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The Butterfly Effect

butterflyeffect The Butterfly Effect

The art of becoming is accomplished through an act of rebirth. As you continue to evolve as a spiritual creation that is constantly seeking growth and a heightened sense of awareness, the ability to navigate the process of rebirth becomes vitally essential.

I am so grateful to discuss rebirth and how the evolution of a butterfly’s journey from caterpillar to cocoon to gaining its wings to flying can provide important key aspects to our own journey as we manifest the life we want to live! I want to start with a quote from the great Maya Angelou…It reads,

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”


Let’s think about that for a minute. How do you feel about this statement? Can anybody relate? You know you are destined to soar yet you have been just crawling along not realizing nor expressing your full potential. Don’t get me wrong…the caterpillar stage is fine and is important. And I don’t want to negate the importance of the caterpillar experience. You can have joy here. You can have success, happiness, abundance, and love. I am sure if you ask the caterpillar, they are happy moving along eating leaves. I mean what do caterpillars eat anyway? I mean I don’t even know... but and it’s a huge BUT…if you are longing for more or you know there is a greater something that is seeking to be born, in your heart of hearts, you know you have more to give this world then it’s time to be brave and enter into your cocoon phase. You willing enter because you know it’s time. You begin to trust in the magic of rebirth. Maybe you have even had visions of flying and landing on flowers. You can even see what colors your wings are. Have you had that experience? You know where you been, you know where you are right now, and you have seen the vision for the future. The vision is in 3-D Pixar color and it’s clear. You want it. I often say…I want that.


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6 Mindfulness Practices from Around the World

6 Mindfulness Practices from Around the World 6 Mindfulness Practices from Around the World
Many cultures around the world have deep traditions of mindfulness practices. Learn how mindfulness is practiced all around the world.

If you look at any culture throughout history, you’ll find that their traditions include some form of meditation or mindfulness practice.

Christians and Muslims pray. Catholics recite rosaries. Buddhists meditate. People in India practice yoga. Native Americans perform sweat lodges…

…and so on.

So why do so many different societies evolve some sort of practice dedicated to helping people clear their minds, and access deeper levels of awareness and consciousness?

It’s because the wisest people in every culture understand the same profound truth: that the quality of our thoughts create the quality of our reality.

So if you want to experience a more peaceful, joyful and fulfilling reality, you must learn to raise your consciousness and access a higher level of thoughts.

But not all mindfulness practices are tied to religion or take the form of prayer or meditation.

Today I’d like to share some of the other interesting ways people around the world cultivate mindfulness to maximize their happiness and fulfillment in life.

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Finding Balance Between Mind and Heart on the Path to Liberation

flowerbuddha Finding Balance Between Mind and Heart on the Path to Liberation

There are many tools that all serve the process of awakening or liberation, and when you listen inward you can feel – or situations present themselves to show you that your energies are out of whack, or that your heart is too closed off.

Your mind can be full of high wisdom, but that’s in your head. There are times when I listen to somebody, and I can hear with my body. I hear in a certain way in which I’ll feel pressure in my head, or I’ll feel tightness in my chest.


There are two theories about how you do this: One is that you go for broke with whatever you do. For example, if you focus on quieting the mind, and the mind gets quiet enough, at the latest stages the heart will automatically aline and the energies will aline. The first strategy is to find your method and just keep doing it, and wait for the others to all fall into place behind it. There will be tremendous imbalance until very late in the game. The other is where you keep correcting the inner process along the way. I don’t really know that one is better than the other – you have to intuit which way to go.

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Finding Faith When You’re Freaking Out: You Couldn’t Be More Loved

keepingfaith Finding Faith When You’re Freaking Out: You Couldn’t Be More Loved

When it comes to creating the work you love, it's all about learning to cultivate faith. I'd say having faith in your journey is more important than brushing your teeth. Then again, I do much of my work on the phone. "But how do I have faith when things don't work out?" my clients ask. "Where does Spirit go, when I'm freaking out?" I have a gazillion answers. But this month I want to tell you about a miracle I had years ago. I'm hoping it will nourish you and help you become the unstoppable agent of love that you are meant to be.

Years ago, I facilitated a workshop at a women's retreat held at an eco-resort in the breathtaking Mayan Riviera, in Mexico. I remember the moment I arrived. I stared at this remote beach of glittering aqua blue water and untouched white sand. I began to cry. The beauty stung me. It rattled me and stilled me. My travel sweat evaporated. I felt naked and robed at the same time, emptied and filled. And most of all, I felt very, very loved. I felt loved in that moment, loved in the past, and loved for all time—because that’s the nature of real love.

