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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Mindful Tips for Drama-Free Holidays

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How to Stay Calm When Things Go From Festive to Frustrating


The holidays are upon us. And along with family gatherings, gifts, and cheerful lights in the dark of winter, the season brings mixed feelings for many people.

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How to Create a Peaceful Place for Meditation

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Meditation offers an array of benefits for your body, mind and spirit. Enthusiasts claim the practice can do anything from easing chronic pain to helping you touch divinity.

However, you need an appropriate location to spread out your mat. Here are five steps to creating a peaceful place for meditation.

1. Find a Quiet Place

It isn’t always easy to carve out a space to hear yourself think. The problem compounds if you share an apartment with noisy roommates or have several littles making nonstop pitter-patter with their little feet. However, you can get creative even in a studio by insulating an area to find your zen.

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Feeling Tense? SNAP out of Stress

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Mindful methods to calm stress, strain, and worry



Have you found yourself posting funny memes, silly videos or amusing clips from TV or movies to share a laugh with your friends? Or have you made a habit of searching YouTube or TikTok for funny cat videos? Laughter is a great way to relieve some of the sadness and seriousness of these times, and reset your nervous system from stressed to calm. So is mindfulness.

Research shows that mindfulness meditation is a powerful tool that can help us:

  • Reduce anxiety, depression and stress.

  • Increase emotional well-being.

  • Build more satisfying relationships.

  • Maintain healthy habits such as diet and exercise.

Studies even suggest that mindfulness may reduce inflammation and improve immune system function — and reduce the harmful effects stress has on your heart and mental health.

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10 Tips to Boost Emotional Wellness in Turbulent Times

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Mindful Methods to Break the Cycle of Stress


Do you ever have moments when you feel like your thoughts have been hijacked by your emotions?

Living through a pandemic, along with the noise and negativity that now dominates our newsfeeds, it’s no surprise that we sometimes experience uncomfortable emotions such as fear, frustration, anger, and worry.

One reason we have survived on this planet for so long is that our brains have adapted to constantly consider “what if” scenarios. But in modern humans, “What if a lion is in this cave?” has been replaced with a never-ending playlist of fears, from worries about COVID-19 to apprehension over global warming and natural and political disasters.

Ages ago, checking to see if a man-eating feline was in the cave before we entered had real benefits for our survival. But today, constantly ruminating on things over which we have little control creates chronic stress that can harm our health and sap our joy in life.

Fortunately, there’s a wonderfully simple tool we can use to break the cycle of stress and refocus our attention on what’s most important to us. That tool is mindfulness.

Any time we pay attention to what we are thinking, feeling, and doing in the moment, we are practicing mindfulness. When we practice being present, observing and accepting our thoughts and feelings without judgment, we give our overworked nervous systems a break. This calms the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for processing fearful or threatening stimuli. By reducing the flow of stress hormones in our bodies, mindfulness also helps reduce inflammation and boosts the immune system.

For October, Emotional Wellness Month, here are some mindful methods you can practice throughout your day to help you stay calm in the chaos:

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Everyday Oracles

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Do you ever wish that you could talk directly to your higher power – asking for guidance and receiving clear signs and signals to keep you on track along your journey? 

Whether or not we are aware of it, Spirit (the Universe, God, the Divine, or whatever you choose to call it) is always looking out for us and keeping us on track for our highest good. Even in our most challenging times, Spirit is there for us. 

But so much of the time, we miss the communication that is available to us every single day through the conscious Universe. Whether or not we choose to pay attention or listen, Spirit is always communicating with us and is there as our partner to protect and guide us. 

We just have to learn to slow down, tune in, and receive the guidance and the messages that are all around.

If you’ve ever found yourself craving messages from spirit or signs from the Universe, you will find immense value, meaning, and peace in learning to understand and recognize everyday Oracles. 

Recognizing the presence of everyday Oracles 

There are countless ways the Universe sends you messages. It could be a series of repeating numbers, a song on the radio that catches your attention, a symbol you ask for and recognize, a dream, a meaningful coincidence, or even a message in your soup bowl… 

In fact, these communications from the Divine are so common and so meaningful that I wrote an entire book about them! My book, Messages From Spirit is all about the many ways in which we can communicate with our higher power through the world around us.  

