the friends survived but was in a coma. The other friend did not survive. When the survivor came out of the coma, she had brain damage and was so badly injured that she was still unrecognizable. One month after the accident, and after the burial service, a therapist asked the girl who lived to write her name. She wrote the name of the girl who'd been buried; that is, who they thought they buried. The two girl's identities had been mixed up.

Newspaper articles across the country explain how this happened, at least the practical reasons. But there are so many intricate details that had to take place for such a mix up to occur. The living girl's face was unrecognizable and she was either in a coma or had such traumatic injuries to the brain that no one recognized her voice, personality or mannerisms. On the other hand, no one identified the girl who was buried, even though her face was recognizable. Family members were advised not to look at her to avoid the shock.

It's all so unconscionable, unbelievable and improbable that it leads me to believe that there must be a higher power coordinating it all. Yet what could be the lessons? One family buries their daughter while another sits by their daughter's side in the hospital through a coma, brain damage and numerous injuries. One month later, they switch. Can one family celebrate that the daughter they buried is now alive, knowing first-hand what the other family is going through? And how does the other family deal with such a blow? It's all so sad and disturbing. But it's thought-provoking, too.

I certainly don't have any answers. This week's blog is just to get you thinking. However, I do trust in the perfection of the Divine order of things. Of course, I know this is so easy for me to say since I'm not in the thick of this tragedy. Nonetheless, my faith is not rooted in a false arrogance of spiritual insight so much as an empathy for those affected and a hope for us all that it's true. Otherwise, this horrendously coincidental incident is just a horrible tragedy without meaning. And for those families' sake, as well as every other human being's sake, I prefer to believe there is purpose in suffering. We may not recognize it in this lifetime, although sometimes we do, but the benefits will hopefully be gained in the afterlife or the next life.

Warmly, Bob Olson

MAY 27- JUNE 3, 2006

Selected Then Rejected

Melissa and I were asked to be the godparents of one of God's newest angels, our three-month- old nephew, Liam. We were so thrilled and honored by the invitation, we did a little dance in celebration.

Then we were told that we needed to bring a "sponsor" certificate from our Catholic church in Maine in order to be allowed to stand up as godparents during the ceremony at the Catholic church in Connecticut. Oops! The cheery music that played in our heads suddenly turned into that scratching sound you hear when the record player needle is pushed across the record. The problem? We no longer belong to a Catholic church.

I was raised Catholic, went to CCD classes and almost began to teach Catechism at one time. We both went through all the holy rituals: baptism, holy communion and confirmation. We were even married in a Catholic church almost 20 years ago. But as time has passed, we grew to see ourselves as spiritual, not religious. And, speaking for myself, I eventually came to a place where I preferred to think for myself in terms of spirituality rather than be dictated on what to believe. After all, I have friends who are gay, friends who have had abortions and friends who are divorced. How can I love and honor them fully if my religion insists that their genetics, choices or unfortunate circumstances are to be judged? I can't.

Unfortunately, Melissa and I are not able to be part of the baptismal service without a sponsor certificate, but we will be in attendance that day. Nevertheless, Liam's parents say we're still the godparents even if we can't be part of the ceremony.

I wonder how Liam will feel about all this when he's old enough to think about spirituality for himself. If he hears this story, he might be confused by its underlying message of separation. My wish for him is that he doesn't hear this story at all, and instead experiences nothing other than a sense of connectedness and community throughout his lifetime.

Warmly, Bob Olson

MAY 20 - MAY 27, 2006

Missing The Slower Days Of Our Childhood

You know what I miss? I miss when Melissa and I were young teenagers with nothing to do but hang around asking each other, "What do you want to do?" Yet neither one of us had an answer because, in actuality, we were doing exactly what we wanted to do: we were "being" together. And that's all that mattered.

Today, on a daily basis, Melissa and I work together, walk our dog together, eat together, watch TV together and sleep together. Only now, we are too often miles apart because our minds are on other things--the details of life. Sometimes we just look at one another before retiring at night and say, "I miss you." And whenever one of us says it, we both know what the other one means. Oh how I miss those early days in our relationship when life was such that "being" together came so naturally.

I'm not suggesting there's a problem with our relationship. You'd likely be sickened by how much Melissa and I are still in love, and how much we enjoy being together, even after 27 years (since she was 12 and I was 15). But if I lost her today, I know I'd regret working 12 hours a day and then too often thinking or talking about work during our walks, during dinner, or while watching TV. I'd rather just "be" with her in silence--I mean really BE with her, enjoying her presence and knowing she's enjoying mine.

I guess recognizing this is a step forward. But it's a difficult balance when you feel passionate about your work, when you feel compelled to accomplish what you came here to do. After all, we're not kids anymore. We can't erase the responsibilities, the passions and the stresses to the blank slate we had as children. I guess it can never really be the same. But a little awareness can certainly remind us to find greater balance. After all, it sure feels good thinking about those days. Who said we can't relive our past? I'm doing it in my mind right now.

