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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How You Speak Affects Your Finances

Have you heard the research from the universities of Chicago and Munich? If you have a regional accent, then it’s likely you could be earning a fifth less than your colleagues with neutral accents. This is huge news for anyone who cares about their financial potential!

The way you speak has a direct effect on your current finances and your earning potential… but wait. I recommend taking this a step farther than just polishing your accent and really dive deep into how you speak.

How Do You Speak?

Have you ever paid attention to the way you speak? Maybe you take time to think about what you say before you say it in a business meeting or job interview, making sure you select the right words so you communicate clearly and effectively, but have you thought about it any deeper than that? Obviously you understand that the way you communicate in certain situations can have an impact on the outcome of that situation, but what else can your words impact?

I never used to think overly much about how I spoke. I didn’t ask myself if the way I was speaking was genuine for me rather than how I’d been raised and convinced to speak. I didn’t examine my words to see if they built me up or tore me down. I didn’t really take the time to think if I was speaking like me, presenting myself accurately, or inviting what I really wanted through my words.

I didn’t yet understand what a huge impact my words have on my life.

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Surrender or Giving Up?

I was asking Spirit what topic I should write about and I heard: “Talk about the one you’re in” and I smiled. So … I am writing about SURRENDER!  I recently spent the entire morning working on surrender as I rescheduled our trip to Peru. It is such a bummer, and at the same time totally necessary right now.

The day before, around 6:30pm, I got a call from my travel guru who said, “We must decide on Peru – in like 36 hours. Everybody who has signed up for the trip has to make a decision, not just us.” My heart sunk as I realized we would have to contact over 35 people and get an answer within the next 36 hours.  We had been asking for information for three weeks as to what we could do and what the options were … and they were not great. And of course, we all want to go.

The trip to Peru was scheduled for late June, which of course seems so far away; but the reality of it is, as far as international flights go, we could not wait any longer.  So, we had to make the decision very, very quickly to reschedule what dates we could reschedule during a time when the travel industry in general is closed. Hotels are closed, employees are on furlough … so the connections were sparse.

It has been really challenging. And I know this travel situation is not something that is new. It is happening for everyone. So, I am not complaining about it. To try to reschedule things and work on all this stuff without being able to get contacts, emails, responses, and communication within a foreign country was not an easy thing. So, that morning, I surrendered.

In my heart I knew everyone was going to be disappointed, but at the same time I held onto the thought that we still get to go. We just bump it out a year. That was the first surrender. It was certainly a challenge for me and my sense of responsibility because it is my group. I am taking 31 people to Peru. It is my responsibility, my risk, my people. They are MY responsibility. And at the same time, my hands were tied in a lot of ways and I did not have control. I’m not able to just snap my fingers and change it or figure it out or force it. Like there is nothing in my ability to do besides surrender. And so that is why I thought this would be a great topic to write about … because that’s how I started.

I had to sit in the energy of surrender … versus what is the other option?

Just give up?

Just quit?

Cancel everything and just shut down and go hide away and hide under the blankets and be depressed?

That is an option as well.

BUT it is not an option for me.

So, I surrender.

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How to Connect With the Soul of India

In India, spiritual seekers come across the Sanskrit term sacchidānanda, that is,consciousness, existence, and bliss as experienced when encountering Ultimate Reality, or Brahman.

In our journey overview video for our February 2021 journey: Shiva Dancing: Sacred South India With Andrew Harvey, Andrew states: “We are children of divine joy. If we build that joy and nourish that joy, it will grow and grow and finally, it will open into total liberation.”

Andrew is the founder of Sacred Activism, a merging of the passion for God and the passion for activism. His statement on being “children of divine joy” is important to think about when considering a journey through India, a foolproof way to water this divine joy so might it blossom into “total liberation.”

Here’s how to best connect with the soul of India. This is critical for connecting with the soul of who we ought to become if we are to cast light through the perilous shadows currently pervading the world.

Embrace the Soul With Monastic Life In an Ashram 

From our past journey at Shantivanam Ashram: taking food in silence
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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Each Day, an Anniversary

With each passing year,
the climb turns into a drift:
turn of phrase, turn of pot,
spot of sun, touch of dog.


After all this way,
we wake in what we wanted,
like a painting we used to drive
to see in which we now live.


Like swimmers who tire into
ease, we are, on good days,
cradled by the deep.


Thankfully, we have crawled
into the O of ordinary
and found beauty.


We walk our dog, following
the streets that warm in the sun,
share a glass of water, and watch
the cherry blossom bend, one
more year, toward something
no one can see.

A Question to Walk With: Describe a simple detail that carries the essence of a significant relationship in your life. What does this detail represent? Honor this detail by talking about it and its significance to the person it involves.

This excerpt is from my book of poems in progress, Elsewhere.

