It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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The Only Road to Everything You Want

road-to-the-rainbow-picture-id1193144986 Into the life you desire

We commit to real change, and then we resist it. This cosmic dance has been going on forever in every ballroom since the beginning of time. Remember those New Year’s intentions?  Then you know what I mean. What’s up with that? Let’s talk focus….

I’ve committed to write more this year. It’s what I want. Now that I’ve said it, I know I will drag myself into my writing room-- and it will feel as though I have to hoist a dead whale body out of the way---just to sit down and type out a sentence—and this is my “bliss,” mind you. Naturally, I’ll want to pet my cat until she’s bald, then wash my hands, then research how did soap get invented, and then perhaps start a small organic soap company on the side that employs underprivileged women in third world countries. Oh, but I’ll stay put. I’ll write. Because I’ve committed to this focus.

There is a part of myself who will wheedle: “Maybe tomorrow. You’ll feel better tomorrow.” Then there’s the one who’s painted her toenails Purple Passion, during writing time, and stomps her imperial feet. “I don’t want to write,” she bellows.  Another part of me bargains. “I’ll answer email now. Do the dishes. Work on taxes. Okay, okay, I’ll exercise!”  

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What Are You Fighting For?

11111cover.112442 "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." -Eleanor Roosevelt

I've Been Thinking...

Dear friends, 

How are you? I really want to know.

How are you feeling emotionally, physically, and spiritually on this Sunday? Are you feeling optimistic about September and about the fall? Or are you Zoomed out and stressed out by all the politics, social unrest, and COVID-19?

Take a moment to check in with yourself. Put your hand over your heart. There is no hurry or right answer here. Allow yourself to be exactly where you are. That’s how I try to start each day, assuring myself that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. 

Today, I am back in your inbox after my August break. I am so grateful to be here again! Thank you for making me and The Sunday Paper a part of your weekend routine. If I’m being totally honest, I thought twice about returning this month, particularly when it comes to social media. The distance I’ve had allowed me to look anew at all the noise and wonder whether I’m adding to it. 

The mission of this newsletter is to rise above the noise, clutter, and mayhem. It is to lift up the voices of those trying to move us forward in a passionate and purposeful way. The more I thought about that mission over these last few weeks, the easier it became to return to this forum. My hope is that the inspiring voices we elevate in The Sunday Paper will elevate and reassure you. I hope they will remind you that you are where you are supposed to be, and that you and your voice are so needed at this time.

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See Deep Wants

self-portrait-in-the-mirror-picture-id1169556945 Mirror, mirror, on the wall, what are the deepest wants of all?

The Practice:
See deep wants.

Why?

I did my Ph.D. dissertation by videotaping 20 mother-toddler pairs and analyzing what happened when the mom offered an alternative to a problematic want (“not the chainsaw, sweetie, how about this red truck?!”). Hundreds of bleary-eyed hours later, I found that offering alternatives reduced child negative emotion and increased cooperation with the parent.

Pretty interesting (at least to me, both as a new parent and as someone desperate to finish grad school). And there’s an even deeper lesson. Kids – and adults, too – obviously want to get what they want from others. But more fundamentally, we want to know that others understand our wants – and even more fundamentally, that they want to.

Consider any significant relationship: someone at work, or a friend, or a family member. How does it feel when they misinterpret what you want? Or worse, when they couldn’t care less about understanding what you want?

Ouch.

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Accept It

meditating-youn-woman-picture-id1203764522 Acceptance means you give up to the truth – the facts, reality – no matter what it is

What are you resisting?

The Practice:
Accept it.

Why?

As general clusters that each include a number of specific methods, my Top 5 types of practices (all tied for first place) are:

  • Be mindful
  • Love
  • Take in the good
  • Go green
  • Open out

The practices of “go green” helps you get out of the brain’s fight-or-flight, Reactive, “red zone” setting and instead, engage life from its recover-and-refuel, Responsive, “green zone” setting.

