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August 23 -26 | Phoenix, AZ

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Be Accepting of Difficulty

Fighting with the hard things in life just makes them worse.

Is it hard?

The Practice:
Be Accepting of difficulty.

Why?

Sometimes things are difficult. Your legs are tired and you still have to stay on your feet another hour at work. You love a child who's finding her independence through emotional distance from you. A long-term relationship could be losing its spark. It's finals week in college. You're trying to start a business and it's struggling. You've got a chronic health problem or a disability. Sometimes people don't appreciate your work. You're being discriminated against or otherwise treated unjustly. The body ages, sags, and grows weary.

Plus there are all the little hassles of everyday life. You're in an airport and can't get wifi (the injustice!). You're at home looking for the ice cream and someone ate the last of it. You're talking to your partner and realize he or she isn't really paying attention.

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Changing Lenses: Essential Teaching Stories from Ram Dass

I really worked for a number of years at getting high and not coming down. And I learned a lot of different techniques for getting high by changing the lenses through which I see the world.

If you put on lens 1 and look up here, you see a 55-year-old, balding, attractive-looking gentleman. That’s the physical plane – the plane where lust is, where you just see physical bodies. When you lust, you see everybody in terms of physical bodies – as a potential, a competitor, or irrelevant. As I’ve gotten older, it’s interesting – I’m sure there are streets in Worcester where that lens is worn. I can walk down that street and be totally irrelevant now, like a walking lamppost.

Lens 2 is the psychosocial lens. That’s the lens of personality and social role – of mothers, fathers, lawyers, doctors, social workers, students, seekers after the light, meditators, all the social roles. And all the psychological stuff of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory: happy, and sad, and depressed. You look up here and you see a warm, charming lecturer, a mild manic-depressive.

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Is your negative self talk turning into a Self Fulfilling Prophecy?

We all have a habit of self talk,  and it is this habit which makes us perceive things as less stressful or more stressful.  If we tell ourselves that something is difficult, it actually starts seeming so And eventually becomes so, but if we tell ourselves that something is easy and enjoyable,  that is what we begin to attract into our lives.  So we can understand that by using self talk that is optimistic rather than pessimistic, has very many benefits as far as stress management is concerned. That directly affects our behavior and subsequently our productivity and our health. 

LIMITING OURSELVES
Most people have a way if living in their own fortress.  They will give themselves the negative message, that they can't do something.  Then the belief seems to somehow fit itself into that mode,  and you stop looking for a solution. 

POSITIVE SELF TALK
You need to stop negative self talk, which could turn into a self fulfilling prophecy. Tell yourself that you can do a certain thing. Do not be in a space of vagueness,  a "maybe" sort of mindset.  Be positive and sure of yourself,  and you will actually create a self fulfilling prophecy.

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From Loathing to Loving: A New Relationship With Your Body

As we transition to warmer months, you’ve probably started to notice that bodies and skin are showing up everywhere. If you tune into daytime TV talk shows, you’ll start to see bikini fashion shows. On the bestseller list, diet books are on the rise. Gyms are full as people keep their beach bodies in shape. And dietitians are offering discounts to reach your summer body.

It’s no surprise that this time of year can stir up a lot of shadows — the emotions, beliefs, habits, and patterns stored deep inside the psyche that dictate our relationships with our bodies. It’s prevalent in every program and workshop I do. Person after person shares the depths to which they have struggled with body issues and the years they have hated their bodies and thus themselves.

Personally, I’ve struggled with my weight and body image from a young age. The quality of my day used to be determined by the number on the scale. I would only feel worthy of being loved by myself or others if I looked a certain way. I had grown up with the belief that it was not okay to eat so in my book, food was the enemy. I made my body my enemy!

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The Difference Between Manifestation and Magical Thinking

Magical Thinking is something children do naturally and it’s a fun process for them. Believing in Santa Claus is a good example. But when we grow up and mature, engaging in magical thinking will often lead to frustration and disappointment.

Magical Thinking is “wishing” to win the lottery but never buying a ticket.

Magical Thinking is “wishing” for a better job or a new career but never taking real action steps to make it happen.

Magical Thinking is saying you want to write a book but never sitting down to write.

