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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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: The Inside of Jade

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As ancient Buddhists drank tea
to prevent drowsiness during epic
mediations, we drink of each other’s
pain and joy to prevent our souls
from going back to sleep.

In the second chapter of Lu Yu’s
Cha Ching, the holy scripture of tea,
he remarks that the most potent leaves
have creases that have held the sun
which when softened release
an aroma from the Beginning.

This is what a life ushered into
acceptance looks like: crease,
soften, and in time we unfold
with an ease beyond our making.

The tea hut by design is too
small to enter standing, and too
narrow to bring anything with you.

Like the threshold to wisdom
after a lifetime of trouble.
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What You Eat Can Impact Climate Change! See 9 Foods That Harm the Planet and 11 Foods That Can Help Save It

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If there’s one common problem that every inhabitant of the Earth is currently facing, it’s climate change.

Those two words sound innocent enough: “climate change.” And maybe that’s part of the problem; with everything that’s going on right now, thinking about the climate changing in 10 or 50 or 80 years just isn’t that much of a priority for most of us.

But that’s got to change. Because really, what’s happening isn’t just climate “change”, it’s climate chaos. And as crazy as things have gotten, unless we change course, we are barely seeing the tip of the iceberg of what’s coming.

But already, climate chaos is beginning to unfold, and it’s not looking good.

With unprecedented heat waves in unlikely places, like Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; and even British Columbia; unprecedented flooding in Germany, Belgium, and China; unprecedented droughts and wildfires in the Western US and around the globe; the first rainfall on the peak of Greenland’s ice sheet for the first time in literally ever — and a truly alarming new scientific report on the now-unavoidable impact of global warming on our world, we can’t keep acting as if this isn’t an urgent matter of life or death.

So here’s the latest update on the crisis — and on one of the most important things we can do to turn it around (that almost nobody is talking about!).

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The Ultimate Guide to Manifesting Abundance!

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When you look into your future and imagine the prosperous and abundant life of your dreams, what do you see? 

Perhaps it’s wealth and financial freedom, a beautiful home and time for travel, a healthy and loving family and community, and meaningful work that fulfills you. When we think about the life and the future we desire, there’s a tendency to focus on these types of external and material things. 

What many don’t realize is that what they truly want isn’t the thing itself, it’s the experience of having that thing they believe would give them. 

The meaning of abundance is as unique to each individual as our soul’s path because true abundance means living and experiencing the things our soul most desires, within the blueprint of the life we have been given. 

When you ask yourself, “What does abundance mean to me?” I want to invite you to look deeper than just the accomplishments, success, or material things that you think would make you feel abundant. 

Instead, can you ask yourself things like what you want to feel in your life, who you want to serve, and what experience you want to have… 

The answers to these questions will begin to lead you toward your unique definition of abundance. And only with this deeper clarity can you begin to manifest the full and meaningful life your heart craves. 

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12 Effective strategies to achieve financial wellbeing and avoid financial stress

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Your monetary resources will definitely become limited when you first start your career. You will face several responsibilities you’ll need to manage throughout your professional life. As time goes on, you might become worried about your kid’s college expenses and planning for a safe retirement.

A positive outlook and confidence will take you a long way. Life is full of obstacles, and if we lose our faith, we may not achieve our desired goals. So, even in the midst of the COVID pandemic, we should remain enthusiastic about life and our financial wellbeing.

Many people remain unemployed or live on a reduced salary during this crisis. Some people are financially strapped. They receive threatening letters from creditors on top of their everyday problems, or they are getting banished from their social circle because they can’t pay bills. This tension can deplete energy, divert your focus from your job, and negatively influence your judgment.

However, we should strive to enhance our financial wellbeing during this time to cope with the financial stress that the pandemic has imposed. We can improve our financial condition and gain the confidence needed to achieve our goals by following a solid discipline.

A few strategies to avoid financial stress and enhance financial wellbeing are included below.

