A Complete Guide to the Practice o Meditation

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Experiencing Protection

fallen-picture-id868954706 Experiencing Protection
I stepped into the shower, noticing a glass bottle of vinegar that someone had used on their hair. Once again I made a mental note to not leave glass in our stone shower.  

 
While enjoying the warm water I was thinking about my day. I put conditioner on my hair enjoying the luscious smell. An ominous sound entered my awareness. I then began to feel the shower move underneath my feet. We were experiencing an earthquake, a big earthquake. 

 
No time to turn off the water, I grabbed a towel and bolted. My son, the dogs and I ran down the stairs and out the door. Before the power went out I noticed art work on the ground or hanging precariously on the walls. It was like looking at everything in slow motion. I could hear the sounds of shaking and falling. I could see the destruction. Time stopped.

 
Once outside I stood barefoot in the snow hugging our son. Our dogs were completely confused, one ran away. I don’t remember even feeling cold. I had practically nothing on, wet, in 20 degree temperatures. I regrouped and took a deep breath. 

 
As I hugged Finn, I reminded him we are always protected. We will be OK. As the Earth beneath our feet calmed down, we went back inside. There was no power and the sun was not up yet. I returned to the shower to rinse my hair. The after-shocks continued. 

 
Finn looked for the run-away dog. I walked through our home. It could have been much worse. Only glass objects were broken, no structural damage was apparent. I touched base with my husband and other family members. We were all in semi shock, but doing fine. 

 
As I cleaned up pieces of glass I thought about protection. What is this protection I promise myself and our children? Today called for me to dig deeper into my spiritual beliefs and reckoning on protection.  


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

horse-in-water-at-sunrise-picture-id873197024 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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228 Hits

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

plastictrash 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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211 Hits

Upside Down and Backward

IMG_3880-1200x900 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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155 Hits

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

africa 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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478 Hits

I Rise on the Song of the Sparrow

sparrow 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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140 Hits

Another Day in Paradise

IMG_3567-1200x900

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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460 Hits

Are We Listening?

amy-rollo-651804-unsplash_orig 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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352 Hits

Crisis Ignites Evolution

petunia-growing-through-crack-in-the-concrete-picture-id89151966 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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4956 Hits

Why Do I Shapeshift And Use Sacred Plants?

cebus-monkey-picture-id842647104 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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198 Hits

Celebrating Solitude

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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413 Hits

A Message From Our Ancestors

john-perkins-a-message-from-our-ancestors

Visiting ancient sites of the Aboriginal people here in Australia, I am struck by both their deep connection with nature and their fascination with the mysteries of the universe. The cave drawings and glyphs carved into stone cliffs that I have seen tell stories similar to those still told today by my indigenous friends, the Shuar and Achuar of the Amazon, the Kogi of Colombia, and the Maya of Central America.

Throughout the world, we see that ancient peoples had a deep fascination with Orion, Pleiades, and ideas around mysterious visitations from other planets. We also see that they enjoyed rich traditions centered on the spiritual and healing powers of animals and plants.

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739 Hits

Human and Animal as One

Laurie-Moore-human-and-animals-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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329 Hits

Nothing Like a Wildfire to Get Your Priorities in Check…

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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It’s That Time Again…Tips to Embrace Mercury Retrograde

Sunny-Dawn-Johnston-Mercury-retrograde

Yup, it is that time again! By now, you have probably heard someone say … “Oh, It’s Mercury retrograde”.


Mercury Retrograde is about to begin and many people are beginning to “feel” the energy shifts … possibly without even knowing it … as it moves in. Now, I’m not an expert in Mercury Retrograde … nor am I an astrologer. I’m a psychic medium and someone who is sensitive to energy … just like you. I notice when the energy shifts … especially the strong shifts. As I tune into the energy (and look at the calendar) I usually discover that Mercury is retrograde … and I take a breath, look up how long it will be in retrograde … and then plan to move forward at a slower pace … knowing that it always has something to teach me. Not that I always love this … but, I can either hit my head against the wall, pushing and forcing OR go with the flow of Mercury in retrograde … and embrace it’s teachings. Which do you choose?

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371 Hits

How do we address the lack of environmental awareness?

How do we address the lack of environmental awareness?

Someone asked me if the earth will still be habitable when their three year-old grows up, and is that a part of the cosmic perfection?

More than ever we are awakening to being an integral part of earth’s ecosystem. As inhabitants of this planet we have some responsibility for the nest we live in and maintaining the nest. The same way we clean up our house, we also have to clean up our environment.

Environmental consciousness seems to be happening too slowly. Some people are motivated to keep it from happening. There are economic costs in that awakening — not in the long run, but in the short run – in ways that cause realignment of economic power. People who have that power have a lot of inertia, they want to hold onto it. A company like General Electric may not be ready for dramatic shifts unless they are forced into it because it may change their stockholder dividend.

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788 Hits

A Worldview that Can Liberate Everyone

A Worldview that Can Liberate Everyone

When the world looks as turbulent and troubled as it does now, people feel trapped. Instead of feeling secure in prosperous safety zones, even developed countries now feel the pressure of uncontrollable forces, including stateless terrorism, a historical peak in refugees, the threat of epidemic diseases, and fast-encroaching climate change. How many people truly believe that these problems will be solved—or are even solvable? An erosion of hope is underway, and this more than anything must be reversed.

 

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835 Hits

One Lousy Bird

One Lousy Bird

I have a favorite author named Ann Lamott who posted a poignant and very funny post on facebook in response to the ever increasing threatening state of affairs in our world especially in the USA. This weekend brought more evidence that things are taking a turn yet again.

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279 Hits

Turning Difficulty into Ease the Cat Way

Turning Difficulty into Ease the Cat Way

When we grasp different aspects of our being, aiming to fix or heal each one, we may end up feeling fragmented and lacking. Another approach is to sit in the essence of flavor that we are, breathing in to the core of our self as though we are a tree, noting that each aspect of our being is a dance in motion. In the center of all this is a stillness that is love.

 

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553 Hits

3 Powerful Videos That Will Change the Way You Think About Animals

3 Powerful Videos That Will Change the Way You Think About Animals

Humans and animals. How are we different? Or perhaps a better question might be — How are we the same?

Some people believe that animals aren’t conscious and that they don’t have empathy or feel pain. Others believe that humans are above animals and that we can do with them whatever we wish.

But why do we think these things?

Watch the following three powerful and compelling videos and see if you’re thinking shifts.

Video 1: Do animals have emotions?

In this first, very short video, Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard questions why we regard human life as having infinite value but see the value of animals as being almost zero.

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797 Hits

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