Magical Thinking is hoping you will meet and marry your soulmate “organically,” or wishing and dreaming that one-click Amazon will deliver him or her to your doorstep.

Is it time for you to give up your Magical Thinking and put one of your dreams into action?

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Three Simple Exercises to Invite the Extraordinary Life

I can think of no greater encouragement than the self-evident Truth that there dwells in each of us the opportunity to explore and know the Extraordinary Life. The meaning of Extraordinary I wish to convey points to the immutable and inexhaustible source that is the secret center of each of us: a timeless resource open and available to anyone who would seek this Life that sits behind life as we know it. Will we spend our lives in mere dreams of winning a limitless life, or will we do the inner- work of awakening from this dream? Choosing the Extraordinary Life begins with our conscious work to realize it, which the following special practices help to ensure.

1. Let Nagging Questions Go Unanswered: In stressful moments, listen to what life is trying to tell you about you instead of searching anxiously for familiar answers to make life feel "right" again. All fearful, doubt-filled moments are secret reflections of what we have yet to understand about life and ourselves, not life's rejection of us or our wish for happiness. Choose to go consciously quiet whenever there is a riot in you. Refuse to take part in the search to repair what you fear may be coming undone. Let go and watch what happens when you consciously sacrifice the fear-filled self. This new action allows the Extraordinary Life to enter into you where its presence alone proves that all is well.

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What’s the Matter with Matter?

If someone invited you to live in a world where every physical thing—granite, stars, trees, the bones in your body—lost their thingness, would you accept? The fact that things exist is very reassuring, so reassuring that we can hardly do without it. Unfortunately, this reassurance is false. We live in a world where things aren’t really things, whether we choose to or not.

Matter, the physical side of matter and energy, is one half of a duo act. We are told matter is what the universe is made of, and energy is what puts matter in motion. The dance between them constitutes the reality we inhabit, a fact so obvious that modern science relies upon it as the unquestioned basis for doing science, not to mention for leading our everyday lives.

If matter and energy are not what they seem, science could be rocked to its core—but great care is taken for this not to happen. Strangely, a nursery rhyme tells the tale. Like Humpty-Dumpty in the English nursery rhyme, physical matter—solid, tangible inert matter composed of atoms and molecules- took a great fall over a hundred year ago, when quantum mechanics demolished every one of those qualities. It is entirely inaccurate to envision the universe being built up from bits of solid matter—or bits of anything.

The ancient Greek notion that reality can be reduced to a minuscule speck of matter (the atom) was a delusion of logic, and therefore a mental construct only. In reality the elementary particles that comprise the atom have a mysterious existence. They have no measurable weight, position, or any other characteristic until they are observed. Before that, they exist as waves that extend infinitely in all directions. These waves have no properties you can assign to any solid object. They arise as ripples in the quantum field, and the entire structure of the universe is mathematically described as interference patterns among these ripples, like the pattern formed on the surface of a pond if you throw two rocks in at the same time.

The dissolution of physical matter isn’t controversial—quantum mechanics is the bedrock of modern physics--but it turned out to be intolerable for working scientists. They rely upon the reassuring nature of thingness just as much as ordinary people. Theoretically, doing away with thingness should have been the end of the story. As every child knows, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty-Dumpty together again. Physics, however, managed to do something more mysterious. It ignored that matter fell and broke in the first place.

The billions of dollars spent on high-energy particle accelerators shows the lengths to which jobs, budgets, and complex projects rest on an ability to ignore what quantum physics actually means. There are now eighteen basic particles, with the hope that more will be discovered in the future, dependent on building even more mega-accelerators. But when these vast machines cause a new particle to bounce out of the quantum field for a fraction of a millisecond, using huge amounts of energy to accomplish this, where is that particle really coming from?

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Take the Sting Out of Stress with Mindfulness

April is National Stress Awareness Month – a "holiday" of sorts that invites us all to take the opportunity to acknowledge and address the stress in our lives. We all face stress from time to time, and some of us truly struggle with it. In fact, a recent study reveals that approximately 57 percent of people experience paralyzing stress, and 47 percent say their response to stress is to "take it out on themselves." Ouch.

One of the most effective ways we can reduce our experience of stress is through the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness can be applied in many areas of life, and it offers us the chance to tap into our inner peacefulness in spite of whatever outside stressors we may encounter. Here are some mindful ways to take the sting out of stress this month, and anytime. Try them for yourself and see how much better you feel.

