A Complete Guide to the Practice o Meditation

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This is The Moment: GAME ON!

Anyone who has ever played on or followed a sports team knows THE MOMENT. That crucial moment when the team is down, the clock is running out, and it looks like the game is over. At that moment, a team with character rallies. The players tell themselves: “Its game on, not game over!” They cheer each other on. They gather energy. They inspire themselves to win.

We are facing such a moment in national and international crises. It’s easy to convince ourselves, “there are just too many problems; they’re way too big.” We can persuade ourselves to give up by citing the many physical crises – the fires, floods, wars, famines, hurricanes. We can see people divided by attitudes toward race, religion, politics, climate change, immigration . . . and throw up our hands. In the US, we can cite the horrifically vitriolic mid-term elections. Every country has scapegoats to offer.

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Is the World Over-Whelming You?

Is the world around us getting to be too much to handle? You only have to watch television or read the many feeds on social media to see that there's so much going on around the world. Extreme weather conditions, drama in politics, people losing their lives from many different reasons, homes being destroyed by fires or nature taking a turn for the worse. It seems to be getting too much to take in and for some, people are scared and nervous.

When this happens, I always advise people to pull away from the news and social media, at least for a while. By doing so, you're not pretending there's nothing happening, or choosing to ignore it! What you're actually doing by pulling back is: you’re remembering who and what you are and acknowledging that you're made of soul energy. You're a soul that comes with a body ... not a body that comes with a soul. You are a soul first, and stronger than you could ever imagine! And yes! One person can make a difference!

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Getting Your Internal House in Order

“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” — Deepak Chopra

As I watched the news unfold on Thursday about the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, here in California, a woman on the treadmill next to me at the gym said, “You know, you can’t go anywhere in this country anymore. Nowhere is safe.”

I’ve always known life is fragile. As someone who grew up in a family where two uncles were gunned down, I had that message drilled into me at a very young age. It’s one I have never forgotten.

But the idea that nowhere is safe anymore is a terrifying reality, isn’t it? How does one “live” when one feels that nowhere is actually safe to live? That’s a question each of us must ask ourselves these days.

For me, it’s all just another reminder to get my house in order. I don’t mean my physical house, per se. (Although getting my house in order over the summer really did help center me.) No, I mean my house of relationships. Because the truth is, you just never know.

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Be Aware Of Progress

Are some things getting better?

The Practice:
Be aware of progress.

Why?

There are always things that are getting worse. For example, over the past year, you probably know someone who has become unemployed or ill or both, and there's more carbon in the atmosphere inexorably heating up the planet.

But if you don't recognize what's improving in your own life, then you feel stagnant, or declining. This breeds what researchers call "learned helplessness" - a dangerously slippery slope. It typically takes only a few experiences of painful entrapment to create it but many times as many counter-experiences to undo it.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: All Of It

Often, the delicate grows within

the harsh, the way the milky

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Why You Need to Create Intentional To-Do Lists

Have your to-do lists gotten out of hand? Could they easily be mistaken for a short novel? Hey, friend, I’m not judging. I get it. To-do lists keep us focused, right? They keep us moving in a forward direction. Or, do they?

For several years, I took pride in having a long to-do list because it meant I was setting goals. As a writer of several fiction books, I always have some project that I’m in the middle of, another project that I’m just beginning, and a crazy amount of marketing that always needs to be done.

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The Meditative Space

All the meditative traditions encourage us to be still and to drop our thoughts and feelings, so we can breathe our way below all trouble into the flow of life-force that carries us. This is wise counsel. It gives us perspective and sometimes peace. But being a poet, I enter that Universal space and just take notes. I lean into the stillness with an open heart and listen to everything, including my thoughts and feelings and the entanglements of life. For I believe the mutual goal of meditation and poetry is not to have us remove ourselves from our human journey, but to have us live our lives more completely in relationship to the flow of life-force that carries us.

