It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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The Power of Gratitude

THANK YOU.

Perhaps two of the most potent words you could say.

As powerful as any mantra, prayer, poem, affirmation, or chant.

If all you did was say a heartfelt  “Thank you” each moment of your life to everyone you met, miracles would occur.

“Thank you” melts hearts. Let’s people feel loved and appreciated. End wars. Start new friendships. Create smiles.

The more you give thanks, the more you will have to give thanks about in your life. It’s been said that “What you think about expands”.  I like to say, “What you thank about expands.”

It is easy to say “Thank you” to those you like and are kind to you. But what about those that upset you and aren’t so nice. They give you the gift of the opportunity to practice your prayers and live your spirituality for real.

It is easy to say “Thank you” to those that give you what you want, when you want it. But what about those that don’t. They give you the opportunity to find out what you really need, what most serves your highest path and to be who you really are.

It is easy to say “Thank you” to those that love you. But what about those that have broken your heart and betrayed you. They give you the opportunity to forgive, keep your heart open, and practice unconditional loving.

The more you can thank those people and situations that challenge you, acknowledging that they served you in your growth of becoming more of who you really are, then you are free.

What you cannot thank has you, owns you, and controls you. What you cannot thank, you give power to.

When you can truly thank the person or situation, then you liberate yourself from bondage of the story, situation itself, and step into a new level of freedom. You step outside of the prison of the situation into the freedom of BEING.

Gandhi dared to live Thank you.

Jesus dared to live Thank you.

Mandela dared to live Thank you.

Martin Luther King Jr dared to live Thank you.

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More Joy, Less Stress

“It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is, not according to what he has.”  -Henry Ward Beecher


I've Been Thinking...


I can’t believe it’s December already. I mean, oh my gosh. How did that happen? I’m anxious already!


Most years, I find myself waking up a bit bummed on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I wake up feeling a bit down. Why? Because it sinks in that my favorite holiday is over again. It’s also a day when my youngest son goes back to college, and when my other kids go back to their respective lives. Ugh.


When the anticipation and excitement of Thanksgiving are behind me, I know that it means the stress of Christmas is ahead of me. It stares me down in a way that makes me feel like I’m out of breath.


I know that I need to take a deep breath as I look ahead to December. I need to ask myself, “How can I do better at managing this time of year? How can I be less anxious? How can I be more centered in joy? How can I focus less on stuff and less on checking my list?” (I don’t just check it twice, by the way. I normally check it at least 500 times…)


I’ve come to realize that the stress and anxiety of the holidays are really of my own making (although all the ads don’t help). But, I can make a conscious choice to change how I handle it all.

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How Has Your Animal Helped You?

Animals are miraculous gifts to us. The power of an animal’s love, intuition and wisdom is greatly underestimated—whether it’s an ape that not only understands but also responds to sign language or a special cat that made the news by instinctively knowing when its nursing-home residents were about to leave this world. Then there’s the dog that helps its therapist owner detect abnormalities in her patients’ bodies and the story of the amazingly brave elephants that impulsively knew they had to save themselves by moving to higher ground when a devastating tsunami hit the west coast of Sumatra.

Animals have been our spiritual companions since the dawn of time. Humans have honored them throughout history, as can be seen in those early drawings on the walls of caves—man and dog hunting side by side. Egyptians have treated cats like gods, American Indians have honored many different animals on totem poles, and the elders in the tribe would teach the children about the importance of each living thing.

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Finding Your Way to Gratitude

Although Thanksgiving Day has become a time for turkey and football, its true purpose lingers, often as a wistful hope that one could be truly thankful. You cannot conjure up thanks if you are focused on the world’s troubles and a constant stream of bad news. So how is true gratitude found? 

As writer and teacher Dana Arcuri has said, “The more you are grateful for what you have, the more you can live fully in the present.”. Psychologically, research has shown that practicing gratitude measurably improves your well-being and on the physical side, your heart health.

 Gratitude begins when we change our relationship with life from an attitude of rejecting and defending to one of acceptance and appreciation. We all need reminding about a truth expressed by the Greek philosopher Epicurus, “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

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Trusting Your Gut: How to Live from the Soulful Self Vs. Personality Self

Have you ever struggled to make a decision, your mind spinning constantly as it vacillates between options yet can never find a solution?  This confusion or lack of true knowing comes from the mind, or what I like to call the “Personality Self.”

