I am Laina Orlando, founder of The Center for Awareness, LLC, author of The Power of Awareness (POA) Programs, and Awareness Coach. If you’ve found this site and are reading these words, chances are you are seeking for more out of life than what you are currently experiencing. I am thrilled and honored you stopped by and look forward to inspiring you to continue on your quest for fulfillment as I share with you my incredible transformation which began in the fall of 2002.
One of the scariest, but also the most liberating moments of my life was just after my teenage daughter last contemplated suicide. “Honey, I will miss you terribly, but I will honor your decision, because as a powerful being, only you can decide what to do with your life. I’ll certainly feel the pain of losing you, but I will choose to move on with my life,” I told her. Needless to say, she was pissed and, after a few choice words, didn’t speak to me for several days.
In that moment, I decided no one will ever be responsible for my happiness, nor would I give anyone the power to cause me to suffer. Within a few days she did thank me for showing her that living life fully, or not, is a choice we each make.
My life leading up to this event was an emotional roller coaster, I was out of balance, and dealing with my daughter was only the tip of the iceberg. My marriage of 16 years was unraveling, as we helped our adopted 8 year old son cope with the grief of losing his birth parents, who had succumbed to AIDS. On top of that, I was also trying my best to ensure that our 6 year old birth son wasn’t feeling ignored as his brother and sister’s crises took center stage. And my mother had just passed away. Talk about drama. But like a perfect suburban housewife I maintained my demeanor and didn’t let on that I was depressed, scared, empty, sad, and lonely inside.
Truth be told, I was relieved that my mom had died. In the final years of her life, she managed to instigate so much conflict in my family. But my relief at her death caused a burden of guilt to fall on my shoulders as I realized she was simply reacting to her own fears. My own emotional turmoil was excruciating. To avoid the pain, I unconsciously did what I’d been taught to do: do more for others and forget about myself. So I took on more volunteer commitments, switched careers from stay at home mom to real estate agent, and began renovating our house. I even turned to Tarot card readings and crystals, along with regular pitchers of Margaritas to escape the chaos. All I could think was “Oh shit, what about me?” How’s that for a desperate housewife?!
My life began to change when a friend suggested I attend a week long seminar where I learned that the “past does not exist.” What! So all of the drama I was trying to avoid didn’t even exist? I was crying over non-existent spilt milk! What’s up with that? What kind of joke was God playing on me?
That seminar opened my eyes to the peace that is available when we live in the "Now" moment. I discovered that I have the power to choose to create the life I desire, just as easily as I can choose to stay plugged into the drama of the past or fear of the future. This new way of thinking drew me into a search for spiritual and psychological answers. The more I discovered, the more I began to awaken from an unconscious slumber; I had been asleep at the wheel of life, and I didn’t even know it. And the further I went along the path of finding my True Self, the more knowledge I yearned for. I felt something was calling me forth and I had to seek where it was leading me to. I read hundreds of books, attended many courses, signed up for just about every workshop I could attend, and participated in numerous group discussions.
During this search, I thought I was learning, but I was actually unlearning most of what I knew about my self and humanity. My ego was losing its power over me and my heart was beginning to open. That, my friends, was when I began to confront my self, and was faced with the question “who the heck am I?” Well, I am a magnificent being.
Through this experience I discovered that compassion leads to forgiveness and forgiveness leads to inner peace. In this inner peace, during the summer of 2007, I reconnected with The Source of all that is, which some call God, and for the first time in my life I felt unconditional love. Through this Awakening, I experienced the greatest Aha! That ultimately I have a choice. I can either do life "all by myself" and work hard at controlling people and circumstances so I can feel happy, or I could simply surrender and let life happen so I can enjoy all the ways Source expresses itself, through people and circumstances that show up in our life. I discovered that the secret to happiness lies in understanding the mind and the purpose of the ego. With the power of this awareness, I recognized all of my suffering was a result of my simply being unconscious and ignorant to the Laws of Life. Awakening is simple but not easy. Its as simple as removing the masks of identities my ego constructed, but not easy because I had to dis-identify from who I thought I was, in order for my True Self to be born again.
Looking back, I wouldn’t trade a single moment of my spiritual journey because every step of it took me closer to finding my True Self. The toughest part, though, was going through this process alone. I didn’t have anyone who understood what I was going through, or who could explain to me what lie ahead. At times, when some of my identities began dissolving I felt as if I were going crazy. There were times I felt I was schizophrenic! It clearly would have been less frightening and less overwhelming had I known that all of my experiences were for a purpose.
Now, I am co-creating a magnificent life, full of rich relationships with my children, especially my precious daughter, my family, my friends, and my "wasband" (my former husband), Phillip. And I am attracting delicious new friendships along the way, too. I discovered that my life purpose is to share The Power of Awareness with those on a journey to their True Self. I am now enjoying a fabulous love affair with my beloved playmate, Ken; my health and wealth are on the upswing, and I Am One with the Source of all that is. My life is finally in balance and I know it because of the inner peace I'm experiencing. Sure, my ego shows up, and stirs up a little excitement now and then, but I know it is not who I am. And through the power of awareness I celebrate that I am awake and I deliberately choose to live from my heart instead of my head: from love instead of fear, as life is meant to be a precious journey for Source to experience its vast creation. And I am thrilled to be a curious explorer enjoying the delicious variety in which Source manifest itself! Life truly is fun and easy!
We are magnificent…Yes we are!
"It takes courage to grow up and become who you truly are."