Is There Such Thing as Luck?

When it comes to luck, you make your own.”

Bruce Springsteen
 

When I was little, I remember spending hours combing the grass for a four leaf clover. According to tradition, the four leaf clover is said to bring good luck. And who can’t use a little bit of luck, right?fourleafclover

Luck of the Irish is a phrase which is generally thought to mean “extreme good fortune.” But as noted on mentalfloss.com, the term is not of an Irish origin but American according to Edward T. O’Donnell, an Associate Professor of History at Holy Cross College and author of 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Irish American History.

“During the gold and silver rush years in the second half of the 19th century, a number of the most famous and successful miners were of Irish and Irish American birth. . . .Over time this association of the Irish with mining fortunes led to the expression ‘luck of the Irish.’ Of course, it carried with it a certain tone of derision, as if to say, only by sheer luck, as opposed to brains, could these fools succeed.”

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches us, many wonder if there is actually such thing as luck. Some say there is no such thing as luck and everything can be chalked up to taking chances in life. Still others say some people are just lucky. Let me give you some examples.

When I was working on my book, Visits from Heaven, I happened to contact ARE Press in Virginia Beach, VA, for reprint permission. When I did, they expressed interest in the book and asked me to submit a book proposal. They liked my book proposal and the rest is history. When some people heard this, they said I got lucky. But did I?

It was my book proposal that sold my book. I spent a long time researching evidential afterlife communication and interviewed some of the top experts in the field. So I don’t think it was luck in this case. I worked hard and it was noticed.

However, what you don’t see are the many rejection letters that I received on the way to final acceptance. One of my favorite quotes by Author Brian Tracy is “I’ve found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active.  Show up more often.”  So I kept pushing and showing up.  I believed in my book and wouldn’t quit.

It had more to do with my determination than luck. That doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in luck.  On the night that I met my husband John, it was freezing and icy outside.  My friend Sara showed up at my apartment wanting me to go out.  I did not want to go out.  I was comfy in my sweatpants and had no interest in braving the icy roads.

She persisted, however, and I ended up relenting. That night, I met my wonderful husband John.  So if you ask me, that night was due to a bit of luck.  But had I not decided to go out, I obviously would not have met John.

The point I’m making here is actions determine outcomes. If you want something, you have to make it happen.

What about the neighbor who won the lottery twice? You might say what a lucky guy he is! I mean who wins twice? The person who keeps taking chances and playing the lottery.  If you play, there’s always a chance you’ll win.  Although the probability of success may be miniscule, it’s still greater than zero.  The odds will always be greater when you at least try.

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WHAT GOES AROUND, COMES AROUND

“Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world.”
Wayne Dyer

We’ve all heard the popular wise sayings, you reap what you sow and what goes around, comes around. Growing up my mother was a bit more frank with me. She’d say things like, “You better be careful what you say and do because it might come back to bite you in the ass.” This was just her way of saying you get back whatever you put out thands-1150073__340here in the universe.

But how true is this? Today, I went to my local Shoprite to do my weekly food shopping.  Rain fell in the damp air outside as I shopped.  As many of you know, I had surgery on my right Achilles tendon in April 2016.  I’m still recovering and the pain seems to worsen whenever the weather is rainy.  Today was no different and, honestly, I could not wait to go home, take some Advil, and put my feet up.

As I was in the checkout line, the cashier was chatting with the boy who was bagging my groceries. She explained that after 13 years of marriage she was getting divorced.  I could clearly see how upset she was but didn’t say anything at first.  But then she went on to say that she had been both verbally and physically abused by her husband.  “Everyone told me I deserved better,” she said.  “My friends would tell me that I was a beautiful woman and shouldn’t take that from anyone.”

Sensing how upset she was, I couldn’t resist the urge to talk to her.   “Excuse me, I couldn’t help but overhear what you were just saying,” I said.  “Yes, you are a beautiful woman and, no, you don’t deserve that.  No one deserves to be abused.”