On the other hand, have you ever had a “gut” feeling about a situation in your life? In a particular moment, you simply “knew” what to do without knowing why or how you knew it? This “knowing” is the wisdom that comes from the True you, or your Soulful Self.

Both the Soulful Self and the Protective Self exist, yet only one contains the truth of who we are and what we’re meant to do in our life. Our task is to learn to live from the Soulful Self, and have constant access to that deep wisdom within guiding our lives in the direction we’re meant to go. To do this, we have to start listening to the messages of our body.

Our Soulful Self speaks to us through our body and to learn how to hear the messages it sends, our mind, or Protective Self, needs to learn how to trust the body because the body doesn’t lie. It is constantly revealing truths to us, yet the mind can’t perceive these messages because it’s so distracted keeping itself busy with questions of what we should do next.

The minute we can bring the mind’s attention onto the body, the mind can begin to filter information more accurately. Once we do, we have access to deep wisdom and we begin to cultivate the power to do something about what we know to be true.

How the Body Speaks to the Mind

Have you ever felt a knot in the pit of your stomach? Maybe you assumed it was indigestion, or that the burning in your belly had something to do with you needing to take some kind of antacid to cover up the discomfort that you’re feeling.

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How To Stop Overthinking And Find Your Peace

“Control is the master addiction and trying to control the things that you cannot control only leads to a sense of powerlessness and helplessness.”

Modern life is hectic. We often feel pulled in several directions at the same time and end up feeling overwhelmed and unable to find peace in the chaos of our life. Listen to this episode to learn how to achieve deep, internal peace that will allow you to stay calm in the center of any storm.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: The Energy of Hope

I believe that teaching, reading, and writing all have to do with searching. Each involves searching for Wholeness through dialogue and experience. When that search involves other living things, we find ourselves in the province of learning and teaching. When that search involves other living things that are not present or of our time, the dialogue takes the form of reading. And when that search involves things that are present and living but not yet visible or known, we have entered the creative realm, which includes writing.

These forms of search are really inseparable. They constantly impact each other. In truth, a teacher is someone who is actively involved in all three forms of search—whether they have a classroom or not, whether they are reading the wind instead of a book, or whether they ever write it down or not. At the heart of it, learning is really seeing, while writing is really internalizing what is seen through the life of our expression. And teaching is asking questions about what is seen and taken to heart—in an effort that if honestly entered usually leads to seeing further and taking in more.

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A Gratitude Ritual

Have you ever noticed that the more you focus on being grateful, the more you have to be grateful for?

It’s true. The more we practice counting our blessings, the more blessings we will find to count.

And that is one of the beautiful things about gratitude. It builds on itself. All we have to do is be mindful of practicing that “attitude of gratitude” by focusing on looking for what’s right, since gratitude happens naturally when we stay in the presence of the many gifts in our lives.

So, if you want to have a heartfelt Thanksgiving, as well as the power to turn a moment of ordinary into extraordinary, then I encourage you to take time to go within, connect with your blessings and gifts, and practice cultivating gratitude.

Use the beautiful Gratitude Ritual that Debbie Ford created years ago, which I have included below, to support you in opening your heart and filling it with love and appreciation.  

Have a blessed Thanksgiving.
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Count It All Joy

In the spirit of gratitude, let’s talk about what joy brings to our individual lives. So joy huh… Fun fact…did you know that joy can be both a noun and a verb? Which means it is both a tangible thing and an action. Think about that for a minute. It is something you can have and be! Joy is defined as a source of cause of delight. Or to experience great pleasure of delight. Ask yourself, how do I experience joy? For me, one of the things that bring me joy is the laughter of children. I am the great aunt to 12 amazing little souls. And when I hear them laugh, it feels like my heart sings in union and it makes me smile and giggle. Have you ever heard someone laugh and the joy in their laughter makes you all ooey-gooey good. When was the last time you experienced that feeling?

What if I told you that that is your natural state of being and you living your best life in all the authentic bliss is your birthright and is how you are designed to live? Do you believe that?

We often think because we have experienced heartbreak, loss, or even bouts of depression or loneliness that we aren’t entitled to the joy that is naturally ours. Joy is your birthright! It is the natural essence of who you are.

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Your Dream Is Already A Reality

The core basis of my belief and understanding about manifestation (whether you are manifesting love, a car, a new career, or a new little black dress) is this:

There is no “time.” The past, present, and future all happen simultaneously. When we have a desire for something, it’s because some part of us “already knows that this is possible for us,” on an unseen level.

