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Women's Voices: Speaking Truth to Power

“We are a land of many colors,
and we are singing,
singing, for our lives.”
—Holly Near

In last fall’s elections, the U.S. Congress saw a refreshing new influx of those who have been left out of the legislative process far too long—specifically, women and people of color. African-American, Native-American, Latina, and Muslim women were elected from various states across the country. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York is one of them. Since her surprise unseating of the incumbent there, she has been relentlessly criticized by nervous politicians from both parties for her outspoken and uncensored comments about the President and all those in power. Many of those criticisms show just how much public opinion panders to “acceptable” behavior for political candidates, and women in particular.

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Start Taking Control of Your Life Today!

For as long as I can remember I have been the ultimate overachiever. Starting in elementary school, it was like a badge of honor for me to study longer and harder than any of my classmates. Although my workaholic tendencies produced a lot of achievements and success, they also came with a cost. I can’t tell you the number of invitations I turned down, the time hanging out with friends I missed out on, and the added pressure I imposed on myself.

Have you ever wondered about what your driving force is? 

Have you ever wondered about what keeps you from manifesting and actually experiencing that which you say you want? 

Have you ever wondered about what keeps you from letting go, even when you know something or someone no longer serves your highest vision for your life?

What’s Really Controlling Your Life?

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STOP…Looking for Permission!

Day after day I work with people who, when facing some issue, question, change, or decision, feel overcome by uncertainty and are paralyzed by the possibility of “making a mistake.” Despite having an inkling of how they want to handle the situation at hand, they don’t trust it. Instead of going with their gut and following their inner impulse, they look for confirmation from others and spend time and/or money:

  • seeking counsel from therapists and coaches,
  • polling friends and sometimes even strangers to see what they should do, and
  • having sessions with astrologers, psychics, and intuitives to find out what is in the stars or what their chart says.

Basically, they are looking for permission to follow their truth!

Now, it is normal to feel scared or insecure when faced with living our truth. We worry about how our truth will not only affect ourselves but others as well. Not wanting to be seen as selfish, mean, unreliable, or narcissistic, we question whether we have the right to pursue our passion, heed the messages of our heart, or break out of the box of what has been. As a result, we: 

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How does righteousness cut us off from truth?

When I start to get angry, I see my predicament and how I’m getting caught in expectations and righteousness. Learning to give up anger has been a continuous process.

When Maharaj-ji told me to love everyone and tell the truth, he also said, “Give up anger, and I’ll help you with it.” Maharaj-ji offered me a bargain: “You must polish the mirror free of anger to see God. If you give up a little anger each day, I will help you.” This seemed to be a deal that was more than fair. I readily accepted. And he’s been true to his end of the bargain. I found that his love helped to free me from my righteousness. Ultimately I would rather be free and in love than be right.

If you feel a sense of social responsibility, first of all keep working on yourself. Being peaceful yourself is the first step if you want to live in a peaceful universe.

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Shifting from Blame to Love: 3 Practices for a Wise Heart

Evolution has rigged all of us with a negativity bias—a survival-driven habit to scan for what’s wrong and to fixate on it. In contemporary society, a pervasive target is our own sense of unworthiness. We habitually fixate on how we’re falling short—in our relationships, our work, our appearance, our mood and behaviors. And while self-aversion is our primary reflex, we also fixate on the faults of others, how other people are letting us down, how they are wrong or bad and should be different. Whether we are focusing inwardly or outwardly, we are creating an enemy, and imprisoning ourselves in the sense of a separate, threatened self. 

While the negativity bias is a key part of our survival apparatus, when it dominates our daily life, we lose access to the more recently evolved parts of our brain that contribute to feelings of connection, empathy and wellbeing. What helps us to de-condition the negativity bias? How do we shift from limbic reactivity to “attend and befriend? Here are three ways that help us awaken our full potential for natural presence and caring.

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Let Go of the Case

Enjoy the good feelings and other rewards of dropping your case.

Who are you prosecuting?

The Practice:
Drop the case.

Why?

Lately I've been thinking about a kind of "case" that's been running in my mind about someone in my extended family. The case is a combination of feeling hurt and mistreated, critique of the other person, irritation with others who haven't supported me, views about what should happen that hasn't, and implicit taking-things-personally.

In other words, the usual mess.

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Did You Know Holding a Grudge Can Kill You…

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” — Buddha


Forgiveness is the key that opens the door to inner peace and the ability to 
fully connect with the  love that we are.


Without forgiveness, inner peace remains a lofty, distant ideal.


Is there someone you need to forgive? A relative… an old friend… possibly even yourself?


When we say forgiveness, we mean real forgiveness. We’re not talking 
about lip service as the ego mind sits in judgement and promises forgiveness that never really comes.


Real forgiveness happens when we trust the True Self to make the decisions that uplift, empower and enlighten our lives.

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Breaking Out Of The Cage of Fear!