In the book, I share a story about Tasseography, a type of divination that my father shared with me as a young girl. He taught me to read messages in leftover coffee grounds, an ancient practice found in Slavic and Baltic nations as well as the middle east. It’s closely related to tea-leaf reading, which actually had its known beginnings in China although no one knows 100% of its origin.

The story goes that a close friend of mine was visiting and we had discussed the idea of going out to dinner, and then going home afterward to share some Turkish coffee and read the messages in the leftover grinds. 

At dinner, we both ordered a thick squash soup. As I ate my soup, I kept seeing images popping up in the bowl! I saw a swan, a pumpkin, and a baby. 

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Make Self-Care a SNAP

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Skills to Build Mindful Self-Compassion Anytime, Anywhere


Just when we thought the pandemic was in the rearview mirror, cases are again surging along with stress over how to cope. Parents sending kids back to school or off to college, workers wondering whether to return to the office, everyone unsure what the future holds — who doesn’t feel worried, frustrated and disappointed?

September is Self-Care Awareness Month, yet many people don’t take the time they should to care for themselves. Maybe they think self-care is frivolous, time-consuming, or even selfish. Or they get so busy fulfilling the demands of making a living and caring for a family that they forget to put their own oxygen mask on first. When turbulence hits, they feel stretched too far and snap.

If you have been feeling stressed out, burned out, or beat up by circumstances in life, it’s time to start practicing mindful self-compassion.

Mindfulness is being able to face and acknowledge our difficult thoughts and feelings with a spirit of openness and curiosity. Self-compassion involves responding to these difficult thoughts and feelings with kindness, sympathy, and understanding so that we soothe and comfort ourselves when we’re hurting. Fortunately, mindful self-compassion is a skill you can practice anytime, anywhere.

Self-care comes in many forms. Some require you to stop what you are doing and take a break, such as taking a break to walk in nature, soaking in a soothing bath, or reading your favorite book at the end of the day. But there’s also another way you can practice self-care that only requires you to pause and evaluate what you need to feel better. I call this the SNAP system:

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Shadows and Light

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On August 9, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.* For two days I moved, stunned, beneath the dark shadow of those words, which I never had imagined would apply to me. I felt as if all joy and flow in my life had vanished. I couldn’t access the inner peace that had become so much a part of my daily experience. I couldn’t hear my soul’s voice. I was lost within the dramatic scenarios my mind was playing out, all of them shadowed and sad. I grieved the loss of my connection to spirit, to trust (and perhaps to life). Then a wise friend reminded me that I didn’t have to immediately be at peace, that it was okay to feel whatever I needed to, day by day. The light of peace would eventually return, as long as I remembered not to get caught in the mind drama, and just trust the divine process of it all. He was right.

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4 Mindfulness Tips for a Healthy Marriage

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When we get married (or enter a committed romantic partnership), we hope for peace and love to rule the day, day after day and year after year. Because life presents difficulties, our peace can be shattered and our love may be in danger of dissolving. Just as mindfulness helps us to sit with the challenges of daily life and appreciate what is present, it can help us to appreciate our partners and sit with the hard moments that inevitably arise. Though we can’t avoid the problems, when we practice mindfulness in our relationship, we can handle difficult moments with compassion and love, rather than resentment and anger.


At first, practicing mindfulness in a marriage may feel uncomfortable or unnatural. Eventually, as you plug your practice into your daily routine, it may feel easy and wonderful! Just remember, there is nothing wrong with you if you have challenges in your relationship. When two people come together, there will always be places and moments in which they seem to clash. The objective is not to avoid problems altogether, but to create a practice that allows you to sit with these hard times and manage the difficulties together in compassionate connection, so that you can repair the rupture and move forward together with kindness and love.

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Sacred Warrior: PRESENCE

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Ernest Holmes was a Sacred Warrior. He spoke what he believed, and the world benefited immensely.

While attending a well-known garden in California and viewing and experiencing all the beauty around him, he came upon a struggling little plant. Ernest went up to the grounds keeper and said, “Hi, I am Ernest Holmes, where are the people in charge?”

The young man looked somewhat puzzled as he pointed to the offices on the second floor of a large building. Ernest instructed him to get the individuals in management to come and see him. In a few minutes, a few men came walking towards Ernest in their suits and ties and Ernest said, “Hi, I am Dr. Ernest Holmes and I would like to know what you are doing about this little plant?” The men looked somewhat baffled, but suddenly located a water hose and some fertilizer and began to take care of the little plant.

