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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The Perfect Gift You Can Bring Is Your Heart

"At this table, everyone is welcome. At this table, everyone is seen. At this table, everybody matters. No one falls between." -Idina Menzel


I've Been Thinking...

Everyone I’ve spoken to this week has told me how overwhelmed they feel. They are, of course, talking about the holiday season and not the impeachment hearings (which would overwhelm even a constitutional scholar).

To each of them, I said: “Believe me, I get it.”

I tend to feel overwhelmed at this time of year, too, which is why I’m going to share a personal story this morning that I hope might ease what you’re feeling and carrying with you right now. It might just reveal that the perfect holiday gift is closer than we realize…

So, there I was early Monday morning in the TODAY show makeup room, chatting away with Laura and Mary (two talented hair and makeup magicians), when a text popped up on my phone.

It was short. Three words to be precise. “This is you!” it said. It was accompanied by something to download, but no surprise, I couldn’t figure out how to download it, so I just went on gabbing.

Then Hoda burst into the room.

“Did you hear the song I sent you?!” she squealed with delight.

After I explained that I couldn’t download It, she insisted that I stop everything and listen right then and there. “It is you!” she repeated.

Hoda pulled up Idina Menzel’s new Christmas song, "At This Table,” and as it played, my eyes welled with tears, and goosebumps formed on my arms.

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‘Tis The Season For Receiving

There is no doubt about it. December is the time of year that is synonymous with giving. Whether it is to family, friends, co-workers, charitable organizations, or the people who make our lives better, we all have our lists and are checking them twice!

Most of us love to give – and when we do so, we feel good about ourselves, abundant, and alive.

But what about receiving? Most people feel very uncomfortable about receiving.

Whether it is a gift, an act of kindness, help from others, or even a compliment, we have a difficult time receiving.

For many, our awkwardness around receiving started at an early age. We were brought up hearing messages like, "Tis better to give than to receive" or "Give more than you get." We decided, consciously or unconsciously, that people who receive are greedy, selfish, weak, or needy – and since we didn't want to be any of those things, we made receiving wrong. When I first looked at my inability to receive, I realized that I had a belief that if I received something from someone, then I would owe them something in return. For me, being beholden to anyone was a loss of control and a very scary place, so receiving became taboo.




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How To Love Your Body [Special Video]

Your body is beautiful just because you have a body.

No other reason needed.

It is a living work of art. A masterpiece and magical expression of the Divine.

But how often do we really appreciate and love our bodies?

We have been conditioned and brainwashed by the media to believe that “You are not enough as you are”.

This is a lie.

This creates so much shame, judgment, non-acceptance of our naturalness. We end up hating our bodies, disconnecting from it’s innate intelligence, and comparing ourselves to others.

We base our self-worth on being the perfect shape, weight, or size.

You are worthy and lovable just because you ARE.

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Pull Up Those Big Girl Panties!

Today I am sending all of you a virtual pair of Big Girl panties as you embark on a New Year – a year to be filled with love, laughter and the meeting of your soulmate/lifepartner.

I want you to close your eyes and imagine you are putting them on now.

The purpose of these Big Girl panties is to be a constant reminder that you deserve Big Love.

The fact that you have the desire for this is PROOF of its fulfillment.

Your soulmate/lifepartner is out there seeking you!

It is your job to be open, ready, available and VISIBLE so you can find each other. And, you can make this process FUN!!!!

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The Language We All Speak

“There's nothing you can do that can't be done. Nothing you can sing that can't be sung ... All you need is love, love. All you need is love.”  -The Beatles


I've Been Thinking...

At the beginning of the week, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to write about this morning. I had been thinking a lot about how unscripted the world feels, and how it sort of mirrors my own life’s trajectory.

What I mean is that I feel like I’m basically making things up as I go these days. And where I’m going is shorter than where I came from. That feeling can either be very anxiety-inducing or freeing, depending on the day.

But then, a few things happened that made me want to write about love instead. I wasn’t called to the topic just because I had finished binge-watching “Modern Love” on Amazon (a TV show based on the NY Times column, both which I recommend). No, I was called to write about love because, in a deeply profound way, I think it’s our common denominator. It’s our common desire. It’s the feeling that we all want more of, and that we (and our world) desperately need right now.

