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The Power of No

I've been thinking a lot this week about the word "no."


No is a word that has great power in our lives and in our society. And yet, it's one of the most challenging words in our vocabulary.


Every time I've heard "no" in my professional life, I've challenged myself to defy it. To go around it. I've used it as fuel to keep fighting—whether it's in chasing a hard-to-get interview, or in proving to doctors and researchers that Alzheimer's does indeed discriminate against women, even when they told me it doesn't.


In fact, all of the Architects of Change we feature in this week's Sunday Paper have heard the word "no" at some point. Some have heard it from others, who told them that what they wanted to achieve could not be done. Others have said it themselves, declaring that one thing or another in our society is unacceptable and that they won't rest until they've done something to change it.

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I've Been Thinking: The Power of One

I've been thinking all week about the power of one. One moment. One person. One action. Any of these can change your life forever.

It takes one person to fall in love with you to change your whole world around for the better. It also takes just one person with violent intentions to turn your world upside down.

All week long, we have listened and read stories of heartbreak, anguish, and pain about beautiful lives that were cut short. Lives forever altered. Families forever changed. Love stories that will never get their happy endings.

All week long, we have also listened and read stories about individuals who stepped into the line of fire to save someone. Often, these were total strangers who risked their own lives to save another. Individuals like concertgoer Jonathan Smith, who raced to rescue at least 30 people from the scene in Las Vegas. He was struck by two bullets in the process, then had his own life saved by another brave individual, off-duty officer Tom McGrath.

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I've Been Thinking

"America is an idea. America is the greatest idea that the world ever came up with." — Bono


I just love that quote from Bono because it's so true. America is definitely the greatest idea that the world has ever come up with. 


Now, that doesn't mean our nation is perfect. It doesn't mean we don't have problems. It doesn't mean that we shouldn't keep striving to do better. It just means that the idea that defines the bedrock of this great nation is still the greatest idea ever. May we not lose sight of that.


America was founded upon an idea. We were also founded by people who took a stand. That's our heritage, and it’s part of what makes the idea of this nation so great.


This week, there has been a lot of discussion about taking a knee and locking arms. There has been a lot of discussion about how to respect our flag and our “National Anthem,” about how to acknowledge and address racism, and about how to define what it really means to be an American.

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Why It’s Important to Let Go of Hobbies that No Longer Serve You

Every year at the end of March I get excited about planting my garden. Whether the Midwest air has turned a corner toward warmer days or the threat of frost hasn’t quite left, it doesn’t matter. Once April is in my sights, I start thinking about what I want to grow in my small garden for the season. It’s a ritual I’ve enjoyed every year for more than 10 years. Watching the fruits of my labor (yes, pun intended) blossom into something nourishing for my family served me a tremendous amount of joy. The garden is where my youngest daughter and I experimented with different varieties of tomatoes, tried our hand at growing watermelon, laughed when we pulled vines from the ground and discovered potato-like roots (tubers, for those of you wondering), and were genuinely shocked the first time grape tomatoes grew from the previous years’ fruits that we left rotting away over the winter. Working in the garden was a new experience every year.

 

Unfortunately, though, time marches forward.

 

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From Dragons to Schmoos – Meeting Life with Compassionate Presence

The trance of unworthiness is sustained by our aversion to the dragons – the difficult emotions and related behaviors that are a deeply conditioned part of the human experience. In this talk we explore the awakening that is possible as we recognize our reactive patterns and instead of judgment, offer a loving and healing presence (a favorite from the archives).

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5 Unorthodox Productivity Tips to Get More Done

It doesn’t matter what you do for a living in or where you work – everyone is looking for productivity tips to get more done. Everyone is looking for ways to get their jobs done faster, easier, with fewer headaches. But, what if I told you that true productivity doesn’t just come down to making a task list and checking things off when you finish. It takes more than that. True productivity lies not only in how you manage your time – but in how you manage your mind.

 

So follow these 5 uncommon tips to become an all-around more productive person.

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Surefire Advice for Life in the Eye of the Storm

My preference is for stability. But nothing remains constant. As the inevitable challenges of life confront me, at the deepest level I know I am constantly evolving into more. And yet that seismic shift can feel radically uncomfortable because paradoxically, all of the events that are unfolding are serving to shake me loose of the need for stability. Recently, nature in all her benevolence slapped me upside the head with a tangible reminder of how to release control and embrace surrender in the moments when I am most afraid.

My life has been lived in the eye of the storm literally and figuratively over the past 12 months We are approaching the one-year anniversary of our precious two-year-old, Celeste’s, catastrophic heart failure. And today marks two weeks since the most powerful storm in the history of the Atlantic, Hurricane Irma, plowed through our Southwest Florida community.

I already know the obvious question… why didn’t we get the Sam hell out of Dodge in advance of a Category 5 hurricane?

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The Power of the Mind

The other day, my daughter said to me: “Mom, do you ever stop thinking? Does your mind ever turn off?”


Trust me, this was not a compliment.


I laughed and explained that, yes, my mind does turn off when I meditate in the morning (or, at least, I try to turn it off). But the rest of the day, I’ve gotta say… it’s thinking. Like, a lot.


This week, I found myself thinking about the tragic earthquake in Mexico City. As I read story after story, they broke my heart and reminded me yet again how fragile our lives can be. (Learn how to help here). So, if you have an outstanding beef with someone—a person you once loved, or who was once your friend—try to resolve it now. Time is precious, and our world is fragile.