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The Prospering Potential of Tuning Into Your Higher Power

prayer The Prospering Potential of Tuning Into Your Higher Power

HOW TO PRAY FOR REAL AND STOP BARGAINING

Before I knew a better way to communicate with the Divine, I used to pray a lot. I always believed in a power greater than me. I just thought that Power was following me around with a fly swatter. 

I mentioned last week that I saw the world as ensouled, like I do today, every animal with a spirit, every blade of grass, rock or worm. So why did my prayers hardly ever work? I was serious about prayer! My prayers were so strong and so meaningful and so so so powerful!

Prayers are powerful and mine should work.

Not really, today looking back I know my prayers were totally lame, if you really want to know the truth.

And, here’s why. 

My prayers were bargaining prayers—prayers of pleading spectacles of need and serious purveyors of lack. 

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Navigating the Matrix of the Ego

meditation Navigating the Matrix of the Ego

We need the matrix of thoughts, feelings, and sensations we call the ego for our physical and psychological survival.

The ego tells us what leads to what, what to avoid, how to satisfy our desires, and what to do in each situation. It does this by labeling everything we sense or think. These labels put order in our world and give us a sense of security and well-being. With these labels, we know our world and our place in it.

Our ego renders safe an unruly world. Uncountable sense impressions and thoughts crowd in on us, so that without the ego to filter out irrelevant information, we would be inundated, overwhelmed, and ultimately destroyed by the overload. Or so it seems.

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Wise Investigation: Dissolving the Trance

trance Wise Investigation: Dissolving the Trance

If we are suffering, it is because we are believing something that is not true and caught in emotional reactivity. A key tool in meditation is investigation – actively inquiring into what is happening inside us. When we investigate with sincere interest and care, the light of our attention untangles difficult emotions and nourishes intimate relationships. As this light turns toward awareness itself, it reveals the radiance and emptiness of our true nature (a favorite from the archives).

How do we take these minds of ours and investigate our experience in a way that really reveals truth? …

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The Gift of Silence: Quieting the Mind

morning_mist The Gift of Silence: Quieting the Mind

Through all spiritual traditions, there is a valuing of silence and stillness. When the mind has quieted, it becomes possible to see into the truth of what we are. Yet quieting can turn into a battle with the process of the thinking mind. This talk explores practices that allow us to settle in a natural way, the presence which is silence itself, and the wisdom and love that flows freely when we live from that silence (a favorite from the archives).

…may we all tap into the stillness and silence of our Being. ~ Tara

…perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead in winter
and later proves to be alive.
~ Pablo Neruda

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Meditation: Everything Belongs

spiderweb Meditation: Everything Belongs

This guided meditation awakens an embodied presence through a body scan, and invites us to rest in the breath, while allowing the different waves of sensations, feelings and sounds to come and go. When difficult experiences arise, we breathe with them, feeling them fully and mentally whispering, “this belongs,” or “this too.” By not resisting, we discover the sea of awareness that has room for all the waves.

“…Let the breath anchor you, so you have a way to stay present…”

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How can we find humor through meditation?

humor How can we find humor through meditation?

“If it were not laughed at, it would not be sufficient to be Tao.” – Lao Tzu on Humor, - Tao Te Ching

Did you ever have a bad day? Everything seems to go wrong and you are completely lost in anger, frustration and self-pity. It gets worse and worse, until the final moment when, say, you have just missed the last bus. There is some critical point where it gets so bad the absurdity of it all overwhelms you and you can do nothing but laugh. At that moment you up-level your predicament, you see the cosmic joke in your own suffering.

Meditation, because of the space it allows around events, gives you the chance to see the humor of your predicament. Awareness of the passing show of one’s own life allows a lightness to enter it where only a moment before there was heaviness.

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Making The Quantum Flip™: Changing Discipline to Devotion

morning-yoga-childs-pose-picture-id515675096 Making The Quantum Flip™: Changing Discipline to Devotion

If there was one thing that could make you more successful, prevent depression, and allow you to maintain healthy weight, would you do it? What if I told you it had nothing to do with working out or eating right?

We all know that maintaining a consistent physical practice as well as healthy eating habits positively affects our physical, emotional and mental well-being. However, there is something more than simply maintaining a dedicated routine that brings even greater benefits to our lives.

More important than the routines, is who we are when we do them.

When we go about our daily routines, we do have to maintain consistency, but we must do it in a vibrational frequency that is closer to the truth of who we are.  Our vibrational frequency has everything to do with who we perceive ourselves to be which plays a role in the state of our choices, disposition, orientation in the world, sense of self and our ability to maintain clarity and consistency in our lives.

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The Balanced Mind: A Better Model

balancedmind The Balanced Mind: A Better Model

Now that meditation has caught on widely, it’s time to understand why it works. The physical findings measured by neuroscience gives intriguing hints about changes in brain wave activity, but that’s an effect, not a cause. The same holds true for physiological changes outside the brain, such as lowered heart rate and blood pressure. The how and why of meditation must be sought “in here,” in the meditator’s subjective experience.

