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 Most Precious Possession 

I had just finished a music performance at a preschool in Minneapolis. The children were playing on the playground while I was loading my car. Lucy who is barely three was standing by the chain link fence with her hand reaching out to me. As I walked over to her, she gently said, “Here, this is for you.” “You can take it home.”

What else could I say except “Thank You!” Doing my best to echo the sweet sincerity that the tiny white pebble from the playground was given.

The object had no intrinsic value, but the gift was priceless.
Kings cannot possess riches as precious as the generosity of Lucy’s pebble.

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The Power of Love: Resetting Humanity to a New Way of Living on the Earth.

Rabindranath Tagore, Bengali poet and Nobel Prize winner, is quoted as saying, “Only in love are unity and duality not in conflict.”

In one sense, this concept seems so easy to grasp, so simple and so obvious, especially to those of us leading a conscious, intentional life.

But our world, on a global scale, needs a reminder.

Much of the strife we experience and witness today is because of ideas of false separation, ones that enable people to behave in ways that dehumanize, exploit, and divide.

But together, we who live in Oneness and with the Divine energy of the Universe working through us, can be a collective force for change.

Take a deep breath in and for a moment imagine the ideal world where everyone understands Oneness and Love is the great motivator…

Then imagine thousands and thousands of people coming together from all over the globe to hold this intention, to expand awareness, to change the frequency, to hit the metaphorical reset button.  


This is, in fact, the focus of “The Power of Love: Resetting Humanity to a New Way of Living on the Earth,” the 11th annual Global Oneness Summit and the first-ever International Shout Out Love Day…

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Longings for Worth

After almost seventy years, I confess that though I have struggled I have never been lost and have never stopped loving—everything. And this has enabled me to inhabit life authentically. In the beginning, there were goals I was taught to work toward and these longings for worth were honed in time into personal ambitions, which all fell away. For staying true to the love of everything as our teacher has turned out to be the most enduring ambition of all. This love has made me get up when I have fallen, and has given me the strength to enter the breaks in my heart where I have retrieved my gifts. And so, I have very little to offer beyond the confirmation that unending love without preference will lead us to drink from the Mystery without leaving the world. Unending love without intent will fill every contour of existence the way light fills every hole. So, there is very little to teach. Just that love awakens everything. And care erases the walls we build between us.

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How to Raise Your Self-Esteem in Two Steps

It is my personal opinion that most people are unnecessarily insecure. These insecurities can hold people back from being truly happy, and living life to the fullest. Where do these insecurities come from? How can we become more confident?

The need for the approval of others is one of our first learned behaviors. As we started life, many of us learned that we received our parents love when we did things that pleased them. We were met with negativity, or not as much love, when we did things that upset them. Our parents were the gods of our universe at that time, and their love was not only desired instinctually, but was necessary for our survival.

As we move out into the world as individuals, we still feel that the acceptance and praise of others keeps us validated, and defines us as meaningful contributors to society. So this means that a large motivator for doing anything is the expectation of positive feedback from someone else.

When we receive praise, we allow it to lift us up, and we feel good about what we have done. A negative reaction from someone, can make us feel bad, and can even make us question our validity.

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Shine On Behalf Of The Divine

I’m still coming down off the gratitude cloud from last weekend’s OraclePalooza Virtual, and equally swimming in the searing truth of my best friend Doug’s crossing over the rainbow bridge a few short weeks ago. The entire weekend I was in two places as I stepped into one of many “firsts” without him. Being my wingman and emcee at OraclePalooza was the thing he loved best. It was strange to be without him although it was an important new beginning and I felt his spirit the entire time. 

I miss the brave, real, loving human though. In the flesh with me backstage eating gluten-free snacks and giggling about how lucky we were to do what we did, and him crying reminding me that not everyone’s stuff was for me to take on. God, I love that man. What a pair we were. 

Doug was with me for 16 deep meaningful and fun years of friendship, but what made it special is that we shared a mission. Those kinds of friends are gifts from the Divine.

