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August 23 -26 | Phoenix, AZ

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3 Ancient Greek Myths That Remain Relevant in Today’s World​​​​​​​

Whenever people think of Greek myths, they often conjure up images of an imaginary past in which gods and goddesses interacted with humans and heroes went on epic journeys around the ancient world.

Some of Ancient Greece’s most famous myths were not only rooted in reality, but are also alive and well today.

Travelers can revel in the enduring legacy of these myths by standing on the soil where Amazon warriors displayed their incredible strength, where Hercules first lit the Olympic torch, and where the Oracle of Delphi guided people to discover themselves in order to understand the world around them.

These myths are part of ancient Greece’s enduring legacy, and continue to shape the country — and most of the world — to this very day.

1. The Amazons

According to Greek mythology, the Amazons were a tribe of female warriors that lived in Themiscyra, an area located in present-day Turkey.

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The Sacred Power of Musing

Did you know that you have a sacred relationship to the creative force within you? Even if you don’t consider yourself “creative” you are actually doing it all the time. You create emotional scenarios to experience, you reinforce patterns of the past, and dream your intentions into the fabric of reality whether you are aware of it or not.


You are the artist that stewards reality forward on behalf of the Great Artist- the Conscious Universe that is the primal Source of everything- visible and invisible. If you’ve ever felt the pull of inspiration or the call to make something new of yourself you are in a dance with that integral part of you.


Philosophers have waxed poetic about this relationship for eons. I think the Greeks had the best idea when they explored the creative impulse as a sacred relationship between us and the Muses – the daughters of Zeus and the goddess of memory- Mnemosyne. These minor goddesses were birthed to represent the spirit of the arts, science, and literature to help us forget the sadness and darkness in the world.

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I’ve Been Thinking About Gratitude

There I was, sitting in a small back room at Molloy College, waiting to go on stage to talk about my new book, “I’ve Been Thinking…”


This was Wednesday, two days into my book tour. I had just driven two hours from Manhattan to Long Island and I was tired. I was sitting alone. I was feeling anxious. (Yes, I still feel anxious when I have a new book come out.)

I was trying to take a few moments to gather my thoughts. Trying to calm my mind and heart. Trying to remind myself why I had written this book and why I was doing all of this in the first place. Then, thoughts of self-doubt started to fill my head. (Yes, I gave up self-doubt for Lent, but like anything hard, this is a process.)

“Will anyone like my book?” I asked myself. “Of course, they won’t.”

“Oh my God, I should have added this line and not that one,” I thought.

There I was feeling a bit like “God help me.” Then, I heard my name introduced on stage. I walked out from behind the curtain and saw a packed room sitting before me. People filled the auditorium all the way up to the rafters. I looked up and around and the first thought that came to my mind was, “I’m in the wrong room! God help me! I’m in the wrong room!”

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How To Deal With People That Challenge You The Most

Love those that challenge you the most, they are your greatest teachers.

They are simply angels disguised to remind you to love bigger.

Thank them.

And learn the lesson for which you attracted them into your life.

It’s so easy to point the finger in judgment and blame, insisting that they change. But when you do that, you simply disempower yourself and give your power away to them.

No one is worth your happiness and freedom, but it requires taking full responsibility for how you feel.

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"We've Been Waiting for You"

These were former President Obama’s words last week after students across the U.S. walked out of their classes to attend demonstrations protesting guns and violence in this country. The Parkland, Florida, high school shootings on February 14, where 17 students and teachers were killed, was the most recent of over 200 other school shootings in the last six years. It appears to be the “last straw” for young people who have watched the escalation of lethal violence directed at their classmates and teachers.


Emma Gonzalez, senior at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, spoke fiercely and articulately at a gun control rally in Ft. Lauderdale: “The people in the government who were voted into power are lying to us….Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have been done to prevent this….It’s time for victims to be the change that we need to see.” She speaks for countless others across this nation, of all ages, races, nationalities, and backgrounds. And she echoes Oprah Winfrey’s words, in a different context (sexual abuse) but also about the devaluing of human lives by those in power, “Their time is up!” We are reaching critical mass on so many fronts.


I had tears in my eyes when I listened to Oprah’s speech and Emma’s speech, and when I read Obama’s heartfelt reaction to the students taking a stand against the existence of guns and violence in their lives: “We’ve been waiting for you. And we’ve got your backs.” Those of us who have actively spoken out for nonviolence, peace, and the honoring of all human lives (“Black Lives Matter!”) for years see hope for the future in these angry but determined young faces. They are in great pain, but often great change comes from such pain. Pain that cuts through all the lies and gets to the heart of the matter: How do you want to live your one precious life? At war or at peace? In fear or in love?

