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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Choose You


“The moment a woman comes home to herself, the moment she knows that she has become a person of influence, an artist of her life... the resurrection of the world begins.

 —Joan Chittister



I've Been Thinking...

The other day, I found myself sitting around with nothing to do (remember that I gave up busyness for Lent). Then something profound happened.

I found myself getting into a really long, deep, meaningful conversation with someone. It was the kind of conversation that takes its time. The kind that you could only get into if you have nothing else pulling at you. The kind that stays with you and makes you think a lot about life, relationships, and yourself—both how you see yourself and how the world sees you.

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What If You Knew When You Were Going To Die?

What if you knew when you were going to die?

Everyone will die so it's important to accept your mortality. It doesn't have to be a negative thing.

You must embrace the inevitable so you can move forward with haste knowing you don't have time to waste, you don't have time to wait.

The time is now to give your gifts to the world.

Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Swayed in All Directions

I doze in the hammock, and this book of voices from long ago falls from my lap into the grass. And these ancient voices say to me in my sleep, While you are not suffering, give to those who are. When I wake, the page where Li Po spoke of dead soldiers’ horses wailing to the sky is stained by the grass. The wind lifts my face to the east where we are at war in our own time. How do I hold the suffering of others in the middle of such a calm and beautiful day? We each can do the breaking. We each can be broken. We each can hold. We each can be held. I feel powerless in the presence of such suffering, and yet it’s the strength of our attention that makes a difference. The breath of this day keeps lifting my head. Is it enough to be kind where we are?

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Sitting In Silence

“It's your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.
 —Rumi


I've Been Thinking...

This week was one of those weeks where I bounced back and forth about what to say to you this morning. Writing is like that. 

Some weeks nothing comes to mind, no matter how hard I struggle to find the words. Other weeks, my writing just flows and flows. But even then, sometimes the wrong words flow out. Or sometimes the world changes on a dime and so does my message. When that happens, that's when you have to take a moment to get quiet. I mean really quiet. You have to get below the noise, which is not easy. You have to try and go below your own surface. This was one of those weeks for me.

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To Live In The Now, Start From The Ground Up

One hears a lot about the power of now and the value of living in the present.  To achieve this state of awareness requires a major change in everyday life. This much is clear, but producing such change is confusing and frustrating. When people seek personal change in their lives, they often don’t get very far. Even in this day when online advice is bewilderingly abundant and self-improvement books are at our fingertips, change eludes us. One way to remedy this is to start from the ground up. Normally, we feel compelled to start where we are right now, and that’s a tremendous problem.

No matter how different people are, each of us woke up this morning to the same situation. We are constantly involved in thinking, feeling, and doing. No one starts this activity afresh. Instead, we are heavily invested in habits, beliefs, opinions, hopes, dreams, and fears collected from the past. So our thinking, feeling, and doing is entangled with the past even when we want something new, better, fresh, and different.

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What is a stuck mindset and is it effecting you?

Recently I was hiking and thinking about the human condition.  There is a mentality many people experience regardless of demographics.  These Individual’s lives may look completely different on the outside, ( be it professional or transient person), but they share a similar way of thinking.  This ordinary thought process is living with out the belief of new life possibilities.  Does this sound familiar,  is a stuck mindset effecting you?

Take a minute and ask yourself, how free are your thoughts?  How expansive is your life journey?

One of our greatest gifts in life is free will, which contributes to our ability to create a unique life journey. Free will also allows us to respond to the flashes of inspiration we each receive.

The flip side of inspiration, is a stuck mind.  This person stays in old life patterns, dodging challenges and making the same choices day after day. This creates little opportunity to allow unexpected joy, love and abundance in day to day life.

In other words, the stuck mindset is a mind trained to expect the same thing year after year.  This might be experiencing the same relationship problems, the same job, the same health or family issues that keep you from fully engaging in life.

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Prospering From Uncertainty

This art was created by Walter Spitzer, a Jewish artist who survived Nazi concentration camps by perceiving himself flying back to the idyllic Polish town where he grew up on the back of a pet goat. Spitzer changed his reality. Every night.

Human reality is molded by our perceptions. That is the basis of modern psychotherapy, quantum physics, literature and art, marketing, and just about everything else in our lives. There are no countries, no cultures, no religions, no corporations, no human institutions until we first perceive them. When enough people accept and act on a perception, reality changes. 