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Hope for the Frustrated, Ambitious and Impatient

As a lawyer turned writer, then as a creative turned business owner, not to mention as a plain old human being, I have often felt helpless. Flustered. And full of self-hatred and shame. I often assume, no, I know, that everyone else knows how to do everything just right-- and frankly this makes me sick.

But I am moving past “helplessness” and it’s like seeing the sun rise for the first time.

I want to take you with me. If you have ever felt inept as though you can’t run a business, write a screenplay, find a lover or an answer, or roll up your yoga mat evenly which, personally I think is a covert form of hell, I want to tell you a story about going past imaginary limits. It’s a story of self-forgiveness. It’s a story of hitting your full potential. Actually, it’s a story of folding a goddamn blanket. But it’s really a story of unfoldment, of how to teach yourself to do anything in this world you want or need to do.

I’d been visiting a friend who is a famous author and speaker and staying in her charming guest house in San Francisco. “What do you want me to do with the bedding?” I ask her, as I’m leaving early the next morning and won’t see her. “Oh, fold the blankets back up and leave it at the foot of the bed with the others,” she says casually. I try not to twitch or gasp. I was hoping she would say “Just leave it in a reckless heap like you leave everything. I’ll take care of it. I’ll be the good mommy.” But no such luck. I am on my own here. With bedding issues.

In the morning, I pack up and the only thing I need to do is face the dreaded task of “folding the blanket.” I stare at the crumpled outrage. Obviously, I was fighting Godzilla in my sleep. Then I study the other white blankets at the foot of the bed, deriding me, white cotton folded with German engineering, resting like smug doves.

My stomach clenches. I am going to screw this up. I am a screw up. I am going to create a lumpy, ugly, bulging inept pile that announces either raw disregard or reprehensible incompetence. I think about writing a note apologizing. I feel like an idiot. Folding things neatly. I missed that class in kindergarten. I was probably having a cigarette or a Jujube.

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The Gift of Uncertain Times

This is the gift of uncertain times: It’s a strength to be undoing that which no longer works for you, yes, even when you think it does. Undoing is progress, not mayhem.

The artist Pablo Picasso wrote, "Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction." And the philosopher Nietzsche said, "You must become a chaos before giving birth to a shining star." These are not poetic elaborations. They are descriptions of how a metamorphosis works. First, things fall apart before they fall together.

A mother doesn’t have to understand or even trust the birth process to give birth. Your next expression wants to be born. Great and mighty forces marshal their strength around you. It’s your time. You’re uncovering a new way to breathe and feel safe in the world, even though you can’t imagine it. Change may wear a wolf suit. Still, don’t be fooled. It’s wild, abundant magic come knocking on your door.

It’s okay to feel as though you don’t know what’s going on. You don’t. You can't supervise creativity, alchemy, reinvention, evolution and the divine flower rearrangement of your life. Yet if you trusted the Energy behind this miracle of change, you wouldn't want to control a thing. You'd throw everything you had into the blender and watch it yield a grace beyond all reason.

Here's the work. It's not about staying in control. It's about staying in love.

I know this isn't easy to do. But you can take the fun bus or the misery bus, because either way you’re going for a ride. If you want to thrive, this is your practice:

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Our Task Right Now Is Love

When the shelter-in-place and quarantine mandates were implemented due to the COVID pandemic, I began offering Free BodyAwake Yoga sessions online to help people stabilize and ground the energies present during this uncertain and challenging time. Cooking

Recently this past week, as turbulent energies and upheaval are spreading across the United States, I’m even more dedicated to offering this sacred practice at a time when it’s needed more than ever.

In yoga, one often hears the phrase “Namaste” spoken at the beginning or end of each class. Namaste is a traditional Indian greeting, meaning, “The Divine Light in me recognizes and honors the Divine Light in you.” The term literally translates to “I bow to you.”

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You Can Be The MVP

“The older I get, the smarter my father seems to get." –Tim Russert

I've Been Thinking...

Just a few months ago, I was sitting at Kobe Bryant’s memorial service in LA listening to one speaker after the other talk about Bryant’s role as a “girl dad.” My eyes welled up with tears as I listened to them reflect on how his embrace of that moniker had affected how they viewed their own daughters and roles as fathers. In the weeks after the service, it seemed like everywhere I turned, men were proudly owning that title. 