In this JOT, we’ll enter into the fifth cluster – open out – by which I mean relaxing into a growing sense of connection, even oneness, with all things. For some, “opening out” could go all the way out to something transcendental (it does for me). But I’m going to write about this practice in very down-to-earth, practical, and psychological terms.

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True Acceptance, Big Desire and Uncovering Your Wild, Right Life

beautiful-business-woman-squatting-next-to-the-table-picture-id635964812 Feed the desire for what you really want AND practice true acceptance of what is

I’m in the biz of helping people live their wildest dreams. I’m also a champion of discovering the wild genius of your current life. These two tracks must go hand in hand-- or else they can undermine you. After two decades of being in this field, I want to give you the best of the best of effective focus. So let’s talk about how to use the innate strategy of “big desire”—and that bad boy super power “true acceptance.” Together, big desire and true acceptance are an unbeatable dynamic mindset duo—guaranteed to take you into the one amazing life you’ve always wanted.

Why Desire is Everything

In my career coaching, I rarely listen to my clients’ “reasonable” desires. I’m a conjurer with a glittery heart. “What do you really want, like what’s too good to be true to want?” I ask. “Only the real dream has the power,” I remind them.

Real dreams have the power of Godzilla, extinguishing miniature ideas of “why things can’t work.” That’s why I hunt for purity. I know the crazy truth is your secret code. It’s holy. It’s mystical. It’s involuntary. And it makes you giggle. The truth is safer than the denial of truth. The truth will take you all the way.

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Build a Foundation of Abundance

scenic-view-of-wheat-crops-growing-in-fields-picture-id665064618 The ego mind LOVES beliefs and stories!

Our inner beliefs and the stories we tell ourselves create boxes that we unintentionally keep ourselves in. 

The ego mind LOVES these beliefs and stories! They keep you small and supposedly keep you safe.

Right now your ego mind has probably convinced you of certain things…are you in any of these boxes?

I’m struggling for money. I’ll never be wealthy.

I can’t find true love. I’m not even worthy of it.

Sandra and Daniel can’t help me. Why do I bother reading their emails? No one can help me.

There’s so much bad in the world. I can’t possibly be happy until things change.

Here’s a little secret for you… those limiting beliefs that keep you in tiny boxes are the lies told by your ego mind! 

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Moment of Lift

dandelion-clock-in-morning-sun-picture-id665037880 Moment of Lift

I was bearing up under a weight I could no longer see, when the exhalation of something older than all my trouble unfurled my understanding, like a scarf blown out of the hands of someone clutching it. And my mind, floating between preoccupations, was now see-through and weightless. For the first time in months, the grief I’d been obeying went silent. I felt whole in a new way, as if the skin of all I’d been through had grown over all my conclusions. I can’t name this other than to say: I have moved through something difficult that has finally opened. All this bearing up and bearing down to be lifted like a scarf on the wind that a child might chase.

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Course Correction From The Universe!

Course Correction From The Universe! Can we find the lesson or meaning in the tough times?

Think back to the last time you had your heart set on something — a job that’s perfect for you, a new apartment in the building you’ve had your eye on, the Caribbean cruise you’ve been planning for months — only to see it evaporate in front of your eyes. Someone else (with less experience) gets the job. The apartment sells before you can even make a phone call. Your trip gets canceled because of bad weather. 

No matter how “zen” you might consider yourself, it can be hard to not feel disappointed and let down when your dream bubble is burst into one big cloud of “WTF?!”

But have you ever then found out later that your sidetrack actually led you to something better — or at least helped you avoid a nasty situation? The new company ends up going bankrupt… you found a better apartment a month later at a lower price… the refund for your canceled trip gave you a cushion in your bank account that you ended up needing for car repairs. 

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It's Okay to Not Know

confused-student-holding-a-book-picture-id162965666 What is the next right step?

There’s so much going on right now, right? So many of us are in a confusing state of having no idea whatsoever what to do next. We’ve got a lot of layering going on now, right? We have a huge pandemic, financial crisis, rioting, and protesting, and I honestly don’t think this is going to be the end of it, ladies and gentlemen.

