This Is The Moment EVERYTHING Changes!

August 23 -26 | Phoenix, AZ

The energy is expansive. The joy is contagious. The excitement is exhilarating. And the potential is limitless.

Lessons from a willow tree: Why nature is the best teacher of life

If you embark on a journey of personal growth or spiritual development, at some point, you’d want to have a teacher to guide you through your that labyrinth. Some people hire coaches, some look for mentors, and there are those who even travel to places like India or Tibet to seek counsel from yogis, gurus and monks. But many people believe the famous Buddha-associated quote, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” In my case, that teacher came—but not in the form that I expected.

“That one!” I exclaimed to the man showing us plants and trees. I was pointing to a fully-grown six-foot potted tree standing in the corner of his greenhouse. We had just moved to a new house half a year prior and we were looking for new plants and small trees for our small backyard. I had a list of what I wanted to get so I don’t get swept up by the beauty of all the plants surrounding me and end up buying impulsively.

But this one was different. How this specific tree—which looked neglected and out of place like a mangy dog among pedigrees—caught my attention. I didn’t even know what kind of tree it was. And I didn’t even occur to me to ask. Even with its sparse leaves and lack of growth in the middle of summer, I felt strongly drawn to it and carried a sense of pride in taking it home. I knew exactly where to put it in our backyard.

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Laughter & Humor Really Are the Best Medicine

One thing about a seasonal change is, well, change! On our farm, we have become hosts to various nests – owls, sparrows, robins and more. We have a mated pair of coywolves who have made a den in the ravine and all manner of other creatures including some very bold raccoons seem to think it’s ok to stroll past our house in broad daylight like they own the place and we don’t count. Now thankfully, we have a ten-foot fence around the back of the compound so my teeny Pomeranians don’t get eaten, but I always have to go out with them and supervise just in case the pair of red-tailed hawks that hang out in the trees decide they look like snacks. This morning I went out with the fluff balls and stood under a new robin’s nest (or should I say condo) that she skillfully built right above the door and whose occupant decided to poop on my head. I was so upset for a moment I could not believe I had to change my clothes since I had an interview online and fix my hair yadaydaya!! But I stopped pretty quickly and I just had to laugh! Bird poop is not the end of the world and if I had to go on right away I could have pretended it was toothpaste HA!

Never a dull moment at Zen Farm.

This week’s Goddess Power Oracle reading is all about having a sense of humor around our revelations brought into light by the symbolism of the Goddess Yhi. It’s asking us to really trust that our new beginnings are called new for a reason. New means we might not know how, or might need to learn something, might not know the steps, etc. We are brimming with potential this week, says Cerridwyn, but this is all uncharted if it’s new, so how can we expect ourselves to have all the answers, know the steps, given that new doesn’t mean familiar or “the same as before”.

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Changing the World with a Glance

The power of seeing is well known to everyone, and many examples exist. There is love at first sight and Alexander Fleming noticing that penicillium mold kills bacteria. Galileo as a youth in church was the first to notice that a pendulum swings in a regular rhythm, setting the basis for pendulum clocks. Isaac Newton famously discovered gravity by watching an apple fall, although this tale was told second-hand and is probably a romantic fiction.

But what if a mere glance has untold power, literally the power to create reality? The opening for this idea came from what is known in quantum physics as the measurement problem a hundred years ago. A quantum is a tiny unit of energy, and if a specific quantum like an electron or a photon is considered a thing, it should be measurable. You should be able to know where it is at a given instant in time, for example, or how fast it is moving, how much it weighs, and the other properties that we assign to things in the everyday world.

Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Always Building and Mending

I start each day by opening the blinds and making coffee for my wife. This way, I enter the day by letting in light and doing something for someone I love. From there, come what may, I’m centered in the strength of light and care. Then I feed our dog and go to work, which for me is re-entering my conversation with life. Like an astronomer who spends his days looking into the galaxy, tracing the movement of stars and planets, I look into the inner galaxy, tracing and mapping what I can.

By midmorning, I take Zuzu, our yellow Lab, for a walk. It’s there that the trees and birds begin to speak. Or rather, I begin to listen, as they’ve been sharing their secrets constantly. Most mornings, I see birds tending and feeding their young, flying to and fro with twigs, or pecking at the ground for seed. They’re always building and mending their makeshift nests. Much like us, going to and fro to gas up the car, and pay the bills, and get the tools we need to patch the roof. Endless tasks that keep us a part of life.