On a daily basis I encounter people who are frozen in fear. 

  • They want to date but fear getting hurt. 
  • They long to quit their day job to pursue their passion but fear failure. 
  • They yearn for connection but fear rejection.
  • They want to speak and live their truth, try something different, ask for a raise at work, take the next step in their relationship, go to a movie by themselves, or try a new exercise class but their fear of being embarrassed, what other people might think, judgment, or just plain not being good enough keeps them clinging to their comfort zone, unable to embrace or navigate change.
 
No matter the situation or area of their life,
they remain captive under a dark cloud of always desiring and never doing.
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Transforming Two Fears: FOF and FOMO

Two common fears can block us from our full potential – fear of failure (FOF), and fear of missing out (FOMO). This talk explores how to meet these fears with mindful presence, and discover within them the essence energies of loving awareness and full aliveness (a favorite from the archives).

Note – This talk is dedicated to Tim Ferriss, who turned me on to the phrase FOMO. Tim exemplifies the creative aliveness of FOMO energy when it’s living through someone who’s dedicated to being awake, caring and real. Check out his interview with Tara at: https://youtu.be/pXNEM4wjSmE and his podcast at fourhourworkweek.com/podcast/.

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How to Move On & Put Past Hurts Behind You

Everyone makes mistakes and goes through difficult times in life. But it’s not your mistakes or your difficulties that define you, but rather what you learn from them that truly matters. How you think about the past can be an excellent teacher and a great source of motivation for learning how to move on, or it can interfere with your happiness and hold you back from living your best life.

So, how do you put the past behind you?

Here are four tips I’d like to share with you today to help you heal your old wounds and move on to a better and brighter future.

1. Practice Forgiveness

Whether it’s forgiving yourself for a mistake that you made or forgiving someone who you believe harmed you, forgiveness is one of the best possible things you can do to heal yourself from the past.

You may have heard the saying, “Holding onto anger and resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” It’s true. When you continue to be angry and bitter about something that has happened in the past, the only person you end up hurting is yourself.

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Multisensory Thanks Giving

Multisensory Thanks Giving is a celebration of the loving parts of our personalities. They are the parts that are grateful and content and caring and in awe of the Universe. They are the parts that distinguishing between love and fear within ourselves reveal, and as we recognize them, we use them to create and cocreate with love rather than collaborate in fear.

Multisensory Thanks Giving is giving thanks for being a part of the transformation of human consciousness that is occurring for the first time. It is giving thanks for the ability to create futures of contribution and care. Thanks and Giving go together. As our lives become lives of Thanks and Giving, they become unified expressions of love, because gratitude and contribution without attachment to the outcome are expressions of love.

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How To Deal With Your Anger

Anger.

Just the word itself can sometimes feel scary.

In our culture we tend to shy away from it. Often from a young age we are taught to suppress our authentic anger. We are told that it is not OK, it’s not appropriate, it’s not spiritual.

So we learn to disconnect and suppress our anger in order to be loved, and accepted by those around us.

The problem is, what you don’t feel and express in conscious healthy ways will inevitably end up coming out and expressing in unhealthy ways.

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How to be the master of your own destiny

Life can be so very blissful, once we realize that we are the masters of our own destiny. It is only when we allow stress to overwhelm us that bliss starts waning from our lives and fear takes over. How to banish this fear so that we can claim our true identity is what I'm going to talk about today. 

BE THE MASTER OF YOUR OWN DESTINY

By eliminating fear you start sending positive signals to your mind and body. Once this begins to happen, our "Being" naturally settles into a happiness mode and then bliss returns.

We basically need to control our thoughts and not allow them to get negative. This level of self mastery is essential, and this is what leads to a powerful individual being.

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3 Powerful Ways to End Your Suffering

“I want. I want… I want…. It’s one of the most dangerous phrases you will ever speak.”~Jan

How can five letters hold such power?

I WANT has the immense and immediate ability to rip you away from the grace and power of the present moment while disconnecting you from the joy, passion, and peace that is your birthright.

In short, these two tiny words equal suffering. Let me show you how.

end your sufferingTwo Tiny Words, An Immense Amount of Suffering

I wanted to be happy. I wanted to be smart. I wanted to be successful. I wanted financial independence. I wanted to have kids. Lots of them. And I wanted to be loved (for a while I thought by George Clooney!?!) Oh, and I also wanted to have long, thin, beautiful legs. Seriously, Gisele Bundchen legs!

I wanted it all, with all of passion and conviction I could muster.

But my wants remained loftily stubborn. Out of reach. In fact, for the majority of my life, the absence of checkmarks on my ‘want list’ (and my bitchier days, my ‘deserve list’) made me firmly believe that life was against me.

I was a classic victim, sure that I had an oversized bullseye on my back. My life, I felt, was downright unfair, so I took every opportunity to remind the universe of this fact.

All because my wants weren’t showing up.

