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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Embracing Change With Intention

As we move towards the end of June, there is so much going on in our hearts, our minds, our world, and the heavens. Yes, Mercury is in retrograde, but that’s not all! This week we’ve also experienced a solar eclipse, a new moon, and the summer solstice… on top of everything that’s been happening in our day-to-day lives. So if you’re feeling a bit… unsettled… that’s natural! It’s all part of the divine chaos that has entered our global consciousness and the beginning of the Aquarian age. 

It feels abrupt because it is. This is a full-on paradigm shift, and although it’s been coming for a while it feels like a giant whomp on our collective and individual noggins. We’re going through momentous change, internally and externally, and it’s critical to give ourselves space and time to adapt. There is still more awesome change to come, and we need to allow ourselves recovery time so we’re ready to do our part whatever that may be. 

I see a huge opportunity in front of us. Yes, it can seem daunting.  Yes, it can seem overwhelming. But this is what is in front of us, today. We’re all being invited at this time in human history to address things that challenge us to our core like the fall out from how we handle the global pandemic, what to do and how to change systemic racism. On top of this we have seismic shifts in the economic system and the health care system and the education system, all the things that have been revealed as not working as well as we need them to. 

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Let's Celebrate One Another

“Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

I've Been Thinking...


Memorial Day weekend, the so-called “official start of the summer.” It’s also the weekend when we are supposed to focus on those who have given their lives for our country. This year, both have taken on new meaning.

It’s hard to “celebrate” the start of summer when millions are still struggling with a new normal and practicing social distancing. So many of us are walking around masked. Millions are desperately struggling to put food on the table, pay rent, or afford diapers for their kids—all in this “most powerful and greatest nation on Earth.”

 

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Feed the Mouse

Got cheese?

The Practice:
Feed the mouse.

Why?

To simplify a complex process spanning 600 million years, your brain developed in ways that are loosely related to the three major stages of vertebrate evolution:

  • Reptile – Brainstem, focused on avoiding harms
  • Mammal – Subcortex, focused on approaching rewards
  • Primate – Neocortex, focused on attaching to “us”

Since the brain is integrated, avoiding, approaching, and attaching are accomplished by its parts working together. Nonetheless, each of these functions is particularly served and shaped by the region of the brain that first evolved to handle it.

In this three-part series, the previous JOT – pet the lizard – was about how to soothe and calm yourself. This affects your brain as a whole, including its most ancient structures and the management of perhaps the first emotion of all: fear. This JOT continues the series by focusing on how to help you feel rewarded, satisfied, and fulfilled – in a word,  fed – which also engages your brain as a whole, with a particular focus on its subcortical regions that emerged mainly during the mammalian stage of evolution.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Each Day, an Anniversary

With each passing year,
the climb turns into a drift:
turn of phrase, turn of pot,
spot of sun, touch of dog.


After all this way,
we wake in what we wanted,
like a painting we used to drive
to see in which we now live.


Like swimmers who tire into
ease, we are, on good days,
cradled by the deep.


Thankfully, we have crawled
into the O of ordinary
and found beauty.


We walk our dog, following
the streets that warm in the sun,
share a glass of water, and watch
the cherry blossom bend, one
more year, toward something
no one can see.

A Question to Walk With: Describe a simple detail that carries the essence of a significant relationship in your life. What does this detail represent? Honor this detail by talking about it and its significance to the person it involves.

This excerpt is from my book of poems in progress, Elsewhere.

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Fasten Your Seatbelt, It’s Going To Be A Bumpy Ride

Bette Davis spoke this classic line in the film All About Eve, and it’s certainly apropos for the world we are currently in.

Unless you are in deep denial, the fact is that the rug has been pulled out from under all of us and it’s going to be bumpy for quite some time.

As we adjust to being in a collective dark night of the soul, we are individually figuring out how wrap our heads around the fact that right now there are no real answers: no one can say when/if the virus will end; when/ if certainty and stability will return; or if life as we once knew it will return.

Whether you are suffering through this process or are doing great with it (or bouncing between happiness and misery), most of us are now learning to adapt to “being with not knowing.”

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7 Ways To Make Room For Good

Times are tough for a lot of people right now. I get that’s an understatement but I am fortunate to be able to continue to serve and keep my business doors open so I feel I am in a position of privilege and can help people, and so I am, in any way I can.  The other day, I felt moved to send money to an old friend whom I know is out of work right now, just as a gift. We’ve known each other for years and had attended a woman’s group together when I lived in the US full time. She posted on Facebook that this happened to her. So my spidey senses went ding ding and I sent it.

