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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How to Calm Your Mind and Soul

I know that many of you may have misconceptions about meditation. This word alone conjures up images of a guru chanting from the top of a mountain or a monk sitting in a sacred temple, surrounded by incense smoke floating in the air. Some people believe that meditation is as simple as closing one’s eyes and going into a trance, or at the most basic level, that you only need to let your mind go totally blank to be able to enter a meditative state.

During these uncertain times when many of us are having trouble sleeping as our minds race over the current headlines, let’s take a closer look at this ancient method of stillness and guidance of the soul.

Meditation is merely a state of being, in which your active mind slows down. It can bring you to a place where you can actually silence your mental chatter, and in doing so, become increasingly aware of the subtle, shifting energies within you. It may seem impossible, but you can actually train yourself to watch your thoughts come into your mind and go right out again, much like flowing water. Soon these same thoughts will lose their power to influence your conscious mind.

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Two Keys For More Powerful Meditation

I like to make two important distinctions for the intention of meditation.

Transcendent forms of mediation are designed to return us to Oneness. The Heartful Harmony system emphasizes body awareness and the experience of oneness in the Unity of many forms.

The Seven Skills of Harmony is a simplified system of Heart centered meditation distilled from decades of practice. The intention of this heart focused meditation is a complete experience in Harmony. In being aware of your heartbeat and breath, you can live in the Source of your Being.

THE SEVEN SKILLS OF HARMONY

1. FEEL YOUR HEARTBEAT
2. Be aware of your breath
3. Rest into calm
4. Posture and Beditation
5. Full Breath
6. Refined Breath
7. Rhythmic Breath

CAN YOU FEEL YOUR HEARTBEAT? Try it right now.
Your heart is an untapped super power. Breath is life giving and our heart is life living.

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6 Tips for Using Mindfulness to Navigate Grief

The world is struggling under the weight of grief right now; there’s no denying it. With the renewed fight to end racial injustice and the lingering realities of the coronavirus pandemic and all its implications, we all have a lot on our emotional plates.  

As of this writing, around 119,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States alone, and numbers continue to rise. People are grieving loved ones lost to the pandemic, lives destroyed by racial violence, and dreams crushed by cancelled graduations and weddings. Grief takes many forms, and it happens when we are in mourning for someone or something lost to us that has a huge impact on our lives.

If you are grieving, you are not alone — and you don’t need to suffer in silence. Mindfulness is a gentle and effective tool any of us can use to lessen the weight of grief as we navigate it. Give yourself a little present, right here and now, and try one or more of these mindfulness tips. As the saying goes: pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.

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Transform Pandemic Panic With These 7 Mindfulness Tips

Negative thought patterns we experience in life can occur for countless reasons — and let’s be real: the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic can be straight-up panic inducing sometimes! But we don’t have to just suffer through this upsetting mental state. Mindfulness is a wonderful tool that allows us to tap into a calmer way of thinking and feeling. It is the opposite of rumination, and we can call on it anytime we need to shift out of unhelpful thought patterns.

Here are seven mindfulness tips you can use right now, today, to transform your thoughts and create more peace and calm in your life — even when life feels chaotic.

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Creating a Home Retreat: Finding Freedom Wherever You Are

When a widespread difficulty like the coronavirus pandemic grows, it becomes important to draw on our inner strength. It is the time to pause, reflect and bring wisdom, courage and care to ourselves and those around us. We human beings have survived for a thousand generations, helping one another and inspiring each other. We know how to do this. Instead of getting caught in collective fear and anxiety, we can remember to take a breath, center ourselves, and take practical precautions and protections, but calmly and in the spirit of love. Each of us can contribute to the well-being of ourselves, our communities and our world.

As Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh explains:

When the crowded Vietnamese refugee boats met with storms or pirates, if everyone panicked all would be lost. But if even one person on the boat remained calm and centered, it was enough. It showed the way for everyone to survive.

Let us practice together in these difficult days so we can be that person.

