Snow-Blind to Our Own Talents

~by Shannon Modrell

Are you snow-blind to your own talents?

In the 80’s my husband Brent worked for a family who owned a popular restaurant chain in Houston TX.  J.R., the man who trained Brent for his managerial position, taught him to start each day by walking the perimeter of the restaurant to look for anything amiss that might need to be addressed: an overlooked soda can sitting on a ledge, a board coming loose, dead flowers in the landscaping, etc.

He stressed the importance of seeing with fresh eyes each day because of our human tendency to get snowblind to those things that are in the environment that we become accustomed to. Brent jokes that after a few weeks of training he used to rib J.R. because he often caught things that even J.R. had overlooked.

This is a great analogy for what we tend to do with our talents and creative gifts.

We are often completely snow-blind to the true magnitude of our special gifts because we are so close to them.  They are so much a part of us and feel so normal to us that they just flat seem insignificant!

All my life I thought everyone could sing acappella because it came very naturally to me.  I sang to myself constantly and automatically everywhere I went: the grocery store, work, home, the mall – everywhere.  It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that people started commenting on how amazed they were that I could do this, always declaring “That’s such a hard thing to do!”  I would think “What on earth are they talking about?  It’s the easiest thing in the world – everyone can do this!”  Finally, after hearing it from enough people I started realizing that, no, not everyone could easily sing acappella.

But as much of a revelation as this was, I still thought that surely all singers could sing acappella.  After all, I was a singer, so I thought that must be why it came so easily to me and not everyone else.  But in time I found out that no, not all singers – even great singers – can sing acappella.  I’d always taken it for granted because it’s so much a part of who I am.  It took an outside perspective for me to see it as anything but an every day run-of-the-mill activity.  (Though I do maintain that everyone can sing if properly taught (yes, even you!), not everyone has the same set of abilities when it comes to singing – but that’s another article!)

I know a young man from a very chaotic and dysfunctional family – we’ll call him Steve.  Steve has never done well in school, has ADHD and struggles with severe depression.  Besides being quite intelligent and creative he also has the ability to see – literally see – complicated math problems and their solutions in his mind’s eye as if they are written out on a screen.  It comes so easily to him he doesn’t understand how others don’t see math as he does.  Low self esteem plus the ease in which it comes to him keep him from seeing it for what it is: a very special ability that not everyone has.

Another thing about Steve; he gets so focused on traits and abilities in others that he does not have, (good grades, good social skills, organization), that he is snow-blind to his own gifts.

Most of us do this with our own talents. Has someone ever expressed how impressed they are at an ability they see in you or with something you did and your immediate thought was “What?  There’s nothing special about that!  All I did was….”  Has it maybe happened several times throughout your life in regards to the same ability or set of abilities?  Or do people ever say “You’d make a good_____!” or “You’d be great at_______!” and you immediately wonder how in the world their judgment could be so off-base?

Is it at all possible that they are actually on to something?  Something you cannot see?

We all have multiple talents and abilities.  And I know – I KNOW – that all of us have talents and abilities that still lie dormant.  And they are often connected to those things we do every day and take completely for granted.

 It doesn’t even have to be anything grand or flashy – I know people who’s very being makes others feel comfortable just as they are. Whenever they are around, others just feel a sense of emotional safety and feel like they are accepted for who and what they are and that they can just be themselves.   That is a gift!  And it just emanates from them naturally without their doing anything!
So what are some of the things that come easily to you, things that you often don’t give a second thought?  Maybe even things you’ve done since childhood.
The next time someone comments on an ability they see in you and your first thought is “Are you crazy?!?”, what if you stepped back from that thought and considered that they just might be seeing the seeds of greatness within you….
In love and support

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  Nationally known award winning vocalist, composer and speaker Shannon Modrell travels the US singing music to Encourage, Empower and Inspire. Her one-of-a-kind performances receive standing ovations on stages at international conferences and holistic events from coast to coast.

If you want to be Encouraged, Empowered and Inspired to live the creative fire within you, sign up for  a FRE*E subscription to her ezine Gifted U by emailing .  Visit Shannon’s website at:


Can Celebration Change Your Life?

~by Shannon Modrell

Can celebration really change your life?

I answer this the same way I answer the question “Can art and music really change your life?” And that is: 
Imagine life without it!

Pretty Dull, huh?  Not a life I would want to live!  

But how often do we take the time to actually celbrate life’s momnets – espescially the small things?  By taking the time to celbrate our own life events we make a huge declaration to opurselves that says “I am worthy. I matter!’  

Besides, Celebration kicks up our endorphin levels!  

I read an article recently on a study about the number one strength-builder that long-term happily married couples had in common.  Several (I forget how many) happily married couples were studied for the secret of their long-term wedded success.

It wasn’t the quantity of things they had in common, the quality of their communication or the degree of grace with which they to weathered the storms of life together.    

The number one strength-builder that all of the happy couples had in common was the fact that they celebrated one another’s accomplishments!