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How To Break Up With "Not Good Enough"

Have you ever had an epiphany that rocked your world?
One that made one of the most profound impacts ever?

I had one as I was doing my morning pages

Come to find out, what appeared on my journal pages was the essential piece needed to break up with "not good enough" once and for all.


THE JOURNAL ENTRY THAT CHANGED IT ALL


I figure it might be easier just to share my journal entry. That way I don't run the risk of some important piece getting lost in the translation. So here is what I wrote….
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I’ve Been Thinking…

The other day, I told my friend Elizabeth what I was thinking. She responded in the best way possible.

“You are,” she said, “right on time.”

Her words landed and made me feel grateful and joyful. Here I am exactly, where I’m supposed to be.

This week, my new book “I’ve Been Thinking… Reflections, Prayers and Meditations for a Meaningful LIfe” arrives in bookstores everywhere. Right on time. The fact that there’s a book at all is a testament to you, the readers of The Sunday Paper. Many of you suggested that I curate my “I’ve Been Thinking” columns and bind them together into a book. Voila, here it is!

This book couldn’t have come out last year or the year before. I wasn’t ready then. But, now I am. Thank you.

Today, I’m knee-deep in gratitude to those who have helped me, sustained me, and supported me along this journey we call life. I like where I am. As Hafiz says, I like that I am in a place that God circled on a map just for me.

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How can we create a culture that supports our process of transformation?

You and I are a part of a process that’s going on in our culture at this moment.

And to that extent we are conscious of that process, it’s easier for us to let our acts support that process while simultaneously holding the confusion we feel because the process is leading us in uncharted ways into feelings we have not had before. It seems to me we are all traditionalists, we are all modernists, and we are all ‘cultural creatives.’ To the extent that you bring it all into consciousness, you can feel the way it affects all of it. I often feel like Kahlil Gibran, the prophet: “Speak to us of love, speak to us of pain, speak to us of child rearing…” all of the aspects of life that he taught about.

To the extent that you bring each aspect of your life under scrutiny, there is an opportunity to have that aspect of your life be something which supports transformation.


I mean a lot of people are incredibly generous in the world, but with their family, they are very, very tight, and yet they’re bringing offspring into the world. Many people have greed in one corner of their consciousness and philanthropy in another corner of their consciousness. I’m not knocking them, but just to be conscious about it, to cope with it, to be with it, that’s the first thing.

I’m not arguing for everybody to give up everything, It’s not gonna solve the problem.

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Show Up, Be Open

At times we approach our lives with reluctance, dragging our feet. Attached to the past, apprehensive about the future, we are not fully present to what is happening now. Fear or regret keep us trapped in a repetitive pattern of non-acceptance and non-alignment with the events of life. From the outside, we may look like we’re here, but in truth we are absent. We’ve closed the door to possibility and locked it tightly, believing we are protecting ourselves from disappointment or disaster. However, in shutting down, we lose connection to the threads that tie everything together so perfectly in life’s tapestry. We feel lost and alone. Is it possible to get our bearings and experience connection once again? Absolutely.


In my own life, I find more and more that if I’m willing to be open to whatever is unfolding, that openness transforms my experience in completely unexpected ways. There is a magic that occurs when you just show up in life moment to moment without an agenda, a to-do list, or any preconceptions. In the stillness of Nature, this is easy, but recently I experienced it in one of the most crowded, noisy places imaginable: New York City.

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Take INSPIRED Action to make Dreams Come True

Whether manifesting your next dream career, new home, your soulmate (or whatever), a key component involves taking inspired action. Sometimes that means just trying something new and small, other times it means taking a GIANT LEAP OF FAITH and going for it.


More than 30 years ago, when I was living in South Florida, I had one of the worst days of my life.  I was blindsided when I went to work and got fired.  I never saw it coming.  My ego was deeply bruised and I was in a state of shock. As I began to think about “what’s next,” I realized that a part of me yearned to live in Los Angeles.  A city I had only briefly visited once. Within a few weeks, with less than $1,000, two suitcases, and very few contacts, I moved to L.A.

Was it scary?  You bet!

And, it turned out to be the best thing I ever did.  My entire life is what it is today because I was brave enough to follow my inner yearning.

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3 Ways Our Brain Messes With Us & 3 Powerful Antidotes

Thinking, re-thinking and thinking some more before making a decision. Ruminating over something, whether it was something someone said, didn't say, did or didn't do. Telling stories and not the fairytale kind.


Do any of those sound familiar to you?


I raise my hand.


I can be the queen of rumination. I will chew on something until it's lost all its flavor. Oh, and don't get me started on story-telling. The stories in my head can be some real doozies. I'd like to blame the stories that I tell myself on my creative writing background, but then I'd just be telling another story.