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How to Use Mindfulness to Improve your Emotional Wellbeing

Are you full of worry, anxiety and stress due to uncertainty, causing your emotional wellbeing to suffer? Resulting in your health deteriorating from a lack of sleep, poor diet, no exercise and being emotionally exhausted. An easy solution to this is mindfulness to improve your emotional wellbeing, replenish energy and help you relax.

Mindfulness and meditation are terms thrown around lightly.

However, they are powerful activities you can easily integrate into your daily routine. Research has shown numerous benefits of mindfulness and meditation which makes them great tools to take advantage of right now. Additionally, the mind-body connection is very powerful and putting the work into your mind can improve all areas of your health.

With global closures and lockdowns, the usual solutions to your stress and anxiety may not be available. Therefore, activities that you can implement right now and easily are important to improve your emotional wellbeing and health.


What is Emotional Wellbeing and Why do You Need it?

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Coping with the Pandemic: 7 Steps to Mindfulness Meditation — Tonglen

Mindfulness and meditation are both great tools that can help us cultivate calm amidst chaos. For those who are new to mindfulness practice, it is not uncommon to mistake mindfulness for a form of meditation. If fact, it is a different practice altogether. Mindfulness is the practice of honing your focused attention and choosing what you wish to focus attentively on. Meditation takes many forms, from movement meditations to seated or even laying down meditations using the anchor of attention on the breath, a word, a phrase or a visualization. Some formal meditations have no anchor of attention, inviting you to notice your thoughts, feelings, and emotions and then practice noticing what comes up without judgement, allowing yourself to let the thoughts drift past without attaching to any story lines. This form is called open awareness meditation.

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How to Successfully Persevere Through A Crisis

These are unprecedented times that we are all living through. There is fear and uncertainty so heavy in the air, you can certainly feel it and even almost taste it. We are all having this very real and shared experience of what it means to live as one people under the Sun. There's a shared sense of oneness because we are all in this together. It does not matter what creed, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation that you are, we are all managing, dealing and surviving this pandemic together.

This pandemic is shifting the way of life for all of us. And am I getting tired of sheltering in place? Absolutely… Anybody else? Is it frustrating? Absolutely…Are you tired of being patient and sheltering in place? YES! Trust and believe that even before all of this…I was not the most patient person and practicing patience is not one of my strong qualities. Yet, somehow, we must keep trusting. We must keep being patient, we must continue to persevere and move confidently forward.

And as I started meditating on what this time means in our lives, Divine Inspiration revealed that we all need a message grounded in how to have patience, how to persevere through difficulties, and how to have unshakable faith in God’s Promises during a season of frustration.

They say patience is truly a virtue and patience in God’s Timing is much different than the patience that we put on ourselves. I grew up believing that the Bible is our story. This Holy book like many Holy books can be used as our blueprint on how we navigate and govern our lives. It contains many stories of overcoming and can give us hope on how we not only survive but thrive through this thing that we call life.

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A New Perspective - Life without hope may be our best chance for peace

Are you, like John Mayer sings, “waiting on the world to change?” Or are you trying, as Gandhi advised to “be the change that you wish to see in the world?” Maybe, like too many of us you’re humming that old Dusty Springfield song, “just wishing and hoping and thinking and praying. Planning and dreaming …”In her poem “Hope” is the Thing with Feathers, Emily Dickinson’s creates a metaphor of hope through a little bird “that perches in the soul” and “never stops—at all.” It’s always there inside. It never asks for anything and it never takes flight. It never reacts or participates. That’s the thing about hope. It just hangs out with us, especially during dark nights. Although hope offers encouragement, it rarely mobilizes our energy or our actions.

Woody Allen parodied this metaphor in his book Without Feathers, about his neurotic sense of hopelessness especially in regard to God and death. It’s funny. It’s counter intuitive and it made me wonder is the opposite of hope really despair? Or is it participation?