Whether big or small, the act of taking the time to celebrate life’s events was a significant cause of their long term happiness with one another.

I’m convinced that the same holds true for our degree of happiness in life in general: if we will take the time to celebrate our achievements, our accomplishments, our milestones, we radically improve our own happiness.  When we know to the core of our being that we are worthy we not only begin to treat ourselves better and enjoy greater success in life, but we stop needing the world to reflect our worthiness back to us.  Our craving for “hole-in-the-soul-fillers” dissipates:


-external validation
-conspicuous consumption

 -the need to control others
-giving to get something in return
-chasing glory rather than being of service
-compulsive over-eating
-spendaholic shopping

All of these create a vicious cycle that demands more and more in order to give us temporary relief from feelings of unworthiness and dissatisfaction.

Am I saying that celebrating life’s little moments can cure someone of all these behaviors entirely? No, of course not.  But I know from personal experience and the experience of others that it’s a simple way to make a HUGE step in that direction!

So I support all of us in making it a priority to get in the habit of celebrating our accomplishments, no matter how large or small!  

Want to use this article in your Website or Blog?
Please Do! Just be sure to include this entire blurb with it:
Nationally acclaimed motivational singer and speaker Shannon Morell changes lives and mindsets by performing at international conferences, holistic events, plus Unity and UCSL churches.
If you want to be Inspired, Encouraged and Empowered to live the creative fire within you, sign up for  a FRE*E subscription to her ezine Gifted U by emailing .  Visit Shannon’s website at:

When Being Positive Doesn’t Work

~by Shannon Modrell

Those of us in the various positive thinking movements spend a lot of time looking for a way to find the upbeat side of everything. Armed with our affirmations we strive to stay optimistic through good and challenging times because we know that our thoughts determine our experience of the world.

But 21 years of trial and error with this stuff has taught me that, like anything else, there is a time and place for this approach, and that trying to use positive thinking as a panacea cure-all gets us out of balance in a hurry.

Don’t get me wrong, learning to turn negative thoughts into positive ones IS a very effective tool. If our negative emotions are the result of habituated negative thinking, then yes, replacing the negative thought with something more positive is a powerful way to interrupt that pattern. I believe this so much that I have built a career around writing songs that help people do that very thing.

However there are also times when negative outlooks and unhappy moments spring up from something much deeper than just negative thoughts, and trying to use affirmations to fix it is like slapping a band-aid on a festering wound.

Sometimes when we are feeling stuck or blue, it’s because we have some need that isn’t being met or some unresolved pain to grieve.

If we don’t take the time to find out what need is within us, or allow the pain to have a voice, we will continue to be miserable, no matter how many affirmations we slather on it.

(Actually, the need to grieve unresolved pain is – well, a need – so we’re really back to the first idea: some need within us is asking to be met)

Sometimes we need to stop focusing momentarily – on the positive and spend a little time with our shadow and be willing to temporarily feel some pain. This is how we give it an opportunity to move out (emote, e-motion) and be healed, which eventually brings us back to homeostasis: balance, peace and harmony. (I write songs that facilitate that process, too.)

Once we know what the need is, we can begin to take steps to fill it, THEN we can begin using all of our other tools of affirmation, visualization, focusing on gratitude, etc. to improve our direction.

And it’s important to remember that this is a process. I sometimes have to remind myself of this, too. It’s natural to want to avoid pain, but if we can allow ourselves to get quiet and listen to the needs our spirit is whispering to us, pain resolves itself more quickly and we are better able to use all of those wonderful tools that make for a blissful outlook on life.

 Peace and Blessings,


  Want to use this article in your Ezine or Website?
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Singer, Songwriter, Motivational Speaker Shannon Modrell changes lives and mindsets by performing transformational healing music at international conferences, holistic events, and at Unity and United Spiritual Centers all over the USA.
If you want to be inspired, encouraged and empowered to live the creative fire within you, you can sign up for a FREE
subscription to her Ezine Gifted U by emailing:
Visit Shannon’s Website at
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Guide to Navigating the Weirdness of Transition ~by Shannon Modrell

Did you sign up for a life of spiritual growth, conscious awareness, and all the unlimited joy that the path of divine evolution has to offer – only to find that there are times you feel like you’ve run smack into a brick wall? 

 You know, those days, weeks, or even months when  living the life of spiritual enlightenment feels like trudging through swamp water, leaving you to wonder “What am I doing wrong?”

 Truth is: even though unlimited joy IS available to us right here, right now, some bumps on the path of spirituality make you spill your proverbial coffee all over the pristine white slacks of your life   – sometimes it’s just plain messy! 

As a person who started on a self-actualizing journey at a very young age, I have been through more major transitions than many people go through in one lifetime.  I don’t say that as a mark of distinction, it’s just what I happened to sign up for.  As a result I’ve had to learn A LOT about how to navigate the sometimes murky waters of transition on the way to greater joy.  