Here's the deal-o…we're human. I know, shocker…bet you didn't see that coming. But we are, and as human beings we're trained, taught, pre-disposed, born, to think. However, when it comes to overthinking, rumination, and story-telling, we weren't born to do those things. I'm pretty sure those are things we learned from our environment and from others. (Not to place blame here by any means.)
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Our Children Are Our Change

For the past ten days I have been traveling outside of the United States. We had a packed itinerary and my intention was to disconnect and just be where I was with the person I was with. Halfway into my trip, the Parkland shooting occurred. Since these horrific acts of mass violence have unfortunately become part of our daily life, I realize that I've actually developed a pattern of how I digest these heartbreaking events. I tend to watch hour after hour of commentary, making sure I check in from the morning shows to Jimmy Kimmel Live’s opening monologue. Since Parkland is less than an hour drive from where I live and I know people who live there, I am sure that had I been home, I would have been that much more fixated on learning more. Being in Europe, I actually felt a bit guilty about not being more on top of the subject. Yet every time I entered a designer store in Paris, I was consistently struck by the lack of gun control and safety precautions in our schools. How was it that to enter a designer store my bag would be searched and in some cases an armed guard would stand at the door, but in most schools in the U.S., people can walk in carrying anything? 
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What I’m Giving Up For Lent This Year

On the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, my pastor asked all of us at church to start thinking about Lent. What might we do this Lenten season, and what might we give up, he asked?


His sermon really got me thinking. In the past, I’ve used Lent as an opportunity to give up things that I loved. Things that might sound simple and slightly ridiculous, but that were actually quite hard for me to cut out. It was Swedish fish one year. Popcorn and licorice another. Last year, I gave up chips and guacamole (my all-time favorite).


What I’ve learned from Lent over the years is that stopping something cold does make a difference. It doesn’t matter what you give up. Your relationship with whatever has a hold on you will change, no matter what it is. And so, as I thought about all of this last Sunday, I wondered: what vice do I have right now that has too much of a hold on me? Then, out of the blue, it came to me. The answer is self-doubt.


Yes, I have self-doubt. Yes, I question myself. Yes, I question the decisions that I make — big and small — way more than I care to admit. But, I’ve come to think and to feel that self-doubt is really harmful. It’s cruel, it’s critical and it’s mean. It’s also bad for my health — my physical health, my mental health, and my spiritual health.


And so, I decided right then and there to kick the habit. Then Ash Wednesday came —  the day I was to begin — and the school shooting in Parkland, FL, happened. That led me back to church, trying to make sense of such a senseless tragedy.


I sat there trying to think about whether I should stick with giving up self-doubt for Lent. It just seemed so trivial in the wake of 17 people being killed. Then, I stopped myself cold. No, I was sure. Self-doubt is exactly what I should give up during these confusing and troubling times.


Giving up self-doubt is the right thing for me for many reasons, but it’s especially important now because I don’t want to spend any more of my precious time alive on this earth doubting myself.

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Conscious Leadership

 As I am watching the campaigning on television for the Governor of Illinois where I currently reside, I am wondering about concept of conscious leadership. To give some background, in Illinois four out of last seven governors went to jail. We have a severe budget crisis due to budget stalemate that started in 2015 and went on for 793 days and finally ended in July 2017. Illinois was the first state to have credit rating go to “junk” status. State agencies have had to cut back on many essential services including healthcare for the people who needed the most care, which I experienced first-hand while taking care of my patients.


My question is, what makes a great leader? Is it education, wealth, charisma, power or strength? In my opinion, the 3 requirements for conscious leadership are personality, vision and values.


“A leader is the one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way”--John C. Maxwell.

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Discovering Your “WHY” In 14 Days Or Less

“Knowing your 'why' is the key to fulfillment. When you are clear about it, your intention will then be a magnet for miracles.” - Colette Baron-Reed

I recall a time in the not too distant past when I was unsettled, unfulfilled, unhappy, and just plain tired. Tired of my life the way it was. I was chasing my tail, eating my feelings (literally and metaphorically). I was living off of credit cards to make ends meet, doing odd jobs that were just that, odd and not fulfilling.

I was not only miserable, but I was desperate.

It was not what I had envisioned for myself when I graduated from college many years prior. I envisioned a life filled with direction, purpose, fulfillment, and fun.

PURPOSE, SHMURPHOUS

If you had asked me what my purpose (my "why") was, I would have furrowed my forehead and said, “My purpose? What purpose?”

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How can we positively embrace change in our future?

It’s interesting to observe your own reaction when change presents itself in life.