The author Jack London devoted an entire book, The Star Rover, to the factual-based story of a prisoner in San Quentin who survived torture and solitary confinement by creating the reality of life outside the prison through what London called “star roving” and Indigenous people know as “shamanic journeying.” 

Spitzer’s boy on his goat looks down at me from where he hangs on my office wall above the chair where my cat Jaggy and I do most of our work. He reminds me that writing is a means for altering perceptions that change reality.   

The title of my latest book, Touching the Jaguar, comes from an Amazonian shaman who told me, “‘Touching the jaguar’ means that you identify your fears and barriers, confront them, alter your perceptions about them, accept their energy, and take actions to change yourself and the world.” This is also the theme of my five-session March 2021 webinar Learning to Enjoy and Prosper from Uncertainty

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“Why Am I Procrastinating?”

Fran asked me the following question:

“I am a Ph.D. student and I have chosen my profession because I like it and not because of my parents’ influence. However, I am procrastinating every day more and more to the point where some days I don’t work at all. This really scares me and I don’t understand why I would procrastinate in doing something that I have chosen to do and is supposed to be my passion. I realize there is some fear of failure behind this, but it is irrational because I know I am capable of doing my work. I am really frustrated and scared and don’t know what the underlying cause is.”

The clue to her procrastination is this: “I realize there is some fear of failure behind this, but it is irrational because I know I am capable of doing my work.”

The fact that she is calling her fear ‘irrational’ is stopping her from learning from it and understanding it.

Her fear is likely NOT about whether or not she is capable of doing the work. Her fear is likely about whether or not she is going to judge herself if she doesn’t meet a certain standard.

Please take a moment to take in what you just read.

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The Body

Today, Spirit guided me to talk about the body. The body. I know, you all have one, right? You all have a body, so that’s a good sign. And what I want to talk about is, what story you’re attached to. Do you have a story that you tell about your body?

It could be anything. Back in the day, my story was I’m overweight. I’m never going to be thin. I always am sick. Nobody’s ever gonna love me in this body. I used to talk how big my legs were or how much of a struggle it was to lose weight or just in general, just how fat I was.

So my story was that I couldn’t lose weight. My story was that I wasn’t healthy. I wasn’t strong. I wasn’t attractive. That was my story.

Now, your story could be, I always get sick. Your story could be, I struggle with disease. Your story could be my body never does what I want it to do. It’s not strong enough. I’m too fat, too skinny, too tall, too small, too whatever it is.

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The Power of Being Committed

Susie Moore had been writing a book for two years. Thoughts of her book consumed her during every waking hour—when cooking, commuting to work, out with friends, on vacation— but she was making little progress. Until she heard about the 100% rule about being committed.

It took her only two months to finish her book after that. Her mantra became, “Write or die!” The power of being committed made decision-making easier for Susie and she accomplished her goal in record time.

So, today I want to tell you why the secret to success is making a 100% commitment to everything you do.

Being Committed 100% Is Easier Than a 99% Commitment

In every aspect of life, if something is worth doing, it’s worth giving 100% of your effort to it. Because a 99% commitment isn’t going to cut it.

Having any leeway at all in your convictions is inevitably going to lead to frustration, failure, and disappointment.

Why is it that 100% commitment is the key to success, while even a 99% commitment is a recipe for failure? Is there really that drastic a difference between a person who is 100% committed and someone who is 99% committed?

The answer is yes. There’s a huge difference.

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Live In The Light

I've Been Thinking...


I heard from a lot of people about my essay last Sunday. Many of you wrote me to share the lies you have told yourselves over the years and how, like me, you are ready to release them and move forward. Bravo to you.

Several friends wrote to tell me that my column was so deep that they had to read it several times. That made me happy. Others told me they gave it to friends, adult children, and partners to talk about, which was great to hear as well. But it was my friend Tom's response that made me stop and smile the most. His was so unique that I figured I would share it with you this morning. 

Tom is a beautiful writer. He’s also a deep thinker and a spiritual teacher. Now, he wouldn’t say he’s a spiritual teacher; he would say he’s a student. But good students are also good teachers, and that’s what Tom is to me. He always generously shares what he’s learned along his path to the open field.