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Financial Fears: Let go of old belief systems and conditioning.

Who’s got them? My guess is most of us. They come and go over time, sometimes with more intensity and sometimes less. Why? This comes from our past conditions in the families and communities we grew up in. We learned emotional response systems from those we started our lives with and continue to attract those that reinforce those belief systems. We’re more stuck in our daily groves, with the appearance that it is harder and harder to change the more time flies by.

I’m here to tell you, anything can happen, no matter what age you are, how many failures you’ve had or how many people are counting against you. All you need is the real you to show up…and to recognize why these patterns keep persisting in our lives.

Think of it like this; years ago, I was watching a cooking show. Not one with a huge celebrity chef but a show that brought in everyday people to share their family favorite recipes that had been passed down for generations. This young woman in her early 20s was picked and she was so excited to share her great grandmother’s baked ham recipe. As she prepared the food on live TV she was very methodical going through things step by step. The host that day asked her, “Why are you cutting both ends off the ham before you put it in the oven?” The young woman responded, “I’m not sure, that’s just how we’ve always done it in our family.”

As she continued preparing the ham to go into the oven, the host was still perplexed as to why she cut off the two ends of the ham, and then tossed them into the garbage. The host challenged the young woman. She said, “Can we call your Mom and ask why you cut off the edges and throw them away?” Of course, the young woman agreed. They called mom and she said, I’m not really sure, let’s call grandma. “Grandma, can you tell me why we always cut off the ends of the baked ham when we do our family recipe?” Grandma stated, “I don’t know, that’s just how my mother taught me.” Her great grandmother was still alive and the host asked if it would be ok to make this third phone call to great grandmother to solve the mystery.

Great grandmother was happy to take the call, at age 92, and said, “Oh sweetheart, I cut the ends off the ham because the pan I used for years was too small to fit the whole thing.” Can you believe it? Really! Four generations this recipe got passed down and they were cutting off the edges of the ham and throwing them in the garbage all because great grandmothers’ pan was too small. Crazy!! This is a simple example of how patterns stick in our lives and we don’t even know why and ask if the reasoning is even relative to today.

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Notice Good Intentions

By recognizing positive intentions we feel safer, supported, and happier.

What do others want?

The Practice:
Notice good intentions.

Why?

Hustling through an airport, I stopped to buy some water. At the shop’s refrigerator, a man was bent over, loading bottles into it. I reached past him and pulled out one he’d put in. He looked up, stopped working, got a bottle from another shelf, and held it out to me, saying “This one is cold.” I said thanks and took the one he offered.

He didn’t know me and would never see me again. His job was stocking, not customer service. He was busy and looked tired. But he took the time to register that I’d gotten a warm bottle, and he cared enough to shift gears and get me a cold one. He wished me well.

I can see his friendly eyes as I write now, a week later. It was just a bottle of water. But I feel warmed by his kindness and buoyed by his good intentions.

Recognizing the positive intentions in others, we feel safer, more supported, and happier. And when others feel that you get their good intentions, they feel seen, appreciated, and more inclined to treat you well.

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The Unseen Tension Of Competition

In the competitive world of today, I feel that maximum amount of stress is actually carried by students. They are at the threshold of life and they feel a constant impulse of restlessness within themselves. It seems to begin even before they learn to speak. Parents are silently without a conscious awareness sending it through their vibrational signals to their kids.

Furthermore the environment around seems to enhance it. Everything around us seems to carry this unseen tension of what the future will bring along. There is a level of restlessness in everybody's mannerism. The body language of all people seems to limit this restlessness. Catching the signals and quelling the restlessness is imperative for the well-being of all.

Since exams are a constant in a student's life, their stress is continuous. I just feel the need to talk about how we need to handle this level of stress, which encompasses and impacts participation in classes, performance of tests on the general well being in a students life.
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Rivers of Emotion

As a child one of my favorite summer pass times was swimming in the river. A couple of us would walk on the old county road to the slow moving water.  There were a few swimming holes that were walking distance; between two and four miles away.  If we were lucky one of our parents would pick us up, so we did not have the long trek home.   Sometimes I took off my shoes and walked on the white reflective strip on the pavement.  It was cooler then the dark asphalt.

