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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Love In The Time of Coronavirus

Rebecca Winn is an artist with words and her new book, new book One Hundred Daffodils; Finding Beauty, Grace, and Meaning When Things Fall Apart, proves the underestimated power of beauty to heal our deepest wounds.

Using her garden, nature, and a delightful smattering of wild creatures, she weaves her midlife catastrophe into a beautifully written story of raw vulnerability, courage, and transformation.

I was totally captivated and entranced.

Today she is guest blogging to share her thoughts on love during this time of crisis:

“We are all connected.” A phrase so common, it has become a meaningless spiritual cliche. Or has it?

Four months ago we could watch the news unfolding in China with a detachment that distance and depersonalization afforded us. Today, we are sheltering in place, surrounded by fear so palpable even the skeptics are panic buying, and the most committed introverts confess that they only want to be alone when it’s their choice.

And yet, only a few days into self-quarantine, something magical has also happened. Musicians are sharing their music for free during social media Live events. Authors whose book tours have been cancelled (including my own) are reading from their books online. People are reaching out to help one another in ways heretofore unimagined. Some property owners are telling restaurants to pay their employees instead of their rent.

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Make Love, Not Fear: 8 Reasons to Have Sex During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Amidst the recent worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we are in uncertain times. 

Worry, fear, and panic have swept across the planet, as the virus has threatened our health, well-being, economy, societal norms, and sense of safety.

Many people are quarantined at home, and social distancing has become a temporary norm.

During this time of such intense stress, sex is likely the farthest thing from many people’s minds. How can we make love when the world seems to be falling apart? Shouldn’t we spend our time watching the news and figuring out how to navigate these challenging times? 

As a Sacred Sexuality Teacher with over 20 years of experience supporting clients, my #1 recommendation during this global pandemic is to make time for pleasure and sex.  

Sex is not a luxury for when things are good in the world. Sex is a necessity. It is vital to our health, well-being, and sanity. Sex is important at all times, especially in times of stress and difficulty, like this current pandemic.

If you have a partner, set any differences aside, and get into the sheets for some essential self-care and stress relief. If you are stuck at home without a partner, no worries. You can self-pleasure and bring yourself the same benefits.

 

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Managing This Challenging Time As A Loving Adult

Emotionally and Spiritually

Please be very kind and gentle with yourself. It’s very important to not allow your wounded self to scare you, because our main line of defense against the Coronavirus is our immune system, and stress erodes the immune system.

Start by acknowledging to yourself that this is a very challenging time. Imagine that your intention is to soothe a scared child, rather than further scaring the child. This is the time to stay open to your higher guidance and bring comfort and compassion to your inner child, especially if you feel anxious. It’s also a time to reach out to friends with whom you can connect – on the phone, or via Skype or Zoom. While it’s important to stay home and not be around people, it’s also important to stay connected with the people whom you can support and who can support you, especially if you are alone.

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Love or Fear

So here we are, a time like no other we have ever experienced. Humanity is living out the key choice point of our lifetimes: love or fear. Do we succumb to escalating apprehension about a global virus and slam the doors to our hearts? Or do we stand firm in the belief that love and trust are the defining energies of life on Earth and that keeping our hearts open is the most important choice we can make in our lives? Seems to me that is why we were born, why we all incarnated at this time in the history of our planet. To make that choice and live it completely. To come into full awareness of ourselves as love at our core.

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Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Are you hard on yourself?

The Practice:
Don’t beat yourself up.

Why?

A previous JOT – admit fault and move on – was about our relationship with other people. This JOT applies the same practice to ourselves.

Most people know their less than wonderful qualities, such as too much ambition (or too little), a weakness for wine or cookies, something of a temper, or an annoying tendency to rattle on about pet interests. We usually know when we make mistakes, get the facts wrong, could be more skillful, or deserve to feel remorseful.

Some people err on the side of denying or defending these faults (a word I use broadly here). But most people go to the other extreme, repeatedly criticizing themselves in the foreground of awareness, or having a background sense of guilt, unworthiness, and low confidence.

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Three False Beliefs That Poison Our Relationships

Here is a list of three false beliefs that betray our hearts and poison our relationships. The more aware we can become of these long-conditioned false beliefs and how they compromise our ability to have fulfilling relationships, the more freedom we will win from them:


False belief # 1: Our value as a person is determined by how others see us.