As a young girl growing up in the heart of the Bible belt, hope was affiliated with the concept of victim. “I hope that God will hear me.” It actually lowered expectations and consciousness because hope became something that was always delayed or put on the shelf. It was about waiting for the knight in shining armor or some magical evangelical leader to be the change. In my early life experience, it taught me to give my power away. It put the responsibility on someone else—to live a life in the fading light of day.

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Silence & Stillness – The Final Frontier

Take a moment and raise your point of view to the thought that during this pandemic, from a more ‘cosmic standpoint,’ we have actually done everything right! In fact, some would argue, it could not be any other way!

In the same way being in a boat on the surface of the ocean during a great storm, one would never be able to know the stillness that lies beneath the surface of the waves as they bounce you around demanding your full attention for fear of capsizing, for fear of dying! 

Below the waves of this pandemic that have kept our attention bouncing so completely and often in fear-based thinking; there has been taking place a great Stillness, impregnated into every nook and cranny of earth, human activity and all of life Itself!

This Stillness has been yearning to be recognized for eternity and whereas some have made the superficially perilous journey inward to this magnificent place of peace and silence: many more than not have put it off for a time when it would be ‘right’ for them to do so. 

And now, this ‘Stillness,’ this ‘Silence,’ has weaseled its way onto earth, for good. While no one was looking and everyone was busy being distracted by the pandemic, the Spirit of Love, Truth and Peace may just have settled Its way into the collective unconscious of humanity forever, awaiting Its sacred time and moment to subtly, overtly, gradually or explosively shatter the old ways of being and doing while replacing them with sustainable frequencies and forms as the foundational building blocks of the long anticipated New Earth!

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Antidote To The Sweetness Of More

I was thinking that adversity is an organic phenomenon of nature that exists solely to increase our vibration. It doesn’t much matter where it appears to have come from, who or what generated it, but like a blade of grass growing up through the pavement, we push through under the pressure or the forces that may be trying to squash us but alas for them, it is only serving to increase our vibration. It is biology. It is chemistry.

When you apply mechanical pressure to a crystal, it generates an EM field. As the pressure is increased on us with our seclusion, the crystalline beings of Pure Diamond Light we are, rise in vibration to meet the Christ Light within us. Coal turns into diamonds! It’s geology. We are made of minerals and they are transforming into Crystal Light! 

If you were on your death bed, what would be important to you v.s everyday importance? Does the definition of importance change when you shift the context? What if we lived ‘death bed importance’ every day of our lives? Who would we be then and what actions would we take?  

Importance, what we value most is uniquely individual. I like to base my importance first on what is real. Some say reality doesn’t exist, that there is no reality. That reality is a useful lie we tell ourselves and one another in order to organize and get things done and that in truth, reality is subjective, a perception, a point of view.  

But for me, reality is the Infinite, is the Absolute, is the Original Creation of love by the Light that is, was and ever will be. This ‘reality’ of Oneness comes intact with certain rules, or laws that seem to govern the All Life: immutable laws of the universe.

It dawned on me early on knowing this, that I had a choice: to either do my best to study, live by/with/as those governing principles or deny them and try to negotiate with them at every turn! (Not a good strategy!)

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Breakfast with a Bent Fork (and Other Musings from a Silent Retreat)

Gently and quietly, I place my plate, silverware, and mug on the table. Lowering myself into the chair, I settle my feet on the floor and lift my gaze out the window. There is a man outside, holding a mug in his right hand. I chuckle inside my head, “That man is outstanding in his field!”

The man I am seeing is the same one who has his meditation seat right in front of me in the meditation hall. This guy is nice looking and sturdy; he is wearing the kind of pants made for outdoor activities. They are stone colored, Columbia brand, the kind where you can zip off the legs if you want to wade into a stream. His fleece jacket is a medium blue color, not navy, maybe royal blue. He has a Nordic style beanie covering his head. The grasses he is standing in are tall, about knee high, beige and wispy. It’s windy, so the grasses are swaying around his legs.

