Monday, November 29, 2010

Let Yourself Go!

I love fall. Every year I imagine feeling the cool, crisp autumn air on my face and gazing at trees as they burst into glorious colors of red, orange and gold. This is not an easy feat as Arizona is as apt to be warm than not – even in November. Most of the leaves turn brown, not gold, and fall onto the ground without fanfare.

But this year was different. My spouse, CB, and I decided to go to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum with the two grandchildren, Rosannah and Briannah. The girls are pretty young (3 and 19 months respectively) but I knew they would enjoy an excursion. We drove the 45 minutes to the arboretum and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. Once we were at our destination we saw golden leaves of Aspen, the red leaves of the Pistachio trees, as well as the sights, smells and sounds of autumn.

I make frequent trips to this site, but this time it was the most beautiful I have ever seen it. Of course it was even more special because CB and I were sharing it with the girls.

We navigated through the hilly terrain (it’s hilly if you are pushing two tykes in a double stroller), as well as over bridges and a narrow pathway alongside a stream. It was gorgeous. Once we arrived home my daughter asked her girls what her favorite part of the trip was. Her answer was not of beautiful sites (although she did talk about a beautiful house that we thought looked like a castle and had the possibility of a princess living there.)

Rosannah was excited that she peed in the potty. The toilet training has been a bit slow, but this was a significant feat because she has never used a public toilet before. Try saying “Pee pee in the public potty” five times fast. But I digress.

The fact is most of us get a shot of self esteem when we accomplish something significant. The temperature was deliciously cool, the air fragrant and the colors magnificent, but the one thing that Rosannah accomplished on her own was the potty peeing procedure.

Now most of you reading this are not going to brag about going to the bathroom by yourself. It’s something we take for granted (except when camping when I thank the heavens for flushing commodes.) But this was a new experience for my 3-year-old granddaughter.

So I have a challenge for all of you. I propose you go on a negativity diet and bolster your self esteem by eliminating some negativity from your life. This is no small matter. Reducing your negativity can increase your happiness and improve your health. Why? Consider this.

• The average person has 40,000 to 65,000 thoughts a day and 95% of those thoughts are negative.

• Developing a happier mindset can increase chemical reactions that can calm anxiety, relieve depression, promote alertness and increase enjoyment.

• Happy people are 35% less likely to get a cold and produce 50% more antibodies in response to flu vaccines than the average person.

• Individuals who score high on happiness and optimism scale have reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension and infections.

• People who maintain a good sense of humor (an indication of inner happiness) outlive those who don’t. No wonder so many comedians live well into their 80s and 90s.

In our book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within, we offer tips on how to erase negativity from your life. I will also be writing more about the subject in future blogs.

If you haven’t had a chance to buy the book, it’s available on Amazon, or by contacting me through the blog, or emailing

So don’t hang onto that negativity any longer. Be like Rosannah and enjoy the feeling of letting yourself “go” and sending the stinky stuff into the toilet where it belongs.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Please Pass Some Love with those Mashed Potatos

I received a comment about my blog from someone I never met in Sydney Australia. She came across one of my earlier posts called “Laser Beams of Love” that I also released as a free online article. It still astounds me how the small actions we do can have an effect on others – whether we interact with them on a regular basis, or a chance encounter via cyberspace.

She wrote:
I randomly came across this post on google. The part where the little girl put your hand to her heart was amazing. I have two beautiful children and they are also a wonderful reminder of this miracle we call life. Thank you so much for sharing. This story really touched my heart.
Sydney, Australia

One of the reasons I decided to become a writer is I wanted to make a positive difference in the world. While I did my best as a mother, daughter, friend, co-worker and wife, I still had a burning desire to create a positive difference for people I may never meet. Hearing from Tara was one example of how my dream is coming true.

For those of you who read my blog on a regular basis, you know that helping others is the reason I co-wrote my newly released self-help book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within. I wanted to reach out in a different way and share stories, as well as a little advice, on how to defeat negativity and enjoy life.

I gave my first talk and book signing last week on “Coping with Negative Relatives during the Holidays” at Mystic Moon Bookstore in Scottsdale. The event was put together quickly to coincide with my first TV appearance on ABC’s Sonoran Living. There was a $10 fee for the class and we needed a minimum of 3 people for the show to go on. In these tough financial times I wasn’t sure I would be able to pull it off. I’m not well known yet and I have been exhausting my friends, family and facebook network to support me. I jokingly say most of my friends and family would rather pay $10 to shut me up than to listen to me talk!

However, nine folks came through for me and the show did go on. They also supported me further by purchasing copies of the book, as well as some additional items from Mystic Moon Bookstore. Using my critical analysis I know that the TV segment and the talk were good efforts, but not perfect. I have my homework cut out for me. I know I will improve.

But that is not the point.