If we believe our individual worth depends on how others see us, we live with the fear of being judged by them, where trying to win their approval causes us to compromise ourselves again and again. People sense this kind of weakness in us, causing them to resist us, which in turn, makes us feel even “needier.” The cycle deepens, things get worse. Here’s the solution. Seeing its truth sets us free: we are not in this world to “win” what we believe we must to feel “good” about ourselves, but rather to realize that who we are – our True Self – is already whole, happy, and complete.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: After Many Years

After forty years, my oldest friend, Robert, took my hand and said, “I didn’t give you one thing you didn’t already have when we met. I just warmed it open with love and truth until you opened like a flower, blossoming into yourself.” This is what friendship does.

 

A Question to Walk With: Describe a friend who has loved you the way the sun loves flowers and trees. What is the greatest gift this friend has given you. Once you’ve reflected on this, tell them.

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Just Because

"Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love." -Lao Tzu

I've Been Thinking...

I was sitting in my office the other day when my daughter Christina walked in and asked me what I was up to.


I told her I was thinking about everything that had happened this week and how I felt about it all. I sat there thinking about how I felt attending Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s memorial service with my son Christopher on Monday. I thought about how I felt on Tuesday as I watched another round of the Democratic debates. (I ended up watching alone because everyone else got up and left, saying “I’ve had it!”) I thought about how I felt about Ash Wednesday, the concept of Lent, and Pope Francis’ challenge for us all to give up “trolling,” or insulting others on social media. I thought about the Coronavirus and the fear, panic, and suffering it's wreaking around the world.

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Two Steps to a New Relationship With Your Partner and Yourself

In the largely autobiographical film “Peaceful Warrior,” loosely based on the book Way of the Peaceful Warrior by author Dan Millman, we meet a mysterious old man, a delightful character by the name of Socrates who operates a run-down gas station. The story line revolves around the relationship that Socrates develops with Dan. As the plot develops, and Dan learns to trust the old man, Socrates takes him through a series of powerful experiences and challenging life lessons all designed to achieve a single end: to help Dan realize and then release himself from a set of largely self-imposed limitations carried over from his past. At an inflection point in one of their dialoguesto help strengthen the point he wanted to make of a particular lessonSocrates tells Dan:

The secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

This idea seems simple enough to understand and, at one level, it is. But hidden within it is also a secret instruction that, once revealed, will help us see the way out of any and all old patterns we may be reliving with our partner. Study the following insight closely; read and reread it as needed until some of its higher understanding reaches the part of yourself able to employ its power.

At the outset of feeling any disagreement about to beginwhether we’re about to go on the offensive, or find ourselves on our heels, feeling defensivewe must have enough awareness of ourselves to realize this very simple truth: in that same moment there is only one of two things that can be causing this conflict. Either an unseen part of us has acted to start this conflict, or some unconscious part of us has been stirred into opposing a similar characteristic in our partner. As long as we remain unaware of this “starting gun” that sets us racing to win the argument, we’ll continue to see everything about the moment from one side only: our side. But here’s the truth, as well as the explanation for why no one can ever win such a race:

Both of these actions—whether an unseen part of us steps up to initiate the pattern, or steps back to resist an equally unwitting action instigated by our partner—are a part of the overall pattern. In other words, the real reason this negative pattern keeps being resurrected is that, over and over again, we identify with one side or the other of these opposing forces. Take away either one of these two sides and well, you’ve heard the old expression: “what if they gave a war, and no one came?” This is why as soon as we catch the smallest hint of impatience, a mounting frustration, or any sense of resentment gathering steam we must actdecisivelyas outlined here in the following two steps.

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See Your Part

What’s your own role?

The Practice:
See your part.

Why?

In situations or relationships with any kind of difficulty – tension, feeling hurt, conflicts, mismatches of wants . . . the usual crud – it’s natural to focus on what others have done that’s problematic.

This could be useful for a while: it can energize you, highlight what you most care about, and help you see more clearly what you’d like others to change.

But there is also a cost: fixating on the harms (actual or imagined) done by others revves up your case about them (see Drop the Case), with all the stresses and hard feelings that this brings. Plus it makes it harder to see the good qualities in those you have issues with, the influence of additional factors – and whatever might be your own part in the matter.{jcomments off}

For example, let’s say you work with someone who is unfairly critical of you. Sure, there are the ways that this person is out of line, self-righteous, whatever. Additionally, there are the ways that this person is also doing good things, plus the ways that other factors – such as coworkers who like to gossip – are making things worse. And there might be your own role as well, perhaps inadvertently.

