To see takes time like to have a friend takes time.
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.
“An experience is inherently neutral. Your reality is determined by the story you make up within yourself.”
We have all had negative thoughts in our lives. It often seems safer to give in to the negative thinking than questioning it. However, this will only rob you of happiness and cause you suffering. Listen to this short, powerful episode to learn 3 simple keys to overcome negative thinking, deal with your inner critic and be happy.
Some Questions I Ask:
Do you ever get caught in negative thinking?
How are you interpreting things?
Who does the negative voice in your head belong to?Is it really yours?
Is there a payoff for being negative?
What can you learn from this experience?
In This Episode You Will Learn:
The reason we gravitate towards the negative.
The importance of dealing with your inner stuff to perceive events accurately.
3 keys to dealing with negative thinking.
How being aware of your thoughts will help you stop the negative pattern.
The key reason we choose to wallow in the negative and how to prevent it.
I suddenly knew I was looking at it from the wrong angle and I gave the cloth in my hand a quarter turn. Immediately I saw a beautiful and coherent golden pattern... In wonder, the pattern had emerged, to be seen in all its beauty by those who could learn to make the quarter turn.
The above quote is from Helen’s inner autobiography,Such Stuff as Dreams Are Made On. She begins the book with a dream in which one of her oldest friends, now gone, is asked on the other side to weave a tapestry that tells the story of her life. But as Helen looks at the cloth, it makes no sense—until she gives the cloth a quarter turn and the pattern of her friend’s life emerges plainly.
Helen then offers the quarter turn as a synonym for a paradigm shift, as a way to understand those unexpected shifts of perception that return us to the hidden wholeness, the spot of grace, the Oneness that exists beneath all subjects and conclusions. And like the fine-adjustment knob on a telescope or microscope that brings what you’re looking at into focus, the quarter turn is the skill of perception by which you can bring into focus the instrument that is you.
The other night, I had dinner with a new friend. We talked for hours about life, relationships, our missions, and our goals. Then, this friend said something that I had never heard before. It was a phrase that took me aback. “All of us have a superpower,” she declared. “It’s kind of like your cape.”
I had never thought of myself as having a superpower, but as I walked home that evening, the description made me smile. I went into the makeup room at TODAY the next morning and asked Edna and Gina (two talented women whom I work with) if they felt that they had a superpower. Like me, neither had ever thought of themselves in that way. Still, they were both able to easily answer the question.
“Being all in with everyone I know,” one of them said. “Forgiveness,” said the other.
For those of you who do my feelingizations to manifest your desires, you know that they all begin with a “heart lock-in,” a tool developed byThe Institute of Heartmath, to get you into a state of “heart coherence (HRV).”
Essentially you are guided to move your attention from your head down to the area around your heart as you recall and re-experience feelings of love, appreciation or gratitude. You “re-member” one or all of these feelings and as you do, your heart rhythm changes into the HRV state and that is measurable.
Once you are in this HRV, heart-centered state, it is from there that you drop in your desire, for whatever it is you most want to manifest, knowing and trusting that what you have asked for is already yours. These feelingizations are available for free, click the button below!
At the Democratic debate last Tuesday night, the final question posed to the candidates was one about friendship.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked each of them to describe a friendship they’ve had with someone who has different beliefs than them. The question came in light of what I wrote about last week, which was the uproar over comedian Ellen DeGeneres sitting next to former President George W. Bush at a Dallas Cowboys game. Lots of people seemed to be upset by the debate question, but I found it revelatory in terms of how the candidates answered it and how they didn’t.
Having the question come up in a presidential debate at all tells us that there is a prevailing feeling of fear in our country. There is a fear that people don’t want to be, or are too scared to be, friends with people who have different beliefs than them.
