“Those who tell the stories rule the world.” — Hopi American Indian proverb
I love striking up conversations with people from all walks of life, especially those who have walked down paths I know nothing about. I try to have these conversations as often as I can, because I am always struck by the wisdom I discover in each and every one.
Earlier this week as my family vacationed at Blackberry Farm in the Great Smoky Mountains, I met a forest ranger named Dwight. Dwight taught me the history of the forests, the wisdom of the plants, and how to remain calm if I ever lost my way in the woods. (He’s got a book called “Lost!: A Ranger’s Journal of Search and Rescue” that I look forward to reading.)
I also met a vegetable gardener named John. John fell in love with vegetable drawings when he was a young boy and parlayed his interest into becoming one of the greatest gardeners in our country. (He’s also got a new book coming out that’s all about his journey to preserve our roots.) Ask John about tomatoes or garlic or seeds and he will give you a history lesson on each and tell you what to eat, when. (Only eat tomatoes when they’re in season, which is right now, he said. Otherwise, you’re eating engineered food.)
Between a partial lunar eclipse, a Full Moon in Capricorn, and Mercury having turned retrograde, this is a week full of profound and powerful energy! (And it’s my birthday this week too, yay!!)
Last week we talked about the importance of forgiveness, and now that we’ve had a week to practice forgiving ourselves and others, it’s the perfect time to do some personal inventory and take a deeper look at some of the ancestral patterns that may still be plaguing us. This is a week where we need to look to the past and see what we can clean up, whether that’s negative thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. Then, from that clean space, we can make ourselves ready to create our intentions for how we want to move forward in the New Moon cycle in a couple of weeks.
In the Weekly Oracle Card Guidance and Lesson, I pulled a couple of extra cards from my Enchanted Map deck that reminded us about the value of setting intentions. When we have a deliberate intention, we can discover anything can be made manifest in the outer world to reflect that intention.
A Question-and-Answer Session With Guy Finley
Question: One of our neighbors has done something to their property that is proving to be an immense problem for us and seems very unfair. I want to let go of the circumstance, and yet I feel as though I mustn't just allow this individual to dominate the atmosphere of the very place I call home. I don't really want to fight with his person, but don't know what else to do.
Answer: Sometimes one has to fight for what is right. Sometimes there is no other way to meet any injustice the moment brings than with the intention of setting it right. The task though (and the trick!) is to take whatever actions are necessary without allowing negativity to seep into oneself. Hatred, resentment, judging the character of the opposition -- all of these states and thoughts -- are not only useless, but spiritually destructive. We must do the best we can with what we understand is the right and true way to proceed. If we won't allow ourselves to be inflamed -- meaning stay watchful, instead of blindly willful -- we will exit any trial a truer person… whether or not we "win" the desired outcome.
In the end there is only one real struggle, and that is between what is dark, unconscious, and downward trending, with what is light, aware, and ascending. Choose wisely and you cannot lose.
Do you believe in reincarnation, and if so, does it matter? According to a 2018 Pew Research survey, 33% of Americans say they believe in reincarnation, yet it is beyond the range of ordinary polling to ask why this belief exists. In an age of faith, both East and West, a person’s daily life was deeply influenced by a religion’s teaching about the afterlife.
Questions of sin and redemption, karmic retribution, heavens and hells, and journeys through other bodies such as those of animals—these were pressing concerns for many centuries. Now in modern secular society, the question of surviving the extinction of the physical body has been channeled into belief versus science. We don’t ask if God finds us worthy to go to heaven so much as how credible a near-death experience might be according to the best research.
The scheme of belief versus science is something of a false divide, however. There has been credible research on reincarnation, which would surprise most people, including scientists. Pioneering studies were conducted by Ian Stevenson, chairman of the psychiatry department at the University of Virginia Medical School, who began investigating the phenomenon of young children who say they recall a past life. Hundreds of such cases were looked into with the aim of validating if the person they remembered being actually existed.
In a very broad spectrum, if we decide to give a definition of stress, we can say
WHAT STRESS IS OUR STYLE
Stress is the body's response to changes in the environment, which is affecting our lives. In each individuals life, there is constant bevy of changes happening. Adjusting and adapting to these changes is inevitable. But this effort of adapting to changes definitely leaves us with a legacy of stress to deal with.