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Find Your Own Way

Did you truly choose this path?

The Practice:
Find your own way.

Why?

The human body has about 100 trillion cells (plus another ten quadrillion microscopic critters hitching a ride, most of them beneficial or harmless). Each one of your cells has aims – goals, in a sense – controlled by its DNA: cells conduct processes aimed at particular functions, like building bones or gobbling up harmful invaders. Cells also work together in larger and larger assemblies in pursuit of broader goals, such as the 100 billion neurons in your brain that run the nervous system, which as a whole is itself the master regulator of the body.

In effect, there are layers, hierarchies, of goals in the body – and a similar architecture of aims in the mind. For example, operating right now is the goal of moving your eyes over these words, which serves the goal of understanding them, which serves larger goals such as desires to learn new things, new skills, and to be truly happy.

In short, whether in the body or the mind, there is no life without goals. Trying to “transcend” goals is itself a goal. The only question is: Are your goals good ones? In other words, do they lead to happiness and benefits for you and others rather than suffering and harms?

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Fasten Your Seatbelt, It’s Going To Be A Bumpy Ride

Bette Davis spoke this classic line in the film All About Eve, and it’s certainly apropos for the world we are currently in.

Unless you are in deep denial, the fact is that the rug has been pulled out from under all of us and it’s going to be bumpy for quite some time.

As we adjust to being in a collective dark night of the soul, we are individually figuring out how wrap our heads around the fact that right now there are no real answers: no one can say when/if the virus will end; when/ if certainty and stability will return; or if life as we once knew it will return.

Whether you are suffering through this process or are doing great with it (or bouncing between happiness and misery), most of us are now learning to adapt to “being with not knowing.”

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7 Ways To Make Room For Good

Times are tough for a lot of people right now. I get that’s an understatement but I am fortunate to be able to continue to serve and keep my business doors open so I feel I am in a position of privilege and can help people, and so I am, in any way I can.  The other day, I felt moved to send money to an old friend whom I know is out of work right now, just as a gift. We’ve known each other for years and had attended a woman’s group together when I lived in the US full time. She posted on Facebook that this happened to her. So my spidey senses went ding ding and I sent it.

When she received it, she called me and said, “Oh, Colette I can’t believe you did this.  Thank you, but I really can’t accept this. I’m good. I just know Spirit is going to look after me. I am really tuning in to manifesting something.” 

I paused and thoughtfully said, “Well, how did you think that was gonna happen? Maybe Spirit just told me to send you cash because you’re not working. You’re a single mom with small kids and no job! That is pretty darn good manifesting!”

All she could say was, “…Oh!”

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Dear Class of 2020

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." - Henry David Thoreau


I've Been Thinking...

  

This week, I wanted to wait until the very last moment to write about what I’ve been thinking because I knew that yesterday was going to be a milestone moment for me. You see, Saturday, May 2, was supposed to be my youngest son’s graduation day from the University of Michigan. It’s where he spent the last four years of his life—perhaps the happiest four years of his life.

Like every other graduation, his was canceled five weeks ago. So, I got together with some other parents and we staged a virtual graduation celebration for the boys that were left in his house and in his community.
 

We wanted the boys to have something special to mark this momentous moment in their lives. I guess as parents, we wanted that, too. I know I did. So, we gathered on Saturday via Zoom. We played the boys favorite songs, like Billy Joel’s “Saigon Nights,” and, of course, we played “Pomp and Circumstance” and the Michigan fight song. Some families made lawn signs. We made pretend diplomas. We got some cheap caps and gowns for pictures. We also got some food to-go from the legendary Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor and sent it to the boys’ house, where they have been holed up for the last five weeks finishing classes.
 

We all knew our “celebration” wasn’t exactly what they had been looking forward to for the last four years, but it was at least something to commemorate what was to have been their big day. It was something for us as well.

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Conversations with your Soul

For many years, I’ve kept my own journals to capture my own spiritual progress and record the patterns weaving in and around my life. When I look back, I can see how I’ve grown, and I appreciate the important lessons I needed to encounter along the way. During these unprecedented times, I find myself needing to record my thoughts and feelings more, as though I am drawn to the need to record them. My mind goes round and round trying to make sense of what is happening right now, not just in the USA, but all over the world.

The spiritual discipline of journaling is meant to be so much more than just a record of events. It’s a way to relish time with your self in quiet contemplation and reflection, and it will help you connect with your soul on a deeper level.  It’s a bit like a meditative conversation with your inner-self. It can also be a cathartic time, where you're able to work out your response to what's going on, and hopefully find comfort from within. If you've never made time to keep a journal before, maybe this is the ideal time to start. I like to call my journal, a Soul Journal.

