From the category archives:

Staying on the Path

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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2012
Creative Commons License photo credit: wrestlingentropy

This year for me, the holidays were quieter, simpler and less hectic than usual. Maybe it was the lack of travel (a rarity), absence of family visitors, or simply the days of the week on which actual holidays fell, but whatever the reasons I savored the calm spaciousness. As a result I’m relishing this time to thoughtfully reflect on the past year and sincerely contemplate my intentions, visions, and goals for 2012.

This is, to me, a big part of living consciously. Being in the moment and responding to what is, yes – that’s always called for – but conscious living also means having a clear intention and vision for the path ahead.

That’s even more necessary and powerful than it’s ever been before. Considering the shifting times we’re living through, the fact that we can consciously evolve – that we can choose how we want to progress both individually and collectively and remain conscious of it as it’s occurring – is a powerful opportunity not to be squandered or ignored.

For those living a life of utter (religious, service or familial) devotion, complete surrender is the path.  They are content to journey where they are needed most.  For the rest of us with more hybrid lives and their attendant wants, needs, dreams and passions, our journey boils down to two choices: a) consciously create a path or [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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Camelback Mountain
Creative Commons License photo credit: Dru Bloomfield – At Home in Scottsdale

My tales from the outer journey continue.  If you didn’t catch the first one, check it out here.

I thought after meeting Daniel in the foothills of the Chilean Andes it might be a while before I ran across another wise old man on a mountain.  Little did I know I’d meet Sam barely a month later.

Early in August I made a trip to Phoenix to see my new baby nephew who is, without question, way cuter than the average newborn.  Coming from south Florida, I knew it would be hot in Arizona, but I am at least somewhat used to (and gravitate toward) heat.  I figured there’s a good chance that ninety-five and humid in Florida is equivalent to 110 degrees in Arizona.  And if you read my first post on the outer journey, you’ll know I can’t go anywhere without trying to squeeze in some outdoor native terrain time.  Thus, my rationale for deciding to summit Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, the hottest month of the year in that desert city.

Camelback, Hiking, and the Arizona Desert

For those unfamiliar with Phoenix, Camelback Mountain is unique in that it literally sits smack in the middle of the entire city, not just Phoenix proper but the whole metro area.  So, it’s an ultra-convenient outdoor escape into the native Arizona environment for urban residents.  Easy to get to, challenging for a beginner, fast yet fulfilling for a pro, Camelback boasts an elevation gain of 1,200 feet from its base and two different one-and-one-half mile trails to its 2,704 ft. summit.  People hike to the summit every day.

I’ve done it before myself on several occasions, although always [click to continue…]

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The nature of challenge

Creative Commons License photo credit: BruceTurner

After recently reading this post by Empowered Soul Andrea Hess, I’ve been reflecting on just how prevalent our sense of deservedness figures into getting what we want.  It’s as if we feel the need to qualify our desires almost before we can admit having them, and certainly before allowing ourselves to pursue them.

So let’s talk about desire, which often gets a bad rap and is confused with greed, gluttony, or other characteristics generally lumped into a category beginning with “The 7 Deadly . .”

The Nature of Desire

Desire is natural.  Many physical desires – like hunger, thirst, sleep and sex – are hard-wired into us instinctively to ensure both our individual and collective survival.  Take a look at just about any other living thing, plant or animal, and the desire for food, water, rest and reproduction is pretty obvious.

Human desire, however, goes beyond survival instinct. Many of our creative or intellectually-driven desires are what take us beyond subsistence into abundance.  When these desires are motivated by or result in material abundance – of money, possessions, or experiences – they are oft-criticized.

I prefer to think of desire in all its forms as positive vs. negative in the sense that it spurs the forward flow of energy.  I see its primary benefit being not what it yields for the individual having the desire, but what its residual effects are along the journey toward its expression.