I’m sure the other customers who were waiting in line were not happy with me at this point but I continued. I told this woman about a friend of mine who was in an unhappy marriage for a long time.  I went on to repeat to her what I had also told my friend, “It’s not over until you say it’s over.”

She nodded in agreement as a smile warmed her face. “You will find the happiness you so desperately want but you have to first let go of toxic relationships,” I added.  “When you let go of all the bad, you will make room for all the good.”

I’m proud of you, I told her. She looked at me seemingly stunned by my words and reached forward to take my hand.  “Thank you,” she told me.  “I really needed to hear that.  People don’t usually listen to me like that.  Thank you so much.”

I said goodbye and made my way out of the store. When I reached my car, the rain continued to fall and so did the pain in my leg.  I’m guessing I was limping a little more than usual.  Suddenly, a woman came up behind me.

“Here,” she told me, “let me help you.” I looked at her a bit dazed as she helped me put the rest of my bags in my trunk.  Then she quickly took my cart and walked it over to the holding station for me. “Thank you,” I said.  “That was very nice of you.”

I got in my car thinking of the kindness this woman just showed me. It made my day a little brighter despite the dreary weather and ache in my leg.

The Law of Attraction is one of 12 Universal Laws. The law basically states that like attracts like.  Our thoughts, words and actions give off energy which, in turn, attracts like energy. So, in other words, you will harvest whatever you plant in this world. If you want good, you have to do good.

Today, I witnessed the truth of this law. I helped a stranger and, in turn, a stranger helped me.  I begin and end this blog with one of my favorite quotes by Wayne Dyer, “Loving people live in a loving world.  Hostile people live in a hostile world.  Same world.”

True, same world. One world. The choice is ours.  Why wouldn’t anyone choose love?

BE WHO YOU ARE

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something. Neil Gaiman

The Disney cable network decided to offer a free month of movies. Yesterday, my family and I opted to watch the Disney classic Aladdin.  In the 1992 film, a street urchin named Aladdin happens to meet a beautiful girl (Jasmine) who has run away from home.  The two become fast friends and fall in love.  But when Aladdin realizes that Jasmine is actually a princess in disguise he understands that he is not worthy of her.

3_wishes_by_kevomacWhen Aladdin later comes in contact with a magic lamp, he is told by a Genie that he has three wishes. Thinking it over, Aladdin’s first wish is to be made a prince so he can then marry Princess Jasmine. But in the end, Aladdin’s true identity is exposed.

The Genie then tells Aladdin that he has one final wish left and can be made a prince once again in order to marry the princess. But Aladdin decides to keep his promise and free the Genie with his third wish instead feeling that he cannot continue to pretend to be someone he’s not, not even for the love of his life.

This movie may be a Disney animated classic. But it’s not only legendary for the story.  More importantly, it’s legendary for its simple, yet timeless message.  Always be who you are. In the end, as in the movie, true love will prevail.

But if the message is simple why is it so hard for us to be true to ourselves? There are several reasons.  For starters, maybe you are in denial and really don’t know who you are and what you want. Maybe you are still trying to find yourself.

As in the case of Aladdin, most times we deny who we are in favor of acceptance. Think about it. How many times have you denied who you are, how many times have you buried your true feelings deep within in order to satisfy or please someone else?  How many times have you kept quiet for fear of being ridiculed?

Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, said it perfectly when he noted, “Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive—the risk to be alive and express what we really are.”

We all crave acceptance. We all want to fit in.  But we shouldn’t have to lose ourselves in order to get there.  In a society that is constantly trying to make us something we’re not, it has become increasingly difficult to be true to ourselves.  For many, it’s a constant struggle.

Being who we are means having the courage to turn a deaf ear to what others expect of us and tuning into what we expect of ourselves. It means reaching within and being totally honest with ourselves.  It means not only being aware of but also listening to our deepest desires and being true to our own personal values.

By the end of the movie, Aladdin’s three wishes are granted by the Genie. They are:

  1. Make me a prince.
  2. Save my life and
  3. I wish for your freedom.

Likewise, I wish for your freedom. The freedom to just be you.