Here is what he wrote to me:

Maria! I have completed my exercise in finding a lie in my head and questioning it and laughing at it. My lie came to me minutes after I sent you my last email, and I burst out laughing as soon as I said it. It is… I need to keep getting better. 

I want to find and punish the sadistic and tyrannical bastar* that put that lie in my head, because it invited me into a life of subtle self-loathing!

I thought of it many times yesterday and today, and laughed each time. But I didn’t really get into loud laughter until this morning when I made it the subject of my practice of asking myself Byron Katie’s four questions of self-inquiry:

Is it true?

Can I absolutely know it’s true?

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How To End The Blame Game

It’s time to talk seriously about the blame game. In a divided nation everyone finds reasons to blame, and the only choice is who deserves the blame. Targets are easy to find, because they are everywhere. Somebody, somewhere is behaving in ways you disapprove of. When the situation is us-versus-them, has it ever been hard to name “them”?

That, in the simplest outline, is the blame game. Calls for unity have no chance for success as long as the blame game keeps going. It ruins the very basis of negotiation, which rests on mutual respect. The outcome of the blame game is always escalation: you find more reasons to attack “Them.” If you are lucky enough to gain more power than “they” have, you can turn your blame into domination—until the tables turn and your adversary is in power.

Yet the blame game isn’t innate in human nature. We are a species capable of imagination and choice. At any moment we can alter any mental construct, and the first step is to realize that the blame game is in fact just a mental construct. When you recognize this fact, you are beginning to see a way out. You can’t force or cajole someone else to stop playing the blame game, but you certainly can stop playing it yourself.

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The Hero’s Journey We All Need to Take

The world is undergoing a troubling, yet essential transformation. On the outside, it appears we’re on the brink of collapse: environmental degradation is rampant, war is preached as an inevitable part of life, and COVID-19 makes us wonder if things are changed forever. Yet on the inside, many of us are awakening to the idea of a more meaningful life. Many of us are embarking or thinking about embarking on a personal hero’s journey. 

The idea of the hero’s journey comes down to us from comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell. You’ve probably seen Joseph Campbell quotes circulating the web. For example, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls,” is very recognizable, especially the “follow your bliss” part.

In many of Joseph Campbell books, including The Power of Myth, The Hero’s Journey (an autobiographical work on Campbell), The Hero With a Thousand Faces, and Myths to Live By, he explores what’s referred to as the monomyth. The monomyth cycle includes a hero’s call to adventure and eventual pilgrimage into the unknown where he or she returns with boons to bestow upon humanity. 

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Why You Should Follow Your Heart

You’ve read the books, done the seminars, completed the workshops, and have had experiences, even if they were momentary. But, at some point, you have to fully go all in on what you believe and what you know. You are an independent unit of divine expression in this world and it’s all about you complying with the wisdom and knowledge that resides at the level of your own heart. 

The more that people demonstrate the courage to follow their hearts, the more the end result is happiness! It’s amazing how there’s that correlation between following your heart and being happy – doing what you love doing, and being happy, having the courage to pursue your passion, and being happy. It is incredible how over and over and over again, I am hearing, witnessing, and experiencing people who have the courage to break free of the norm and live fully from their hearts. 

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10 Signs the Universe is Guiding You to a Better Life

A couple of weeks ago, one of my friends experienced a significant life challenge.  As Martha shared her story, she emphasized there were many warnings of impending change.  This is not uncommon.  How often do you recognize when the Universe is guiding you?

When we listen, we are led to a better life.

When we don’t listen,  life often becomes more difficult.

One of the gifts we have in this life is to choose,  and if needed, choose again.  The combination of being aware of universal guidance while actively using free will,  can help  manifest a very rewarding life.

What happens when we overlook or ignore the enlightenment of the Universe?  My personal experience is this, the transformations are more difficult and suddenly life altering.

There was a time in my life that I was doing too much of the wrong thing.  My focus was not on my life calling.  I was given many signs that I needed to slow down and turn inward. I ignored the guidance,  until my physical body was depleted.  I had no choice but to stop everything and rediscover my connection with all that is.

It didn’t take long to get back on track.   Happily my entire life was transformed.  I can’t help but think, It would have been easier if I had not fallen off the rails in the first place.

