Growing Forward with the Seeds of an Extraordinary Life: Article
Updated: Mar 8, 2022
The ineffable seed We all contain an ever-renewing seed of the Divine (aka clarity, light, and love), so it is no wonder that we feel most alive when we nurture it – giving it water, air, and sunshine, and less alive when we block our resources. But isn’t it nice to know that nothing we do can ever kill that seed – it is ineffable, eternal; and every moment we turn our attention to even the smallest sliver of light or allow our body and mind time to sleep & rest, the seed is again renewed?
And even when that which contains the seed transforms and lets go of the animation of the vessel, the seed continues and blooms unto the heavens in all that exists – and in the hearts and minds of all who have witnessed its beauty and story… Sylvia Romano, aka Rev. Sylvianna, “Dolly,” "Auntie Mame," "Dee Merritt," Mom, was a true force of nature in every sense of the word; a personality that was so big that anyone within a 5 mile radius could not help but feel the magnitude of her being, so when she made her transition into pure energy and light, my soul experienced a seismic wave beyond anything I had ever known.
When she was in a state of joy, you would not find a more loving and generous human being who would willing share anything and everything she had – and her brilliant mind was akin to a living, breathing version of the Library of Alexandria; the consummate teacher, always bursting forth with new volumes, chapters, and pages to all who would simply but ask.
As a child growing up, I often found myself in awe of her – especially when she would speak or offer spiritual guidance to others, as so many of her words resonated at such a deep level, but even when disease changed her and fear became the driving force in her final years, she still would smile and sing along every time the song, “When You Wish Upon a Star,” would play – and would make a point to say, “This is my favorite song of all time.” Even when darkness clouded her vision in multiple ways, the fact that somehow, the seed of her true essence still found a way to hear the music of hope and possibility kept her essence alive in me.
Even now, as I sit here writing this article on a December evening during the first holiday season without her in 3D, and have moments of really feeling her “absence,” every time I shift my perspective to the presence of her love and the gifts she has brought to my life, I can’t help but feel a little lift in my soul knowing that her seed has, indeed, bloomed to full fruition unto the heavens and all that exists.
Sylvia’s Seeds of wisdom Though I know that there are not enough words in ANY language to be able to convey the enormity of her impact upon me, or to be able to fully catalogue everything I have learned and become as a result of sharing a lifetime of trips around the sun with her, I know for sure that my mom was, is - and I suspect will continue to be - MY ultimate LIFE coach. Indeed, much of my more recent personal evolution was the result of (what I liked to call) intensive “Jedi training sessions” with her (which truly did bring me to my knees at times), but now as I focus upon the core of her who always loved, always encouraged, and always “wished upon a star,” I see “behind the curtain” to the coach standing on the sidelines, smiling proudly, and shouting, “Yes!!!”, every time I would find a path onward, upward and forward to an upgraded version of ME. So on that note: Here is a small sampling of but a few of the powerful gifts her technicolor, high-def, unbridled spirit has given me. It is my hope and intention that some of these ideas ignite a spark of hope, possibility, and onward, upward & forward motion for you & your clients. 1. See your life clearly Like many women reaching adulthood in the late 1940s and 50s, my mom initially followed the path of wife and mother, but after years of feeling dependent and seeing unhealthy relationship patterns play out time and time again, she made a new decision to realize a life of total independence and to finally get to know who SHE truly was. As a result of her clear vision at that pivotal time, she focused on her education and career with a vengeance which then led to becoming the first in our family to achieve three incredible milestones; a Master’s degree in Nursing, a PhD in Divinity, and even (unheard-of in a traditional Italian family); becoming an ordained inter-faith minister.
Because of her willingness to see her life clearly and make new choices, my mom utterly transformed her life to one of true self-reliance and positive contribution. She realized a more confident, contented version of herself (which was always her potential), and the loving & progressive parent and gifted human being I had the joy of knowing. On a clear day you really CAN see forever.
What new choices, decisions or paths are your life experiences inviting you to embrace?
2. Wisdom is a verb One of my mom’s greatest joys came when she discovered her passion for teaching, and she especially loved her time facilitating CNA certification courses for multiple organizations, for which, she received countless gifts, awards, and praises from her graduating classes, and even a Lifetime Achievement award from the American Red Cross, one of the largest service organizations in the USA. Because mom had been a career nurse and worked “in the trenches” in ICU, CCU, and the Cardiac Catherization lab at the VA Medical Center in Brooklyn, her ability to convey practical knowledge to the next generation of healthcare professionals and do all she could to help struggling students succeed, was nothing short of legendary. Every time I unearth yet another letter, card, poem, or photo of my mom with her gushing students, I can’t help but feel so much pride in seeing how she proved that wisdom truly IS a verb.
What tools, knowledge or skills can you put into use to empower others and move your life and SELF onward, upward and forward?
3. Stay open to possibility and believe that miracles really CAN happen One of the things my mom used to say when we had no idea where or how a solution would come was, “God will provide.” And I have to say, even when times were hard, I never went without food, shelter, or anything that truly mattered – along with a few bonuses, upgrades and happy surprises…
When I was around 7 years old, my mom and I were cold, tired (and possibly even lost) in New York City on Christmas Eve – perhaps the only evening of the year that NYC would become quiet, due to virtually everything closing early (at least back then). As if out of nowhere, we caught a glimpse of a horse and buggy with a kind-looking driver who offered us a ride back to our hotel. “Thank God!”, we thought!