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4 Steps to Walk Away the “Winner” of Any Argument

A fight between two people (lovers, spouses, family members) is a kind of psychological battle often filled with personal attacks, accusations, and dredging up past mistakes. When both parties are exhausted, or one grudgingly concedes, the fight ends—for the moment. But nothing has changed; resentment has just gone underground until it’s dug up again, and hostilities soon resume.

But it needn’t be this way. There’s a little known “magic” that can stop any fight in the moment and helps prevent the next one from getting starting. It’s the result of what we can call “relationship jiu-jitsu.”

Jiu-jitsu is an ancient Japanese martial art based in “the art of yielding.” The combatants use special “moves” to turn an opponent’s energy back on them. But here, I’m using the term psychologically, where the opponent isn’t a person you’re fighting. The true “opponent” to be overcome is a negative, lower level of consciousness in each of you that blames the other for the punishing pattern you’re both caught up in.

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See Beings, Not Bodies

What happens when you look at someone?

The Practice:
See beings, not bodies.

Why?

When we encounter someone, usually the mind automatically slots the person into a category: older, younger, your friend Tom, the kid next door, etc. Watch this happen in your own mind as you meet or talk with a co-worker, salesclerk, or family member.

In effect, the mind summarizes and simplifies tons of details into a single thing – a human thing to be sure, but one with an umbrella label that makes it easy to know how to act. For example: “Oh, that’s my boss (or mother-in-law, or boyfriend, or traffic cop, or waiter) . . . and now I know what to do. Good.”

This labeling process is fast, efficient, and gets to the essentials. As our ancestors evolved, rapid sorting of friend or foe was very useful. For example, if you’re a mouse, as soon as you smell something in the “cat” category, that’s all you need to know: freeze or run like crazy!

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Will you LOVE all of you – wounds, warts, and all?

Long, long ago, I thought if I just took the right workshop, read the right self-help books, or found a magic wand, I would find happiness and peace of mind.

And, doing all of those things helped a bit.

It certainly gave me some relief as well as insight and understanding as to how and why I had my issues.

But, after thousands of dollars, countless hours of various practices, I finally figured something out: Getting rid of the problem isn’t the best goal, and in a lot of cases, with core wounds, not even possible. Having worked closely with many of the biggest names in personal growth, here’s what I observed:

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Minimize Painful Experiences

Are you feeling unneeded pain?

The Practice:
Minimize painful experiences.

Why?

Painful experiences range from subtle discomfort to extreme anguish – and there is a place for them. Sorrow can open the heart, anger can highlight injustices, fear can alert you to real threats, and remorse can help you take the high road next time.

But is there really any shortage of suffering in this world? Look at the faces of others – including mine – or your own in the mirror, and see the marks of weariness, irritation, stress, disappointment, longing, and worry. There’s plenty of challenge in life already – including unavoidable illness, loss of loved ones, old age, and death – without needing a bias in your brain to give you an extra dose of pain each day.

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Copyright

© © Copyright 2019. Dr. Rick Hanson

You Don't Have to Live With Guilt

Do you know that it is completely possible to heal your guilt? I did it and so can you!

I grew up in a family that constantly used guilt as a form of control. Sometimes the guilt was somewhat subtle, such as “Fine, do what you want,” said with a blaming tone. Other times it was blatant, such as my grandmother (who lived with us) saying to me, whenever I didn’t do what she wanted, “How can you do this to me? You are so selfish.”

As an adolescent, if I came home five minutes after my curfew, I would hear my mother hissing at me from their bedroom as I tried to tiptoe into my room, her voice dripping with anger, “You’re late again. You know I worry about you.” My mother had many ways of making me responsible for her feelings – from her intense anger to her victim tears. I was always to blame.

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How To Get Others To Love You

How do you get people to like you?

How do you get people to love you?

How do you get people to validate you? 

The more time and energy you spend trying to get other people to love you, focusing your energy on being a certain way in order to get love, only causes you suffering. 

Realize, you don't have the power to make other people love you. 