But something I’m super, super clear on is this: it’s really, truly okay to be in a space of “I don’t know what to do next.” Here’s what I mean by that...

The Magic Phase of “I Don’t Know”

Believe it or not, there is magic in that “I don’t know” phase. It’s really okay to be in the step of not knowing because it allows you to decide what to do next. You just have to know how to move forward in the right way.

What I’d encourage you all to do when you find yourself in a state of not knowing is to ask yourself a simple question: “What is the next right step?” Don’t worry about the far-away future or finding the perfect solution to every problem. Just ask yourself, “Show me the next right step.”

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One Light, Many Reflections – Enough Is Plenty

businesswoman-relaxing-outdoor-picture-id1185007236-1 What ideas arise related to your life experience?

I write one page at a time, with only one to five words per line. The structure can look like poetry but has more to do with the physical limitations of a handwritten page and my desire to emphasize multiple meanings. My Page poems are a combination of sketch pad and journal.

The history and method of my writing process can be found in my article How I Wrote Three Thousand Pages Without Trying

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Chase Grace, Not Guilt: You Have Your Own Way to Succeed

walking-into-sunset-picture-id614715674 Chase Grace, Not Guilt: You Have Your Own Way to Succeed

Is there something you need to act on in your life? 

I have coaching clients that ask me to “kick them in the butt,” twist their arms, stick dynamite into their voodoo dolls, and make them do things they don’t want to do. But I’m not a fan of sadism. I already worked as a high-powered lawyer in a corporate law firm once, thank you very much. Now, I prefer grace. I’m of the mind that sometimes you don’t want to do something, because deep in the big sky of your being, you know there’s another way, an original suggestion summoning up, or simply another day. I have no need to micromanage the infinite resourcefulness of my clients. Still, they insist that they’re just lazy, and if only they could be jack-hammered into shape-- as in have their spirit broken-- they’d be inspired. Yes, of course.

I’ve been down that twisted road myself. Here’s a glimpse from the notebook of an anguished past: 

“How hard could it be, to pick up a freaking phone and make the call I need to make? Anyone else on the planet could do this. But for me, cold calling this organization feels like taking off my clothes in slow motion, in front of my entire junior high class, on some bad contest-type reality television show, like ‘What Thighs Not to Have.’ It’s so not what I love. And for once, I’m willing to consider that just maybe it isn’t because I’m catastrophically timid or inadequate at a cellular level. 

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Sometimes It's About The Questions, Not The Answers!

empty-swing-at-the-park-picture-id1213877125 Sometimes It's About The Questions, Not The Answers!

It is so natural to want concrete answers in life. Back when I was making my living doing private readings, that’s what most people came to me for: Directions, guidance, and ANSWERS. “Will so-and-so ask me to marry him? How will this business deal work out? When is my kid/mom/uncle/partner ever gonna straighten out their life??, When is he coming back?”

Boy, do I understand. Especially with so much uncertainty these days, everyone wants to know: “When will coronavirus get under control? Should I quit my job? Is my relationship with so-and-so gonna last when we can’t see each other?”

As humans, we have a natural desire for certainty. But that desire often handcuffs us, keeping us locked into a single way of seeing the world. There is so much more that Spirit has in store for us, but we can’t see it because we are so tied to our reality. 

That’s why before we can talk about getting answers, we have to talk about asking the right questions. 

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One Light, Many Reflections – Willing to Be Worthy

Worthy-Together-cropped-pexel_20200822-145800_1 One Light, Many Reflections – Willing to Be Worthy

I write one page at a time, with only one to five words per line. The structure can look like poetry but has more to do with the physical limitations of a handwritten page and my desire to emphasize multiple meanings. My Page poems are a combination of sketch pad and journal.