The poems and all that I write are simply the trail and record of what I see and feel in the meditative space. All my writings arise from peering from the edge of our humanness into the bareness of being that permeates all life. I have intuitively worked this way, even as a boy, long before I knew about meditation or poetry. I believe that poetry itself resides at the holy juncture where our humanness touches the bareness of being that holds the Universe together. This is the only place I write from, whether I’m alone in the woods or being jostled on a crowded subway. It is the lens through which I meet life. It is the place I return to in order to renew this endless conversation. It is listening in this space that keeps me fresh and sane.


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Changing the Vibe

Putting together a booth that feels good, is both easy and fun for me…. I can say that, now. I only need flowers with extra sparkles, friends, and my books. I clearly set my intentions, and fill the space with love. 

 
Last week, I was reminded of how important intention is.

 
At The Alaska Women’s Show, I was offering free mini readings and guided meditations. Sitting in my rented space, I wondered if I should be there. It was a glorious fall day outside. No one was showing any interest in what I was offering. 

 
The other booths were packed with clothing, stun guns and hunting information. You could also find makeup, personal trainers and hand bags that could carry concealed weapons. It was expected to have at least 7000 guests. Many would enjoy the wine garden.

 
A few weeks ago, on a whim I decided to market my book at this show. The organizer only had one table available, besides mine. I called my friend Rebecca, an acupuncturist. She took the last space. Rebecca invited a rolfer, Marnie, to share her space. The three of us were tucked away in hall by ourselves. Vending machines had been moved to make room for us. 

 
My simple set up was on one side of our shared space. My healing friends had a table, chairs and a bed. Lots of attendees stopped by to see what they were offering. Some even experienced the free therapies. They were new concepts for most of the women.  


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6 Ways to Make Decisions with Clarity and Confidence

Our basic human nature compels us to make decisions moving us from pain to pleasure. As we evolve, we want to make the so called “right” decisions for all involved in given circumstances.   
     

Because of my liberal as well as latchkey upbringing, I had to start making all important life decisions from a very young age. I felt that most of the adults around me were trapped in their own life circumstances and unable to help me. Also, being the first born, I felt the responsibility to make good decisions and constantly worried about making right choices. I prayed, meditated and read self-help books and Vedic texts for answers.

Pay attention to your feelings

  • Be still and listen to your heart. It is best to make decisions after praying, meditating or practicing yoga when your mind is quiet.
  • Do what makes you happy.
  • Do what feels good and expansive.
  • Use your body as a guide – Choose circumstances in which your body feels relaxed and safe and your mind feels at ease and peaceful. This means your body, your heart and your brain are aligned with the decision.
  • Drop your awareness down into your body with deep breathing, yoga or walking and listen to your gut feelings.

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Why the Brain Doesn't Think, and Other Helpful Ideas

At some point in the history of medicine, a picture coalesced about the role of the brain. From the first basic insight that the brain is the organ of thought, this picture became more and more complex, until neuroscience reached it present state, where the brain is glorified as "the three-pound universe." Like a magic lantern casting pictures on a blank wall, the brain supposedly projects the three-dimensional world and everything in it.

I ended the last post on the brain by saying that placing the brain on such an exalted plane will lead to a dead end--in fact, it already has. There is no physical evidence that your brain has ever had a single thought, that it projects a realistic picture of the world, or that it creates mind as a byproduct of cellular activity the way a bonfire creates heat. Nothing about the brain suggests anything of the sort. Instead, the brain displays physical activity as thoughts take place, the same as a piano's keys going up and down as a performer plays the "Maple Leaf Rag" or Beethoven's "Moonlight" Sonata.

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The Power that Defeats Defeat

You possess a potential power that is superior to any difficulty that life may ever present. This immense inner capability enables anyone who will claim it to instantly rise above his challenge. It makes no difference what form the challenge may assume or how huge it looms. This latent power of yours can render it harmless and ultimately make it disappear. This friendly force that can turn your life into a series of victories is the power to question defeat. 