Call a Christmas Truce

“You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.”

Joyce Meyer

World War I was one of the most brutal wars ever fought.  Beginning on July 28, 1914 and ending on November 11, 1918, the war claimed more than 9 million lives and wounded another 21 million.  Soldiers for the most part fought the war in trenches and the area in between both sides was known as no-man’s land.

During the weeks leading up to Christmas in 1914, German and British troops began shouting Christmas greetings at one another.  By the time Christmas Eve came, solders on both sides began singing Christmas carols and soon staged an unofficial truce as many met face to face.  Some German and British soldiers exchanged gifts while others played football.  Roughly 100,000 soldiers were involved in the truce along the Western Front. In some areas, the truce lasted until Christmas Day but in others it reportedly lasted until New Year’s Day.

The following year, commanders on both sides forbade collaboration as many continued to fight a war they did not want to fight.  Over the years, this legendary ceasefire has become known as the Christmas Truce. Historians have noted that it was the close proximity of the trenches that made the truce possible as both sought peace during the holiday season.

Many suffered from shell shock and post-traumatic stress due to all the horrific traumas brought on by the war.  Today, 102 years later, we are luckily not in the midst of a world war.  But for many the holidays are a time of heightened stress and anxiety.  For some the holidays are a reminder of all we have to be grateful for but for others it is a reminder of what is missing in their lives.  Still others fall somewhere in between.

2016ericaandliabemerry

My daughters, Erica (left) and Lia Varga

Regardless of where you may fall or how you feel about the holiday season, I’d like to propose a Christmas truce.  In 1914, soldiers decided to let go of grudges and all the pain of a senseless war and instead focus on brotherhood and the spirit of Christmas.

Let’s face it we’ve all been hurt.  We’ve all been wronged in one way or another by the people who mean the most to us.  But this Christmas, give yourself the gift of forgiveness and let go of all the grudges.  Call a Christmas truce.  This is not always easy, I know.  But what most people don’t realize is that forgiveness helps the forgiver more than the wrongdoer.  It doesn’t mean that you are saying what they did is OK.  It doesn’t mean that you are condoning the act.  It means that you will no longer give the wrongdoer control.  Rather than focus on the negative and be miserable, you choose to instead let go and focus on the positives in your life.  Here are some tips on how to do just that:

  1. BE HONEST.  You can’t let go of ill feelings if you are in denial.  Be honest and recognize what you are feeling.
  2. MAKE A “POSITIVE THOUGHTS” LIST.  Write down some of the things you have to grateful for in your life.  No matter what is going and no matter how bad things may seem, you can always find something to be grateful for.
  3. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO MAKE YOU HAPPY.  Spend time with the family and friends who bring out the best in you.  If you have no choice (such as family gatherings) and have to be in the company of negative people or those that I call “soul suckers,” try to limit the time you spend with them.
  4. ACCEPT THAT WHICH YOU CANNOT CHANGE. Accept what is and let go of what isn’t.  In other words, don’t dwell on the negatives and the things that can never be.
  5. LOVE YOURSELF.  You can never find peace and happiness until you love and accept yourself.  In my book, Make Up Your Mind to Be Happy, best-selling author and happiness expert, Debbie Gisonni, explains, “If you accept and love yourself, you’ll naturally be at peace inside. Peace enables you to respect others beliefs, even when they’re different than your own, or walk away from arguments.    Next time you’re around that one relative that always pushes your buttons, don’t argue with them, don’t disagree…just let them be.

Just yesterday I went to the mall and came across a sign that read “Be happy.  It makes the haters miserable.”  It brought a smile to my face as I thought about the unfortunate truth to those words.  Honestly, though, the only person who can make you happy is you.  Likewise, the only person who can make you unhappy is you.

It makes no difference what is going on around you and all the difference what is going on inside you.  What you focus on—both good and bad—expands.  So this holiday season, call a truce.  Focus on the positives, let go of the negatives and be merry.