The history and method of my writing process can be found in my article How I Wrote Three Thousand Pages Without Trying

                                                                                                                                                                      '

        "The obvious is that which is never seen until someone expresses it simply." Kahlil Gibran

I like to limit my writings to one page with one idea, but my favorite achievement is to distill short meaningful sayings. I have selected a few quotes from my 2014 volumes for you to savor here. Try having three or four breaths between reading each quote to contemplate and expand the meaning to yourself.

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How Mind Mapping Will Help You Achieve Your Goals

businessman-smiling-with-arms-outstretched-picture-id502659354 How Mind Mapping Will Help You Achieve Your Goals

Mind mapping is a powerful way to create a dynamic to-do list. It’s simple to learn and use, too.

That’s why today, I want to discuss how you can leverage the power of mind mapping to achieve your goals and succeed at anything you choose!

Why Try Mind Mapping

Are you ever daunted by the question of where to begin? You’ve set a goal and know it’s the right path for you to take, but the steps you need to take are not fully clear and in no particular order.

Where should you start when everything seems equally important? You could certainly talk to others who have pursued the same goal, buy a how-to book, or begin to learn the skills you think you need.

I’ve been in that spot before and know exactly what you might be feeling.

I’ve found one technique that helps me carve out the key steps to take and get all that thinking out of my head and other paper. I’ve created books and many products by using mind mapping.

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Birthing Your Purpose

Birthing Your Purpose Birthing Your Purpose

"There is a significant difference between being born and being birthed." — Temple Hayes

As I continue to celebrate the joy, power and privilege of life, I have made some great discoveries regarding being born and being birthed.

Being born is nature and natural and you were born due to the energy and effort someone was willing to put into carrying you and releasing you. Once you are supported and moving past your teenage years, you do not need to be carried by anyone else. Your soul purpose is to become a self actualized individual based upon what you agreed to before you showed up. As long as you are in bondage or needing to be carried or needing to be approved of by anyone else, you will never know true freedom. More than likely you will settle for mediocrity.

Birthing is your job, not your parents nor your teacher nor someone you admire. You will occasionally hear the right words at the right time, you will resonate with a song or words or a reflection of someone else yet the entire purpose is for you to be birthed. You will be birthed thousands of times in one lifetime if you are authentic, free and full of energy and If you do not live from a box or have a paradigm box mentality.

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A Gift Of This Time

A Gift Of This Time A Gift Of This Time

When you re-emerge into the world, post Covid-19, you will get to choose how you will participate, what you contribute your energy towards, and how you choose to live.  

Thanks to the blessing and gift of this time, many of you have undergone a deep and profound immersion into presence, and living in the present moment, you are able to meet every challenge, every obstacle and every single facet of crisis with peace. This allows you to respond, instead of react. 

Living in the present moment allows you to engage in whatever is unfolding, secure in the knowledge that the highest and best is the only outcome. Instead of going to every worst-case scenario, anchor yourself in peace and presence. 

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The End of Feeling Lame, And The Beginning of Endless Progress

country-highway-to-heaven-picture-id157381963 The End of Feeling Lame, And The Beginning of Endless Progress

I don’t know about you but I’ve often felt like I must be doing it wrong—missing the secret ingredient to life. But that’s so over now. I’ve seen through the veil. I’m rocking out to a new hymn. It’s a shift in focus I’m going to share with you:

Screw “doing it wrong.” I’m doing things. I’m making wacky, inevitable progress.

I’ve put wobble girl in the closet. I’ve muzzled Ms. Perfection who would like to ask a few more questions throughout the next decade, get it right, before ever getting it wrong.  But I’m showing up to the party now.  I’m wearing a tiara or a tent, but I’m going forward. I didn’t get the memo. I may never get the memo. Maybe I haven’t life-hacked a thing. Maybe I don’t even really know what life-hacking means.