I couldn’t help but reflect on my father at that time. He, too, was a “girl dad,” but when I was growing up, being a “girl dad” wasn’t a thing.

I grew up as the only girl surrounded by brothers, and the message I often got was to be like a boy. Be as tough as a boy. Be as competitive as a boy. Be as athletic as a boy. Be as competent as a boy. The "in thing" was to be a "boy dad." 

Even though I went to an all-girls school, dads weren’t applauded the way they are today for showing up and being present in their daughters’ lives. I say this not to bemoan or complain, but to celebrate this moment and to illustrate how much things can change in one person’s lifetime. I know we have a long way to go before parenting roles are equal, but I think it’s an awesome thing for men to be encouraged in their fathering—not just for their own kids, but for so many others in need of fathers as well.

Studies show dads who are present in their child’s life make a difference. Engaged fathers produce more confident daughters. Evolved, kind fathers show their sons a new way forward. Loving, nurturing, encouraging fathers show their daughters what manhood can look like, and what to expect in a man if she chooses to be with one.

Today, I am in awe when I see fathers pushing strollers, dancing with their daughters or doing their hair, standing with their sons while they cry and telling them it’s ok. I am moved when they proudly tell others that they took paternity leave or stand up and fight for it for others. I’m so happy that we have come to this place.

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Know You’re a Good Person

Who are you, deep down?

The Practice:
Know you’re a good person.

Why?

For many of us, perhaps the hardest thing of all is to believe that “I am a good person.” We can climb mountains, work hard, acquire many skills, act ethically – but truly feel that one is good deep down? Nah!

We end up not feeling like a good person in a number of ways. For example, I once knew a little girl who’d been displaced by her baby brother and fended off and scolded by her mother who was worn down and busy caring for an infant. This girl was angry at her brother and parents, plus lost and disheartened and feeling cast out and unloved. She’d been watching cartoons in which the soldiers of an evil queen attacked innocent villagers, and one day she said sadly, “Mommy, I feel like a bad soldier.”

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Terrapin

I saw myself swimming in a river of deep blues and greens. The shape of the water reminded me of a swimming spot in my childhood. There was a sense of freedom and anticipation surrounding me. Every moment felt familiar.

I began to notice an energy that was coming from outside my vision. This new energy allowed a connection to memories of the previous life. Eternity began to swirl through my mind. The change brought a calm that surrounded me. While loosely observing my thoughts of creation, I felt a strong presence. My vision quietly revealed who was sharing this moment with me. We communicated without words.

I began to swim to the beautiful creature that was sharing such kindness and wisdom. I reached out and touched a giant terrapin. His shell looked like it was made of earth. The message to me was one of love and patience. I rested my forehead on his cheek. Through this touch, I was able to feel our entire world and so much more. I was shown how humanity is being guided deeper through the universe’s passage to eternal wisdom. I understood I had to wait and be patient. There will be many of us discovering our true connection. We will find each other, but first we must understand our personal power. Only then can we patiently have space for others.

I knew without a doubt that the ancient creature was a teacher for the whole of humanity. The message was clear. All animals, humans, and Mother Earth are connected through the energy that flows through our souls. We are all one, we are all equal.

The wise one encouraged me to trust my instincts and recognize that healing can occur even in darkness and confusion. Instinctively, I knew the turtle was returning to a place on earth that needed his wisdom and love. Higher power comes in all forms, males, females, rocks, plants, or animals.

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Three Wishes For The World

“We all have the power to make wishes come true, as long as we keep believing." -Louisa May Alcott

I've Been Thinking...

The other day, I went on one of my “walk and talks.” These are socially distant walks that I take in the late afternoon, either alone or with friends who also like to walk, talk, dream, ponder, and wonder about life. 

I often walk with my friend Simon, an optimist and an astute student of leadership. 