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292 Hits

Reconnect Yourself with Timeless Wisdom and End Useless, Painful Thoughts

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We must recognize the almost endless cycle of pressure, anxiety, anger, and regret that always appears with the promise that if we follow some branch of negativity, it will lead us back to the source of understanding where we’ll be free at last. In fact, that branch we’re tempted to follow belongs to something that can never complete itself, and that requires our energy to sustain it.

Instead of trying to complete the moment through what anxiety, fear, or anger tell us to do, we must be completely present to those thoughts, completely present to that pain – a pain that promises freedom in a time to come, but is really the continuation of the consciousness that is pain itself because it lives apart from the true Vine and the true life. 

Instead of trying to untie all this experience that seems to be the product of unwanted conditions we try to control, our real task is to sever our relationship on the spot with anything in us that wants to continue trying to free itself in time.

This may sound impossible. We’re concerned about what will happen to us if we don’t serve that master.  We feel stress and anxiety, we wonder what will happen if we don’t do again what has never freed us in the past, but hope may work this time.

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Intentional Spirit: A DREAM IS MEANT TO BE REALIZED

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Dreams and visions are a beautiful part of this life. The emerging self is always seeking to accept the now moment, while at the same time welcoming the mystery around the corner.


I realized a few years ago the statement “I am waiting on my dreams to come true” was not a true metaphysical and proactive statement for me. This statement put the outcome on something or someone else outside of my own power and control. I have since learned to declare, “My dreams are waiting for me to come true.”

I am claiming my role as co-creator in realizing my dreams by deepening my own self-awareness and development in what I want to become in this future dream.

As I hold the space for my dreams to become realized, I continue to grow my consciousness, so when the dream appears I will be ready. Harry Potter was told, “Do not keep your focus on the realization of your dream, otherwise, you will miss your life.”
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Traveling Mindfully Connects Us to the Deeper Meaning of Life

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Travel can be a sacred act. Many people on the planet are waking up to the idea that true  “pilgrimage” is a tangible possibility. Traveling mindfully is an intentional process, an active rather than passive way of traveling.

Intentional, sacred travel, even, is a process by which we can connect to the deeper meaning of life.

In his The Art of Pilgrimage, Phil Cousineau writes, “The art of pilgrimage is the craft of taking time seriously, elegantly. What every traveler confronts sooner or later is that the way we spend each day of our travel . . . is the way we spend our lives.”

Phil isn’t only a well-read, adventurous author—he’s also one of our veteran tour leaders who’s been crafting expansive journeys with us for many years. 

It’s because of leaders like Phil that we’re reminded of the importance of how to best travel. . . and how to best spend our lives. 

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Commitment to Hope

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“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without words
And never stops—at all”
—Emily Dickinson

A key component in any transformative life experience, personal or planetary, is hope. Not half-hearted or faint hope, but hope that is steadfast, sturdy, resilient, like that in Emily Dickinson’s poem. Hope within the human soul cannot be extinguished, no matter the hardship or loss. Despite the challenges of life, we humans endure because of that intangible something within us that holds us to life. Yet, there are times when hope seems shaky—as tenuous as a single candle flame wavering in a strong wind. Times such as now, when political discord, a deadly global pandemic, or personal crises erode our belief in a positive outcome. This is when hope is needed most.

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The Central Dogma: From Dogma to Doo-Doo

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In 1958, Francis Crick, co-founder with James Watson of the DNA genetic code, defined the concept referred to as The Central Dogma. This dogma described how the organizing information in biology represented a one-way flow from DNA > RNA > Protein.

The Central Dogma provided the foundation for the principle of Genetic Determinism, the belief that genes “determine” the character and quality of our lives. While I taught this concept to medical students for over a decade, it was only after I left academia that I looked-up the definition of Dogma: A belief based on religious persuasion and not scientific fact. At that moment I realized I had been teaching religion in medical school.

When confronted with the real definition of dogma, Crick responded, “I used the word the way I myself thought about it, not as most of the world does, and simply applied it to a grand hypothesis that, however plausible, had little direct experimental support."

The main point is that The Central Dogma, a hypothesis that was never tested, has been repeated so consistently over the last 60 years that people have bought it to be a scientific fact. This dogma has always been an unverified “suggestion.”