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The Key to Handling Stress and COVID-19

Although COVID-19 is very easily transmitted from person to person, the risk of subsequent hospitalization and death primarily affects people who are already at risk because of old age, infirmity and/or chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, autoimmune illness, obesity, and heart disease.  All of these chronic illnesses are associated with measurable low-grade inflammation in the body.  The chronic low-grade inflammation that develops with advanced age has become known as “inflammaging”. Most people with chronic illness unknowingly have low-grade inflammation. Recent research points to a second finding: these same disorders are often accompanied by persistent low-grade anxiety and depression.

All of this as a background increases the danger for a person when acute illness strikes. In addition to the elderly and chronically ill, COVID-19 is causing acute respiratory illness and stroke sometimes leading to death in seemingly otherwise healthy younger individuals.  The transition from SARS-CoV-2 infection to diagnosed COVID-19 is typically accompanied by a “cytokine storm.” Cytokines are proteins that are major drivers of inflammation, and their rapid increase, or "storm” is one of the body’s immune responses to acute threat.

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Make The Offering

What could you offer?

The Practice:
Make the offering.

Why?

One of the strangest and most meaningful experiences of my life occurred when I went through Rolfing (ten brilliant sessions of deep-tissue bodywork) in my early 20’s. The fifth session works on the stomach area, and I was anticipating (= dreading) the release of buried sadness. Instead, there was a dam burst of love, which poured out of me during the session and afterward. I realized it was love, not sadness, that I had bottled up in childhood – and what I now needed to give and express.

We can hold back our contributions to the world, including love, just as much as we can muzzle or repress sorrow or anger. But contribution needs to flow; it stagnates and gets stinky if it doesn’t. Thwarted contribution is the source of much unhappiness. For example, the wound of loneliness and heartache is about not having others to give to as much as not having others to get from. And one of the major issues with adolescence in technological cultures is that there are few opportunities for teenagers to make a real difference, to matter and feel a sense of earned worth.

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Cosmic Mix

An interesting scene unfolded before me. Two women deep in conversation walked down the street. One was dragging a much-used suitcase, and both were drinking from sparkling champagne flutes. They acted as if it was an everyday outing. It was the combination of crystal glassware and a battered suitcase that caught my attention. This was in contrast to the manicured neighborhood they walked through.

The following morning I was hiking when a bird landed on the trail about seven feet in front of me.  My puppy and I watched a very large rattlesnake come out of the grass on one side of the trail. It slithered right past the bird and disappeared into dried grass on the opposite side.  As we walked by, I could only see the rattles and part of the tail, the head and body were completely hidden.  There was something comforting about observing the bird and the snake experiencing the only life they know.

Our world holds vast opportunities for very unique and rich experiences. We have the potential for amazing views, sounds, tastes, and colors. Every possibility we can think of, can be created. This concept is the foundation of the Law of Attraction.  It is a popular practice used to manifest what you want in life. It encourages ownership for what shows up on your life path, or drive home.

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A Journey to the Gates

Is the entry point to making leaps in consciousness always preceded by darkness?

 

I ponder Joseph Campbell’s Hero's Journey, the “Dark Night of the Soul”; considered to be a spiritual depression, an acute existential crisis requiring a deep dive into one’s darkest depths that must be endured before enlightenment. Dark Night of the Soul is not a new concept, the earliest origins date back to a poem written by the 16th-century Spanish mystic and poet St. John of the Cross. The void, or “the abyss” as I used to call it, appears to be the critical “space/place” of healing. The properties of this void intrigued me, is this “the nothing”(ness)?

 

It took me back to thoughts of one of my favourite childhood films and of Atreyu on his quest in The Neverending Story. The protagonist having endured the depressing death of his beloved horse Artax, is now on board the luck dragon; Falkor, in search of the borders of Fantasia…The experience within the void prickles with pure potential. He must pass through 3 gates to give a new name to the Childlike Empress, and save Fantasia from vanishing from existence.


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Time to focus on ‘better’ — not ‘bigger’ or ‘more’

All of us in Humanity’s Team hope you and yours are navigating the lockdown with peace and equanimity. We know how challenging it can be to find quiet space at home, attend to kids, and support seniors who might have special needs.

I’m writing to you today about something that has emerged as an urgent priority during the Coronavirus pandemic.

This urgency is that we not let the opportunity slip away from us to transform the ‘pause’ we are currently experiencing in our communities and in the world. Pause means temporary stop. Generally, when we move past ‘pause,’ we continue in the same direction.

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Live in Perfect Health

Stress has been a consistent topic in my columns over the years. We were always speaking about the daily stresses created by normal routine patterns of behavior in life. No one ever imagined that in the lives of humanity, the biggest stress was yet to come.

The whole world has united to fight a common cause. All other causes seem minuscule compared to the attack of this mysterious common enemy gripping the world with fear. The Global Pandemic.

