From the category archives:

Connection to Source

woman power

Did you ever notice how different you are when you feel empowered vs. helpless? You know the emotions are different, and as a result, you think different, act different, be different. It’s energizing, invigorating, even inspiring.

Such empowered moments are, of course, when you most easily manifest what you want. You take the risks necessary to make leaps; throw caution to the wind; keep going on the adrenaline rush alone.

You’re invincible.

Inevitably we come down from the high and settle back into neutral, often still energized into action, though, with things generally rolling along. Then something doesn’t quite go as planned, and the doubt creeps in. It’s a slippery slope from invincibility to impotence, but we’ve all succumbed at one point or another to feeling powerless. Other people make choices that permanently change our lives, and even the most confident of us can get stuck feeling victimized.

Whether due to historical precedent, culture or biology (and maybe all three) women seem to have a harder time than men reclaiming their power after a downward spiral. After riding my own emotional roller coaster this year between confidence and doubt, abundance and lack, invincibility and fear, I had to ask why. Why powerful one day, [click to continue…]

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Being Yourself

Once upon a time, a luminous energetic being (you) was born into the body of a human baby. As disorienting as the process was, it felt miraculous. In those first few moments of your life as a person you had no self-awareness. You were simply being.

As the initial days and weeks of your life on Earth passed, you experienced the limitations and demands of your human body. It needed sustenance every few hours. It needed rest in the form of sleep. And it absolutely loved to be touched, held, spoken and sang to by other humans much bigger than you.

After a few months, you became dimly aware that you had some sort of identity – a label you heard people referring to as a “name”, a “gender”, and an “age” or some combination thereof. Soon you began to associate these labels with yourself.

Years passed, and for most of them you joyously lived in the moment. There was so much to explore on Planet Earth! So many [click to continue…]

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My $100 for Charity Water

The Newmark Theater was packed for the closing session of the second annual World Domination Summit early July in Portland, Oregon. As I glanced around me it was clear every one of the exactly one thousand seats was filled. After final speaker J.D. Roth presented, Chris Guillebeau took the stage to deliver the official send-off.

I tuned-out for a bit as he recapped the brief history of the World Domination Summit (WDS), newly minted but a year prior, and much unlike its name having more to do with conscious evolution, world peace, individual courage and “love domination” than what most people tend to associate with the words “world domination”. Guillebeau, a writer, blogger, entrepreneur and traveler extraordinaire, had created the event to unite nonconformists like him passionate about living a remarkable life in a conventional world.

He wildly succeeded, doubling the event in size from 500 to 1,000 people between its inaugural run in 2011 and its second time out in 2012. While he continued recapping the opportunities that had arisen and the many additional decisions that needed to be made in planning the second WDS, at which I sat, he began to tell the story of an anonymous donor. Despite being approached by numerous corporations, organizations and individuals alike, Chris and his team had made a firm decision that WDS would be entirely sponsor-free: no big brands, no speaker pitches, no logo fests; you get the idea. Despite knowing that, an individual wishing to remain anonymous had approached Chris and insisted on giving him $100,000 to use toward WDS 2012 in the way Chris deemed best with no expectations in return.

By then I was fully tuned back in, paying sharp attention to Chris’ story and beginning to notice murmurs throughout the audience, like the woman next to me gasping, then choking up in tears, muttering “Oh my god” under her breath in [click to continue…]

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Can you receive the gifts of the season?
Creative Commons License photo credit: Theodore Scott

A Cautionary Tale

First, a little holiday story:

You’d have to be blind not to notice it was the largest present under the tree.  He had wrapped it as best he could, but still the bright paper and gaudy bow made it stand out like a flashy hotel on the Vegas Strip compared to the other gifts.

She couldn’t help but wonder what it could be; wonder or dread, she wasn’t sure which was the more accurate feeling. He hadn’t been much of a gift giver in the past, at least not the recent past.

For a second, she fondly remembered the precious gifts of jewelry he’d given her in the early years of their marriage. Nothing extravagant (they couldn’t afford it), yet the sapphire earrings and matching bracelet had been thoughtfully selected, delicate and tasteful, wrapped in small pretty packages. She also recalled the silver and gold bracelet (a custom creation by one of her favorite artists that she wore almost daily) he’d surprised her with one Valentine’s Day after seeing her covet it in the shop window at Christmas.