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273 Hits

A Different Way Of Living

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The most powerful person in the world is the person who doesn’t need anything from anyone anymore. That is power. Power isn’t control, rage and intimidation, that’s weakness not power. Power isn’t having everyone in your life being afraid of you. 

Power is not needing anything or anyone in your life. Why? Because you already are everything. There is nothing missing in you. And this is a very different way of living your life. No matter what your circumstance, and how you are living, when you realize you are powerful, because you have the capacity to be peaceful, you are free. In that peace, everything starts to align and work out for you. 

Your need to initiate something is a repetitive cycle or pattern. And, where you are initiating from  is a place of pain . . . you are initiating a relationship dynamic because you are avoiding feeling the pain of being alone. 

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551 Hits

How To Welcome Success Into Your Life By Creating A Blessing Ceremony

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Do you want a little extra magic in your life?  Are you seeking a new career and sending off resumes?  Maybe you are applying to your dream college or program of study.  Wherever you are, knowing how to welcome success into your life, by creating a blessing ceremony can help you live abundantly.

I love the magic of ceremonies.  There is something about slowing down and being very intentional with our thoughts and actions, that I find beautiful.  It is almost like weaving love into my thoughts, dreams and actions before I send them off to the Universe.

There are ceremonies for almost anything in life.  You can have a releasing ceremony to help you let go of what is not serving you.  You can create an abundance ceremony when you are struggling with your ability to see abundance.

The list of possible ceremonies is endless, but today we will focus on a blessing ceremony.

I am in the final stages of putting together a book proposal.  This has not been a solo journey.  My editor has helped me.  I also rely on another person to make it look great and to put everything in one file.

My Guides, Angels, Universe and ancestors are also helping me. It is in recognizing the unseen, that I will create a blessing ceremony and make the send off of my book proposal a sacred event.

I am being very intentional on what I am bringing into my blessing ceremony.  Keep reading and discover some possible choices you might include in your next blessing ceremony.

Before you begin planning your ceremony, be very clear with your intention.  Also remember that in the ceremony we are offering our desires to the Universe.  We have no control in how they will manifest.  However, we know it will be for our highest good.

One more important aspect, all ceremonies should be held in the space of love and light.

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272 Hits

Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: As He Lay There

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When my father was close
to death, we were stripped
of our history. I sat by his bed,
holding the ancient, twig-like
hand of a ninety-three-year-old
who, though absent for years,
was mythic to me.

As he lay there, under the weight
of a stroke, life undressed the myth
I put on him and he was just a frail
old man who had introduced me
to the sea, who had loved wood
into marvelous shapes, who sur-
rounded himself with books
though he was a slow reader.

After a lifetime of holding back,
he wanted to speak, though he
couldn’t. And I understood
him completely.


A Question to Walk With: Describe someone important in your life and how your sense of them has shifted over the years.

This excerpt is from my book of poems, The Tone in the Center of the Bell.



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Good Things Come to Those Who Act

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Good things come to those who wait.

We’ve heard it. We’ve used it on our kids. And we may have even practiced it ourselves a time or two. It’s a quote on patience, and it’s quite a valuable one.

But it’s not always necessarily true.

Depending on the situation, patience is great. It helps us pass the time during the mundane; distracts us during things we dislike; and survive the moments we feel like we won’t make it another ten seconds.

When it comes to our lives – specifically, our big and important goals – we eventually have to stop waiting and start doing.

For those of you afraid to take that jump, I understand. It’s one thing to put yourself in a position to pursue the things you’ve always wanted. It’s a totally different situation to actually change your life. Why? Because funneling away a few hundred dollars a month doesn’t drastically change your life. Neither does going to a few networking events a month or even an extended vacation to test out our idea.
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Slow Times are Grow Times

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Many of us will hit fear season, the winter of our work. It’s when things go inky, evaporate, slow down to a crawl, or simply collapse on the side of the road. It’s when insecurity whips up like candy wrappers in a tornado. Most of us see the slack times as the pink slip of self-employment or some bad plague from which we will never recover.