The Universe shares messages and guides us every moment, of everyday.  This means our entire life is a reflection of the conversation with All That Is. Some of the communication styles are gentle reminders and some of the guidance is powerful.

Do you actively look for the Universe’s signs of guidance?  Remember,  direction might be in your entire life or just one or two areas.

Here are ten subtle, and not so subtle ways, the is Universe helping you discover an easier and more abundant life.

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Creating a New Pattern of Joy & Happiness

It is essential to empower yourself. The past few months have perhaps eroded a lot of people's sense of joy and happiness, as they have been denied the  see and touch feel of the human connect.

For self growth, connection is very important. To feel alive and joyous, every human likes the feel of a level of connecting with another. That's why it has been said "Man is a social animal" he needs interaction for self growth and happiness.

These past few months have tested everyone's patience and have actually led to a new level of thought. Yet another way of perceiving the situation is that, many of the people turned inwards into a journey of self discovery, which in turn leads to self growth.

But despite a high level of awareness and a raised level of consciousness, lots of mankind was forced by their own negative self thinking pattern, to get into a depression. One negative thought led to another, until a spiralling effect was created.
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Stretching Yourself

Commitment is a stretch when you commit to something new, something constructive and healthy, and stick to it, such as commitment to your integrity. How do you stay in integrity without being insensitive? How can you be sensitive to others and stay in it?

There are degrees of commitment, and each new degree is a stretch. It is as though we are individuals who are practicing yoga. As we stretch we become more limber, but we are always at the edge of what we can do. Individuals who come into the Authentic Power Learning Community may think that they are committed to creating authentic power and feel that they are committed, and yet as they begin to experience the depth of the transformation that occurs within themselves as they develop emotional awareness and apply responsible choice, they discover that they are indeed required to commit yet again.

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Having the Courage to Be Who You Really Are

I have a question for you that just might unlock a secret and set your life on fire. 

Where do you hide your juice and authenticity? Where does your “self-image” thwart your self-expression?

I’ll put it another way. Do you sometimes “position” yourself to look/act the way you’re “supposed to”? I have news for you: The part of yourself you’re trying to deny-- is the dynamite that has all the power.

I muscled through my days as a corporate lawyer, hiding my poet and my mystic—even from myself. I remember those years as I listen to a coaching client sigh: “I’m a vampire. The real me only comes out at night when I play music.” But for me, there came a day when I wasn’t okay being the walking dead anymore. I had to breathe. I left my law firm—and I also left my identity. And I wrote my first book, This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love the manifesto of freeing myself that I needed to read.

You would think that was the end of hiding myself. But it’s not true. 

It turns out that growing is a continuous process of moving into the parts of ourselves we both love-- and fear.

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What Moves Your Life?

"Having abandoned the flimsy fantasy of certainty, I decided to wander."
—Kameelah Janan Rasheed


I've Been Thinking...

So many people I speak to lately tell me they feel like wanderers. They say they feel like their lives aren’t moving in one particular direction. Some say they feel like they are in transition, while others say everything feels up in the air for them. Some say they finally feel open to things they never were before. I’ve heard some version of this message from people at all stages of life, no matter the age.

To them I say, “Same here.” I, too, have abandoned the fantasy of certitude. 

COVID-19 has robbed everyone of certainty. I was certain that my government would take care of COVID quickly and effectively. I was certain that it would distribute vaccines in an efficient manner. I was certain that there would be people to help me navigate my way forward in this mess. Nothing has been like I thought it would be. That’s why letting go of the fantasy—letting go of what I thought was true—is the best way forward. It’s the truth of where we find ourselves.

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5 Ways to Craft New Year’s Resolutions That Work

Now that 2020 is in the record books, we may be eyeing our New Year’s Resolutions from a widely different perspective. As we venture into the first few months of 2021, we could ditch the typical resolutions in favor of even more life-enhancing ideas.

Year after year, studies show, we gravitate toward the same resolutions — weight loss, eating better, and general self-improvement goals. There’s nothing wrong with that, but by mid-February, about 80% of us have dropped our New Year’s Resolutions by the wayside.

That doesn’t have to be the case. We have an opportunity to make and keep meaningful resolutions that are in harmony with what we really want to create in our lives. Here are five ways to win at whatever resolutions you choose:

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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