It had been years since he’d given her anything like that.

This was clearly not jewelry, judging by the size of the box. She pictured small kitchen appliances that might fit the bill. Maybe it was a toaster oven, a slow-cooker, or an ice cream maker. In any case, ick, ick and ick.

She worried he spent too much money. Maybe after so much time away from gift shopping and giving he was now trying to redeem himself by over-compensating. Hmmm . . . if it was a big-ticket item, she wondered what kind of dent this might put in their vacation budget for the year . . .

Worse yet, it was probably something he thought she’d love but didn’t have the slightest need or desire for. Proof of how little he knew her now, or cared to.

She sighed, thinking this was the year their marriage might finally reach the last straw.  Maybe she should just go ahead and file for divorce  – get t over with and get on with her life before she was stuck for good in what (judging by the mounting evidence) seemed a passionless, lifeless relationship.

***

He watched her, eying his gift, with childlike anticipation.  He couldn’t wait for her to open it, to see he was finally giving her what he’d so often held back but knew she always wanted.

A few months ago, after yet another long-haul business trip to Asia, he realized how withdrawn they’d both become from each other. His frequent travel was usually manageable, but the cumulative effect of so many years of it was now unmistakably taking its toll on not only her, but him.

He was tired of feeling disconnected from – well, practically everything except his job – coming and going and popping in and out of what was supposed to be his life so often that there was now almost zero continuity to his relationships with family and friends. He could see that every time he left, his wife and two boys seemed to get by better and better without him. The boys were big enough to really help around the house now, even mowing the lawn and washing the cars once a week.

So right after Thanksgiving, rather than scouring the Black Friday sales for some luxury handbag she might like or getting her the usual spa gift card he robotically produced every year, he began preparing his new Christmas gift for his wife.  He’d made his decision.  This year, he would give her his whole heart, all his love, without holding back.

He gathered his love into a bright, shiny nebula of brilliance.  He added a significant and steady amount of companionship in the form of long walks on the beach, a vacation without the kids, and weekly dinner dates alone. He blended a healthy dose of passion, sex and romance into the mix, and finally completed his creation with gratitude, appreciation, and respect – all the long-held feelings of his now open heart that he’d been meaning to share but found it so difficult to express.  When he was done, his creation was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen – so beautiful he almost hated to have to box and wrap it.

Just thinking about it again brought tears to his eyes now as he caught her inquisitive gaze, clearly trying to figure out what was in the box.

* * *

To Give is Divine, but It’s Not the Whole Story

What little we know of life’s gifts. How limited we are to receive them. Yet, how much we need them and can flourish from them if only we could be truly open to receiving.

In this holiday season, so focused on giving and gifting, I say it’s high time we learn to receive.

Does that strike you as funny? That we have to [click to continue…]

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Holiday Survival Guide to Staying Spiritually Centered
Creative Commons License photo credit: seantoyer

To say holiday family gatherings can be challenging is a gross understatement.  Take attendant seasonal stress, combine with deeply-ingrained behavior patterns rearing their ugly heads, mix in a few triggering personalities, a smattering of cultural conditioning, and finally toss in forced togetherness with people you might see (and begrudgingly at that) just once a year, and we’ve plenty to deal with right there.

Add a desire to express your spirituality, or moreover, share your enthusiasm over a spiritual awakening into this mix and it can be like throwing gasoline on a burning yuletide flame.

I don’t want to paint too bleak a picture or lapse into dysfunctional family stereotyping (easy as it would be to go there). Of course, not all families are dysfunctional nor geographically and emotionally disconnected. Yet the fact remains that family members estranged by time or distance often come home to roost at the holidays, making for uncommon interactions between people who don’t see one another on a regular basis.  The holidays also involve more socializing than other times of the year do, and much of it happens in contexts that are ripe for confrontation, judgment, and argument.

If you’re newer to spiritual exploration, and especially if you’ve had a sudden and distinct spiritual awakening (as I did) religious holidays like Christmas and Chanukah and their ritual celebrations offer both challenge and opportunity, with more than [click to continue…]

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Bamboo Grove at Morkami Gardens

This time of year, much of the northern hemisphere grows cold. Often the change in climate makes it easy for our hearts to grow cold too. We contract our bodies to stay warm, add extra layers to insulate ourselves. If we’re not mindful, our emotional bodies will mimic our physical bodies until we’re tucked tight in our cocoons, aptly-shelled until spring’s thaw.