We can broadly define the reasons, as to why stress overtakes our lives, but we need to also understand, that stress us a normal part of everyday life for most people. We need to also understand it's causes and challenges, and then look for our personal way of dealing with it.
What does “home” mean to you? A place? A group of people? A memory? Or is it a feeling deep inside that touches your heart and soul? All of these perhaps. Our own life experiences define what home means to each of us. I grew up in Illinois, later lived in California, and then settled in Massachusetts for more than 30 years. Massachusetts is where I met my life partner, Anne, and where we were married. I’ve always loved both coasts, but I didn’t realize how much the Northeast had become home for me until I moved away and then returned for a visit.
As a former attorney turned writer and unconventional career coach, I listen to creative minds, visionaries, and entrepreneurs every day in my coaching practice. I am moved by the grand spirit that moves them. They climb walls with passion, ambition, and frustration. They secretly dream big, because they are big. “I don’t even know if I’ll ever have what I want,” they say. But I do. I know we are relentlessly drawn to where we belong.
We don’t choose our wildest dreams. They choose us.
When we’re not using our deepest gifts, we can feel like trout thrashing about on a dock desperate to find water. It’s that necessary to live our calling. We’ve said “yes” to some sacred arrangement in the ethers, and here on earth—until we live our most meaningful dreams--we ache with the pangs of blessings unfulfilled. We can golf if we want to, but it will never fill that hole. We can shop, but we can’t buy our freedom.
What would make a difference inside you?
Grow Inner Strengths.
I’ve hiked a lot and have often had to depend on what was in my pack. Inner strengths are the supplies you’ve got in your pack as you make your way down the twisting and often hard road of life. They include a positive mood, common sense, integrity, inner peace, determination, and a warm heart. Researchers have identified other strengths as well, such as self-compassion, secure attachment, emotional intelligence, learned optimism, the relaxation response, self-esteem, distress tolerance, self-regulation, resilience, and executive functions. I’m using the word strength broadly to include positive feelings such as calm, contentment, and caring, as well as skills, useful perspectives and inclinations, and embodied qualities such as vitality or relaxation. Unlike fleeting mental states, inner strengths are stable traits, an enduring source of well-being, wise and effective action, and contributions to others.
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.” — Maya Angelou
My friend Clay wrote me the other day to tell me about a book he’s reading. It’s called Seven Ages of Paris, and in it, the French writer Colette is quoted as having said the following just before she died in 1954:
“What a beautiful life I’ve had. It’s a pity I didn’t notice it sooner.”
That quote landed on me like a thud. I hope you’ll stop and absorb it, too. Make a silent vow to not be Colette, like I did.
Now, to be honest, I’ve been in Colette’s heels before. When I was younger, I was constantly running through life as I juggled work, my children, my parents and all the other obligations coming my way. My to-do list was pages’ long, and it was all of my own making. I wasn’t noticing anything along the way because I was just trying to get everything done and start all over again.
Thank God I came to my senses.
My family is in the ﬁnal stages of relocating to Arizona from Alaska. We will be in sunny Arizona 10 months of the year, and enjoying Alaska’s cool summers two months of the year. We frequently use air travel into and out of Alaska . This time I wanted to experience a longer journey out, maybe even savor the experience of leaving Alaska. Entering or exiting the 49th state has two unique options during the summer months. We can drive the Alaska highway system into Canada and then into the lower 48 states, or use the ferry system. Both are about 4 or 5 days of continues travel.
A friend graciously accompanied me on the ferry. We drove my car, that was packed full of photographs and other treasures, onto the ferry just before midnight on Monday. Both of us had sleeping bags, food and Dramamine. Our sleeping arrangements included chaise lounges, minus the cushions and sleeping bags. We felt lucky to score two of the lounges. It took us a short amount of time to ﬁnd where we wanted to camp for 4 and a half days.
