Why Greece Is The Perfect Destination For A Spiritual Journey

Every year, millions of tourists from around the world travel to Greece to experience its vibrant culture and stunning landscapes. But many miss Greece for what it really is: one of the world’s most sacred destinations.

To experience this hidden side of Greece, travellers must dig deep into their own spirituality and explore the country through a pilgrim’s eyes. This means looking beyond the surface of its magnificent ruins and spectacular vistas to connect with the land’s sacred essence.

When this happens, the true nature of Greece (and of the traveller!) are exposed. What makes Greece such a perfect destination for a spiritual journey?

1. Its ancient sites are imbued with sacredness


Greece is home to hundreds of sacred sites, including temples and shrines that have housed sacred rituals and attracted pilgrims from around the world for millennia.

A few of these ancient sites, like the Acropolis of Athens and the Parthenon, have become common tourist destinations, while others are away from the large crowds.

Places like Agora, Delphi, the Temple of Apollo, the 13th century monastic site of Mystra and the ancient citadel of Mycenae are just a few of the many sites where sacredness is palpable for those willing to feel it.

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Can You Hold Others as Able?

Can you hold others as Able?


This is a powerful concept that is desirable but must be handled with extreme care – it is as sensitive as gelignite.


It is faith-based. That is, you believe it or you don’t, you want to move in that direction or not. It’s completely up to you.


It is validation of another person.


It is the position that that person is capable, in all respects, to deal with what comes their way. They are Able, in your consideration.


One obvious example is: babysitting. Let’s say you are the parent of twin 14 year old daughters. One is studious, makes her bed in the morning, is organized and already knows a lot about cooking; the other is slovenly, inattentive, irresponsible. If you let the first go babysitting in the neighbourhood, you are holding her as Able. Able to get along with the kids, able to handle tasks like getting them to bed, able to handle any emergency that might arise. That is holding her as able.


The odds are lower on the other twin, but it’s one of the mysteries of life that holding someone as able even when you have doubts can sometimes have surprisingly positive results.

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I Tried To Run Away From #MeToo

I often write articles about consciousness, mind, and science. Usually, I try to paint the big picture, questioning the very way we see ourselves and the world around us. But over time, I'm seeing that if I'm going to write about a deeper perspective on life, I can't not write about the very real movements that are happening in the world around us. Awakening to life has to include awakening in and through life.


One of those very real movements is #MeToo. I've been watching it from afar, noticing it make its way through our society. I began to notice that it was making me silently uncomfortable. When I looked closely, I saw that I was avoiding it, as though it were coming after me. Why was I running?

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Mortality: If You Die, Will You Forget Me?

There is nothing like being a mom, to make you come face-to-face with mortality.

 

In all I have survived in this life thus far, I am still alive and kicking -  figuratively and relatively. But, there is nothing. And I mean, NOTHING - That has made me look Mortality dead in the face – screaming – I AM NOT READY or NOT NOW -  like being a mother has.

 

Our night time routines are rather long with our children. Well, I should say, my bedtime routine. I have a series of loving steps that I like to take each night with both of my littles to remind them that they are cherished and loved. Appreciated and heard. Unique and special.

 

We start with our prayers and then go into – what I like to call positive affirmations. Continue by talking about our day and acknowledging that maybe we made some not-so-great decisions, but tomorrow is the start of a new day and the slate is wiped clean.

 

One particular evening recently, during my bedtime routine with my oldest, Mortality crept in there in the most unexpected way. Usually, I will wander off into the future of possibilities for my littles. Flash forward and I see them graduating college, finding their way, learning new skills, getting married, and possibly having children of their own. Naturally, in these thoughts of the future – a time that has not yet occurred; I face Mortality – heaving from its dark cavern.  I can feel the chill of its cold breath breathing on my skin. But then, I quickly jump back into my daydream or lock on ever so tightly to the present moment.

 

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It’s Not Too Late to Make It Happen

So…we are now officially one month into a New Year – how’s it going so far? Are you making progress on fulfilling your heart’s desire or did you get sidetracked?


Here are a few super easy things to do that will keep you on track:

  • Write it down!  Make it simple:  “Before the end of 2018, I commit to myself to accomplish (or substitute be, do or have – whatever makes sense to you) to __________________.”
  • I commit to doing ___ things each day towards accomplishing this. (I find that doing 5 little things every day is doable and works best for me.)
  • I promise to enroll someone to be my accountability partner (research shows if you do this you have a 90% better chance of being successful!)
  • Give yourself a weekly reward for the steps you took all week.
  • Spend 5 minutes each day dropping into your heart and feeling what it feels like to have what you say you most desire.
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Time to Regroup and Dream

Life at the beginning of the New Year is such a funny thing, isn’t it? It’s like we’re split in two. There is one side of us which is aware that we’ve set intentions and made resolutions and we feel driven to get things done in order to prove to the world we’re going to change! We think to ourselves; life in this New Year is magical and filled with P*R*O*M*I*S*E ! Now is NOT the time to waste!