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How to Be Here Now

Ram Dass was one of the first teachers I resonated with when I stepped onto the spiritual path. He is a revered master of bhakti, or devotional yoga. I came across his classic Be Here Now at Russell Library in Middletown, Connecticut, while browsing the religion/spirituality section. My account was in good standing (an unusual state for me at Russell Library, since I was always overdue on something or other), so I took Be Here Now home. Since that day, I’ve considered Ram Dass an inadvertent punk-rock spiritual guide.

For those unfamiliar with Be Here Now, it’s a divine cookbook, divided into three parts. The first covers ex-Harvard professor Richard Alpert’s 1967 voyage to India, where, through a series of incredible events, he met Bhagavan Das, a fellow seeker who introduced him to his guru, Neem Karoli Baba leading Alpert to become Ram Dass. The third section is a series of practices from meditation to yoga (and much more) to help readers as they begin their spiritual adventures.

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Applying Tara Brach’s RAIN Practice of Everyday Life

When I was just beginning to get interested in spirituality and meditation, I stumbled upon Buddhist teacher Tara Brach at my local library. I checked out her book Radical Acceptance during a time when the only thing I was willing to radically accept was deep self-loathing and an overall feeling of discontent with the world. Thanks to Tara’s insights, I began to awaken from what she calls the “trance of unworthiness.” She explained it to me like this:

“We might know we judge ourselves, but we don’t often get how much that squeeze of ‘something’s wrong with me’ is a part of everything, so that in every interaction on some level, we’re not free to be as spontaneous or playful or alive, because we’re afraid we’re not going to be the person who’s accepted by another. Even when it’s not the deep ‘I’m damaged goods,’ there’s still a sense of not enough.”




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You Have The Power To Forgive

When you think of a martial artist in a ready posture, do you see someone who is fully present? Who is undistracted? Who is in their perfect point of power? Ready for anything, balanced, capable of utilizing all of their resources and resourcefulness? 

That is what Peace is like...

PEACE is the P in PLATINUM

When you are fully connected to your True Self, the Peace code is activated as your natural high frequency state.

This is the state of harmony, balance and tranquility where you are fully present and automatically seek the highest good for all.

Wouldn’t you love to live in that state all the time?

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"Need Some Healing Light?"

Every evening for many years, I continue with this little ritual that I’d like to share. Although it’s quite simple, I find it’s really powerful to have an intended thought powered by light. The simple act of lighting a candle every night for me reminds me that all thought has power, and keeping a candle lit safely for a while helps me to send and keep positive thoughts on a desired intention.

Candles have been used since the dawn of time for meditations, blessings, spiritual and religious ceremonies, healings, prayers, celebrations, abundance, psychic development, to feel comforted and protected, to hold the memory of a loved one, and yes … even romance! The uses are endless.

Many people choose candles by scent, some choose by color, while others are simply fine with a plain candle, or even a tea light in a votive purchased from a dollar store. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. No matter what you choose, it’s the positive use of the candle that makes it special.

Every day people use candles in a positive way without even knowing it. Ask yourself: “How many times have you blown out a candle on a birthday cake?” What you’re actually doing is that when you close your eyes to make a wish (holding that special thought) and then blowing out the candle, is that you’re actually sending off the wish while bringing your desires to light.


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Memento Mori – An Excerpt from “Walking Each Other Home”

Ram Dass has talked about how our culture supports the fear and denial of death in many ways, from our glorification of youth in the media to embalming practices that make the dead person appear to be still alive. We are discouraged from looking at the bare bones, as it were, of mortality. My mother told us not to talk about “unpleasant things.”

Dying most often takes place in hospitals or nursing homes, removed from the natural life of the family. Hardly anyone is simply honest about it, including many doctors, who often consider death a failure in their job of ensuring health and survival even though they know we will all someday be broken and unfixable. At a retreat for medical professionals in 1989, Ram Dass spoke about this:




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You Are Not Your Shame

Over the past few weeks I have had the privilege of leading two transformational weekend workshops. I am always in awe of what an honor it is to be invited into people’s lives and have them share so openly about their past as well as the honest and raw feelings they have about themselves and their lives. Of course, we are also seeing so much of this in today’s culture – people, especially women, coming forward and sharing about the assaults, attacks, abuse, and secrets that they have not wanted, been able, or felt ready to share.

 

Although I am always very mindful of never assuming I know or can even comprehend what someone else feels, since I never want to diminish someone else’s pain by comparing or making sweeping assumptions or generalizations, I think it is fair to say that most of us have endured situations that felt off, wrong, or were just downright soul-crushing. And, in order to deal with or manage the pain or to just do what we have needed to do to get by and function, we learned to manage it, push it down, remain silent, numb ourselves, or stay busy and try to forget about it.

 

Although all of our stories are personal and unique, whether it comes from what we are seeing in the news, the #MeToo movement, or the people I have the privilege of working with, I am always so present to the insidiousness of the shame we all carry.


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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