Thanks to its positive connotations, “wholeness” has become a buzz word in areas of life as diverse as holistic medicine, whole-foods nutrition, and the human potential movement, which aims to create a whole person rather than a separate, fragmented one. What these various applications have in common is that wholeness is a choice—and there the problem lies.
If you are talking about whole foods versus processed foods, wholeness is certainly a choice, and the same can be said for holistic as opposed to mainstream medicine with its reliance on drugs and surgery. But speaking about a whole person is somehow different. If you consider the issue a bit deeper, becoming a whole person is involved in the most fundamental questions about what it means to be human.
The nature of human consciousness is such that we can take any viewpoint we want towards our own existence. This goes beyond being an optimist or pessimist, beyond positive thinking. Or even psychology. At the most basic level, each of us decides how to relate to reality itself. In the modern era society teaches us to relate to reality through scientific, rational, logical means. Nature, including human nature, is thus quantified, measured, mined for data, and arranged through rational explanations.
From such a perspective, the human mind must be the product of the brain, following the basic logic that brain activity can be measured and quantified. This fact seems so obvious that neuroscience claims to be the prime, perhaps the only, way to explain the mind. Yet this claim runs afoul of the entire subjective world, which obviously exists—everyone is aware of sensations, visual images, sounds, thoughts, flashes of memory, etc., which occur “in here.” This entire realm of human existence cannot be turned into data or quantified. (For some background, you might want to consult the most recent post, “Why Math Is Leading Us Deeper into Illusion.”)
How many things do you do every day without even really thinking about it?
It’s so easy to walk up to the counter at the coffee shop and order a pastry to go with that highly sweetened coffee. Or, to flop onto the couch when you get home instead of taking a detour toward the rowing machine.
The power of habit can feel nearly unbreakable and it can feel incredibly hard to form better habits.
Our habits are patterns that provide comfort and familiarity.
But, I don’t have to tell you that not all of our habits are beneficial to us. Some of our habits leave us with problems like expanding debt or expanding waistlines.
Others can keep us in a holding pattern where we want to improve ourselves in many ways, but never get around to putting them into action because we’ve created bad habits.
Researchers who’ve looked at habits and patterns of behavior say that it can take 60 days or more to get rid of an old habit and get a new one to stick.
This is really a basic human tendency, I mean obsessing over a particular thought, but as it begins to overwhelm us, it turns into stress.
SENSE OF POWER
On the negative side of rumination, we understand the power struggle of the human mind. It is basically a constant repetition of negative thinking patterns which take over. When you are experiencing the feeling of a situation, which you perhaps experienced a day earlier, maybe someone said something to hurt you, and you continue to carry that hurt in your mind constantly, you keep repeating that thought within you and actually magnify that whole situation and that hurtful feeling so much, that it simply overtakes your whole life. You then start rollicking in stress.
Civilization can get to that higher level of evolution but only if we change our rapacious ways. The potential positive future for our species is analogous to the metamorphosis of a butterfly. A caterpillar’s body is comprised of several billion cells. In the body of the growing caterpillar, the economy is booming and the cellular community is actively employed. The voracious appetite of this organism leads to their devouring the leaves of the plant on which they are living. Caterpillar growth slows and eventually comes to an end as the available resources are consumed. Within the pupa, the caterpillar cells are out of work and their highly structured community begins to fall apart. Specialized imaginal cells within the ensuing chaos provide organizing information and direction to create a different, more sustainable future. Metamorphosis is complete when the non-sustainable caterpillar civilization transforms into the ecologically sensitive butterfly civilization.
The decisions you made yesterday got you to where you are today.
The decisions you make today will create your future tomorrow.
With your decisions, you have a power to sculpt your destiny.
Yet given the increased choices we have in our high tech age, making decisions on one level has become easier. You can now do it with the touch of a button. But on the other hand, it can be more difficult, since we have so many more options to choose from.
Have you ever had to make an important decision and felt unsure, confused, or even felt paralyzed?
The fear of making the wrong decision, the fear of missing out, or what other people will think can majorly affect your ability to decide authentically.