In her recent Emmy acceptance speech for acting, Alex Borstein told the story of her grandmother, who courageously stepped out of a death line in a Nazi concentration camp and thus survived. So, she advises, “Step out of line, ladies, step out of line.” All around the world, women, often young women, are doing just that. Their strong voices and brave actions are inspiring others as they stand up, speak out, and “step out of line.”
Greta Thunberg started alone, sitting in front of the Swedish parliament every week, striking to call attention to the dire emergency of climate change. One year later, in September 2019, millions of people around the world joined this passionate and articulate 16-year-old woman in a global climate strike, protesting destruction of the environment. She is the latest in a long line of dedicated environmental activists.
More than 20 years ago, Julia Butterfly Hill also started alone. In 1997, at the age of 23, she began living in an old-growth redwood tree to protest the logging of these forests in California. She endured two years of attempts to break her resolve, including helicopter harassment. In the end, the tree was saved, and Julia has continued her activism, co-founding groups to work for social change. Greta appears to be carrying her legacy forward.
More than fifteen years ago, Brian and I traveled through South India with Deepak Chopra and a dozen friends.
One of the highlights of our journey was to experience a “palm leaf reading” also known as a Nadi reading, where a priest and an interpreter found our life history written in ancient Tamil, on a palm leaf.
These forecasts were created thousands of years ago by a Sage and include everything from your name, your life history with extraordinary details, your past life info that impacts your karma in this life (for instance I didn’t have kids in this life because in my last life I was a healer and performed illegal abortions!).
You also discover what is predicted for all the years you have left on the earth including how, when, and where you will die . (Learning that part is optional!)
Deepak had experienced a Nadi reading the year before he took us and he was blown away by the process and the accuracy. One small tidbit from his reading was that learned the name his mother was born with, a family secret he never knew that turned out to be true! He was also given additional life direction he had not previously considered and put that into action and was very pleased with the results.
"The time will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door...” – Derek Walcott
I've Been Thinking...
“What’s the gutsiest thing you’ve ever done?”
That was the question posed to Hillary Clinton on “Good Morning America” last week as she and her daughter, Chelsea, were interviewed about their new book,The Book of Gutsy Women.
“I think the gutsiest thing I've ever done — well, personally, make the decision to stay in my marriage,” Mrs. Clinton said. “Publicly, politically, run for president. And keep going. Just get up every day and keep going.”
Her answer seemed to surprise her daughter, who said: “Oh, goodness, I think I'm so overwhelmed by my mother's answer that I'm a bit out of words.”
When the same question was posed to Chelsea, she talked about her decision to become a mother of three — a gutsy move for sure.
Einstein wasn’t the first person to state one of the basic facts of life when he said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” But most people attempt, time and again, to think at the level of the problem rather than finding the level of the solution. They continue to do what wasn’t working in the first place. They repeat the same actions expecting that this will lead to different results, when it almost never does.
In a new book, Metahuman, I confront this dilemma head on, starting with the notion that repeating the same futile action is endemic to our way of life. The vast majority of people are trapped inside routine, habits, old conditioning, secondhand beliefs, and the like. They repeat the past without being able to free themselves of the most painful memories. They are afraid of new, unknown things even though every creative idea or solution to a problem comes out of the new and unknown.
The whole complex of old thinking and habits burdens each of us in different ways, from stale relationships and boring jobs to ingrained prejudice and xenophobic nationalism. The rhythm of “same old, same old” beats incessantly, and yet somehow solutions are found, creativity flourishes, new ideas emerge, and “Aha!” moments occur unexpectedly.
Big money in Silicon Valley has been spent by corporations like Google, whose life blood is creativity and innovation, to unlock the secret of creative people and how they think. In their 2017 book Stealing Fire authors Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal describe various attempts to turn creativity into a skill set, all of which essentially failed. It turned out that creativity is a state of consciousness, not a skill.
We all go through those moments when we feel like giving up.
Life can be challenging at times.
Perhaps you feel like you should be further along in life or facing repeatedly failures in the pursuit of your dream and feeling like your goals aren’t manifesting quickly enough.