This isn’t a mysterious route to take. Pain studies are based on how much pain a subject feels; there is no objective way to measure this. In the case of meditation, I believe the correct model is that the mind in meditation is rebalancing itself. Medical studies have known for a long time that the body tends toward a state of dynamic balance known as homeostasis. If you push your body out of balance by shoveling snow off the driveway or running a marathon, as soon as you stop that activity, heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen use in the muscles, and even digestion and the immune system return to homeostatic balance.

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A Breath Exercise for Suffering and Joy

woman-in-water-picture-id540717970 A Breath Exercise for Suffering and Joy

In the 11th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna shows Arjuna all the forms of the Universe, turning back into the pure form from which they were manifested.

The forms of the Universe: Breathe them in. Take in the baby’s crying, the sound of traffic, it’s all energy, it’s all shakti in form. As you draw it into your being, let the forms go, let your concepts about it all go, turn it back into pure shakti. Sit straight, draw it all into your chest.

All of your thoughts now, your memories, think of the political world, a breath for that.

See all the candidates, all of the international intrigue, all of the genuine seeking for peace, a breath for that.

See it all; the play, the dance, the forms, the mother, the mother at play, all aspects of the mother. Draw it back into its pure form within you, Mother shakti. Draw it into your heart.

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Be You to Be Abundant

abundanceyou Be You to Be Abundant

Dearest You,

The energy in the universal Oracle Card reading this week is all about co-creation, abundance and our infinite potential for prosperity. 

When we can harness and get in alignment with the energy of abundance there’s an anticipation, a palpable buzz, that we can tune into that turns on a switch, like all of a sudden going from dim and hazy to bright and shiny.

The click happens when we fully embrace ourselves as we’re meant to be, not as we’ve been taught (or coerced) to be. We all have a window of opportunity now that requires casting off the shell of conformity, removing all the masks that we thought might help us gain social acceptance, to get to our molten core where Spirit’s spark waits for us to ignite our destiny.

When you tap into this energy and click into your own “destiny switch” abundance seems to appear as if magic sparkle dust got dumped on your head. One minute you were struggling to figure it all out then BAM you’re at a party!

I want me some of that—don’t you?

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Mahasati hand meditation practice for stress

buddha-in-meditation-picture-id488655799 Mahasati hand meditation practice for stress

Mahasati hand meditation is a practice that can be particularly useful during times of excessive stress or emotional upheaval, or when our minds just won’t shut the f__k up no matter how much yogic breathing or how many rounds of mantras we’ve done. And yeah, I speak from experience.

I learned this practice at my most rock bottom of rock bottoms. I was at a rehab facility, three days into a seven-day stay in detox from alcohol. My body was still squeamish, my brain still racing, my hope nonexistent, and my self-loathing at an all-time high. As I lay in bed aware of the physical battle going on between withdrawal and the benzodiazepines I’d been given to help relax me and keep me from having a seizure, my thoughts raced—I’d just lost my job, my car was about to be repossessed, I had a court date and jail time awaiting me, and last but (definitely) not least, I was going to miss my brother’s wedding, the one where I was supposed to be his best man. Yeah, I was in rough shape.

Later that morning I stumbled into our group session, where a young, prayer-bead-wearing, bald-headed man announced we were going to practice meditation. Grunts and grumbles filled the room, and the corner I’d staked out as my own was no exception. I’d been meditating for several years already and knew that I was in no place mentally or emotionally to sit quietly and let my mind cause me even more trouble than it already was.

In all fairness, yes, those are often the times when meditation can be extremely beneficial. I’m all about gently and compassionately leaning into the pain and allowing it to teach us what it can, but I also believe that there are times in life when the pain is too great and it’s counterproductive to lean into it. There’s no such thing as a spiritual superhero; no trophies are awarded to those who can endure the heaviest shit, so please, honor what you can and can’t do in the moment and go from there. Only you can know for sure, so be honest with yourself.

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How can we escape the ego prison through meditation?

meditationego How can we escape the ego prison through meditation?

Initially most people choose to meditate out of curiosity or to relieve psychological pain, increase pleasure, or enhance power. The goal of all these motives is to strengthen the ego. For as the ego gets more comfortable, happy, and powerful, its prison walls thicken. The ego’s motives do not allow examination of the ego itself, nor allow insight that the ego is your prison. These motives paradoxically contain the seeds of freedom, because they lead you to meditate more. Meditation makes you more calm and quiet, and in this new stillness other motives, deeper motives, arise for going further into meditation. As your meditation develops beyond the level of ego payoffs, the prison walls begin to crack.