The process of releasing old limiting mindsets in favor of new empowering mindsets (fundamental to spiritual growth) is a lot like a snake shedding an old skin.   Even when change is wanted, there is a grieving process of sorts to go through amidst the joy of the good experience.  But some transition periods are just downright painful, or can leave you feeling like a fish out of water with no way back in. 

Despite what some spiritual traditions teach, the journey of true enlightenment is not all rainbows and pink clouds of bliss floating over Never-Never Land.  Sometimes in order to grow the only way out is through.  And that means experiencing temporary pain.  But it’s what we do with that pain that affects how miserable or happy we are long-term. 

I’ll share with you the insights I’ve learned in order to navigate the unsettling weirdness that takes over during those times (and I saved the best for last). 

 Most of the insights amount to these 2 things:      

Listen to your own still small voice, and…

Become your own loving parent.

Here they are: 

Be gentle with yourself – especially in regard to negative self-talk:

Try to be patient with yourself.  You may be in a heightened state of vulnerability and negative self-talk is likely to bubble up to the surface during this time, sometimes to the point of crippling any ability to believe in your self at all.  If negative thoughts and feelings appear, try to breathe through them and remind yourself they are not real.  Believe it or not this brings one of the most powerful opportunities to release and heal painful self-limiting beliefs stored within us.  (My song “I AM Enough – Celtic Chant Version”  is designed to help with this)

 Avoid toxic people as much as possible

Transition time is a time of vulnerability.  Crazy-makers, critical people and people who frequently speak lack, doubt and limitation will only drag you down and help make your growth process a long slow crawl through unnecessary pain and reinforce false doubts.  Do whatever you must to avoid them as much as possible.  Make excuses if that helps. Screen calls.  Your sanity is worth it!

 Honor the need to rest

In her book This Time I Dance – Creating the Work You Love Tama Kieves wrote an entire chapter called “The Year of Sleeping Dangerously”. Why? Because times of transition and change often involves a great expenditure of energy, whether we feel it or not.  If you find yourself needing more rest than usual, honor that – your body’s wisdom will tell you what you need in anticipation of the next step in your journey.  Without enough rest we cannot be emotionally or mentally balanced, and this is especially important in times of transition.


In addition to honoring the need to rest, getting some exercise will also make a world of difference both in terms of the intensity of the experience, and its duration.  The exercise doesn’t have to be extreme: gentle walks through the park or your neighborhood may be enough.  Just set the intention that this period of exercise, whatever form it takes, is to be used to move energy through you and support you in healing.  You can even state a specific purpose such as: “I want this walk/jog/treadmill time to help me in releasing the belief that _______” – fill in the blank.  Also, listening to music with positive, affirmative messages while exercising helps you incorporate new empowering beliefs about yourself faster and at deeper levels.  

 Delay major decisions (if possible)

Times of transition can leave us feeling confused.  That’s natural because we’re shifting energies on many levels.  We just don’t always make the best decisions when it feels like the rug has been pulled out from under us.  I realize some major decisions cannot be postponed, such as taking a new job after the old one disappears, but if a major decision can be postponed, postpone it!.

 Eat nourishing food

There’s a definite connection between the physical, emotional, and mental parts of our being.  Eating foods that nurtures our physical body makes a huge difference in the intensity of our emotional and mental states.  IMPORTANT: Don’t beat yourself up for eating the bag of potato chips or chocolate chips because this will only make things worse, but do try to listen to the small still voice of wisdom planted in your body and let it tell you what it really wants in order to feel whole and healthy. (Hint: if you’re used to giving your body whatever junk it wants, it may take some practice to hear past the requests for more junk that vie for your attention, but eventually the truth will override these impulses)

 Organize and clear out clutter (as best you can)

Trying to do this during a transition time can be daunting, I know, especially if you’re in head-fog.  But if you can spend at least a little time and effort in creating order in your physical space, you will net  AT LEAST 3 major benefits:  1. Gets you out of the realm of emotion and into a left-brain activity; 2. Creates a distraction from the intensity of emotions and strengthens focus and clarity; 3. Helps move out old energy and creates space for new energy which translates to new experiences, new ideas, new ways of being.

 Breathe.  3 times.  Deeply.

This one tool may be the single most powerful you can use when in emotional intensity.  Slowly, breathe in and out, deeply, 3 times and just notice how dramatically different you feel!  Repeat as often as necessary 😉



Want to use this article in your website or blog?

Please do ! Just be sure to include this ENTIRE blurb with it:

 Nationally acclaimed Singer, Songwriter, Motivational Speaker Shannon Modrell changes lives and mindsets by performing transformational healing music at international conferences, holistic events, plus at Unity churches and United Centers for Spiritual Living . 

If you want to be inspired, encouraged and empowered

 to live the creative fire within you, you can sign up for a FREE subscription to her Ezine Gifted U by 

Visit Shannon Modrell’s  Website at

Want to read more articles like this one? Visit Shannon Modrell’s blog at