But every creative success story seems to require a plunge into pain. It’s the emotional jalapeno that wakes up the creative grit to succeed. It’s when you call up your will power, leave chance behind, and summon the immensity of your own unspeakable strength. Nothing is happening on the surface. But know this: there’s a surge of growth mounting within you.

When I’ve hit dry skids in my speaking and coaching business, I have often gone on wild red alert. You would think the aliens had finally arrived, closed Starbucks, and brought the end of civilization with them. Friends say comforting things like “The land needs to be fallow before it yields new crops. It’s all a period of gestation.” But I am gestating demons, bankruptcy, and new strains of anxiety attacks. I am growing crops of hallucinations. I’m not so good with this passive little time out for spa days and redirection.

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193 Hits

Connecting With Abundance

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As society has just experienced on a massive scale, anxiety about loss of income is very damaging. Everyone can see the loss in economic terms, but at a deeper level something invisible is at work. People’s sense of abundance and fulfillment is undermined. When we worry about not having enough, we immediately think in terms of money, but what about a lack of emotional fulfillment, a lack of love, lack of creative solutions? Abundance needs to prevail in those areas first and foremost.

The most crucial thing to understand is that abundance begins in your awareness. Look at the by now familiar story of lottery winners who are worse off ten years after their sudden windfall. Why? Because they couldn’t adapt. They were used to processing their lives on a limited scale, and suddenly they were asked to process millions of dollars, massive attention, public exposure, and the demands of people all around them.

Unless you are prepared to adapt, abundance itself can turn into a burden on you. The secret is to constantly build an attitude of abundance in small steps leading to a big goal: a sense of self that can accept higher and higher levels of opportunity. Here are seven steps you can build on:

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A Spoiler Alert For Your Life

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Spoiler alert: Eventually everything in your life just works. 

It all fits. Everything that was once incomplete or a problem or an issue . . .  in the end . . . it just works! Your life has been designed perfectly for you in every way. 

Of course you’ll have to go through some things before you get there. But in the end, when you are experiencing the conscious manifestation of your life, the only thing you will experience is harmony. It all just flows. 

If you are in the in-between phase, where you are still needing to make some tough decisions, what you are going through is necessary and it takes as long as you need it to take before it becomes that way. By continuing to deny yourself or deny who you are, then your life denies you. When you are perpetuating your victimhood, your suffering and scarcity, you are doing it to yourself. 

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Be Mind Full of Good

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What’s in your mind?

The Practice:
Be mind full of good.

Why?

It’s kind of amazing: right now, what you think and feel, enjoy and suffer, is changing your brain. The brain is the organ that learns, designed by evolution to be changed by our experiences: what scientists call experience-dependent neuroplasticity.

Neurons that fire together, wire together. This means that each one of us has the power to use the mind to change the brain to change the mind for the better. To benefit oneself and other beings.

Using this internal power is more important than ever these days, when so many of us are pushed and prodded by external forces – the economy, media, politics, workplace policies, war on the other side of the world, the people on the other side of the dining room table – and by our reactions to them.

Life is often hard. To cope with hard things, to be effective and successful, or simply to experience ordinary well-being, we need resources inside, inner strengths like resilience, compassion, gratitude, and other positive emotions, self-worth, and insight.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Spiritual Fluency

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Our utter devotion to whatever is before us reveals the nearest detail as a doorway to the Infinite Latticework that holds the Universe together. This moment of spiritual fluency makes us a conduit of life-force. Such moments recharge the heart the way plugging in a lantern revitalizes the reach and intensity of its beam. Through each instance of inner thoroughness, the heart educates us further in what it means to be alive.

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Let Go of Disappointment

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Every season of your life brings in new adventures that are exciting but can often be a time of uncertainty. Moving away from your hometown, changing careers, getting married or other exciting life milestones feel like they should be filled with unbridled happiness, but many times end up less than the perfect scenario we envisioned on our journey.

