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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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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Masks

This blog article is not about the pros and cons of mask-wearing. Instead, I’d like to suggest a possible deeper meaning for this whole phenomenon. All around the world, people are wearing masks, for mutual protection and individual/collective health. When I pass someone on the street here in Massachusetts in winter, I see eyes and a mask—and lots of clothing. COVID has made us almost unrecognizable, one from the other. Sometimes it seems eerie or surreal—a science fiction scenario. Yet people often wave or gesture in a friendly way as they go by, bridging the social distance between us. In our anonymity, we are still human. And maybe, ultimately, that may be the gift of COVID: to show us in an unforgettable ongoing visual that we are really all the same. The masks hide our differences, and our common humanity is clearly visible in our eyes.

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Leave the Red Zone

Are you stressed or upset?

The Practice:
Leave the Red Zone.

Why?

There I was recently, my mind darting in different directions about projects in process, frazzled about little tasks backing up, uneasy about a tax record from 2010 we couldn’t find, feeling irritated about being irritable, hurrying to get to work, body keyed up, internal sense of pressure. Not freaked out, not running from an attacker, not suffering a grievous loss, my own troubles tiny in comparison to those of so many others – but still, the needle on my personal stress-o-meter was pegged in the Red Zone.

Then that quiet background knowing in all of us nudged me to cool down, dial back, de-frazzle, take a breath, exhale slowly, repeat, start getting a sense of center, exhale again, slow the thoughts down, pick one thought of alrightness or goodness and stay with it, exhaling worry about the future, coming into this moment, just sensations, calming, mind getting clearer, focusing on what I’ll do this day and knowing that’s all I can do, the body sense of settling down yet again sinking in to make it one bit easier to settle down the next time. Leaving the Red Zone, not all the way to Green, more like Yellow, but no longer even Orange. Whew.

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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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Upside Down Love 

I fall in love
With your essence 

And then unwrap
The story
That reveals
All your beauty

I love who you are
But I also appreciate
The life that made you

I only need to know
Enough
To love you
Which isn’t very much
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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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Life is Moving You Toward More Love

If everything is love and you are love, then what exactly about you is not loved? There are no excuses. Relax into the truth and you will begin to experience yourself in a different way. The state of connection that you’ve been trying to access your whole life has always been present within you. 

At some point, you just have to understand that you are doing it to yourself. That revelation can either be a relief or it can be a further point of frustration for you, depending on how responsible, accountable and willing you are to hearing the truth. That means there are some fundamental principles that are permeating reality. For some reason, we have been conditioned to believe, and we further reinforce that conditioning, to have us disconnect from these principles. 

You are love. Not some future version of you, not some past version of you but the version of you that you are right now. You are love. There isn’t some power, or some force, or some energy that wakes up every morning and thinks of innovative and new ways to mess with your feng shui. That is not happening. There is not some being that has a power over you, who’s waking up every morning that messes with your vatsu. That is not going on. 

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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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Don’t Blame the Victim

A big part of having success with the Law of Attraction is understanding that “thoughts are things” and that our feelings, thoughts, beliefs help to co-create our reality. Other factors that also influence our lives include karma, divine timing, destiny, free will and that omnipresent reality of “shit happens.”

When something really bad happens to someone – lets say a serious diagnosis, losing a job, a big car crash, and then a supposedly well-meaning “spiritual friend” asks them, “ what thoughts were you having that would cause this?”

Well, this scenario just makes me crazy.

We would never ask an abused child, “hey kid, what thoughts did you have that created these beatings?”

So, unless someone is sitting around thinking, “wow, wouldn’t it be cool if I manage to get stage 4 colon cancer so I can scare myself and my family and go on a multi-year journey to fight the cancer and maybe live?”
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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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Heart Memory

I once read about an injured hawk that was rescued and taken to a raptor rehabilitation center. The hawk, after recovering from its injuries, was driven back to the location where it had been found, many miles away. At a certain point in the trip, the hawk suddenly became more alert. It lifted its head and looked around sharply; it moved its wings with anticipation. It sensed in the deepest part of its being that its home was near. Such behavior can’t be logically explained by science because it has to do with the things we know without physical evidence to prove it. Awareness beyond the five senses. Author Rupert Sheldrake called it “morphic resonance” in explaining how a dog would know its human companion, a hundred miles away, had started to return home. We living beings, animal or human, feel presence and remember home from great distances. Our heart has an intelligence even deeper and wider than the brain’s.

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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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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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