Have your past trials and tribulations left you feeling broken or less than worthy? Do mistakes you’ve made keep haunting you, flooding you with the feeling that you’re never going to be “good enough”? My friends, we are all broken in some way. We are all imperfect. But in that imperfection lies our innate uniqueness. In that brokenness, we find our strength. In our imperfection…lies our divine perfection.
- Look Past the Mirror – All to often, our definition of ourselves is limited to the physical. However, when we define ourselves by our bodies, we reject what’s most important – our hearts and our souls. Who we are and what gives us our true strength, goes far beyond what we see in the mirror. Our essential selves are, always have been, and always will be connected to the Divine. Each of us has infinite potential because each of us, in a very real sense, are a part of infinity.
Heart racing; sweaty palms; shortness of breath and a knot in your stomach the size of a grapefruit. If you’ve experienced these sensations in your body, you’re most likely one of the millions who have been affected by anxiety disorder.
In our fast-paced society, anxiety affects a staggering number of adults. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 40 million adults in the United States are affected by anxiety alone. Approximately 65% of North Americans take prescription medication daily to help offset the disorder and of those, a reported 43% take mood altering prescriptions regularly.
Happy Summer! The season of relaxation, vacations, warm weather, and FUN! But after teaching hundreds of programs and working with thousands of people, I know that the reality is most people have a hard time having fun! We have a hard time putting their to-do lists down, kicking back, and prioritizing our need to just have fun. And when it comes to comparing our level of satisfaction as well as the time and effort we put into having fun, especially when compared to other areas of their life, having fun generally ranks last on the list.
Can you relate?
So, even though we are all so quick to say “Have Fun!” and it feels like it should be a relatively easy task to do, then why is it so damn difficult for so many of us to just…have fun? What is it that gets in our way? And, what can we do to increase our capacity to enjoy?
“I have spent my whole life judging the distance between American reality and the American dream.” — Bruce Springsteen
The other night, I was having dinner with a friend when she said something that really struck me.
She said: “I just want less. Less stuff. Less to worry about. Less to do. Less of everything, really. I’d be willing to give up a lot just to get less.”
I couldn’t stop thinking about her words as I walked back to my hotel that night.
As we head into our nation’s birthday, this concept of “less is more” is very much on my mind. What do we need to feel peaceful, joyful and happy? Do we need more, or do we need less? Perhaps we already have enough, and should instead focus on giving more to others.
I know I share my friend’s feeling that less is more. I want less, too. I want less of what keeps me from getting closer to what my heart and soul crave. I want less of what robs me from getting more of what really matters.
Now when I say “more,” I don’t mean more stuff. I’m wise enough these days to know that stuff doesn’t bring happiness. I’m also wise enough to know that busyness doesn’t bring peace and that outward success doesn’t bring joy.
True happiness, peace and joy come from spending time in connection with those you love and care about, and one of those people in my life is my friend Eddie.
Every time I’m in New York for The Today Show, Eddie is the one who picks me up in in the wee hours of the morning and drives me to work. He doesn’t just pick me up in his car, though. He also picks me up in life. Eddie is a hard-working man who loves his wife, loves his family, loves his job and—guess what?—also loves me.
Did you know that you live in an abundant universe where prosperity and wealth are your birthright? Well, you do! In my Weekly Oracle Card Guidance and Lesson, the cards show us that we are looking at prosperity in a big way this week.
I know it’s sometimes hard to see the abundance in our lives, especially in today’s changing world where few of us have been untouched by economic concerns. But, even during tough times, we still have everything we need and more. In fact, prosperity can be ours no matter what’s going on in our lives and around us. It’s all a matter of the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs we CHOOSE to live by.
There’s no doubt that we’re living in times of unprecedented transformation, challenge, and opportunity. Both on a personal and global level, we’re being called to higher consciousness. As part of this metamorphosis, each of us is being invited to redefine what wealth and prosperity mean in our lives.
Many of us have tended to view terms such as wealth, rich, and prosperous as something outside of us that which we’ll eventually experience when we finally get more than what we have now. But, the truth is, wealth starts from WITHIN us! Prosperity isn’t about what you have; it’s a state of mind and being. It’s what you value, the thoughts you think, and the beliefs that you hold, that determine the riches in your life.