A Complete Guide to the Practice o Meditation

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How you are 'wired' to react to stress?

Since we know that stress is an individual capacity, it is a response that varies from individual to individual, we also need to realize that this happens because people are "wired" to react differently to stress. Each one of us is secreting different levels of stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol in the same situation. This tendency of secreting these special hormones can change from time to time.

If you are a person who is specially sensitive to stress, it is important for you to try consciously to maintain a low stress lifestyle.

Today I am going to address the problems of over sensitive individuals, whose stress response remains very high. It has been observed that highly stressed individuals seemingly need more food than others. Their requirements of carbohydrates is also much higher than others. They feel very low on energy if they are consuming lesser carbohydrates. These are people who are releasing high levels of cortisol in response to stress, than most other people.

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7 Tips for More Sustainable Travel

Do you worry about the impact of your travel?

According to National Geographic, sustainable tourism is based on three main pillars:

  • Employing environmentally friendly practices, such as reduce, reuse, recycle;
  • Protecting cultural and natural heritage, such as reducing our impact on historic buildings and endangered species
  • Providing tangible social and economic benefits for local communities, such as buying local and upholding the rights of Indigenous Peoples

Our efforts now can have a lasting effect to preserve our environment and cultures

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Tarot Cards vs Oracle Cards

When I was 17 years old I got my very first personal oracle in the form of a tarot deck. It was the Rider Waite Tarot and it changed my life forever. Then shortly after I was introduced to other divination systems, like Norse Runes and the I-Ching, and others that lit me up like a candle! Little did I know then that teaching about divination tools, and oracles as a means of self-understanding and communicating with the Divine would become the main focus of my work. Curiosity led to transformation and now here we are.

Over the years, even before I began, my now 30 years long career working as an intuitive and Oracle creator, I used the tarot daily and collected tarot decks (at one point I had 62 of ‘em) and got to know how to work with the tarot intimately. I taught workshops on working with the tarot, then eventually went on to create a different form of Oracle – these are called oracle cards.

There is a difference between the tarot cards vs oracle cards as well as similarities. I’m going to get you in the know now, so if anyone asks you’ll have the answer!


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How To Be A Powerful Manifestor

I just returned from a wonderful weekend teaching the Soulmate Secret Workshop at the beautiful Omega Institute.  It was so “Fall” like!  Crisp, chilly, weather with turning leaves in a variety of fiery colors, and a beautiful group of souls ready to manifest love.

One of the questions I was asked was “how did you become a master manifestor?”   It is an important and powerful question and applies to ALL forms of manifesting.  Here is what I know for sure:

Successful manifesting requires something akin to driving with your foot on the gas and the brake at the same time. On the one hand, we need to be clear about our intentions, and be able to feel in very cell of our body that what we have asked for IS already ours, and be willing to take action towards our goals. Simultaneously, we must stay detached from the outcome and live in a state of surrender. 

Now you might be thinking, “Whoa, that doesn’t make any sense!”

But it does.

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The Meditative Space

All the meditative traditions encourage us to be still and to drop our thoughts and feelings, so we can breathe our way below all trouble into the flow of life-force that carries us. This is wise counsel. It gives us perspective and sometimes peace. But being a poet, I enter that Universal space and just take notes. I lean into the stillness with an open heart and listen to everything, including my thoughts and feelings and the entanglements of life. For I believe the mutual goal of meditation and poetry is not to have us remove ourselves from our human journey, but to have us live our lives more completely in relationship to the flow of life-force that carries us.

The poems and all that I write are simply the trail and record of what I see and feel in the meditative space. All my writings arise from peering from the edge of our humanness into the bareness of being that permeates all life. I have intuitively worked this way, even as a boy, long before I knew about meditation or poetry. I believe that poetry itself resides at the holy juncture where our humanness touches the bareness of being that holds the Universe together. This is the only place I write from, whether I’m alone in the woods or being jostled on a crowded subway. It is the lens through which I meet life. It is the place I return to in order to renew this endless conversation. It is listening in this space that keeps me fresh and sane.


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You Are Cordially Invited to a New Universe

Most people have heard about the fragile start that the universe had. Although the big bang sounds big, it occurred in a space smaller by millions of times than the period at the end of this sentence. The forces of nature had to be exquisitely balanced for the infant universe to work once it expanded to its present enormous size. This exquisite balance is known to physicists as fine tuning. If any one of about twenty constants responsible for the nature of the cosmos had been off by one part in a billion, the infant universe could have collapsed in on itself or flown apart so fast that atoms would never emerge from the primal quantum soup surrounding the beginning of the universe.