It may be economic change in your circumstances, it may be a change in the way you spend your life. A lot of people, as their children grow, have an opportunity to change their lives, but they have such strong habits in how they’ve always done things and who they’ve always been, that they get frightened at the freedom to change when an opportunity presents itself.

Up until now, they justified their existence by what their karma commitments are; “I have to be this way,” and I would say that doesn’t have to be the case. They don’t have to wait for their kids to grow up, because that waiting becomes their daily routine.

How much of who I was yesterday is defining who I am today? How much can I allow who I am today to be totally open and tuning and responding to the situation, which includes everything I was yesterday, but also all that I will be tomorrow?

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Start Your Day Off Right With The Hour of Power

The morning is the most important time of the day. If you spend an hour a day to do these three things you will be happier in life, healthier, and more motivated than you’ve ever felt.

I call this my hour of power. Every morning I wake up and I spend 60 minutes doing three things. They've helped contribute to a lot of my success.

So what is this Hour of Power exactly?

It’s a full hour that is broken up into three 20-minute sessions:

  • 20 minutes of exercise
  • 20 minutes of meditation
  • 20 minutes of reading (positive, uplifting material)


The benefits of doing just these 3 things are great.


The Benefits of the Hour of Power

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3 Easy Ways to Practice Mindful Writing and Creation

What do you think of when you think of the perfect creative space? The space where you have the peace and inspiration to write to your heart’s content? I’m not necessarily talking about writing a novel. It can be meditative journaling, creating content for your blog, or even writing a love letter to someone special. Is your perfect spot a sun-soaked beach with the sound of waves creating a thunderous soundtrack? Maybe it’s a coffee shop in the middle of a bustling European city where you soak up culture and sophistication. Or, perhaps it’s a mountain retreat deep in a snow-capped mountain range.

 

Now look out your window. Where are you? Are you in your ideal writing and creating location?

 

If the answer is yes, then kindly go back to what you’re doing and revel in the perfection. I’m sorry to have disturbed you. However, chances are that you’re not in your ideal writing location. Am I right? Your view may be of a dumpster, the neighbor’s swing set, or a front yard that really needs to be mowed.

 

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Death, Dying and the Soul’s Transition

Nikola Tesla states: “If you want to find the secrets of the Universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”

We are souls/spirit having a human experience.  We are energy.  We are spirit embodied.  When we die, we drop the body … The spirit, the soul continues and lives on.  Energy can never be destroyed. It only changes forms.

“Death in the physical world is rebirth back in heaven” – SDJ

My goal with this blog is to help you consider a different perspective of death.  Not to stop the grief, but perhaps put a different perspective to it. So many people struggle with the death process and with a sense of loss – and understandably so.  This sense of loss can then hold them back from living life fully.  So many people feel guilt, pain, shame and the tragedy of loss … and this can block them from the light and the love of the soul connection.

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The Best of Us

Earlier this week, my brother sent me a link to this commercial for the Winter Olympics that features skier Lindsey Vonn and ends with the tagline “The Best of U.S.”


It’s an inspiring, uplifting and motivating video. And, as usual, it got me thinking. It got me thinking about the best of us, and about all of us.


This was a week when political leaders told us about the state of our union — in other words, the status of “us.” Media pundits argued over whose point of view was valid, who could take credit for what, and whose facts were right.


I watched and listened to it all, and as the week wound down, what stayed with me —what really rose above the noise — were the stories I read or heard about the best of us. The men and women that President Trump singled out in the House gallery, like Preston Sharp, who at just 12 years old has made it his mission to lay flags and carnations on the graves of all veterans. The hard-working Americans from Fall River who gathered to hear my cousin Rep. Joe Kennedy III give the Democratic response. Americans who, as Kennedy said, quietly serve, rescue, help and heal every single day. What stayed with me were these people’s stories. They are the best of “us.”


As I wrote last week, the division of “us” is what really breaks my heart. Especially all of the news that highlights the worst of us. I believe that highlighting the best of us is what this newsletter strives to do on a weekly basis. That’s not naive. It’s a point of view. It’s a perspective.

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Powerful Keynotes

Panache Desai - Break Free, Break Loose, and Live Wild!
Dr. Sue Morter- The Energy Codes®: Awaken Your Spirit, Heal Your Body and Live Your Best Life
Sandra & Daniel Biskind - No Limits: Cracking the Code to a Platinum Life
Guy Finley - Relationship Magic: Love’s Infinite Journey
Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith - The Boldness of Becoming
Rosie Mercado - True Beauty - The Potential in the Broken Pieces
Kute Blackson - Keynote: Living Your Purpose: You Were Born For Greatness
16 Visionary Speakers
26 Keynote, Workshops and Masterminds
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