I loved swimming under water.  It was enchanting and dream like.  The rest of the world couldn’t touch me. I could move thru the clear water and touch the sandy bottom.

During winter the school bus used the same road that followed the river. I could see our swimming spots thru the windows.  Storms turned the river dark and muddy as it flowed over the banks.  Trees would be moved, as the tranquility of the slow moving water was replaced by much stronger and forceful currents.

One winter a tree fell into the river above our favorite swim hole. Water was able to move thru the branches and under the tree, but the passage of anything that could not go with the new flow was blocked.

Early the following summer, a group of river kayakers stopped at the tree. They could have easily carried their boats around the fallen tree, but chose to remove the tree from the water. They attempted to do this by breaking branches and dislodging everything that had gotten tangled in the tree.  The river current carried all of the newly freed material through our swimming hole.  We got out of the water, as sticks and leaves drifted by.  The tree remained, as the actions dislodged some gray water snakes.  We watched the snakes as they were carried by the current.  This memory still is with me today.  At the time I wondered why the people were being so destructive; I still do.

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Find Freedom In The Principles Of Invisible Justice

We can never hope to be free as long as any part of us struggles with, or suffers over what others are doing, have done, or won’t do with their lives. If we could remain aware of the often-compromised state of our own character, that is, how we still do those things to others that we don’t want to do, this awakened conscience would stir in us a new need. Rather than worrying about whether so-and-so gets his comeuppance for being the kind of person he is, our attention would be elsewhere. It would be focused fully upon being in the Now of our own life where we would be actively attending to what we must do to let go of old resentments that won’t let go of us!

A great part of our inability to release this conflict-bred sense of feeling ourselves to be a hostage of how others behave is born of a mistaken perception. In our ignorance, we believe we must fix those who have done us wrong, otherwise justice won’t be served. But, as we are about to thankfully discover, the truth is far from this popular view and the chain of victims it serves to create.

There are great Eternal powers at work around and within us all the time. And as we awaken to realize that these same perfect principles are already in place to empower us, this same understanding puts us in relationship with a whole new order of freedom. Freedom is not a creation of ours. It is not something attained by making life line up with our wishes; it is a system already in place, needing only our awareness of its abiding reality to realize its power as our own.

These same invisible laws hold true when it comes to justice for all. We’ve all heard the phrase, “What goes around comes around.” This principle of karma, that what we give, we will receive in return, is a mathematical law whose root runs through the heart of reality. Our present problem is that we don’t understand this principle in operation because we can’t always see with our physical eyes its unfailing fruition. But be assured, what is evil in nature never goes without its reward, just as what is good is always rewarded in kind. With these truths in mind, how many of us spend our precious time and energy fuming over what others may have done to us?

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Revising Darwin: The Real Origin of Homo Sapiens

The story of life on Earth owes a great deal to Charles Darwin, and even though few people today read his epoch-making 1859 book, On the Origin of Species, without a doubt we live in a Darwinian world. Revolutionary ideas are subject to change, and when they go viral, as Darwinism did with a vengeance, many unexpected consequences result.

The crudest misuse of Darwin’s theory of evolution are contained, ironically enough, in phrases Darwin never uttered: “survival of the fittest,” ”the law of the jungle,” and “Nature red in tooth and claw.” These notions have been enormously influential. They turn evolution into a winner-take-all competition ruled by the violent opposition of predatory and prey.

Survival of the fittest, when applied to human society, celebrated the rich and powerful as evolutionarily superior. It justified the prejudice that the poor deserve to be poor because they are unfit (i.e., weak, stupid, genetically inferior). Racism and genocide have looked to Darwinism as an excuse to “purify” whole populations through means ranging from forced sterilization to mass murder. Oppressing workers in the worst periods of the Industrial Revolution also looked to Darwin for (false) justification.

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The Secret Key To Manifesting Your Desires

What if I told you that thinking positively and doing your affirmations were not enough to manifest your desires?

You don’t get what you want, you get what you are.

Your job isn’t to make or force something to happen, your job is to clear away anything within yourself that is keeping you stuck.

When you clear away whatever is not in alignment with your truth, you bring yourself into the flow of life.