A constant is an unvarying number like C, the speed of light. Constants aren't allowed to be wobbly. The speed of light can't be unpredictable, changing in the Andromeda nebula (the next-door galaxy to our own Milky Way), from what it is here on Earth. Nor can it change from Monday to Tuesday. Whether you speak of the universe 13.8 billion years ago or today, C hasn't changed, nor have the other constants that regulate all the matter and energy in the cosmos.

Managing your Stress Triggers

Stress is a common factor amongst people from various walks of life. We cannot say for sure, which strata of society will be targeted most by this culprit. There are different types of stress and different types of people . Of course reactions to stress vary from person to person. Some people are more reactive to stress than others.

The body's stress response also varies from person to person. People have various triggers. The body is more responsive to a perceived stress trigger rather than an actual one. Some people may calm down easily, others could take a long time to settle down.

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In Times Of Crisis

I just returned from lecturing at Tilton School, the NH school I attended as a student during my high school years and where my dad taught for nearly four decades. Being there now, talking with students and teachers, gave me a new perspective on the problems we face: climate change, US politics, international relations, gender issues, global poverty, and many more. I also was reminded that at Tilton I received an education that opened me to critical thinking, and I saw that the school continues to do that for students today.

Among the most important lessons I learned at Tilton that forever shaped my life: We humans have survived many crises; culture and history are changed by the written word – perception – more than by the gun and sword; and it is imperative for us always to explore the truths behind the “facts.”

As I wandered around campus this past week, I came upon a photograph of my dad outside his old classroom. The accompanying acknowledgement of his contributions to the school reminded me of his long view of history. I sat down in a nearby chair, opened my computer and wrote:

During troubled times, like the ones our country – our world – is experiencing, we may take comfort in the knowledge that we’ve staggered close to the brink before, and pulled back.



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I Don’t Want To Be That Person!

This morning I was working out with a friend who was telling me a story about how he went to a quintessential Cuban cafe for breakfast. Although he used his best Spanish to order, they ended up giving him the wrong kind of steak with his eggs. Now my friend, who is dedicated to health and fitness, is vigilant about what he puts into his body and eating clean. When I asked him if he sent his meal back, he shrugged his shoulders and replied,

 

“No. I don’t want to be that person.”

 

Being raised around people who sent things back at restaurants, got upset if the service was slow, or took it personally if they didn’t get “the right” table, I vowed at an early age not to be a complainer. I, like many of us, have played the role of the meal martyr and tolerated underwhelming service, waiters getting my order wrong (you know, the whole “no croutons, dressing on the side” thing), and my biggest pet-peeve - cold food, just because I didn’t want to be that person!

 

I think it’s safe to say that most of us have sat silent, fought with ourselves about whether to say something or send something back or not, and paid for things we did not order because we didn’t want to be that person. Our fear and worry about being judged or labeled as a complainer, spoiled, entitled, or a pain in the butt has caused us to bite our tongue and swallow our integrity along with an order of food we didn’t want or care for.

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Eleven Laws That Lift You to the Next Life Level

If we want to grow inwardly we must find new ways to learn about ourselves. These higher discoveries call for higher learning. Think of each of the following eleven laws as individual magic strands of a flying carpet. Make it your aim to weave them together in your mind. Then watch how these lessons combine to effortlessly lift you to a higher and happier life level.

The First Law

Nothing can stop you from starting over.

The greatest power you possess for succeeding in life is your understanding that life gives you a fresh start any moment you choose to start fresh. Nothing that stood in your way even a heartbeat before stands there now in the same way. It's all new, even if you can't as yet see it that way. You've only to test the truth of this fact about the newness of life to discover the incredible freedom that waits for you just behind it. And then nothing can stop you. You'll know the real secret and the perfect power of starting over.

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Changing the Vibe

Putting together a booth that feels good, is both easy and fun for me…. I can say that, now. I only need flowers with extra sparkles, friends, and my books. I clearly set my intentions, and fill the space with love. 

 
Last week, I was reminded of how important intention is.

 
At The Alaska Women’s Show, I was offering free mini readings and guided meditations. Sitting in my rented space, I wondered if I should be there. It was a glorious fall day outside. No one was showing any interest in what I was offering. 

 
The other booths were packed with clothing, stun guns and hunting information. You could also find makeup, personal trainers and hand bags that could carry concealed weapons. It was expected to have at least 7000 guests. Many would enjoy the wine garden.

 
A few weeks ago, on a whim I decided to market my book at this show. The organizer only had one table available, besides mine. I called my friend Rebecca, an acupuncturist. She took the last space. Rebecca invited a rolfer, Marnie, to share her space. The three of us were tucked away in hall by ourselves. Vending machines had been moved to make room for us. 

 
My simple set up was on one side of our shared space. My healing friends had a table, chairs and a bed. Lots of attendees stopped by to see what they were offering. Some even experienced the free therapies. They were new concepts for most of the women.  