You might think of these deeper motives in many ways:

to answer the question, “Who am I?”
to awaken cosmic consciousness
to see things just as they are
to rend the veils of illusion
to know God
to tune to the harmony of the universe
to gain more compassion
to reach a higher consciousness
to become liberated
to be born again
to know the truth which lies beyond dualism
to transcend the wheel of birth and death
to abandon desire
to be free

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Make Yourself a Light

bud-1 Make Yourself a Light

“Make of yourself a light.” — said the Buddha, before he died.

The picture above is a space in my yard where I go when I need to center myself. It is my sanctuary. It is where I come when I feel overwhelmed. It is where I sit when I can’t figure out what I think about, well, anything.

There is so much to think about these days. There is so much to fret about. There is so much to get angry about. (How about Jon Stewart testifying this week to a near-empty Congress with all the families from 9/11? His message was powerful and should fire us all up.)

There is also so much to be excited about. So much to be hopeful about. So much to be grateful for. When I sit in my backyard and look at the calm statue pictured above, that’s where I end up—in a place of peace, a place of calm, a place of gratitude. “Make of yourself a light,” said the Buddha in Mary Oliver’s poem “The Buddha’s Last Instruction.” (You can read it in our Sunday Paper Reflection section below.) So, that’s what I want to focus on this morning: making myself a light.

That invitation goes out to each of us every day. It’s also a challenge that each of us can decide to answer take on, regardless of what’s going on in the world. You can make yourself a light for yourself, for your family, for your community, for an issue you care about, or for injustice in the world.

On this Father’s Day, I want to shine a light on all the men who step into this role with light, joy, purpose and passion. I want to shine a light on those who take it seriously. Who show up to their roles, regardless of whether or not their fathers showed up for them.

A father’s positive involvement can change a child’s life. It can build character, instill values, and inspire hopes and dreams. Fathers can make themselves a light in their children’s lives. So today, I want to honor those who have thought deeply about this role. I want to shine a light on the men who do the work. Men who father their own. Men who father the fatherless among us. May we honor those who have stepped into the lives of those who need a father and said, “Let me make myself a light in your life.”

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What is the mystical root of awareness?

awareness What is the mystical root of awareness?

Awareness is not aware of itself. It’s not self-conscious, it’s just awareness.

In that sense, the entire universe is awareness. It is not self-consciously aware; it’s just awareness, and that’s when if you want to understand how a spiritual master with Siddhis [powers] knows the universe, they know the universe from inside itself.

Here’s a great one, this is Rilke, and I’m sure many of you love Rilke like I do. It says, “I love ‘in-seeing’,” Can you imagine with me how glorious it is to ‘in-see’ a dog, for example, as you pass by it? By ‘in-see’ I don’t mean to look through, which is only a kind of human trick that lets you immediately come out again on the other side of the dog, regarding it merely so to speak as a window upon the human world lying behind it. No, not that.

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Activate The Healing Power of Stillness

caribbean-yoga-woman-picture-id182197369 Activate The Healing Power of Stillness

When was the last time you took time to really be still, perhaps through meditation or conscious breathing?

With so much chaos and distraction in our lives, it can be beyond tough to find time to be still and connect to a peaceful center. Between hectic work schedules and endless to-do lists, and the fixation with social media, many of us barely have a chance to come up for air.  Sure, you want to make time to be still and meditate, but it just gets lost in the shuffle and before you know it, it’s bedtime and you’re too exhausted. Without taking time each day for stillness, our minds become chatterboxes and we lose ourselves in our busy lives listening to a barrage of mindless noise.

We’ve all had this experience of resolving to find the time to meditate, but then it just keeps moving down the priority list. Has this happened to you?

So, take a deep breath and keep reading. Today I’m going to help you get on the road to more stillness without missing out on your to-dos.

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Is desire useful on the spiritual path?

back-portrait-of-young-fit-and-healthy-attractive-woman-doing-love-picture-id980797902 Is desire useful on the spiritual path?

The desire to become enlightened is still you desiring something.

What happens is you start to touch places way beyond what you ever thought you were. Or you start to awaken, and it’s like the bliss is much more incredible, the understanding is more incredible, and so on, and the craving for it. It’s like a super crave and that desire is what is used to finish all the other desires. Then, near the end of that sequence, you’re left with only that desire, and you see that the desire for it is what’s keeping you from it. Then there’s the having to let go of the desire in order to become it, which is the final process of dying, really.

It’s dying in a psychological sense, because having that last desire is your final statement of who you are.

But the predicament is that who you are can’t go through the doorway. You can get right up to the door and you can knock, but you can’t go in. They say “it” can come in, but “you” can’t. That which desires to get through the door gets right up to the door, and then they say, “The desire’s gotta stay right out here. Sorry, leave your shoes outside, but you can come in.” At that point the desire falls away.

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