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One Earth—Peace Within Crisis

We have used language to separate ourselves from each other through a litany of pronouns—you, he, she, it, they—which together mean “other.” Yes, we say “we,” but it is usually used in a sense that cordons off “us” from “them.” The greater “we” that encompasses all of humanity is rarely part of our vocabulary. World events in the form of a deadly virus are now compelling us to open our hearts to that inclusiveness. We can no longer separate ourselves from one another, and that includes all of Nature as well. Our survival depends on seeing “we” everywhere. We are being radically schooled in oneness.

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Triggered by News and Social Media? Try Mindfulness

We live in the age of the 24-hour news cycle. It even leeches into our social media feeds if we’re not careful; we may crave peace-loving memes and photos of our friends’ four-legged companions, but every time we take the bait and click through to read a heartbreaking news story or the latest political fodder, the algorithm gods take note and feed us more of the same. Being tapped into the digital world can become downright overwhelming for many of us — but we don’t have to just brace ourselves and take it.

Take a moment to answer these questions for yourself:

  •  How are your physical, mental, and emotional states faring when you are constantly tethered to news and social media feeds?
  •  Do you notice yourself feeling tense or angry — not just when you see or read an upsetting news story or social media thread, but throughout the day as you’re thinking about it?

It really is tempting to stay connected to the world’s ever-evolving storylines and dramas, but if they are compromising your sense of wellness and inner peace (and they really are for many of us), it may be time to consider a change.

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Feeling Stuck? How to Get Unstuck and Move Forward

When are you? As you experience yourself in this moment, are you really present in the now?

Of course, we’re all physically here right now, but most of us don’t often truly live in the present moment. Our minds have the incredible ability to draw us back into the past and propel us into the future, all while we go about our day-to-day lives. While it can sometimes be good to relive old memories and dream about our future, living in the past or future more than the present can also keep us stuck. 

How many times have you found yourself in a repetitive cycle you just can’t seem to break? Or, what about getting caught up on a future outcome, while avoiding things you need to focus on now? We’ve all been there, myself included. So what do we do to come back to our present moment and get unstuck?

In my #1 bestselling book, The Map: Finding the Magic and Meaning in Your Life,  I teach you how to work with the map of your life. I lead you through a profound process to discover the inner landscapes you inhabit on your path—the unseen patterns, hidden motivations, and family legacies—and show you how to break free of whatever is holding you back from the super amazing and meaningful life that is your birthright. And, one of those things that can keep you stuck is time-wandering—living “somewhen” other than the present moment.

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2020: Your Year of Mindful Self-Compassion

Just for a moment, forget about all your standard New Year’s resolutions. It goes without saying that most of us want to be healthier, wealthier, and wiser – but what if we’re going about it all wrong? Have we ever really stopped to wonder whether it’s possible to shame and “should” ourselves into going to the gym more or eating better?

Luckily, there’s another solution. Allow me to introduce you to a lovely practice called Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC). Mindfulness is the foundation of MSC. Why? Because we need to become aware of and acknowledge our suffering in order to respond to our discomfort with kindness. Self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself as you would act towards a dear friend when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself.

Instead of just ignoring your pain with a “tough it out” mentality, you can stop to tell yourself, “This is really difficult right now. How can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?” Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, you are kind and understanding towards yourself when confronted with personal failings. After all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?

You may try to change in ways that allow you to be healthier and happier, but when you are mindfully showing yourself compassion, you change because you care about yourself, not because you are worthless or unacceptable as you are. Perhaps most importantly, having compassion for yourself means you honor and accept your humanness.

Things will not always go the way you want them to. You will encounter frustrations, and losses will occur; you will make mistakes, bump up against your limitations, and fall short of your ideals. This is the human condition, a reality shared by all of us. The more you open your heart to this reality instead of constantly fighting against it, the more you will be able to feel compassion for yourself and all your fellow humans in the experience of life.