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The Power of a Renewed Mind

When the new year rolls around, many of us resolve to change something about our bodies, our careers, or our relationships. All of those things, though, are external. What will bring about a real change in your life is a change in your mindset.

The effect our mentality has tangible aspects of our life is astounding. You'll find that a renewed mind can put a new shine on aspects of your life you may have neglected, and help you to see the beauty in the small things. Here's how to achieve a refreshed mind in 2019.

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Relax, You Are Already There

We spend so much of our time trying to get somewhere.

Are we there yet?

The Practice:
Relax, you are already there..

Why?

We spend so much of our time trying to get somewhere.

Part of this comes from our biological nature. To survive, animals – including us – have to be goal-directed, leaning into the future.

It’s certainly healthy to pursue wholesome aims, like paying the rent on time, raising children well, healing old pain, or improving education.

But it’s also important to see how this focus on the future – on endless striving, on getting the next task done, on climbing the next mountain – can get confused and stressful.

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The Language of Clouds

“I’ve looked at clouds
from both sides now,
from up and down,
and still somehow,
it’s clouds’ illusions I recall;
I really don’t know clouds at all.”
—Joni Mitchell

When I was a small child, I saw clouds as one-dimensional, as if they were painted on the sky by some artistic giant. It was really only after I flew in an airplane many years later that I perceived the three-dimensionality of clouds. At 20,000 feet, flying above and through them, I could see their depth and dimensions, their constantly changing shapes and sizes. It was a revelation to me, and I became fascinated with them. Even on the ground, I could see that they were not really paper-thin but often thick and expansive…and constantly morphing into new forms.

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How can we raise our children to be ecologically conscious?

Question: I am the father of a three year old. It appears that, given the current trends, the planet will become uninhabitable before he can live out a normal life span. There will be a lot of suffering if human life on the planet comes to an end. I understand that it is all supposed to be perfect, but how do you view this situation from a cosmic perspective and what should we be doing at this time?

Ram Dass: I think that more than ever we are beginning to awaken to the fact that we are part of an eco-system and that we are entities in that with some responsibility for the nest we live in and the maintenance of the nest. In the same way that we clean up our house, we also have to clean up our environment. That consciousness seems to be slow in happening because the motivation to keep it from happening  — because there are economic costs in that awakening  —  that in the reorganization — not in the long run, but in the short run — there is an economic realignment of power.

And the people that have the power have a lot of inertia. I mean the stockholders of a big company are not ready to do dramatic shifts unless they are forced to do it because it changes the amount of dividends that come. And all of us aren’t quite willing to change our lives that much in the little ways. I mean, we don’t have to make those big guys the bad guys, because we’re all part of that web too. But there is an increasing consciousness now about rain forests, about air, about water, and so on. It is hard to access what the outcome will be.

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

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

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

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

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Why It’s Time to Move Beyond Plastic — And 8 Ways You Can Help Solve The Plastic Problem

It seems like plastic is almost everywhere. But it turns out to be hazardous to your health and your planet. Get the facts, and find out how you can take action to solve the plastic problem and cut back on your use of single-use plastics.

From bags to food containers to car parts, plastic is a significant part of our day-to-day lives. Global production of plastic has been nearly doubling every decade. But experts are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of plastic on the environment — and on human health.

How harmful is plastic? And what about plastic bans? Do they work? Or are there better ways to tackle plastic pollution?

And what can you do as an individual to protect yourself from harm and to help solve the plastic problem?

What Is Plastic?

There are seven main types of plastic, each used for different purposes. They’re labeled with numbered codes, helping you determine which kind of plastic you’re dealing with and if you can recycle it.

Though the first plastics were once natural products (used as far back as 3,500 years ago), almost all plastics today are man-made and derived from fossil fuels, including crude oil and natural gas.

Scientists have also created new forms of plastics made from renewable materials — known as biopolymers or bioplastics.

Bioplastics: Plastics Made from Plants and Other Natural Materials

Bioplastics are made from natural sources, including vegetable fats/oils, corn starch, straw, wood chips, and even food waste.