Then there’s this other inconvenient self that wants to curl up and rest and dream and perhaps not move so fast too soon. That part of us can seem lazy, and not at all in alignment with our highest intentions!


Or, is there wisdom in this self? Maybe we need to listen to this need to regroup and dream?


The tension between these two selves, two perspectives, creates a kind of guilt for some of us.  We start thinking that we better get off our butts and prove that we mean business! The treadmill calleth! We have dutifully thrown away the leftover holiday sweets and have begun a new and healthy plan.


Regrouping and dreaming can seem like a waste of time at the beginning of a new year when we put pressure on ourselves to perform miracles right out of the gate. The truth, however, is that taking time is exactly what we should be doing. Whether you are in the dead of winter like we are in the Northern Hemisphere or midsummer Down Under both these seasons ask us to stand still and contemplate what we’ve set in motion and refine our intentions slowly and honestly.

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What Breaks Your Heart?

The other day, I had the chance to speak with Architect of Change Dr. Tererai Trent about her new book, “The Awakened Woman.” In addition to being an author, Tererai is an internationally renowned scholar and humanitarian whose voice and incredible life story have inspired millions, myself included. 


After Tererai and I finished our Architects of Change interview, she turned to me and asked a very simple, but profound question.


“Maria,” she said, looking me dead in the eye. “What breaks your heart?”


I stared at her for a bit, knowing that this was a big question to be asked. I knew this was not a question for my mind to answer. This was one for my heart and soul.


“What does your heart ache for?” Tererai asked, expanding upon her initial question. “What do you envision for the world, and for yourself?”


Over the years, I have interviewed many Architects of Change. I was also raised by two formidable Architects of Change. All of these individuals, in their own way, have asked themselves this kind of question — a question that has led them to their life’s purpose. But, no one I’ve met has ever posed it to me quite the way that Tererai did.


What breaks your heart? What does your soul long for? And, how is that connected to how you are living your life now?

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Welcome to the Society for the Suppression of Curiosity

The secular world is built upon science, which overturned the world of faith. Exchanging spiritual beliefs for objective facts looks like a clear-cut choice, but it isn't. In all our lives there are values like compassion and loving kindness that are not scientific, and so everyday life straddles two worlds. In one world having a compassionate heart means something important. In the other compassion has no meaning unless it can be reduced to data on a brain scan.

 
A mature person can live in both worlds comfortably, because they don't need to clash. Dr. Francis Collins is a physician and geneticist who is the head of the National Institutes of Health, but he also happens to be a devout Christian who has written movingly about his religious awakening. Besides straddling two worlds, which we all do, Collins has explored them both, in keeping with his bent for inner and outer discovery.

  

Yet some religionists can only tolerate one view of life, and they insist on fundamentalist beliefs, such as the belief that God created human beings in their present form and reject all scientific claims to the contrary. In the other world, some science-minded people cannot tolerate faith and mystery, and they reject any thing that cannot be proven as experimental fact.

 

In both cases, there is a total suppression of curiosity and a rigid insistence on "right think," to adopt the Orwellian term for beliefs enforced by punishment from higher up.

 

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12 Ways I Would Live if I had a 24 Hour Redo on Life

What is the greatest marvel? Each day death strikes and we live as though we are immortal. ~The Mahabharata

 

On the morning of January 13, 2018, out of the blue, the people of Hawaii were confronted with apparent catastrophe. Every radio, television and cell phone in the state received a message that a ballistic missile was heading inbound towards the islands. People were advised to seek immediate shelter. The chilling last words of the messaged warned that “this is not a drill”.

 

For the next 38 minutes, facing what appeared to be a nuclear attack, people were forced to make decisions about how they would spend the last moments of their lives. Videos posted online showed people running through the streets in a panic. Twitter was inundated with tweets from people reaching out to say goodbye to those they loved. One woman wrote that she, her husband and infant child were sheltering in a closet, the husband shielding the baby. A reporter who had just dropped his son off at the airport wrote about having to decide whether to go back to the airport to be with his son, go to his wife’s place of business or head home to his two youngest children. He couldn’t possibly get to them all.