Of course humanity as a whole has always suffered from the threat of the onslaught of fear. It had constantly been a Democles sword, that has hung over the minds of people over centuries. It could be any sort of fear pervading the mind, and that is the prison the human being lives in.

Now in reality, the fear has got translated, from an imaginary emotion to a possibility. But yet again, one needs to understand, that although the fear at a certain level, is not really unfounded, yet on another level it is something that is created by our own thoughts, and so can be controlled, by our own thoughts too.

The conscious mind creates, and the subconscious mind is the reservoir.
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Conquering Stress During Trying Times: 5 Ways to Tap the Power of Positivity

We are going through a very emotional time right now with all of the changes we are facing during the pandemic. Many people are feeling on edge — anxious that they might lose their jobs, worried over making ends meet, and scared about keeping themselves and their families safe.

People may also be feeling loneliness due to social isolation, disappointment over canceled plans, and an overwhelming sense of uncertainty about what the future holds.

We know that stress is harmful to our physical, mental, and emotional health and our relationships. Higher levels of stress have been proven to wreak havoc with the body's ability to regulate inflammation, potentially making us more susceptible to physical illness. 

Feelings of negativity, pessimism, worry, and despair may also corrode our sense of well-being and rob us of the joy and the hope we need to make it through difficult times.

Fortunately, there are things we can do to cultivate feelings of calm, hope, and positivity, even when we face a personal or collective crisis. Here are a few:

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How the Bus Stop Reframes Your Position in Life

How would life be different if we knew that everything was happening in our favor? In this video, Dr. Sue explains her "Bus Stop" conversation and how we can free up our energy and live a more empowered life when we learn to make this Quantum Flip in perspective.

 Dr. Sue Morter from Morter Institute bridges science, spirit and human possibility. For over 30 years, she has been teaching health care practitioners, patients and students integrative approaches to wellness, based in quantum science and energy medicine.

Standing In The Uncertain

"There is hope in dreams, imagination, and in the courage of those who wish to make those dreams a reality." - Dr. Jonas Salk


I've Been Thinking...

Can you believe that on this day many years ago (although not that many years ago), people lined up to get the very first polio vaccine?

Seeing the picture above really made me stop and think this week. It made me think about the life-saving work being done by scientists and researchers as they toil in small rooms for years trying to find a cure that will one day help us all. It made me think about the importance of investing in this type of work. It also made me think about how often history feels like it repeats itself. 

The other day, a friend said to me, "I’m so over 2020! It’s nothing like I thought it would be." 

That, my friends, is an understatement! I don’t think any of us thought we would find ourselves here. None of us could have predicted that we would be sheltering in place this spring. The 26 million Americans who have now filed for unemployment also couldn’t have predicted they would find themselves here. 

We couldn’t have imagined that we would be waiting in long lines and standing six feet apart to get into supermarkets, just to buy the essentials. We couldn’t have imagined that we would be waiting to get tested for a disease that most of us had never even heard of a few months ago. I’m sure none of us would have thought that our country would have been so ill-prepared to fight this pandemic. I know I didn’t.

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Use Feedback to Your Advantage

Once you begin to take action on a project or a goal, you’ll start getting feedback about whether you’re doing the right thing.  You’ll get data, advice, help, suggestions, direction – and even criticism – that will help you constantly adjust and move forward, while continually enhancing your knowledge, abilities, attitudes and relationships.

But asking for feedback is really only the first part of the equation.  Once you receive feedback you have to be willing to embrace it and respond to it.

Positive or Negative … it’s ALL good!

There are two kinds of feedback you might encounter, negative and positive. We tend to prefer the positive: results, money, praise, promotion, raise, awards, happiness, inner peace, etc. It feels better. It tells us we are on course and doing the right thing.

We tend not to like negative feedback: lack of results, little or no money, criticism, poor evaluations, complaints, unhappiness, inner conflict, pain, etc.

However, there is as much useful data in negative feedback as there is in positive feedback. It tells us that we are off course, headed in the wrong direction, and doing the wrong thing. This is priceless information!

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Money and Happiness

Does money buy happiness? Experts will tell you “no, of course not,” but according to a new survey, 90 percent of the top 1 percent of U.S. household income earners—those who earn $500,000 per year or more—claim to be “completely” or “very” satisfied with their lives overall. 

If money doesn’t buy happiness, then what’s going on here?

The Difference Between Wealth and REAL WEALTH

The 1 percent that are completely or highly satisfied with their lives are embodying what I call “living in a state of REAL WEALTH” rather than just a state of monetary wealth. Monetary wealth is unsustainable in terms of supplying happiness since it relies entirely on external factors to provide fulfillment. REAL WEALTH is deeply satisfying since it goes much deeper than that.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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