Each time we set out to achieve a new goal or realize our dreams, we’re met with disappointment at various points on our path. Just because things don’t always go as planned doesn’t mean you should abandon your hopes of ever being successful. Learning how to deal with disappointment along the way is just as important as the accomplishments you seek.

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Is Your Early Trauma Picking Your Partners?

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Most people have had at least one bad relationship in their life. For most individuals, this bad relationship was a blip on the radar, with the experience chalked up to a lesson learned.

However, there are also people who find themselves in the same toxic relationship over and over again. The partner may look different on the surface. Still, his behaviors, abusive ways, or emotional unavailability are exactly the same as the partners before.
Why do some people bounce back after a toxic relationship and move on to a healthy relationship while others are destined to repeat the same negative relationship cycle? The surprising answer is that this behavior may be directly related to early trauma in your childhood years.

The Legacy of Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma is more common than most people assume. For example, in a 2017 study by Grant Sara and Julia Lappin published in The Lancet Public Health Journal, one in four adults reported they were physically abused as kids, and one in eight reported sexual abuse.  As stated in my book, Love Smacked: How to Stop the Cycle of Relationship Addiction and Codependency to Find Everlasting Love . “When we hold on to unresolved pain from childhood, especially trauma and abandonment, these wounds reemerge in adult relationships as toxic shame.”
Other types of childhood trauma can include:

•  Loss of a parent – the death of a close family member or a significant person in a child’s life can create trauma if the child is not allowed to grieve or does not receive the care and attention required to work through the grief.

• Multiple homes – children that are moved from home to home either within a family or through the foster care system are often traumatized as they have no place of comfort or belonging.

• Bullying and fear – this can be bullying from siblings, parents, or even within a community. This can be a single significant event or chronic types of fearful situations without the parental support and care needed for the child.

• Abandonment – children that are abandoned with friends, relatives, strangers, or even the other parent can be traumatized very early in life.
   
• Addicted parents – children that live in homes where they must take care of siblings and even their parents are often traumatized as they feel overwhelmed and helpless.

Attachment Styles and Choosing Partners 

Children that experience trauma early in life develop an anxious attachment style, which is sometimes called an anxious-preoccupied attachment style. These people are extremely fearful of being on their own as they obtain their validation and reason in life from being with someone else. Although they believe they need their partner for their identity, they often feel the partner does not care enough.

Signs of an anxious or anxious preoccupied attachment style include:
   
•  Extreme desire to please – these individuals will do anything to win the approval of their emotionally distant partners. This may include staying in physical abuse and toxic relationships.
      
• Clingy – the need to be physically close to the partner. This can initially seem attractive to some partners, but it quickly becomes overwhelming and smothering.
     
• Constant communication – in today’s always plugged-in world, this can include constant calling, texting, posting on social media, and even electronically tracking their partner.
       
• Constant reassurances – there is a constant need for reassurance the relationship is fine. This can become a constant in the relationship.

• Jumping into relationships – anxious attachment styles have short dating periods and then immediately into a serious and significant relationship.

These types of individuals attract people who need attention. The narcissist is the prime example of an individual who seeks out a person with an anxious attachment style as they crave the need for attention.

Tips Identifying Toxic Relationships 

It can be difficult to identify the signs of a toxic relationship if your childhood trauma has made it difficult to see the red flags in the relationship. Here are some tips you can use to determine if you are in a relationship with a toxic partner:

• Constant arguments – despite all you do to try to please the other person, it is never enough. You are always blamed for any difficulties or negativity.
   
• Jealousy – despite ignoring you or being emotionally distant, your partner may be very jealous of your relationships with others.
   
• Emotionally exhausted – taking responsibility for the happiness of another person while ignoring your own wellbeing is emotionally draining.

• Inability to end the relationship – if you believe you have to be in the relationship for your own happiness, despite being unhappy, and cannot break off the relationship, you may be in a toxic situation.

Working with a therapist or counselor with experience in healing from childhood trauma is perhaps the best way to identify the problem and begin the healing process.  You can also consider joining my online group coaching program Wake Up Recovery where you will receive support from me, as well as those like minded souls who have been where you have been.
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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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