When the efforts were completed and the men had left, Ernest went over to the little plant and knelt down. He said, “I told you I would take care of you, didn’t I?”

The power of life is everywhere and in everything like plants and all living creatures. Ernest knew the intelligence of life is all around us, and as a Sacred Warrior he changed people and circumstances at depth. A Sacred Warrior is called to service in day-to-day life. More often than not the Sacred Warrior is willing to speak what very few are willing to say.

The Sacred Warrior possesses a willingness to honor the deep connection to the Divine, while at the same time no longer driven by an energy or desire to fit in with what is the norm or maintain the status quo.

This article is an excerpt from my new book: Being A Difference Maker: A Guide For Living Life Out Loud. 

Loving Life,

 

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Stillness of the Heart and Soul

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The nonstop noise of the external world often keeps us from experiencing the quiet at the core of our being. There, a timeless eternal presence without sound or language awaits us, a connection to something greater than our individual, seemingly short lives. Outer distractions, both audio and visual, continuously surround us from our TVs, laptops, and cell phones and prevent a deeper relationship to all of life. Traffic sounds, machinery, and loud voices in nonstop conversation interrupt our peace of mind, even if we don’t consciously recognize the dissonance. Yet, something within each of us does know something is amiss and longs for an absence of sound within which we can feel calmer, more centered. How do we get there?

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Do Freely

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What are you doing?

The Practice:
Do freely.

Why?

Most people spend most minutes of most days doing one thing after another. I sure do. Typing these words is a kind of doing, as is driving to work, making dinner, brushing one’s teeth, or putting the kids to bed. For all the “labor-saving” devices of the past 50 years – dishwashers, phone machines, word processors, etc. – most of us are laboring more, not less. For example, in terms of employment, the average workweek in America has gotten longer over the past 50 years. Meet someone and ask how he or she is, the answer is likely: “busy.” Doing is a huge part of life, yet we don’t usually bring much awareness or wisdom to it.

Sometimes doing feels good. There could be a sense of flow in everyday activities, pleasure in your own skillfulness or competence, or fulfillment in helping others.

But often doing feels numb, or worse: on your feet for hours, grinding through repetitive tasks, zipping from one email to another, worried about performance, pressured and driven. In America and elsewhere, the relentless pace of stressful doing gradually wears down mental and physical health, and fuels conflicts with others. It’s a big problem, with many costs.

How does your own doing generally feel for you?

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Pandemic Parenting 101: Don’t Forget to Prioritize Your Own Wellness

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It has been a long road through this pandemic reality, and even with some very promising corners turned, we are not through it yet. Many parents have been navigating these strange days simply by doing all they can to keep their children’s lives on track — even if that means neglecting their own well-being. If that sounds familiar, this article is for you. Your wellness matters, and putting yourself last all the time isn’t ultimately doing anyone any favors.

We all want our kids to be happy. We want them to thrive, and we want to protect them from undue strife or struggle any way we can. But here’s the thing: If we all lived by that saying, “You’re only as happy as your least happy child,” we’d doom ourselves to a lifetime of limited joy. Until we take our happiness into our own hands and unhook it from our kids, we won’t experience the grounded sense of peace and joyfulness we crave with any consistency.

4 Ways to Set Your Happiness Free with Mindfulness

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How Can Cannabis Promote Mindfulness?

Mindfulness, although an old age concept, has quite become mainstream lately. The University of Massachusetts was the first to introduce a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), ever since mindfulness has been a point of interest for many researchers. Over the years, many pieces of research and anecdotal studies have documented the benefits of mindfulness on our physical and mental health.

While practicing mindfulness techniques is relatively straightforward, it may not be as easy to incorporate as they may seem. It requires you to maintain awareness of the internal and external environment by keeping your thoughts still. For beginners, it may be pretty overwhelming to preserve the stability of feelings and emotions. Hence an external aid like cannabis can be quite beneficial. If you wish to explore how cannabis can help with your mindfulness practice, here is a brief of everything it does for you.

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60 Seconds to Mindfulness Meditation

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Most of us wish we had more time in the day for the things that make us feel healthier and happier. It can be challenging to figure out where to squeeze in these things that we treat as “extras” — as wants more than needs. Consider this your official invitation to move anything that makes your experience of life better (aka self-care!) into the “needs” column. And while you ponder how to make that work globally in your life, I have an incredibly simple way for you to get started.