 

After almost 40 minutes, a second message was sent stating that it was a false alarm. There was no inbound missile. There was no nuclear war. No one would die in a conflagration of unimaginable proportions. Life would go on, at least for now.


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23 Signs You May Have Too Much Stress In Your Life

Stress is taken for granted these days as “part of life.” And while there is such a thing as “healthy” stress that helps us grow, most of our stress is chronic, damaging, and unhealthy.


Below are 23 signs that indicate unhealthy levels of stress in your life.


Which ones apply to you right now?


Mental Symptoms

#1 – Difficulty concentrating
#2 – Trouble making decisions
#3 – Negative outlook on life
#4 – Anxious or racing thoughts
#5 – Constant worrying

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How can we can stay open to both the suffering and the joy of life?

You and I are in training to be free. We’re in training to be so present, so spacious, so embracing, we’re in training to not look away, deny or close our hearts when we can’t bear something. The statement, “I can’t bear it,” is what burns you out in social action. When you’re in the presence of suffering and contracting, it’s the contraction that starves you to death.

When you close your heart down to protect yourself from suffering, you also close yourself off from being fed by that same life situation.

If you can stay open to both the suffering and the joys and the stuff of life, all of it, then it’s like a living spirit. It just connects to your living spirit and there’s a tremendous feeding going on.

Once you see all this, what else is there to do but keep working on becoming conscious? You’d be a fool not to. You’re only going to perpetuate your misery and suffering and everybody else’s if you don’t. I’ll give it one year, I’ll settle for two, for you to live on two planes of consciousness simultaneously. The other thing is to do it joyfully! When you meet somebody that’s suffering, what do you have to offer them? You could offer them your empathy. That’s a good thing to offer because they feel somebody else is listening to them. The other thing you can offer them is your joy, your presence, and your ‘not getting caught in it all.’

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Human and Animal as One

In our Sanctuary Home in the 2007 called Lions Field, (Jessie Justin Joy. the famous feline was the  the lion of our heart and the street  named "Lions Field" ), my owl friend sang to us often, sweetly and calmly. She had not yet revealed her physical self but stayed near every night. Meanwhile, our hawk friends circled above us and one frequently  waved back to me from the warm sky. We had been blessed with hawk, hummingbird, deer and raven friends who approach us in every home and who had also met us during many trips to lead Satsangs elsewhere! 


One morning my owl friend and I shared our thoughts as we met in the verses of music within the trees and breeze as a shared voice. Below I share our reflections. 

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Tips to Keep You on Your Path to Happiness

As we are well on our way into the New Year, our new hopes and aspirations seem firmly entrenched within our system and we seem to be on our way to a new beginning or at least a face lift to our old selves. Each year there are many resolves we make and yet slowly, they all melt down to the common potpourri of whatever is our normal daily life. No matter how hard we try to remain steadfast in our daily resolves, the moving Sands of time make it all wither away.
 

To keep oneself duly on the path ,one needs resilience and commitment.  This has to come from within. We constantly need to work on ourselves to keep us there on our committed path towards health and happiness. I am trying to facilitate my readers to stay on the path by using a few tips I have gathered over the years through intense research. Of course we all desire to wish it all away but we need to work our way to happiness.


Wishful Thinking
 
Most of us wish we could wave a magic wand and wish all our stressors away. What a blissful feeling to live in joy and harmony by just wishful thinking.
 
But practical reality tells us that no matter how much we wish our thoughts away, they don't go. We need to create practical ways and means of dealing with them. We need to know how to turn our thoughts around so that we can use them to our advantage
 

Relaxing Space

Our foremost thing is to have a relaxed physical space. Create it at home if possible. Your own spot where your level of comfort is the highest. When you are here your mind and body just step into a relaxed mode.
 

A Warm Bath

You could turn your bathroom to a spa like environment.  Visualise it like a spa scenario.  A hot bath always de stresses you. So create your own space.
 

Choose from Your Own Happy Habits
 
We all have our comfort zone's over the years that kept us going on the happiness path.Pick up on a few things which kept you the happiest and put them into your mental framework, use those now in your daily functioning.
 

Short Power Naps
 
Whenever fatigue sets in just take that 10 minutes nap that refreshes you and rejuvenate's your system. This is your "on your marks get set go" strategy. 
 
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Be a Badass Spiritual Manifester.

