Wednesday , October 21 2020

All About Town – The Source of Confidence

Ana MatosThe Flowering Heart Center

Wheaton, Illinois – June 13, 2018

If we are lucky, most of us have two families: the one we were born with and another that we choose!

Ana Matos, Theresa Puskar and Kristin Panek

About seven years ago, I began to pray, setting an intention to find a nearby community where I could completely and fully be my authentic self. While I had created a mom’s group and was a part of several local clubs, in most cases, I did not feel safe to speak my emotional and spiritual truth. Most conversations felt shallow and often empty; they did not feed my soul. Fast-forward a year, as is so often the case, this magnificent universe responded with The Flowering Heart Center. I have to say that I am so grateful for the center. Becoming a part of this rich, supportive and conscious community has changed my life in so many wonderful ways!

For the past six years, upon each arrival at the center, I am greeted with a warm and heartfelt, “Welcome home” by co-founder, Frank Panek. After all of these years, especially with my family of origin living in Canada, I have to say that I never tire of his greeting. The Flowering Heart Center community has literally become my second family. I deeply appreciate the courageous step that Kristin and Frank Panek took to create it. After years of success in the business world, they left the safety of their careers to start the center. They opened the doors of their home to all, as just about all events were held there. While their home became our home, they sacrificed a great deal to open their doors to the public. I’m excited to announce that they recently opened a new center in Wheaton, just off Butterfield and Naperville Roads. As I entered the space for the very first time, I was overcome with awe and amazement. At the main wall as you enter, a massive piece of art that Wendy Allen created for the center welcomes you. It reflects the radiance and light that energetically emanates throughout this sacred space. It is exquisite and encapsulates the Panek’s commitment towards the flowering of the hearts of those who are privileged enough to be a part of the community.

Your confidence is not diminished by anything or anyone outside of yourself. Only your inner critic thwarts it. The good news is that you can silence that critic!

Frank and Kristin Panek

The first guest that they welcomed to the new center was Ana Matos. The subject of her workshop was “The Source of Confidence.” Like Kristin, Ana has had a great deal of instruction, introspection and inspiration at the O&O Academy (formerly known as the Oneness University). The evening started with a physical warmup, followed by a discussion on the Source of Confidence and two processes to help us silence our inner critics.

Is the true source of your confidence financial abundance, power, good looks or health; or does it come from within?

As I wrote my solo show, I realized that while I strive to be a spiritual being having a human experience, I often find myself caught up in the superficial “stuff” of my life. Would I like not to care about what I see staring back at me in my mirror? Absolutely! Would I prefer not to get caught up in lack and scarcity consciousness and stop worrying about finances in my life? You bet! However, the reality is that more often than not, I do care about them. In fact, I frequently find myself spending way too much time worrying about them.

“Being on a constant ego trip, reminding yourself and others about your greatness is not confidence!” — Preethaji, O&O Academy

Truth be told, I look forward to the day when I no longer find myself led by my ego and feel the need to promote myself to the world. Life can be so complicated. On the one hand, as I contemplate this massive universe, I know that I am but a grain of sand compared to its magnificence. On the other hand, each of us has a wondrous soul and affects this great universe in our own unique way. Each of us is a hero on our own epic journey of self-discovery.

Ana shared that there are two ways in which our inner critics show up in our lives. First, it exaggerates all that is wrong, dark or foolish in us; it doesn’t allow us to see our value. Second, it gives us the perception that others are mocking us, gossiping about us or have a poor perception of us. In response, we most often become “people-pleasers” and spend so much of our time focused on fear, hurt and mistrust.

The inner critic can make us feel that what we experienced in our reactivity (mistrust, paranoia, etc.) was real.

Ana took us through two meditations. The longer one was a brain detox meditation, where we were guided through a process to release the disappointments of our lives. She also took us through a shorter meditation that assisted us in working towards silencing our inner critics. The potent reprogramming message in this meditation was, “I see myself as I am – neither better nor worse. I am at peace being me.” What struck me about this meditation was the phrase, “neither better nor worse.” In reciting it to myself, I realize that the ego plays a powerful game of having us see ourselves as “better than” or “worse than”. Both are traps that get us stuck in competitiveness and comparison – games we can never win!

As the evening came to an end, we all gathered for our usual warm cup of tea, a couple of pieces of delicious, decadent chocolate and a chat. Each time I leave the Flowering Heart Center, I am on a natural high. As I opened my car door, I asked myself, “Where else in the world do I find my physical, mental and soul-self filled and even raised to a higher vibration with every visit?” Nowhere else! When I feel alone or isolated, or when I am going through those “dark night” moments, I know that my Flowering Heart family is there for me. They “get” me and have supported me through thick and thin. In fact, they will be hosting upcoming performances of my solo show, Beauty, Bollywood and Beyond on Sunday, July 15, 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.; Friday, August 17, 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.; and Sunday, September 9, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. (show), 2:30 -5:30 p.m. (corresponding workshop.) They are also co-hosting an exciting event that you might be interested in as a member of our conscious community. The Ekam World Peace Festival will be held on August 19. To learn more about the Flowering Heart Center and their many events, go to

Theresa Puskar is an author, performer, minister, inspirational speaker and motivational audiobook producer. With over 25 years of experience in media and communications, she has worn many hats in the industry. She is the author of the “Terri” children’s book series, which focus on a variety of emotional and social development issues for children, ages 5 to 9. She has received accolades for her recent autobiographical solo show, Beauty, Bollywood and Beyond and looks forward to performing it throughout Chicagoland this summer and in New York in October. A powerful inspirational speaker and transition leader, Theresa edu-tains her audiences, by touching hearts and minds in a way that is engaging, joyful and life affirming. For more information, visit

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