Often we hold onto things that are not working or old relationships because we get comfortable.

Holding onto what isn’t working is your affirmation in the lack of trust in the universe. And you will attract more of what you don’t want.



Holding onto what is no longer working out of fear simply blocks the manifestation of what you do want.

So ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is longer aligned in my life and what do I need to let go of?
  2. Who in my life is no longer a vibrational match that I need to bless and release?
  3. What is it costing me to hold on to that which isn’t working?

If something isn’t truly working, have the courage to let it go.

If a relationship is no longer a vibrational match, release it and make room in your life and heart for more love.

The universe is abundant, and if you want the next level, you must make space in your life for the next level.

You can’t receive the next level whilst holding onto the old.

When you let go of the old, you make space for the new to show up in your life.

Manifesting your goals is really about ALIGNMENT.

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Japanese Zen – An Inward Journey

We’re looking forward to sharing our Scenic Zen Journey to Japan with Craig Marshall: Explore Japan’s Spiritual Traditions and Natural Fall Beauty with you this autumn. There is no better place to look inward, discover personal insights, and experience a calm reverence than the Land of the Rising Sun. Our journey has been planned to take you inward as you explore the vast landscapes and ancient traditions of this beautiful, storied island nation.

Before you embark on this enlightening experience, we thought it would be fitting to dive into the school of Zen, it’s historic routes in Asia, and how it is best appreciated in the majesty only found in Japan.


Zen is a school of thought that originated in Asia from the teachings of the Buddha and his meditation principles. For over two thousand years it has been a practice allowing people to explore their inner potential through meditation, self-control, and appreciation for the beauty of our world. The Buddha developed the practice in order to end suffering and help people find happiness, not through the material world, but from a focus on the self-actualized through daily experiences. As tradition has it, the practice represents a direct bloodline of spirituality between the Buddha and ourselves today.


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Shift From Disappointment

If you want to knock yourself out of alignment – mentally and emotionally – dwell on your disappointments. Keep replaying in your head what you should have done. Don’t let yourself accept that promotion you were passed up for. Continue to hold onto shame and judgement about the way your divorce physically manifested itself in your life.

And never, ever forgive yourself for the mistakes you made one, three, five or even ten-plus years ago.

Because, you know what, you deserve that. You deserve to have a cloud hanging over your head for the rest of your life about the way you handled the disagreement you had with your sister a few weeks ago. Good things shouldn’t happen to the kind of people that say things they don’t mean in the heat of the moment. And all the time you wasted when you were younger dating the wrong people, pursuing the wrong career and building relationships that ended up being exactly the opposite of what you needed? That time wasn’t well spent because it’s not like you learned anything for those experiences.

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How to Adapt to a Stressful Situation

I have always been talking about how to overcome stress. Today I feel I need to say something about adapting to a stressful situation.

We needn't constantly worry about overcoming or avoiding stress.  We need to also address the issue from another angle.  We need to accept the stress and then just comfortably adapt to it. 

 
Very often we are faced with stressful situations,  which we can understand are here to stay. It could be in terms of:

1. A job you need to keep
2. A relationship you need to stay on with 
 
It could also be any other situation which you feel cannot changed with immediate effect. You know if you allow the situation to overwhelm you,  it will take you into a level of chronic stress,  which is the cause of various health issues. 
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A World Without Marketing

“Imagine no possessions.
I wonder if you can…”
—John Lennon

Marketing drives our world today. Everything from political candidates to clothing to cars and cell phones is presented to us through a filter of manipulative images and languaging. True needs (supporting life) have been replaced with artificial needs (unnecessary, even detrimental, to our lives). What would the world be like without marketing? Some economists say it would fall apart, no longer driven by false monetary incentives. I don’t believe it.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Instructions to My Smaller Self

When hurt, it’s important to scream. Just don’t pray to the scream. When sad, it’s important to grieve. Just don’t build a kingdom of your loss. When falling through whatever you thought would last, admit, “I’m lost and confused.” Just don’t map the world as lost and confused. And when riding the wave, however it appears, feel the strength in you released. Just don’t believe the strength comes from you alone. But most of all, when listening to others, say, “This may be so.” Then look for yourself at what life is painting with all its colors.

A Question to Walk With: What instructions would you give to your smaller self?

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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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