It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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Sacred Warrior: LIFE’S ASSIGNMENT—HAPPINESS

French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin believed we are not human beings having a spiritual experience.


We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

I would like to add the more spiritual you become in your awareness, the more you are connected to your humanity. You embrace at a deep level the value of ‘all of you.’ The thoughts, the feelings, the joy, and the depth. You become totally comfortable with your-self. It is essential as a Difference Maker to be comfortable with yourself.

Life is an ongoing destination of learning, yet there is an arrival place — it’s called happiness. With happiness you draw from the core of your being, which is produced and renewed from ‘something’ much greater than who you are. Even though your life may take many twists and turns, the inner happiness you experience is always a non-negotiable.
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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Under The Snow

Across the years, my drift into

understanding has been like a

hawk descending in glide, one

spiral after another, until I have

landed where flight is no longer

necessary.


And my breakdown into peace

has been like a cliff standing up

to the sea, until after all my suffer-

ings, I only long to join, until with

each crumble, I utter, “Take me.”


Now, my ability to give is ever

increased by my acceptance of

surrender, like a dandelion

finally giving way to the

slightest gust of wind.
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The Tone in the Center of the Bell

No matter where you look—

near, far, up, down, out or in—

there is a bareness of being that

lives in the center of every ounce

of life, the way air waits inside

every bubble as it rises from

the deep. The way a small

pocket of worth waits inside

every attempt to love. The way

wonder waits in the center

of our heart for something to

wake it. The tone keeps ringing

in the center of the bell, long after

our ears stop hearing it. Whether

we know this or not, this is how

life moves through the living,

how light makes a branch grow

toward it. How a stream draws

a horse to drink from it.

How you draw me to ask

what it is to be you.



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37 Growth Mindset Quotes to Help You Persevere in Challenging Situations

After investing the last 45+ years in studying, applying and mentoring tens of thousands of others in transformational principles, a question I’ve often received from some of the people I work with is:

“Mary, I’m dealing with a challenge in my life right now, and I just can’t seem to break free and move forward! What should I do?”


Here’s what I tell them:

“Every challenging situation you or I may ever face has a silver lining attached to it, even if we can’t see it right away.”


The secret to seeing the benefit within every struggle is to shift our mindsets about the perceived challenge we’re facing.


When we feel stuck or challenged, it can be so easy to adopt a fixed mindset – one of fear, worry, doubt, anger or resignation.


This is perfectly natural, but in truth, moving away from a fixed mindset and towards a growth mindset is the key to getting unstuck, moving forward, and unlocking new and better opportunities for yourself and your life!

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7 Buddha Postures for the 7 Days of the Week

In 2018, I took a beautiful group of souls to Thailand for a trip of a lifetime. Twenty-seven of us spent two weeks in this amazing country – on the beach (Phuket), in the city (Bangkok), and in the mountains (Chang Mai). The trip truly was one of the best experiences of my life and I’ve heard from several of our group that it was theirs as well.

While there, we learned that depending on the day you were born, you had a particular buddha pose that was just for you. (Well, you and the millions born on that day 🙂 My mom had told me that I was born on a Wednesday, but when I tuned into the Wednesday buddha, it didn’t feel right. Once I Googled it, I discovered I was born on a Tuesday. My buddha is the “Realizing Nirvana” – Pang Sai Yat – otherwise known as the lying buddha. We all had such a great time connecting with our buddhas that I thought I’d share with you the summary list below.

Which buddha is yours?

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: We Carry a Great Matter

Once we grasp the essence of another, we have an obligation to honor and carry what we know to be true about that being with us and into the world, while they live and when they die. Honoring and carrying the essence of another is the deepest kind of love, the deepest kind of friendship. This is how the sea loves the shore and how the sun loves all it shines on. While we perish and vanish from the Earth, our love never dies. It illumines the next world.

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Gaining a New Perspective

My transformational awareness journey began at age twenty when I broke my neck in gymnastics, was paralyzed and told I wasn’t going to recover. Completely recovering from my accident caused me to look at my life from a whole new perspective. Writing my book “Broken To Brilliant” allowed me to connect the dots (experiences) to develop a new perspective on why my life unfolded the way it did. More importantly, it exposed the truth of what really happened, versus the stories I told myself to make sense of my life. The things our minds make up to make us feel safe. All of our experiences and life stories have shaped us. How we interpret and give meaning to those stories forms the beliefs of who we think we are and what we’re capable of. Having an awareness of our stories is the first step in creating change in our lives.