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Don’t Ignore Signs From the Universe

The universe works in mysterious ways. It is constantly working to make available to you the tools, the resources, the people, and the lessons you need to become the person you were meant to be which is why it’s so important to pay attention to signs from the universe.

But, the universe doesn’t always make these things totally obvious, or even always easy.

You might need to go through bankruptcy in order to finally learn the money lessons you need to create a life of true financial abundance.

You might have to get laid off or fired from a job you don’t like, in order to find the job you love.

Or you might have to go through a painful breakup before you’re ready to meet and fall in love with the love of your life.

You might feel at times as if you’re a newspaper caught up in the wind, being blown about with no clear direction.

But if you start paying attention, you will realize that the universe is sending you signals all the time that show you where you need to go and what you need to do to create the life of your dreams.

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Spirit Animals Choose You (not the other way around!)

Have you ever noticed a specific animal, bird, insect or fish that shows up for you in an uncanny way, perhaps even more than once when you’re in a dilemma or looking for confirmation about something?

Most of us were never taught that we share our environment with Nature’s oracles (other sentient beings). Actually most of us never even knew what an oracle was since it’s deemed taboo by some! That said, I was lucky that my Scottish nanny Mrs. Kelly brought me the gift of this sacred knowledge when I was little. I learned to pay attention to what happened in my backyard and she pointed out when we went to church the halos around the saints were the same as the ones I was seeing around the bees and dragonflies and our pet raccoon Petunia. All life was sacred and magical to Mrs. Kelly, and she reminded me that the comings and goings of animals were signs from Spirit.

That said sometimes a dog is just a dog, or a skunk just a skunk. But there are those moments when, in a flash of energy, you just know somehow that the appearance of an animal is meant to bring you a message. It’s built into our intuitive systems to tune into the language of Spirit Animals naturally. Example, a Spirit Animal is the presiding spirit of not just one dragonfly but all dragonflies, and contain the symbolic meaning of the essence of Dragonfly. This is not some anthropomorphic new age gobbledygook. Over thousands of years we’ve assigned meaning to these encounters, and in cultures around the world, there is an accepted language about these sightings and their significance.

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The Universe Has Become a Risky Numbers Game

Although advanced instruments like the Very Large Telescope in Chile grab spectacular images and space probes give first-person access to distant bodies like comets, asteroids and planets, the story of the universe is largely told by the numbers. The cosmos holds together, particularly at the farthest horizons, through mathematical calculations. It's incredibly tricky to calculate what actually occurred during the big bang, for example. At the other extreme, the potential (inevitable?) death of the universe is conjectured, not by envisioning it but by taking the known laws of nature and foreseeing how they play out over time.

There are so many variables in this numbers game that huge gaps are possible and possible errors that are more than sizable. Trouble was recently reported in the October 3 issue of New Scientist, a "glitch at the edge of the universe that could remake physics," as the headline declared. What's in question--perhaps--is one of the constants upon which most of our theoretical understanding of matter and energy rest. The general public is aware of constants like the speed of light and the force of gravity, but the "fine structure constant," also known as alpha, has deep implications for the biggest and smallest things in creation.

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Receive Generosity From Others

Let it sink in that receiving generosity is good.

Do you accept the gift?

The Practice:
Receive generosity from others.

Why?

Life gives to each one of us in so many ways.

For starters, there’s the bounty of the senses – including chocolate chip cookies, jasmine, sunsets, wind singing through pine trees, and just getting your back scratched.

What does life give you?

Consider the kindness of friends and family, made more tangible during a holiday season, but of course continuing throughout the year.

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Before He Knew

He was thirteen before he knew what a hand drill was. His father saved and bought him one for 75 cents. Before that, he made holes in wood by twisting coal-fired nails into the grain. It was his job to throw wood in the fire after school. When red hot, he’d pinch a nail with a pair of pliers and twist it through the wood, which went soft and dark until there was an opening. Now his skin is thin and just last week he stumbled out of bed and landed hard on the radiator, his forearm tearing like a thin curtain. It took an hour to stop bleeding.

He just took care of it himself. We are held this way in the fire of time where we go soft and dark till our skin goes thin and just waking tears us open.


A Question to Walk With: Ask an elder in your life for a story about the first tool they learned how to use.

This excerpt is from a new book in progress, Compass Work: Finding Our Fathers While Finding Ourselves.

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6 Ways to Make Decisions with Clarity and Confidence

Our basic human nature compels us to make decisions moving us from pain to pleasure. As we evolve, we want to make the so called “right” decisions for all involved in given circumstances.   
     