But here’s what I do know. I’m showing up. I’m going to be that zombie in a bad B movie. I’m going to keep getting up again.  Because life will eventually bow to those who do the legwork. I am not wasting one more stupid minute on wondering why I always do it wrong, do it wrong, do it wrong. Here’s my new religion, one that has me singing halleluiah to a wide-eyed, stumbling part of myself:

 I am doing it. I am doing it. I am doing it.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection - Leaning In

*Photo Credit: Nick Hillier Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection - Leaning In

I’ve sat in hundreds of cafés, watching lives pass by, each eager to meet someone, each desperate to get away. I’ve stared into hundreds of photographs, each a window to another patch of time and space, where beautiful souls were falling down and getting up. Still, I can’t quite grasp how many of us there are and how each of us is a world unto ourselves. Right now, in this café on Fourth Ave., an older woman in a sweater is wheeling a small, lonely suitcase toward the door. While across the street, a young Hispanic man is delivering cleaning supplies to a Vietnamese restaurant. He’s almost dancing. And there are twenty-five others around me, each wanting a pain to stop, each wanting some moment of love to linger. Now the jittery woman next to me tosses her hair and wobbles on her heels, heading back into the stream. Once outside, she passes an Asian man in argument, his arms folded. We are so easily hurt as we bounce along the pavement spilling our expectations. The young couple in the corner looks tired and tender as they lean into each other in silence. When this open, I can see into the hearts of others. Now a grandfather dotes over his granddaughter, running his fingers through her month-old hair. I hear everyone’s dreams and disappointments which, next to each other, reveal a depth I can’t live without. If it weren’t for gravity pulling on us, I’d swear this is Heaven.

A Question to Walk With: Describe a favorite café you have visited. Why is it your favorite? What have you learned from going there? What makes you want to return?

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My Summer Reading List

female-reading-and-enjoying-sunset-on-beach-by-the-ocean-picture-id933846814 My Summer Reading List

August 9th was Book Lovers Day, which I missed because I wanted to write about the loss of my friend Doug. This week, I wanted to share some books I have read that have impacted me this year both non-fiction and fiction. 

I read about 30 new books a year (for real!) and a couple of years ago I made a commitment to read more books by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, & People of Color) authors. I mean, the way to really understand any subject is to become educated. I think we can also learn not only from non-fiction factual books, but also books that teach us about other people through fictional stories that can capture the emotions and experiences of people specifically from marginalized and oppressed communities. Stories can help create greater empathy, care, and understanding and I know we need more of that especially during these difficult days that are so painfully strife with division and hatred. Reading also requires discernment, which is why I read a lot from different perspectives. 

So, I know you may think my bedside table is piled high with paranormal romances (which I love) and books on quantum physics (guilty pleasure—yep I am weird) BUT there’s more to my summer reading than lovestruck vampires (though I do make time for those. Hey, it’s summer!). I am constantly looking for ways to increase my understanding of how I can help heal the injustice that some of our brothers and sisters face on a daily basis. 

Here are my top ten books I’ve been reading to gain a better understanding of the issues and what I can do to help create a more equitable world for all of us. Oh, and by the way, I’m sharing this with you from my heart. Nothing is perfect—this is a process. I’m learning more every day, because for me, this is a lifetime commitment. Not just a trending topic. 

I am starting with five non-fiction books then five fiction books. Some will be surprising! 

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One Light, Many Reflections – The Sun Does Not Apologize

pexels-pixabay-209807-Sunshine_B One Light, Many Reflections – The Sun Does Not Apologize

I write one page at a time, with only one to five words per line. The structure can look like poetry but has more to do with the physical limitations of a handwritten page and my desire to emphasize multiple meanings. My Page poems are a combination of sketch pad and journal.

The history and method of my writing process can be found in my article How I Wrote Three Thousand Pages Without Trying

'

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." Albert Einstein

    "The obvious is that which is never seen until someone expresses it simply." Kahlil Gibran

    “Simplicity, carried to an extreme, becomes elegance.” Jon Franklin

I like to limit my writings to one page with one idea, but my favorite achievement is to distill short meaningful sayings. I have selected a few quotes from my 2014 volumes for you to savor here. Try having three or four breaths between reading each quote to contemplate and expand the meaning to yourself.

Continue reading
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