When she received it, she called me and said, “Oh, Colette I can’t believe you did this.  Thank you, but I really can’t accept this. I’m good. I just know Spirit is going to look after me. I am really tuning in to manifesting something.” 

I paused and thoughtfully said, “Well, how did you think that was gonna happen? Maybe Spirit just told me to send you cash because you’re not working. You’re a single mom with small kids and no job! That is pretty darn good manifesting!”

All she could say was, “…Oh!”

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Dear Class of 2020

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." - Henry David Thoreau


I've Been Thinking...

  

This week, I wanted to wait until the very last moment to write about what I’ve been thinking because I knew that yesterday was going to be a milestone moment for me. You see, Saturday, May 2, was supposed to be my youngest son’s graduation day from the University of Michigan. It’s where he spent the last four years of his life—perhaps the happiest four years of his life.

Like every other graduation, his was canceled five weeks ago. So, I got together with some other parents and we staged a virtual graduation celebration for the boys that were left in his house and in his community.
 

We wanted the boys to have something special to mark this momentous moment in their lives. I guess as parents, we wanted that, too. I know I did. So, we gathered on Saturday via Zoom. We played the boys favorite songs, like Billy Joel’s “Saigon Nights,” and, of course, we played “Pomp and Circumstance” and the Michigan fight song. Some families made lawn signs. We made pretend diplomas. We got some cheap caps and gowns for pictures. We also got some food to-go from the legendary Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor and sent it to the boys’ house, where they have been holed up for the last five weeks finishing classes.
 

We all knew our “celebration” wasn’t exactly what they had been looking forward to for the last four years, but it was at least something to commemorate what was to have been their big day. It was something for us as well.

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Make The Offering

What could you offer?

The Practice:
Make the offering.

Why?

One of the strangest and most meaningful experiences of my life occurred when I went through Rolfing (ten brilliant sessions of deep-tissue bodywork) in my early 20’s. The fifth session works on the stomach area, and I was anticipating (= dreading) the release of buried sadness. Instead, there was a dam burst of love, which poured out of me during the session and afterward. I realized it was love, not sadness, that I had bottled up in childhood – and what I now needed to give and express.

We can hold back our contributions to the world, including love, just as much as we can muzzle or repress sorrow or anger. But contribution needs to flow; it stagnates and gets stinky if it doesn’t. Thwarted contribution is the source of much unhappiness. For example, the wound of loneliness and heartache is about not having others to give to as much as not having others to get from. And one of the major issues with adolescence in technological cultures is that there are few opportunities for teenagers to make a real difference, to matter and feel a sense of earned worth.

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Cosmic Mix

An interesting scene unfolded before me. Two women deep in conversation walked down the street. One was dragging a much-used suitcase, and both were drinking from sparkling champagne flutes. They acted as if it was an everyday outing. It was the combination of crystal glassware and a battered suitcase that caught my attention. This was in contrast to the manicured neighborhood they walked through.

The following morning I was hiking when a bird landed on the trail about seven feet in front of me.  My puppy and I watched a very large rattlesnake come out of the grass on one side of the trail. It slithered right past the bird and disappeared into dried grass on the opposite side.  As we walked by, I could only see the rattles and part of the tail, the head and body were completely hidden.  There was something comforting about observing the bird and the snake experiencing the only life they know.

Our world holds vast opportunities for very unique and rich experiences. We have the potential for amazing views, sounds, tastes, and colors. Every possibility we can think of, can be created. This concept is the foundation of the Law of Attraction.  It is a popular practice used to manifest what you want in life. It encourages ownership for what shows up on your life path, or drive home.

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Live in Perfect Health

Stress has been a consistent topic in my columns over the years. We were always speaking about the daily stresses created by normal routine patterns of behavior in life. No one ever imagined that in the lives of humanity, the biggest stress was yet to come.

The whole world has united to fight a common cause. All other causes seem minuscule compared to the attack of this mysterious common enemy gripping the world with fear. The Global Pandemic.

Of course humanity as a whole has always suffered from the threat of the onslaught of fear. It had constantly been a Democles sword, that has hung over the minds of people over centuries. It could be any sort of fear pervading the mind, and that is the prison the human being lives in.