Because of my liberal as well as latchkey upbringing, I had to start making all important life decisions from a very young age. I felt that most of the adults around me were trapped in their own life circumstances and unable to help me. Also, being the first born, I felt the responsibility to make good decisions and constantly worried about making right choices. I prayed, meditated and read self-help books and Vedic texts for answers.

Pay attention to your feelings

  • Be still and listen to your heart. It is best to make decisions after praying, meditating or practicing yoga when your mind is quiet.
  • Do what makes you happy.
  • Do what feels good and expansive.
  • Use your body as a guide – Choose circumstances in which your body feels relaxed and safe and your mind feels at ease and peaceful. This means your body, your heart and your brain are aligned with the decision.
  • Drop your awareness down into your body with deep breathing, yoga or walking and listen to your gut feelings.

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8 Habits That Keep You From Being Truly Happy

“There is some kind of a sweet innocence in being human- in not having to be just happy or just sad- in the nature of being able to be both broken and whole, at the same time.”
~C. JoyBell C.

Do you have the courage to be fully human?

To me it boils down to this: being vulnerable enough to allow your emotions to rise up and flow through you unchecked, without hindrance, without judgment. Inconceivable joy. Devastating sadness. Raging anger. Unmitigated self-judgement. Burning guilt. The entire spectrum of emotions. There is no hierarchy. No one is better than the other. Each are powerful. Each of them teach essential lessons if we are willing to listen.

We get into trouble when we impede this flow and ignore the lessons. Because we are afraid of the change these lessons will bring, we reign in our emotions. We stuff them down and ignore them. We become energetically constipated and slow the vibrational possibility that is always calling us into more. We turn away from the light and reject our best selves.

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Don’t carpe diem: A closer look at Glennon Doyle’s take on seizing the day

Ah, carpe diem. How many times have you heard this phrase? But have you really paid attention to what it means? It was made popular by the movie Dead Poets Society in 1990 but when I read the blog post Don’t Carpe Diem, I asked myself, “Why not? Isn’t ‘to carpe diem’ a good thing?”

Glennon Doyle is my hero. I never heard of her until I read her book, Love Warrior. I fell in love with this woman who, in my eyes, had the heart of a lion, opening herself up to the world with her real-life vulnerabilities. That is real courage to me. Her life inspired me to get real with my own fears and reservations and embrace my true self. How could I not? There’s this woman who went through alcohol and drug addiction and bulimia and she was not the slightest embarrassed to talk about it. No shame concealed her words and that is both respectable and admirable. My own life experiences are nothing compared to hers but I’ve carefully and desperately covered up my battle scars my whole life and so I finally asked myself, “Why is it so hard for me to show my wounds when they are the very things that made me who I am today?” I am stronger today than yesterday because I stared suffering down many times in the past allowing it to decide that I have become strong enough for it to leave.

One of Glennon’s most—if not the most—popular entries from her Momastery blog is Don’t carpe diem, which garnered over one million views and had been reposted and shared online countless of times. She talked about how she resented people’s well-meaning but unsolicited advice to enjoy the precious moments with her children while she struggled to “carpe fifteen minutes in a row.” And she’s got a point. You can’t really carpe diem when you’re struggling to get past the challenging moments because its very definition, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is the ‘enjoyment of the pleasures of the moment without concern for the future.’ How would you feel if the dentist pulling your tooth without anesthesia tells you to carpe diem?

But here’s the disconnect: Carpe diem is derived from the Latin phrase Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero, which means pluck (or seize) the day trusting as little as possible in the future. And Merriam-Webster defines seize the day as: to do the things one wants to do when there is the chance instead of waiting for a later time. Clearly, the modern definition for carpe diem veered away from its true meaning. Here’s why:

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Why the Brain Doesn't Think, and Other Helpful Ideas

At some point in the history of medicine, a picture coalesced about the role of the brain. From the first basic insight that the brain is the organ of thought, this picture became more and more complex, until neuroscience reached it present state, where the brain is glorified as "the three-pound universe." Like a magic lantern casting pictures on a blank wall, the brain supposedly projects the three-dimensional world and everything in it.

I ended the last post on the brain by saying that placing the brain on such an exalted plane will lead to a dead end--in fact, it already has. There is no physical evidence that your brain has ever had a single thought, that it projects a realistic picture of the world, or that it creates mind as a byproduct of cellular activity the way a bonfire creates heat. Nothing about the brain suggests anything of the sort. Instead, the brain displays physical activity as thoughts take place, the same as a piano's keys going up and down as a performer plays the "Maple Leaf Rag" or Beethoven's "Moonlight" Sonata.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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...on all things life, wellness, love, transformation and spirituality...

 PLUS! Get your FREE Guide: 12 Mindfulness Practices to a Peaceful Mind