As Charles Fillmore states in his book Prosperity, “desire is the onward impulse of the ever evolving soul.”  And as Edwene Gaines writes about that in The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity, “It stands to reason then that if we are evolving souls (and I believe that we are) then our desires – the longings of our hearts – are what propel us forward into the life experiences required for an evolution of consciousness”.

I happen to agree.

I also agree with what Andrea wrote, that our divine gifts and talents in life are what come naturally to us.  Yes, that which you naturally love and excel at is the “work” you are meant to do, the way you are meant to serve others and yourself in this lifetime.

So it seems both sad and paradoxical to me that so often we [click to continue…]

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Plan management trainee, nancy from Ghana and me
Creative Commons License photo credit: Frerieke

In part 1 of this series I explored internal alignment as an alternative to thinking in terms of absolutes.  I invited you to see all judgments as a matter of individual perspective and a chance to move away from the narrowness of right and wrong, black and white, either/or.  Then I suggested that if you’re going to peg your internal barometer to one thing, if you’re going to pick one state by which to measure your alignment, make it joy.  But many are asking “Why joy? And how do I know the real thing?”

Contrary to most mass religions and popular belief, I believe our human journey is not intended to be a path of suffering, nor a massive test we’re supposed to pass.  Whether you honor your inner guidance system or not, however, will determine if you make it into one.  And of course, it is absolutely your choice to believe as you wish.  (Recognize, however, as you believe so you will create.)

The good news is, we haven’t been sent here without an internal guidance system. We all have one – our emotions. Those emotions we call “negative” are there to steer us away from what is [click to continue…]

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I’m on a quick business trip to New York for the umpteenth time over the past twenty years to teach a marketing seminar I’ve been leading for the past ten.  Truth be told, I’m in New York an average of three visits a year.  That probably makes for close to sixty or seventy trips in my lifetime.  After so long these jaunts have become pretty routine and with so many under my belt, they all blur together.  When held in New York, my seminar is always booked at the same location in Midtown Manhattan, so I end up spending a lot of time there specifically, without venturing uptown or downtown much or elsewhere in New York.

Still, with that many visits to the same place I’ve had ample opportunity to explore the city in bits and pieces, often working in a Broadway show, trip to a SOHO restaurant or Upper East Side boutique, a visit to a museum or, after September 11, 2001, even a ride down to where the World Trade Center had once stood majestically anchoring the south end of the island.

When I first started traveling for business two decades ago, every destination was a new realm to be explored.  That’s the kind of traveler I am – leave no stone unturned, get off the beaten path, find the hidden gems and soak up every moment of experience through total immersion.  Given the choice between lounging, resting and eating or squeezing-in one more new sight or experience, I opt for the squeeze-in every time. Each moment of a journey to a new or favorite destination is a treasured one since, as a traveler, I’m always journeying with the knowledge and awareness that “this time could be the last time” I’m at a particular destination, so I’d better make it count.

But in the past year or two I’ve [click to continue…]

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If you wanted to do anything badly enough you would either just do it or die trying and the pieces would fall into place to support you.  In moments when we pursue what we really want – fueled by ability and experience, desire and passion or all of those – we don’t think about choice.  We don’t weigh pros and cons.  We don’t perceive limitations and discuss options.  We go forth in faith with an assumptive clarity that we’ll succeed in getting what we want.  That somehow, everything will work in our favor.

But most of the time we don’t live this way at all.  Most of the time we make excuses for why we can’t have or do or get what we want.  Ultimately, we forget everything is a choice.

For months I’ve been inviting my friend Donna to a meeting of a women’s spirituality group near where we live.  The meeting is every other Tuesday night at 7:00.  Donna has three kids between the ages of six and thirteen and a husband who travels for work every week.  Essentially, she’s a single mother of three about 75% of the time.

So I get why it’s challenging for her to make it to a weekday night meeting.  Child care would have to be found and paid for. Kids would have to be fed and helped with homework.  Planning would be required.  It might not be easy for Donna to come to a meeting, but it’s entirely possible.

To hear her tell it, she’d really like to attend but it’s out of the question.

What’s really happening? [click to continue…]

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