Warmly, Bob Olson

APRIL 29 - MAY 13, 2006

Connecting With Your Soul Group

Last week, Melissa and I had such a great time at the I Can Do It seminar in Las Vegas, a seminar sponsored by Hay House publishing. We attended some enlightening workshops, met some famous authors, and connected with two people whom we believe will become long-time friends. It was the latter that we enjoyed the most.

When all is said and done, we'll forget 90 percent of what we learned in those workshops, the authors we met have probably already forgotten our names, but making new friends is like reconnecting with a part of yourself that was once lost. You feel it on a cellular level, not an intellectual level.

Surely you have felt this before. Somehow, somewhere, you met someone new, and instantly you felt a sense of trust and comfort with that person that is unusual, if not rare. How do we account for such connections?

I believe that we come to the physical plane from the spirit plane, where we existed among soul groups, like a family. The other souls in our group are so much more than friends; they are more like pieces of us, pieces of the whole. And as we reconnect with these souls here on earth, we know instantly that this person, this soul, is part of our group. We may not know it consciously, but we know it unconsciously. It is like an unexpected reunion.

I don't believe that just because we meet a member of our soul group that we have to be best buddies. We are all here for different purposes. Just because we cross paths doesn't mean that we need to hang out together all the time. But it's sure nice to feel that connection every once in awhile--in person, by phone or by email--because it reminds us of home, our true home in the spirit world. What a gift it is to reconnect with these soul family members, especially at those times when we start to feel a bit disconnected.

Warmly, Bob Olson

APRIL 22 - APRIL 29, 2006

The World Won't Stop

For the past 3 days, I've been sick: fever, achy muscles, headache, the gamut. It stopped me in my tracks. I got little to no work done. I'd been rolling like a locomotive for months. Then, BAM! I'm broken down on the side of the track.

It reminded me of when my father passed. The first thing I noticed when I walked outside of the hospital, only minutes after Dad's final breath, was that the world didn't miss a beat. The sun shined brightly. The birds sang joyfully. And people laughed across the parking lot. That is when I realized, at that surreal moment in time, that as important as we all are, the world will go on without us.

Maybe that's what sickness is, a brief reminder that we need to slow down and enjoy the journey, and not feel so darn self-important. Because if the world doesn't stop when our bodies do, it won't stop if we take a vacation, spend more time with our family, take up bicycle riding, or write that book we've been wanting to write.

Warmly, Bob Olson

APRIL 15 - APRIL 22
, 2006

The Brevity Of A Dog's Life

My 2 year old dog, Libby, has had a substantial effect on my life. Being a workaholic, I tend to work from 5 in the morning until 8 at night unless a UFO lands on my house. So I got a dog to break that cycle, and it's worked. Every day, Melissa and I exercise Libby by taking her for walks, taking her to swim at the beach, or taking her to Melissa's folk's house with their football-field front yard to play Frisbee or soccer. And while I do it out of love for her, caring for Libby has helped to balance my life with play, exercise and valuable time with Melissa.

Recently, having Libby got me thinking about how short a dog's life really is. A little research surprised me. The average medium-size dog can only realistically expect to live about 12 years, provided they can avoid cars and deadly illnesses. Compared to humans who now live an average of 85 years, a dog's life is only 1/7th the length of our lives. This means that in comparison to our lives, the equivalent of 1 year passes every 52 days for a dog, and the equivalent of 1 month passes every 4 to 5 days, and the equivalent of 1 week passes in only about a day. Hot diggity dog, that's a brief lifetime.

Recognizing this has made me realize that on those rare days when Libby doesn't get any play time, it's like she's not getting any exercise or play for an entire week. How sad is that?

My point? This week's blog is merely a reminder to all of us dog lovers out there that a dog's life is short, too short to be stuck in the house for a day, a week or a month. So let's do them a favor while also doing ourselves a favor and get outside for some play time. I know that more often than not taking that walk with Libby and Melissa is the best part of my day. And now that I realize just how important each and every day is to Libby, it makes it even more important to me.

Warmly, Bob Olson

APRIL 8 - APRIL 15, 2006

Happiness: Paved With Contradiction

I'm currently in the brainstorm phase of writing my next book. The subject is going to be Happiness. And I've realized that the road to happiness is paved with contradiction. 

On one hand, we need to learn how to be happy with our current circumstances. On the other hand, we need to never become complacent with our current circumstances, always striving for positive improvement. Hence, the contradiction.

In the first case, it's too easy for us to focus on what we are NOT happy with about our job, a certain relationship, or our body. But there are always aspects of these areas that we do appreciate. And by changing our focus onto what we like about our life, it allows us to experience happiness in the present moment, while still looking forward to positive improvement.