If we honestly examine the way we presently question our defeats, we will see that we are still desperately seeking answers that serve only to correct the surface or exterior conditions. We blame circumstances for crushing us. By their very nature, our old questions tend to make and then keep us victims, because these questions imply that someone or something outside of ourselves is punishing us. No human being is a victim of any punishment outside of his own undeveloped life level from which his inner reactions are seen as outer attacks. This is why we must learn to turn our questions into tools for developing self-wholeness instead of letting them lead us off in the wrong direction. 

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New Moon in Libra – An Invitation to Start Over

Human beings once looked at time in a more natural way. We looked to the moon and stars in the sky to reflect the cycles of life in our environment and to help us determine our place in the seasons of our life. The moon was and still is our great illuminator, the soft focus that could show us the way in the dark. We planted and harvested crops according to lunar cycles and this is still symbolic of how we can plant our sweetest intentions in our Field of Dreams when the moon is dark and open to receive, and pull out the weeds with wild abandon when the moon shines full and can show us what we need to release for our highest good.

This week we’re visited by the New Moon in the sign of Libra and there is a distinct cosmic nudge and invitation by this relationship focused moon to plant the seeds of harmony, gratitude, and goodwill even towards those you may have resented. That’s right the New Moon in Libra really is an invitation to start over, to open your heart even if it’s been bruised and celebrate that Love is the answer right now.

It’s so interesting when I look back I always felt that October was the cozy month to fall in love!  Ok, I will admit I kissed a lot of frogs before my husband. Maybe I thought October meant they would turn into a magical prince. HA!  It never dawned on me it was because the astro-influence was Libra – the sign ruled by Venus and centered around partnerships. But I slightly digress!

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The Secret Key To Success and Getting Things Done

Those that are successful are willing to do the things they don’t feel like doing in order to get to where they want to get to.

Those that are unsuccessful aren’t willing to do the things they don’t want to and stay stuck where they don’t want to be.

Success requires commitment and dedication.

In order to be successful, you must get things done. And in order to get things done, you must be committed to doing what you said you were going to do long after the feeling or mood has passed.

Here’s the deal… When you have a project you are working on, you won’t always feel like taking action.

And that’s OK.

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Speak Intelligently (6 guidelines from Buddha)

Words – and the tone that comes with them – can actually do damage.

What are you saying?

The Practice:
Speak Intelligently.

Why?

"Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me."

Ah, not really.

Often it's words– and the tone that comes with them – that actually do the most damage. Just think back on some of the things that have been said to you over the years – especially those said with criticism, derision, shaming, anger, rejection, or scorn – and the impacts they've had on your feelings, hopes and ambitions, and sense of yourself.

Words can hurt, since the emotional pain networks in your brain overlap with physical pain networks. (The effects of this intertwining go both ways. For example, studies have shown that receiving social support reduces the perceived intensity of physical pain, and – remarkably – that giving people Tylenol reduced the unpleasantness of social rejection.)

Besides their momentary effects, these hurts can linger – even for a lifetime. The residues of hurtful words sift down into emotional memory to cast long shadows over the inner landscape of your mind.

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4 Signs of Spiritually Sick People  (and how to stop them from infecting you)

Those with whom we assemble we will soon resemble, so the simple old saying goes. Yet it tells of a deep Truth. It says that who we are - the stuff of our soul at present - is being transformed continuously by the nature of the company we keep; so that, in (our) essence we are always moving and evolving towards a kind of psychic oneness with whatever relationships we have revolving around us that we are "within."

This "company" we keep refers both to the kinds of people "outside" of us and the presence of accompanying thoughts and feelings circulating within us. To see the Truth of this spiritual Law - and how it works in scale upon us, shaping our soul’s possibilities - just imagine how a cold piece of iron or damp wood soon assumes the nature of the fire it is brought next to. Radiant energy is transferred from one to the other, and soon what has no luminous properties of its own is transformed and begins to glow. With all this in mind, now consider there are four distinct types of people that can be identified by the four dark spirits inhabiting them. By recognizing these dark forces at work in others, we can learn to catch their dark works in ourselves. Once we have the Light to see what is so (in us), we are on our way to being set free from the enslavement inherent in living in the dark of ourselves. 