To be clear, sometimes we really do have no part in whatever happened. Many situations are like a person walking across a street with a green light when a drunk driver hits them. And in many other situations, our own role is small at most, and never justifies the harmful actions of others. I feel it is courageous and self-respecting to recognize and as appropriate call out the harms done by someone to us or others.

And still . . . we usually have little influence over other people. Yes, we do what we can about what’s “out there,” but “in here” there are many more opportunities for managing our reactions and for becoming more skillful in life.

Further, I’ve never been able to come to peace about anything that’s bothered me until I take responsibility for whatever is my own part in it. Which, upon reflection, is sometimes nothing at all! But the willingness to see for oneself whatever one’s part is enables a genuine sense of release when we can enjoy “the bliss of blamelessness.”

Paradoxically, when you step into acknowledging your part, then you can step out of tangles of conflicts with others and ruminations and resentments inside your own mind.

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A Boy That Showered Us with Compassion

It’s funny how just as I’m about to wrap up one of my lectures, the strongest spirits come through to me.  One afternoon in particular, I heard a voice that was directing me to a couple in the front section.

“I feel I want to come right here,” I said pointing to a couple. "Which one of you lost your father, please?” The husband raised his hand.

“Your dad is here,” I went on. “But, he’s got someone with him who really wants to come through. Did you and your wife lose a child?”

The couple sadly acknowledged losing their son. At this point, the link was crystal clear, so I gently went on, “I feel that he passed from an illness, and I can feel a slight pain behind my eye. Was he eight years old?”

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Dismiss These 3 False Beliefs About Your Partner That Drag You Both Down

Inside all of us is a confusion of ideas and expectations that have been built up over the years through our experiences, books we’ve read, movies we’ve seen, opinions of people who seemed to be “in the know,” and endless other sources.
 

Much of this “information” is distorted, irrelevant, or just plain wrong. Nevertheless, these are the ideas that precede us into any situation, coloring what we see, and making us compare and judge reality against the picture in our minds.

 
These false beliefs shape the world we experience so that old pains and problems are reseeded into every new moment; their unseen influence is one of the reasons why we find ourselves so often re-living certain unwanted experiences over and over again. We may blame some outside condition for our discontent, but the fact is most of what troubles us about life, does so because we “believe” it’s not supposed to be like that!

 
All of this is particularly true when it comes to our human relationships. Our relationships with others, especially with our partner in life, are fraught with expectations, need, and false beliefs.

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The Secret To Success In Any Relationship

You are free when you realize that you don’t have the power to MAKE another person change.

You suffer when you spend your time trying to control the lives of those around you to be what you want them to be.

People don’t change unless they really want to change. You only have the power to share your perspective, wisdom, and invite them to consider a different way of doing things.

When someone changes simply to make you happy, rest assured, it doesn’t last.

They must not only want to change but must be committed to it. They also must be open to your help. We sometimes try to change people that are not asking for help and end up trying to control them to fit our ideal.

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Who Needs Your Love NOW?

One of my favorite lines in A Course In Miracles is this:

The only thing lacking in any situation is that which you are not giving.

If you are out of sorts, stressed out, anxious, in need of a hug and some love, please know that you are not alone.

Most of us are pretty upside down these days about one thing or another.

And, an instant solution is to share some of your love with someone else.

Whether it’s a friend, elderly relative, stranger on the street, co-worker, neighbor, or the next person you come across, give them a big smile and a kind word, delivered with a blast of love and you can make someone’s day.

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The Power Of Acceptance

"I'm beautiful in my way. 'Cause God makes no mistakes. I'm on the right track, baby I was born this way." -Lady Gaga

I've Been Thinking...

The other day, my son Christopher said to me, “Mommy, you should ask Dwyane Wade to write for your Sunday Paper and share the story about how his family is handling his child’s transition. It’s super cool and inspiring.”


My son is a basketball fanatic, but he’s also one of the wisest, most empathic individuals I’ve ever met. When he was little, people would always marvel at his empathy, his kindness, and his loving nature. They would congratulate me for raising a young man like him, to which I always replied: “Thank you, but I had nothing to do with it! He was just born that way!” And that’s the truth.