If you have 60 seconds, you have time to squeeze a mindfulness meditation into your day. Practicing mindfulness helps us go through our days with more calm, grounded energy and less reactivity when things get chaotic. It’s a beautiful, simple practice, and here’s the great thing: You can do this anytime, anywhere. 

Being out in nature might be most relaxing — and I highly recommend you make time in your life for that on a regular basis — but you can also do a mindfulness meditation at your desk in the middle of your workday, in traffic on the highway, or while making yourself dinner, just for example. 

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Easiest Path to Daily Mindfulness Practice? Add It to Your Morning Routine

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We all lead busy lives, even in a pandemic (or for some, especially in a pandemic!). So when it comes to wellness practices we want to add to our lives, it can sometimes feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to add one more thing. Well, I’ve got some good news: Adding mindfulness to your day is much easier than you might imagine. It’s as simple as adding it to your morning routine.

5 Ways to Bring Mindfulness to Your Morning Routine

Mindfulness is a simple, accessible practice that can help you stay calm and grounded throughout the day. The more you practice, the easier it gets to tap into mindfulness instead of reactivity when things get stressful. Here are five ways to build mindfulness into your morning routine without skipping a beat.

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5 Ways to Ease Stress with Mindfulness

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Each April, we acknowledge Stress Awareness Month as an opportunity to reflect on the stress we experience, and the tools we can use to ease it from our lives. One of the simplest, most effective, and most accessible stress reducers at our disposal is mindfulness.

Mindfulness is present moment awareness, without judgment. You might notice sadness, anger, or grief arising, and mindfulness allows you a little distance to feel the feelings. Then, you may choose to focus your attention somewhere else in order to ground yourself in a more wholesome state so that you feel less suffering and more ease. You can direct this mindful awareness toward anything! The key is that you are choosing what to focus your mind on, rather than allowing unbridled thoughts and emotions to take over and dominate your attention.

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Maxed Out and Exhausted? It Could Be Empathy Fatigue

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Caretakers the world over are all too familiar with feelings of being stretched too thin from time to time as they nurture, support, and protect those they care for. Many others, though, are experiencing similar feelings for the first time during the pandemic. Whether you’ve been stuck at home caring for children 24/7, caring for an elderly or disabled loved one, or even “caretaking” your colleagues and your business as we all navigate this unusual time, you may have hit a wall of empathy fatigue.

What Is Empathy Fatigue?

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Mindfulness Practice: Opening Up To The Possible!

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Your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs create the landscape in your mind that you call “here.” The challenging element is that it’s not fixed. Even while you inhabit it, it is changing based on your perception. 

Your inner landscape reflects your feelings and the thoughts that are connected to them. 

Two people can encounter the same situation and have completely different reactions based on their own history and stories. For instance, one person sees a picture of the Eiffel Tower and feels excitement and romance because it’s where their partner proposed. Another sees the same picture and feels sick to their stomach because it reminds them of the trip to France that led to a romantic breakup. Same photo, two very different responses rooted in their own individual experiences. 

The ground beneath you, the atmosphere around you, and the energy within you can all shift in an instant as you react to what you perceive as happening in your life. 

Past or Present? It’s Hard to Tell…

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The Superpower of Mindful Witnessing

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The capacity to witness what is happening inside us with a non-judging attention allows us to respond to life from our full intelligence and heart. This talk looks at the role of witnessing in spiritual practice, and how we can cultivate this superpower in a way that reveals the light or spirit that lives through all beings.

“Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled—
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing—
that the light is everything—that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and falling. And I do.”

Mary Oliver

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: The Small Lift

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Our job while here is threefold. First, like a mountain that is steadfast in meeting the elements, we are called to face the wear of time, so we can reflect and endure the truth revealed. Some say this is doing nothing. If so, it is a noble nothing that in time reveals everything.

Second, like a river that is relentless in how it carves its path to the sea, we are called to bring what is true into the world. Some say this is our vigilance for justice. If so, this is a noble doing that in time honors everything.

And third, like a tireless seeker who finds God in the smallest pebble, we are called to care for everything in our way. Some say this is impossible. If so, this is the noblest errand of all—to go nowhere like a mountain and everywhere like a river until we turn nothing into everything with the small lift that some call love.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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