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Where Personal Power Comes From

One can often feel powerless when confronting the naked use of power, as in politics or corporate life. Meaningful action can be taken, however, the first step being to overcome one's personal sense of weakness. There is such a thing as personal power, even though most people haven't experienced it. That's because their notion of personal power aims at the wrong goal. They define a powerful person as someone with money and status who can exert his will over others. Such a person is imagined to be strong, smart, lucky, and more than a little ruthless. Examples crop up from Washington to Wall Street, any area of life where competition is fierce and the spoils go to the victors.

But the real secret to personal power lies elsewhere. The difference is that one kind of power, the kind I've just sketched, comes from what you do while the other comes from who you are. Before writing this post, I reviewed in my mind the qualities I've observed in the most powerful people I've met over the past thirty years, and it was astonishing how many qualities come directly from being rather than doing. Here's my list:

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Living a Life of Juicy Intentions

​Last week I was seeking to connect to my life with greater intention. I also wanted to clean up the food I put in my body. After a little research I decided to focus on a three-day juice cleanse. A local market offered organic fresh pressed juice cleanses. It looked pretty easy. The bottles were labeled. The directions were included. All I had to do is drink the jewel colored juices.

I have eaten a plant based diet most of my life. With this being said, pretzels and tortilla chips are part of my diet. There is room for improvement.
 
I was excited to start! The idea of bright fruits and vegetables infusing my body with different colors from the sun, made me smile. Soon I would be loving my body and mind with beautiful hues of light. The juice reminded me of miracles held in bottles. This is the type of medicine I believe in.
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Making the Most of Right Here, Right Now

“Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose.” – Thomas Edison
This week, I’ve been thinking about how many of us spend our present lives stuck in the future.

“When I make this much money, I’ll finally do x, y or z…”

“I’ll travel one day…”

“When my kids are older, that’s when I’ll really get to living…”

“I’ll vote in the next presidential election, but I won’t this November because it’s not as important…”

The list goes on and on.

Needless to say, I’ve certainly done a lot of that kind of projecting in my own life. But I was reminded this past week that our present is all we have.


We have today. That’s it. We don’t get to decide about tomorrow. So the question we should all be asking ourselves is, “What am I doing today with the time I have, right here, right now?”

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Experience Your Magic with Oracle Cards

In lieu of a blog this week, I’d encourage you to signup to watch one of the best free resources that I have ever created to teach you all about Oracle Cards – It’s my 3-part video Workshop Series entitled “Experience Your Magic with Oracle Cards!” I’ll tell you my story about how Oracle Cards saved my life and how you can use them in your life too! You’ll learn how Oracle Cards can help you to gain clarity, check in with and direct your energy while connecting with the Universe, all for your highest good.

Here is a sneak peek just for my beloved blog readers on..it all starts with Video 1 – “Learn How to Ask The Right Question of the Oracle Cards & Reveal the Truth for Your Highest Good!” I will teach you how to ask the right questions of the Oracle Cards so that you gain the confidence to use them to make empowered decisions that shape your destiny. The next videos in the series will take you even further in the Oracle Cards journey.

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Re-igniting the passion

I often consider the reasons why we lose sight of our true passions, why is it that life just gets in the way, why we find excuses for not doing the things that feed and nurture our souls. Surely, our entire body (that being our mind, body AND soul) is often focusohned on doing what we love most.

When we’re doing a job that we love, it often makes you happy, the days just slip by without that feeling of dread, when we say: “I’ve got to go to work today …” or “oh, the start of another week!”. Of course, I am not advocating that life is always perfect or that “stuff” doesn’t get in the way of pursuing your dreams and passions. When you’re dealing with the death of a loved one, it can be all consuming as many of you will know, and life can be temporarily put on hold, while you cope with the seesaw emotional roller-coaster. Equally, if you’re moving home or changing jobs, these are stressful times when your passions have to be put on the back-burner, as there’s often just not enough bandwidth in such a busy schedule.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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...on all things life, wellness, love, transformation and spirituality...

 PLUS! Get your FREE Guide: 12 Mindfulness Practices to a Peaceful Mind