Remember that anything worthwhile takes patience, perseverance, and effort.
If it was easy everyone would be doing it. On the path of greatness everyone is invited, but only a rare few have the courage and dedication to stay the full course and put in the consistent work it takes.
“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.” – Maya Angelou
I've Been Thinking...
This week, I found myself sitting in my New York City hotel room trying to gather my thoughts as I reflected on the wide range of emotions that I’ve felt over the last few days. I found myself thinking about how I’ve felt inspired, ignited and encouraged as I’ve witnessed so many different women take my breath away.
Sunday night at the Emmy’s, award-winning actress Alex Borstein used heracceptance speechto speak about her grandmother, who barely survived the Holocaust. Borstein said that her grandmother dared to “step out of line," even though she was at risk of being shot. In doing so, her grandmother saved her life, and ultimately created a life that allowed for Borstein and her children to be here today.
“So, step out of line, ladies,” Borstein said as she clutched her Emmy. “Step out of line.”
"The moment a woman comes home to herself, the moment she knows that she has become a person of influence... who is respected and recognized, the resurrection of the world begins." — Joan Chittister
I've Been Thinking...
The other day, my daughter Christina watched the documentary“RBG”about Ruth Bader Ginsburg and said she couldn’t believe how much this one woman has done in her lifetime on behalf of other women. She said it got her thinking about all the other women who have done so much, yet whose stories we know so little about.
“It’s crazy that so many women my age don’t know about all of the barriers they’ve broken for us,” Christina said. “We don’t know enough about what these women have accomplished, or about what they’re still doing to instigate change.”
Amen, I thought. Amen to acknowledging all that has been done before us, and all that’s still being done. Amen to taking a moment to acknowledge all the women whose shoulders we stand on.
Christina’s words came to mind this Tuesday when I learned that veteran journalist Cokie Roberts had passed away due to breast cancer complications. I gasped when I heard the news.
Like me, Cokie was a child of politics who found her calling in journalism. When I was starting out, Cokie, Barbara Walters, Linda Ellerbee, and Nancy Dickerson were among the women who were out there working hard so that women like myself could succeed.
Growing up half Italian and eating my mom’s cooking, I’m always up for a good pizza. One night, I met some friends, and we found the perfect spot for the “best pizza in town.” I think we all drooled with expectation as our lovely waitress came to take our order.
As she came back with a full tray of drinks, she looked directly at me.“Oh my God! It’s you! I have to tell you what happened when you gave me a message. Would you mind if I talk to you when you’re finished eating?”After my friends and I said our goodbyes, I headed to the kitchen to find my rather nervous waitress Sandy.“Some years ago, I was at the bookstore and heard you were going to speak that evening,”she explained.“I was lucky enough to get one of the few remaining tickets."
“You pointed straight at me and said, ‘This is for the young woman in the back row. I have your father here and he’s asking for forgiveness from you. Do you understand that?’”
Once a man awoke to find himself in a room he didn’t quite recognize. Nothing was certain except for an unexplained dizzy feeling. All around him were mirrors, closets, and tables with trays of different-colored makeup. The place was familiar, but what was he doing there? Anxiety began to seep in as he struggled to remember. But remember what? This was obviously the dressing room of some large theater, but what was his role? Each time he looked into the mirror he felt a stab of pain, because he wasn’t quite sure who was looking back at him. He felt suddenly alone.
Not knowing what else to do, he ran over and opened one of the closets. Inside he found a stiffly pressed, well-decorated uniform that obviously belonged to a very important general. He liked the strength of its appearance. Perhaps this was his costume. Quickly he dressed himself and stood at attention in front of one of the large dressing mirrors. His heart sank. This was a bold wardrobe indeed…but not his. As much as he didn’t want to, he took off the uniform. He tried another closet. This had in it a brightly colored costume from a circus. Not wasting a minute, he jumped into it. No good. Besides not fitting him, the costume made him look and feel like a clown. His desperation mounted. He tried another closet.