The more time you spend to make people love you, the more disempowered you'll become and you will suffer. 

Watch Kute Blackson as he shares the keys to get other people to love you:
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Forgive

Are you holding onto feeling wronged?

The Practice:
Forgive.

Why?

Forgiveness is a tricky topic.

First, it has two distinct meanings:

  • To give up resentment or anger
  • To pardon an offense; to stop seeking punishment or recompense

Here, I am going to focus on the first meaning, which is broad enough to include situations where you have not let someone off the hook morally or legally, but you still want to come to peace about whatever happened. Finding forgiveness can walk hand in hand with pursuing justice.

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Owning Your Sensuality Mindset

My brilliant friend, Susan Bratton, is the trusted hot sex advisor to millions and an expert on all aspects on how to improve your sex life, which for many women, begins with improving your “sensuality mindset.” Please enjoy her wisdom on this topic.

Just recently I spoke at an all women’s sexuality event. Before I took the stage, I went around speaking to each individual woman. As we chatted, I asked them privately what they were thinking about when they decided to attend? What were they hoping I’d talk about? What issue was on their mind?

As I listened to the stories, the struggles and the desires of these beautiful women my mind filtered the meta-conversations into four main categories of interest. These women wanted to hear first about what kinds of treatments, procedures and technologies were available and effective at keeping their lady parts in good working order. They wanted to know how to keep their libido high as they aged. They wanted my tips on solo pleasure. And they wanted to hear about female pleasure potential — what was possible for them and what were they missing out on that they didn’t even know might be available?

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Turning The Tables on Turkey Day Trauma & Trepidation

Can you believe it’s almost Thanksgiving? 

What happened to Fall?

Although the song says "Oh, there's no place like home for the holidays," the fact is that most of us experience a sense of dread as we envision our upcoming holiday gatherings and being around our family.

Feelings of resistance, anxiety, and resignation start to bubble up as we anticipate the drama and dis-ease that will undoubtedly accompany the candied yams and pumpkin pie. As we contemplate the upcoming holiday, our minds naturally drift back to Thanksgivings past and any hope of warm and fuzzy feelings turn cold as we think about our family dynamic and the scenarios that consistently cause trauma and trepidation at our Thanksgiving table. Situations like: 

  • How do I once again try to explain to my family why I have to bring my own food since I eat vegan or gluten-free? 
  • What can I do to appease my parents and in-laws, who are all divorced but expect us to show up and make their Thanksgiving meal the most significant one? 
  • How should I handle it this year when, at the last minute, my sister-in-law once again decides to invite four more people to dinner? 
  • What do I do when Uncle Bob inevitably brings up politics?
  • How do I not get pissed off at my family when they stay glued to the television as I do all of the work in the kitchen?

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It’s a Beautiful Day to Help Each Other Heal

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain

I've Been Thinking...

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that if you remain open and awake to what’s happening around you, then life will offer you an endless parade of lessons.

Lessons can come in the form of experiences. They can come in the form of encounters and individuals. And, they can come in the form of something we see up close, or witness at a distance. (They certainly come when you watch something historic happen, like the impeachment hearings.)

Not all lessons are pleasant, but they all can serve you in some way. That’s why it’s up to you to make sense of them, find meaning in them, and ultimately grow from them.

Life is our greatest teacher, but every once in a while, a really great person comes along that imparts lessons on our collective humanity. Mr. Rogers was one such teacher.

I find it amazing that he is still “alive,” even so many years after his death. I also find it important to reflect on the fact that so many of us are longing for his guidance, wisdom, and gentle tone to help us navigate the here and now.

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Can I Be Responsible For Myself And Still Be Free?

Do you have some false beliefs that taking responsibility for yourself limits your freedom?

A client asked me the following question:

“During my Inner Bonding process today, I uncovered a feeling of reluctance to commit to being there for my inner child. I felt like I didn’t want the responsibility, like it would limit me and tie me down. Part of me was saying “I want to be free.” Where do I go with this now?

This question indicates a huge false belief about taking responsibility for herself.

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7 Surprising Benefits of Pleasure for Health, Happiness, and Work-Life Balance

Are you overworked and under-pleasured? Do you spend a lot of time giving to your career, business, or family?