During the talk, and the TV show, I knew I was living my dream to create a happier niche in the world. However, it wasn’t a one-way street. Others were energetically sending me support as well (even though they may not have been aware of it.) Like the article I wrote in “Laser Beams of Love” I felt a reciprocal surge of loving energy from the process. And not only human to human, I felt something more mystical, as if the universe were assisting the process as well. Both experiences had a magical quality to them. At least for me.

Probably all encounters, even those we consider mundane, can have a magical result. We just need to elevate our minds and open our hearts to the experience.

Which brings me to my final point.

Next week is Thanksgiving. Many of us will have the opportunity to dine with family and friends for a special once-a-year meal. Many look forward to this event with anticipation – some with dread. And I confess, in my life I have approached this holiday with both mindsets.

My advice for this pre holiday event is to try to take a moment and find the love in your heart and send those laser beams of love out to those around you – especially those who annoy you. While we might not think so now, there will come a time when they are out of our lives and we will miss them. And more importantly, we do not want to miss the opportunity to summon up a little love and shine a little light in the world.

Happy Thanksgiving,


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Grouchy Relatives Beware!

Grouchy relatives beware.

Sally Marks, author of the self-improvement book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within will give a talk, “How to Cope with Grouchy Relatives During the Holidays” and sign copies of her book 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 17 at Mystic Moon Bookstore, 7119 E. Mercer Lane in Scottsdale.

The fee is $10 per person for those who prepay and $15 at the door. Following the interactive talk Marks will sign copies of her book. Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within is available at the bookstore for $12.99.

“Grouchy relatives can be a burden during the holidays, but there are few simple tips that can help restore family harmony,” said Marks, an Arizona native and public relations expert. “The book is also a great holiday present.”

Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within is a practical guide on how to reduce negativity and embrace happiness. From meth addicts to multi-millionaires, the book offers powerful experiences of individuals who have faced dramatic challenges, but did not lose hope. Using these compelling biographies, as well as practical advice and simple exercises, the reader is guided on an internal journey toward adopting a more joyful way to live.

Mystic Moon Bookstore is a New Age store that specializes in New Age books, CD’s and music, over 36 varieties of incense, Tarot Card decks, smudge sticks, crystals, jewelry, small ceremony bags and much more. For a calendar of events or more information visit or call 480-443-0136.

For more information about Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within and Author Sally Marks, call Marks Public Relations at 480-664-3004.

An added note: I know this is shameless self promotion, but this, after all, my blog. I hope a few of you will see this and attend. I'll probably have a new item to write about after the talk.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hope Springs Eternal for Rejected Author

I attended a Buddhist meeting last month and was asked to give an experience about having my book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within, published. I have practiced Buddhism for 22 years and I’ve experienced a lot of benefits and personal growth, but the one area where I seemed to be falling short was in my lifelong dream to be a great writer.

I’m not a total slouch. I’ve won some awards, had articles published and even made a living in the writing world through my public relations firm, Marks Public Relations, but I have yet to sell a screenplay (although there are two movies out right now that bear remarkable similarities to two of my scripts) and I haven’t had a book on the best seller list.

However, I’m a stubborn and persistent woman. Every time I received a rejection I sent out three more queries in retaliation. When I ran out of publishing companies and agents, I contacted a few again with a slightly different letter. However, even the optimistic and perseverant have to change the game plan when it’s not working.

I decided to self publish and market the book myself.

If I must say so myself, I’m a darn good publicist. I write convincing copy with creative hooks, I have a plethora of media contacts and I never burn a bridge. I also have a passion for the message I’m trying to convey. Still, things were not happening for me. I expected a gusher, and all I was getting were little drips of publicity.

Then I studied to take a study exam based on the principles of my Buddhist practice. I’m pretty sure I passed, but I still think I missed a couple questions. So I decided to review it. One part stood out.
“A passage in the Six Paramitas Sutra says to become the master of your mind rather than let your mind master you.”

In the study guide it said: “Becoming the master of one’s mind ultimately means basing oneself on the unwavering foundation of the law.”
Bottom line, for SGI Buddhist practitioners, that means “basing ourselves on the Gohonzon and Nichiren’s writings.” Hmmm. I was basing my life’s work on the writing and law of journalism and publicity, not Nichiren Daishonin.

It was time to change course. I didn’t ignore my journalism training. Instead I put my Buddhist training first by chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo to elevate my life condition. My goal was to produce a result that would encourage others (and myself.)

At first, things went slowly. I called businesses to see if they would carry my book. One decided to carry it on consignment. Not the result I was hoping for. I had already sent out press releases and dropped my book off at the Phoenix TV stations. One, then two rejections came. In the meantime I wrote a story about feeling grumpy and stressed and how to overcome it. This was a bit ironic as I was feeling a bit grumpy and stressed myself, but I kept plugging away. And with my new determination to put my spiritual principles first and my secular training second, there was a big shift in the universe.