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How To Deal With A Breakup and Heal Your Heart

Breakups are never easy.

Often difficult, painful, and sometimes messy.

Know this: Your heart can never be truly broken, even though it might seem that way in the moment. Your heart is beyond physical, it’s capacity to love is infinite.

In any breakup your heart gets broken open beyond its current capacity to love. Prior to the breakup you were able to love to a certain degree. The breakup shatters the edges of your heart’s limits. Yes, it can be painful in the moment, but like a deep yoga pose it stretches you beyond who and what you were. Breathe into it, and allow your heart to open wider.

Every breakup is a potential breakthrough. Every breakup is a graduation to your next level, so long as you learn the lessons of the relationship.

The end of a relationship with someone you love can be extremely painful, but it is not a failure. The real success of a relationship is not in how long you stay together, but in how much you became the most authentic version of yourself and how much you loved.

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Scapegoating: A Dysfunctional Family System

When I work with clients, I can feel the beauty of their soul and I can feel their light shining through. I’m fortunate that the vast majority of clients that want to work with me individually or come to an Intensive are very ready to learn and heal and own their beautiful light.

One issue that frequently emerges is when a person has been scapegoated in his or her family of origin, and might still, as an adult, be being scapegoated. Scapegoating is when someone is blaming you for their feelings, wrongdoings, mistakes, and projecting their woundedness on to you, with no empathy or compassion for how this feels to you.
 

In families, one member is often the target of judgments, criticism, accusations, blame and ostracism. Scapegoating often begins is childhood and may continue into adulthood with your family of origin or with your in-laws. If you have been or currently are the target of scapegoating, it’s important to realize that you are being abused.

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3 Most Asked Questions about the Afterlife

I’d like to answer some of your questions about my work and the Other-Side. I hope these answers will offer you some comfort and clarity.

1.  Is my loved one on the Other-Side always connected to me?
Your family and friends in this world aren’t around you 24-7. But when there’s an emergency, they’re there when you need them. It’s the same way with your loved ones on the Other-Side. They know what’s going on in your life and try to let you know they are there for you, whether it’s for love, guidance, hope, or inspiration.

It takes a lot of energy for those who have passed to lower their vibration and make a connection to you. So it’s not something they’re going to be doing all the time. Your loved ones have their own learning to do over there and need time to grow and progress. That’s why those who have recently passed often need time before they’re ready to connect with you.

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The Power Of Love

Over the last several years, I’ve written and talked on the radio about the power of love and how important it is to use your intuition when it comes to love, dating, and relationships. I’ve talked about everything from reinventing your love life and changing your dating mindset to using your intuition when it comes to the scent of attraction (why online dating can go sour if his smell turns you off) and the sound of your date’s voice (sound frequency is so telling!) Ultimately, trusting your intuition will help you much more than any how-to-date manual. But, what about the reverse—what does love have to do with enhancing your intuition and connection to the All That Is?

We often tend to think of love as an emotion or an expression, but it is so much more. Love is unconditional, accepting, inclusive, uniting, understanding, kind, and joining. It’s a freedom from fear and separateness. It’s about showing compassion and kindness to yourself and the world around you. It’s also a commitment to reduce suffering and respect every creature and object. Love flows through every living being, connecting us to one another, the living planet, and the Divine. It’s what made you, your friends, and even the people who drive you crazy. It’s a part of our trees, oceans, mountains, and sky. Love is at the very essence of who we are. 

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Let's Get Loving

“I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you." -Paul Coelho

I've Been Thinking...

My first love was the horse pictured below. Her name was Miss Buck, and I loved her with all my heart. 

Just a few weeks ago, my brother sent me this picture—one I’d never seen before. When I saw it, I was reminded of what love feels like and looks like. Love feels safe. Love feels secure. It feels restful. It feels like home.

 


Do you know what love feels like to you? Several years ago a friend asked me that very question. I distinctly remember pausing, as I was quite sure no one had ever asked me that question before. It moved me and rattled me all at the same time.

Love is like that, isn’t it? It stirs up so many emotions. It can take you to the highest place imaginable, and then break you into tiny pieces. Your heart can be full one minute, and empty the next. You can be so hopeful when you are in love, and yet so full of despair when you feel unlovable.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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