Otherwise, we say, "I'll be happy when I get another job, a new boyfriend, or when I drop 20 pounds." This delays our happiness until a future event occurs. Yet since we are always seeking to improve our lives, we run the risk of never being happy because we will always want something better (the happiness contradiction).

In the opposite case, we should never become complacent in our lives. Complacency leads to boredom and lack of passion. Imagine a golfer who never tried to improve his/her score. Isn't that the thrill of the game, constant improvement? Well, life is the same. If we are constantly seeking greater fulfillment and joy, then it helps us to look forward to the future while still being happy in the present moment.

Warmly, Bob Olson

APRIL 1 - APRIL 8, 2006

Spiritual Work Begins At Home

When I was growing up, there was a single mother with four children who was very devoted to her church. After work each day, she would go to her church to volunteer for whatever needed to be done. She was a lovely woman with loving intentions.

I knew this woman's four children. They lived in our neighborhood. Each child had the same middle name: Chaos. In the few years that I knew them, they were the talk of the neighborhood. Hearing the stories was like watching the daily news, frightful and sad.

To provide a glimpse: the teenage boy, a few years older than myself, found joy in killing cats. He once put a hit of acid in his 5-year-old sister's gumdrop, which she ate. And he eventually landed in jail for raping a girl. That was just one child.

One day, the priest pulled this lovely mother aside. He explained to her that he appreciated her help, but that if she truly wanted to serve God, she needed to stop coming to the church, go home to her family, and start spending more time with her children.

This story has always stayed with me. It helped me to realize, even as a teenager, that we don't need to go far to do spiritual work. Sometimes the best use of our time is spent right under our own roof.

Warmly, Bob Olson

MARCH 25 - APRIL 1, 2006

Beating The Blues

While Melissa and I walked our dog today on a beach near our home, I was feeling a bit blue. No reason for it, in particular, just one of those cloudy days.

Then I had a mental flashback of the past. I recalled joyful, childhood memories of watching television in my pajamas while eating grilled cheese and tomato soup in the living room. I watched shows like Mannix, Cannon and Barnaby Jones. A few years later, my favorites were Remington Steele, Magnum P.I. and Matt Houston.

I guess it's no surprise that I grew up to become a private investigator after college. (And some say TV doesn't affect young minds.)

Melissa and I spent the next hour reminiscing about our favorite childhood memories, many of which we shared together. By the time our walk was over, we felt all warm and fuzzy inside--it was an exercise that made us appreciate our past.

Why am I sharing this with you? Well, in a culture that seems bent on drudging up the horrors of our past and finding new reasons to blame our parents for our issues, I thought that we should also take time for the opposite. By taking moments to appreciate the good old days, it can really turn your day around. I felt so much better by the end of our walk. And that feeling lasted right through to the end of the day.

So the next time your feeling down, or don't have anything new to tell your therapist, start spouting off about that time your Dad took you fishing, or when you helped your Mom make chocolate chip cookies, or the moments you just hung out doing nothing but passing the time and laughing with your friends. It might not cure major depression, but it sure helped to push me through the blues.

Warmly, Bob Olson

MARCH 18 - MARCH 25, 2006

Life Can Change In A Second

Thursday morning, I brought Melissa her warm rice milk (yuk) in bed (she's recently given up her morning coffee).

She didn't hang out in bed for long before she made her way downstairs; but not before she grabbed the bathroom wastebasket (to empty) while still holding her coffee cup of rice milk. On her way down, her "chicks rule" pink slippers caught on the top stair, and Melissa toppled down like a bowling ball.

She never caught herself since her hands were both full. As if in slow motion, I watched her slam down from stair to stair, landing at the bottom like a Raggedy Anne doll--twisted and mangled.

I screamed like a scared little girl, as I raced to help her, dodging the bathroom trash and rice milk on my way down the stairway.

Melissa's fine, so she says, although she moans with every movement she makes. But I've had an awakening.

Life can change without warning. One second it's life as usual; the next second everything is different. Savor every moment of health and happiness. Take nothing for granted.

Warmly, Bob Olson

MARCH 11 - MARCH 18, 2006

Manifesting Morrison

Two weeks ago, I learned that  Van Morrison was playing a concert in Boston. I tried to get tickets without success.

On Monday, out of the blue, some friends, who had no idea I had searched for tickets and didn't even know we like Van Morrison, emailed to ask if we'd be interested in going to the Van Morrison concert because they had two free tickets they weren't using. We accepted.

Not only was the concert wonderful, we had those private box seats that protrude from the wall. If I purchased them from a ticket agency, they'd have cost more than $1000 for the pair.

I questioned if I had manifested these tickets or if it was mere coincidence. Then, during the week, OfSpirit.com received over 20 articles from writers all over the world on the subject of manifesting. We often get one or two, but not 20 in a week.