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Using Mindfulness to Let Go of Stressful Triggers

A wise person once said, “Hell is other people!” That being true, what’s a being to do? We have little to no control over the actions or reactions of someone else. The good news, however, is that if we develop the tools, we potentially have 100 percent control over our reaction to a given situation. It doesn’t mean we won’t experience difficult emotions; it means that we can manage those emotions before they eat our heart out.

Mindfulness, present moment awareness, allows us to notice emotions arising. If you find yourself stressed out at family events, for example, slow down and notice what is coming up for you: “Oh, that’s anger in my chest,” or “that’s anxiety in my stomach.” Labeling the emotion puts more space between you and the situation, allowing you to observe what is occurring instead of being hijacked by the emotion. Once you label the emotion, your brain calms down. Then, you can soothe yourself by placing your hand wherever you identified feelings constriction and consciously sending yourself softening and soothing thoughts. Imagine placing a warm compress or warm oil on the hurt.

The next step is to acknowledge that it’s difficult to feel this way, and give yourself love and encouragement by way of an affirmation like, “This too shall pass.” Everything really does change; the good changes and the bad changes.

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Making the Season of Peace Really Matter

A world ceaselessly in a state of unrest seems to mock this time of year as a season of peace. Most people are simply grateful that unrest hasn’t touched their lives, and hope fades for the victims of war and strife who will probably never enjoy peace except during brief truces. The link between holidays and holy days may be fragile in these times, but you can be a unit of peace consciousness starting now.

This  happens at the level of intention and attention.

First, intention. Holidays are about gatherings, first of family but also of events that embrace community and nation. It's therefore easy to feel, on the negative side, that you have little or no control over what's happening around you. Swept up in holiday rituals that are simply a given, surrounded by squabbling family members and old tensions, you can easily be overwhelmed.

The way out is by centering yourself and being clear, first on the inside, what you intend your holiday season to be.  A helpful exercise is to sit quietly with eyes closed and say to yourself, I want joy. I want peace. I want grace and love. As you say each phrase, pause and feel joy, peace, love, and grace as  the silence of your Being. Joy, peace, love and grace are your essential nature. It doesn't matter how you settle into this  feeling/knowing. Putting your attention on your heart is often helpful, or seeing a soft light in that region.

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Are you looking for peace in an uncertain world?

Did you know that forgiveness, peace, love and joy are inextricably linked?

It is only when we’ve experienced true inner peace that we understand there is another world that exists beyond the ego mind’s comprehension.

It’s an awesome world of wonder and the bliss of pure love. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Imagine waking up tomorrow morning… your to do list is full… family is on the way…

The demands of life just keep coming…

and you…

you are completely at peace.

How good would that feel?

As we enter the holiday season, peace is often the gift we most desire. 

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Choosing Joy to De-Condition Our Negativity Bias

Some years back, I was talking with a woman in our community. She was a breast cancer survivor and she told me about a conversation that she had with a friend who also was a survivor. Her friend asked her, “What would it feel like for you to think that something good might happen, rather than something bad?” Her response was, “Totally weird and uncomfortable. “Good,” her friend said. “Try it now.”

From an evolutionary perspective, it really makes sense that we feel uncomfortable when we envision positive things coming our way. Our brains are designed to scan for trouble and fixate on what might go wrong in any given situation. This is described as the negativity bias and it one of our hard wired survival strategies. Of course, it is a very good strategy for avoiding real danger. But, in the absence of a true threat, it limits our capacity for enjoying, and celebrating our moments. We have such a short time on planet earth. When the negativity bias rules, we get very loyal to our anxiety, mistrust and vigilance. We cannot inhabit the fullness of our lives.

In happiness research, a common denominator among those who are deemed “happy” is a sense that they are actually choosing to be happy. They believe that happiness is possible and there is a willingness to turn towards it. Catholic mystic and writer Henri Nouwen writes:

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and then keep choosing it every day.”[1]

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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