Shana Stein Faulhaber.jpg

I find myself frequently in the position to discuss people’s life decisions. It’s part and parcel of my chosen career, but also one of the subjects that to my heart is near and dear. Have you ever thought about how those split second choices or happenstances could impact the very course of your entire life?

In the late 1990s a movie was released titled “Sliding Doors”. The main character, played by Gwenyth Paltrow, either catches or doesn’t catch a train on one particular, seemingly ordinary day. The movie then splits and you follow her simultaneously down both tracks – what her life would turn out like by catching the train, and what would happen if she didn’t.

It’s a cool movie to be certain, but the message has left a lasting impression. It’s something that I think of and reference somewhat often – how the little things can have a big impact.

So frequently it’s the people, places, and things in our life that chart a course, which then sets the tone for our days, weeks, or years. For that reason it’s of the upmost importance that we make those choices with intention and mindfulness, and not just succumb or settle for whatever is most lazily laid before us.

People: Do you settle for being treated as less than in your relationships? Do you focus on finding people with shared interests? Do you go out of your way to make someone else’s day? Is there a balance between the give and take? Do you forgive and forget – or do you forgive and learn the lesson? Do you remember to consider yourself as one of the people in your life, or do you tend to play an extra in your own movie called LIFE?

By thinking about the people around us, we can learn to surround ourselves with people whose vision aligns with our own. We can custom tailor to a certain extent our life experience in order that we can then fill it to the brim with growth and enjoyment. We can create healthy boundaries with others whose energy tends to dim our bulb. In doing so, we show others how to treat us, and thus one another. Making the world just a little bit nicer, one interaction at a time.

Places: Do you keep your spaces uncluttered and clean? Do you know how to find your things? Is there a sacred intentionality in your daily routine? Do you hang around in spots that raise your vibration and lend to your empowerment? Do you spend enough time outdoors or do you primarily dwell in artificial lighting with the shades drawn and wonder why you feel bummed?

When we proactively seek positive environments, we can raise our own energetic vibration and create a ripple that has lasting effects. It’s scientifically proven that we require sunshine, which is why in the winter certain folks are prone to seasonal affect disorder, otherwise known as SAD. Treatments even include light therapy to mimic the sun’s rays. Whatever we hang around tends to rub off, so it’s important to find positive places with which to spend your time.

Things: There’s a saying that the things we own wind up owning us. Do you cling to things of the past out of a fear that you might forget? Or maybe one day you’ll need that thing that you haven’t used in a decade. Maybe you will. Could you give it away anyways?

Even things contain energy. By allowing possessions to flow effortlessly we create a currency that is a full circuit. A friend once analogized that money is like bread (some folks even call it that). There’s only so much you can use and then it goes stale. She suggested that if I wanted more that I should give more. There’s much to extrapolate there.

Indeed the people, places, and things of our life make up a substantial part of our experience. This week let’s contemplate where we can perhaps show a little more gratitude, and maybe where we need to loosen the reigns, or perhaps even let go entirely.


Shana Stein Faulhaber is a criminal defense attorney with offices in Athens and Corsicana and can be reached via email at

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