I recommend making, and listening to, audio recordings of your own voice that are positive and in the present tense, as if the belief or feeling you are wanting to reprogram has already happened. For example: “I am healthy” or “I am worthy and loved.” The function of the mind is to create coherence between your beliefs and your reality. Listening to positive and present tense affirmations helps to create this coherence.
The human potential movement has existed for several decades, and in many ways is an alternative name for self-improvement. The urge to improve oneself exists naturally in everyone, unless outside forces like poverty damp it down. But the human potential movement is far more ambitious. It aims to open up a vast area of unexplored potential.
I argue in a new book titledMetahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potentialthat the true foundation of human potential is infinite. At first that seems like a drastic overreach. Everyone experiences personal limitations that stop far, far short of the infinite. But let me make the case by first turning the whole premise of self-improvement on its head.
The typical way that human potential is approached starts with the limited individual and seeks to lessen these limitations. There’s a school of thought that believes in achieving a 10% increase in happiness, which is seen as a major step. The notion is that happiness is so difficult to understand that any improvement would have to be small. In an area like IQ, the goal is even smaller, because intelligence is accepted among experts to be fixed, budging very little from childhood. A third example is creativity, which would seem to allow for enormous improvement, but finding out what makes creative people creative has proved to be a frustrating and baffling business.
If you had the choice, would you rather be smarter than you are or more aware? Go a step further. If a wizard came to you and said you could be either the smartest person in the world or the most aware, which would you choose?
It’s a symptom of the times, I think, that most people would choose to be smarter. We live in a world based on technology, wealth, and entrepreneurship. You have to be smart to succeed in those areas, and if you feel you are only average in intelligence, you are not likely to expect enormous success. The argument for being more aware is rarely made, yet by far choosing to be more aware is the better choice—and unlike IQ, you can increase your awareness.
I made this the theme of a new book,Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential, so let me encapsulate the argument. Being smart, even very, very smart, doesn’t immunize you from living unconsciously. An unconscious life is driven by habits, fixed beliefs, second-hand opinions, social pressure, peer-group values, and old conditioning. To realize this, and then to escape its grip, requires awareness, not IQ.
Throughout our lifetimes we unconsciously internalize certain agreements that fulfill other people's expectations of us. Maybe your 3rd grade teacher said you weren't good at math. Or you have a recording in your head of your father exalting the achievements of doctors and lawyers, so you thought you had to be one.
As a kid you had a radar system working full-time making sure you fit in, don't color outside the lines, get attention but not too much ... shine but not too bright ... don't embarrass yourself, don't fall down, don't miss the ball ...
By the time you reach your 20's you're shrouded in so many self-imposed rules, expectations from your parents, extended family, society, school, and largely from yourself to the point where you don’t truly know who you are, what you want, or what will make you happy.
These agreements tacitly become the bondage that keeps you from being you. Old agreements are often the cords that keep people tied to jobs, relationships, and ways of being that are unfulfilling.
“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” – Deepak Chopra
How are you? I hope that you were able to take some time away this summer to rest, reflect, and recharge.
My August break abruptly began with a death in my family. It was sudden and heartbreaking, and it stopped everyone and everything in its tracks.
As I flew back to LA after the funeral that was held for my cousin’s 22-year-old-daughter, I thought a lot about the fragility of life. I thought about the suddenness of death, and how it upends us in different ways.
When I got home, I looked at my calendar and, for the first time all year, it was clear. I breathed into the emptiness and didn’t allow it to make me feel empty, invisible, or irrelevant.
Before my August break, people asked me, “Maria, aren’t you worried about losing your momentum on social media, with your Sunday Paper, and with NBC?”
“Yes and no,” I replied. “I’m sure I’ll lose some momentum, but I’m certain that what I’ll gain in return will be more meaningful and more profound.”