While bioplastics are typically considered more environmentally-friendly than traditional plastics, they aren’t a catch-all solution. Many still end up in landfills, and as more come on the market, there are issues with land use, proper disposal, and toxicity.

Researchers are currently working on bioplastics that are compostable, degradable in water (should they end up in the ocean), and non-toxic. Though promising solutions are in development (such as bioplastic straws made from avocado and bioplastic coffee cups made from potato starch, corn starch, and cellulose — the main component of plant cell walls), they aren’t yet widely available.


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Upside Down and Backward

When I was a child, I used to lie on the living room rug and gaze up at the ceiling, imagining it as the floor. I pictured how it would be to live in an upside down house and walk from room to room stepping over the doorway arches. My partner Anne used to do the same thing when she was little, even though she grew up in an entirely different part of the U.S. Is this something that all kids do, or just a coincidence? I found myself wondering if it is a genetic code within us for novelty and reinvention, which somehow gets lost as we grow older. How do we keep our vision of the world fresh in an adult world that teaches us that physical reality is solid, unchanging, and that facts and predictability are the basis for living a safe and orderly life?


At an early age, children often aren’t interested in order and rigid perceptual rules, unless they have had it already instilled in them via parental fears. What if, at heart, we aren’t either? What if our souls really want imagination, improvisation, and exploration? The element of surprise. After all, we came to this extraordinarily diverse and beautiful planet to live our human lives fully and completely. Who wants to live it in a box of repetitive, expected events and experiences? I’ve always intuitively felt this way. That’s why I’ve moved and traveled so much in my life, from coast to coast and continent to continent. Every time I went somewhere else, I saw the world with fresh eyes. I loved it. I still do.

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Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper: Why We Should Make Time for Wonder

Dear Friend (a.k.a., you, the Sunday Paper reader),

How have you been? I’ve missed you over these past few weeks. Even though I spent August taking a spiritual break, I found myself missing our weekly connection.

I must confess, there were moments when I found myself wondering whether you missed me as well. But as I stepped back from work for the month (which was way harder than I anticipated), I found that I was better able to realize what I was seeking in my life. (Remember, I said that I wanted to make good on Rumi’s quote, “What you are seeking is seeking you.”)

Turns out, I was seeking less busyness. Less intense thinking. More calm. More connection. More wonder.

Wonder gets you out of your head. It feels less intense than thinking. It feels more stream of consciousness and more creative. It actually feels freeing and it allows one to connect more with oneself and others.

As I set out for Africa with my youngest son Christopher at the beginning of August, I decided that my month would be focused on that concept of wonder.

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I Rise on the Song of the Sparrow

There is a large courtyard in the building where I live. It plays an important role in my self-balancing to deal with the day ahead.


I wake up, meditate, get dressed, grab a coffee and go to sit in the courtyard – there is an overhang of the second floor so there’s protection from the rain.


My courtyard experience always starts with Gratitude. When I sit down of a morning, my thoughts turn to all the things I am grateful for, from evenness of spirit to beloved friends.


Second comes a visit, not from something majestic or mighty but from the lowly, common sparrow.


"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." ---Matthew 10:29-31


Sparrows are sprightly birds, quick and attentive.


I have created a position that when I see a sparrow it’s going to be a good day. Look at them, going about their business, hopping and bopping, cocking their heads this way and that; in camouflage colours of gray and brown, when they explore around the woody branches they are visible only by their movement. And then they fly, quickly, to the hedge or the two Japanese upright maples. This being a chosen sign for me, I do not have the opposite idea – that if I don’t see a sparrow it’s not a good day. I just miss them when they don’t show up.

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Another Day in Paradise

When I used to take walks at my favorite nature sanctuary, Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I often thought to myself, “This is paradise,” as I gazed up at the towering oak and maple trees and listened to the varied birdsongs. Now that I live in Florida, I find myself feeling much the same way. Each morning after sunrise, I walk the nature trail that encircles the perimeter of the community where we live, enjoying the palm trees and flowering bushes and the calls of birds that make Florida home. This morning at the end of my walk, another walker passed me, said “Good morning,” and commented, “Another day in paradise.” I laughed and agreed with him. Most people I pass on my walks make some similar comment about the beauty of the day.

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Are We Listening?