Often, we believe that things in life, like this horrendous accident of mine, happen to us. I now believe life happens for us.

If you could gain a new awareness, a new perspective of your experiences and begin to uncover the potential gift in each one of them, how would your life be different? Having a new perspective could give you a whole new outlook on your life and a better understanding that ‘everything happens for a reason’.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: For Tu Fu

It was the spirit of Tu Fu from

the Tang Dynasty who gave me

strength to endure my cancer.

Now, years later, he appears again,

in a book of translations by a ninety-

nine-year-old. This time lamenting

how the autumn storms tore thatches

from his roof and how he woke to see

patches of straw fly into the river. In

the morning, he could see parts of his

roof tangled in the trees. If not for the

cold, he would have preferred sleeping

under the sky. On the page above his

poem is a print by Han Gan of sixteen

horses in various poses. If I could, I’d

tie a poem to the saddle of each and

send them back to the great one who

didn’t know he was great. I’d send

a long bow that could scarf its way

through history to let him know

that the red shock of his heart

still lives on.

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5 Unconventional Ways To Unleash Your Creative Potential

You may be born with creative skills, but everything boils down to discovering them during your lifetime. For many, it is easy to miss out on them just because the meaning of creativity differs for everyone. There is no magic pill that can help you unlock the power that lies within. You have to make an effort to discover your ability to create beautiful things and find imaginative solutions to the most challenging problems. Let us show you some unconventional ways to unleash your creative potential with a little effort.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: The Work of Care

I’m not sure I can help
but my heart wants to try.

Oh, I can shop for you or
bring you dinner.

I can even help you up
should you fall.

But when the hunger is
inside, when the break is
where no one can see,

then all we can do is be
a greenhouse for each other.


---

A Question to Walk With: How do you help someone you love when where they are hurting is invisible?

This excerpt is from my book of poems, The Gods Visit.

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You are a Difference Maker: The World Needs You

You are a Difference Maker. You dare. You dream. You DO. You are unique in a world where people too often stop at dreaming or never dare to dream at all.

Difference Makers are alive with passion. We see dreams as visions — a sacred spiral, a chrysalis, a circular path to growing. It’s the metamorphosis of soul, an evolutionary process in the cycle of becoming who we are meant to be. The more our dreams align with nature and the natural flow of life, the more authentic we become. It’s how we transform ourselves and discover our true purpose.

This is the butterfly effect. Something as small as the flutter of one butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a tsunami of good around the world.
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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: The Craft of Perception

The aim of art is not to represent the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.

Aristotle


Jennifer Blessing, a curator at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, has said that “artists pursue various methods of liberating the mind in order to access the marvelous.” We are all looking for ways to widen our lens of perception so that we can be more alive. The Black Mountain poet Robert Creeley declared in the 1950s that form follows content. And so we keep searching for forms of expression that will open and liberate the confines of our mind, so we can access and inhabit the marvelous. What we do to find the form that keeps us close to life constitutes the craft of perception.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Inside Why

Violins are falling

from the sky. As they

tumble, the wind releases

deep music. This is how

love sounds to itself. This

is what it’s like to love

you. It’s a music that

can’t always be heard.

It makes me pour you

tea.
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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: The Great Waters

In the beginning, I thought I was

going somewhere. I thought we all

were. But falling in while trying to cross,

I finally understood, the journey is to follow

the river. All the rivers, especially the ones

no one can see. The soul is a fish whose

home is in those rivers. So I can take you

across, if you want. But the secret is to go

everywhere by going nowhere. And I will

be here when you fall in. Which is not

a failure but an awakening.



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KAHLIL GIBRAN: Good And Evil

Of the good in you I can speak, but not of the evil. For what is evil but good tortured by its own hunger and thirst? Verily when good is hungry it seeks food even in dark caves, and when it thirsts it drinks even of dead waters. You are good when you are one with yourself. Yet when you are not one with yourself you are not evil. For a divided house is not a den of thieves; it is only a divided house.