Now in reality, the fear has got translated, from an imaginary emotion to a possibility. But yet again, one needs to understand, that although the fear at a certain level, is not really unfounded, yet on another level it is something that is created by our own thoughts, and so can be controlled, by our own thoughts too.

The conscious mind creates, and the subconscious mind is the reservoir.
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It is time to rebuild

Much of the unconscious world is collapsing under its own weight.

Many forms of commerce are hitting full stop. Ships are idle. Planes are empty. Even automobiles are parked without riders.

As old establishments fail, this is making room for new institutions and ways of living that are more fruitful and productive.

There will be some rebuilding of the old norm but, in many cases, new organizations will offer something fresh, something new, something conscious.

Those of us on the conscious journey have been calling forth a new humanity and a new earth.

Could it be that we’ve found our moment in the midst of so much challenge and hardship?

Perhaps.

A friend of mine, who is a gifted attorney, is leaving his lucrative practice to create educational programs for conscious professionals. This is a calling so, even though it is scary on many levels, he is moving forward with plans.

How about you ? What are you being called to at this time?

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Remember the Big Things

What matters most to you?

The Practice:
Remember the big things.

Why?

In every life, reminders arrive about what’s really important.

I’ve received some myself, as I’m sure you have, too. Perhaps it was news of a potentially serious health problem, the death of a loved one, or an accident that could have turned fatal. These are uncomfortably concrete message that sooner or later something will catch up with each one of us.

When I’m pierced with one of these reminders, it’s like there are three layers in my mind. The top layer is focused on problem-solving. Beneath that is what seems like a furry little animal that’s upset and wants to curl up and be hugged. The bottom layer feels accepting, peaceful, and grateful.

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Peace from Gratitude

Charles Dickens described the French Revolution as “the best of times” and the “worst of times.” We could use similar words to describe our world now. There is chaos, conflict, death, and destruction on the one hand, and love, compassion, and the birth of a new more aware consciousness on the other. We who are alive at this time are bridges between the old and the new, Heaven and Earth, humanity and divinity. To hold all that within us requires great courage as well as deep inner peace. How do we achieve that?

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Finding Beauty and Inspiration in Devastation

There is no denying where we are right now.

The shit has hit the fan.

Or, you more evolved types might say “the shift has hit the fan.”

In this moment in time, where no one knows when the pandemic will end, and how and when the economy will recover, I am navigating my rollercoaster of emotions that range from sheer terror to excitement and possibility.

One of my favorite thought leaders and scientists is Bruce Lipton. He is a Stanford stem cell biologist, bestselling author of The Biology of Belief, and recipient of the 2009 Goi Peace Award, and below is a short explanation of “imaginal cells” that he wrote many years ago that is timely today. I think you will find fascinating and uplifting:

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Take Care Of The Now

"Take care of the now for the sake of tomorrow." -Pope Francis

I've Been Thinking...

Happy Easter and Passover to you!


I know many of you are not feeling very happy at this moment. I know this is not the way you wanted to celebrate the holidays and for that I’m really sorry. I know millions of our fellow human beings are feeling anything but celebratory today.

Many of you have been separated from loved ones. Millions of you have lost jobs. (The numbers are so staggering I can’t even wrap my mind around them.) Many of you have also lost loved ones. You’ve been forced to say goodbye on the phone or attend funerals, like I did yesterday, on Zoom. (I gotta say, I never thought I’d experience that. But it was very moving, very special, and weirdly comforting.) I know so many of you are anxious, mad, scared, and ready for this all to be over. I know.

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We’re All Connected … Especially Now!

A few short weeks ago, we were going about our normal lives … driving to work, picking up groceries, dropping our kids off at school, meeting friends for dinner, taking trips to see our relatives, attending a live event and catching up with our neighbors at the dog park.

Then it all came to a sudden and unexpected halt that shook the very foundation of our lives!

Now, we’re being urged to practice social distancing and isolation. Residents in many states have been mandated to stay at home. Businesses have shut down. Some cities are closing their beaches and parks. Some countries, such as Italy and Spain are virtually at a standstill.

Like you, I felt a pang of fear in my gut and my head was full of questions as this news was unfolding. Why is this happening? What’s the message we’re supposed to get from this? Will the world as we know it ever be the same?