The other day, we were walking and talking about Simon’s online courses (you can learn more here and follow him on Instagram, too) and his upcoming podcast, when we came upon two other guys we both know. We stopped to chit chat, and just as we were about to leave, one of the guys said: “I’d like to ask you both a question. What are your three wishes for our country and the world right now? They don’t have to be achievable, but what are they?” 

“Wow!” I thought to myself. I figured he was just going to ask which restaurants had good takeout service or something, but hey, okay. I knew I’d need a few minutes to think about how to answer. 

Simon’s three wishes popped out immediately.

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Shaking is Meant for Shifting

For me and many of the people I’ve spoken to who are part of the stay-at-home population, it feels like one day is rolling right into the next with not that much changing in any given 24-hour period.

Of course, if we’re working from home or home-schooling our children or are caregivers for our loved ones, the details of each day are numerous and ever-changing.

But it’s the general tone of the day that I’m speaking about... 

I’m wondering about that question mark that’s hanging over the planet.

What is this shaking up of the world as we know it ushering in? 

What will our personal and collective lives look like in a few months…

And in a few years?

Though there have been a few other pandemics over the last hundred years or so, never before have we experienced the repercussions of a pandemic like the one enfolding the whole of the planet today. 

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The Miracle Of The Coronavirus – Part 1

Creating authentic power requires distinguishing love from fear in yourself and choosing love no matter what is happening inside you or what is happening outside. Our evolution now requires us to create authentic power. The coronavirus is teaching us how to do that. The reality of the coronavirus is often lost in the fear of it (including denial). The reality of the coronavirus is that no one is immune to it, and it is extremely contagious. The mortality rate of the coronavirus is much lower than small pox or bubonic plague, yet it is a deadly threat. That reality demands that we bring our fears into our awareness so that we can choose responsibly between our fears on the one hand and love on the other. This is important because not only your health depends upon your choices, but also the health of others.

In other words, the coronavirus is the perfect teacher of responsibility. The coronavirus is contagious days before its symptoms appear in you. You do not know when you become infected! During that time you can infect others without knowing it and without them knowing it (because they do not know when they become infected, either), and they can (will) very quickly infect others and on and on and on and on. These are the things that make the coronavirus very dangerous. It is extremely contagious, everyone can unknowingly infect anyone else, and it can kill you. In other words, if you mindlessly endanger yourself, you mindlessly endanger others. If others recklessly endanger themselves, they recklessly endanger you. To echo Lakota wisdom, the health of one is the health of all, and the illness of one is the illness of all.

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How To Love Your Body

The healthier and more vibrant your body is, the more you can express yourself through it and live your dream.”

We often live with the pressure of having a ‘perfect’ body according to the standard created by the media and society as a whole. As a result, this can often lead to shame, self-rejection and even hatred of our body. Listen to this important episode to learn how to love your body and honor this amazing vehicle of your soul.

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Coronavirus – The Heart of the Matter

All my life I have gone to the heart of the matter. When I graduated from college, I volunteered to fly fighters because I felt that was the heart of the Air Force. My eye sight prevented me, so I joined the Infantry because I felt that was the heart of the Army. Then I became a Green Beret officer because I felt that was the heart of the heart of the Army. When I wrote about quantum physics, I reached for the heart of this new discipline so I could write a book about it without scientific jargon and give non-scientists like me a clear and understandable explanation of it. That book won The American Book Award for Science, I believe, because it did exactly that.

I have come to see the heart of everything that we do and experience, individually and as a species, as consciousness. Our consciousness. My consciousness. Changing anything in the world, including myself, requires changing consciousness. The only place I can change consciousness is in myself.

Now I come to the coronavirus. Like everything I see around me, I see the coronavirus as symbolic. It has a lesson to teach me, and in my opinion, it has a lesson to teach us. The coronavirus is real in that it kills, the world economy is crippled, hundreds of millions have no work or shelter or comforting hand to hold theirs when they are ill. The most difficult is yet to come in economically undeveloped countries and collectives.

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Love the World

Are we really so separate?

The Practice:
Love the world.

Why?

