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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Your Precious Marble Day

“If you obey all the rules, you’ll miss all the fun."
 —Katharine Hepburn


I've Been Thinking...

Happy Spring, friends! How are you doing today? How are you feeling with all the talk about getting back to so-called normal?

Are you feeling good? Are you relieved? Are you anxious? Or are you just not having any of it? No matter how you feel, I understand. It’s a lot to take in and process. I don’t know about you, but to me, it feels like we were just talking about double masking. Now planes are filled to the max again, restaurants and gyms are reopening. And, depending on where you live, people can (and are) walking around totally unmasked!

It’s enough to give even the calmest among us post-pandemic anxiety, so breathe. That’s where you and your voice come in. That’s where our first story in the Views Above the Noise section below will really help you move forward.

Over the past few days, I’ve spoken to people from all walks of life—different age groups, different states, people on the frontlines of the pandemic, and also those who have lost their jobs—and I’ve got to say, not one person has said, “I’m going back to the way things were.” They all say, “I want to move forward, but I want to move forward differently. I want to live with more intention.” Every one of them has had a different experience, but all of them have been impacted by the pandemic and have felt the need to take stock of their life and reset. Many aren't sure what the new normal is, but they feel blessed to still be here, and they want to move forward with a new focus, a new mindset, and a new sense of purpose and intention. Me too.

That brings me to two conversations I had this week that I think will help us all do exactly that. One was about having accountability partners in your life, and the other was about a jar of marbles (yup, a jar of marbles). Both got me thinking.

My first conversation was one about where you turn for advice. My friend asked me this: Do you have at least five people to whom you can turn for sound advice? Do you have people who will tell you the truth, who will call you out when the situation warrants it, and who will keep you moving forward? 

As my friend and I discussed this, they then told me to “take those five people and smoosh them together. Then you will have you!” 

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The 2-Step Visioning Formula That Saved My Life

There’s a simple formula that can make all the difference between feeling energized, thrilled to start your day, fulfilling your purpose in life… or waking up feeling lost, dreading your day, and drained.

It allows you to live your purpose and experience life fully, instead of missing out on life, going through the motions — almost feeling like a passenger in your own life.

This practice is so simple, that I was able to apply it when I was 18 years old, in an intensive care unit, confined to a hospital bed… with no prior training or experience.

And it is so powerful, that it actually saved my life.

When you incorporate this formula into your routine, it will help you break free from the chains of old habits and patterns that keep you living a life you don’t fully love.

It allows you to escape the hamster wheel of old results — unlocking the full potential that lies within you, to achieve anything you would love.

This formula is the key to finding fulfillment, purpose and creating a life you would love living.

But before I go into the details, let me share with you the story of how I learned this powerful formula for the very first time…

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Wake Up and Work at Living in Presence

Part of our essential need to be at peace is to know that we are in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing, and to know it in such a fashion that nothing can come along and convince us that we are not.

Have you ever thought to yourself "I'm doing the right thing at the right time," and someone said, "No, you're not," and then everything fell apart? 

To work at living in Presence, we need only bring our attention back into ourselves, quietly knowing we are aware of all that we are, and all that’s going on around us at the same time. 

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The Gift of Failure

When things don’t go according to plan or work out how you intended, it can be a huge disappointment and let down, especially when you have invested so much time, energy, and money.

It’s easy to judge yourself as a failure and beat yourself up harshly. But this serves nothing.

When you try so hard and your dreams don’t happen, it’s easy to question yourself and even want to give up on the dream itself.

But what if there was no such thing as “failure”? 

Consider that every experience is feedback to you from the universe and every moment is an opportunity to learn something more about yourself.

Failure is simply an interpretation of reality based on your current level of consciousness.

So – What if things not working out were really a gift from the universe designed to take you deeper into yourself, forcing you to question, reflect, and let go of anything not in alignment with your highest?

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A Year of Turmoil and Transformation

One year ago, we went into lockdown.

Covid -19. The Corona virus. A global pandemic. Holy shit!

They said lockdown would probably only last three to four weeks, possibly six.

We were told to wash our hands, wear a mask, social distance so we could “flatten the curve.”

What happened next doesn’t need to be repeated here.

We’ve all been through our own personal trauma.

For the first few months the loss of freedom to come and go and do as I please, including making future plans, had me cycling through the five stages of grief at a rapid pace.

Although I felt physically “bulletproof,” I worried about getting and passing along the virus to my husband or mother, both with underlying conditions.

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How to Stop Empowering Your Limitations

You have empowered your limitations. You feel a feeling and you make it mean something about you. Typically, you’re making it mean that you are not loveable, that you’re not doing it right, or you’re not good enough. And, you use it to disqualify and invalidate you. 

It’s the same thing with the mind. You think a thought and all of a sudden you are off to the races! Limiting thoughts like “this meditation thing isn’t working . . . I’m still thinking thoughts”.  And if that doesn’t work, you begin to use stuff that is happening at the level of the body or you reach for something that is happening in the world. 

What do you think would happen if for just one day, you could make everything mean that you are divine and allow yourself to make feelings and emotions mean that you are loved? What would happen if you made thinking thoughts mean that you are divine and you are loved? And, what would happen if you made feeling feelings, on a sensory level, or at the level of the body divine?

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Is Your Soul Having a Temper Tantrum?

I recently hosted an online conversation with my good friend, Kerri Richardson. She’s a lifestyle designer who just published her latest book, From Clutter to Clarity. You’ve heard me mention Kerri before. She’s helped me in my own life, both with clearing clutter and coaxing me to move forward on several projects I’ve been procrastinating about.

During our discussion, Kerri stopped me in my tracks when she gave her definition of clutter: “Essentially, I’ve learned that clutter in all of its forms—physical, spiritual and mental—is a temper tantrum of the Soul.”

Is that amazing or what? I love this definition!

When Kerri uses the word clutter in her books and coaching practice, it’s a catchall term meaning: “Anything that gets in the way of you living your most joyous and exuberant life.”

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How To Begin A Conscious Lifestyle

Becoming more conscious will make you more successful in every area of life. that’s the theme I proposed in the first post of this series. This is an area that is vastly neglected by most people. They approach life on a day-to-day basis doing three things: 1. Following a set routine 2. Coping with challenges as they come up and 3. fulfilling short-term desire.

These three things fill everyone’s day is roughly the order listed. Routine dominates. Even the thoughts we have today are generally the same thoughts we had yesterday. Next come the everyday obligations and duties of life, punctuated by challenges, big or small. Last comes desire, which usually means eating when you’re hungry, looking for a little bonding with someone else, whether as love, companionship, or sex, and distracting yourself in order to wind down.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Fidelity to the Journey

Confidence is not the swagger or certainty with which we convey what we know. It is the fidelity with which we listen to and relate to the irreducible foundation of all life. For there is a difference between how we carry what we know and how we know what we know.

Leon Felipe was a Spanish poet and friend of the great Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda. Their personalities couldn’t have been more different. Pablo was outgoing and uninhibited, exuding his curiosity and care into everything. Leon was more introspective and hesitant around others. While the shy poet admired the soaring presence of his friend, he knew he could never approach life that way.

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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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Weekday Personal Support

Join Panache Desai each weekday morning for support in reconnecting to the wellspring of calm and peace that lives within you and that has the power to counterbalance all of the fear, panic, and uncertainty that currently engulfs the world.

Designed To Move You From Survival and Fear to Safety and Peace. Available Monday - Friday. Meditation begins at 9 AM.  Access early to hear Panache's monologue -  around 8:30 AM. 

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