Weeks earlier, we yearned to step away from our overwhelming schedules so we could spend more time with our loved ones or by ourselves. Now that we’re forced to do it, it’s scaring the heck out of us.

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Honoring Our Connection

What a gift we have, when we recognize the connections.

Several years ago I met an elderly woman, who I will always remember. Her name is Elli. She was strongly connected to the other side, but not yet ready to go. She shared how she has always experienced angels in her life and also how much she loved her family. Physically she was petite and frail with a tiny patch of purple in her hair.

All through her life brilliant showers of light would show up, reaffirming her awareness of God and her connection with the Angels.

Elli’s daughter is a friend of mine. She was concerned about her mother’s health, pain and fatigue. Elli was diagnosed with stage four cancer. This sweet little lady that sees angels, traveled from the East Coast to Anchorage twice, while I knew her. We eventually set up a regular call on Friday mornings for her to receive some healing energy and a guided meditation. At some point the stage four cancer was completely gone, yet Elli remained very frail, hungry and exhausted.  Through it all, she was riding the wave of awareness that includes love, most don’t understand. Her body was tired and shutting down, but she still enjoyed the sweetness in life.

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The Power Of Thank You

What you thank in life and in another person, you actually enliven.”


THANK YOU. Perhaps two of the most potent words you could say. If all you did was say a heartfelt  “Thank you” each moment of your life to everyone you met, miracles would occur. Listen to this episode and learn the true power of ‘living thank you’ and how it will bring you more than just a full heart but a state of enlivenment and abundance in your life.

Some Questions I Ask:

  • Who are you grateful for in your life?
  • Who do you need to thank?
  • What are you taking for granted?
  • How can you thank those that challenge you the most?
  • Who is the most important person to thank?

In This Episode You Will Learn:

  • The best place to start in your gratitude process.
  • How the power of living Thank You can accelerate your growth and expansion.
  • The one key thing to focus on in any situation.
  • How to 'live your thank you'.
  • How to get unstuck in your life and move into a state of manifestation and inspiration.
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Manifesting In A Time of Madness

I woke up this morning to news about world markets crashing, Corona virus numbers doubling, speaking engagements being canceled, and so much more.

And yet, I am feeling very optimistic as I wash my hands in hot soapy water and make a list of more food to store up on “just in case.”

Why am I feeling good?

Because my faith is strong that despite what is happening in the outer world (where I have little control) my inner world knows that whatever happens, ultimately I am OK and I am going to be OK.

This is a conscious choice to not dive into the worry and despair and anxiety that is prevalent right now.

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Do you feel swamped with bad news?

The Practice:
Find the good news.

Why?

“Tell the truth.” It’s the foundation of science – and the foundation of healthy relationships, communities, and countries.

But the truth of things is complicated. To simplify, there is the good of things that are enjoyable and helpful, the bad of things that are painful and harmful, and the neutral of things that are neither.

We need to recognize genuinely bad news for our own sake and to take care of others. But we also need to recognize good news: things that are useful, reassuring, inspiring, opportunities, solutions, etc.

The Brain’s Negativity Bias

Unfortunately, we have a brain that generally fixates on bad news and brushes past good news. Over the 600 hundred million year evolution of the nervous system, our ancestors:

  • Had to avoid two kinds of mistakes: (1) thinking that there’s a tiger in the bushes but actually all is well, or (2) thinking that all is well while actually there is a tiger about to pounce. What’s the cost of the first mistake? Just needless worry. But what’s the potential cost of the second mistake? Ulp, no more mistakes . . . forever. So we have a brain that tends to make the first mistake again and again to avoid ever making the second one.
  • Had to get “carrots” such as food and avoid “sticks” such as predators. Imagine living back in the Stone Age – or even Jurassic Park. If you didn’t get a carrot today, you’d have another chance tomorrow. But if you didn’t avoid every single stick today, game over. Consequently, negative experiences are fast-tracked into memory – “once burned, twice shy” – while most positive experiences slip through the brain like water through a sieve. In effect, the brain is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones.

As a result, we routinely overestimate threats while underestimating opportunities and resources. Some people have an “optimism bias” in what they say. But in their actions, studies show that most people work harder to avoid pain than to get pleasure and remember failures and rejections more than successes and kindness from others. One result is that the media focuses on bad news, because that’s what people pay attention to; thus, the saying in journalism, “if it bleeds, it leads.”

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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