One of the greatest gifts we can offer each other is our true attention. A spell of inspiration and confidence is cast, when everything else is put aside. The message is sent. I care about you. 

Really listening is taking the time to hear; without trying to control or fix what is going on in the speaker’s life. It is the act of being present. This is one of the most powerful things we can do, and it’s free.

What happens to relationships when people are not being heard? Partners, family and friends often begin to drift away. Sharing your presence with another deepens the trust and the invisible connection of love. 

Are you listening to the loved ones in your life? Are you picking up the messages they are trying to share? All of us have fallen short at one time or another, in being present. Here is a little quiz to see how you are doing. 
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Crisis Ignites Evolution

We are in a world of crisis, from economic collapse to environmental decay to climate change to war, hunger and poverty. If today’s headlines make you wonder about the fate of our planet, here is some news that may surprise you: from an evolutionary standpoint, we are exactly where we need to be.

Contrary to what conventional science and religion have been telling us, evolution is neither random nor predetermined, but rather an intelligent dance between organism and environment. When conditions are ripe—either through crisis or opportunity—something unpredictable happens to bring the biosphere into a new balance at a higher level of coherence.

The good news in the bad news is that frontier science offers both the hope and challenge that we can safely navigate this dark passage to a healthier sustainable future. Advances in epigenetics, quantum biophysics and fractal geometry reveal civilization is poised on the threshold of a major evolutionary event.

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Why Do I Shapeshift And Use Sacred Plants?

The question has been asked: Why does a guy who writes books on global economics also give workshops on shapeshifting and sacred plants and guide people on trips to experience such things with indigenous shamans in Latin America?

 

The answer is one that is best experienced for yourself – although I offer a short version below. For the real answer, I invite you to join me at an experiential workshop or trip – limited to 15 participants. A few spaces are still available:

 

August 22-24, 2018 
Sacred Plants: Touching the Jaguar, Omega Institute, NY
Learn more. 

December 4-15, 2018
A Journey To The Land Of Transformation: The Mountains, Jungles, Kogi, & Caribbean Coast Of Colombia
Learn more.

January 2-19, 2019
A Journey To The Lands Of The Maya: Guatemala – Shapeshifting into Higher Consciousness
Learn more.

January 10-18, 2019
Raising Consciousness – Magical Plants In The Costa Rican Jungle

Learn more.

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Celebrating Solitude

Even though I’ve been in a couple for 35 years, I love being alone. It’s been a part of my life since childhood. I grew up as an only child on five acres in rural Illinois, where I spent a good portion of my childhood playing outdoors alone (or with my dog) and sitting in trees reading. I don’t ever remember feeling lonely. My parents and I were close, so I was with them a lot too, and I had school friends who came to visit, but at the core of my life was time spent in solitude. It became the peaceful center from which I lived outward into the world. As an adult, I always relied on time alone to come back to myself, away from jobs and social situations. Don’t get me wrong—I loved my friends, but there was a certain point at which I had to step away and be alone. It was like breathing to me.

I have so many memories that involve finding joy in being by myself. One of the most vivid was when I worked for a senator as a student intern in Washington, DC, in college. One lunch hour I wandered around outside the Capitol Building alone and then sat in the sun in a quiet spot where no one else was walking. I can remember having a sudden flash of absolute exhilaration when the thought crossed my mind, “No one else on Earth knows where I am right now.” There was something incredibly exciting about that to a 19-year-old living in a new city, trying out grown-up life on her own. I’ve never forgotten that feeling—of being an alive, independent, free spirit in the world.

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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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Nothing Like a Wildfire to Get Your Priorities in Check…

What a week it has been.

Wednesday, I awoke to the smell of smoke inside my home. I rushed to my back door and found that smoke filled the air outside as well. Immediately, I knew something was wrong.

I turned on the news and saw that wildfires were raging out of control just a few miles from my home. I watched in disbelief as firefighters battled brush and winds on the hillside along our big freeway, which was engulfed in flames.

It looked like a scene out of a movie, but this was real life. And, it was unfolding in real time.

My daughters called to see if I was okay. One asked me, “What’s happening?” I told them it would be fine, but then a friend called and told me she was evacuating. With urgency in her voice, she told me to grab some stuff and get out now.

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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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Aug 23-26 | Phoenix, AZ
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