To simplify and summarize, our brain has three primary motivational systems – Avoiding harms, Approaching rewards, and Attaching to “us” – that draw on many neural networks to accomplish their goals. 

Lately, I’ve started to realize that a fourth fundamental human motivational system could be emerging as well.

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors depended upon their habitats for food and shelter. Today, over 7 billion of us are pressing hard up against the limits of Lifeboat Earth. To survive and to flourish, cultural and perhaps biological evolution are calling us to love the world.

The world is near to hand in the food you eat, the air you breathe, and the weather and climate in which you spend your days. And then in widening circles, the world extends out to include complex webs of life and the physical characteristics of the land, the sea, and the sky.

When you love the world, you both appreciate it and care for it. Each of these actions makes you feel good, plus they help you preserve and improve everything you depend on for your health, livelihood, security, pleasure, and community.

During most of the last several million years, our human and hominid ancestors did not have much capacity for harming the world. Nor did they have much understanding of their effects on the whole planet.

But now, humanity has great power for good and ill. And we have inescapable knowledge (no matter how much some try to deny it) of what we are doing to our own home. As the earth heats up, as many species go extinct, and as resources such as fresh water decline, it is critically important that a fourth major motivation guide our thoughts, words, and above all, deeds:

Love the world.

What's Really Essential?

"The measure of a country's greatness is its ability to retain compassion in a time of crisis." -Thurgood Marshall


I've Been Thinking...

The other day, I found myself thinking and reflecting on life as I took an evening walk through my neighborhood.

“When this is all over, what will I remember?” I pondered to myself. “What thoughts and images will be seared into my brain? Who will I be when I am no longer told to stay at home?”

Will I go back to the same schedule I had before? Will my work and voice in The Sunday Paper be needed now more than ever, or not at all? Will my work at NBC News be the same, or will it change now that every show has been cut back? Will I go back to being on a plane all the time, rushing from coast to coast?

 

Will my work at The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement survive in a post-pandemic world? Will people still want to fund research into women’s brains when millions of Americans are struggling to eat and pay their rents or mortgages? Will people want to be educated about brain health and Alzheimer’s prevention when one of their most pressing concerns is protecting themselves from the coronavirus? I wonder. 

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I Need You And You Need Me

"Surrender yourself humbly; then you can be trusted to care for all things. Love the world as your own self; then you can truly care for all things." -Lao Tzu

I've Been Thinking...

I was catching up with a friend by phone the other day when she said to me: “I need you more than ever right now.”

“Same here!” I replied, without skipping a beat.
 
The truth is, we all need each other more than ever right now. We need each other in so many ways, both big and small. We need to rely on one another. Lean on one another. Trust one another. Be compassionate, understanding, and patient with one another. We need to basically focus on being there for one another the best we can.
 
I’ve been thinking a lot this week about just how tied we are to one another. This historic moment is showing us how interconnected we are. It is showing us how we all have similar needs. And yet, as we live through this big, collective moment together, we are also going through it in very individual ways.

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What Does “You Are Enough” Mean?

“You are enough.”

That short phrase is one of the most powerful I can think of. So powerful that I used it as the title of my new book. Yet, I wonder if you’ve ever really thought about what it means to simply…be enough. 

Society places a great deal of importance on outward success – success in the form of possessions, a big bank balance, perfect relationships, glowing, radiant health, and a secure, high-paying job. Yet, even those that have outwardly achieved immense levels of success still feel as if there is something missing from their lives. They feel as if they ARE their possessions. Their profession is their identity. They depend on their bank balance for validation. 

These feelings of emptiness, dissatisfaction, and sadness occur because those external things can never take the place of your authentic self. In fact, all of the external trappings of success are actually examples of what “you are enough” does NOT mean.

You are far more than your external accomplishments, my dear friends. But from the moment you were born, you have been conditioned to be a unit of production. You’ve been separated from your emotions, been told that you’re too sensitive, that you shouldn’t become angry, that you have no reason to be sad. Your humanity has been denied and you learned that your worth is based on what you can provide. “Work hard!” they said and all will be well. In following that advice, your emotions were disregarded, and you were, essentially, mechanized.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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