Your dream is not some random thing out there somewhere, it is already in existence, calling upon you to dream it into your existence.
To do this, we must be willing to own and embrace the dream or desire and then take the necessary, appropriate action steps to bring it into 3-D reality.

The secret sauce for this is what I call feelingizations™ a process to get you out of your head and into your heart to deeply feel that what you have asked for IS already yours.

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What to do when you're truly feeling overwhelmed

When everything feels too much to handle, even with the best laid-out plans you’d feel like you don’t know what you’re doing. Everything seems to come at you all at once and you feel like that there’s not enough of anything to do everything—not enough time, not enough money, not enough support, and most especially not enough you. Desperate for help, perhaps from no one in particular, you ask, “How do I do this? What do I do?”

Most of the time, in the attempt to deal with everything, we spring into action even more. We reassess our plans, downsize our to-do lists, set our priorities, start to say ‘no,’ delegate tasks and manage our time as efficiently as we can. We enroll in a yoga class and start a meditation practice or do whatever we think would help take away the feeling of overwhelm only to realize that they are yet more items to add to our already endless list.

Worst of all, our mind goes on overdrive, stressed not only about what’s going on around us or what we have to do, but by the commentaries going on in our head: I can’t do all of this. I don’t have what it takes. What if I made a mistake? What if I fail? We want to prove to everybody that we can do it all hiding the fact that we are a mental and emotional mess.

Our lives are filled with obligations and must-do’s. To make matters worse, in our materially-driven world, we are pressured to be ‘productive’—which often translates to always doing something (even if it’s not productive). We don’t want to appear lazy or useless so, sometimes, we even make ourselves busy just to appear productive even if busy and productive are, in fact, two different things.

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A Gratitude List: The Power of Gratitude as a Daily Practice

 Let’s do an attitude of gratitude challenge for the last part of the year! 

I’ll start! I’ll share a personal list that includes people, books who have inspired me and helped me grow, etc. I’m gonna share mine with you for 2019! Then YOU share yours!

Then every day until the end of the year, begin your day hand on heart tuning into Gratitude—the essence of it and all it means to you!

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A Season of Giving

I've Been Thinking...

I’ve been looking forward to Thanksgiving all year. In fact, I’ve been counting down to it every day since it happened last year. Why? Well, as anyone close to me knows, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

I love the days leading up to it. I love the atmosphere surrounding it. I love that it’s a holiday all about gathering around with family and friends for food, football, and faith. I love that it means my house is full of laughter, and that my table is full of people expressing gratitude for this moment in their lives. I love that friends find comfort and a sense of belonging and home at my family table on Thanksgiving each year.

I also love that Thanksgiving isn’t about going out and buying gifts (which I’ve come to realize just stresses everyone out, anyway). No, Thanksgiving is about celebrating the gifts that are within us. It’s a holiday that’s about honoring the gift of friendship. It’s about recognizing the gift of family. It’s about opening your heart and your mind to the larger picture of family. It’s about reaching out to those who might not have a family or a place to go and inviting them to the table.

I’ve written many times before about our collective need to belong, and how we all feel a need to be invited and included. Thanksgiving is an opportunity for all of us to recognize not just our own internal need for those things, but the need that our loved ones and neighbors have for it as well.

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Everything Is A Gift - Say Thank You! With Your Breath

EVERYTHING IS A GIFT. Simply breathe and know it is true. Allow every breath to be filled with appreciation for life. What more do you need? Everything in life is enough.

We only need to appreciate what we HAVE. There is no reason to wonder why we have it. You donot need to decide what is worthy of gratitude. Everything is worthy of gratitude. We are not made happy because of anything, we are made grateful by everything.

We only need to appreciate what we have, to have enough. When you know all you have, you can’t stop yourself from being grateful. Let every breath say, Thank You! for everything!

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New Rules to Rise Above Whatever is in Your Way

Do you ever feel that you don't have the spiritual strength to face the difficulties in your path through life? Here’s a small story meant to act as a reminder and an encouragement:

Rebecca had decided that her best chance of getting hired by a company doing geological survey work in the Alaskan wilderness was to earn a private license to fly twin-engine planes. A few days later she began taking lessons from a wise old bush pilot, highly respected throughout the region for his cool and collected ways of dealing with the worst possible situations.