Wishing you all a joyous holiday season!

A Heavenly Thank You

 “Those who love never truly leave us, Harry.  There are things that death cannot touch.”

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter

deanstuart-2

Figure 1: Josie Varga, Dean Foy, Stuart James & Holly Seeger

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a séance with two English mediums, Stuart James and Dean Foy.  The event was co-sponsored by Rosemary Ellen Guiley, a leading expert in the paranormal and the author of several best-selling books.

James and Foy went around the room doing gallery-type readings and then a séance followed.  The highlight of the evening for me is what happened at the end.  Rosemary came up to me and told me that Stuart wanted a word with me.

I walked over to him and we found a somewhat private area to chat.  He began the conversation by telling me that he had a personal message for me.  “I have a man who passed on 9/11 with a message for you.  Do you understand this?”

Honestly, I was stunned and thought maybe I had misunderstood so I asked him to repeat himself.  Again, he said, “I have man here who passed on 9/11.  Do you understand this?”

For those of you who may not know, my career writing about spiritual phenomena and my book, Visits from Heaven, began because of a lucid dream I had in which my husband’s friend who passed on 9/11 came to me with a message for his wife.  I had never met Rich or his family yet I knew it was him and the message was later validated by his family.  The experience shook me to the core and changed my life leading me to write my books.

So as Stuart was saying this to me last week I could hardly believe what I was hearing.  I told him, however, that I did understand.  He went on to tell me that this man wanted to thank me and let me know how proud he was of me and everything that I am doing.  “He wants me to remind you that you have been led to do what you are doing.  And he said he is excited about the show.”

I was dumbfounded as I listened.  Truthfully, my encounter with Rich can be found in my books and online.  So the story is public knowledge.  However, these mediums are from England and were not given the names of anyone in attendance prior to the event.

Suddenly, Stuart looked at me and told me to wait there because he had something to show me.  He went over to retrieve his IPad out of his bag and came back over to me as he pulled up a screen.  “Here, look at this,” he told me.    He explained that two weeks prior to the event he had meditated and asked any spirit who had a message for someone who would be in attendance to come forward. He showed me his notes from that day.  His notes read something like, “Man from 9/11 wishes to say thank you.”

I stared at his notes speechless for a few seconds.  He went on to explain that as the other medium (Dean Foy) was speaking, Rich came to him and said, “Don’t forget to tell her that I said thank you.”  Stuart said that Rich then pointed me out to him in the group.  This is how he knew exactly who I was and was able to have Rosemary approach me at the end.

Another highlight of the evening was a message that I received from Dean Foy.  He walked up to about three people seated in a circle and said, “I have a private message for you, you and you.  Please see me afterwards.”  I was one of the three.

Dean told me that he had a message from my spirit guide or angel.  He said, “I’m being told that in July you are going to be faced with a big decision.  You are going to have an opportunity.  I getting the first two weeks of July.  Don’t rush and say, yes; give it some thought first.”

Having heard this, I wondered if this meant that it was not a good thing.  Dean, however, told me that all was good.  He said perhaps I was going to receive a better offer and that’s why I was being told not to rush into things.  He told me that the opportunity would affect me both on a personal and professional level.  He thought it might have something to do with the Visits from Heaven show.

Over the past few years, I have been working with Producer Holly Seeger on a television pilot based on my book, Visits from Heaven.  It has been a long journey but things are finally coming to completion.  So, obviously, I was very happy to hear both Stuart and Dean reference the show.

One interesting thing thseance42at I’d like to mention here is that I wasn’t sure if I could attend the event.  My oldest daughter plays volleyball and this was playoff season.

By the time, I told Rosemary that I could attend, the event had already been sold out.

Figure 2: Joe Redmiles, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Josie Varga & Holly Seeger 

Rosemary, however, graciously called the host for me and my husband and I were able to attend.  So while I might not have been sure if I was going to be able to attend last week, Rich already knew that I would be there.

WHEN DO THEY MOST OFTEN COMMUNICATE?