Helping others is important for a fulfilling life. However, are you making time for your own joy, pleasure, and sexuality?

In our busy world, our to-do lists are often a mile long, filled with obligations, responsibilities, text messages, phone calls, plus caring for our families, home, job, and others. 

Growing up, I saw my parents working hard and rarely resting. As an adult, I found myself doing the same thing. I placed my own pleasure and free time at the bottom of my to-do list. 

However, over the years, this strategy failed me. As I passionately poured my heart into my work, I did not take time to refill my cup, and I became exhausted, stressed, sad, and sick. Since my own pleasure and self-care were last on my to-do list, I never got around to them.

Not surprisingly, since I wasn’t slowing myself down, the universe forced me to slow down through a serious health crash 4 years ago. During these last 4 years, I discovered a new strategy, which I now call “Prioritize Pleasure.” As I made time for my own health, pleasure, and even sexuality, I regained my health and became a much happier, stronger person, which meant that ultimately, I had even more energy to give to my work and the people I care about.

If you are making the all-too-common mistake of “too much work and not enough play and pleasure,” the tips below will inspire you to bring back your sanity through sensuality.

What Exactly is Pleasure?



According to the dictionary, pleasure is “a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment.” Pleasure helps you enjoy life and stay happy and healthy!

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Marry Your Conscience

Have you heard about the studies that say we are a reflection of the five people that we spend the most time with? That’s right! We become most like the people we most like!

When you look around your life, who or what do you see?

Are there people who inspire you? Are willing to be straight with you? Hold your greatest dreams and visions?

Or are there people who are more apt to choose harmony over truth, even when it comes to situations that are not in our highest?

Years ago, I attended a ceremony in which Jay Leno, the comedian, was being honored. Accepting the award and thanking all of the people who supported him in his career, he of course singled-out his wife. In speaking about her and the success of their long-term marriage, Leno said:

"Marry your conscience. Marry the one who makes you want to be a better person."



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What we become when obstacles are removed for us

What’s standing in your way right now? A relationship that’s no longer working but you don’t dare to end? Parents who won’t support your dream to become a musician because they want you to be lawyer? Your fear of being judged so you don’t show who you really are and live behind a mask your whole life? Whatever is getting in the way between you and whatever it is you’re trying to be or do, you’re probably wishing that you could will it away or that someone would take it away for you.

Life is not always smooth sailing, as we all know. Throughout our lives, we encounter obstacles—both external and internal—that prevent us from getting what we want or where we need to be. They invoke all sorts of emotional reaction from us. Sometimes, we feel annoyed. Sometimes, we get angry. And sometimes, we become afraid. But never do we feel glad about them. We often see them as unwanted roadblocks that delay our journey and bring us inconvenience and unnecessary suffering. But do we ever ask ourselves why they are even there? If we don’t deal with obstacles, what would we become?

Chicken or jerk?

One of my friends is raising an only child. She and her husband are very protective and they do everything to make life easy for their son to the extent that when the boy was 10 years old, he didn’t even know how to eat a meal with a fork and a knife. One time, we were having lunch and she got a phone call from him. Her son was 14 at that time. He was at the train station and asked if her mother could pick him up and take him home. So, we had to quickly end our lovely meal.

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Bursting the Super Woman / Super Mom Bubble

Wake up. Work out. Make breakfast (for everyone). Drive the kids to school. Drive yourself to work. Take the kids to all their activities. Bring them home. Make sure they’re doing their homework. Make dinner (for everyone). Be a mom. Be a friend. Be a daughter. Be a lover. Go to bed. Repeat.

Okay, so maybe not everything on this list applies to you personally, but I’m sure there are some others that are unique to you that you could swap in – and then some. As women, we are often expected to do ALL. THE. THINGS. And let’s be honest: our families, coworkers, and others learn to expect this from us because we are so darn good at making it look like we really can do it all! The reality, though, is that with so many balls in the air, something is going to drop. 

When something does inevitably drop, what’s your reaction going to be? And perhaps even more importantly, how are you going to react on a daily basis to the juggling act you’ve got going on?

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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