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This Is What Happens When You Open Your Eyes

Yep, he’s at it again.

Pope Francis that is. That man has a way of getting above the noise and it’s not just because he’s the Pope. Pope Benedict rarely got my attention, but this guy… well, he’s different.

This week, Pope Francis spoke up about climate change. He directed his message at all of us and sounded an alarm that if we don’t review the choices we’re making about Mother Earth, then there will be hell to pay.

Okay, he didn’t actually say “hell,” but that was the gist. He warned that “history will judge us for our decisions” and that we “will go down” if humans fail to curb climate change. But, it was this line from his speech that really stopped me in my tracks: “When you don’t want to see … you don’t see.”

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How To Deal With Difficult Times

If you think you F*#ked up God’s plan for your life, rest assured, you are not that powerful.

Just because you don’t understand how your life is unfolding, doesn’t mean it isn’t working out perfectly.

It’s easy to be hard on yourself and beat yourself up thinking you shouldn’t be where you are. But this doesn’t serve anything.

Be compassionate with yourself and learn the lessons that you need to learn from the situation.

When your life falls apart, it’s easy to go into fear, contract and collapse. The tendency you might have is to lose faith, panic, and hold onto to the life that you have created.

When your life falls apart, it’s easy to see it as bad, but what if it was a blessing in disguise. Consider that the universe is clearing away whatever is no longer in alignment with your highest good and making space for your bigger blessings.

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Why karma does not seem to ‘come back around’ to those whom are intentionally hurtful.

 Karma tends to be widely misunderstood. Most of us are only taught the ‘eye for an eye’ theory. This very basically instills a Kali or cosmos-fearing mentality that makes us think twice before indulging in a less than loving impulse. What goes around comes around is not always how karma plays it self out. There are many loving reasons for this.

 

I will start by saying that it is part of being human to be hurtful on occasion, especially when we get triggered. When this happens we sometimes feel the need to defend ourselves against a perceived wrongdoing. When we are in this dark and angry space, love and compassion is the only way for it to heal and turnaround.

If we were to attract more hurt, we could enter a downward spiral and move further away from a positive solution.

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How to Build Self-Esteem & Overcome Shyness Using This One Technique

When you have high self-esteem and self-confidence you show the world the best version of yourself. Nothing is more important than the way you think and feel about yourself.

In the late 1980s, I did a lot of work in the education field helping teachers and administrators bring self-esteem training to the classroom. If students felt more confident about their abilities, we discovered, they stretched more as students – which improved the learning process by making them less afraid of failure. One byproduct of building confidence and self-esteem is that you tend to be less shy about speaking up, offering your ideas, and showing the world your best self.


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One Way to Live Your Higher Self Every Day

What is your Higher Self?


For me it’s my Best Self, who I truly want to be, fulfilling all of my available potential. Of course, as it serves me.


Along my Spiritual path, I have come to believe – and want to promote – some very high-level, all embracing values I honour. They are my chosen foundation.

The pop quiz every day is: how do I manifest those values in my everyday life? A tough standard to meet. It’s like building a brick wall, with me making and placing every brick. These are the values I espouse - am I living them?

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How to Overcome the Sting of Rejection

Being rejected is an inevitable part of life. When we don’t understand the rejection from the eyes of higher intelligence, it is easy to create a very painful emotional experience along with a lot of unnecessary suffering.

 

For example, the fear of rejection can hold people back from marketing their business or taking initiative with a love interest. It is important to realize that the fear is based on self-judgment and the projection of insecurities. 

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Heal The Past – Unlock The Future

Back down memory lane. There are times you have to go back before you can go forward.

 

Childhood memories.

 

Jubilation, awkward times and growing pains; some memories fill your heart with warm contentment and others you’d rather forget.

 

A foundational period that molds and shapes your thoughts, behavior and contributes to who you become.

 

You are on the receiving end of your caregiver’s conditioning, thoughts and idiosyncrasies. Implanted in your impressionable mind are inherited beliefs and responses that can become both beneficial and detrimental throughout your life.        

 

Time passes, you get older, and you capitalize on opportunities to shape and form the person you want to be.

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How To Be A Powerful Communicator

Ultimately being a powerful communicator is simple but not always easy…….

Say what you really mean.

Ask for what you honestly want.


Take responsibility for how you feel.


Speak with love and kindness.


Your ability to communicate powerfully will determine the quality of your life.


Communication is the foundation for a fulfilling life.

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How to Take Back Rulership of your World and Happiness in Your Life

Everybody's world and life experiences are colored a little bit differently. This is because we view others and our surroundings through our own unique perceptual filters. Though we all live physically on the same planet, our life experiences vary from person to person.

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A Distant Perspective - the impact of change

Cast your mind back, if you will, and consider the greatest technological change in your lifetime.


For most adults I’d suggest it’s the Internet. If you’re a little older, perhaps the cell phone. Older still, maybe computers.


Our lives are our Stories, and technological change has an impact on - freeing or limiting - the context of those stories. It’s a way of marking time, like the rings of a tree.


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Life Changes Take Time – How To Navigate Rebuilding

You’ve finally built up the courage to make a change. You felt it was time for a shift and you’ve taken the first step; the hardest part. The wheels of life have been set in motion. Now comes the next challenge – being patient and giving yourself time.

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This Is the Time to Rethink What We Know

“Summer is a great time to rethink how we are working, how we are learning, how we are consuming our food, our energy, and our time. It’s a great time to rethink our lives and how we are living.”

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