After the mandatory ground schooling, at which she excelled, and during her fourth lesson in the sky, the flight instructor gave her what she thought was a special treat: Taking his hands off the yoke, he turned the flight controls over to her. There she was, just as she had dreamed, sitting tall in the co-pilot’s seat with the flight stick firmly in her hands.

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Why Matter Is a (Useful) Fiction

Given a choice between physics and metaphysics, almost everyone chooses physics. This is a modern habit that is deeply ingrained, and it turns the tables on the religious approach to reality, which put a divine or supernatural entity, first and foremost in creation. But relying on the physical world as the foundation of reality has run into serious problems. Unable or unwilling to return to metaphysics, people are stuck without a viable model of reality. 

This becomes apparent if you go to the nub of the physical model, which is matter. For centuries, ever since the ancient Greek concept of the atom, there has been a constant search for the smallest building block in Nature, on the supposition that the world is like a sandcastle on the beach. If you reduce the sandcastle to grains of sand, you know where it comes from. Putting things on a firm foundation is one of humanity’s driving force, and in the physical world, this drive leads to atoms and beyond. 

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Going on a Pilgrimage to Redefine Travel

It was over 600 years ago when Dante, the prolific Italian epic poet and pilgrim, decided on going on a pilgrimage from the mythological forest of his mind into the unknown. In the process, he ventured through the terrifying underworld, yet also acquainted himself with the heavenly spheres. This was all with the guidance of the poets and heroes who helped him become a hero himself. 

And although Dante’s literary pilgrimage resides in the layer of reality we call “myth,” it has much to teach us about going on a pilgrimage ourselves

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Keep Calm and Carry On

Honey, are you keeping up your meditation practice?” my husband gently inquired. “This is such a stressful time. I really think you should try to exercise and do some good meditations.”

Yeah, well, I’m using Insight Timer and doing a meditation for going to sleep every night,” I replied.

“I don’t think that’s enough,” he lovingly suggested.

I’ve been sleeping on the couch at my Dad’s apartment, hanging out with my sisters as we watch and wait for this beloved, elegant, and generous man to transition from this world. Today I realized that I was out of contact lenses. I drove home (a blessed 10 minutes) to replenish my supply.

Once home, I wrestled with the choice to either burrow under my covers in my cozy bed or get my butt on the elliptical trainer machine. Go down, ahh… Go up, ugh… Hearing my husband’s whisper in my head, from miles away out at sea, I stepped up on the elliptical trainer, put Donna Summer radio on my Pandora App, and let my feet follow the beat. I am so fricking out of shape; I stayed between level one and level three, working up a sweat for 20 minutes. Then I walked on the treadmill for 10 minutes. After stretching and doing a little yoga, I chose a 20-minute guided meditation from Insight Timer called “Coping with Grief’s Difficult Emotions,” led by Heather Stang.

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Is Our Stress A Lack of Faith In Our Own Abilities?

Why are we stressed? Isn't it a lack of faith in our own abilities? We could even say, it's a lack of self confidence within our own selves. When we talk of personal success, the first, and foremost thought we focus on is self confidence. People don't succeed many a time in life because of their lack of personal faith within their own selves.  

HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF

It is only when this lack of belief is there, that people start building stress within themselves. If you believe that you are worthy and able, you will have a confident air about you.You basically need to change your attitude from negative to positive, as it is the attitude which will determine your personal power. 
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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: What It Means to See

To see takes time like to have a friend takes time.

Georgia O’Keeffe

I was born a seer. Early on, words became the brushes with which I tried to paint what I saw. In time, I learned that while art is movement through space and music is movement through time, poetry is both. And each of us is born with an inclination toward seeing or hearing. I was born a painter and sculptor in a poet’s body.

Over the years, I’ve come across several legendary crossovers in the arts: those whose vision comes in one form, while their expression comes in another. Michelangelo’s genius came from being a sculptor forced by Pope Julius to paint, forced to compress and express his gift for three dimensions into two dimensions. The result was his masterpiece, The Sistine Chapel ceiling. George Bernard Shaw was a social theorist and critic in a playwright’s body. Aldous Huxley was a philosopher in a novelist’s body. And Robert Frost was a masterful short story writer, a weaver of potent yarns, born in a rhymer’s body.

The insight here is that each needed to express what they saw through the instrument they were given. This dynamic is what gave rise to their genius. I suspect that if George Bernard Shaw had expressed his social ideas in pure social writing, their potency would have been lost.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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