Years ago when I first got introduced to the notion that my thoughts and emotions created my reality I couldn’t get over the simplicity of the concept.  Then I wondered, why was this not taught in school?! It was when I read a book by Florence Scovel Shinn called “The Game of Life and How to Play It” that the light bulb went on with an almost blinding light of recognition. Once this wisdom opened my eyes wide, I then gobbled up every book I could get my hands on, my favorites by Ernest Holmes, James Allen, then Catherine Ponder. This led me to A Course In Miracles and then Louise Hay.


It’s no surprise I ended up a Hay House author, given I ate slept and breathed this subject of manifestation and our role in it all.  I also recognized the spiritual solution to life, and how everything worked so differently than perception allowed.


That is, of course, the big fat dilemma and why I say you really need to learn how to be badass about it! You need so much courage and conviction to make this work because everything in our world suggests otherwise. Our five senses trick us into believing we’re separate from each other and from the world we perceive. We experience time as something other than the truth of what it is too, trapping ourselves into believing in a linear life disconnected from our true power- which is that we are always tapped into Source- the energy of the universe from which we were made.


The universe is alive and conscious and is in everything, animating all of life that we see and even more of what we cannot ever possibly see or know intellectually.  If we go deep inside where logic has no place we will connect to that knowing, that still small voice, that says yes we are partners in this universe and it’s up to us to co-create it!

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Career vs. Life Purpose

After the yoga class during our sharing a few days ago, one of my friends said, “I am 55 years old and I am still not clear what my life purpose is? I know some people have a clear life purpose, but I am just not sure”. My two teenagers will be going off to the college in next few years, so I wanted to explore this topic myself.


I attended my daughter’s band concert last week. Listening to the music, I felt every instrument and every person in the band had a very important role to play, in making this beautiful music. In the same manner, I feel everyone has a purpose to their lives. We are parts of a whole. All beings on planet Earth have an important role to play, to make life on this planet beautiful and harmonious for all of us.   From my life experiences, I can differentiate a career and a life purpose as follows:


Career

  • Usually involves having a goal and the steps to reach this goal, such as getting good grades, getting a college education, a job and then climbing the corporate ladder.
  • Comes from your ego or personality and is rooted in “separation”. Usually, the person thinks only about their own advancement. There is competition with others. There is also a hierarchy with a few having power over others.
  • Is outwardly focused on materialistic success and can become a never ending thirst with no satisfaction.
  • One person gains at another’s expense such as getting a promotion.
  • The person’s actions are based on personal gain such as more money, fame or power.
  • Is sometimes not decided by you, but it may be in some instances decided by your family or the need to make money and provide for your family.
  • Most careers are stress producing. Working a job can feel very restrictive and not joyful at times. At times, it is not aligned with the person’s talents or strengths. Therefore, success in a career usually comes at a cost, such as physical or mental health challenges and/or tensions in relationships.
  • Is fear based and there is a fear of failure or losing the job or promotion.
  • Usually happens earlier in life and usually is person’s single focus.
  • Has an end. For example, when the person retires or gets fired.
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How To Find Your Motivation When You Feel You’ve Lost It (video)


We all go through those moments when we feel like giving up.


Whether you are facing a tough time in your relationship, struggling financially, or repeatedly facing failures in the pursuit of your dream….. Life can be challenging, and we all have moments where we lose motivation.


But anything worthwhile takes patience, perseverance and effort. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. On the path of greatness everyone is invited, but only a rare few have the courage and dedication to stay the full course.


If you are going through tough times right now remember that it is a season, and no season lasts forever.


Even your most difficult time will pass.


Trust.

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Ram Dass Explores the Illusion of Time Passage and Aging

Now, when you get older one of the things that happens is the change of the meaning of time, in a whole raft of ways. First of all, time gets short before you get ready to leave your body, and that has a certain way of ‘making it all more significant.’ Not that this is the last picnic, but I mean you just start to feel it differently. There’s this agitation and there’s a whole chemical thing in it that makes you experience time as moving faster. When you’re a child spring is a big thing, and summer is ‘summer’ and then, I mean, you know, the feeling of each season is really present. Autumn is going back to school, at least it was in my day, and for adults, it runs a pace.


We seem not to have enough time for anything, and then we get older, the years go by very quickly, and that’s one dimension of time.


Then there’s another interesting dimension of time when you say to friends, “How old do you experience yourself being?” instead of, “How old are you chronologically?” or, “How old is your body,” it’s, “How old do you experience yourself being?”