And a ship without rudder may wander aimlessly among perilous isles yet sink not to the bottom. You are good when you strive to give of yourself. Yet you are not evil when you seek gain for yourself. For when you strive for gain you are but a root that clings to the earth and sucks at her breast. Surely the fruit cannot say to the root, “Be like me, ripe and full and ever giving of your abundance.” For to the fruit giving is a need, as receiving is a need to the root. You are good when you are fully awake in your speech, Yet you are not evil when you sleep while your tongue staggers without purpose. And even stumbling speech may strengthen a weak tongue. You are good when you walk to your goal firmly and with bold steps. Yet you are not evil when you go thither limping. Even those who limp go not backward.
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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Care Unto Care

In 1689 in Japan, a kind farmer gave the lost poet Basho a horse that knew the way. And in 1910 when Ted Shawn was paralyzed, before he knew he was a dancer, a dear friend left crutches just out of reach and breakfast on the table. And in 1938 in Paris, Django Reinhardt’s brother left a guitar at the foot of his hospital bed because he knew the badly burned genius would no longer be able to play the banjo. And when Claude Monet at 82 was suffering from double cataracts, he somehow knew to keep painting what he saw, which led him to retrieve his masterful “Waterlilies.” Even leafcutter ants in Costa Rica will carry another ant for miles.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: View at Seventy

I’m standing on a bridge

near the top of a mountain,

looking back at the winding

path that took years to climb.

And there, below, the chasm

I thought I’d never cross, so

much more beautiful on this

side of the rise. And in the

vastness that seemed like

heaven on the way up, all

those I’ve loved and lost.

And in that pocket of fog

that seemed like hell when

I was in it, the truth in all

things I sighted on the way

that kept me going. I could

lean on this bridge forever

but for the view the next

step will bring.

A Question to Walk With:  Describe a passage in your life and how it looked before you experienced it and how it looks to you now on the other side. 

This excerpt is from my book of poems, The Tone in the Center of the Bell.


Let the Light of Awareness Transform You

There are parts of our psychic system that reject the shocks -- the lessons needed for our evolution because they imagine they’re already flying above the world of troubles. It is this mistaken sense of self that stands between us and true self-transformation.

Nothing that resists life can hope to learn from it.

Until we can embrace the lessons that ride into our lives on the back of events, we walk through an isolated world of our own making. Confined and defined by the content of our own thoughts, we are cut off from reality. And, as long as we remain so, there is no hope of realizing our relationship with that limitless Light from out of whose life pours the lessons intended for our transformation.

So, this much is clear: something within us is acting against our best interests. But what would do this, and why? The following insight helps us to see why our lower consciousness —our false self—resists the lessons we need in order to be born anew:

Real learning requires surrender.

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BEE Yourself!

Remember in the movie Aladdin when Genie told him to “Bee Yourself”? Genie was really the Universe telling him to show up in his own truth!

BEE is a joyful reminder of the SWEETNESS of life. That no matter what happens, there is always something to delight in. The bee is also INDUSTRIOUS, a hard worker whose efforts pay off in the beauty of flowers blooming and the deliciousness of honey. She reminds us that we too can create beautiful flowers in our own gardens by being present in our daily lives and giving back to the world in a way that supports the highest good of all. A sense of BELONGING is also offered as a reminder of being a productive and dedicated member of our own hives, our communities that we live and work in.

Witness the power of the tiny bee, small yet mighty and important, and emulate that power in your own life!

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The Moment Is Now

“Live your life while you have it. Life is a splendid gift. There is nothing small in it.”
 —Florence Nightingale

 

I've Been Thinking...

I Don't Want to Live a Small Life
by Mary Oliver
 
I don’t want to live a small life. Open your eyes,
open your hands. I have just come
from the berry fields, the sun
 
kissing me with its golden mouth all the way
(open your hands) and the wind-winged clouds
following along thinking perhaps I might
 
feed them, but no I carry these heart-shapes
only to you. Look how many small
but so sweet and maybe the last gift
 
I will bring to anyone in this
world of hope and risk, so do
 
Look at me. Open your life, open your hands.

 

The other day, I came across the above poem from my great friend and mentor, the late Mary Oliver. Its opening lines made me stop and think.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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