For those of us living in the northern hemisphere, it’s certainly fitting that we celebrate heart-opening holidays like Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas and Kwanzaa during the darkest, coldest season of our year.

Then again, some of us get a free pass. Since I live in south Florida, this time of year marks the boundary between our wet and dry seasons, a welcome transition from balmy, moist sultry summers to cool, crisp delightfully sunny winters. It’s as if the season of heat gives birth to the season of light, both of which I resonate with and cherish deeply.

It Wasn’t Always This Way

Before seven years ago I lived in Chicago (“up north” as we call it down here). Back then this time of year felt [click to continue…]

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Coffee - yum!
Creative Commons License photo credit: Ambernectar 13

Another parable (author unknown) landed in my inbox recently, and I feel it’s pithy enough to share.  Called “Carrots, Eggs and Coffee” here it is:

Carrots, Eggs and Coffee

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up.  She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.

Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what you see.” [click to continue…]

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Feeling aliveCreative Commons License photo credit: Kazz.0

Much is being made of today’s date, 11-11-11. Elevens are not new to me, since for the past four to five years I’ve been seeing them all over the place – on digital clocks, parking spaces, hotel rooms I’m randomly assigned, phone numbers – you name it.  I normally wake up at least once each night and it’s almost always at 2:11 or 3:11 or 1:22 or – you get the idea. I see 11’s when I glance at the digital clock on my iPhone, in my car, or on my alarm clock far more often as a percentage of the total times I look at the clock per hour than is normal, considering there are sixty numerals that could appear.

You can read more about the 11 phenomenon here, but for now suffice it to say today is as good a day as any, and probably a better day than most, for this post.

My last post expressed an unexpected but potent ethereal longing for a return to source – the place both beyond and from which our known world emanates.  Today I’m inspired to express a longing quite the opposite, and hopefully, to inspire it in you.

There are times we all want to escape the day-to-day reality of our three dimensional experience, but most of these times are not a soul’s longing for source.  Most of our escape fantasies are the result of a disconnect from the here and now rather than a deep connect with spirit. Most desires to opt-out occur because at the moment we have them, we’re not really living. We’re just going through the motions, killing time before we die.  Many are, in fact, already dead and just don’t know it.

So before you really do die, I want you to really live.

Ask Yourself: When Do I Feel Most Alive?

“Really living” is a relative term, of course, meaning different things to different people. For the cyber-junkie spending 12 hours a day in front of a screen, “really living” might mean having a social face-to-face interaction with a live human being that does not involve technology. To the workaholic, it could mean an afternoon spent playing with the kids. To the busy mom, continually fulfilling her family’s needs often at the expense of her own, it might mean a spa day or a night out with friends.

But what if “really living” were as easy and uncomplicated as deciding, every day, to actually DO the simple things that bring you joy – like taking a walk on the beach or spending an hour reading at your favorite coffee shop – that we all excuse away because there are constant, seemingly greater demands staring us in the face? And to not do these things as a means of procrastination (that’s easy enough) but to consciously include them in our lives as a way to remain connected to our happiness? How often do you dream about those little nurturing moments and never get around to them?

(If you’re struggling with that, my new Seven Simple Steps Into Happiness guidebook can help. It’s free. Download it at right)

In my own case, I’ve learned to stop [click to continue…]

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The Longing for HomeThere are times when even the most seasoned of travelers can become deeply homesick.

Today is one of those days for me.

It doesn’t happen often – I don’t trend toward nostalgia and homesickness – but they have caught me off guard every now and then when I’m on one of my numerous outer journeys.

Today was different.

Today, a distinct and wholly unexpected longing for home came up.  Since I am not enjoying an “outer journey” at the moment (I’m at home) it took me by surprise.

Really, it was all Captain Picard’s fault.  Yes I mean Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise, he of Star Trek: the Next Generation fame.  Since discovering this series in re-runs on BBC America’s cable channel this summer, I’ve [click to continue…]

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