It takes a great deal of energy for our deceased loved ones to get messages to us in the physical realm.  It is easiest for them to contact us when we are not easily distracted which is one of the reasons why they most often come to us in our dream state.

They also communicate with us during both happy and difficult times.  When they were here on this Earth, they would be there for us.  It is no different now.  They still want to wish us a Happy Birthday or acknowledge a special occasion.  And they still want to be there for us during hard times.   And much like Rich did last week, they will reach out to us with specific messages.

People are always asking me if their loved ones can see them in the shower or having sex.  Can our loved ones see us in the shower?  Yes, they can.  Can our loved ones see us having sex?  Yes, of course, they can.  But they don’t care about those things the way that they did when they were in the flesh.  And they won’t want to or care to violate our privacy.   And if they do happen to see us in the shower, they don’t judge us. It’s just normal human behavior and they understand that.

The thing to remember here is that our deceased loved ones are still very much a part of our lives.  As this surprise message from Rich clearly shows, our deceased loved ones are aware of everything going on in our lives.  And when that day comes when we too shall pass, we will meet again, our love unbroken, as though nothing has changed.

This is not the first time that my husband’s friend Rich has come through to thank me.  While I deeply appreciate his gratitude, I must be honest.  I’m the one who owes him all of my thanks and gratitude.  If it weren’t for his initial visit from heaven, I would certainly not be where I am today.  I have no doubt—as Rich reminded me—that I was led to do what I do.  Truthfully, I don’t know if my work will ever be done but, for now, at least I know it’s started.

Death is Just a Comma

“Love is how you stay alive, even after you are gone.” ― Mitch Albom

Death it is said is a painful reminder that life is just too short. While this is true death is also more importantly, in my opinion, a reminder that nothing is stronger than the bonds of love. As Thomas Campbell once said, “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”

neverendingcommaTrue. But I would take this a step further and say that love also lives on in the spirit of our loved ones on the other side of the veil. Love is not just an emotion you feel, it is a connection you have with someone else. This connection is unending. It’s always there.

Sure, after someone dies, things change. We can no longer see our loved ones in the physical as we always did. But it does not mean they are not still there in spirit. Recently, my sister in law Shari lost her mother after a long battle with cancer. Her brother flew home from Florida to be there with his mother but she passed shortly before he arrived.

Of course, he was very upset as he wanted to be there with his mother. But I reminded him that now his mother can be with him no matter where he is. Once our loved ones pass, they can still hear us; they can still see us, and they communicate with us in many ways to let us know that they are still around. Have you ever wondered what makes this afterlife communication possible? The never-ending love makes it possible; that connection that we shared on earth and continue to share in the hereafter. That bond of love we shared here on earth remains intact.

Scientists have long discovered that everything in the universe is energy. The computer you are looking at, the chair you’re sitting on, the trees outside . . . everything! This also includes our thoughts, our love for one another and the human body. Quantum mechanics has clearly shown that what we perceive as physical is actually not physical at all.

At the forefront of quantum theory was a Danish physicist named Niels Bohr. “If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet,” he once noted. “Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.”

Bohr, for example, made fundamental contributions to our current-day understanding of the configuration of an atom. Atoms it was discovered are actually composed of vortices of energy that are always vibrating and spinning. If you break down the human body you will find atoms. And if you zoom in on the atom under a microscope through these vortices of energy, you would see nothing. Simply put, atoms are made up of invisible or unseen energy, not physical matter.

This is so incredibly astounding when it comes to understanding how the afterlife or visits from heaven are even possible.  Quantum entanglement, for example, is a phenomenon which shows that although we perceive the world and everything in it to be separate, we are actually connected.  Several studies have shown that although particles can be any distance apart, even across the solar system from each other, they are still linked together.  This was referred to as “spooky action at a distance” by Albert Einstein.

Even though our deceased loved may appear to be gone, they are very much still here.  This entanglement or connection if you will is always there.  Many prominent modern-day researchers believe that the concept of quantum mechanics actually proves the existence of an afterlife.