Not only did he get us back to our hotel safely, he also insisted upon taking the “scenic route,” which included going past THE magnificent St. Patrick’s cathedral! If that was not already gift enough, in true Christmas-miracle fashion, it began to snow! But the Universe still had one more bonus in store for us: When it was time to pay the driver, he refused and simply said, “Merry Christmas.”
Because my mom was open to possibility and believed that miracles really could happen, we were treated to one of THE most magical holiday moments of my life!
What new possibilities are YOU open to experiencing now and/or in the coming year?
4. Find the fun One winter, while living in Brooklyn, NY, I remember a time of making frequent visits to my favorite uncle’s spectacular home in neighboring Flatbush. While there, I’d get to enjoy a wonderful hot shower in a bathroom that looked like something out of a penthouse suite at Caesar’s palace, be “showered” with gifts of some kind, and even get treated to an incredible meal – often including lobster, filet mignon and the like. When back at home, most nights we’d have pizza for dinner (what mom & I came to call, “something different”), which was always a hit for this kid! While I was having a blast spending time with uncle Frankie and eating pizza ‘till my heart’s content, I barely noticed the fact that I needed a few extra blankets when not in our bedroom and used cold water to wash my face, hair, etc. (meaning that we did not have heat and hot water in winter in New York) or that we were struggling in any way. Even during a time of hardship, my mom found a way to turn a challenging time into a game: Like a real-life Mary Poppins, she found the fun and turned what could have been a darker chapter in our lives into something I’ve come to associate with HAPPY memories and, lo and behold, shortly thereafter, things got better, as they ALWAYS ultimately did.
What can you do to lighten up the energy or infuse your current situation with more fun?
5. Don’t let challenges stop you from living: Remember that love CAN find a way A very powerful message my mom shared with me in a lucid moment during her final days was, “Being afraid is not living – don’t waste your time here. There is no devil, only yourself. Fear is the enemy. Learn from my example.” My mom used to love to travel and learn new things, and had rightfully earned the nickname of “Dolly” and “Auntie Mame” because of her vivacious, adventurous spirit. Once she started listening more to fear and identifying passionately with the role of “victim,” she made her life smaller and smaller, ultimately creating (in her own words) a “self-imposed prison.” Yes, she had been through a LOT and had absolutely experienced real trauma, so she most certainly had her reasons, but her choice to listen to fear rather than seek out help to turn up the volume on love and the call of LIFE, robbed me of 10+ years of time that could have been spent traveling and savoring life with my amazing mom.
After months of hateful, angry words coming from the disease process that was, unfortunately in charge of her consciousness, I received a warm and loving voice mail that sounded like it was from my ACTUAL mom! I called her back immediately and sure enough, I got to have the most beautiful, healing conversation with her: She told me how sorry she was for ever saying or doing anything to hurt me or any of us (that the venom was not coming from the real version of her), and that she loved me with all her heart. It was the first time I had heard anything like that in years.
I then called my brother, who was still in the hospital at the time, shared the news of this incredible interaction with him, and encouraged him to call her ASAP, which, thankfully, he did, also coming away with much-needed loving words from our mother.
In addition, I felt compelled to reach out to my sister-in-law, Maria, who had experienced an extended strained-at-best relationship with her, and sure enough, when she called my mom, mom apologized for her behavior and for the first time in over a decade told Maria she loved her.
Astonishingly, only a couple of days later, mom tested positive for Covid-19 and in less than a week made the journey from her ALF to the ER, to the Covid isolation wing at Hospice, where she then passed in her sleep.
Even with all that was to come and the overwhelming noise of fear that had embedded itself in her psyche, somehow - and not a moment too soon – love STILL found a way.
What do YOU truly love and value that makes YOUR life worth living and what actions can you take to turn the volume up on love?
The bottom line: LIFE Coaching: Growing Forward with The Seeds of an Extraordinary Life What if getting to witness a life - with all of its peaks and valleys – is the ultimate coaching opportunity?
Life with my mom was indeed one of the most profound experiences of my life, for it showed me I can learn from, through, and WITH. There’s no doubt that I would not be the unique combination of elements that make me… well… ME, had I not had been a part of the challenges, stories, and experiences my mom & I created TOGETHER. She is, was and will forever be my “Rainbow Connection”; the embodiment of a true celebration of color, beauty, and magic; borne of the alchemy of both intense contrast and magnificent light…
…Ah, but aren’t the richest, fullest, best lives that truly DO move us onward, upward, and forward, always filled with rainbows?
Thank you, mom, for allowing me to bear witness to the seed that was, is, and always will be YOU, and for the seeds of love, independence, creativity, strength, vision, and wonder you nurtured within ME.
Here’s to creating and allowing a bright, beautiful new year, to the power of LIFE Coaching, and to the knowing that we and others truly CAN grow FORWARD with the seeds of an extraordinary life.
Now THAT’S what I call living. Life. On. FIRE. To get to "meet" the amazing woman who inspired so much of what I do, click here for mom's celebration of life video, visit this link: https://youtu.be/aufDUTaT8YE This article was originally published and featured in the January 2022 issue of Transformation Coaching Magazine. For more inspiring articles by our great team of contributors, visit: https://www.transformationmag.com/