So I guess I got my answer. If you want to learn how to manifest what you want in life, read the article on manifesting in this week's magazine.

MARCH 4 - MARCH 11, 2006

Cool Stuff On The Web

This week, I'm going to tell you about some cool stuff I found on the Internet.

The first is an ebook titled "How To Be Happy" that I discovered quite accidentally. It's written by a guy named Michael Anthony, and the best news is that he charges absolutely nothing for it.

This is one of the best ebooks I've read, including those of which I've purchased for $30 to $80. I encourage you to check out his website and download the ebook. You'll be "happy" you did.

My second Internet find this week is a website by a company called Sounds True. What a great website! They offer audio programs from some of my favorite authors and teachers including, Eckhart Tolle, Carolyn Myss, Norman Shealy, Fred Alan Wolf, Ken Wilber, Andrew Weil, Pema Chodron, Thich Nhat Hanh, Candace Pert, Christiane Northrup and Gay Hendricks, to name just a few.

This company doesn't just provide audiobooks of best- sellers; you can find entire audio courses by these same authors.

~ Bob Olson

FEBRUARY 25 - MARCH 4, 2006

Responsibility Is Empowering

This week I want to talk about fear. You know, there was a fantastic book that hit the bestseller list a couple years ago titled, Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting. It explained how our thoughts and feelings affect what we attract into our lives. This was a hopeful, empowering book that I recommended to my closest friends.

A year later, the same author came out with a second book titled, Dear God! What's Happening To Us?, which taught readers that evil forces lurk in the Universe--leaving us powerless victims to their negative influence.

In my opinion, the late author's unexpected physical struggles were now in direct conflict with her first book, leaving her to write this second book to save face. And, also in my opinion, her resulting message in the second book borders on negligent to people who will take her words literally. It was so out of context to her first book that I was surprised the same publisher agreed to publish it.

Recently, I had a friend tell me about a website that claims the planet is being controlled by some negative force. They use war and hurricanes and tsunamis to back up their claims. Not surprisingly, my friend is also going through a difficult time in her life.

If I've learned anything from the thousands of articles we publish and the hundreds of authors and teachers I've learned from along the way, it is that we, as humans, have control over the lives we create. And when things begin to go sour, we need to take responsibility for our struggles because that mindset frees us to overcome our obstacles. 

Believing in evil forces that control our fate is entirely disempowering and destructive because it places responsibility for our lives in the hands of others, thereby taking that power away from us.

~ Bob Olson

FEBRUARY 18 - FEBRUARY 25, 2006

Simple Secret To Life

As an author and ghostwriter, a lot of people tell me that they're writing a book. In fact, many authors I know hear this from people all the time. Yet, sadly, few people ever finish the book they're writing.

I'm equally guilty. I, personally, have no problem writing books for other people, probably because they pay me to do it. But I don't do as well writing my own books.

Similarly, as OfSpirit.om editor, I live in a world of authors, teachers and gurus, all teaching their own techniques for personal and spiritual growth. Yet, all too often, the people who learn their techniques never actually apply what they've learned into their lives--again, me included.

If a child were to ask me today my definition of the secret to life, I think I'd tell them to make a commitment, take action, and follow through to the end with persistence. Then, once that is done, make a new commitment, take action, and follow through with persistence.

I don't think that people have difficulty making commitments. That's the easy part. I think that many of us stumble when it comes to taking action and following through with persistence. If we could just master those last two steps, I believe that more of us would look back on our life before our passing with greater fulfillment and less regret.

~ Bob Olson

FEBRUARY 11 - FEBRUARY 18, 2006

Two Blessings That Made Me Grateful

On Saturday, February 4th, Liam Joseph Murphy was born, Melissa's and my new nephew. So Melissa headed down to Connecticut from Maine on Monday to help her sister and enjoy the new blessing.

Having been together since our early teens (Melissa was actually only 12), our relationship has grown to where we are joined at the hip, as they say. We work together, play together and sleep together, often being separated only when one of us runs out to do errands or I have a business trip for a week, at most. My point being that when she left for this past week, I felt the void of her presence.

At one point, I was at my computer and looked up to see a photograph I'd taken of her during vacation. My heart moaned. Funny thing is that I look at this same photograph every day, yet no heart-moan. Then I realized that I got this same feeling whenever something else in the house reminded me of her absence.

My point isn't that I missed Melissa while she was gone (that's a given); my point is that her absence forced me to stop and think about her. Where I'd normally just walk downstairs and tell "her" I love her, I now could only sit and think to "myself" about how much she fills my heart and life. The difference is amazing.

So I thank the first blessing, my new nephew, for being the catalyst for my second blessing, this simple yet wonderful lesson: Take time to stop, think and appreciate those you love, often. It's like falling in love all over again. Happy Valentine's Day!

~ Bob Olson

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