Former head of the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich, Dr. Hans-Peter Durr, stated, “”What we consider the here and now, this world, it is actually just the material level that is comprehensible. The beyond is an infinite reality that is much bigger. Which this world is rooted in. In this way, our lives in this plane of existence are encompassed, surrounded, by the afterworld already… The body dies but the spiritual quantum field continues. In this way, I am immortal.”*

We are all so much more than we appear to be. What we perceive as our material reality is actually not material but spiritual. So simply put, since energy can never be created or destroyed, it always is and always will be. As Durr put it, we are immortal.

Death, then, is a continuation not an end. Death is like a comma but instead of connecting two phrases or words it connects the here with the hereafter.

Recently, I was asked if I believed afterlife communication is real and, if so, how is it even possible.  In answer to the first question, yes, it is absolutely real.  I would not have written my initial book on the topic, Visits from Heaven/4th Dimension Press, if I didn’t truly believe it.  This blog represents my attempt to answer the second question as simply as I could and explain how such communication is scientifically possible.

I once read that death ends a life, not a relationship. I both agree and disagree. Death will never end a relationship or bond between two people. But it doesn’t really end a life either. Death is just a comma in the never ending run-on sentence of life.

*https://www.outerplaces.com/science/item/4518-physicists-claim-that-consciousness-lives-in-quantum-state-after-death

lillianThis blog is dedicated in loving memory of Lillian Merlo Bartlett.  Lillian, you will forever be in our hearts as we will forever be with your spirit.

 

 

 

 

 

“There Can’t Be a God”

“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.”

J.R.R.Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Thkeepthefaithe other day my daughter Lia hurried over to the kitchen table where my husband and I were enjoying our morning coffee.  She handed me her cell phone saying, “Mom, please talk to Talia.”  I had no idea what she was talking about and asked her why I had to talk to her friend.  “You’ll see, Mom.  Just talk to her.”

I took the phone from my daughter.  “Hello, Talia (not her real name).  Is everything OK?”  I could hear her hesitation for a few seconds on the other end.

“Mrs. Varga, there can’t be a God,” she told me.  “My dad is dying and now I may have torn my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament).  All these bad things are happening to me and my family.  Why would God allow all these bad things to happen?”

Talia’s thinking is not uncommon.  If an all-loving God exist, He would not allow bad things to happen.  Bad things happen.  Evil does exist.  Therefore, there must be no God.

Understanding her frustration, I took a deep breath wanting to choose my words carefully.  “Talia, I know you and your family are hurting right now.  But just because bad things happen does not mean there isn’t a God.  I know you are angry but I also know you don’t really believe there isn’t a God.”

I could tell Talia was holding back tears at this point and to be honest I wanted to cry right along with her.

“You can’t lose your faith,” I told her.  “Without faith, what do you have?  During times like this you need to hang on to your faith even more.  God is all loving.  God does not make bad things happen.  He allows it but He does not create it.”

I can unequivocally say that my faith has carried me through tough, painful times in my life. But this same faith has also been challenged many times. It’s hard not to let your faith waiver under the pressure of all the immense suffering in this world. It’s hard not to let your trust in a Higher Power waiver when we are hurting and in pain. But it is in these times that we need to trust Him more. We need to tighten the grip of our faith, not loosen it.

Again, God is all loving. Love is our true essence and purpose. In order for us to experience this love, we must have free will. There must be choice in love. If we are not given a choice to love or not to love, then it’s not real. And unfortunately, with that choice and with that free will, comes pain and suffering.

Think about it for a moment. With the gift of life comes many trials and with those trials come many lessons. There is a lesson in every experience if we are willing to listen. Through hurt, pain and betrayal, we learn humility, patience, forgiveness, strength, compassion and acceptance.

I honestly don’t know if my words got through to Talia that morning but I wanted to share this story with all of you. I hope you will use it to remember in both good times and in bad to always keep the faith. The sun forever rises after the darkness of the night. And what a beautiful sight it is to witness the sunrise.