I submitted my feeling grumpy and stressed article to Diva Toolbox. Within hours the story was picked up by More Magazine’s online magazine. It was my first national exposure! Woohoo! A few minutes later I got an email from ABC’s Sonoran Living on channel 15 in Arizona asking me to be on their morning show on Nov. 10 to talk about erasing negativity and my book. A few minutes after that I received an email from an Arizona Republic reporter. She said the newspaper didn’t do book reviews, but if I could do an event, like a talk or a book signing, and as long as it was in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley or the Northeast Valley, they would do a story.
I emailed the one bookstore in Scottsdale, Mystic Moon Bookstore, that is carrying my book and asked if I could give a talk. She had just had a cancellation and I had my pick of two dates – Nov. 10 or Nov. 17. We decided to go with Nov. 17 and I’m going to talk about “How to Deal with Negative Relatives During the Holidays” and sell and sign copies of my book. I was ecstatic!

Finally, with all this potential publicity coming, I contacted one of my clients and told them I would be on the news and would they carry my book. They have 4 schools in Arizona and 17 in other states. My little drips of success were turning into a gusher.
I’ve practiced Buddhism for 22 years, so it’s not that I don’t know I should chant first, then take action. But I’m human. I know it’s better to be a master of your mind than vice versa. But sometimes we need to be reminded.

Believe it or not, sometimes I reread my own book to remind me to maintain an optimistic outlook by erasing the negativity that wants to sneak in when I’m not looking.

Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within is not a best seller yet, but I know it’s on its way. And those of you who know me, or read this blog, can help me. Please spread the word about the book.

And no matter what you do in life, pursue your passion and never, ever, ever give up. Once you do, there will be no chance of success. But as long as you plug away, you are one step closer to turning your little drips of success into a full blown gusher. Remember this great saying and apply it to your life like I do for mine: “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.”

Monday, November 1, 2010

Young in Mind and Chocolate

Yesterday was Halloween. We had scores of witches, bumble bees, ghouls and princesses trick or treat their way through the neighborhood. My spouse, CB, had considered handing out boxes of raisins as a healthier treat, but I was afraid the kids would seek vengeance and string toilet paper on our palo verde tree.

It’s ironic how something as innocent as considering the health of the little tykes could potentially backfire. However, mostly I remember how I felt when I was a kid and went out trick or treating and someone gave us a healthy snack. I didn’t vandalize their house, but I did resent it. My motto was “bring on the chocolate!” Actually, this motto still stands true today.

However, even though we try to be health conscious (with occasional lapses) we opted for distributing good sized bags of M&Ms. Not a nutritious choice, but I think our chocolate-inspired decision helps ingratiate us with the kids in the neighborhood.

My reasoning is not logical. Good nutrition is important and I know it. When the grandkids come over I feed them yogurt, vegetables and fruit. But on Halloween I make an exception. Part of this is nostalgic. My sister, Tina, now lives in my childhood home and on my numerous visits to the old neighborhood I pass by the homes I walked past as a kid. I can’t remember how to calculate fractions, but I can still remember who gave out the best treats for Halloween, who gave us apples, and who turned off their lights and pretended not to be at home.

Now that I’m older, I have a lot of friends who go out on Halloween so they don’t have to deal with the trick or treaters who come a-knocking. I think this avoidance tactic is sad. Some of my fondest memories as a child were dressing up and parading up and down the street with my siblings and friends. It was a rare person who didn’t stay home to pass out candy. Now I would guess nearly half of the folks in my neighborhood refuse to participate.

I’m sure folks have their reasons and I certainly shouldn’t judge. However, I can’t help but wonder if they have forgotten what it’s like to be young. I am no exception. The day after Halloween (today) I had softball practice. We’ve had it for several weeks, but because of work and other obligations I haven’t been able to go. It’s still hot in sunny Arizona so practice begins early. I am not morning person.

When I received the email about practice I wanted to blow it off again. Then my team mate Connie, who I haven’t seen in months, called me on the phone. Hearing her voice made me realize how much I miss playing and socializing with my softball chums. I got out to the diamond and it was like old times. I haven’t played in a few months so I’ve gotten a bit rusty, but it was just fun to be out there again.

Which brings me to the morale of the story (and yes, I always seem to have one.) Whether I’m handing out candy to the trick or treaters or trying to snag a grounder at second base, I not only remember what it’s like to be young when I am doing things I enjoy – I AM young again.

In my book Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within, Kimberly Kingsley discusses the importance of doing work you love and engaging in activities that energize and delight you. Here are a few tips from chapter 11.

•Find your passion in life, develop it and share it with the world.
•The positive energy you create from your expressions of love, gratitude and kindness will reverberate throughout the universe in the same way that a small pebble thrown into the middle of a still pond can send ripples across the water.

So my advice is to not become a grouch before your time. Find something you love and do it until you drop.

If you need a little help erasing negativity, be sure to pick up a copy of my book through Amazon. If you live in Arizona you can also purchase it at Mystic Moon Bookstore in Scottsdale or through the website. Or just contact me at and I’ll point you in the right direction on how to Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within.