There are different kinds of responses. People like me would say, “No age at all, I don’t experience myself as age.” Some people would say,” I have always felt like I was 14 years old. I’ve always felt like a little girl up in a tree.” I think for the first 35-40 years of my life, I felt like I was a precocious child. I was a child who was living in over my head. This may be alien to all of you but bare with me. It’s just my pathology. Then I began to feel like I had gotten through puberty. I was about 40 and I started to experience this change in my psychological age. There were a lot of things that occurred in those years, of course, and I got up to the point where I started to feel that I was just who I was. I mean, I was this age at that time, 50-55, and it felt fine and comfortable. Then I went deeper, and I started to feel no age.

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Kogi Support Offered Through The “Land For The Kogi” Initiative

The participants in the December 2016 Colombian Journey, led by Daniel Koupermann and John Perkins, collectively raised $9515 USD to support the Kogi indigenous people. The primary goal for these funds was to purchase land for the community of Tayku.


I (Farrah) was the only representative from our group able to return to Colombia to oversee the distribution of our funds and participate in the pilgrimage with the Kogi. Daniel arranged the logistics for the pilgrimage, caring for all the details of transportation, accommodations and meals. Our friend and local guide Jaruen also played an important role, coordinating directly with the Kogi to prepare the paperwork and make arrangements for gathering the Kogis for the pilgrimage.


PURCHASING LAND FOR TAYKU VILLAGE


On December 13, 2017 the four joint owners of the land and a representative of the Kogi community, Juan, met at the notary office in Santa Marta, Colombia to transfer the deed of ownership to the Kogis. Daniel, Jaruen and I were also there.


Two plots of land were purchased using the money raised by the 2016 group. One plot will be used primarily for agriculture. The second plot of land sits at the base of a hill that is sacred to the Kogi community. The Kogis will use this land to gather materials to build a ceremonial structure on the hill, and also as a buffer so that no other construction can compromise this sacred area.


Our funds enabled the Kogi to acquire 19.77 acres of land in total (8 hectares).

 


KOGI PILGRIMAGE TO SACRED SITES


According to tradition, it is important for every Kogi Mamo—trained spiritual leader—to do ceremonies at particular sacred sites a certain number of times in their lives. Unfortunately, in these modern times, it has become very difficult for the Mamos to fulfill this obligation.

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Remember Life Changes Take Time

The new year has started and it’s time for a shift. Your intentions have been set and your resolutions made; you’re determined to finally make a change in your life. Making the decision is the first step – the hardest part – the wheels of change have been set in motion. Now comes the next challenge; being patient and giving yourself time.

 

One of the most challenging aspects of making a change in life is the time and space required for implementation. Things don’t happen overnight. All life changes take time.

 

After you take the first step to make a change the meantime period ensues. It’s the time between making the decision and it manifesting. During this time things may seem to move unbearably slow. It can be easy to get lost in time and turn back. This is the time when most people give up.

 

Life changes are a renovation process. You start a home renovation by first removing or tearing down the old stuff that no longer works with the new plans. There are pieces that need to be revised before the new pieces can be added and take shape. The same is true in life. When you disrupt the structure of your life it takes time for the changes to take shape. As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

 

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How to Make 2018 Your Best Year Ever

Regardless of how you ring in the New Year (with lively parties and fireworks or cozy celebrations at home), there is a recurring theme at every New Year’s celebration: to the make this year the best year ever.

“If you get clear on the what, the how will be taken care of.” - Jack Canfield


Here are a few things you can do to make 2018 your best year yet.


1. Review Last Year


First, take inventory of last year. By reviewing last year and all the ups and downs of 2017, we are provided with the map to moving forward into 2018. Reflecting deeply on last year can highlight your successes and – more importantly – the areas most in need of improvement.


Find a quiet room in your house and carve out a bit of meditation time. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself the hard questions; the answers to the hardest of questions will only help you grow. Use a journal to collect your thoughts so that you can refer back to your answers.

  • What were the biggest accomplishments of 2017?
  • Why were those accomplishments meaningful for you? What did they signify?
  • Did you have any regrets? What were they?
  • What obstacles did you face?
  • What goals did you reach?
  • What goals did you not meet?
  • What are you not happy with in your life right now? This could be personal, professional, spiritual. Identify the areas that you want to improve, and be as specific as you can be.
  • And finally, what was the overall recurring theme of 2017?


By taking the time to review the events of the previous year, you not only have the opportunity to be grateful for all the good moments, but you also gain the knowledge of where and what to improve.


It is only when you know which areas truly need improving (and why), that you can work towards creating the best year ever.


Make 2018 Your Best Year Ever By Creating Your Extraordinary Life Plan.


2.  Try This Instead of Making New Year's Resolutions

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